On the surface, the seas were still and calm. The wind fell peacefully from the east, and the Pearl upheld a steady pace. There were only a handful of playful clouds amidst the clear blue of the sky, and the sun hid behind one particularly mischievous billow of a cloud. The air was warm, but a gentle warm indeed, as it did not weigh heavy with the usual fierce heat of the Caribbean.
It was a perfect day, but Gibbs knew better.
He knew there was some manner of unusual storm awaiting them, rolling around just beneath the surface of the steady sea. The fact of the matter was that any man with any sense of insight could see the storm right before his naked eyes. All one had to do was glance over to the on-deck cannons where Elizabeth Swann was forcefully scrubbing the insides of each one. If anyone were to bother her, she would turn them away with a simple "I'm fine". Gibbs appreciated the effort she was putting into the job, and so was the rest of the crew, but her apparent calmness was actually very disconcerting.
Will Turner had perished not two days ago, and she had not yet shed one tear. The whole crew was very well aware of the strong, cold Elizabeth Swann, but it didn't seem right. They had seen her cry in Tia Dalma's hut, so they knew at least that she was capable of such emotion. But yet here she was, two days after the death of her fiance, with eyes as dry as the deserts.
Marty trotted over to where Elizabeth sat hunched over the cannon she was currently scouring, and Gibbs paid careful attention. His aging ears strained to hear the conversation from where he was posted at the wheel.
"Can I help you, Miss Swann?"
Gibbs knew what bitter answer would follow.
"I'm fine, thank you."
Marty hesitated for a moment before rebuilding his confidence.
"I really think I should help. You've still got the galley to do, and it's-"
"No, thank you," Elizabeth muttered, eyes still fixed on the job at hand. It was here that the conversation usually ended with the crewmember walking away in a confused huff. But Marty was too kind, and one of the few onboard who possessed aforementioned sense of insight.
"Miss Swann, please stop. It's been two days since.. well... you know, and you've been acting so strange lately. Please, just take a break. I can do it," he offered pleadingly, while Elizabeth finally stopped her scrubbing. The storm was swelling, growing thicker. She turned to face the small man.
"Marty, I can assure you that I'm absolutely fine, and exactly what place do you think you have in telling me what I should feel?"
Marty's mouth searched for words but there were none as she gritted her teeth at him. Gibbs quickly handed off the wheel to Cotton as he hurried down the steps to the cannon well where the confrontation was happening.
"I think it's time you returned to your post, lad. No needs to be angering a lady," he directed. Marty nodded and quickly returned to the bow of the ship, where he had come from. Gibbs turned to a seemingly relieved Elizabeth. "And you," he started as her eyes narrowed once more, "I think it'll do you some good to be taking a rest in the crew's quarters. You can finish the job later, we're in no hurry to have sparkling cannons."
She glared at him for a moment before tossing the rag down at the cannon and hurrying to the crew's quarters. Gibbs made sure she actually did as told, and then made his way towards the captain's cabin. Might as well take down two birds while you've still got the stone, Gibbs thought to himself as he reflected on the captain's behaviour in the past two days. Yes, even Jack Sparrow seemed to be acting very oddly.
The clouds were growing thicker and more numerous.
Just as Gibbs had suspected, Jack was in his cabin. He did not sit purposefully at his desk, figuring out the coordinates of the next time they would make port. Rather, he stood before the grand window, gazing out at some invisible piece of land. The only thing in the ordinary about the scene before Gibbs' eyes was the bottle of rum, and even that had strange meaning. It was the same bottle Jack had pulled from storage two days ago... and it was still relatively full. Even Elizabeth, the moral standard on this particular voyage, had had more to drink than that.
"All goes well?" he asked, still facing the open seas.
"Aye, captain. All goes well. I believe there will be a storm soon, however."
"What notion convinces you to say that? We're on steady waters right now, I should think," he stated.
"I'm not meaning the weather, captain," he explained as he made his way closer to the forlorn captain of the Pearl. "It's Miss Elizabeth."
Jack's eyes smarted away from the window and towards Gibbs, who was now at his side.
"What about her?"
"She's a storm waiting to erupt, captain, unless we coax a little rain out of her," stated Gibbs in his usual cryptic fashion. "A storm we don't need. It's bad enough luck that she's a woman."
Jack's eyes fell back to the window.
"And how do you propose we coax aforementioned downpour out of her?"
Gibbs hesitated for a second.
"You, Jack. Talk to her and see why she won't let out a little rain," he explained, to which Jack immediately turned to face him, brows furrowed.
"You've got more sense of the female mind than anyone else aboard, captain. And I mean that in the best way."
"She won't talk to me."
"Oh, I have a feeling she will. Just go down to the quarters, be patient with her, talk to her for a little while, and maybe we can avoid a hurricane. Think of her like a ship, Jack."
There was one man that Jack would allow to outwin him in a debate, and that was only because he could hardly understand half of what he was saying. That man was, unfortunately, standing right next to him.
"Fine, I'll talk to her. But no promises. She's as tough as a rock and has a surprising talent with a sword."
Gibbs laughed as he strode back to the deck, leaving the painfully sober captain to consider what he'd just been talked into. Jack grunted as he headed towards the crew's quarters, rum bottle in hand. He was almost surprised when he reached the quarters, that she had actually obeyed Gibbs' orders. He took a moment to observe the pouting and rebellious Elizabeth as she leaned against the grimy wall, arms crossed. She didn't notice him at first. When she did, she remained silent.
"It's a marvelous day out there," he stated dully, not really sure what to say. "Wind is lovely. The sun is... bright. Only a couple clouds."
"I would rather not talk to you right now, Jack," she shot through downcast eyes and gritted teeth. The comment would have almost cut him, but he remembered that he was Jack Sparrow, long before it had a chance to.
"When, then, love? When would you rather talk to me?"
He knew her outright answer would be something along the lines of "not anytime soon", but found himself surprised when she held her tongue. He continued to walk towards her.
"The fact of the matter is, you're going to have to talk to me sometime, love, whether it's now or later; and to be honest, later is not looking like a preferable option," he explained. "Now, are you going to talk to me?"
He could see her turn to face him and almost protest, and he almost laughed out loud when he thought he could physically see her decide against it.
"Fine," she said, letting one arm free to gesture that she surrendered. "What do you want to talk about?"
Truth was, he didn't really want to talk about this. Part of the reason why he'd locked himself away in his cabin for the past two days was that he didn't want any of the crew bothering him about it. It was enough to make him reject taking a drink whenever he tried to bring the bottle to his lips, and as terrible as the withdrawal was, he couldn't get himself to actually take a swig. He kept seeing young William Turner, eternally gazing up at the sky as he fell to his death. A death that Jack had been responsible for.
It had been hard enough on Elizabeth when Will had stolen away to the Flying Dutchman. She knew he would find the Heart there, and she knew he would finally free his father... but she also knew the terrors awaiting his return to that ship. Gibbs had told her, once it was realized where Will had disappeared to, that the Dutchman needs a living heart. What Will had not realized was that by killing the heart of Davey Jones... he was sacrificing his own heart. Stab it, he did, and Davey Jones himself died at his feet. He was also reborn, in the form of William Turner. Before long, the crew had realized what had happened, and immediately Will became their captain. They hunted down the Pearl as their first prey under the vengeful rule of Captain Will Turner. There was one man Will wanted dead- the same man he had helped bring back to the land of the living. Jack Sparrow had thrust him into a world of piracy, robbed him of his wedding, destroyed the illusion of his father being a good man, and above all, stole his fiance's heart.
Both Jack and Elizabeth knew that by stabbing the heart, he had permanently bound himself to the sea. There was no other way. It was not a fate that suited the heroic young Turner in any way... but it had to be done. Jack regretted every moment before, during, and after the years it seemed to take to fire the bullet from his pistol.
It was the only way...
"I don't believe I've taken the time to apologize for... what happened," he said, very slowly and carefully. He watched her every reaction. "So, I'm sorry. Truly."
"I accept your apology."
She wasn't really sure if she did, but it seemed like the right thing to say. She was always doing the "right thing", and it maddened her to no end.
"Well that's good," he said, almost taking the opportunity to turn around and leave, but he remembered what Gibbs had said about the rain. "You know, it really isn't natural the way you've been handling this unfortunate turn of events."
"Of course it is," she quickly shot out defensively.
"Ah, no. No it's not. I don't know if you've realized, but your cheeks are about as dry as a monkey sitting in the sun in mid-August," he replied, paying careful attention to her lips. She smiled, ever so slightly. He laughed.
"She can smile! Heavens above, we have ourselves a human being!"
Her eyes darted to him, and narrowed in playful chastisement. Suddenly the buttons along the front of her vest caught her attention and she began to fiddle with them absentmindedly.
"I can't stay mad at you, can I?" she pondered.
"My dear, I'm afraid that it's actually quite impossible. I don't recommend trying it."
Again she smiled. And then something deeper took over... the smile remained, but Jack stood in amazement as something she had been burying quickly rose to the surface. Her eyes received a new gloss of salt water not from the sea.
"I didn't understand before," she said, turning away from him, still fiddling with her buttons. "I guess I never tried to."
"And... now you do?" he wondered, secretly begging for it with all he had. She faced him once more and nodded quickly, sniffling back a sob. Cautiously he brought himself closer to her, sobering his expressions and laying the bottle on a nearby shelf. A new sound could be heard from above, amidst the hurried footsteps and rolling cannons. A gentle sound, the sound of just a few raindrops bouncing off the wood of the deck.
"I didn't want to do it, Elizabeth," he explained, voice low and gentle. She looked up, but not necessarily at him. She smiled.
The first tear fell. He was very close to her now. A second tear... she could feel the warmth of him drawing ever nearer. His eyes were soft, she noticed, and very gentle. The kohl did little to harden them. Gently, and carefully so as not to get swatted away by a sudden urge of propriety, he held her neck in one hand, bringing her gaze to his. She didn't swat him away as he stroked the contours of her jaw with his thumb. A third and fourth... the rain was falling harder now.
"God, I am so sorry..." he breathed as he studied her face with a worried brow. A sudden darkness washed over her face as she pressed her lips together and furrowed her brows. He prepared himself to dodge a slap. What he got instead was quite unexpected indeed.
She finally pulled her hands away from her buttons, still holding his gaze, and lightly drew her hand along the line of his bandana to his ear, finally resting just beneath his jaw. Her eyes fell to her hand as she shook her head in disbelief.
"What about you, Jack?"
Again she brought her eyes to his, lips parted. There was purpose in her eyes now. Slowly, torturingly, she brought her waiting lips to his. He fell into the kiss easily, just as he had before his dear Lizzie had proved her worth during the Kraken attack. His mind told him to be wary, just in case she had some ulterior motive, but it appeared his heart had taken over control of his body. His hands wrung themselves in her wind tossed hair, and she firmly held on to his shoulders. Suddenly he pulled away, the same thought that had denied him his drunken pleasure doing its best efforts to deny him this.
"Lizzie..." he breathed. "It was only two days ago..."
She stared at his lips, longingly, and gently hushed him.
"As perfectly lovely as you are... I can't do it. Not again."
She stared at him as though he were mad. He wished he was. With a frustrated pout, she pulled away from him and took a seat on one of the nearby hammocks. She brushed away her tears with angry haste, and stared at the floor. The rain could be heard falling more gently now.
"Jack..." she sighed, eyes still on the floor. "Our relationship was falling apart long before you... before that tragic day. I learned to pretend."
Jack just stood there, probably looking rather stupid as he stared at her, letting what she was saying really sink in. She looked at him, and he quickly avoided her gaze.
"You shouldn't take all the credit," she scolded playfully. A grin slipped into his expression. Suddenly, she threw herself off the hammock and headed straight for the bottle of rum that he had abandoned. His eyes widened as she took a drink worthy of a... well, of a pirate. He had never wanted her so badly. But Will kept invading his mind...
"To hell with it."
He stormed over to where she was standing and swept her into a fierce kiss, pulling her against him with all his strength. He didn't even care when the sound of broken glass implied that rum bottle's impending doom. Almost viciously, Elizabeth raised her hands to his hair and tangled them in it, pulling him as close to her as possible. Their breath was heavy, and hers caught in her throat as he slipped his tongue into her mouth. She embraced it, and wrapped her legs around his waist as he thrust the both of them against the wall. He could feel every last tear fall from her face to his.
Every emotion in the world seemed to swirl about that room, and Jack Sparrow finally found two that he had not felt so sincerely in a long time: grief, and love.
The rain was falling hard now as Gibbs stared at the sky with a smile. The crew had had many a suspicious eye about the sounds coming from below them, but Gibbs told them immediately to get back to work. Yes, the weather today was absolutely perfect.