A/N: Ok, so I've finally managed to get Elizabeth's POV of this story down after about 3 months so here it is. I jus got through editting this so forgive me if there are any errors. Anyway, read and enjoy! And leave a review too! I love them. :D
I stand there in the doorway of the staircase leading belowdecks, still and silent. Hidden in the shadows cast by the slowly fading sun, I am completely invisible to the man I had been watching although I doubted that if I had been in plain sight it wouldn't have made much difference at all. The man in question seemed to be completely absorbed into his thoughts and looked distracted as he wandered aimlessly on deck. His shoulders sagged, his head hung, and his feet dragged across the floor, all signs of a man who had lost everything that held value in his life.
I watch all this with sad eyes. My heart went out to him. For as long as I knew him, James Norrington had always had a place in my heart, not as someone I was in love with but rather someone I loved as a brother and friend. He had protected me talked with me, danced with me, laughed with me, cared for me, and, ultimately, loved me. And although I didn't love him the way he loved me, it absolutely killed me to see him in so much pain.
Just then he goes over to the railings and rests his elbows on the wood in an almost defeated stance. I came up here in order to talk to him but at the moment I wasn't so sure I wanted to anymore. What I wanted to say could brighten his day or make him sink deeper into whatever thoughts were going through his mind and if it were the latter, I'd rather spare him of that. I watch as he takes a deep breath and rubs his face with his hands. Oh James, I thought, what has the world done to you? It was then that I made up my mind to go over to him.
With quiet feet, I walk over to stand next to him. If he was aware of my presence, he didn't show it for he continued to stare out at the ocean without taking heed of me. Sighing, I follow his gaze to the horizon and, not being able to stand the silence, open my mouth to speak.
"What I beautiful sunset, wouldn't you agree, James?" I ask quietly. I feel him flinch slightly next to me and he breathes in sharply. Guilty of startling my dear friend, I turn to face him, a small smile tugging on my lips. For a moment, he just looks at me, surprise clearly written on his face and I'm finally able to see him up close. What I see tugs painfully at my heart.
He's tired, not only physically but mentally as well. I can see it in every crease and line that crosses his handsome face. He no longer wears that awful powdered wig that makes him look older than his 31 years and his dark hair is short and matted. Three days stubble adorns his cheeks and chin and I can tell he has no intention of shaving it off. But what hits me hardest is the weight of the stare of his brilliant green eyes. I look straight into them and I can see all the loss, pain, anger, and regret he's experienced. James is a broken man and I want nothing more at the moment than to ease some of his suffering.
Finally, he manages to speak. "Miss Swann!"
I take note of his formal address. "Why do you insist on calling me 'Miss Swann'?" I ask, amused. "We both know you know me well enough to call me 'Elizabeth'."
"Of course." he replies and he bends into a slight bow.
I shake me head, laughing silently, and turn to face the ocean. Old habits die hard. But you'll get used to it. There's a silence between us. Beside me, I feel his body tense a bit as if he's expecting someone to hit him and I have a slight feeling it's because I'm standing next to him. Once again I'm not so sure about the idea of me talking to him considering his nerves right now. So, desperate to break the silence, I search the horizon for something to talk about.
"The stars are out early tonight." I say, my eyes fixed on the twinkling dots that had started to appear despite the sun still not even over the horizon.
Then he cuts in. "Is there something you wish to say to me, Elizabeth?" His voice isn't rough or sharp but rather almost pleading.
There it is. I know he'd as that question. I drop my gaze, focusing instead on the shimmering ocean. In my mind, I waver between continuing the conversation and ending it right there. I don't want to hurt you, James. After a moment, I make up my mind and turn to look at him. His eyes are on me and his gaze softens, looking at me almost longingly.
"I wanted to say thank you." I say this so softly I wonder if he heard me. "I know it wasn't easy for you to make that decision."
All at once his expression changes and he drops his eyes away form mine, enough for me to know that he knows what I'm talking about. I can tell he's been sucked back into the world he was in before I came so I don't say anything just yet. I simply watch him, giving him a moment to himself. A minute passes and when I think I've given him enough time, I prod on carefully with my next question.
"What made you do it?"
It takes him a second to respond and when he does what he says breaks my heart.
"Sometimes what you wanted most in this world is no longer worth fighting for because you realize it will never be yours."
His piercing green eyes are staring at me with such intensity that I struggle to hold his gaze and I realize that it's me he's referring to. I knew he was in love with me and I loved him like a brother but I couldn't stand the thought of marrying someone simply because of their social status. But when I had accepted his proposal on the condition of rescuing Will, I had tried so hard to make myself believe that I could find a way to be happy as James's wife for the sake of saving the one man I truly loved. However, I realized that I couldn't ignore my heart that easily and in the process, ended up breaking James's instead. I never meant to hurt you. I open my mouth to say just that but I hesitate, resulting in me not saying anything at all. Unable to take the weight of his stare any longer, I tear my eyes away from his.
"My old life no longer suited me." he continues, his voice and gaze softening. "So I left."
For a moment, we're both silent and I think about what he just said. I know that why he left was partly because of me but I just wanted to hear the words come out of his own mouth, knowing it would do him so much good to have those feelings finally off his chest and mind. So my next question is simple.
"Why?" I lift my eyes up to meet his.
He looks at me as he thinks of an answer. I tried to keep my voice as neutral as possible but I get the feeling that he knows that I already know the answer to my question. Finally, he speaks. "Pirate once, pirate for life." The corners of his mouth twitch ever so slightly into a faint smile.
An evasive answer to my question but I can hardly blame him. Knowing the truth in his words considering my own situation, I give a small nod. "Well, it was very brave of you, James." I say with a smile of my own.
Once again there's a silence between us but this time it's different and I actually don't feel a need to fill it with idle talk. Maybe things can still change.
"So I suppose your father was right then." he says after a while.
Upon hearing my father mentioned I cringe inside and tears threaten to fill my eyes but I don't let them. Instead, I look at James curiously, wondering what he could be referring to.
"That 'perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?'"
Immediately, I recognize my father's words from the past and a little part of my heart is put to rest as I realize that James has finally come to accept what I've known since the beginning. Not all pirates were ruthless, cold-hearted thieves. Jack Sparrow showed me that. Bootstrap showed me that. Will Turner showed me that. They were good men; men who lived with their morals and would act on them if the time came; men who cared about those they loved so much they were willing to make sacrifices for them no matter what it demanded. I knew all this and having one of my closest friends finally realize this too made me truly happy. For the first time in a long time, my smile is one that rightly belongs on my face and my laugh comes from deep within my heart.
"I suppose he was."
Unconsciously, I step forward, closing the gap between us. I've never stood this close to him before and now that I'm a mere inch from his face, I can see to what extent his ordeal has caused him to suffer. Once again, I look directly into his green eyes and see just how much his past haunts him, breaks him, torments him. Just by looking at him I can feel a little part of my heart shatter into oblivion.
"Thank you, James."
Now that I've said that, I don't want anything more at the moment than for him to know that I love him, that I care for him, that I'll always be there for him no matter what. I want him to know that even though I broke his heart, he has always remained in mine although not in the way that he'd like. And so I do this in the quickest way I know how. Slowly, I lean forward and, after a moment's hesitation, bring my lips lightly upon his. My eyes flicker shut, sensing as he does the same. His lips taste like rum, sweet, and it brings a slight smile to my own as I realize this. But before this simple kiss can go any further, I break it, pulling away gently.
I expect him to say something but nothing comes out of his mouth and he only stares at me, a slightly confused look on his face. Still standing fairly close to him, I offer him a small smile, hoping to convey my message to him one more time. Then I take one last look at his tired, handsome face before turning and slowly walk away.
A/N: Well? What do you think? Please review:D