Disclaimer: Don't own it…

PART I

The cool night breeze whispered over Elizabeth's skin, twining in her locks as they danced freely about her. Standing at the railing of the Pearl, she looked out at the dark sea, hands gripping the weather-worn wood with fingers like talons. At long last, they were headed home, back to Port Royal. With every passing league the Pearl cut through the waves, feelings of apprehension brewed more forcefully in her breast.

What for? Wasn't this what she'd always wanted? To marry a good man and settle down in a fine house, to finally start her life? A grand lie, Elizabeth, she told herself. Perhaps domestic bliss had once found itself so keenly in her crosshairs, but now she felt her aim wavering, to different targets more bold.
There were times, padding across the deck of the Pearl on bare feet in a fashion Will absolutely abhorred, the sun beating down and the wind filling the sails that life seemed so impossibly sweet. The exhilaration of the moment coursed through her veins so forcefully, so intoxicatingly, she wondered if it were even possible for it to be real. For the Pearl is the stuff dreams are made of, wild fantasies of freedom…and so is he.

Pirate he'd called her, just before she retreated for the longboat with the others. Perhaps it was possible that he knew her soul far better than anyone else; he recognized a kindred spirit. Even after their first adventure with Jack, Will took no notice of the changes in her; the true light of her soul shining through the cracks. No one but Jack pierced her façade of a proper Port Royal lady.

Scarier yet? She may have loved him for it. Which was exactly why she did her best steer clear of the buccaneer on the voyage home. Jack was like rum to her: intoxicating, not always the easiest to tolerate, but always a dizzying ride. She found it hard to think entirely clear with him near; she suspected he realized this.

"Well well, if it ain't me favorite little pirate, who's been avoiding me so skillfully this return voyage."

Point proved. Elizabeth turned to see the pirate in question leaning his back against the rail, lips curled in an infuriating smirk.

"Why would I avoid you, Jack?" she asked, not daring to look him in the eye. There were moments she feared that with one more smoldering look he would finally capture her; she would have no choice but to leave Will in pursuit of adventure on the sea with the wiley captain.

"I don't know…there could be a certain social awkwardness to be found in chainin' a man to the mast of 'is beloved ship in lieu of a nasty fate at the tentacles of a kraken, and once again finding yerself face to face with said pirate captain."

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at Jack's tirade. She kept a cool façade, but secretly she felt uneasy inside. Jack was a man who kept her on her toes; she loved and hated the way she never quite knew what to expect next from the man. It was so opposite from Will, who's actions she could easily predict to a T.

"I suppose I thought if you held a serious grudge, a man of such hot blood would have confronted me before now. It was the best way to save everyone in the end, Jack; I won't apologize for that."

Fearing where this conversation could go, she tried to escape, making to walk away from the pirate. At first sign of this Jack headed her off, trapping her with one arm on either side leaning on the railing. Her heart jumped in her chest, and Elizabeth watched him the way mice watch snakes; fascinated, feeling frozen by an emotion similar to, but not exactly fear. Perhaps she wanted him, but it didn't make it right, or good. Maybe that was the best part of all.

She dared to look into those smoldering dark eyes, which now were so alarmingly close to her own. "Maybe I've forgiven you," he said quietly, "But I can't help but still hold a bit of a grudge."

Unwilling to back down, she rose to the challenge, standing up to her full height once again. She could feel Jack's body just barely touching hers, a line of heat that sent a thrill through her. It felt like déjà vu, whispering above his lips, "Then you haven't really forgiven me, have you Captain?"

He lifted a hand, brushing a stray lock of golden hair from her cheek. That simple touch evoked a shudder that she embarrassingly failed to mask. His smile widened, knowing full well the effect he could have upon her, if she would only sit still. "Perhaps you could persuade me?" he suggested with a raised eyebrow, hovering above lips he so dearly wished to kiss.

"Are you suggesting I purchase your forgiveness with my favors?" she asked with a wry smile. "Because I'm not that kind of woman, Jack Sparrow."

Jack felt an ache within his chest, to pull her to him, to ravish her lips and show her exactly what kind of woman he knew she was. His fingers slid into her hair, holding her lightly at the base of her skull. "Pirates don't buy things, love, we take them," he said, pulling her into a passionate kiss that sent tremors down to her core. He hit her with the tenacity of an ocean storm, the waves of his passion crashing over her. She lost herself so thoroughly in Jack's kiss, so engulfed, she felt she might drown in him.

Trembling and overwhelmed, she pushed on his chest, hoping to gasp for some air before he took her under again. He only broke for a moment, swinging her light body around before kissing her again. Elizabeth felt him pushing her; they shuffled backwards at his insistence, until she felt the solid wood of the main mast against her back. Jack melted against her, pushing until she was sure their bodies would meld inextricably. She lost herself in the gale, disoriented and blissfully lost as Jack's hands roamed her body, tangling in her hair, testing the flesh of her curves, his lips tasting her neck.

She felt no cause for alarm when his hand pushed hers down to her side, until a telltale click suddenly brought her back to stark reality. Shuddering, she pulled away to look into those black orbs. "What are you doing, Jack?" she demanded, unable to raise her voice above a whisper.

"Doesn't feel too great, does it love? To be tricked by such passionate persuasion?" Even as he spoke, Elizabeth felt the after-shocks running through his body. They both trembled, like leaves in the wind.

"Unchain me, now."

The pirate smiled mischievously, and she fought the urge to kiss him again, biting her bottom lip. "Now now, turn about's fair play, an all. However, where you did this to me with intent to harm, I intend to do some good."

"For whom?" she asked suspiciously, pulling at the chain.

"For you, of course. What kind of man do you think I am?" Elizabeth glared at the pirate, knowing exactly what kind of man he was.

"I'll scream," she threatened quietly, leaning in to Jack.

He barely managed to evade taking her lips again, faced with temptation that could kill a man. "To what end? I'm the captain of the ship, and I'm the one with the key. You're not going anywhere, until I says so."

Frustrated, Elizabeth blew air out her nostrils. "And what good is this supposed to do me?" she asked, rattling the chain.

"Incentive, love."

"For what?"

"To be utterly honest with yourself." She raised her eyebrows at this, eyes gone wide. "Scary, I know," he agreed. "So, shall we parley?"

"Even if I'm to be honest with myself, what makes you think I should be honest with you?"

Jack felt extremely satisfied, for the glare she paid him. He would be a liar to pretend it didn't please him to have her on the receiving end of the main mast's shackles. "Well, if you keep kissing me like that, I suppose you won't ever need to say much."

"Jack¾"

He held up a hand. "Fine, if you want to sit here by your onesies to come to terms with the truth as we both know it, I'll let you be."

"Jack!" Astonished, she watched him saunter away to his cabin, with even more cockiness in his step than usual, if it were possible. "Jack!" she called again, but he ignored her, shutting the cabin door quietly behind him.

"Bloody pirate," she muttered, sliding down the mast to sit cross legged. She closed her eyes, deciding to bide her time until either he came back, or someone found her. Will the blacksmith could surely get her out of these irons, she thought. So long as she didn't have to explain to him how she got there.

A/N: Please review! It's like an honor system…and no one likes the guy who skips out on paying for his pizza…