Disclaimer: I don't own any Pirates from the Pirates trilogy.
xxx – Twenty-Six – xxx
Elizabeth sat across from Will at a small table in Beckett's quarter's, sipping lukewarm tea. She'd refused breakfast and it was nearing time for the midday meal but her stomach was turning. She clutched the tea cup only to keep her hands occupied. She didn't want to betray her nerves with flailing, shaky hands. Will hadn't said much to her but when he wasn't staring at his feet, he was shooting sidelong glances in her direction.
."Regardless of what happens to Jack, you can't seriously think I'd resume a romantic relationship with you, can you, Will?"
Will stared into the depths of his tea. "Do not mention his name again," Will spit out.
"Elizabeth!" Will warned, rising out of his chair.
"Jack," she taunted. She gasped as Will leaned over the small table, furious, his face inches from hers. He'd never displayed such anger in her presence, and for a moment she feared he would strike her.
His eyes took on a distant look and he returned to his seat. "I'll worry about us after Jack is hanging from the noose."
She was tempted to remind him that there was no us but she saw no point in continuing to anger him.
James Norrington entered the room. "A-ha. And how are the two splendid lovers enjoying this fine day?"
The sun was setting as Elizabeth paced the small room Beckett had assigned to her. She stopped every few minutes to glance out the tiny square window. It was too small to crawl through, and she couldn't open it to cry for help. The guard posted outside her door wouldn't allow it and she knew it was futile to try.
Where is Jack? I wonder if he's really going to come after me…I've been here for almost 24 hours. I just want to get back to the Black Pearl! Oh, bloody hell. I want to get back to Jack! All I ask is that he get here soon and help release my father. Then I want to get as far away from Port Royal as possible!
Realization hit her. In order for Jack to save her, he had to walk directly into Beckett's trap! It was too dangerous for Jack; Beckett and his men would arrest him the moment he set foot in Port Royal.
She hadn't considered how to handle the problem of her father. He needed to escape Port Royal as well and she doubted he would tolerate a lengthy voyage on the Black Pearl, especially knowing how Elizabeth felt about Jack. Her thoughts drifted to the future. Would her father return to England? Would he expect her to return with him?
A plate of cheeses and small biscuits and jam sat untouched on the small table by the settee. Elizabeth's mind wasn't on food; she worried about her father sitting in the cold, damp cell. She missed the rocking of the Black Pearl and the sound of the waves and the smell of the sea air.
But most of all she missed Jack.
She felt a mixed sense of relief and joy that she could admit it to herself. She missed Jack. She loved Jack. But the more she thought about him the more she wondered if he was really looking for her after all. Doubts started to overwhelm her thoughts until she heard a crashing sound outside her door.
With a quick, forceful tug, Elizabeth pulled the door open and almost stumbled across the prone body of the guard who'd been stationed by her door most of the day. She stifled a gasp and hesitated, before nudging his back with the toe of her boot. He didn't move, but she didn't think he was dead. She leaned down to listen for breathing.
She rose at the sound that was as quiet as a whisper. I'm imagining things again. Voices?
But it wasn't her imagination. Slipping into the room and pulling her gently with him, was Jack Sparrow himself.
"Jack!" she cried out, before he covered her mouth with his rough hand.
"Ssshhhh…" he hissed and then pulled her into his arms so roughly that the beads in his hair struck her ear. She hardly noticed. The familiar scent of him made her limbs soften like jelly, and the taste of his lips sent a heavy pressure deep into her chest. Jack released his hold on her and took her hand in his. "Are ye hurt, luv?"
"No. No, Jack, I'm fine. I was just worried…"
"The snake Beckett. Did the corseted lil' dictator tell ye why he stole ye away? Or were they just savin' yer honor by getting' ye away from the infamously ruthless Captain Jack?"
"We can talk about it later…but Jack, it's dangerous for you to be here. It's a trap."
Jack scratched his forehead under his bandana. "Oh, I know that, Lizzie. The fool couldna' made it plainer if he'd posted a notice in the town square. 'Jack Sparrow, I got yer Lizzie, so come and get her so I can arrest ye and send ye to the gallows'. He laughed. "Some kinda fool he is, if he thinks I can't spot a trap. I invented traps!"
Elizabeth smiled uneasily. "My father is being held below, in a cell. We have to free him, Jack."
Jack hesitated, then guided Elizabeth back through the doorway, stepping over the unconscious guard. "Tis not possible tonight, luv".
"Why not?" Elizabeth let Jack lead her across the foyer. She started to resist when they reached the front door. "Jack! My father…!"
"Nay, we have ta come back. Need reinforcements – me men. The crew will come ashore and we'll get yer father before the mornin'"
"Yes, why don't you give that a try, Sparrow?"
Jack and Elizabeth turned to the open doorway, where James Norrington leaned against the frame. He was not alone. Beckett's men raised their weapons at the couple.
Before Jack could think of a suitably witty reply, he spotted Will Turner making his way toward them. With a frantic wave of his hand, Jack motioned Elizabeth to get behind him.
"So the eunuch wants what he can't 'ave, eh?" Jack smirked, ignoring Norrington and setting his sights on Elizabeth's former fiancee.
James rolled his eyes and sighed. "Jack. Poor Captain Sparrow. Delusional as always. I would let you and Mister Turner fight it out, but frankly, I grow tired of this little love triangle," he grinned at Elizabeth. "It is a triangle, isn't it Miss Swann? Should we let you choose which of us three you'll honor with your tender little kisses? Oh, that's right. You've decided to whore yourself out to a pirate."
Elizabeth's quick intake of breath was audible. "Whore? How dare you! You know nothing…"
"I know enough. Never mind," James turned his attention back to Jack. "You are now my prisoner, Jack Sparrow. You can choose to spend the next three days in a cell before your hanging, or you can assist us in retrieving your ship and its crew. Either way, I will have the Black Pearl, Mister Turner will have Miss Swann to do with as he pleases, and you will finally meet your end. I shall enjoy this hanging much more than your first one in Port Royal. I promise you, this time it will be completed quite successfully."
Clapping rung out from behind the crowd of Beckett's men. "Excellent show, Mister Norrington," Cutler Beckett smirked. "I appreciate your interest in the Black Pearl, and your enthusiasm for capturing it, but the ship will be mine. Perhaps I'll let you command it."
Beckett turned to look at Jack and Elizabeth, as if he'd just noticed they were there. "Mister Sparrow."
"Captain." Elizabeth muttered behind Jack's shoulder. Jack smiled.
"I believe Mister Norrington gave you a choice. You may be wondering why I don't just lock you up and take your ship anyway."
Jack raised his eyebrows questioningly.
"If you cooperate, you will be able to convince the crew to hand over the ship without resisting. I'd much rather proceed in that manner."
"Coward." Jack sneered.
Beckett clenched his teeth, his cheeks coloring. "So it's to the cell with you, then."
"Take us to The Pearl." Jack replied.
Will stepped forward and drew Elizabeth away from Jack's side. She slapped Will's hand away and looked at Jack with sadness, then turned and followed Will and James to the dock.