RIP IT OUT

Black, tinged with red.

That was all he could see.

The prostrate form of Davy Jones lay on the shores of Isla Cruces, dagger in one hand, beating heart in the other. The ocean's waves lapped at his feet, but uncaringly; the terrible deity that had boasted control of them no longer held sway over their movements.

Jones tossed his head to one side, green eyes seeing nothing, and moaned the name of his greatest enemy, his lover.

Calypso.

She had said she would show up. She hadn't. Perhaps he should have known better by now, should have known it was in her nature...why, he had almost decided against arriving at their rendezvous point, some part of him whispering the futility of his presence there, but the sincerity--nay, the real love--in her eyes when she had made her promise an era ago compelled him to come.

The dagger rolled out of his hand. Dimly, he began to see again. The hot, unfeeling sun stared back.

He shouldn't have come. He knew that now, far too late.

Jones struggled into a sitting position. His heart beat in a steady rhythm against his palm. The chest lay open, invitingly so...if only he had the strength to move, to do more than sit here and let his emotions master him, to remember her voice, her caresses, her scent...

With a hoarse cry of rage, he hurled the pulsating thing away, far away. Why did he still love her? He wasn't worth a day out of ten years to that harridan. Hell, he wasn't even worth an hour.

Jones still recalled the horrible moment when he first realized she's not coming.

His world--and more than a bit of his sanity--had been ripped away from him, then.

She's not coming.

In a blind fury, he had cast himself on the soft sand that should have been their bed and screamed his torment to the heavens. Finally, exhausted and panting, he had collapsed and sobbed until the tears ran dry.

Then he plotted.

How best to extract revenge? Where would hitting her hurt the most?

He wanted her--that horrible, unloving, deceitful thing--to know the agony he was going through. Oh, how he had wanted it.

Never had he suspected how empty of a victory it would be.

Tired now, Jones sighed heavily and staggered to his feet. Limping over to the beating, sand-encrusted lump--for some odd reason, he couldn't feel his right leg--he reached down and picked it up. Brushing it off as he returned to the chest, he regarded it with morbid fascination.

This...was him. The source of his misery. The thing that had irrevocably pushed him down this dark path.

Jones stopped at the mouth of the ornate chest and dropped his heart into it with a wet smack, feeling a dull pain echo through his core at the impact. The lid slammed shut with heavy finality. Later on, he would return, dig it up, fill it with cast-away love letters and mementos, but now he had no way of knowing or caring.

Shipwreck Cove. That had been the meeting place for the first Brethren Court. The huge table guarded by the ancient chandelier had been the altar on which her wavering form had appeared as they chanted, Jones leading them. He had told the Pirate Lords how to enslave her, how to separate her from the one thing that gave her life meaning. The sea.

The feverish, excited chanting had drawn on for hours--she was a powerful goddess, and resisted for as long as she could--until Calypso, nude and violently shaking, shimmered into view on the tabletop. She had looked about her like a trapped animal, meeting her captors' unfeeling gazes one by one, until her frightened black eyes met his.

Outside his reminisces, Jones began to dig.

She had stretched her arms out to him, body straining against her magically-enforced chains, pleading for mercy, forgiveness, redemption, freedom.

Why, David? she had wailed, voice cracking. What have you done to me? Why? Please, David! Please!

He hadn't answered her entreaties, just rebuffed her passionate cries with a cold stare. He thought he knew it to be an act, ignoring the voice that said it wasn't. Only after they had dragged her from the room did he permit himself to leave, walking stiffly, straight and tall, until he reached the sanctuary of his quarters.

Jones threw the chest into the fresh hole and mechanically began to fill it in.

It was in his quarters that he had finally lost his war with the demons...almost.

Kill yourself, they had whispered. You have a pistol. It's not difficult. Just pull the trigger. You can do it.

But when he pressed the cold steel to his temple, he had found that he couldn't. She had betrayed him first. His actions were completely justified. So why did he feel so guilty? There was no reason to; after all, she entertained no feelings for him.

Right?

His mind couldn't help but travel to happier days, when she had whispered as he held her close avowals of her love. She had sounded so...so truthful, so honest.

She still loved him, he had realized. But did he love her, an untameable force of nature, something he could never dream of possessing?

Yes. He did.

Shovelfuls of sand soon covered the chest entirely.

Jones couldn't live with the torment that haunted him, but he would never kill himself. The only solution, then? Find the source of his unceasing torture, and rid himself of it.

The answer had been laughingly simple. His heart.

And thus, here he was. He had taken his sharpest blade and, without hesitation, carved a gaping rent in his chest. Blood--warm, sticky, scarlet blood--had accompanied the mind-blowing pain. But he had gritted his teeth and soldiered through it, until he could reach a hand in and rip the accursed thing out.

There. The last of the sand was in place. It was gone, buried hidden from the world.

But more importantly, from her.

Jones straightened up and looked around. How fitting that it should be buried in the spot where they had first met, he thought. How mockingly fortuitous.

Disgusted with himself, with her, with life, he broke the shovel across his knee and limped back to the beach. He felt in his greatcoat for his locket, the one that matched hers. Stopping at the water's edge, he flipped it open.

The now-bittersweet music wound its way around his consciousness, but didn't quite produce the effect it used to. He felt next to nothing. The mouthpiece for his emotions had been silenced permanently.

But was that a good thing?

For now, he didn't trouble himself with "buts" or "what ifs;" for now, he let the tinkling music consume him and vowed to forget Calypso--nay, to exterminate any lingering shreds of love and replace them with hate instead--if it took him an eternity.

She had betrayed him.

The music stopped, the locket clicked shut. Jones opened his empty green eyes. With an inward sigh, he looked down at the comfortingly familiar silver face--and dropped it. His hand!

Jones' breathing stopped, his mind went blank.

His hand was a crab's claw.