ONCE UPON A SUNSET
SUMMARY: Post-AWE. Oneshot. Elizabeth is watching the sun go down, all alone, save for the child growing inside her. She's thinking about Jack, as she usually is, and her lukewarm feelings for Will. She recalls a night spent on the Pearl, a night she'll never regret, in the arms of a certain pirate captain (and no, don't be gross, it's not Barbossa). Is the child she's carrying one she made with her husband? Or is it the result of a one-night affair with the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow? Little does she know, the fates are getting ready to send her a sign…
DISCLAIMER: Jack'n'Lizzie (unfortunately) etc. do not belong to me. I make no money from the writing of this fan fiction.
RATING: T (Teen) for suggestive content
SHIP: 100 percent Sparrabeth. Willabeth fans are welcome, but you have been warned!
A/N: Hello, everyone! Well, I've been thinking about writing this story for quite awhile now, so here it finally is: a sweet little one-shot involving Jack, Elizabeth and a baby. What could be better! Hope y'all like it!
Oh, and just so you know—the passage in italics is a flashback, to the night before the maelstrom scene.
Elizabeth Turner tugged the shawl around her shoulders a little tighter, closing her eyes as the cool sea-breeze wafted over her skin. When she opened her eyes again, she was greeted with the dull blue skies, that strange color they became right before the peaches and oranges appeared. The sun would be setting soon.
She had yet to decide whether or not this was her favorite or least favorite part of the day. In many ways, it was her favorite, for this was the time where she could be completely alone with her thoughts. However, in many other ways, this was her least favorite time, because those thoughts that she loved having all to herself were not always peaceful ones. Sometimes she'd walk away from her little spot on the beach feeling worse than she did when she got there. Other times she just didn't know, unsure how to think, how to feel…
It had been exactly seven months to the very day since she'd last seen Will. Only one hundred and thirteen months left to go… and just two more months until the baby would be born. The baby. She had intended to stay on that little island in the Caribbean, waiting for Will to return in ten years, until she found out she was pregnant. Something about knowing that she was with-child made her feel more alone than she ever had, and staying there no longer became an option.
When she was a little girl, her mother and father used to take her to the cottage by the sea on the English coast. She loved it there, playing amongst the tall grasses with the other children from the nearby village. Once her mother died, her father never took her back, though she always knew that it was their cottage. She knew it would take a lot of hard work to make it livable again, having been vacant for nearly fifteen years, but something about that place felt like home.
Besides… she couldn't go back to Port Royale. It was true that she had spent a large portion of her childhood there, but it never really felt right. She always felt so constricted there, like she always had to be on her best behavior, like she was always being watched. And now, with the death of her father and the removal of Cutler Beckett from power, there was a new governor. If she were to return to Port Royale, there'd be no place for her to go. Not that she'd want to go back, but still…
She didn't want to return to Shipwreck Cove. Being a pirate king, the pirate king, was a nice enough title, but she didn't feel like one, not anymore. Besides, she wasn't even sure if she was one anymore. She didn't know how that system worked, how long she would hold her office. She had been elected for the sole purpose of declaring a war. Well, she did declare that war, but it had already been fought and won. Was she still the pirate king, then? And how would her baby affect her station? Oh, and then there was Jack. Captain Jack Sparrow, to be precise. She wasn't quite sure she wanted him to know she was pregnant.
So, returning to that little cottage on the English coast was the most reasonable option. Long ago, she knew that her father secured a reasonable amount of money there, in case something should ever happen to him and Elizabeth was to be left alone. It was only through a cruel twist of fate that his assumptions were correct. Once she arrived, and once she'd gotten the place fixed up to livable standards, money started arriving. Every other week or so, a small leather pouch would appear on her doorstep. She never, not once since she'd been there, seen who delivered it… She suspected it was from Will, sent to her through a messenger, though who that messenger was and how he was able to even send her money, she did not know. After the things she'd seen in her life, however, she was willing to go on a little faith. Whoever it was that sent it to her, they always sent enough to take care of her. She'd never have to worry about her child being hungry or ill-clothed.
She made her way towards the rickety wooden fence that encircled her garden, gently letting the gate go behind her. When she heard it click, she continued on her way, the chilly breeze ruffling her hair. Cold or not, she wouldn't miss the sunset. If there was any peace to be had during her day, it was at that time. She walked to her little spot on the beach, surrounded by the grass she frolicked in as a little girl, and pulled her knees to her chest as she sat down.
There was a light pang in her chest and right away she knew that today was not going to be one of those clear-headed days. Today was one of those days when she was lonely, when she felt abandoned and forgotten. In the first several weeks after Will had gone to his newly appointed duty as captain of the Flying Dutchman, she kept telling herself that she wouldn't be alone. She left the Black Pearl that day feeling better about her situation with Jack, thinking that maybe every now and then he would come to visit her. After all, he had proven to her that he was a good man by allowing Will to stab the heart, saving him from immediate death, and then proven himself again by dragging her away from the sinking ship, on which she would have perished without him. Perhaps they were friends, then? But the days dragged on and she slowly let go of the notion that he really cared for her. And why should he after what she'd done to him?
There were so many occasions where she'd just let the tears fall, thinking about the one night she ever had with the pirate. The tears were not those of regret, but rather those of longing, wishing she could go back to that night and stay in the moment forever…
What had she done? What was she thinking? She'd gone ahead and used a power she barely understood to declare war against an enemy that was likely bigger than them, stronger than them, and more experienced than them. And on top of that, she had no idea where Will was.
Will… she'd given up on the notion of being in love with him a long time ago. Somewhere between the whole kraken incident and realizing that it was Will who had led Sao Feng to take over the Black Pearl, she'd given up. But she still loved him, a part of her always would, and if he were to ask her to marry him tomorrow, she'd likely say yes. He would be a good husband, even if they weren't the traditional married couple. Besides, leaving him at this point, after all they'd already been through, might prove to be too much… for both of them.
However, right now, he was elsewhere. Right now, when she was desperately seeking comfort, he was nowhere to be found. She'd wandered around the deck of the Black Pearl several times, trying to clear her mind, but nothing seemed to work.
Barbossa was at the wheel. He had a strange way of giving advice, though, and she wasn't sure if visiting him would actually make her feel any better. Gibbs was wandering around deck much like she was, only he actually had a purpose, making sure all the cannons were in working order and that every man's gun was fully stocked. She didn't want to break his concentration. There were no women aboard, save for herself… no feminine softness to confide in.
She came to pause next to the main mast, the sound of shackles clicking still reverberating through her head. She would always regret doing what she'd done that day, would always wonder if there had been another way, where they all could have escaped. But she knew better. There simply wasn't. She did the right thing at the time and had gone back to fix what was wrong later. Hadn't she? She and Jack had hardly spoken two words to each other since he'd been back, save for the occasional sarcastic quip or irritating little comment. She couldn't let go of the idea that he hated her and would continue to do so until the day he died… for a second time, that was.
It was sickening thinking that he hated her when she felt such strong feelings for him… such feelings that were likely the opposite of hate. Were they love, exactly? She wasn't entirely sure. But she knew she cared for him and longed for him in a way that was completely different with Will. She was attracted to every aspect of him… his dashing good looks, his cunning and smart personality. She'd give anything to be able to go to him now, to find the comfort she sought in his arms, but there was no way she could. She was a brave girl, and now the pirate king to boot, but she was in no way brave enough to go knocking on his door. The odds were against her. He'd likely want nothing to do with her and just turn her away, only making things worse. She couldn't deal with the grief of knowing just how angry he was with her when she felt she had so much else to handle.
But that didn't mean she didn't want him. She wanted him with a voracity that she'd never felt before. She'd always been curious before the kiss, but now… her curiosity had grown to uncontrollable proportions, and before she could stop herself, the back of her knuckles were wrapping against his door. On the odd chance that he'd let her in, that he wouldn't turn her away… it was worth the risk.
"Come in." He likely expected the knock was from Gibbs by the sound of his voice, or even Barbossa. She wondered if he really knew it was her if he'd still be so welcoming. She swallowed nervously and nearly lost her grip in the doorknob, due to her nervous, sweaty palms.
"Jack?" She peered around the door and looked around the cabin until she spotted him across the room, leaning on the window frame, gazing out at the tranquil water. He looked so at ease. His boots, hat and jacket had been removed, as well as his effects. He was wearing nothing but his breeches, his shirt, the sash around his waist and the ever-present red bandana atop his head. She expected to see a grimace cross his face, but to her surprise he only grinned.
"Ah, Lizzie. Or shall I call you 'Your Highness?'" She didn't say anything, but simply watched him as he stood up from his perch on the window-seat. "Haven't got any shackles on you, have ye, luv?"
"No." On any other occasion, she would have had a snippy little comeback, some retort as to why he deserved it, but not tonight. She missed their bantering.
"Well, then," he said, stretching, revealing a tan flash of belly as he did so. "What can I do ye for?"
"I…" She didn't know how to answer him, wasn't exactly sure why she was there. Upon seeing him, all coherent thought had flown out the window, and she was once again rendered speechless. Things hadn't always been this way. There once was a time when she was able to control herself around him, but now, she wondered if a time like that would ever fall into existence again.
"Come to talk strategy? Or are you here to give me a warning before plungin' another dagger into me back?"
"I… um…" His words, no matter how she deserved them, stung her, and before she could hold them back, she felt warm tears spilling down her cheeks. Humiliated beyond reason, she quickly covered her face with her hands. She so wanted to see the look on his face, to be able to predict his next sentence or his next move, but she couldn't bring herself to look at him… not through tear-clouded eyes.
"Lizzie?" She gasped and looked up when she felt warm hands on her upper arms. He had walked so softly that she hadn't even realized how close he'd gotten until he was right in front of her. She looked up at him, furiously blinking the tears away. "Come on, now, luv. A good pirate never cries over what's already been done."
"Jack?" Her voice was so broken, so unrecognizable. She cleared her throat and spoke again. "Jack?"
"I wasn't expectin' it from you. Maybe from Will, but not you. It stung, Liz, but had the tables been turned I can't exactly promise I wouldn't 'ave done somethin' very similar." He placed his fingers under her chin, tilting her eyes up to meet his. He smirked. "I just wouldn't 'ave been as smart about it as you were." He wanted to tell her then that just because of the kiss, he could never have been angry with her. She said she wasn't sorry, but that kiss was her apology. Whether she meant it as anything more, he didn't know, but it didn't rightfully matter… not now, anyways.
"But I killed you…" Her voice cracked again with the strain of speaking.
"Aye, ye did," he said, nodding. "But you also brought me back. So no need to apologize, alright, Lizzie?" He leaned down slightly and brushed a kiss across her forehead. "What's done is done."
She nodded, closing her eyes, still able to feel the warmth of his lips on her forehead long after he had pulled back. "Did I make the wrong choice?" she asked, trying to sound more brave than she knew she was.
"About the battle." She cleared her throat again. "I'm scared, Jack."
"Don't be," he told her, removing his fingers from her chin. He began to walk back to the window. "Yer as good a fighter as I've ever seen. You'll make it through just fine, I promise." Jack was a good liar, they both knew that. She also knew that he was likely just saying those things to make her feel better, that there was a very good chance that she, he, or both of them wouldn't make it through. In that case… she breathed in deep through her nose, completely unable to believe she was about to do this. In that case, she wasn't going to let her last night alive go to waste. There was one person she wanted to spend it with, and even if this night was going to mean more to her than it did him, so be it. At least she'd have the memory to give her strength with the rising dawn.
She walked quickly, so as to catch up with him before he could sit down again. When she reached him, she grabbed his arm, catching him by surprise. She pulled herself to him, wrapping one arm around his waist and the other around his neck. Their eyes held a steady, however brief, gaze before she assertively pressed her lips to his. She half-expected him to push her away, given what happened the last time she was bold enough to do this, but was surprised when she felt both of his hands on her waist. He pulled her closer, deepening the kiss, their mouths moving together at a slow, steady pace.
He didn't treat her like a child that night, the way so many other people did. He didn't ask her if she was sure. He didn't ask about Will. He trusted her judgment, treated her the way she wanted to be treated… like a grown woman with a desire, a desire to be with him.
She savored each and every moment, knowing that even if both of them did make it through the battle, that this would likely never happen again. Every stroke of her hair, every nip at her collar bone… every time his warm hands ran up her thighs and every time their chests pressed together, allowing her to feel the beat of his heart over hers… all of it was cherished, filed away in her memory for a time when she would really need it. Had she no resolve, this would have happened already, a long time ago. But she had no regrets. What they did that night was perfect. She gave him her innocence that night, only praying that she could pretend it was still there when she (or if she) gave herself to Will at another time.
She would always be glad that she experienced it with Jack first.
The next morning they would awake, promising the other that they wouldn't let their one night change anything, no matter how she secretly wished it would change everything. It was understood that Will still came first, that should they endure the battle, she would go back to him. She always knew that even if Will were no longer in the picture, Jack would not take her as his own. She wasn't sure that Jack was even the type to have that sort of relationship. And she certainly didn't want her baby to make him feel obligated to settle down.
Elizabeth supposed she'd never really know for sure if it was Jack's child or Will's child. All that mattered was that it was her child. It was just the two of them. She and Will might have exchanged vows, but that didn't make them man and wife. She knew, and she knew that he knew, they weren't really married. It was the notion that mattered, she surmised. Even though she didn't really love him, at least not in the way a wife was supposed to love her husband, she would wait for him. He told her that should her heart find another before ten years came and went, she was free to go to them. She would make good on that promise, should the occasion arise, but she doubted it. There was only one other man that she wanted, one man who she was truly in love with… and the placement of his heart was completely unknown to her.
She heard a slight rustle of the grass behind her and she turned around, finding nothing. It had to have been the breeze. Either that, the loneliness was getting to her and she was going completely mad. She turned back around, sighing, to face the ocean. She hadn't been staring out at the horizon line for more than three minutes when she heard the rustle again. This time, however, she forced her vision to stay forwards. She would not dignify her insanity with a response. She scowled.
"One should never watch the sunset by their onesies, ye know."
She froze. It couldn't be. It just couldn't be! Slowly, ever so slowly, she craned her neck to look up at the source of the voice. Jack smirked down at her, looking exactly as she remembered. The clothing, the hair… not a trinket was out of place.
"Jack!" As fast as she could, given her current condition, she leapt to her feet, throwing her arms around him. She inhaled his scent as she closed her eyes, not realizing just how much she'd missed him until given the chance to hold him again. She wanted to get closer, but the roundness of her belly prevented her from doing so. She felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment. Well, there was no use hiding it from him any longer. "I don't know if it's yours," she said quickly, pulling herself away from him. She folded her arms across her chest.
"Well you just come right out with it, don't you?" He looked her up and down, his eyebrow cocking.
"Jack, I'm serious." She knew how unconvincing she must have sounded, considering the waver in her voice. "I don't know…"
He smirked at her again. Half of her felt infuriated while the other half fluttered away with the breeze. She wanted to ask him how he knew she was there, how he found her. But Jack always had his ways, that she knew for certain. Asking him would likely result in a riddle she didn't know how to solve. Suddenly she thought of the leather pouches, the ones filled with coins every month. Their scent, of patchouli and rum… that scent was standing right next to her. Oh, how she should have known!
Tears sprung into her eyes and much like she did on a night seven months ago, she buried her face in her hands. "I don't know!" she cried again, wishing, praying that the child might be Jack's.
"You will." She looked up at him through cloudy eyes, sniffling as he drew closer to her. He placed one hand on the swell of her belly, the other lightly caressing her cheek. He lowered his mouth to hers, but before he could actually kiss her, the baby kicked.
A/N: Well, that's it guys! I'll leave the paternity of the baby up for debate, but I will say this: I do believe in fate and I do believe in signs (and I do, I do, I do believe in spooks!), so let the baby's kick at Jack's touch give you a pretty good indication… as if this being a Sparrabeth fic isn't indication enough!
For those of you who are reading "Shattered," I posted a new poll in my profile! Go vote!
Thanks so much for reading! Reviews are appreciated!