Title: Freedom
Pairings: Elizabeth/Jack, mentions of E/W and W/C
Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance
Warnings
: none
Rating: PG-13/ T
Chapters: one-shot
Status: Completed
Word Count: 2139

Disclaimer: I don't own Pirates of the Caribbean nor the characters.

Summary: A talk with the Captain of The Flying Dutchman gives Elizabeth the freedom she has always desired. Post AWE, Sparrabeth.

A/N. I've re-watched all three movies during the Christmas break and this one-shot came to my mind. It was- it just needed to be written down no matter what. So here it is. Not beta-read.

xxx

„Will…"

„Hello Elizabeth." He said standing in the doorway to the captain's cabin.

"I can't say I'm surprised by this visit." she said looking at him with sad eyes. She was hugging herself, still numb from the things that has happened merely hours before. She knew he would come to collect the dead ones that has fallen during the battle. It was his job. She should be anticipating his visit, finally being able to see him after a year of separation.

But she didn't care.

She sucked a sharp breath and opened her eyes widely. No! She can't! She can't close her eyes because all she saw was the sea swallowing Jack just when the battle seemed to end in their victory. Her heart clenched painfully and hot tears prickled in the back of her eyes. How- how could she loose him once more? Hadn't she gone to the World's End just to bring him back? Hadn't they parted in peace, after The Flying Dutchman has taken Will as her new captain? Had they- had they joined their forces once more in another adventure, so he can die again in front of her eyes?! Why? Why must she lose him once more?!

She shivered, gulping for air. And Will stared back at her with emotionless face. She tried to take a few breaths in order to calm herself, then looked back at him, taking him in for the first time. His face wasn't changed, wasn't disfigured as Davy Jones' were. No, it was still as young and as handsome as she remembered. Except… except there was no warmness, neither any anger in his eyes. He should be angry. He has every reason to be angry! Yet… his face looked only motionless, his eyes indifferent, empty. And she wasn't sure what it meant.

He… he has changed.

Just like she had.

It struck her for the first time that she was actually facing the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. The One who was collecting lost souls of sailors and others fallen to the sea. He… he was not her Will anymore, the one she knew form her childhood memories. He was a different man. The pang of loss in her heart surprised her. She was sure she would not feel anything but the cold numbness after the tragic battle that took Jack away.

It was quiet around them. The storm has ended shortly after the appearance of The Flying Dutchman, but it could have been raging around for all she cared. Even the lulling sound of the waves crashing against the Black Pearl weren't able to bring her peace she carved so much. Nothing was going to be the same anymore…

Elizabeth looked back at Will, all fear of facing him was swallowed by the overwhelming numbness. She didn't care anymore what he was going to do to her, she didn't care for anything anymore… Not now, now when Jack was gone.

They stared at each other for a long while neither breaking the eye contact nor moving closer to the other. It was Will finally who broke the silence.

"Is this really what you had wanted?" his voice was quiet and indifferent.

And she felt as if he had slapped her. How-?! How could he say that?! How was she supposed to answer that…? Of course she hadn't wanted it to go this way! She hadn't wanted to betray him! She hadn't wanted to change... to crave for something more than waiting. She hadn't wanted to- to be a pirate. …Although she had. She has always wanted to be a pirate. And now that she was it has brought Jack his demise. The lump in her throat got bigger. Jack… She hadn't wanted for Jack to die. She hadn't! She- she-

"I…" She looked away. "I… don't -" She whispered, stopping abruptly.

Will gazed at her with his empty eyes, still standing in the doorway. He hadn't asked why. Why she choose this life, this path to take, but she felt she owed him an explanation.

"I…" she started in a weak voice. "I was really lonely, and utterly alone when you've sailed away on The Flying Dutchman a year ago. And Jack… Jack was the only family I was left." She tried not to excuse herself, more like make him see what it was like for her. "My father was killed by Beckett, James died protecting me and my shipmen from the bastard, and You…" her voice croaked a little. " you were on the Flying Dutchman… And I- I was alone." She put her hands around herself as if protecting, trying to gain some comfort for herself. She wasn't looking at him, her voice soft and painful. "There was no one to talk with. No one who understood what I've went through, no one to take away the numbness and hollowness of it all."

Will hadn't said anything and she wasn't sure if she should continue or not. But it was good to lose herself in the memories, it helped her ignore the numbness.

"I wish I could say I met him by accident and that it all has just happened… unplanned, suddenly, as a mistake…" she continued, and his face didn't change, still staying the same – an empty mask of a man she once knew. " But I felt confined in the small village I was supposed to wait for you. I… I needed to feel something… anything… everything…" she trailed off, then her voice got firmer.

"It was Barbossa who found me on the beach, needed my help he had said and I grasped the opportunity to feel the excitement once more. To feel the sea, the thrill of sailing and pirating, to feel the adventure once more… " she started pacing now loosing herself more and more in her memories from the past six months.

"I rolled my eyes when I learned that Jack has lost the Pearl to Barbossa once more, but I said nothing. I was in his crew for about two months. And then Jack showed up suddenly in one of the ports and I helped him take over the ship. He felt like the rightful captain of The Black Pearl. He always did. Even the crew felt that way! And you could not imagine how good it felt to maroon Barbossa!" she smiled slightly at the memory, then her face darkened. She could still feel the pulling of the scars on her back from the old pirate's whip. Jack was so furious that she was sure he'll murder Barbossa…

Jack… Her eyes prickled once more as she remembered what has happened today. The coldness embraced her once more and it reminded her that she's not alone in the cabin. She looked away from Jack's shirt laying next to the desk and gazed at Will once more.

WillSo much has changed in the past few years when she first set her foot on The Black Pearl. If only- "I… I'm sorry, Will."

He gazed hard at her with those new strange bottomless eyes of his then finally opened his mouth. "Are you really?" He voice held no accusation, it was as indifferent as his whole stance.

"I… Yes! No… Well…" she sighed resignedly "I'm not sorry it has happened. I feel- feel like myself now. But- But I am sorry for what this all changed, what it has done to us."

He looked away suddenly, something flickering in his eyes.

"You have changed." he said softly.

"So have you." She shot back quickly but without any malice. He smiled a sad smile and somehow it looked out of place on his emotionless face.

"We both did." She said, finally able to voice it aloud. She took a step toward him and said with pain. "I really loved you, Will. With whole my heart. With whole my girly heart." He looked into her eyes and she gulped, but she knew it was needed to be said. "The girl in me loved you and dreamed about you and about life with you. But-"

"But that girl within you has grown up." He finished her thoughts. And she nodded. His ability to tune himself to her way of thinking heartened her somehow.

"Aye, she did. She's grown up and the woman she become fell in love." Her eyes flickered to the wooden floor then back to his. "Will, you've been my first love. My first beautiful love, but-" she sucked breath "The sea-" she stopped and shook her head. No, she'll be honest with him. " no… Jack. Jack and what he represents is- is my true love. I can't- can't wait for you, I can't be confined in any village or town on any other place on land. I need the sea, and adventure and… and-"

"Jack." He supplied.

"And Jack." She repeated in a whisper. "He understands me like no one ever did, he- he's like the other half of me, and he- he gives me what I've always wanted- needed." She paused.

"Freedom." said another voice.

She looked behind Will and gasped in surprise. "Tia Dalma, no… Calypso." She whispered. The sea goddess was standing next to Will in her human form with tattoos and ink-stained mouth, but something …mystic was about her that Elizabeth could not grasp exactly.

"Hello Liz'beth." Calypso said smiling softly, ethereally and Elizabeth stared at her unable to look away.

"I've come here to give you freedom as well." Will said suddenly, and Elizabeth looked back at him startled.

"What?"

"I've come to give you your freedom." He said louder. "I'm freeing you from your vows to me. You don't have to wait for me. I'm freeing you from your matrimony vows. You don't have to be faithful, or feel guilty if you're not." he said emotionlessly once more, no malice, no anger at her, just plain words in a flat voice. "It's hardly fair if you do."

She looked at him with wide eyes not comprehending what he was actually telling her. "I- I don't understand." she whispered. It was Calypso who replied her.

"The heart of the capt'n of Flyin' Dutchman belon's to only one woman." As she said this, her form was surrounded by mist, no… she has become the mist, and she swirled around Will planting her hand on his chest and head. "He serves me. And he can't do it prop'rly if he feels guilty for betrayin' you. But you too wasn' faithful to him. And you were feelin' as guilty as he. I want'd the both of you to be 'appy. And…and I want'd Jack to be 'appy, too" she said with fondness but her gaze flickered to the side as if- as if she was regretting it was not he that has stabbed to heart. Elizabeth realized this and a cold hand squeezed her heart. What if it was he…?

Suddenly, the Chest with Will's heart appeared in Calypso's hands. She cradled it as if it was the most precious thing in the world and smiled beatifically. "I shoulda have been keepin' it from the beginnin'." She said then looked Elizabeth in the eyes. "Take care of ye'self. And of 'im"

In that moment Jack appeared out of thin air on the bed, and Elizabeth's eyes widened. She stood montionlessly for a second then her hands trembled, legs shook as she took a tentative step toward it. Could he-? Is he-?

"Jack!" came the strangled cry as she ran to his side cradling his head in her hands, touching every bit of his face. He was breathing! And he looked so peaceful, merely sleeping. Her gaze took in hungrily his eyebrows, the long dark lashes resting on his high cheekbones, his beautifully craved mouth, he's dark beard and dreadlocks with the chains coming out of his red bandana. He was- he was- tears clouded her vision as an enormous relief filled her whole being. She thought she has lost him to the seas! A sob wretched from her chest and the cold numbness was washed from her heart.

"Goodbye Elizabeth." It was Will's voice and she looked back at the forgotten pair that was still standing in the doorway. "Take care."

Calypso smiled at her, then sneaked her hand around Will's face and kissed the side of it, nuzzled him with her face just like lovers do. Elizabeth watched it all not exactly registering. Maybe she was supposed to feel jealous or betrayed but the only thing she felt was relief. Relief at having Jack in her arms – alive! – once more; relief at being freed from her matrimony vows to Will; relief at being able to live the life she's dreamed since she was a small girl.

A life of a Pirate.

Xxx

Fin