A/N: Thank you for the wonderful reviews!
(sigh) Go on, then. Murder me for not updating. I deserve it, I know.
Disclaimer: I do not own PotC.
A passing fancy.
That's all. I have passing fancies all the time. It's nothing more than that. Like seeing sweets at the market in Port Royal. But I don't long for them when I'm home again. It's just a passing fancy. When I see Will again it will all be over. Forgotten. And they must be coming soon, after all, so I will see Will before very long. I will see Will. We could get married at last. They'll be here, to rescue us, and perhaps even Will would be there. When we get married we wouldn't be able to live in Port Royal, for certain. I've always wanted a small cottage somewhere. Perhaps we could have one on a distant island.
I involuntarily sighed with a measure of relief as my thoughts moved slowly away from Jack. I didn't want to face it yet—this possibility lurking in a corner of my mind, the fear that it could be true. Yet, as slowly my halfhearted conjuring of island cottages gave way to him again, I felt something else there… Something strange, new to me. A thrill? There was some of that in it. And suddenly, as realization hit me, I tried desperately to go back into my childhood fantasies, ones where only Will was involved, ones that I had dreamed up long before I had the misfortune to meet a pirate. As I stood by the railing staring blankly at the stretch of white sand before me, the compass in my hands, I understood.
And I wanted to run.
From the kiss (the kisses), waking up to find him beside me, standing in his arms, that fiery desire, the compass...
Not the compass. I would need it.
But I wanted to run from anything and everything else, and especially what was happening to me, this... barbaric thing that was happening to me...
"I'm leaving," I said decidedly. I grabbed a rope and lowered myself onto the ground. I wouldn't need any food or water--I wasn't alive anymore. I lifted the lid of the compass and tried hard to think only of Will. The needle spun around and around, so fast it was only a blur of red, but it didn't stop. I sighed and impatiently closed the compass with a snap.
"Oi!" called Jack exasperatedly from the railing. "Ye can't walk through the Locker, ye'll go mad."
"I'm already mad," I retorted, slipping the compass into my pocket. "I had to be, at least, to have had the... passing fancy." And to avoid further conversation with him, I marched off in a random direction, praying it was the right one.
"Wish you the best of luck," Jack shouted in mock-cheeriness. "Let me know if ye find anything."
I ignored this and continued walking, my breaths even and controlled, like I was trying to be.
"Namely, rum, dearie."
I shut his voice out of my mind and focused my range of view on the horizon, that flat line in the distance, never ending, sharp and clear. In a few minutes I was panting from the heat. I took off my coat and, having no other use for it, put it on the ground and left it there.
And standing up again, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I shook my head. No, it wasn't possible. I continued walking, eyes trained on the horizon so hard that when I blinked I could see it etched on the insides of my eyelids. But it was still there, and finally I turned and narrowed my eyes at the figure lying on the ground.
Oh, my god.
It was Father, his clothes dirty and his wig askew. And he was as still as stone. I abandoned all thought and ran to him. When I was close enough to see him clearly, I stopped, afraid to go on, afraid of what I might find. Was he…? He didn't move. I couldn't see even the slightest rising and falling of his chest that would mean he was breathing. And then, I noticed something else, on his chest. A stain. Red.
No. No. No!
"Father! Father!" I didn't go any closer, stood on the edge of an invisible border line, knowing if I went to him and touched him, it would be confirmed, and he couldn't be… "Wake up, Father, wake up!" I could feel the hot tears pouring down my face already, and I shook my head wildly. No, it couldn't be happening…! As I stared, the sight of him seemed to flicker, dissolve, and come back again, and I cried harder, still unable to bring myself to go grab him, shake him, make him wake up. And then, he disappeared. I stared in shock but it didn't seem to matter. Maybe he moved on, to the next world. He's not in the Locker, at least.
I stumbled on again, tears blurring my vision every now and then, but it didn't matter. The landscape was all the same, anyway, in fact, so crisp and flat and hot that I sat down and closed my eyes for a minute, breathing deeply. Father was gone. I had thought losing Mother would be enough and that I wouldn't lose anyone else…
I opened my eyes again. When I escaped from this place I would find out who had killed him, and I would have vengeance. I stood up and again, saw something.
What's wrong with this place, people showing up in the middle of nowhere?
I turned to look. There couldn't be anything worse than what I had already seen.
My jaw dropped. There could. He stood there. Beckett, taking in the sight of me with my tear-stained face, and he smirked.
I stared in horror. Beckett. Of course! I stepped closer, drawing my sword.
"It was you, wasn't it?" I demanded. "It was you!"
"He chose it," said Beckett smoothly. "It was his own fault."
"How dare you?!" I screamed, and swung the blade at his neck. The strangest thing happened.
He, too, disappeared, but reappeared again. I tried to stab him again, but again his imaged dissolved and when my sword was out of his way he was back.
I tried again, and again, but he was forever evading me, and laughing, mocking me.
"Stop!" I shouted wildly. "Don't run, coward! I'll have my revenge for Father!" I swung the sword again and again, but he was disappearing, elusive. I spun around, trying to cut into flesh, but I couldn't, and my mind spun as well, not focusing on anything. The world seemed to be moving faster, turning and turning, and I resorted to moving my arm insanely in any direction I could, screaming words that were incomprehensible, incoherent, my face hot and wet with tears, salty on my lips. I could only scream now, my sword falling to the ground.
"Come back! Come back!"
My vision was failing, and I was falling, falling… into someone's arms, and whoever it was, I could feel, lifted me up, holding me tightly. I struggled but the person was strong and my protests dissolved into sobs, and then those died away as well and I lost consciousness altogether.
At first I thought I was hallucinating. I had picked up her coat and then seen her—screaming at no one, stabbing at the air.
"Lizzie…?" I muttered, but though she should have been able to hear in the emptiness, she couldn't, and that was when I realized she was the one seeing things. If I hadn't decided to come bring her back after all, she might have died from the exhaustion of trying to kill a hallucination.
And now I looked at her, lying in my bed with her hair spread out across the pillow like a fan, taking long deep breaths as she slept. She looked so peaceful that I almost believed she was, and then reminded myself that most likely she was having battles raging in her mind even in her dreams.
What does she dream about?
I let out a long breath in annoyance. Why would I care?!
But there was an itching curiosity… I told myself firmly it was only because I had nothing better to think about, no treasure occupying my mind, no plan to formulate at the moment, and convinced myself it was true.The nerve of her! Passing fancies… passing delicious fancies…
She's just a wench, just a wench, just another damn wench!
Elizabeth stirred in her sleep and murmured, "Not Jack…!" I watched, fascinated. She has dreams involving me, eh? How very interesting. I daringly reached out and stroked her forehead, and drew back quickly. Her skin was burning, hair damp with sweat. As if she's not hot enough here. I ransacked the ship and found a small container of water that, upon sampling, was safe. I dipped a cloth into it, pondering the fact that apparently dead or half-dead people could get ill. Then, very carefully, I squeezed it over her face so that a few drops fell onto her dry, cracked lips, moistening them, then slid into her mouth. I wet the cloth again and laid it on her forehead, and she shifted a little under the sudden coolness.
"Go away, go away," she said feverishly.
"Lizzie," I muttered, grudgingly admitting that I needed company in this wretched place she had gotten us into.
And suddenly she sat up straight, the cloth falling into her lap. Her eyes flew open, blazing with fire, and they were glaring at me.
Oh, bugger."What are you doing here?" she screamed. "What—" She stopped, picking at a few threads on her shirt. "Why am I back here…?" And as she remembered, she panicked. "Father—and Beckett! I was fighting—he kept disappearing… Father! He's killed Father!"
"Lizzie," I said calmly, pushing her back down to a lying position and replacing the cloth, "I told ye that you'd go mad."Elizabeth
I closed my eyes for a moment and opened them again.
"So it was all… in my head?" I asked, feeling humiliated. "It was just my mind?"
"Aye, luv, and now ye've got a bloody fever."
I frowned. "So that's what the Locker does, then? That's why it's torture?"
"I s'pose." And then he shouted, "Are ye daft, Lizzie?! Is your Locker safe t'travel through? I'm having a word with Davy Jones if yers accommodates ye!"
"What? My Locker?"
"Oh, of course. I'd forgotten ye were a guv'ner's daughter, Miss Swann. Don't hear 'bout these things, do you?"
"The Locker, Lizzie, is your very own personally-designed-just-fer-you hell! No two people have the same one, savvy?"
It took a moment for this information to sink in, before I sat up and asked, "So what is your Locker?"
Jack sighed. "A desert. Endless desert. No water. Just land. Flat."
My jaw dropped. "But…"
Jack turned to stare at me. "Not possible."
There was a long silence. Jack has the same hell as me…? Is that good or bad?!
"Why don't you have hallucinations?" I asked. He pulled me closer all of a sudden, an expression of what looked like wonder on his face. I blinked awkwardly. I could count his eyelashes…
"I think," said Jack, "tis because I have company."
I pulled away, cheeks burning furiously.
"Jack, could we just forget it? I don't want to think about it… I—I know what's happening, I should have figured out earlier—I'm so blind…! But I don't want it to happen, it's not right, it doesn't make sense, but it's true. But I don't want it to happen. Do you think we could just forget? That if we left it alone it would stop?" I said this slowly at first but my voice started getting faster and faster until the end came out in a rush.
Jack stared at me with a completely bemused expression, but I could see that it was hiding something.
"Please, please, let's just forget it," I begged. "We have to focus on getting rescued."
"Darling, we can't do anything about that," said Jack. "We can only wait… and perhaps find something to occupy ourselves."
I bit my lip, trying not to look at him.
"Not this," I said. "Something else."
"Nothing left," said Jack.
"Then just wait! Just not this. Anything but this. We can't be doing this. Can't you see? I'm engaged."
"Not at the moment, you're not, dearie," Jack smirked.
I shot him an anguished glare and sank down to the floor, pressing the heels of my hands into my forehead. Why is he tormenting me so? Does he expect me to pay for my betrayal with… with—love…?!"I don't want to fall in love again," I whispered.