A Question of Bravery

Elizabeth tugged the large, furred animal skin around her neck a little more firmly, burying her face in the silky pelt.

The Hai Peng was but a few days of smooth seas from the Locker, from the Pearl. From Jack.

She was utterly miserable. Fresh tears glittered in her eyes, only to freeze almost immediately. The still, icy air bit at her face, numbing it.

If only the cold could numb my heart, she found herself thinking.

Will was avoiding her, for reasons unknown to her. He had suddenly become cold and distant, speaking to her only when absolutely necessary.

She glanced at him. He was sitting on a makeshift barrel-chair, examining Sao Feng's baffling map. Barbossa bent over his shoulder, his beard flecked with frost, pointing out inscriptions and illustrations with an air of smug knowledge. He was sure to be enjoying himself, taking Jack's place in the position of Captain.

Jack. Oh Jack…What have I done?

He was gone. Dead, but not deceased. Living, yet not quite alive. All because of her.

What she had done in her last moments on the Pearl haunted her. Even she couldn't quite explain what she had done, or why.

Had she kissed him to merely distract him, or had it been purely to slake her lust?

Had she left him behind for the good of everyone, to save them, or had she left him to die so that he was no longer a threat to her and Will's relationship?

Unanswered questions bounced around inside her mind like captive mice. Her eyes welled up with tears once more. She brushed the frozen teardrops from her eyelashes painfully.

He was a good man. A good man, and look how I treated him. A brave man.

Was Jack brave? She mused silently to herself, watching the passing glaciers with glazed-over eyes. Yes, he was. A brave, courageous man living as a coward. A different breed of brave to Will.

Will was the save-the-woman-you-love-from-a-crew-of-cursed-pirates kind of brave.

Jack, however, was the last-minute type of brave, the sort of man who would do something kind and valiant almost as an afterthought.

But which was true bravery? The question troubled her more so than she was already.

Elizabeth needed to talk to someone, someone who would listen.

Will? No, he won't speak to me as it is…

Barbossa? The thought brought a tiny smile to her tear-stained face. The weathered pirate could never relate to her problems.

Tia Dalma? No, she's busy… The voodoo priestess was currently whispering to tiny crab claws, casting them onto a wooden table.

At this rate I'll have to talk to the monkey about my personal life.

Her brown eyes found the mischievous little rascal, crouching by the rail. It looked unusually sweet; it's furry little from quivering in the bitter cold. Then she who sat next to it: Pintel and Ragetti.

It's not as if I have another option…

Keeping the thick fur wrapped firmly around her shoulders, she stood up and crossed the deck, coming to a halt where the duo sat.

"Master Ragetti? I was wondering if I could have a private word with you."

Ragetti blinked, looking up at her as though confused. Perhaps he was not used to being addressed with a proper title.

"So…may I, if you don't mind?"

He nodded his frost-bitten face. "Uh, yeah, alright. Back in a mo, Pint."

The two of the walked up the small set of mahogany stairs towards the helm. One of Sao Feng's men was in control of it.

Ragetti carefully stayed a few feet behind her at all times, allowing her to have control over the direction in which the walked. Finally they stopped near a rail, and Elizabeth turned to speak.

"Thank you," she said softly.

Ragetti tugged at his light brown hair, looking puzzled.

"Thanks fer what, Miss?"

"You saved me from the Kraken, back on the Pearl. I never thanked you."

"Oh… yer welcome, then."

There was a moment of silence in which Elizabeth stared at the vast, cavernous canyons of thick ice surrounding them.

"I left Jack to the Kraken." Elizabeth blurted out suddenly.

Where did that come from?

The words seemed to just burst from her lips like a gust of wind, abrupt and inescapable. She couldn't help it. She started to cry once more.

"Well," Ragetti stuttered, flustered by the sudden emotion she was showing. "Everyone make mistakes, Miss."

Elizabeth gave a little half-laugh and hastily wiped her eyes on her shirt-sleeve.

"Yes," she replied, red-eyed, "I suppose everyone does. But "everyone's" mistakes don't consist of leaving a man to be eaten by a giant fish."

"Actually, it's a cephalopod."

She looked at the scruffy young man for a moment. He really did seem to be cleverer than most gave him credit for.

"Master Ragetti… what do you think could be defined as true bravery?"

He bit his lower lip and rubbed his arms vigorously, trying to warm them up. She watched him as he digested the question, deep in thought.

He's going to call me an utter maniac.

"By my reckoning, Miss, the place one should give 'elp is where 'e sees it needed, and the place e' should be brave is where e' finds unkindness and peril."

Elizabeth looked at him thoughtfully.

An admirable answer from one so untutored.

"Yes," she agreed finally. "Yes, I suppose you're right."

And for the first time in days, she gave a genuine smile.

She had just learned a valuable lesson. And what was more; she had not learned it from the romantic blacksmith, or the dashing pirate captain, or the mysterious enchantress, or even the cocky ex-first mate.

She had learned it from the scruffy, uneducated, low-rank pirate that was Ragetti.

A/N: So I hope you enjoyed it! Reveiw if you've go the time!

I like the idea of Elizabeth being so cultured but still having a meaningful conversation with the likes of Ragetti, platonically, of course.