A/N: Sorry this took so long!! I had a bit of writers block for this chapter, but then last night it all just came to me! It hasn't been betaed (any takers?) but I am pleased w/ it. Enjoy!
Elizabeth stood on the deck of the Destino, the ship that had found it's way into the hands of the Pearl's small crew. She was fairly certain that Tia had something to do with the timely arrival of this 'abandoned' ship that had suddenly appeared at the mouth of the bayou. Be that or not, she was greatful that they had a ship and were finally about to embark on their rescue mission. The Destino had arrived the morning after Elizabeth had insisted they get to it. Gibbs insisted that a few things be done before they set sail, however.
"On a mission as dangerous as this one we need to take every precaution necessary."
Gibbs spent a whole morning making horseshoe shapes out of pieces of this and that he found around Tia's hut and around the bayou. Then he spent all afternoon hanging these hand made horseshoes over every door in the ship. He had Pintel and Ragetti running all over the bayou trying to catch a small black cat that he had caught sight of one night. He also insisted that the crew scrape together every coin they had to buy a bottle of wine from the old lady who had a small hut behind Tia's.
"Why do we need a bottle of wine?" Will grumbled as he pressed his last coin into Gibb's fat hand. "We've got loads of rum. Marty and Cotton grabbed the extra rum barrels off the Pearl."
"This wine isn't for drinking, Will! It's an offerin' to the sea gods!" Gibbs rushed out the door to buy his offering.
That night the crew had a huge party. Though no one said it out loud, they all knew that there was a good chance that they would not return from this expedition. That this voyage to the ends of the earth could be the last journey they would ever make. So, the party was a rowdy one. There was a huge feast and lots of rum, of course. The men all got friendly with the women of the bayou and there was music and dancing long into the night.
Elizabeth stood back from it all, watching the pirates, the men who had become her friends and in many ways her family enjoy themselves. She laughed as Cotton's Parrot sang a song to the tune that Marty played. She smiled as she heard Gibb's telling the Bayou children many of the same stories he had whispered to her as a child. Even Barbossa, with an apple always in hand, danced and laughed tonight.
They don't deserve to die, she thought while watching them. They weren't bad people – not deep down. It wasn't their fault that Jack had – that he wasn't with them. And yet, they were willing to risk everything they had to get him back again. Damn the code.
Suddenly an arm wrapped itself around Elizabeth's middle and pulled her back against a hard muscular chest. Lips found her neck and then fingers pushed hair away from her ear and the lips rested there.
"I know I have been distant." Will whispered. "I know we haven't been ourselves since our wedding was disrupted. But Elizabeth, I still love you." He turned her in his arms and held her face in his hands. "Despite – whatever – may have happened in the last weeks, I love you. I want to be your husband." His dark eyes held hers, saying so much more then the words that had just been whispered across her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned her head against his shoulder. She hoped he read the move as something encouraging instead of her hiding something, like she was really doing. She was afraid that he would read her eyes as much as she had been able to read his. That he would find the doubt, the guilt, the uncertainty that she was sure was there. Will took the bait and held her closer, pressing his body against hers. He brought his hands up to her cheeks again and lifted her face to his for a kiss. It started out like all of the kisses they shared, sweet and innocent. Not pushing too far, not asking too much. But then he deepened it, feeding her more passion then he ever had before, even on the eve on their interrupted wedding. Elizabeth startled and then fed the kiss back – willing herself to find the passion for Will she had once fought to control. She kissed him as if she were dying, she kissed him the way she had kissed – Jack. Suddenly she felt empty and sick. She pushed herself out of Will's arms and turned her back, hoping he could see it on her face, in her eye, on her body. She heard him take a deep breath and then step close behind her and felt his hands warm on her shoulders.
"I know this is all – new – between us, Elizabeth. But, and I don't want you to feel any pressure from me in anyway, but I don't know what is going to happen to us out there. I don't know how this is all going to end. None of us do. But I don't want to die before being your husband. I know it wouldn't be official, now, but I think it would be real enough in our hearts and minds. We can still have the wedding we dreamed of after all this, if we come out of it together. But for tonight, and for this voyage, I want nothing more then to be with the woman who I love, uninhibited and without restraint." He wrapped his arms around her again and kissed her neck with sweet passion. "Please, Elizabeth, let's be together the way I know we both have been desiring for so long." Panic rose in Elizabeth's throat and tears burned her eyes. She figured she'd have until the end of the voyage to face this decision. She never imagined it would come now. She took several deep breaths and tried to calm herself. William was still covering her neck in gentle kisses, his hands holding her fast against his front. She could feel the evidence of how much he desired to be her husband pressing against her back.
She closed her eyes again and just felt his lips on her neck and his hands gently yet firmly holding her, his hardness pressed against her. She imagined a braided beard tickling her as the lips moved toward her collarbone and the smell of rum and spice. She imagined that the hands who turned her toward him and brushed up her back had jewels on each finger. When their lips met in a crushing passion she imagined the sound of beads clanking together as dark dreadlocks brushed her face softly. When a hand came up and covered her breast through her shirt she imagined it rough from years at sea and the arm behind it covered in tattoos and a loud scar in the shape of a "P." She moaned softly as she felt herself being pushed back against the wall of Tia's hut behind her. She kissed the lips back fiercely and threw her head back wantonly as those same lips traveled to nip at her earlobe and then slowly make their way back down her neck again. She imagined the back that she clung to was covered in a criss-cross of scars.
"God, Elizabeth…" Will's voice suddenly wrenched Elizabeth back to reality. She opened her eyes and saw not a Pirate with an enigmatic smile and eyes that pulled at her like the tide but the boy she had fallen in love with so many years ago. So many years back when she had still be a child. She was no longer a child. Not after being kidnapped by undead pirates and cursed Spanish gold and sea monsters and Tortuga and sailing on the most feared ship in the sea as a crew member under the most legendary Pirate of their time. Tears flowed down her cheeks at the sudden realization of the loss of her childhood. It had slipped away while she lived the adventures she had fantasized about as that lost girl. She pushed William away gently. He stood suddenly, his eyes filling with confusion at seeing her tears. He lifted a hand to wipe them away but she stopped him.
"Will. I – I can't do this. I can't let you pour your heart into to me and not be able to return mine to you with the same passion. I'm not saying this will never happen. But it cannot happen right now. It wouldn't be fair to you, Will. I'm sorry." Will stood up straighter, tightened his jaw and nodded.
"I understand." He said in a strained voice. "I would never ask you to do something you were not ready for." Elizabeth smiled.
"Thank you, Will, for understanding." She turned to go back to the party but he grabbed her arm, stopping her.
"At least tell me one thing, Elizabeth." He moved around in front of her, blocking her path. "Why did you kiss him?" Elizabeth froze, her eyes flying to Will's face.
"How did you –"
"I saw you. When you
were on the deck of the Pearl. Why did you do it and why
didn't you tell me? Why have we been acting as if nothing
happened?" Elizabeth licked her lips and searched for the right
words. She opened her mouth several times but nothing sounded right
in her mind. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, she
"I – was saying goodbye to a dear friend, Will. That's all. I knew he was staying behind and – well we had been through so much together while you were gone. It seemed – it seemed the right thing to do." She held his gaze boldly, defending herself. She hadn't told a lie. All the words that she used told a form of the truth.
"I see." Will whispered. And then he turned and walked away. She watched as he moved farther away from her and she knew that no matter what happened, things would never be the same between Elizabeth Swann and William Turner ever again. That their childhood romance had ended and it was yet to be seen if they could form something new.
Suddenly everything that had happened crashed down on her and she sank to her knees and let the tears fall freely into her hands. She let it all out – her guilt, her confused feelings for Jack, her mourning, her loss of what was there with Will, the realization of her gone childhood, her lack of knowledge about her Father's whereabouts and the stress of the last weeks. It all came out in the salt filled tears – like the water of the sea.
Time passed, though how much she wasn't sure as she finally felt her tears slow and herself calm.
"Tis time ya grieve for all dat has happened to ya, 'Lizbeth. I am proud of you gal. Now dat you have let go of da past ya can go on ta ya future." Elizabeth turned sharply as she heard the witch's voice behind her.
"How long have you been there?" She whispered. Tia smiled.
"Long enough to know ya are ready."
"Ready for what?"
"Ready – for whatever comes ya way. Come, I have someding very special ta give ya for ya journey." Elizabeth stood and followed the woman into her strange home. Tia went to a small table in the corner of the room and picked up a heavy silver necklace. The pendent at the bottom of it was unlike anything Elizabeth had ever seen. Tia's fingers moved over the pendent and revealed it to be a locket with a music box inside which played a haunting and beautiful melody. Elizabeth stood and listened to the strange music and felt a stirring inside. She smelled the sea and felt the roll of the waves beneath her feet. She heard the crashing of the waves and heard the call of the gulls. It all seemed to wrap around her like a comforting blanket and cling to her like another skin.
Suddenly it all vanished as Tia snapped the locked shut. She smiled at Elizabeth as she placed the necklace around her.
"Dis will protect ya on ya voyage and lead ya to ya hearts desire. De sea is inside ya like it inside me and she will protect ya from harm. But ya must know that by accepting her protection ya are also accepting her terms what ever dey may be. De sea is a faithful lover, but a jealous one. So ya be faithful ta her in return." Elizabeth ran her fingers over the strange necklace feeling it cool under her fingers, like the spray of the sea on her face.
"What does that all mean exactly?"
"Dat, is not for me ta tell ya. If ya have faith enough in de sea she will tell ya. If ya are brave enough to be 'er lover ya will know. And if any one asks ya where you found that piece of fine jewelry – ya say 'twas a gift from de sea herself. Dat will be answer enough."
"But –" Tia held a hand up.
"No more will I tell ya, girl. Now, get some sleep, 'twill be a long journey for ya."
Elizabeth watched as the land slowly slipped away from sight as she fingered the necklace Tia had given her again. She still had no idea what the mystery of the necklace was all about, but the sea spoke to her now, unlike it had before. She knew it's thoughts and the comings and goings of it's tides. It all felt different out on the sea this time, unlike it had ever felt before. The sea sang it strange songs to Elizabeth Swann, just as always, but now she heard the words and knew the meaning behind their melodies.
Something warm brushed along Elizabeth's ankles and she looked down to see the small black kitten that Gibbs had insisted on bringing along for good luck. She reached down and picked it up, cuddling it to her.
"Well, Magie" She whispered to the cat "we start out on our adventure at last. The adventure to end all adventures - one way or another. It is nice to have another woman on board, even if you are just a cat." She smiled as the black female purred and snuggled deeper into her arms. "Let's go find that horizon, shall we? Let's go find Jack."