The End Justifies the Means . . . Or Does It?

Elizabeth stood on the wall of the fort, looking out over the sea, hardly seeing the Commodore's ship speeding out of the port after another, very familiar - horribly familiar - one, with black beams and sails.

As she watched, a steady stream of tears flowed down her face, from eyes that reflected her inner turmoil and pain. After a time, those emotions shared space with frustration, and even anger.

She had known - of course she had known, it would have been impossible to miss it, with the way Will had stared off over the ocean. That alone could have been dismissed easily enough, but he had perked up every time he saw dark sails on the horizon, face falling just as swiftly as soon as the ship came in to port.

Elizabeth had known that Will longed for the sea, and even to be a pirate - again, some might say. She could almost empathise with that desire - she herself had romanticised pirates, before she met Captain Barbossa and his men.

After an entire year of moping, and long looks out to sea, and her fiancé ignoring her, Elizabeth would have had to be far, far less clever and observant than she was to overlook his true desires. Not that Will didn't care about her, because he did - perhaps just not as much as he thought he did. Truly, though, she was a lucky woman, particularly by the standards of her class.

Will paid attention to her, he was courteous to her, he complimented her, he never stepped over the boundaries she - or her father - dictated…

Of course, after a year, and he had never even tried to overstep those boundaries…

Elizabeth had wanted him to - at least a little. She - like most women, she suspected, though she had never heard another of her own class admit to it - would have liked Will to push too hard once in a while. Would have liked to have to rebuke him for being too forward, or too demanding, or impatient - for wanting her too much.

Will hadn't even protested at being told that planning their wedding - it would be the society event of the year, at least - would take such a very long time. Elizabeth had expected him to - particularly as, well… As a blacksmith, Will couldn't have been expected to know how long a society wedding took to plan and arrange.

He had even seemed comfortable in what passed for society, here! Elizabeth - and her father - had known that Will would need to be eased into it, taught how things were…

Will, however, had settled right into it - though he still spent most of his time at the smithy, despite her efforts to persuade him it was unnecessary. He was always scrupulously clean and impeccably attired when he appeared at the Governor's Mansion, or the week's dance, or dinner party.

Many ladies her own age had fluttered around her, wondering how she could possibly have chosen a blacksmith, of all things - Elizabeth had expected that, and been prepared for their exasperating questions.

Within a week, however, they had been more interested in where they could find a man like William Turner. He charmed them seemingly without effort - and more surprising yet, as he was a very handsome man, and unfailingly polite - he charmed their mothers.

Even the plantation owners and traders of Port Royale were impressed and charmed by the clever and talented young man.

Elizabeth took a gasping breath, secure in the knowledge that no one was there to see her cry, in any case. The Commodore might have cared, she supposed, though she suspected he had rather lost affection for her after the way she had - admittedly - used him, but he was out trying to capture the ship, with its now-infamous pirates.

The ship that her Will was aboard. And he was her Will - he always would be, she was sure, if only she could get him back here to Port Royale - he cared far too much for what was right, and acceptable, to become a pirate.

Elizabeth tried to push away the tiny voice in her mind that whispered . . . horrible things. That Will might, once, have been so preoccupied, but… No more.

Will had changed after their adventure, no longer so worried about falling in with propriety, and what was 'expected' of him. Jack's influence had, no doubt, hastened that change more than hindered it, despite the man's somewhat off-putting personality.

Of course, Elizabeth had been happy to see Jack, when he returned - he had saved her life, after all, even if he was a pirate… She had known Will would be too, and had graciously told him to spend as much time as he liked with Jack, while he was there, and not to worry about her.

And Jack!

Elizabeth's hands tightened on her arms as she set her teeth in a grimace. How did Jack repay her? By stealing her fiancé away to be a bloody pirate on his crew! That's how!

Elizabeth had overheard him make the offer - a very heartfelt moment, apparently, for both of them - for all that sometimes she would have been prepared to swear that Jack had no heart, for anyone save his precious 'Pearl' . . . his freedom.

She had smiled, then, secure in herself and in her knowledge of Will. She had known that Jack giving Will the chance to sail away - a chance for freedom, even, should you choose - as Jack would, no doubt - to put it that way - would only make their bond stronger.

Will, knowing that he had declined the opportunity to sail under Captain Jack Sparrow, to become a pirate, like his father, and entirely of his own accord, Will would be happier staying with her. And, of course, be more likely to do so for the foreseeable future.

Then Will had accepted - not then, not immediately, of course, but he had eventually left with Jack, apparently on a mad whim. Elizabeth wondered when Jack's own madness had contaminated her Will, or if he had simply managed to convince Will to go along with his own whims - Will was so dreadfully easy to bend, to follow a stronger spirit's desires.

Upon discovering his absence, Elizabeth had told the Commodore - tearful and near hysterics, only a small degree of which was purposely exaggerated - that the pirates had kidnapped her fiancé. Though perhaps it was cruel to ask him to go after the man she had chosen above him, and rescue him, again, Elizabeth wasn't sorry for it, not if it would return Will to her.

Despite what she had said, though - what she had almost managed to convince even herself was truth - she knew that Will had gone of his own free will. Jack would never have taken him, not against his will - forcing him wouldn't give Jack what he wanted. Elizabeth didn't like to contemplate that facet of Jack's personality, not liking the poor reflection on herself it implied, or the conclusions one might draw.

Will must have gone willingly - and without discussing it with her first. Elizabeth wondered if he had been afraid she would talk him out of it - or guilt him out of it. The thought was somehow unpleasant, though she knew that she probably could have - at least, she could have before. After Jack had had a chance at Will, Elizabeth wasn't sure her old tricks would still work on him, or if he would have simply apologised in that terribly heartfelt manner and told her he had to go.

Instead, Will had left her a letter. A long letter, with a delicately framed apology - she could almost see his wide, earnest eyes before her as she read the words - but it was still just ink on a page . . . and all she had really gathered from his words was that he wasn't hers, not any more.


This just sort of spilled out onto the page when my beta and I were watching the end of CotBP. Elizabeth is a little difficult for me to write, and this was sort of free-form and exploratory - and odd - so I hope I got her characterisation okay.