Disclaimer: Will, Jack, Elizabeth, and Barbossa don't belong to me. They are the property of Disney, Gore, Jerry, Ted, and Terry.
A/N: This is a Post AWE fic. It is primarily Willabeth, although Will won't officially show up until Part II. It's also JackAna, and Jack Elizabeth friendship. This is not a "lets-go-find-the-fountain-of-youth" story, just to let you know.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Part I
Ch. 1: Without Will
"I'm going to need the other one." Will grinned as Elizabeth presented her boot-clad leg to him. He gently removed the boot, lightly trailing his lips over her bare golden skin. Will's hand traveled up her thigh, causing Elizabeth to close her eyes and smile in pure ecstasy. He tenderly kissed her knee, which caused her breath to quicken as she remembered how they'd made love that day.
"It's nearly sunset," he whispered, looking up at her with those beautiful dark eyes that she'd fallen in love with. She looked down at him in alarm, not wanting to believe that he had to leave her. Will stood up, and walked over to the rocks supporting the Dead Man's Chest. Elizabeth watched as he uncovered the wretched thing that contained his precious heart.
"It's always belonged to you," said Will, indicating his still-beating heart in the chest. "Will you keep it safe?"
"Yes….yes," she vowed. They stood together, moving closer until their foreheads touched. Will then took his first steps away from her, heading in the direction of the water's edge. She blanched at the loss of contact with him. Mrs. Turner couldn't let her husband go - not yet!
"Will!" He turned around to find her flying towards him. They shared one last furious, passionate kiss. But Will pulled away, knowing that disastrous consequences for them would follow if he missed his departing vessel. Then he spoke his departing words to Elizabeth.
"Keep a weather eye on the horizon."
Elizabeth's chest tightened as she watched the man she loved reluctantly walk out of her life. She stood there, rooted in the sand in shock as the waves crashed over her bare feet, watching as her husband swam out to the Flying Dutchman. At the exact moment that the sun set, a brilliant flash of green encompassed the Dutch fluyt, which vanished without warning. Looking out at the bare horizon, it was as if the ghost ship had never existed. Elizabeth finally came to grips the cruel reality – her Will was gone for an entire decade. Finally she let the tears come, and they would not stop.
After Will had left, Elizabeth Turner had remained with Jack, Barbossa, and the crew on the Black Pearl. She had sent the Empress and her crew back to Singapore, naming Tai Huong as captain. Elizabeth was sad to see the ship go, but she knew she was in no condition to run it.
Captain Sparrow had offered to take her to Port Royal, but she declined. Elizabeth knew that she would have to settle her father's estate at some point, but she just didn't feel like dealing with that mess right now. She wasn't sure whether to be more upset at her father's death, or at her separation from Will. If she was completely honest with herself, she knew she was much more upset about Will being gone. And for that she felt guilty. Days turned into weeks, and her depression had not shown any signs of fading.
At night, she dreamed only of Will. If she was lucky, she dreamed that they were together again, but then she would wake to her current bleak reality. Other nights, her once pleasant dreams morphed into horrible nightmares. They were nightmares of Will dying, nightmares of Davy Jones stabbing her brave husband as the monster tried to sever their bond of love. Needless to say, Elizabeth hated to go to sleep; she tried to avoid the nightmares by going to bed late and rising early.
That night, Jack Sparrow had summoned her to his cabin. Elizabeth would be kidding herself if she said she didn't know why she'd been summoned. Earlier that day, she'd seen Jack and Barbossa locked in quiet discussion. Elizabeth was immediately suspicious, for Jack and Barbossa were usually arguing with one another. Since when did they get along? When she walked over by them, Jack and Barbossa immediately stopped talking, letting Elizabeth know they were talking about her. Sighing, she knocked on Jack's door.
"Come in!" He hollered, and she did, not bothering to close the door. "Have a seat." Jack offered her a chair, which she sank into gratefully.
"I presume you know why you are here?" Elizabeth nodded miserably. Jack couldn't help noticing her frail state. Mrs. Turner's shoulders sagged, she seemed thinner, and her eyes betrayed the pain and exhaustion she was feeling. He had never seen Elizabeth looking this defeated before, and it scared him.
"I'm here because you're concerned about me," she said, and Jack nodded gravely. "But I haven't done anything wrong! I've kept up with my duties."
"Aye, you have," he agreed. "But your heart's not in it. You hardly ever talk to anyone, and when you do, you're snapping at them over some minor thing."
"I do not!" Elizabeth argued vehemently. Jack raised his eyebrows at her, continuing on with his list.
"You're always staring out at the horizon – don't think we haven't noticed! You're not sleeping; you barely pick at your food. Don't think I can't tell that you're miserable, because I know you are. I have every reason to be worried about you."
"Your worries are completely unfounded –" She protested, but he cut her off again.
"…And today, you were seasick for the first time in your life!"
"So?" She crossed her arms, shifting in her seat. Jack kept talking.
"So, you're very lucky that you were only seasick. If you keep this up, who knows what illness will befall you?" Elizabeth looked down at the floor, not wanting to meet his gaze.
"Alright, I promise to take better care of myself," she relented. "Now can I go?" Jack shook his head.
"I've heard what you do on your breaks. You go back to your cabin and lay down, clutching that chest for dear life as you cry your heart out." She just stared at Jack sadly, not bothering to be embarrassed that Jack had caught her crying over Will's chest.
"Elizabeth, he wouldn't you to be this way, pining away for him every minute of the day," Jack said truthfully. "He wouldn't want you to be unhappy on his behalf." She stiffened at this statement.
"He's not dead; don't be afraid to mention Will's name in front of me." Jack shrunk back from her glare.
"I just didn't want to upset you," he said quietly. Elizabeth scoffed at that notion.
"I'm not upset." But then she suddenly burst into tears. Immediately, Jack was at her side, pulling her in for a hug.
"God, I miss him so much, Jack," she choked out, tears forming at the edges of her almond eyes as she cried against her friend.
"So do I, luv," said Jack, rubbing her back. "So do I. But, there is nothing we can do about Will's situation. But I have an idea. Shall we try something that always helps me feel better?" Elizabeth pulled away from him, staring at Jack with exasperation.
"I'm not getting drunk with you." Jack shook his head, chuckling.
"That's not what I had in mind, but we can do that if you like." Elizabeth shook her head.
"What I was going to say before I was rudely interrupted," - he shot Elizabeth a mock-glare - "was that you could turn your thoughts to something other than your own problems."
"Like what?" She asked him glumly, taking a seat again. Jack sighed, pulling out a bottle of rum from his desk.
"Take me for example, dearie - I'm having a bit of a dilemma. You know how I told you I wanted to go after the Fountain of Youth just as soon as we stock up for supplies in Tortuga?" Elizabeth nodded.
"Well, before we set out on our journey, I want to have a quick stopover in St. Maarten, since AnaMaria resides there."
"AnaMaria?" Elizabeth said in surprise, a small smile forming on her face at the thought of the female pirate. "I thought she left your crew for good." Jack shook his head, uncorking the bottle.
"I ordered her to return home just as soon as I heard that Davy Jones was after me. It was for her own protection – I didn't want to put her in any unnecessary danger." After the initial shudder at Jones' name, Elizabeth raised her eyebrows.
"AnaMaria doesn't seem like the type of woman who wants protection, and yet you managed to convince her to leave. How did you do it?" She asked him, incredulous.
"I told her that I couldn't live with myself if she was killed. At the time, we were ah, involved…" Jack trailed off.
"You were lovers," Elizabeth stated, her mouth hanging open in surprise. "And here I thought she hated you." He shook his head, his dark eyes filled with sadness.
"She and I had reached a point in our relationship where she wanted some sort of commitment. Not that she wanted me to marry her of course." Jack shuddered as Elizabeth hid a smile. "Let's just say that she wasn't too pleased with me when we docked in Tortuga that I stayed the night with female company.
"Imagine that," Elizabeth said, wryly. Jack scowled at her.
"Anyway, she knew how hard it would be for me to change my bachelor ways. So, she gave me an ultimatum – three months to kill Jones, and to decide where I stood concerning our relationship. I was to pick her up if I wanted to commit to her. However, if I wasn't there by three months, she said she would move on." Jack stared at Elizabeth, hoping that she was still following him.
"So we're going to St. Maarten because you've decided to commit to Ana," Elizabeth said, not able to keep the astonishment out of her voice.
"No - although I wish it were so." Jack answered bitterly, taking a swig of rum. "When her three months was up, I was trapped in Davy Jones' Locker. Now she thinks that I don't want to be with her."
"Oh, Jack, I'm so sorry," Elizabeth apologized sincerely. "This is partly my fault since I left you to the Kraken." Her old guilt surfaced for a moment, but then she pushed it away. "But there's something I don't understand. If you missed the deadline, why are we going to visit Ana?"
"I was hoping that she might forgive me if understood why I wasn't there on time." Jack looked at Elizabeth pointedly. "I was rather hoping that you could explain to her the exact circumstances of my disappearance."
"So you want me to apologize to Ana for temporarily killing you and thus making you late for your 'appointment'." Jack beamed at her.
"Exactly." Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully.
"And if she takes you back, does that mean you'll honor your commitment?" Jack frowned, and looked away.
"I've been dwelling on that idea ever since I left her five months ago," he murmured, his voice barely audible. "I have tried to put her out of my mind, and take up with other women, but I can't. But then again, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow – I can't limit myself to just one person. What true pirate lives like that?"
"Will and I do," she argued.
"That's different," he objected, taking a long drink. "You two were made for each other." Her eyes gained a wistful look, but for once she didn't dwell on Will.
"Jack, I know you have your pirate reputation to think of, but do you really want to spend the rest of your life alone?" Elizabeth carefully watched his reaction.
"I don't know," he whispered. "I've relied on myself for so long, I'm not sure I can trust another person with my heart. But," he continued. "If I ever was to trust someone, it would be Ana. We're both great pirates, and we love rum and adventure on the high seas. And as much as I hate to admit it, I've been missing her all this time."
"Well it seems that you care for her at least," Elizabeth pointed out.
"Aye," he agreed. "But I promised myself that I would never settle down."
"I hardly think that committing to Ana and letting her re-join your crew constitutes you settling down," said Elizabeth wryly.
"True. When you put it that way, luv, it doesn't sound so bad," Jack said slowly. "Alright, you've helped me to realize that I want Ana back." Elizabeth truly grinned for the first time since Will left.
"I'm proud of you, Jack," she told him. "That's not an easy decision to make."
"Yes, but what if she's moved on?" Jack worried, finishing off his rum. Elizabeth grinned again.
"I can almost guarantee you that the Pirate King will be able to help convince Ana that you deserve a second chance. And besides, I could do with having another woman on board to talk to." Relieved, Jack thanked her profusely.
"It's no trouble," she said modestly. Then Jack suggested that she should get some shuteye. She nodded at him and stood up to leave.
"Somehow I think I'll sleep better tonight," she stated, smiling at Jack. She was halfway out the door when Jack called after her.
"Did it work? Did I help take your mind off Will?" Elizabeth realized in delight that he had.
"Yes! Thank you, Jack." She bade him a quick goodnight.
As Elizabeth walked away, she realized what Jack had done for her. He had known that she would love to play matchmaker with him and Ana. True, she could see how Jack was using her for his own gain, but she knew that he had also given her a purpose to live for. And for that she was eternally grateful.
She passed Barbossa on the stairs and was about to head for her cabin when her stomach declared war upon her again. Just in time, she ran to one of the Pearl's sides and retched over the rail. Once she was done, she wiped her mouth with her sleeve. That was disgusting, she thought. What's wrong with me? We're in perfectly calm water, and yet I lose my lunch like some green sailor. I'm the Pirate King for God's sake! Elizabeth grumbled to herself all the way down to the galley, where she poured herself a drink to rinse the foul aftertaste out of her mouth.
Alright, Elizabeth, think. It couldn't be the ship's food that was causing the upheaval in her stomach, as no one else had gotten sick. It couldn't be restrictive clothing, which had caused her to get sick in the past, as she wore only men's clothing. Oh! Elizabeth grimaced, finally realizing what had caused her to throw up. My monthlies. How could I have forgotten my monthlies?
Relieved, she returned to her cabin, yawning hugely. But when Elizabeth changed into her nightclothes, she could find no trace of her monthlies. She had been so sure that they were the reason for her suffering, as she was more than late this month. Wait a minute, how late am I? She wondered. She hadn't exactly kept track, seeing as the days and weeks ran together after Will left. Elizabeth quickly calculated the number of weeks in her head. It had been over six weeks!
An idea sprung up in her mind, but she pushed it away. No, that's ridiculous. I can't be, she thought. It's been six weeks, though, she reminded herself. You've never been this late in your life. It would explain the seasickness, and why you've been so irritable lately. Elizabeth took a deep breath and let it out slowly. All the signs were there. She and Will had certainly done it enough for this to have happened. Smiling in wonderment, Elizabeth lay down on her bed, clutching the key to Will's chest that she wore around her neck. Suddenly, she had another purpose for living.
"Will," she whispered. "You'll never believe it, but the most wonderful thing has happened - I'm pregnant!"
End Ch. 1
A/N: So I finally started my new PotC story! I hope you like the chapter, even though not a lot happens. Trust me - you are going to want to read the next chapter when they meet Ana! Reviews would be lovely. Let me reiterate that Jack and Elizabeth are in no way getting together in my story.