Don't own, never will


At last, they had come to World's End: Elizabeth surveyed the grey, fog-choked hills before her with trepidation. Beside her, Will tightened his arm around her waist, and she leaned into the warmth of his body. None among them knew what lay ahead, save Barbossa, and he wasn't telling anything. Apparently he wasn't allowed to: none who came back from that shore could divulge the knowledge of the land of the dead. Barbossa could only guide, and give cryptic hints that drove Elizabeth nearly mad. Although, she conceded, it was more the smug tone with which he imparted his words that annoyed her, not the words themselves.

"Will," she whispered, "What do you think is out there?"

"I don't know," he replied, but it seemed from very far off. He had that...look in his eyes.

"Are you...you're remembering Davy Jones' ship, aren't you?" She asked, but she already knew the answer. He had only told her bits and pieces of what had transpired, but she got the feeling that he was omitting something very important. She didn't want to pry...she had a feeling that he would tell her in time. Besides, they each had their secrets.

"Yes." He said, in a voice full of memories. "It was...this shore cannot hold anything worse than what was on that ship." Nearby, a pirate knocked on the wooden railing, just in case, but Will was caught up in memories of despair and inhuman faces, and didn't notice. He was brought back to reality as Elizabeth rested her head against his chest, and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. Will still hadn't told her about his father. He wasn't sure he wanted to, to tell the truth. Why, he wasn't sure. And this troubled him: he'd always told Elizabeth what was on his mind, and had never had qualms about sharing his secrets with her before. He felt her hug him closer, and tried to banish the uncertainty from his mind.

"I love you," he said, tightening his grip on his fiancée.

"I love you too, Will," she said, and pulled his head down to give him a kiss. Ever since they had made their escape from the Black Pearl, Will had been acting...differently. He was cautious around her, and sincere, and seemed to be trying to reassure her at every turn that his love was true and forever. Elizabeth held no illusions that Will had not seen her kiss Jack, and understood why he was being the way he was, and normally she would have done everything to put his fears to rest. But she held back, because to do that was to tell the truth. And she despised the truth.

The truth was, she had murdered Jack. Killed him herself, as surely as if she had held the gun to his head and pulled the trigger herself. And she did not regret it.

She knew that if Will and the crew knew this, not only would they despise her, they would come to despise Jack: he had not, after all, gone down with his ship of his own free will. He had not died a noble death, no matter how much she tried to make it seem so.

"Arrum." Will broke the kiss with Elizabeth at the rumble of Gibbs clearing his throat.

"It's time to go, Will, Miss Elizabeth," he said, and jerked his head towards the waiting longboat. Only three men were left to watch over the ship: the rest of the crew were making the foray into the realms of the dead.

They were quiet as they rowed to shore, and silent too as they moored the longboats. It was only when the crew were assembled and swords were loosened in their sheaths that Barbossa turned and addressed them all.

"Ye're all lucky men," he barked with his characteristic grin, "here's where the dead be walkin'!"

There were whispers among the men, but they silenced once Barbossa began to speak again. "Now I reckon ye're all wonderin' what strange beasties ye'll be encounterin' on our way ta where pirates like us take haven in the afterlife."

Elizabeth had been wondering about this herself. Would there be men like Barbossa's cursed crew had been? Skeletons with only the shreds of their faces clinging on to distinguish them from the others? Or inhuman...things. Images of the Kraken rose unbidden in her mind, and the horror she had felt welled up inside her.

" Well, it's yer lucky day... there are no beasties!"

There was a satisfied murmur, and Elizabeth felt her heart lighten, but Barbossa held his hand up and went on, "No beasts, mates, but those like unto yerselves. Allow me to elaborate. Boy!" he barked at Will, who scowled at the epithet, but nonetheless paid Barbossa his attention. "What were the men of Davy Jones' like?"

Will gave a very accurate and gruesome description. Elizabeth rather wished he hadn't.

"Buckos, those kinds of beasties are nothin' compared to what hell will do to a man!" Barbossa boomed in ferocious delight, "Here there be those who sold their souls...to Davy Jones, to the devil, to money, fame, power...and since their souls are forever in the keepin' o' the buyer, they cannot die! They are what wander this shore, and you had better pray they do not find us!"

"They can't die?" Elizabeth asked, rather skeptically, although she did look around

"Nay lass," Barbossa grinned, "but they can be chopped up or blown to little pieces. And it takes them decades to get themselves together again. But unless ye're all gourmet chefs, we don't have the strength nor the endurance to fight more than two to a man. So look sharp!"

Without further ado, Barbossa turned and began stumping his way up one of the dunes, on his way inland.