Elizabeth watched Jack as he drew his audience in with all the convincing charm of a scheming London politician. As he came around to the end of the table, his eyes settled on hers.

"I agree with…and I cannot believe the words are coming out of me mouth…Captain Swann. We must fight."

Barbossa frowned. "You've always run away from a fight!"

"Have not!"

"You have so!"

"Have not!"

"You have so!"

"Have not!"

"You have so, and you know it."

"Have not. Slander and calumny."

Elizabeth smiled, watching him, his black eyes glistening with clever amusement as he convinced the entire motley group. The next moments flew. She didn't quite know how it came down to the moment when Jack's beautiful eyes settled on her, a triumphant smile on his face.

"Elizabeth Swann."

"What?!"

"I know, curious isn't it?"

Chaos reigned for several moments.

"Am I to understand that you lot will not be keeping to the code, then?"

A string snapped on Captain Teague's guitar, his weathered face adopted a deadly threatening look.

"Very well then." Spoke Mistress Ching. "What say you, Captain Swann, king of the Brethren Court?"

"Prepare every vessel that floats. At dawn," She met Jack's eyes, feeling again the flash of hot lightening that flashed from him to her and back. "we're at war." He bowed his head to her, some strange pride in his eyes. Joy filled her as she knew with certainty…she was forgiven.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jack turned to face his father's knowing eyes.

"What? You've seen it all, done it all. You survived. That's the trick, isn't it? To survive?"

He knew what his father was thinking, almost as clearly as if he had spoken aloud. "Do you need her to survive?"

"It's not just about living forever, Jackie. The trick is living with yourself forever."

Jack understood the hidden meaning. "Don't do something you'll regret forever." He stared at his father, trying to remind the older man that he had not walked the way he now talked. Teague had thought he needed Jacqueline to survive. He had used her, then left her to raise his son with only infrequent visits.

"How's Mum?" It was a pure guilt trip. "Don't preach to me about Elizabeth, after how you treated Mum."

Teague's eyes acknowledged Jack's unspoken point as he raised the shrunken head. Jack flinched. What an awful end to an awful life. "She looks great."

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jack entered the cabin and stared at Elizabeth.

She just stared back for a long moment.

"Thank you, Jack."

"'t's nothin', luv. Not like I don't have my own reasons."

He tossed his hat on the desk and perched on the edge next to her, taking the rum bottle she offered, drinking from the place where her warm lips had been while he listened to her soft voice as she spoke again.

"Not just for the vote, Jack. Thank you…for not hating me."

He peered at her out of the corner of his eye.

"Who says I don't?"

"Oh Jack. I can read your eyes like a book."

"Hmm. You must have practiced a lot to learn to read so well."

"What do you mean?"

"Isn't it obvious? You simply can't keep your eyes off me."

She smiled, leaning towards him with that familiar look, eyes half lidded and lips slightly parted.

"Perhaps not…but it's mutual isn't it?"

He could only get out a muffled "Mm-hmm…" as her lips met his in a familiar jumble of passionate longings, and they faded into a night seemingly without end.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

"Jack. It would never have worked out between us."

"Keep telling yourself that, darling."

He watched her smile, taking in the beauty of her bruised red lips.

"Thank you."

He saw the hesitance in her eyes, and willed her to take the step that would lead her past him; lead her to whatever it was she truly wanted. Follow your heart, luv. Even if it leads you away from me. Even if it takes you to that boy who doesn't even know enough about life to realize, when he holds you, that he is not the first. I gave up immortality to offer you a choice. Kept him alive so you can choose him if it will make you happy. So if it makes you happy, take that step. He sighed as he watched her leave.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ten years later:

Elizabeth watched her son bound down the hill towards the cliff top, towards where her husband's ship approached. She couldn't help but remember that as of last night, it had been exactly ten years since he son was conceived. Yet to the world, it was ten years today, not last night. To Will, it would be ten years today, not last night. But she had known, as soon as she saw her son's gorgeous dark chocolate eyes, she had known. No one would ever know but her. Still, she bestowed the secret of his parentage to him in song; in a song that would forever represent what had been; what had been between her and Jack. She listened to him sing it as he moved to meet for the first time the man he would call 'Father'.

"Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirate's life for me!"

When he looked up at her with those eyes, she tried to forget the past and think only of Will.

But she knew, looking into those familiar eyes; she regretted taking that step past Jack.

A/N: Again, I would like to reiterate that I do NOT condone sex outside of marriage, etc. It's just that Disney, whether they were aware or not, really made it seem like the boy at the end might be Jack's. I mean, why would he be singing THAT song? It's pretty much universally accepted as being Jack and Lizzy's song, ya know? I doubt Will even KNOWS that song. Will probably wouldn't approve of his child being a pirate. LOL anyway…