Author's Note: Oh, how terribly unorginal am I! So many others have done "what was Elizabeth thinking?" after DMC. And now I'm just adding my own to the bunch. Grr. But...see, though, for all the ones that end with Elizabeth realizing she's madly in love with Jack, there needs to be a few more Willabeth-y ones. This is what I offer you next.
Elizabeth Swann stared down at where her hands were linked, but she wasn't looking at them. The battle raging within her had her full attention.
She had kissed a man that wasn't her betrothed. And, only moments later, she had left that same man to die.
She fought a tremor of guilt.
It was undeniable. If it weren't for her, Jack Sparrow would be alive now, standing amongst his crew, a bottle of rum in his hand. It was her fault. She was to blame.
She had killed him. In this world, there was only one word for what she had done.
Elizabeth jerked up her head up and looked about the room, wondering if anyone would be able to guess at her thoughts.
Of course, that was foolish. Everyone else was grieving, same as her.
As she looked at each man in turn, her eyes filled with guilty tears, both hot and bitter. Will was watching her, she noticed. But she couldn't bring herself to say anything to him, for fear the tears she was trying to hide would come.
It was a good thing neither Will nor the crew knew the truth. Here they all sat; thinking Jack Sparrow had done an honest thing by staying behind, not knowing it was she who had made that decision.
She was especially grateful Will didn't know what she had done to get Jack to stay behind. What conclusion would he draw, knowing she had kissed another man?
What conclusion did she draw?
It occurred to her that, though she regretted the death of Jack Sparrow, the kiss was something she was not regretting as easily and quickly.
Elizabeth's hands shook with guilt and she trembled as she blamed herself. Now, not only was it her fault that Jack was gone, but it was her fault for breaking Will's heart. When Will found out that she had kissed another man, and enjoyed it, she knew he would be crushed. And it would be her fault.
That kiss had been unlike anything she had ever experienced before. Obviously, it hadn't been her first kiss; she had stolen many kisses from Will over the past year. But she had never before kissed Will—or any man—like that. A hot and steamy kiss, full of unspoken lust.
She licked her lips, remembering the feel of Jack's lips on her own. It was hard to describe, but Jack had actually had a taste. A hint of rum could be tasted, and his lips were salty, like the sea. But what had hit Elizabeth the most was the taste of freedom; the taste of adventure; the knowing they were doing something they shouldn't, and doing it anyway…How it was possible to taste that in a kiss, she didn't know. But she had tasted it, had felt it.
Elizabeth shook her head. Why was she replaying that moment? It shouldn't be something she was proud of; shouldn't be something she liked; shouldn't be something she enjoyed. If she kept thinking like that, would she convince herself she loved Jack Sparrow?
Elizabeth felt the urge to laugh, humorlessly, bitterly, at the notion. That was absurd! To love a man like Jack Sparrow! She could never... Could she?
Elizabeth remembered being a young girl, wanting to meet a pirate, wanting to be free like them, wanting to have adventures like them.
The kiss with Jack stood for all that; Jack himself stood for that…So it would make sense if she loved him, as she loved the freedom and adventure that came with him.
Elizabeth swallowed hard. Had she killed the man she loved?
No. Will sat directly in front of her, very much alive.
She didn't love Jack. At least she knew that much. There was an attraction there, but it was not love. It was lust.
If she didn't love Jack, did she not love what he stood for? Did she no longer love freedom or adventure? Had she settled down?
No. Elizabeth knew she would never settle down completely into the life of propriety, would never stop loving adventure, would never stop longing for freedom.
Elizabeth Swann stared at Will Turner, staring back at her. A small, slow smile spread itself onto her lips.
She had all the freedom and adventure in her life that she needed right there, sitting mere feet away from her. With Will, she could make her own advenutures. Have her own freedom.
She didn't need to be with Jack Sparrow for any of that.