Disclaimer: I do not own the characters and sundry other fictional things belonging to the creators of Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm borrowing them, without permission, but with every intention of giving them back. (And of keeping them as close to canon as I possibly can.)

Crewed by the Damned

There was lightning playing along the dark horizon, and far off the rumble of thunder. Closer at hand, all that could be heard was the creak of the rigging and snap of the wind in the sails. It was a calming sound, soothing. Familiar. Strange to think that most of her life had been spent on land, and yet the sounds of the ship around her were more familiar and comforting than crickets chirping, or the far off hoot of an owl.

Elizabeth yawned and stretched, then leaned forward over the rail to watch the black water rush by the hull. The moon glittered on the waves, like a thousand candles in the dark. Just like...

The sound of a footstep behind her startled her and caused her to turn.

"Elizabeth," she heard him whisper. The way he said her name caused an ache in her heart. It was lost, torn, the voice of a man who had fought for her, would die for her, and now... now she felt unworthy of that love. "Elizabeth," he said again, closer now. She could just make out the pale edges of his face in the darkness, the wild tangle of wind blown curls. "You should go below," he said. "Get some rest."

"I can't," she said. "The dreams."

"I know." He leaned against the rail beside her, studying his hands, as if there were some answer there. She moved beside him and watched the lightning play.

"Do you," she said, then stopped. "Do you think—?"

"Is it possible? Yes. Probable?" Will paused, as if remembering something, then said, "We have seen dead men walk. We have fought against pirates that were nothing but bone and rotting flesh. My father, whom I had believed dead, is crewman of the fabled Flying Dutchman. I have seen things, Elizabeth, that no sane man would believe. If Jack is out there somewhere, we will find him."

"You never quite believe it," she whispered. "That he's gone. He's got more lives than a cat. And yet..."

"Elizabeth," he said, and she could see his face now in the moonlight. It was anguished. He stood and took her in his arms and after a moments hesitation she returned the embrace, pressing her cheek against his chest and listening to the sound of his heartbeat. It was steady and strong. His coat was rough, his hands were rough, but she loved that about him. There was, however, an ache in her own heart that not even his presence could soothe away. Her breath caught on a sob.

"Shhh," he said, tilting her chin up so he could look in her eyes. His face was in shadow again. "It'll be alright," he said. Then his mouth came down to brush hers.

It was a gentle kiss, soothing and sweet. It was Will's kiss, so familiar to her that it felt like coming home. She returned it, and his lips slanted against hers again. Exploring carefully, taking his time.

She pulled him closer and leaned up, opening her mouth under his, inviting him in. Her heart was breaking, and his kiss was the cure. She felt his hands slide more firmly around her, felt him draw her tighter into his embrace. This, this is what she wanted. She was tired of the restrictions. Tired of waiting. Tired of wanting. She had been so ready to be married, because she wanted to hang the rules and get on with her life. There was more to this, she was sure. So much more.

And she wanted it like nothing else.

She clung to him, pressing herself against the lean planes of his body, feeling his arms around her like steel. This was no longer a sweet kiss, it was hungry and desperate. His lips moved over her mouth with firm pressure, his tongue plundered, his hands clutched at her greedily. Someone moaned, and she wasn't sure whether it was her or him.

Her hands slid up his arms, over the roughness of his seacoat, to twine around his neck. At some point his hair had come loose, and she could feel it feathering against her face. She dug her fingers in and let him claim her mouth with punishing force. He had moved her against the railing, pinning her there, but she didn't mind. She wanted him to keep on, to ease the ache inside of her. His mouth blazed a trail of fire over her jawline and down the long column of her throat. His beard scratched her skin, but she didn't mind. Her hand clutched at his braids, the sharp edge of a bead digging into her palm, but she barely felt it. She held him to her as he nipped her neck with his teeth. This time, she felt herself moan, like it was coming from the depths of her soul.

He chuckled. A low growl. "I knew you'd warm up to me one day, love."

She froze. He felt it and chuckled again. That low, rough sound made her shiver. She opened her eyes.

The hair in her hands was black, not brown.

Horrified, she pushed herself away, but found he'd pinned her hard against the railing. There was nowhere to go. She was trapped there by his long, lean body. Caught in his steely grip.

The lightning illuminated his face a little, enough to see the dark blackness of his eyes, and the glint of gold in his mouth.

"I told you we're a lot alike," Jack said. "Willing to do whatever it takes. Selfish. Greedy. You wanted this," he said, and kissed her again, his mouth hard and hot against hers. "And now you've got it. Welcome to Hell, love."

"NO!" She screamed.

The sound of booted feet, running.

"Elizabeth?" A hand roughly gripped her shoulder. "Elizabeth!"

She gasped and opened her eyes. There was lightning playing along the dark horizon, and far off the rumble of thunder. Closer at hand, all that could be heard was the creak of the rigging and snap of the wind in the sails. It was a calming sound, soothing. Familiar.

"Ye fell asleep, girlie," Mr. Gibbs said. "Get yerself down below and get some rest. Ye can't stand watch all night."

She realized she was shaking, and wrapped her sea coat tighter around her.

"I can't," she said simply. "The dreams."


Author's Note: Just stretching my fingers. Thanks for reading.