DISCLAIMER: The characters depicted in this story do not belong to me, thus, I make no money from the writing of it.
SUMMARY: A series of short drabbles/reflections regarding all the lies we've heard Jack and Elizabeth tell each other. Elizabeth is back on the Black Pearl, after being convinced by Jack that she needn't wait for Will alone. But much to her chagrin, she finds herself more and more captivated by the notorious pirate captain.
A/N: I've written many (many, many, many…) drabbles in the past, but this is the first time I'll be posting any. I'm planning on ending this little whatever-you-want-to-call-it with a chapter written in non-drabble/story format. Each chapter will alternate between Lizzie and Jack, in chronological order from when said "lie" occurred. Right now I'm planning on ten-eleven chapters, but it could be longer. So anyways, let's get on with it, shall we?
It had been exactly three months and four days of solitude.
Elizabeth stood on the beach, wriggling her toes into the warm sand, letting the salty, cool water wash up around her feet and ankles. She watched her toes as each wave took away the sand, leaving them exposed once again. She was standing in the exact spot she'd been standing in when Will left… and when she saw the Black Pearl beginning to change directions, leaving her alone. Simple entertainment like this was all she really had now. She was waiting, by herself, for a ten-year prison sentence to pass for a man she was no longer in love with.
She'd thought up until that day, the day he left, that she was still in love with Will. But as the minutes turned to days and the days to nights, she had more than enough time alone with her thoughts. She loved Will, there would never be a doubt about that. But it wasn't the same kind of ardent devotion that she had once felt. It went from passionate, fiery hot to lukewarm… the kind of love she might feel for a best friend or a brother. And as much as she knew that Will would remain devoted to her for the rest of his immortal life, he didn't love her the same way either. She felt it in the way he kissed her and the way he touched her. It felt… platonic, sometimes even forced. Things just hadn't been the same since she…
She shook her head, closing her eyes. She tried so hard not to think of that day. She didn't really have to, either, for the image of the Pearl being dragged to a watery grave, its captain along with it, would stay in her mind forever.
Jack. Dark piercing eyes made even darker by the smudged kohl that lined them. Tan skin from countless days at sea. Calloused hands from countless hours of hard work. A wild nest of dark hair, full of trinkets and other things, each one holding a special memory for the man. A salty, warm smell of sea water, sweat, smoke and spices. A grin that glinted gold. Lips that she stole a kiss from… lips that forever changed the way she thought about kissing and how it was supposed to feel…
Thinking about him made her feel… so many different things. She struggled daily with her feelings for the man, his total consumption of her thoughts doing little to help. She had no idea what she was to him. Was she a friend? An enemy? Just some girl he used to know? Something… more? There was, however, one thing she knew that was absolutely certain. She would never fully know how she felt about him, nor come to terms with her feelings, without knowing where she was in his thoughts.
She'd written him countless letters, sending them all over the place in hopes that one might eventually reach him. In each one, she asked him to visit her, if only for a few hours. But she had yet to hear from him and it seemed that everyone else she had talked to had not heard from him. All she could do was hope that one of her letters had made it to him… and that he was alright.
Of course Jack had gotten her letters and he'd kept them all… every single last one.
He'd gotten one in Singapore, another in Santorini and another in Gibraltar. He got one in Madagascar before rounding the Cape of Good Hope. He got one in Montevideo and one more in Monrovia. He'd gotten three once he reached Tortuga.
He bought a small, wooden chest with a rounded top full of intricate carvings just to keep her letters in. He'd read a few of them so many times, the ink was starting to fade and the paper was starting to thin from where he'd held it in his hand. In each letter, she'd asked him to come see her. She missed him, they said. But not one of them held an apology for what she'd done. He supposed he didn't deserve one after all the sneaky, low-down things he'd done to her, but if he got one… all his resolve would disappear and he'd set sail towards where she was in an instant. They spent their last weeks in the same vicinity dancing around each other, avoiding each other at all cost. Neither could look the other in the eye. She was too proud to pour out her guilt and he was too stubborn to accept it and forgive her.
He wanted to go to her. But he couldn't.
He leaned back in his chair, breathing deeply. His eyes were fixed on the chest of Lizzie letters that sat on the corner of his desk. His hands were gripped into fists. He wouldn't read them… not again. But he wanted to, lord how he wanted to! Her handwriting was so… elegant and perfect. Each piece of parchment had her smell on them… he wondered if she knew that before she sent them. And when he read them he could hear her voice as if she were reading the words to him. Yes, he wanted to go to her. He missed her, as much as he couldn't admit it.
Pirates did not miss. They did not long for another person. They didn't feel heartache or loss. They did not forgive being murdered… even if their murderess went to the ends of the earth to bring them back. And they certainly did not fall in love.
He leaned forward, clasping his hands together. He could not tear his eyes from that damn chest. Maybe he should just fill it with rocks and throw it overboard. Then he'd be done with it. Yes, that's what he'd do! His triumphant smirk was quickly replaced with a furrowed brow. But that was… those letters were the only reminder that she had ever been about this vessel, save for his memories, which he secretly hoped would not grow darker with time.
He reached for the vest but stopped himself, instantly pulling his hand back and placing it behind his back when the door swung open. It was Gibbs, his face completely straight, irritated even. The older sailor had known his captain far too long to bother with niceties, captain or no. Especially when he was being as ridiculous as he was.
He stopped in front of Jack's desk and held up the folded piece of parchment in his hand. Jack could see the red, wax seal, the letter E imprinted in it. Gibbs tossed the letter on the desk.
"Another one?" Jack asked, trying with great difficulty to hide any traces of excitement from his voice.
"Aye." The older man stood there, his arms crossed, not moving. His eyes were fixed on Jack.
"Um…" Jack placed a single finger on the parchment, sliding it across the wooden surface towards himself. Usually Gibbs would march in, deliver any letters picked up in port and leave. So… why wasn't he leaving? "…thank you…?"
"This is getting bloody stupid," Gibbs announced. Jack had never seen him so firm before. It felt like Gibbs was the captain and he was the first mate.
"Excuse me?" Jack rose to his feet, his eyes hard and his voice stern. He was trying (and he knew, failing miserably) to withhold his authority as captain.
"This," Gibbs pointed to the letter and then back to Jack, "is complete absurdity. You know those letters are goin' to keep findin' ye. So just go to her already. See what she wants. There's nothin' she can do to ye on land, there's no kraken left to swallow ye hole. Her 'usband is away at sea, for the next ten years mind you. She's alone. No bad could come of yer visit. So just go already. Get it over with. An' then, if ye wish, ye never have to go to her again or even think of her if ye don't want to. That way, yer crew can have their captain back, instead of a withdrawn shell of who he used to be." With that, he was gone, out from the door he'd come through.
"Well…" Jack said, to no one in particular, as if every word his first mate had said was based on utter falsity. He picked up the letter and held it for a few moments, noticing how different his name looked in her perfect, beautiful handwriting. He broke the seal and slowly, as if savoring a fine wine, unfolded the parchment.
August 20, 1783
I've written several letters to you and I've sent each one to different locations, hoping that one might reach you. Maybe some of them have and I could never blame you for not wanting to see me. But if you could find it in your heart to come to this wretch of an island, if only for an hour or so, I would be forever grateful.
I wrote to your father in Shipwreck Cove and he told me your last letter to him was from Barbuda, so that is where I will send this. This is the last letter I'll be writing to you. I know how desperate I must seem and if my other letters have in fact reached you, as I suspect they might have, I will no longer bother you with my incessant calling.
But since this is my last letter to you, I feel there is something I must say to you, for I might never see you again to get to say it directly…
Jack, I will spend every day for the rest of my life regretting what I did to you. Sorrow never has been, nor will it ever be, an adequate term to describe how I feel about having done what I did. It is simply not strong enough. I do not deserve your forgiveness. Nothing you ever did or could ever do warranted what I in turn did back to you. I should have told you this the moment we found you in the locker. The first words you heard should have been my apology and I know that writing how I feel is a cowardly admission of guilt, but it is the only way I can do so for the time being. I suppose that is why I wanted you to come see me so badly… so I could have one last chance to offer my apologies. But as I fearfully suspect that I may never see you again, all I can do is write my sentiments on paper.
I am sorry, Jack. I am so, so sorry.
Elizabeth Swann… the fact that she had not signed Elizabeth Turner made his chest swell. And she said she was sorry. If she had only written those words in the very first letter, she would have never needed to pen another one. He'd need to find Gibbs soon. There was a change in course.
He smiled as he folded the parchment again. However, he did not place it in the chest with the other letters. Instead, he opened his jacket and slipped it inside the pocket there. No matter what her answer to his proposition, he would keep that letter with him, on his person, for the remainder of his days.
It was the middle of the night and Elizabeth was, as she was nearly every night, restless. It was still uncomfortably warm, despite the hour of the night, and she couldn't keep her mind off how utterly alone she was.
James and her father were both dead, both murdered.
Will was gone.
Jack hated her.
There was nothing left to hold onto, no warm shoulder to turn into. There were no soft words of comfort. There were so many ways in which she could just get it over with. She hadn't made any friends in the small village nearby and she had no real friends away from this wretched place. No one would miss her. She squeezed her eyes shut, the tears spilling out from the corners of them and falling onto the pillow beneath her head.
What was she thinking? Had things gotten so bad that she would really resort to—there was a loud knock on the door. Who would be coming for her at this hour? For someone to think it appropriate to stop by for a visit in the middle of the night, they'd have to be…
No. She couldn't get her hopes up.
She hesitantly stepped out of bed, grabbing her robe on the way out of her bedroom to protect her modesty. She reached the front of the house and paused. There was no window in the door, no way for her to see who it was. She could be opening the door to a murderer, a sick-minded individual from the village who knew she lived alone. But she couldn't take the risk of not answering it. She slowly reached for the doorknob, the knocking persistent.
Now or never, Elizabeth…
She opened it and there he stood. Jack. Dark piercing eyes made even darker by the smudged kohl that lined them. Tan skin from countless days at sea. Calloused hands from countless hours of hard work. A wild nest of dark hair, full of trinkets and other things, each one holding a special memory for the man. A salty, warm smell of sea water, sweat, smoke and spices. A grin that glinted gold. Lips that she stole a kiss from… lips that forever changed the way she thought about kissing and how it was supposed to feel…
It had been nearly a month since Jack had convinced her to come back with him to the Pearl. She didn't belong on land. She was a pirate, after all. And she could still be there on that one day, could still be there to meet Will. She didn't have to go it alone, he told her.
Jack had been overwhelmingly good to her since she'd been aboard, as had the rest of the crew. She had no idea how the lot of them cared about her. Jack even gave her the use of his cabin… well, sort of. He insisted that she use his bed, as it was the only real mattress on board. He set up a hammock in the corner of the room and slept there, to "protect her." Whatever his reasoning for being so kind to her when she still felt she didn't deserve it, she was just glad to have his friendship. She'd still longed to dig inside his brain and discover if there was anything more lurking within… but for now, she was grateful for what she had. Jack's company would do.
Their relationship steadily began to grow stronger. Trust started to rebuild itself. But she still felt guilty and she wondered if those awful feelings of culpability would ever subside. She kept thinking of all the lies she'd told him… all the things in their past that she prayed would not plague her forever…
So many lies…
I'm not entirely sure I've had enough rum to allow that kind of talk…
I'm not sorry…
Elizabeth was back.
Gibbs had been right.
Jack was no longer the withdrawn wretch he had been in the months since her absence. She was back and dare he say, his friend? He knew exactly what she meant to him. When he'd gone to her and practically begged her to join the crew on the Pearl, she looked at him with teary eyes and said, "You'd do that for me?"
"Why not?" he replied. He wanted to say Of course. I'd do anything for you, Lizzie. But he didn't. As always, he kept his mouth shut. He'd never had feelings like this before, for anyone, and he couldn't risk telling her when he was so unsure of what he meant to her. He knew their past might be too big an obstacle to overcome. All the lies he'd told her… all the times he'd proven himself a pirate.
So many lies…
My first and only love is the sea…
It would never have worked out between us…
All he could do was pray that the memories their past held would not plague them forever. All he could do was hope that their relationship wasn't damned before it had even really had a chance to come to light…
A/N: So that's it for tonight. The chapters to follow will be drabbles, until the very last chapter, as stated in my previous AN. I hope you guys liked it. Let me know your thoughts!