Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, I just have fun with them from time to time!
Will Turner wiped the sweat off his brow as he beat the blazing hot steel of his newest creation into proper form. He had been working night and day on the Commodore's order. Will hated to admit it, but he felt rather guilty about what had happened when he and Elizabeth freed Jack Sparrow. He wanted to get the order finished perfectly and preferably early as some small means of relieving his conscience. He knew it was a futile attempt, but it was all he could think to do.
He placed the blade into a barrel of water to cool the metal then placed it on top of a table so he could step out back for a moment. He went to a nearby well and lowered the bucket down so he could get water to drink. After taking a long gulp of water, he sighed and closed his eyes, letting the cool breeze blow through his hair. He could smell the ocean from where he was standing, and he longed to be back on the sea once more.
He had never seen himself as anything but a blacksmith, but recent events had made him see that he could be so much more. He raised himself to loathe pirates but he learned that he could still be a good man and commit acts of piracy at the same time. Had he not resorted to such acts, he may never have come to call Elizabeth Swann, the woman of his dreams, his own.
As he sat by the well, affording his legs a few moments of rest, he smiled at the thought of Elizabeth. They had been through hell together, and they were taking time to enjoy the relaxing comfort their newfound relationship allowed them. Elizabeth was a woman of society, so they were forced to engage in a formal courtship, one that did not give them much time to spend unattended. It was frustrating at times, but Will figured that he had endured enough in what he that was unrequited feelings for her and the least he could do was keep his complaints to himself while he was spending time with her. The formalities of being asked into the parlor and having to wait until Elizabeth could be informed of his arrival and forcing himself to remain at arm's length from her was sometimes difficult, but he was still overjoyed that they were on their way to a marriage—a marriage that her father would actually approve. Will did not know when that time would come, but he felt that he could not wait much longer before he finally asked Governor Swann for his daughter's hand.
Will decided that he had taken a long enough break, so he slowly stood and swung his arms to both sides to stretch his aching back. With one last sigh, he walked back into the rear door of the smithy. He stopped short when he saw a figure in a billowy shirt and pants much like his own leaning over a pile of newly made locks. He could not see the person's face, just his back as he continued to poke around the corner of the smithy, apparently looking for something.
Will did not call attention to himself so he could use his advantage and catch the thief unawares. He grabbed a sword and silently crept up behind the man, pointing it at his back.
"Excuse me, sir, but what exactly do you think you are doing?"
His voice startled the man, who turned around sharply. As he turned, his large hat fell to the ground, revealing long golden hair.
"Will! I-I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be poking around, I just didn't know where you were and I called for you and you did not answer, so I got curious and just wanted to see if you had made anything new…or…or something."
Will stood in silence, watching Elizabeth stutter was a rare occasion indeed. She was always so composed and refined, seeing her stumble over her words was unexpectedly amusing. He also took a moment to assess her odd attire. The only other time he had seen her in men's clothing was when she escaped the Dauntless to rescue him from Captain Barbossa. At that time, he had been too distracted to notice how beautiful she looked, but now he had time to fully appreciate actually being able to distinguish her shapely form without the layers of fabric her lavish dresses usually provided. He took care not to stare for too long, and he noticed that Elizabeth had trailed off into silence, waiting for him to say something. He then realized that he was still pointing his sword at her and quickly lowered it.
"Elizabeth! What are you doing here? And…and why are you wearing that?"
She blushed and smiled at him, suddenly shy.
"Well, I just wanted to take you up on your offer. There is so much I don't know, Will, and so much that you could teach me."
She made her way over to him and boldly kissed him on the lips, relishing the rare opportunity of being alone with the man she loved. Will did not respond at first, surprised by her sudden display of affection, but then he kissed her back fully. Then, as suddenly as she had kissed him, he pulled away.
"Elizabeth, I'm still not sure if it is entirely proper. I mean, when I suggested…I do not want you to compromise yourself in any way. There are many things that I could teach you, but you are a lady, and ladies do not usually—"
"Will, how many times must I tell you that I don't care about that? I love you and I completely trust you. I know that you won't hurt me in any way, and I want to learn."
Will sighed. He had quickly begun to see that he could rarely win in an argument against Elizabeth. When she decided she wanted to do something, she was going to do it. The fact that she was standing in his smithy with her hair unkempt and her lips swollen from his kiss did not do anything to strengthen his resolve, either.
Still uncertain, he held up both of his hands in surrender.
"All right. But if we are going to do this, we are going to do it right."
He walked to her slowly, purposely giving her a predatory look. She took a small step back, suddenly apprehensive. She had complete faith in him and knew that he would not hurt her, but the hungry look in his eyes was something she was unfamiliar with. She faltered for a moment, but then steeled herself. She was ready and willing, and she wanted him to know she was sure. She matched his look and kept her eyes on his as he came right up to her side, his face close to her ear. She could feel his breath on her face and smiled to herself. She thoroughly enjoyed Will's sense of familiarity with her—it was a far cry from the days when she had to plead with him to call her by her first name. Before she could delve further into her thoughts, Will's soft voice brought her back to reality.
"The first thing you need to learn is the importance of breathing. Your body needs to be completely relaxed. When your body is under stress, it will naturally tense. Slow and steady breaths will loosen your muscles so that you can focus your energy elsewhere."
He slowly circled her, lightly tracing his fingers up and down her arms. He smiled when he noticed her quickening breaths and her muscles tightening under his touch.
"Slow and steady. In and out. Trust me. It will keep you focused and build your stamina. It will become second nature to you eventually, but you'll need to practice it."
He stopped circling her and placed his forehead against hers. She unconsciously closed her eyes, ready for his next lesson.
"The other things you must keep in mind are balance and timing. You must be able to think on your feet as well as stand on them. Keep a sharp eye for sudden changes in position. Sometimes you can use a loss of balance to your advantage, but you must make a conscious decision to do so, otherwise you will fall."
He kept his forehead against hers while he spoke. She listened intently, with her eyes still closed—an action he took to his advantage. He lightly grazed his nose against hers, causing her to smile. He had to get her right where he wanted her, and he was well on his way.
"Timing is everything," he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "You must learn to read your partner's actions and try to predict what he will do next. Your inexperience may lead him to underestimate you. You can use that to your advantage. You must not give yourself away, though. Just as you should try to read your partner, he will try to read you as well."
He lightly kissed one of her cheeks and then the other before he continued.
"You must wait for the opportune moment. Know when he is off guard, and choose that moment to strike. Your mind is your biggest asset. You must not lose focus; keep your goal in mind and take your time. It is not a race; it is a skill. Wait for the precise moment…"
He brought his lips to hers for a split second, and as soon as he felt her respond, he backed away suddenly. The loss of contact caused her to stumble forward slightly. Her eyes shot open and she looked at him in mock indignation.
"Ah, you see? I caught you off balance."
She huffed, but was unable to hide her smile. She was enjoying his teaching methods; his playful teasing was a welcome change from their chaperoned afternoon conversations, where he forced himself to remain proper.
"Lesson learned, Master Turner. Now can we please be finished with all the talking and get to the action?"
"As you wish, milady," he relented, lowering himself into a deep bow. She laughed at his mock propriety and squared herself for his advance. He rose quickly and reached behind him, grabbing two swords. He handed her one of them and backed away a few steps, placing himself in a ready position.
She had used a sword before but had never known proper form or technique. She held it clumsily, suddenly nervous. Will was an excellent swordsman and she did not want to maker herself look a fool in front of the man she loved. She knew he would never mock her lack of skill, of course, but she had a deep desire to impress him. She tried to remember what he had just taught her about breathing, balance, and especially timing. She tried to focus on the notion that timing was everything.
She noticed his shoulder drop slightly because of her hesitation. She knew that he was slightly more relaxed than he had been a moment before, so she chose that moment to lunge forward at him. He easily blocked her, but commended her on her timing. She smiled broadly and flushed at his compliment.
"Now, what I just did to block you," he explained, "is called a parry. It is the most basic of defense moves, and one that you need to learn first." She nodded and allowed him to lunge at her several times so she could attempt to block him. After several minutes, he was satisfied with her progress.
"Next, you must learn to immediately attack after you have deflected your opponent's sword. This is called a riposte. Try to attack me and watch how I react."
She took a deep breath and did as he asked. He blocked her again and then turned around and maneuvered himself so that he ended up behind her, with the sword in position at her throat. They were both breathing heavily from the exertion, and he quickly lowered the sword and told her that he would teach her how to do that. She gave him a sly smile and said she'd rather enjoyed that particular move. It was then his turn to blush at her open admission to enjoying his arms around her.
After cautiously opposing her for nearly an hour, he told her that they had had enough for that part of the lesson. She nodded and they stepped out back to the well for a drink of water. Will noted how much pleasanter the air seemed with Elizabeth nearby. He watched her drink thirstily and noticed the decidedly unladylike gesture of wiping her mouth with the back of her hand after she finished. He smiled to himself and enjoyed one of the many random moments where he realized he had not yet fully comprehended how lucky he was.
As they made their way back into the smithy, he told her that it was time for a different kind of lesson.
"Learning how to fight an opponent is the most important skill, but do not underestimate the value of knowing how to fight alongside others. It is a skill that requires a sense of instinct and familiarity with the person you are aiding. You must trust your partner with your life, and he must trust you with his." She watched his every move intently as he brandished his sword. He walked behind her and placed his back against hers. "The easiest way to explain this is to think of your actions like a dance of sorts. Grace and balance is required, as well as timing and awareness. You and your partner must move together as one, covering as much ground as possible."
As he spoke, he began to turn with his back still against hers, encouraging her to turn with him. She followed suit, looking over her shoulder for his guidance. He stepped away from her and began to demonstrate ways that they could fight together as one.
Will's devotion to his craft was evident as he showed Elizabeth how they could wrap their left arms around each other's middles and use their right arms to thrust in opposing directions. Then, by means of proving his point, he held her by the hand and fully extended his arm, bending her wrist as if in a waltz before he spun her around behind him and watched her expertly thrust her sword out of the turn. He laughed at her enthusiasm and could not resist pulling her hand up to his lips and kissing it before he moved on to their next move.
The sun was beginning to set, and Elizabeth noted that she should leave soon. She had eluded her father because he was concentrating on business for the day, but as dinner neared he would begin to inquire about her. Will nodded and made to put up his sword, expecting Elizabeth to follow behind him and place her sword next to his.
He noticed that she did not move, however, and before he could place his sword down, he felt hers gently poking the small of his back. He smiled to himself before he quickly turned, refusing to be caught off guard. She smiled back at him, happy that he was accepting her challenge. Truth be told, neither of them wanted her to leave just yet, and a quick test of her learning ability served as an excellent stall.
She proved to be a very quick study. Though she was not nearly at Will's skill level, Elizabeth showed that she was able to handle a sword and maintain composure while doing so. He had to admit, he was impressed. They dueled with each other until they were both out of breath, stopping across the room from each other. Elizabeth looked at Will and, with a fresh burst of energy, charged at him. He laughed and jumped up, ready to continue.
As they circled each other around the smithy, faces flushed and chests heaving from their exertions, Will took a moment to admire Elizabeth's determination and beauty. Her hair had fallen into her face and her clothing was dirty, but she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. She was laughing at his attempts to remain somewhat gentlemanly as he defended himself because he did not want to hurt her.
"When will you learn that you don't need to call purpose with me, Master Turner?" she teased him. "I can handle myself, I assure you! Do your worst, I can take whatever you may throw at me!" She raised her sword high above her head at the ready.
He did not have a thought in his head when he replied. He brought his own sword up to meet hers in the air, his strength outmatching hers.
"Is that so, Miss Swann?" he countered.
"Indeed it is, sir. Whatever you may throw at me!"
Elizabeth's mouth dropped open. They remained locked the in same position as she tried to wrap her head around Will's unexpected proposal.
"All right, perhaps not everything you may throw at me…Will, I don't think now is the best time! I-I-I look a fright and we've been playing with swords and we're dirty and you—"
He cut her off by suddenly pulling his sword down and pulling her to him in a passionate kiss. Any thoughts she had in her head were immediately dispersed; the only thing in focus was Will with his arms around her. When he finally pulled away, he saw that she had tears in her eyes. He took a deep breath and realized that as rash as he may sound, he could not go another minute without knowing he would spend the rest of his life with the woman he loved.
"I apologize, Elizabeth. If we are going to do this, we are going to do this right."
With that, he got down on one knee and took her hand in his.
"Elizabeth, I've loved you from the moment I met you. I want to spend the rest of my life trying to give you the happiness that you give me every day. I told you once that I should have told you every day that I love you, and I would love the honor of being able to tell you I love you as your husband. Will you marry me?"
Elizabeth blinked and allowed the tears in her eyes to fall down her cheeks. She smiled down at Will and squeezed his hand while slowly beginning to nod.
Overjoyed, Will jumped up, swept Elizabeth into his arms and kissed her soundly. They held each other for several minutes before finally breaking apart. Suddenly shy, Elizabeth noted that the sun was setting and she needed to return home.
"I shall go to your house first thing tomorrow morning to speak with your father, Elizabeth," Will told her. "We can just…leave out the fact that we are already engaged—for propriety's sake, I suppose."
Elizabeth smiled secretively at him and kissed him again.
"As you wish, Will Turner. And, should father expect you to propose in his presence, I'll act surprised, I promise. For propriety's sake, I suppose."
Will grinned and kissed his fiancée one last time before bidding her goodnight. She gave him one last look before she slipped off into the sunset, and Will knew that he would be getting no sleep that night. As he began to clean the smithy and close up for the evening, he realized that Elizabeth had bested him.
"Touché, Miss Swann. Touché."
As the rain beat down on their faces, Will knew that he could not wait another moment. They had spent too long focusing on the bad and had forgotten to remember what they loved so much about each other. Her compelling speech was enough to push Will back to what really mattered in his life. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with Elizabeth and wanted the rest of his life to start at that moment.
Amidst the flashing swords of Davy Jones' crew, William looked to his left and saw Elizabeth fighting impressively, with determination etched in her features.
"Elizabeth!" She turned in his direction and he grabbed her arm, pulling her closer. "Will you marry me?"
Her eyes widened in shock for a moment before she realized that a battle still needed to be fought and lunged towards a member of the East India Trading Company. Were she not so exhausted and caught up in the battle, she would have laughed at her next words.
"I don't think now is the best time!"
"Now may be the only time!" he shot back. After some maneuvering, he was able to pull her to him again. "I love you. I've made my choice. What's yours?"
With water streaming down her face, Elizabeth looked into Will's eyes and knew that she did not want to spend another moment away from him. She wanted to tell him yes, she would marry him, but she did not want to give him the idea that she was willing to endure another engagement. She wanted to marry him immediately.
"Barbossa!" She noted the look of bewilderment on Will's face and realized she should make herself more clear. "Barbossa, marry us!"
It was then Will's turn to widen his eyes in surprise, then he narrowed them in happy determination. In the midst of fighting as well, Barbossa shot back that he was a little busy at the moment. Will did not want to waste another second.
Barbossa relented and began to marry them in the middle of the battle. Will tried to split his focus between Elizabeth and the swords that were flying at him from every direction. He realized that they were going to have to progress the ceremony themselves, so he took the lead.
"Elizabeth Swann, do you take me to be your husband?" They began to fight together, working in perfect synch and attacking their enemies as one, just as he had taught her so long before. It took a moment before she was able to face him again.
He could not think of anything to say, and he stupidly replied "Great!" before they were separated once more. He held onto her hand and fully extended their arms, giving them the most ground coverage. Through the grunts and the pouring rain, he heard her begin her vows.
"Do you, Will Turner, take me to be your wife?" He bent her wrist and turned her behind him, exactly as he had done in the smithy. She lunged and managed to take out more men before she was close enough to Will to continue. "In sickness and in health, with health being the less likely?" Then he was behind her, covering her back while blocking others from going after him. For a moment, the swords paused and he held her arms in his.
"I do." They barely had a moment to smile at each other before hearing Barbossa pronounce them and telling them to kiss. Suddenly more men were upon them, and they placed their left arms around each other's middles and thrusting their swords in opposing directions. Will had never been so thankful that he had agreed to teach Elizabeth how to use a sword. They finally had a moment to kiss, and Will dipped Elizabeth in a grand gesture, poised to make their marriage official.
Once again, they were interrupted, and they continued to use instinct and trust to jointly fight off their enemy. Will was vaguely aware of Barbossa yelling once again that they could kiss, but there were too many men for him to be able to stop fighting. He started slashing almost blindly, trying to rid the area of adversaries so he could kiss Elizabeth. He turned around mid-slash and realized that he had hit Elizabeth's sword, held at the ready high above her head.
He realized the familiarity of the situation, and took the same action as he had so long before, the first time he had asked Elizabeth to be his wife. He pulled her to him and kissed her, a kiss that he had waited his entire life for. As they let the battle around them fade for just a moment, Barbossa traveled down from the helm to cover their backs. He continued to slash away but could not resist looking over his shoulder at the couple.
"Touché, Master Turner. Touché."