A/N: Sorry for the long wait! But the previews of Elizabeth/Jackness I've seen have got me all writerly for this fandom again. As a matter of fact there's a E/J one-shot on its way, provided I can find that bloody notebook...

Chapter Four: A Split Second of Brilliance

"It would seem" said Emily, a bit tentatively, "that there is much to learn about you."

Jack spread an arm and with a sweeping gesture indicated his entire body. "All here, luv, open and unreserved. There's no questions that can't be answered by any scars, visible or unseen at the moment."

"Well, for instance," said Emily, hunching her bony shoulders and tapping finger bones against her mug, "how you came precisely to be a skeleton and yet— not."

"Ah," said Jack after a momentary silence. "Except perhaps that."

She glanced at the table and then back at him, a small smile dancing about the corner of her lips. "I had assumed there would be a story in there somewhere. Just as there is a story in my past. We're not exactly— normal, are we?"

"S'pose not," Jack admitted. He gulped from his mug and gave a crooked smile at the feel of it. "But what's normal, luv? I've yet to meet it, and I've been all over. The closest I've come is Will and 'Lizabeth— and I've my doubts there. Just between you and me," he tapped his nose and winked at her, "the lady is not entirely true to the gentleman, if you take my meaning."

Emily opened her mouth and closed it again, and blinked.

"Though she could hardly be blamed for her heart's straying," Jack rumbled on, looking out in faux modesty from underneath long eyelashes, "as I was there at the time."

Emily blinked at him once more and then broke into a wide grin.

"I must say I find you quite engaging," she said candidly. "And I can readily believe that others might find you so. There is love in my past as well— more than one, to be precise—" She thought for a moment and then shivered slightly. "There are some things that you never get over, I suppose."

"And no love to see you through?" inquired Jack.

"No," she said, but she smiled. "He took another path. It was the right thing to do, you see. He was still alive."

"Ah, one of those," said Jack with a rueful grin. "Death brings a sort of clarity to one's thoughts, doesn't it? Well, not mine," he amended. "But in general. It really is a pity that no one is bothering to write m' epiphanies down." He swung an unsteady gaze around the room. "The point I'm endeavoring t' make, luv, is that the living are often unmeasurably stupid an' there's not really much ye can do about it. This living girl, she— she is living, aye?"

"Aye," said Emily experimentally.

"Aye," said Jack, with a grin.

"Aye!" said Emily, getting a bit more into the spirit of things.

"Good! I'd hate t' think the fellow left ye for another dead wench, as its not the best habit t' be picking up, y'see."

Emily shook her head gently. "She's right for him, I suppose. When you— when you really think about it—" She sighed deeply. "Its not as though I can complain about things when there's no way to set them to rights. She's alive and I'm dead. Neither of us chose to be what we are— we just are. She suits him. Her heart beats."

Jack nodded slowly, one finger on his lower lip as he rubbed to and fro pensively, twisting the tails of his beard around his other fingers. "The way things are wi' 'Lizabeth and Will— well, they don't suit each other, not really, but she rescued 'im when he were young— or summat like that, I'm a bit hazy on the exact details— and one thing led to another an'— ten years later, 'ere they are moonin' and sighin' at each other, her from the great house on the hill, him from the blacksmith's—" He pondered a moment longer and then gave a short bark of laughter. "Now that I think on it, he's just as unsuitable for her as me!"

Emily smiled at him. "More power to them, then, I suppose."

Jack withdrew his gaze from the middle distance and returned it to Emily, the strange, crooked half-smile still on his lips/ "That so? We're rootin' for 'em since they're unsuited? Because they'll likely make themselves miserable?"

"Well, not for making themselves miserable, no," said Emily, somewhat taken aback.

"Because they will, ye know," said Jack, now getting a bit excited and starting to stand up, "I know those two and they're better suited as brother an' sister, if ye ask me. Will's a welp, Will's a— Will's a puppy! Walkin' around sayin' 'Ach' an' 'Aye' an' 'Avast' an' other things that start with A!" Jack snorted, haphazardly dropping constanants in his distraction. "Dumb puppy thinks 'e's talkin' pirate. An' 'Lizabeth wants a pirate, doesn't she—"

He stood up very quickly now, and pulled Emily up as well. She blinked large dark eyes at him in some confusion.

"Why should she settle?" Jack barked, the crooked half-grin switching itself to full force as he trembled with the effort of standing still. "Will'll— Will'll drive her mad! Can't have a mad 'Lizabeth, can we— though she's fun that way— "

"Where are we going?" said Emily, still utterly baffled, as he started to pull her through the crowd, towards the door.

"Ever been on a ship, lass? You'll like it— very free— bit like flying, bein' on a ship—"

"Should you be driving in your condition?" fretted Emily, but Jack only laughed and continued on his way.

Very little distracted Jack Sparrow when he had his mind set on a certain object. Well. Very little apart from rum and shiny objects.

The sea sufficed.