-1Disclaimer: don't own it. Sorry.

Prologue: On The Island

The pair lay on the sand, watching a crackling fire and the black ocean beyond it, a bottle of rum set between them. It was the third of the night. Even though Jack did most of the drinking, Elizabeth seemed to be the worse for wear.

"How many women have you been with, Jack?" she asked curiously, fingers squeezing his. Somewhere along the line, he wasn't precisely sure when, their hands had clasped, crossing the void between them. It felt good to just hold hands with a pretty girl: he couldn't remember the last time he'd done something so innocent with a woman he liked.

"Too many to count, love. You don't really want to know," he said, taking another long swig of rum.

"I do want to know," she protested. "Make a guess, just for curiosity's sake."

"Oh…twenty or so, maybe more. I've had a long life, you know."

"Twenty?" her eyes went wide with surprise, as any innocent girl's would. He couldn't decided whether to think of her as a girl or woman; he felt so much older than her at times, but her mind and endowments were quite obviously those of a woman's. Her fire and determination intrigued him; perhaps more than was good for him. "I suppose it should come as no surprise, that women should be attracted to you. The mysterious, untouchable Jack Sparrow."

"You're touching me, love," he pointed out with a wry grin.

She glanced down at their hands, as though she'd forgotten about them. But, she most certainly had not, despite her intoxicated state of mind. "That's not what I mean."

"I know what you mean," he admitted, looking back to the fire. "And believe it or not, I've had a rather lonely life, despite of what the numbers may indicate."

"Does it ever bother you?" she asked. "Do you ever wish you'd chosen a different life?"

Jack laughed. "Darlin', there is no better life than a pirate's. When a man needs freedom to thrive, the best place to find it is aboard a ship."

"Until it takes you to the gallows," she pointed out. He responded with a shrug; he wasn't a pirate because he wanted to live to be an old man. "Twenty women, eh?" said Elizabeth, reaching for the rum bottle. "I bet you've never had the likes of a governor's daughter," she teased, taking a long pull at the bottle.

Jack's eyebrows raised. "Don't be temptin' me, love," he said with a wicked smirk. "With just you and me on this island together, a treasure such as yourself starts to look better than a slice of heaven."

Elizabeth scooted closer to the pirate. "Am I a treasure, Jack?" she purred, running a finger down his chest, lightly tracing the scars he'd shown her earlier. She enjoyed the feeling of his skin, smooth and supple, the scars slick under her fingers.

"You know you are," he said, eyeing her warily. A girl like her shouldn't even be allowed to look at a man, the effects were far too crippling.

"I'm told I'm special because I'm a lady, but it's rubbish."

Jack wrinkled his nose. "You're not a treasure because you're a governor's daughter, love, it's because you don't want to be one. You're more pirate than prize wife, I'd say."

"Sometimes I feel like I'm just plain trapped, like a little animal," Elizabeth admitted dejectedly. She rested her head on Jack's chest. "You've spent most of your life lonely, and I've spent most of mine bored. I envy you, Jack. I want your freedom."

Jack swallowed, hard. He had to fight not to say something stupid, like offering to sail away with her on his ship, once they got it back.

"You don't have to be trapped," he consoled, stroking her hair. "Learn how to be dependent on no one but yourself, and you can do anything you want. Your jailers no longer have a hold on you, when you no longer need them."

Elizabeth moved to prop her chin on her hand on Jack's chest, so she could look at his face. "And is that how you secured your freedom? By taking it?"

"It's about what a man has to do, these days, love. No one will give it to you. Everyone wants a piece of you, whether you're willing to give it or not."

As a woman trapped in the constraints of British society, those words rang truer to her than Jack could ever know. She studied his face, the creases, the faint scars, his eye makeup outlining those dark knowing eyes. "You fascinate me, Jack," she admitted aloud, reaching up to touch his face lightly.

He fought not to purr, feeling those soft fingers on his skin. A small voice inside warned him not to act on what he wanted to do, but the rum was too far in his system to fight it. He rolled them over, so he now leant over her in the sand. "You're not the only once who's fascinated, love," he said softly, looking into her soft brown eyes. What did he see there, that intrigued him so? Don't do it, Jack a voice inside warned him. Not this one. This one's trouble for sure. But Jack wasn't a man who took orders well, not even from himself. Unable to resist, he leaned down to brush lips against hers.

His advances were received much more readily than he'd expected; it didn't take long for things to escalate far beyond what he'd intended. He felt the age old ache to know her secrets from the inside; very little arouses a man more than feeling a woman respond with such obvious enjoyment to one's ministrations. It was as he kissed his way down her chest, nearly freeing her breasts from that diaphanous excuse for a dress that he forced himself to stop, pushing up to rest on his elbows. "What's wrong?" she asked, rising out of her ecstasy induced stupor. Jack swallowed hard, forcing himself to say what he knew he should.

"We can't do this, love." What kind of a pirate are you?! screamed that voice inside, which had not long ago warned him from touching the girl.

"What?" Elizabeth never dreamed of Jack having her in his arms, and resisting her on moral grounds. He kissed her, touched her, in a way Will had never dared, and maybe never would. Jack's hands had a way of taking what he wanted, and at the same time giving her the same. She couldn't help but think Will would be too scared, nay too inexperienced to ever evoke such reactions from her.

Jack bit his lip in frustration; the feel of her soft, warm body beneath him was almost too much to bear. And yet, he forced himself to speak. "I know you've never been with a man before, love, not like this."

Her face fell; she'd been so caught up in the sensuality and adventure of the experience, nothing else entered her thoughts. It wasn't just the rum in her, in was him. Something about intoxication made her think she was being more honest with herself than she normally ever allowed. But no, she'd never been with another man, never even kissed one. Jack seemed to be enjoying himself, despite of her inexperience. "What did I do wrong?"

Jack sighed heavily. "Nothing, love. Absolutely nothing." He watched her face closely, taking in a sight and scent he was sure he would miss. He watched her lick her lips, as a man dying of thirst watches the last drops of rum drip from a bottle. "But this is no place for a lass's first time, love. And besides, you don't want your first to be a rotten pirate. Come morning, you'll regret it."

"Why would I regret it?" she asked, bewildered by this reaction from him. The feel of his weight pressing into her was intoxicating, as was the throbbing she felt between her thighs. It was a tight ache that felt so alien, yet so demanding to be satiated.

"Because…" Jack fished for more reasons. With this delicious morsel pressing against him, thought was becoming a tiring task. "Because you don't love me."

Don't touch me like that he thought to himself as her hand lifted to slide into his hair, fingers running through, creating the most distracting sensations. "I could love you," she admitted.

And especially don't say things like that.

"You don't want to love me, Elizabeth. I'm bad news."

She searched his eyes, feeling lost looking into the black orbs. In many ways she understood the pirate; but in so many others she couldn't begin to comprehend him. "Apparently, you're not as bad as you make yourself out to be." Raising up on her elbows as well, she brought herself a hair's breadth away from him once again. "I've been surrounded by gentlemen all my life, Jack," she said breathily, "And they bore me to tears. Please don't tell me you're one too."

A groan escaped him, from deep in his throat. Her mouth hovered so close, the temptation was damn near too much to bear. She leaned in to close the distance between them once again, and Jack did the only thing that could possibly work to stop himself from making love to her in the next five minutes: he stood quickly, tearing himself away. "You'd only regret it, love," he said, and walked off into the darkness, intent on working off his frustration, needing to distance himself from that slice of heaven put before him.