Summary: Elizabeth needs help and the only person who can give it to her is Jack. Unfortunately for her, Jack has not quite forgiven her for killing him. JE. Post-AWE.

A/N: Hello there. This is my first PotC fic, and I hope you like it. Yes, it is Jack/Elizabeth (or will be eventually). It should be about 13 chapters when all is said and done.

I'm going AU from what happened after the credits. (Because, ew) So in this story, Elizabeth did not get pregnant at the end of AWE.

For those of you a little iffy about the ending of the movie, here is Will's curse as I now understand it (i.e. as described on Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge in my world):

"It is a matter of some debate what happens next. According to the DVD booklet Will is now permanently bound to the Flying Dutchman except for one day every ten years. Since the writers and director were not involved in this, it may be considered apocryphal.

The writers instead have affirmed that Will will be freed from the Flying Dutchman's curse after ten years if Elizabeth is faithful to him. Since she remains faithful to him, he is freed of the curse and allowed to return to the world of the living, (as opposed to Davy Jones, who remained tied to the ship because Tia Dalma was not faithful)."

So, I've decided that I'm going with the writers, since I'll take their word over the word of a random dude who wrote the DVD insert. Plus, my heart absolutely breaks to think that Will would be stuck on the Dutchman for eternity. Therefore, in my story, Will can be freed in ten years if Elizabeth is waiting faithfully for him.

"But wait! This story is Sparrabeth!" you cry! Indeed it is. Wait and see, friends. I've got me a plan.

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Elizabeth made her way through the filthy alleys of Tortuga, careful to avoid the stares of the vagrants, drunkards, and general malcontents she passed along the way. It was not that she worried about being discovered. Undergoing a simple haircut, binding her breasts, and adopting the loose fitting clothes of the average sailor constituted a more than adequate disguise. Her feminine voice and lack of facial hair would only lead acquaintances to the conclusion that she was a teenaged boy rather than a grown man. No, Elizabeth was only avoiding curious eyes in order to hasten her arrival at her destination.

As her boots fought for traction against the thick mud blanketing the streets, her fingers drifted unconsciously up to touch her newly shorn hair. After the death of her father and the necessary departure of her husband, she had resettled in Port Royal, and, as was custom of a proper lady, let her hair grow long once more.

Although Elizabeth would have loved nothing more than to remain at sea, it was simply unfeasible. Only the rare woman chose to make her life at sea, and it was a life that promised constant dangers—from battle, from disease, and from every man she would encounter. Elizabeth knew that if she was to free Will from an eternity at sea, she had to be waiting for him ten years from the day of his departure. A life at sea did not yield compelling odds that she would be alive to see his return. Therefore she contented herself to spend the next decade on land. That is, she had planned to do this until an unfortunate but not entirely unexpected turn of events proved challenging to this arrangement.

For her first few weeks back at the Swann estate life proceeded much as it had when her father lived there, and for good reason—no one knew yet of her father's death. As his execution was secret, none of the naval soldiers who witnessed the event could make it known. The general public assumed him lost at sea and observed the customary waiting period before declaring him dead.

Now the waiting period was up and arbitration concerning the details of her father's will had begun in earnest, which was precisely what necessitated her clandestine voyage to Tortuga.

As she turned another dark corner, she saw it—The Faithful Bride. It was just as she remembered it. A chorus of laughter, shouting, and music of a debatable quality flooded out from its windows. Two men sat slumped just outside its entrance, singing considerably slurred sea shanties to one another. Another man rested with his top half hanging out the front window, a thin trickle of blood emerging from somewhere beyond his hairline. As far as Elizabeth could tell, the man had been thrown through the glass pane in a fight and left there when his opponent lost interest or passed out, the latter seeming like a better possibility.

She inhaled deeply to calm her nerves and immediately regretted doing so. The air was heavy with the stench of a few dozen unwashed pirates and lord knew what else.

Although she hoped to find the person she sought just inside the door, she was prepared to make herself comfortable in one of the many boarding houses in the city until she heard news of his ship making port. The Pearl would inevitably dock in Tortuga sometime in the coming weeks; most pirates found the city a convenient place to stock up on necessary supplies (and enjoy a little pleasurable company) between exploits.

As she set foot inside the bar, her senses were assaulted with all of the sounds, smells, and sights that would cause any honorable lady to faint straight away. Her narrowed eyes skimmed over the proceedings, searching for a familiar tricorne hat, or perhaps the glinting reflection of candlelight on trinkets braided into coarse black hair.

Nothing.

She sighed. Of course it could not be so easy. Rolling her eyes at her own foolishness (Why should she have gotten her hopes up in the first place?) she made her way to a patch of space that seemed less populated than the rest. Her bottom found an empty stool, but as she swung her legs around under the table, her feet met something solid.

The solid thing emitted a deep groan.

Pushing back her stool, Elizabeth peered under the table only to discover that the solid thing was, in fact, a man. She saw only the hunched back of the prone figure at her feet.

"'M not a bloody foot stool!" the solid thing said in a gruff voice.

Elizabeth froze. She knew that voice. Come to think of it, she knew those clothes. It was then that she noticed a beaten leather hat and the red bandana peeking out from beneath it.

"Jack?" she breathed, barely believing her own eyes.

The hunched figure gave a feeble stir, but did not respond further.

So she gave him a swift kick in the back.

"Jack Sparrow!" she hissed.

At this, the man in question rolled over beneath the table until his face came into view. Indeed, there was Jack, the very man she had been hoping to meet. His eyes darted about the room as his vision cleared. After a moment they came to rest on Elizabeth, and became impossibly wide.

Struggling to sit whilst remaining underneath the table, he firmly met her gaze. The top of his hat brushed the underside of the table, but he chose to slouch a bit rather than take it off.

"Captain!" he began.

She braced herself, once again, for his reproach at her failure to use his full title. However, she realized a moment later that he was simply addressing her.

"…Captain Swann. What a lovely surprise," he said with an artificial grin.

"Captain Sparrow," she nodded, acknowledging his own title only because he did the same for her. "What are you doing down there?" she asked as an afterthought.

Jack spread his arms wide, urging her to take in his surroundings.

"I'm takin' a 'oliday!" he merrily exclaimed. "Thought that much was obvious."

Elizabeth stared skeptically back at him.

"A holiday? It looks as though you've been living on the floor of this bar for the last…" She paused to sniff the air before crinkling her nose in disgust. "…two months at the very least by the smell of you."

"Like I said, luv. I've been on 'oliday," he cheerfully confirmed, as if she was mad for suggesting that lying on the floor of a filthy tavern was anything but a wonderful vacation.

"I think the better question is what is a respectable lady such as yourself doin' in such disreputable accommodations as these?" Jack continued, his right eyebrow elevated in a suggestive arch.

She opened her mouth to give her reply when cut her off with an excited wave of his arms.

"Wait! Let me guess," he requested.

Pinning her with a knowing look, a smug smile crept across his face he announced his prediction.

"You need me."

Elizabeth bristled at his tone. So cocky, as if she was helplessly dependent on him. Her eyes narrowed involuntarily.

"I need something from you. I don't need you. You are the means to an end," she said coldly.

The smug smile fell for half a second; barely noticeable at all and yet Elizabeth saw it. But instantly it was back, and Jack was crawling out from under the table and standing with only the hint of a wobble. He leaned back against the table and faced her so that now it was he who was looking down at her. She cautiously tilted her chin up to meet his gaze.

"You seem to have forgotten 'ow to use your considerable charm to get what you want out of people, Lizzie," he said, as if she was a small child in need of a good scolding.

He leaned forward suddenly and she fought every instinct that was screaming at her to pull back. She managed to remain stock still as he brought his face within inches of her own, and barely held back a shiver when she realized that his eyes were focused on her lips.

"An' here I was expecting to pucker up before you'd deliver the first blow," he added.

She could feel his breath on her lips, and could no longer ignore the rapid beating of her heart. She jerked back, curling up her nose in disgust in an attempt to suggest that it was his stench that caused her retreat and not her unease at his nearness. She frowned as she watched his triumphant smile grow.

"I thought you said that once was enough," she reminded him, trying and failing to keep the note of bitterness out of her voice.

"Did I?" Jack asked rhetorically. "Ah yes, well then… what is it you need from me?"

The cocky grin slipped away for a moment and honest curiosity took its place.

"A ride."

She saw his eyebrows draw together and a dubious expression grace his face.

"A ride?" Jack repeated mockingly. "An' how did you get to Tortuga, might I ask? Swim?"

"It's easy to get a lift to Tortuga, Captain," she said, using his title in a subtle attempt at softening her request. "But there are few men who would be willing to take me where I need to go next."

From the sparkle in his eye, she could tell that she had peaked Jack's interest.

"An' where might that be, luv?" he asked indulgently, his voice soft and deceitfully casual.

"The Flying Dutchman."

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There's chapter one! We're just getting started. Please review to let me know what you think so far.