A/N: A new, very short story. There won't be many chapters, not more than six, and they will all be relatively short. This story will be rated T until around the end, where it will be rated M, or so I'm thinking right now.

This story was written for Florencia7!!! Merry Christmas, Kate!

Disclaimer: Sorry. Nope.


Chapter 1:

Elizabeth shut her eyes and let the Caribbean wind flood past her face, dousing her in the smell of salt and freshness. She could hear the soft chatter of the crew in the background, the creaks and groans of the Pearl, and the lapping of the waved against the hull. She could see little in the darkness of the night, the lanterns and the moon giving off light that only went so far because of the overcast clouds.

Yet, what she was most aware of was the dark, passionate, haunted eyes of the man she loved trained on her back, the heat of his gaze sinking through her and warming her soul.

Against her desire to turn she stood with her hands limp on the railing, watching the sea as it moved past the ship, rippled, and then faded into the darkness. Not yet was she ready to embrace him, her mind fighting against her body's wish to be held. He'd hurt her, and she was scared that she might be hurt again.

Finally he approached her, the echo of his footsteps matching the frantic beat of her rebellious heart. When he was right behind her she spoke, voice soft and not unkind, but not inviting either.

"You should be inside, Jack. You have to heal, you have to rest."

"Lizzie." he rumbled in a husky voice that reached out with burning fingers to thaw her frozen heart. She tried in vain to put them out, not wanting to give in so easily. When she didn't turn around he sighed, then wrapped his good arm around her waist and pulled her back against his chest, locking her there. Even with having been shot in the shoulder, and so one arm in a sling, he was still magnificently strong. "I'm sorry." he told her, whispering into her ear. "I should never have left you. I'd thought it had been what was best for us, what would keep you safe...but I had been wrong. I only hope I didn't come back too late."

She shuddered, wishing to block the horrible memories of the day he'd left her on the docks of a relatively safe port and walked away from her, walked away from everything that had ever been between them. He'd broken her to pieces, and she'd hated him, but she'd never been able to stop loving him. No, never. No matter what he did, no matter how hard she'd tried to get on with her life and not think about what she'd lost, it had never worked. Her mind had been plagued with thoughts about him every single day of the past two years. "It could be." she told her, her voice slightly bitter. "I could have been happily married, could have forgotten you."

"But you aren't and you haven't." he whispered, nuzzling her neck with his nose.

"No." she said, tensing. "I should hate you." It was a wistful statement. "I shouldn't have agreed to come with you again, not after what you did." Turning suddenly on him, she hit one balled fist against his chest, and then the other followed. "You promised we would be together!" she hissed, her eyes glazed with the pain she'd fought to hide for so long. "You promised you would never leave me like that!"

"I had to. The East India Trading Company was after us, and-"

"I don't care! I'm a pirate, Jack, and you knew that! I'm Pirate King, and I'm used to running! Yet you dumped me like, like..."

"Like what?" he asked, catching her wrist as she hit him again, though more weakly than last time. His eyes were unreadable, though she didn't care. She didn't want to try and read him anymore, because when she thought she finally understood him he went and did something unexpected, like leaving her.

"Like you didn't love me." There was silence for a long moment, and when he didn't answer she sucked in a shuddering breath, the sting of rejection strong inside her. "You threw away everything when you left me standing there with nothing but the clothes on my back, Jack Sparrow. You threw away all the memories we ever had, of passion filled nights and fire-lit evenings. You tossed out the tradition of watching the sun rise and set, of holding each other close after the heat of battle...but most of all, you threw away my love for you. You treated it like it was worth nothing to you, and now I know that it isn't." Tears were now falling down her cheeks, her body wracked with grief.

He didn't move, he didn't say anything. What was there to say? He'd been so afraid that he would lose her, he had done what was best to keep her safe, and yet he'd never thought he'd hurt her so much as he saw now. He had always thought that she'd have understood, kept faith that one day, when it was safe, he would come back to her.

"Elizabeth." he mouthed in one last attempt to console and reason with her, but she shook her head.

"No. No, Jack, just leave me alone."

He studied her for a moment, sighed, and then turned, walking away from her for the second time in his life, and finding that it hurt just as much as it had the last time, maybe even more. His heart was numb; it was hard for him to tell.