Perception

Summary: A slasher's take on PotC. Elizabeth's POV. SLASH (Run away now if you're easily offended)

Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pairings: Elizabeth/Will, Jack/Will implied

Warnings: Slash

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just borrowing them. I'll return them in one piece, although they'll probably be mentally scarred and highly traumatized by what my sick mind has put them through.

Author's Note: I'm not making any of this up, I'm just interpreting it. Seriously…watch Jack's face when the Interceptor blows up. And he's one of the first to notice when Will re-appears…

The ship blew apart like a matchstick model.

I am sure that I was the only person to see the expression that passed over Jack's face. It was gone in an instant, but I had no doubt about what I had seen - a brief flicker of exquisite pain, looking startlingly out of place on the roguish pirate's face.

It certainly wasn't for the ship; the Interceptor was nothing more to him than a way to get to the Pearl. So that left…Will? Tears pricked my eyes as my mind replayed the explosion. Will dead…this couldn't be happening…

When I looked back, Jack's expression was as it usually was, strangely mask-like after the moment of raw grief.

Afterwards, I tried to forget the next few moments, but I shall always remember Will's reappearance with crystal clarity. For some reason, my eyes went to Jack. I saw the mask slip once more, his face showing pure relief. I saw the desperation in his eyes as he pleaded, "don't do anything stupid". Will, being who he was, immediately did something stupid. And I saw how Jack tried to defend him.

I didn't make the mental connections until some time later…until the day of Jack's execution. Will had told me the full story of what happened in the cave before I arrived, and it was then that I realized how badly I had misjudged Jack. He had given up what he wanted most - the Pearl - to save Will. And now he was going to die for it.

"This is wrong," I muttered.

"Commodore Norrington is bound by the law," my father said testily, "As are we all." There was nothing I could say to that – it was true. But my heart went out to this poor, brave man who had refused to be bound by the law…or anything else.

And Will's words to me - much as they disturbed my fiancé, I saw them for what they were – an apology and a farewell. When I realized his plan, I took it upon myself to provide a distraction. I watched, somewhere between pride and envy as I saw how much he was willing to risk to save Jack's life, and how perfectly they worked together.

I didn't even think when they were cornered by the guards. It seemed perfectly sensible to interpose myself with Will between Jack and Norrington. I owed them both a lot, and I would not stand idly by and watch them be hanged.

Jack took this as his cue to leave. Of course, he could not resist a parting shot, was probably incapable of passing up an opportunity to annoy Norrington.

"Elizabeth…it would never have worked between us, darling. I'm sorry." It took all of my self control not to burst out laughing at the horrified look on Norrington's face. After all, he had taken the two of us off of the island, tired and smelling of rum… (Nothing happened – I swear!)

Jack took a few steps, paused, and turned to Will. He couldn't say what I knew by now he truly wanted to – they were both far too aware of society's prejudices for that. So he settled for something random and innocuous.

"Nice hat." Will glanced up at his hat and grinned. So perfectly, bizarrely Jack. I got the distinct impression that Will and I were the only people pleased that Jack had escaped. Unfortunately, my father misinterpreted our happiness.

"So this is the path you have chosen? After all…he is a blacksmith," Will bore a slightly trapped look. "No," I replied, "He's a pirate." I put everything into those four words, and his eyes lit up – he understood. I kissed him once, a regretful farewell. He would have left Port Royal by nightfall.

And Jack would be waiting for him.