Disclaimer: not mine, as sad as that is. They belong to Disney and other such people. I'm only playing.

Author's note: written for the "Black Pearl Sails" yahoogroup Valentine's Challenge. Future one-shot.


Learning to Love Again

She stands, alone, her violet dress fluttering in the breeze in the garden of stone.

"It's been three years." Her voice is soft, she's speaking only for one person. "Three years and there isn't an hour I don't think of you. Not a day I don't look up and think you'll walk in through the door. I miss you. I love you. I will always love you, as I always have. You must know that."

She bends, and touches the stone before her, caressing it, before turning to go.

"He knows." He had come without her hearing his footsteps, and he stands easily, one hand resting on the sword at his hip. "He knows, love."

"How did ... why are ..." She cannot finish her sentence.

"Three years alone is a long time, Mrs Turner."

"I know." The words catch in her throat, and she raises large damp eyes to his. "I should hate you. You showed him the sea, you showed him that which took him from me."

"But you don't."

"But I don't. Because you taught him to feel. You showed him passion, and life. I think ... I think you gave him life."

"Elizabeth." He comes to her, and brushes a tear off her cheek with rope-calloused fingers. It is a familiar, sweet roughness, and she gulps back a sob. "Elizabeth."

"Jack, why have you come?"

He does not take his hand from her face. "Because three years is too long, love. Will would not want you to be alone and miserable, he'd want you bright and full o' spirit, like he knew you." He pauses, and meets her gaze with deep eyes. "Like I knew you."

She cannot reply. The wind brushes her skirts around her ankles.

"My ship's waitin' for you in the harbour," he says, low, voice tinged with rum and spice. "We'll sweep you away, me and her, out where the wind is wild and the waves roll and the sky is endless. I'll show you what your Will loved, in the sea and in you. Come with me, Elizabeth; leave this place behind. Learn to love again."

Fingers flutter down from her cheek and pause near her hand.

"Will she have me?" she asks. He smiles; not a concealing, artful grin, but a real smile from his soul.

"She'll have you. She'll take us wherever I ask."

She reaches out, and entwines her fingers with his. It feels like stepping out from a precipice, into the unknown.

"Teach me to feel, like you taught Will," she says.

"I'll teach you to feel," he returns, and leads her from one life into the next.