DISCLAIMER: I don't own the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise or any of the characters associated with the film. They are the property of the Walt Disney Corporation.

AN: A little tale of angst I've started…

Rough hands were around her throat, choking her. She watched a cruel smile spread coldly across his usually warm features. His eyes were murderous.

"How can I trust you?" he whispered fiercely into her ear as she felt the life drain from her body. "How can I believe in you?"

Elizabeth awoke with a start, sweat pouring off her body. Her breath came in rapid pants and her eyes skimmed the dark room in terror. The creaking of wet wood against fierce waves and the soft snoring of other crew members was all that she could hear. She was terrified, but forced herself to pull her eyes to where he lay. When she did, she was startled to find that he was watching her with wide, concerned eyes. She hadn't spoken to him about the kiss and she wasn't sure if it was only her doing or his as well, but they were hardly speaking at all.

Her dream echoed in her mind and although his eyes were warm now, she couldn't help but remember the anger in the imaginary pair. Without a word, she flung off her blankets and ran to the deck. He would follow her, she knew. She didn't deserve his concern. She had betrayed their friend and led him to his imminent death. Essentially, she was a murderer. It had seemed so simple to carry out, so easy to complete. Distract him with his lust – with her lust. That is why she didn't deserve Will. She had wanted that kiss as much as Jack had. Curiosity had gotten the better of her and she had wanted to taste it. She'd wanted to know a pirate.

Elizabeth was never one for propriety, but she felt its pang whenever she looked at Will. She was engaged to marry him! He had his claim on her, rightfully! And, she wanted him to have it. She loved him and she always had, so why, then had she looked to Jack? Why, while Will suffered for her, had she fantasized of kissing the pirate? Why?

He was there, standing behind her in silent contemplation, waiting for something – anything. She couldn't give it to him.

"Elizabeth." Her heart sped as it always did when he spoke her name. "Are you alright? You were tossing and turning in your sleep."

Elizabeth couldn't look at him, she couldn't turn to him; she didn't deserve it.

"Bad dream," she whispered, her voice carried in the wind.

He approached her and sat beside her, looking out across the black ocean. "Can I help?"

Elizabeth looked at him finally, drinking in his rugged appearance: dark circles under his eyes from the lack of sleep, a shadow of stubble on his unshaven chin. He seemed to have grown sterner throughout this journey, a jaded version of the idealist he once was. She supposed she wasn't any better. When was the last time she'd worn a dress, or behaved as a lady? She looked away, ashamed. Oh, how she wanted to hide in his arms! Oh, how she wanted to hear his soothing words in her ear! But, she knew she didn't deserve it. She shook her head.

"I…," she hesitated, wondering what to say. "I just want to get Jack back."

Will was staring at her and it was more than she could bear. "Elizabeth," he started, so very softly. "If you…"

"No," she said sharply. "It's fine, Will. I just," she paused, knowing this would likely hurt him, "Need to be alone."

Either he'd become quite talented at hiding his emotions, or he just didn't care. He rose without a word and started to leave. Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to force the tears she knew she should shed. She couldn't. She simply couldn't cry. She didn't believe that she deserved the luxury of crying. She glanced back quickly to see if he was still there and sighed audibly, painfully when she realized that he wasn't. Elizabeth waited awhile before returning to her uncomfortable little cot. She was in no hurry to return to her hard bed and cruel dreams, alone in the unsympathetic darkness.