The taste of salt on his lips and the sun-kissed skin of his face and hands, an idle fantasy gone awry as she stood before him on the deck of the doomed ship, the tattered black sails fluttering pathetically in the breeze.
"I always knew you were a good man," she said softly, thinking the roar of the ocean and panic from the rest of the crew would drown the words, but he heard them and he didn't smile or laugh.
He stared stonily down at her as she advanced upon him, his dark eyes, watching her – the usual glaze of cocky self-interest had disappeared and she could only find vulnerability and want, not the lust for power, glory and riches she usually saw there, no reflection of treasure from his mind's eye. This wasn't greed or lust, this was some new desire that she had sprung upon him and he didn't have strength or time to mask his surprise or any of those feelings he had kept so well hidden behind innuendo and his swaggering, selfish swashbuckling persona.
He didn't fight when she pressed her lips to his, and she felt the warmth of his rum-soaked breath on her cheeks and his chafed, blistered lips on her own.
It was such a chaste kiss, really. No wanton passion or wandering hands, he didn't throw her down on the deck or drag his lips down her neck, she was the aggressor here, all his experience and confidence overcome; He surrendered to her and met her as an equal, perhaps his paramount in this particular battle.
She had wanted him to smile, to leer at her words contemptuously and mock her for her morals because that would have made it so much easier to believe that she was doing the right thing, but for once in his life captain Jack Sparrow appeared to be lost for words.
It was just a kiss, but she knew that she could use it against him, could persuade him to do what she wanted with it, but the nauseating sensation of guilt ricocheting through her heart, slamming it against her ribs like a caged animal.
And it wasn't that she was giving it away to a man twice her age, a pirate and blackard with no sense of personal hygiene, it wasn't even that she was betraying Will.
It was that she knew that he wanted it.
She wanted to deny that she wanted it too, that this was all a clever ruse to trick the cunning pirate by exploiting a weakness, but she wouldn't lie to herself, not now, not now when she needed it to feel like it was real. She poured months of indecision, harmless indulgence and haunting realisation into the kiss, it was a goodbye and she wanted to him to feel her honesty and her yearning.
If this were his send off, then she would make it a good one.
His hands were limp at his sides, shocked into stillness. For a man so constantly in motion he seemed to sway with the sea itself, the immobility was oddly discomfiting.
Digging her fingers into his oily hair, running them over his dirty face, she kissed him fervently, pushing him back towards the mast. He fell back. Willingly. Overpowered by such a simple physical gesture.
Captain Jack Sparrow would not be taken to his doom at the end of a sword, but by the gentle touch of a woman. It was romantic in a way, but a dreadful miscarriage of justice, a deceit not befitting of his legend or his life.
He broke away from her, head cocked to the side inquisitively, heavy lidded and dark eyed, looking down in confusion and wary affection. She gave away nothing of her own, seeing the charade through to the end.
Her stomach gave a sickening lurch as she fastened the shackles to his wrist and saw the realisation dawn on his face, the smile that tugged on his lips and the openness of his expression float away, replaced by the swaggering façade she was so used to seeing.
"Don't you see?" she whispered urgently and she couldn't help it, her fingers picked at the frayed cloth of his collar shakily as she tried to explain, but even the truths tasted of bitter lies, what use were explanations to a man she had doomed?
"I'm not sorry."
But she was, she was sorry. She'd capitalised on the hide and seek of his own virtue, snaring him just when he'd been won over by the curiosity in his heart; he'd wanted to do good and now she would force him to do so, at the cost of his life. She gave him what he wanted and then turned it on him, like a…
"Pirate," he growled softly, his lips twisting into a Cheshire grin, rum rolled in warm waves onto her face again and she heard the unwavering pride in his voice.
He had been right, they were so alike, she and Jack and they'd both got what they wanted, no matter the cost.
With the taste of his breath and his scent upon her, she looked up at him once more before she stepped down into the longboat with Will, Gibbs and the others. The wry smile never faltered, he stared down at her steely eyed and casually hard edged, but she had seen the vulnerability beneath and wouldn't forget it.
There would be no forgetting Captain Jack Sparrow and no forgetting what she had done to him and he to her, they'd left their marks upon one another and she would carry hers forever.
A/N: Slight edit to fix somethng I repeated by accident. The reaction this fic has been fantastic! You're abrilliant bunch of rumswiggers, I'm so glad I'm not alone in my love for Jack/Elizabeth.