It was only after the lamp had gone out; that the house was silent and the servants had finished their last pilfering of the brandy; that Elizabeth allowed herself to breathe. Until that moment, she lies still, head on the pillow, collar of her shift drawn around her throat, her eyes shut. Her last night in this house, this bed, this life. She savors it, and despises it, and savors it again.

The day had been spent in much the same way, knuckles clenched until the peach-pink of her hands faded into white. She is tense as a coiled cat. It is hateful to her that she cannot enjoy the daylight, that all her old pleasures are just that; aging and dying before her very eyes. Ending. So she waits for the moon to rise, and her secrets to spill out, coins from a coffer.

When the last door shuts, she pulls the coverlet off and pads out of bed on perfect, lily-shaped feet. She dresses in silence, and leaves the house by the servant's door.

The town sleeps, and Elizabeth remembers.

In the aftermath of the fight, when Will is the same foolish boy she's always known him for, she stalks away with her lips profoundly un-kissed. It made her angrier than she's ever been; she can fight and wear men's clothes and scream with the best of them, be herself. And meanwhile Dear William cannot bring himself to so much as hold her hand. He's no coward; but he's not anything else, either. Stiff as the commodore, and nine times as starry-eyed.

She nearly walks into the chest of Aztec coins before she realizes what they are. Glittering up at her, several pieces still stained with ancient blood, one with her very own, and she reaches a hand out in unconscious greed. Her fingers are slapped away.

"Nothing there for a lass like yourself." Jack says, under his breath. His arms are full of treasure, and a crown sits jauntily on top of his head. If she weren't so full of frustration, she might have room for a laugh.

"Oh, my mistake." she spits. "And here, I thought I was reaching for tea parties, French lace and gossip." though she is shaking with rage, he has the audacity to smile. He wags his head like a shaggy dog's, and meets her eyes with uncomfortable lucidity.

"Nothing for you there, either, unless I'm mistaken."

He lingers over the chest for a moment, but walks away. She replays his words that night, alone in her berth on the Dauntless. And fingers the single piece of gold she took, snapping it across the delicate, fleshless bones of her right hand.

Jack is rotting in the brig, like a good captive. He doesn't suppose they could ask anything else from him; like refraining from singing. He also supposes a condemned man has a right to a few good melodies before the deep sleep of the afterlife. Or whatever it is that waits for him.

He asked the guard to shut the window long before the moon appeared. Jack was a gambling man, and hated showing cards unnecessarily. So he is truly surprised when a flushed and dirty Elizabeth appears at the top of the stairs. The guard is snoring, and her steps are light. She crouches next to Jack's seat on the floor, and he leans a little closer.

"You have me figured, then." he smiles, and she produces a gold coin of her own from a front pocket. Or from somewhere else that Jack prefers imagining. "And yourself as well."

"What will you do at the hanging ?" she whispers, breathless. She acts like it's a game, she may as well have just asked him to play dolls with her. But for a moment, he borrows a little of her enthusiasm, and gives her a grin.

"I'm Captain-"

"-Jack Sparrow, yes." she finishes for him. "So you're going to pretend ?"

"I'm going to act." he emphasizes, and places a grimy hand to his bosom. "Of course."

"I love them all. My father, Will. But I want out, Jack." her voice is hushed, ashamed. "I want to be free." he nods his head while she speaks, and gestures to the waves outside the hull, and the bars around him.

"All things do, lass."

Next morning, at the hanging, Will makes him impassioned delivery of the words she has waited eight years to hear; and she is unpleasantly surprised that she feels nothing at all. What she does, though, is rush out to him, taking him in her arms and kissing him as Jack drops through the hole in the platform, grinning like a madman. Will, distracted and guilty, makes a sad attempt to cut the rope that holds him, but is repelled by the hangman and tossed back into the waiting arms of a number of marines.

Jack, meanwhile, gurgles and sputters and heaves one last, exaggerated sigh. The crowd is delightfully horrified.

When the prisoner is declared dead, and the body draped into a burlap sack for burial, Elizabeth begs Norrington for Will's freedom, declaring that she, too, found the hanging unfair and despicable, and he's a good lad, really. Her eyes, as usual, reduce him to the shell of an officer, and he releases the boy.

"This is a beautiful sword." he says, flashing the blade Will crafted before the eyes of the assembled. "I would expect the man who made it, to show the same care and devotion in all aspects of his life." Will says something, and then her father, but it matters little. She feels herself slipping away from all of them and their dramas; away into the dark, where she cannot be reached.

I beg you not to, Will, Elizabeth thought sadly. For I don't deserve it.

So it is that night that finds her in the streets of Port Royal, with a shovel over one shoulder and a lantern in the other. Windows are shuttered and doors are locked, though the gate to the cemetery is unlatched and overgrown. She finds Jack Sparrow's grave in the boneyard, and begins to dig. Nearly an hour passes, and she strikes something firmer than the shifting soil covering his body.

"Damnable woman !" he yells, muffled by the sacking. "Your aim's as lamentable as your judgment."

"Too true." she slits the wrappings with a knife, and offers the stringy, smelly bones a hand up. She helps him to his feet, and together they clamber out of the shallow hole. Jack casts an appraising eye over the wraith that was Elizabeth Swann.

"You've elegant bones, though." he sighs.

"Fill in the hole, and let's be done with it."

"Aye, milady."