Disclaimer: I could never posses the brilliance of the combined talents of Ted & Terry along with the loverly Mr. Rush. I only own my imaginary reproduction of the slightly superfluous feathered hat. Disney owns everything else that you recognize.

Summary: Set just after the events of Dead Man's Chest; Elizabeth flirts with danger, Will finds himself second guessing his motives for the voyage, and Barbossa is set on claiming more than the Pearl. It's not a popular pairing, so all the more reason for me to write it :-P Flame if you like, but it'll do no good.

Fateful Irony

Elizabeth was growing steadily more uncomfortable as the afternoon waned on. She longed for the opportunity to be alone, away from the uncertain faces of her shipmates. Away from Will. There was a time when she yearned for nothing but the chance to gaze into his dark and steady eyes; she was unable now to meet them for even a moment. Disbelief, questions, regret, bitterness. Those were the only things that his eyes reflected now. She wished the uncomfortable silence between them was the extent of her worries, but perhaps that would have been too simple. It seemed fate had decided that she would not sleep well on this voyage. Nothing made her more uncomfortable at the moment than the nearly unwavering and unabashed stare that had followed her all day. She'd been under it's study before, and now it intimidated her more than it ever had before, when the threat had not been so complete, so whole. He could only watch her in torment, living vicariously through her. He gazed at her now with an entirely different longing. Though she was faced opposite him, she could feel his eyes upon her. Unable to bear it any longer, she whirled round to face him.

He stood at the ship's wheel, proudly, now and again closing his eyes, inhaling deeply as a strong breeze danced over his weathered face; it seemed the wind did as much for his spirit as it did for the sails that fluttered above him. One could almost have described him as gallant, fearless, heroic. Almost. She had stomped over to meet him and the illusion vanished the moment he turned his eyes upon her, the gallant expression replaced by a leering grin that he knew made her uneasy.

"Morning, Miss." He turned his attention back to the task of guiding the ship, still smiling to himself.

"Have you something to say to me, Captain?"

"Could say a lot of things", he mused, facing her once more. "But somethin' tells me you wouldn't be willin' to give me audience. No sense in wasting my breath." She immediately understood why he put emphasis on 'waste'. The words he'd said to her that day so long ago and what they'd implied were still with her, as plain as the thin scar she bore on her left hand. Quickly she turned and stormed away, still aware of the eyes that fell mercilessly upon her. He caught the cautionary glance she threw over her shoulder at him, smiling to himself. Knowing that now, it would only be a matter of time.

It seemed fit somehow that everyone had been left to his or her own quiet thoughts that day. Will leaned against the ships railing, idly digging at it with the knife in his hand. A gift of sorts, from his father. He wondered if this one would bring as much trouble as the last. In a way, he supposed, the last one had led him to Elizabeth, his cherished, the one person in his life that he could trust and love and give to with no regrets or fear of betrayal; or was it so? He began to ponder Jack's words about matrimony being cruel, was there any truth in the statement? He'd always taken what Jack said with a grain of salt, but the thought was pushed back by another. How did things come to this? He should be experiencing perpetual bliss right now, not doubt and bitterness and the anxious uncertainty that gnawed at him. He couldn't fathom why it was always he who was punished, when he was the one always trying to set things right. What had valiance bought him? Arrests, slaps, lashings, and more attempts on his life than he cared to recall. He had to laugh slightly at the irony of it all; the Turner's seemed destined to suffer for honest actions. Would his fate be as his father's, one worse than death? He stared thoughtfully at Barbossa, who'd inadvertently caused Bill's wretched fate. Who's command they were all under now, in a desperate attempt to retrieve Jack. Jack of all people, who put a bullet in his chest. As much as Will detested the man, he realized that he wasn't the only one smothered in irony. Shaking his head, he took a particularly aggressive dig at the railing and causing a small chunk of it to splinter off and cascade into the ocean that churned beneath them. He watched disinterestedly as it floated swiftly away and out of sight. He didn't hear the sound of someone approaching him from behind.

"Won't be any ship left to sail if you keep that up, Mr. Turner."

Immediately he straightened and spun round to face the Captain, who casually leaned against the railing beside him. A quick glance showed him that Gibbs had taken over the wheel. Barbossa took note of the knife, eyeing it with concealed interest.

"So how be your father these days?" he asked, with the slightest hint of taunting in his voice.

Will subdued the desire to draw his sword on the man. He may have held a small grudge against Jack for having the privilege of putting an end to him, not that it seemed to have done any good now.

"No better than he was when you last saw him", he spat. "Because of– "

"'Twas his own choice, boy, and a poor one at that."

Will's eyes narrowed. "You're blaming him. . . "

"Plenty of blame to go 'round, Mr. Turner, and not one of us innocent. Do ye even realize how many innocents were successfully preyed upon because of what he did? 'Remain cursed' indeed. Didn't even realize the terror he caused by forcing us to remain immortal, indestructible. Coulda saved a lot of people a lot of trouble by not thinking so rashly, hmm? Guess I shoulda been thankin' old Bill for what he did to us, and the trouble it caused you, and yer lady."

The young man's expression was unreadable for a moment before he finally spoke.

"I suppose you're the one worthy to dole out judgement, then."

There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments as the two simply stared each other in the eyes before Barbossa sighed and slung his arm around the younger man, smiling haughtily at the irritation he knew it brought about.

"Bygones, Mr. Turner." He gave the boy a would-be affectionate slap on the back before turning and swaggering off.

There may have been something about Bootstrap's son that caused Hector Barbossa the slightest bit of unease, but no one would ever notice. He'd been in the habit of making his emotions unreadable for so long, it was now something that just came naturally, however regaining mortality had weakened this talent ever so slightly. He enjoyed weakness, but not his own. Foremostly he enjoyed the weakness of others against his uncanny ability to outwit, to charm. He knew now he could enjoy it to it's fullest, and inwardly dared anyone to try and stop him.

A/N: This is my first stab at fanfiction, so any feedback/constructive criticism would be loverly. I'm a bit nervous about writing Barbossa, he's such a fantastically classy character and I'd hate to get him wrong. Again, this is headed in the general direction of Liz/Barbossa, just to give a fair warning to those who are put off by it. What can I say? My muse has a dark side that refuses to be tamed.