The taste of settled rum, salt and the sea was still on her lips, and there was no way in the world to shut off her screaming mind. She didn't know what to do, or how to save herself, let alone the rest anyone else. She lay awake, exhausted underneath black shifting shadows, holding a small, cool object, tight-gripped in her right hand.
Will knew. He must have known. The behaviour of Elizabeth's fiancé had been odd ever since the remaining crew had left the Pearl, and their friend behind with her. He had been looking her in the eye with a fierce and challenging gleam, his love subdued and ignored, or more likely denied or forgotten. There was a sharp pain in her chest for what she had done to both of them. She had wanted Will- she had always wanted Will and denied any change in that status. She would marry him.
And yet Elizabeth felt a searing heat through her body, which made it literally difficult for her to breathe. She felt this agony for Captain Jack Sparrow. What she had done to Captain Jack Sparrow. She did not know whether the Pirate was dead or alive. She did, though, assume the latter, quite bravely, because Captain Jack Sparrow never seemed to perish. She painfully reminded herself as well, that though skilled, and daring and able, the man was still a mortal.
Despite luck often being on his side.
She had lead him off the side of a sheer rock cliff, just walked him off the side and into jagged oblivion using the unfair charms that women are granted have in the most inappropriate of ways the wrong way. It was not fair, and she knew it then, but lacked the momentary integrity to care about the penalties of her actions. Why had she done what she did? Why did she attempt to seal a man's fate with a kiss?
To protect the rest, she hoped was the answer. To save the lives of those remaining, to stop this Hell before it unleashed anymore fire on those available to be signed away for death or an eternity's pained labour with monsters unseen by the majority of the disbelieving, unknown and unknowing world.
But was that really the answer?
Elizabeth raised the object in her hand to her lightless eyes, and laid it on her chest. She turned her head slowly, lips pursed. She noticed Will on the other side of the room, a shadowed white form in his own hammock. He had barely spoken a word to her since they had left Jack behind. Of course, he didn't know why she had kissed Jack. But then, there was more reason to it than had firstly appeared to her.
Aside her in his hammock, lay Gibbs, snoring softly. She could see nothing inside of the room but the murky silhouettes of the crew and trinkets that hung about the ceiling. Barbossa slept upstairs, however he still lived, a set of creaky spiral stairs between their haphazard grouping and his own odd unity with Monkey Jack, a dagger salvaged from the fights in Tortuga neatly tucked into Elizabeth's pocket.
There was one instance on this whole bloody trip where she had done the right thing, and that was save Norrington's life, even if at a cost to him. Not that it seemed worth much to him now. The man had fallen completely, able to go on without her, but not without his position, his power, the entirety of his being. Everything he had crumbled beneath him, Beckett having stolen power that did not belong to him.
The irony was lost to him.
Her father, Norrington, the upholding, kind uniforms of position in the Royal Navy had been betrayed. Not only betrayed, but betrayed by their own people, the Navy's choosing of whom to listen to, the citizens not knowing what was happening behind the cold, grey stone of the fort. Anyone, everyone of position, low or high was either in the act of betraying or being betrayed.
How any of this had happened, Elizabeth didn't know. Her father needed everything to be fixed, resolved before it was destroyed. Beckett was trying to demolish his respect from every corner.
Jack, she knew, would have to take her help whether he was willing or not, because she needed to help him. She needed to fix this. She needed her fiancé to be her husband and she needed all of this to disappear, become nothing but abysmal memories, and outlandish tales put to print by one who had never witnessed the events, thirty years later. Anything to force it away, for now at least.
She needed no one else to die.
With a broken glass tear in her eye, cutting and mangling her hurt, her suffering to torture, she roughly tore it away, and sat up in her hammock. With slow, shaking pale fingers, she managed to open the compass.
It's dial spun leisurely, obviously in no hurry to mend her. The small triangle revolved hopelessly in a circle, stopping twice at right and left to change direction. It never ceased movement.
Elizabeth, Lizzy, thought back to the previous times she had tried to use Jack's compass. It spun, shifted and ran in what she had thought was the wrong way. And then, it had shifted back to the Pirate.
She had thought it was broken, and now she wasn't sure.
Why choose the man- the Pirate that would never be able to love her- or if so, stay with her against temptation, grogged mock happiness? Why choose the man that most easily could be killed and gone on any day, when she could stay with the kind-hearted, reliable, beautiful blacksmith who risked his life to save hers, the man that she knew loved her for a fact? What of that man?
Was she actually considering Captain Jack Sparrow as a choice? Against her loving Will?
Perhaps simply because the Governor's daughter had the ability to bring out the goodness in the Pirate, and the Pirate had the ability to bring out the outlaw in the Governor's daughter.
No, it was more than that.
She knew as soon as light invaded the cold, black sky, she would talk to Tia Dalma, and she would find out where to go, what to do. And then she would be gone.
Elizabeth's chest ached and burned, her eyes were sore, and her back felt as if it was in shattered pieces. There would be little sleep to be had tonight.
Could she ever have the audacity and bare cruelty to break any or either heart?
That was the crushing moment in which Elizabeth realized that she had already broken both.