It was always the nights when the storm's lash over the ever-shifting seas that she felt the most haunted, and she was grateful that James had eyes the hue of the sky, the ever faithful, steadfast blue that she came to love and loathe in its unchanging ways. He was so tolerant, leaving her to her solitude, as she prowled the widow's walk with the restlessness of a caged tiger. She was no less, any more. Her freedom at the sea had been abruptly traded for the lush, safe, boring life of a lady, now choked down by social obligation, silken shackles, caged by corset, and well-bred manners. A life of ease that seemed more hellish than any attack on the open water. A noose around the neck, or a shot to her heart would have been more merciful than this slow death from the sheer futility of it all. James Norrington, above all, was a good man, a moral man.
The kind of upright, proper husband for the daughter of a governor, so kind, and irritating with his outright worship of her. It made her sick with guilt, for she could respect him, force a smile that brought that warm, radiating joy to his eyes, but never could she summon enough will to love him. She sighed, wearily.
James deserved so much more than she could ever give him--obligatatory respect and submission, choked smiles and mechanical embraces, respect and friendship at the most. She could tell by the haunted, wounded look in his eyes that he had married her fully knowing that she could never return his love...and yet he shielded her hidden shame with as much dignity and love as he could, with his ramrod heart, and dignified actions. There had been seldom more than a kiss passing between them, and though he could have taken her by force, he left her untouched, even at their wedding night. She cringed at the memory of his tears, as he shook his head, told her that he respected her too much to take what was not freely given, and strode away into the dark. There had only been brooding silence passing between them, now. And living at the Norrington household was like living in a tomb.

Another weary sigh escaped her lips at the thought. The ocean, she mused, was a tomb in itself. How many memories had she buried in her tears among its waters? How did her beloved come to rest so peacefully in the black abyss she feared so much? Unbidden, the tears rose again, as she remembered the last time she saw Jack. Their first and last kiss, that JACK had broken with an agonized glimpse at Will's shadow, the gentle shove of his hand against her body as a shield, even though every instinct inside was screaming for him to take like the pirate he was.

Not for the first time, Jack proved himself. He wouldn't betray a friend in that way. It was too cruel. She had swayed with the roar of the wind, and nearly swooned at the sharp pain breaking over her chilling heart, as her hands glided with deadly intent over the shackles that were coiled in her quaking fingers. With a smirk of satisfaction, she lashed the pirate's wrist to the mast.

It was his dark, dancing eyes, eyes that held the ocean's depths, and glittered like gold beneath the mystery of all that water that tortured her, now. Many a woman's heart had been broken for less than what she had walked away with...her betraying kiss, and his gleaming teeth, gold and pearl glinting out from the merry mouth now pulled in a sad, understanding smile. The clink of his beaded braids, the clink of the shackle that now bound him to his beloved Pearl, a perverse marriage of destiny if there ever was one to be had...

"Pirate." The bitter prophesy chilled her blood, broke her heart, made her quake with fear as his dark eyes swathed over her in deadly promise, and a merciless grin still playing about his lips as he drew away, smugly. Aye, Jack Sparrow may not have been able to best the devil, but he did escape the hell she had lived through in the guilt, and the pain of the betrayer.

Dark eyes, once again.

Will's eyes held the inocence of the world's first night, that was yet untainted by the day. Dark eyes, that glowed warmly at her, with trust, with faith, with bright, fresh love that cut her so viciously in all its obligation. They were clearly troubled as he stared up at her, her face still flushed with the fire of Jack's kiss, her eyes meeting his for a moment, with the bitter, harsh lie.

Jack Sparrow was staying behind to give them a fighting chance. Sacrificing himself for redemption. Will's eyes darted questioningly towards the prow of the broken ship, then back to hers for a long, tortured moment, as his mouth worked into a considering frown at the horrific possibilities he dismissed outright. Such was the faith of the inocent. She blanched at the inevitable. Once the ivory tower of his idealism shattered, she would be the one that was broken. How could she expect anything less than the aftermath of a love so pure betrayed by a lust so cruel?

"Pirate." Elizabeth stiffened at the reverberation of the memories, as they came unbidden. Will's bewildered, raw agony as she graced him with a smile, retreated to her formal veneer of society's elite, and betrayed him with the acceptance of Norrington's hand. It was the one noble thing she could salvage. Sparing Will's life and freedom to toil a few more years in the forgetting and the memories, while she remembered and bled. It was a cheap sacrifice, and iron shackles with a lifetime in the brig would have been a mercy compared to the way she was forced to cast him aside to save him. But his honesty was his downfall, and his untainted love could not be reconciled with the hurt and the twisted reasons, or the justifications. Will had answered his own questions with the thundering silence of the single pistol shot to his temple. They had found him the next morning with a bleeding hole in his head, and a serene smile, all the more tragic by Norrington's horror, and that weary, sad question that lingered between them on each horrific night when they lay side by side, but worlds apart.

"Was it the pirate's blood that finally overcame Turner's respectibility?" James' inocent question only brought her to tears, as she rolled away from him into a curled ball of anguish. Awkwardly, James had pat her shoulder, but sadly dropped his hand in futility when he felt the recoil of her flesh. She did not answer, but wept in the dark when she felt the bed's shifting, as James sighed and left the room without a backward glance.