'Perhaps you can forget Captain Jack Sparrow, Lizzie,' he says, his eyes dancing mischievously, 'but can you forget Jack?'

'Yes,' she says, with resolute dignity, walking away, 'I can.'

'Can you?' Jack says with not a notch of laughter, or amusement, or… anything… in his voice. His voice sounds dead and cold.

She hesitates for a second, and it is all Captain Jack Sparrow needs.

He pushes her against the wall, and she gives in.

But he left. Again. Stopped by at Port Royal to drop her off, and then sailed off again towards the horizon, in pursuit of freedom.

She resolves to forget him. It can't be that hard. She forgot Will easily enough.

She tells herself that she despises Captain Jack Sparrow; that he is despicable and horrible and cruel. She thinks of lack of trust and lies and betrayal and lust and love.

She tells herself that she doesn't think about betrayal and lust and love, and that it is all in her mind.

Three months later he comes back; climbs up the rose trellis leading up to her balcony and wakes he

r up, lying in her bed, doing all manner of inappropriate things.

She dreams, of nights on a lonely beach and fires and rum and songs and stars and dark, dark, exotic eyes and fine, callused hands and delight and…

Of pleasure. Pleasure so intense and so wonderful, so magical in its joy and touch that it must be the greatest sin possible. That just to experience this pleasure must be waking in the arms of the Devil himself.

She moans involuntarily. She doesn't care. It is a dream, after all.

She wakes in the arms of the Devil, and guilty relief and guilty happiness flood her senses. Relief that he hasn't been killed at sea, and happiness at seeing him again. Guilty because she will forget him.

'Lizzie, m'dear,' he says, 'aren't you in the slightest happy t' see me?'

'No,' she says, and turns away.

He grabs her shoulders and spins her around to face him. 'Three months I've been gone, and you missed me not a jot?'

She avoids his eyes. Strange, how she does that when she's around him. She can lie easily enough around everyone else. 'No.'

He smiles wickedly, that brilliant gold smile, and he runs his hand down her cheek, and she flushes.

'I think you're lyin' to yourself, lass.'

And she sees his hands that have been cut by the roses and she can't resist and she's on her back again, giving in.

He leaves again, leaves for the sea his mistress and the ship his home. He leaves, she thinks, a trail of broken hearts in his wake, broken hearts that are determined to mend and never do.

Her maid finds blood on her pillow; fine lines of blood that have spread from cuts.

He leaves a wreckage of hearts in his wake, and they bleed.

She wonders guiltily at night where he is, and whether he's thinking of her.

She dreams at night of matted dreadlocks threaded with beads hanging on either side of her face as a pirate, her pirate, in her dreams at least, ravages and pillages and plunders her body.

For that is what pirates do, isn't it? Take and give nothing back?

And one morning she wakes up and finds a perfect black pearl lying on her nightstand, and she holds it and cries and cries and cries, fearful of what it could mean and what it couldn't mean. She keeps it; asks the local jeweller to turn it into a pendant she can wear.

She never takes it off, not even in the bath. After all, a pearl is a thing of the sea, is it not?

She finds herself counting the days until he returns again.

She still tells herself she hates him; hates him with all her heart.

And then she will dream at nights, and wake and hate herself for hating him. Wake and hate herself for not hating him enough.

For not being loved enough, she hates him more than words can say.

It is an entire year and four days before he returns.

She is lying on a beach, thinking of what had been and what would never be, lying on a beach thinking of rum and looking at the horizon, and wondering whether he had reached it yet.

And he comes up from behind her and she knows, knows before he even comes within a foot of her that he has returned, and she vows to herself that this time, that this time she would resist him and look at him coldly, not caring at all, and ignore him.

But he walks in front of her, not at all daunted by her stony silence, and he looks deep into her eyes and she knows that this is part of his charm, this effortless knowledge of the female creature and what they want and how he knows…

And she weakens instantly.

For somehow, somewhere, he has found yet another perfect, flawless black pearl and has added it to the end of his braid, and she, she who knows all of him, notices immediately and cannot resist temptation.

Of course, he disappears again. But she is more used to his long absences and now, strangely, the only reason she lives is to wait for him to come back

But of course, humans and humans and immortality is immortality, and they are separate things, completely divided. And then one day, Anamaria comes to her window and she knows, knows instantly what has happened and no, it couldn't have, couldn't possibly have…

And Anamaria wordlessly hands her a red bandana and a flintlock pistol and a cutlass.

The pistol has one shot left.

A/N: I do believe that this is one of my best works ever… though it seems that my Angst mode has leaked from the Harry Potter fandom to the PoTC fandom as well! Oh, joy. (Personally, I really like the last line). Well, as always, I love readers' opinions, so do drop by and tell me what you think, be it flames burning my rum or black sails to sail me towards that horizon… :)