BY: Princess of the Pearl

SUMMARY: It only took one moment for the governor's daughter to meet the pirate. It only took one moment for her to start falling for him, one moment to lose him, and another moment to realize she never wanted to be without him again. Drabble (well, sort of).

DISCLAIMER: Jack'n'Lizzie etc. do not belong to me. I make no money from the writing of this fan-fiction.

SHIP: 100 percent Sparrabeth. Willabethers are welcome, but ye have been warned!

RATING: T (for teen)

A/N: I caught the end of AWE on television the other day and turned it on right when Jack, Elizabeth and Barbossa are going to meet Beckett, Will and Davy Jones. The idea for this little drabble-esque story instantly popped into my head and resulted in this. Enjoy!

One moment was all it took. She looked up to find a pair of dark, fathomless eyes staring down at her and she was hooked.

Elizabeth Swann spent the entirety of a year trying forget him. She was never exactly sure what it was about Captain Jack Sparrow that had her so vexed, and perhaps she would never be able to narrow it down to just one thing. There were so many things that went into the soup that was Captain Jack, each trait, each quirk more captivating and intoxicating than the next. It simply didn't seem enough to say that he was unique. But he was… he was completely unlike any man she had ever known, and she knew from the very moment she met him that no one else would ever match him for who he was. Quite truthfully, she didn't want anyone to match him for who he was. She liked that Jack was different.

Maybe it was just simple attraction. Even with all the dreadlocks and the strange assortment of trinkets he carried on his person, there was no denying that he was a handsome man. And true to Jack-form, his beauty was completely different from other men she knew. It seemed so cliché, but part of what made him so tempting was his rugged appeal. His collection of scars and tattoos, his wild mane of dark hair, the way he always smelled of sweat and salt, of hard work… It was all those self-determined things (well, mostly self-determined things) that added to his appeal rather than detracting from it. There was a physical attraction there, too, the things that he had been born with. The angles of his face looks as though they might have been sculpted by some great Renaissance-era artist. It would hardly come as a shock to know that he was a walking, breathing work of Michelangelo. Then there was his skin, a perfectly balanced tan that one just wanted to reach out and touch. It made him look so warm, so exotic.

Maybe it was his legend. Maybe meeting someone whose name carried such notoriety made him impossible to forget. Perhaps knowing that someone she had always fantasized about was actually real was just too much to handle. It seemed that every week there was a new story, a story that grew to immense, legendary-status as it swept through the Caribbean like wildfire. Whether he was sacking some port (usually without firing a shot), escaping the custody of the authorities (again), or draining a massive Spanish treasure galleon of her goods, he was always reinforcing his title. She knew that gossip had greatly embellished these stories and that some had been altogether fabricated, but that didn't change the fact that she knew the great Captain Jack Sparrow. She had been rescued from a watery grave by Captain Jack Sparrow, taken hostage by Captain Jack Sparrow, danced around a raging bonfire with Captain Jack Sparrow, shared a drink with him, witness his incredible swordsmanship firsthand, battled right alongside the Captain Jack Sparrow.

Maybe it was, despite all these things, the fact that she didn't really know him, at least on a more personal level. At that point in time, thinking he had sailed off to adventures unknown and that she was destined for a life as Mrs. William Turner, she was left thinking she would never get the opportunity to crack Jack's code. He was still an enigma, a complete mystery, a puzzle she had yet to solve. Any person could make assumptions and subsequently arrive at a plethora of solutions, but that would never be the same as really knowing him. As much as she wanted to focus on her life in Port Royale, on planning her wedding to Will and thinking about her future as his wife, Jack was always in the back of her mind. As easy as it was for everyone around her to move on with their lives and forget about the entire experience with Jack and the Black Pearl, she found herself spending every day wondering about him, where he was, how he was… was he safe? Had he been captured? How terribly ironic it was that the stories she heard so frequently before she knew him suddenly stopped, and now that she actually cared, she was left wondering. She had resigned to never laying eyes on him again, to seeing him only in her imagination, when circumstances brought her straight to him.

One moment was all it took. Just the sight of him… not even the sight of him, the sight of the back of his head, was all it took for those buried feelings to come flooding back.

She had tried to sound so brave and confident, calling his name as if she was almost annoyed to be in his presence. That would have been the easy thing to do. At that point in time, it would have been too difficult for her to admit how she felt, admit that she was glad to see him and relieved that he was alright after nearly a year of worrying. She couldn't let herself do that. She forced herself to stay focused on Will, on finding Will, which was proving quite the difficult task with Jack so close to her. At least before, being with Will was nearly effortless knowing that Jack was far away. Now, being around him again, around all those things that made butterflies flutter in her stomach, focusing on her fiancé was growing more and more difficult.

That was not to say in any way that she didn't love Will. She did, very much. But something was keeping her from loving him with all her heart, from loving him the way she knew she was supposed to, and that something was, undoubtedly, Jack Sparrow. As much as she tried to ignore it or deny it, there was something pulling on her heart, pulling her towards him. It wasn't love, at least not then, but whatever it was, it was strong enough to make her question her relationship. What business did she have marrying Will when she undeniably had feelings for another man? What kind of marriage would they have with Jack always in the back of her mind? It was so unfair to Will and the guilt she felt was unbearable. She knew that seeing Jack again only brought up the emotions she had struggled so hard to dissipate, leaving her terrified that she would break Will's heart for a man she knew did not care for her in the way she cared for him.

The days that followed her reintroduction to Jack were long and tedious. She put on her strongest front possible, succeeding in hiding any feelings that were brewing behind her stony exterior. She even went as far as to insult his hygiene. (She was in no way going to tell him that she found his scent intoxicatingly warm.) And he would never know what she really meant that one day, as the two of them sat talking on the steps that led up to the quarterdeck. She told him how ready she was to be married. He must have seen it as disappointment, but what she meant it as was confusion. She had been ready to get married, so, so ready. So where were all these second thoughts coming from? Why was she feeling this strange sense of relief, like a disaster in disguise had been prevented?

I'm not sorry.

One moment was all it took. With one kiss, she sealed his fate, and then he was gone. All it took was one moment, watching as the Black Pearl was dragged down by the crushing tentacles of the kraken, for everything to become blaringly clear.

In that single moment, it hit her like a ton of bricks. Once again, irony reared its ugly head. Only knowing that Jack was dead, that she had killed him, did she fully realize what he meant to her, how much she loved him. Yes, loved him. Her feelings for him no longer aggravated her. They no longer caused her stress or pain. She knew that a small part of what she had done had been a reflection of the avoidance of her emotions, and that made it all the worse.

She had spent months disguising her feelings, burying them, ignoring them… everything she could to feel like she was a good person, like she wasn't about to break the heart of the man who loved her more than anything. Oh, how Will would feel to know her innermost thoughts, how every single one seemed to revolve around another man. Either way, she felt like a horrible person. In trying to protect one man, she had destroyed another. She would have lost either way. But the loss she felt was completely unpredictable. Losing Jack provided a kind of hurt she had never felt before.

One moment, and she knew they were never going to be the same. Whatever she and Will might have shared, it was gone now. There would be no wedding. There would be no happily ever after, not for them together at least.

Oh. She's not told you. You'll have loads to talk about while you're here. She saw the end right there, in the way Will looked at her. She knew he must have suspected that something had happened in the moments immediately prior to Jack's death, but they had not spoken about it. In fact, they had hardly spoken at all since that day and when they did speak, it was out of necessity, and it was cold and awkward. But now he knew everything and a part of him would never trust her again the way he once did. She was a pirate. She knew that and she dealt with it. It seemed that it was he who had trouble accepting her newfound identity.

If the end of her relationship with Will hadn't been blaringly apparent to her then, it was less than an hour later. His chilly confrontation in the belly of the Pearl confirmed to her that they, as a couple, no longer existed. However, the pain she felt at this loss was not exactly the kind of pain she had anticipated. The only sorrow she felt was a reflection of her own guilt, of knowing that she had hurt someone else, someone who was good and honest and who cared about her. She still cared about him, she always would. Will would forever be a huge part of who she was and who she had become. But she had watched, rather helplessly, as her love for him went through a metamorphosis, changing into the love that a girl felt for her future husband to the love that a girl felt for a very dear friend.

She would still be there for him, when and should he need her, as she knew he would be there for her. But it would never be the same, not as it once was. She knew that later that night, when she learned of her father's death. True, it was Will who prevented her from jumping over the railing of the Pearl, but it was not him who sat with her all night. She didn't want him to, didn't want him to feel obligated. She knew he would deny such feelings, remain insistent on staying with her, but she knew better. He needed his space from her and truthfully, she needed space from him.

She spent an hour or so by herself, wondering what was left for her in this world. With both parents dead and gone and the only two people in the world she might have been able to count on completely hating her, she wished she could crawl into a deep, dark hole and stay there forever. But just when she thought she was really slipping into a black abyss, the door to her tiny, makeshift cabin swung open and in stomped Jack. He didn't say one word to her… didn't talk about what had previously happened between them, about the kiss and the kraken.

All he did was walk straight up to her and say, in a voice that was hardly characteristic of Jack, "I'm sorry." The thought of him apologizing to her, his eyes full of empathy and sincerity, was overwhelming. Thinking about the pride he must have swallowed to come anywhere near her in her time of need was devastating in its own way.

She shook her head. "No," she told him with a heavy, saturated voice, blinking her tear-clouded eyes. "I'm sorry, Jack. I'm so, so sorry."

A small, genuine smile crossed his lips. He shrugged. "Eh. Don't be. T'was better coming from you, Lizzie, than from someone else." He paused, grimacing slightly. "I don't rightfully imagine a smooch from William would have been so pleasant, anyways."

In one moment, everything went from horrendously awful to not as bad.

One moment was all it took for her to successfully break Will's heart all over again. With the rain pouring down and death seeming imminent, she was hardly surprised when he asked her.

"Elizabeth… will you marry me?"

No. No, no, no. Don't ask me that. The idea of hurting him more than she already had was unattainable. "I don't think now is the best time!" It was all she could say without totally destroying him.

"Now may be the only time!"

No. No, I can't. I don't love you like that, not anymore.

"Will you marry me?" he asked again.

She stared at him, wishing not for the first time that it wasn't raining. If it wasn't raining, then he would be able to see her tears. If it wasn't raining, he would know that her answer hurt her as well. She shook her head.


"It's over now. We can't change what's already been done. Ye have to live yer life, Lizzie." His voice was smooth and reassuring in her ear. "I never knew Will like you did. And this may be an unfair assessment. But I can assure you he'd only want you to be happy."

In one moment, with one final, drastic change, Will was gone. She couldn't help but feel like it was somehow her fault, like she had contributed to his essential prison sentence, his life (or rather, lack of life) as the captain of the Flying Dutchman. Her hands gripped the railing of the Pearl. She closed her eyes.

"Ye can spend yer time wondering what might have happened, what could have happened. Or you can move on. Either way, it's yer call, darlin'."

He was right. He was so, so right. The pain would not go away anytime soon. She'd have to go through the healing process, deal with the grief just like anyone else. But Jack was right. She'd wasted so much time already, so much time being proud, lying to herself, denying her feelings. It was time to move on. It was time to live.

"So, luv?" She opened her eyes, looking just over her shoulder to where he stood. "What'll it be?"

She took a deep breath and smiled. "I understand we've a bearing to the Fountain of Youth."

One moment was all it took. They went from lost to very lost.

"Oh, would you give me that, already?!" Elizabeth snatched the charts (or what was left of them, seeing as how Jack did an excellent job dismembering them for their own use) from his hands, eyeing them herself. She swatted away a mosquito from her arm and ignored the trickle of sweat that ran down her neck. It was hot and muggy and humid. She did not like Florida.

"Well, I got us this bloody far, did I not?" Jack muttered, swatting away a bug himself.

"Honestly, Jack, you were holding it upside down," she growled.

"I was not!" he adamantly denied.

She rolled her eyes. "This way." They began walking again.

"I refuse to take responsibility for getting us lost, ye know."

"Well, you were right," she admitted. "You did get us this far."

He laughed, slowing his pace to allow her to walk next to him. He took her by the hand. "An' ye love me for it."

This time, it was she who laughed. "I love you for more than that, Jack."

A/N: Thanks for reading! Reviews are MUCH appreciated!