SUMMARY: Following the demise of Beckett and with Will's departure to ferry souls into the next world, Jack and Elizabeth are stuck between awkwardness and pure tension. What will it take to move past her betrayal and his resentment, or will they be able to move on at all? Set to the song "Warning Sign" by Coldplay.

This story is set during AWE and is meant to take the place of the scene between Will and Elizabeth, when they exchange words below deck after rescuing Jack. A little AU as, at this point, Will and Elizabeth are no longer together, but more on that when you read it! ;)

DISCLAIMER: Jack'n'Lizzie etc. do not belong to me. I make no money from the writing of this fan-fiction. All rights to the song "Warning Sign" belong to Coldplay.

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


WARNING: Smut. If you don't like it, don't read it. And Jack's a wee bit darker in this story. If you want fluff, skip to the end.

A/N: This story is dedicated, with great pleasure, to my good friend sweetness328, on the occasion of her birthday. Have a good one, darlin'! Enjoy!

Jack was tired. There was no such thing as sleep in the locker, no way to escape from his thoughts, no way to escape from his feelings. He ardently wished he had no feelings, as that would simplify things immensely, but he wasn't so lucky. He had thought that relief would find him as soon as he set sail again on his beloved Pearl, but again, luck evaded him.

After what felt like hours of bickering and childish name-calling with Barbossa, he needed to escape. The elder captain had retreated to his—their—cabin to go over some charts. A part of him thought it would be wise to stay as close to good ole Hector as possible, if only to keep an eye on him and maintain some sense of authority, but the searing sun and rapidly depleting water supply made his brain hurt. The pain started somewhere between his eyes and over the course of forty or so minutes had spread into his temples until his whole head throbbed.

When Gibbs wasn't fluttering around him like a moth to a flame and when he wasn't busy noticing the steely glare of a one Mr. William Turner, he was preoccupied with keeping his eyes on the very object of Will's affections. The golden haired temptress known as Elizabeth Swann was, once again, sharing a deck with him, and he was none too pleased about it. Considering how he had received the pointy end of the sword last time, so-to-speak, he figured he was entitled to feel the way he did. Once again, his feelings were getting in the way of his attempt to regain his sanity.

He needed to escape, needed to be away from all the questions and staring eyes. The legendary Captain Jack Sparrow had, yet again, escaped eternal damnation, and he felt like a spectacle. Normally he didn't mind all the attention, but now it was unwanted; he was exposed and it left him feeling vulnerable, a feeling he hated above all others. It seemed like every five seconds a different member of his crew was crawling up to him, asking if there was something he needed or if there was a particular task he wanted them to do. While it made him feel slightly more secure with the ship's hierarchy, it also served to make him feel socially overwhelmed. He'd gotten far too used to having only himself to talk to.

He kept a firm grip on his sword, feeling like he couldn't really trust a single soul onboard, and maintained a watchful eye over the deck as he headed towards one of the smaller storage cellars. He assumed it would be vacant and quiet and a well-welcomed escape from the dizzying heat. His dark eyes cast a final glance across the deck. He didn't see Elizabeth anywhere and a small part of him hoped she'd fallen overboard. But another part of him hoped otherwise.

Jack was a complicated man, something he himself was fully aware of. But nothing confounded him half as much as his opinion of Elizabeth. In fact, he was so mixed up when it came to her that if often left him genuinely wondering if there was something wrong with his head.

There once was a time when he was relatively indifferent to her. She was the target of every fluffy feeling Will Turner had ever felt, the very reason for every breath the naive blacksmith drew in. He agreed to help the one and only son of Bootstrap Bill Turner because, firstly, he felt he owed something to the older pirate, one of a select few individuals he had ever known that was willing to stick up for him. Secondly, he could get something out of it, namely his ship, the only thing he had, up until that point, ever truly cared about.

His mother had been a prostitute who really didn't want a child and so left him to be raised by a brothel madam, who was equally unaffectionate and unqualified to raise a child. His father had been an absent figure in his life until after he acquired the Black Pearl and Jack remained as unattached to the old man as he was to him. He had no other family, and so Bill's loyalty meant as much to him as the ship did. The ship was the first place that ever felt like home and getting it back held an equal amount of importance as paying back what he felt was a debt to the elder Turner.

But that was all beside the point. The point was Elizabeth was Will's sweetheart. She was a spoiled little rich girl, to put it plainly, who was little more to him than a bargaining chip. Sure, she was pretty to look at and fun to tease, but that was about it. His indifference to her only grew when she burnt up all the rum to save herself (or Will, as she claimed, but Jack saw things differently). Had he known that she had "fainted" at what would have been his execution in an attempt to help Will procure his escape, he might have thought differently, but he didn't, so that knowledge was of little use.

On a particularly restless night, as he lie awake in the bunk of his recently reacquired ship, his thoughts miraculously drifted back to the governor's daughter and of a balmy night the spent together in the Caribbean. The bonfire did enough to keep them warm, but a cool breeze had still permeated the air, and her undergarments did little to protect her modesty. He lay wide awake however many months later, remembering hardened nipples beneath thinning fabric, and how if he had been just a little more drunk (and her as well) he might have tried something.

A bulge slowly grew in his breeches that night as he imagined what it would have been like to take her that night, to kiss her long and hard and slide into her heat against the warm sand. He imagined how he would make her moan and writhe beneath him in pleasure, how she would grip the fabric of his shirt and how her nails would bite the skin beneath. He imagined how tight she would feel, how smooth her skin would be underneath his lips and how she would scream his name as he brought her over the edge. When he imagined what it would feel like have sweet release deep inside her, he came, and from that night on his lust for her would not let him be.

Months would go by and every fantasy he had would return to her. He knew that part of his obsession was due to the fact that she was this great unattainable being—betrothed to another and surely devoted to her handsome young fiancée, he could never, would never, have her. He might have been a pirate, but he was not the type to kidnap and force a young woman against her will. Besides, part of the fantasy was her wanting him as much as he wanted her.

He went on like this and then suddenly they were reunited. He saw her on a rickety dock in Tortuga, dressed as a young lad… dressed as a pirate. This time it was her who was in pursuit of Will, but her voice, stony with resolve and her determined nature made her more appealing than she ever had been. He made a crack about having no dress in his cabin for her to wear and while she had thought it a joke, he'd been completely serious, though he knew she'd never stoop so low as to want someone like him.

It wasn't until later, when he realized she actually thought he was a good man that things started to change… really change. Instead of lying in bed at night, hard and wanting for her and only her, he would lie there, confused and befuddled at the feelings welling up deep inside his belly. She trusted him, it seemed, thought him to be so many things that he knew he wasn't. That kind of faith made him yearn for her in a way he hadn't before, made him think that maybe he was capable of all the things she thought he was. He would never let himself blatantly think of the "L" word, but somewhere, deep in the recesses of his mind, he knew he was in trouble.

Then he made a mistake… a big mistake that cost him everything. He let himself trust her the way she trusted him. He truly believed he had an ally in her. Her faith in him had led him to think that maybe, just maybe, there was someone to stand in his corner for once. Craziness ensued, as it often did, and he was left with a choice. Stay on the Pearl and fight it out, or abandon ship and save everyone, including Elizabeth, to prove that he was worthy, that he was the man she thought he was. Mistake.

She left him to die, chained him to the mast to be devoured and used his feelings for her to her own advantage. She must have known, surely she must have known… she used a kiss to blindside him, to give him the tiniest glimmer of hope before stabbing him in the back and signing his death warrant. She was the one person who he let himself trust and then she yanked the rug out from under him. In his final moments he had been left to wonder how he'd been so stupid as to let his guard down. Questions raced through his mind… How long had she been planning this? Had she intended to get his guard down all along or did she think of this on the spur of the moment? Was Will in on it? Were they all in on it? How could she do this to him, had he not made the decision to sacrifice the ship to save her? Why not just shoot him in the head? Surely it would have been a much faster, much less cruel way to go.

Thinking about it now, how her voice sounded when she said she wasn't sorry, flooded him with a whole new range of emotions. Sometimes he was angry, at himself, at her, at Will, at anyone who was convenient enough. Sometimes he just felt depressed, reminded that he stood on his own and could not, should not, trust anyone ever. Other times he seethed… hated her for what she did to him that day and how she'd made him feel. And yet through it all, he still wanted her, still felt things for her that he had never felt for any other woman. That was what frustrated him the most… Being alone with his thoughts for so long in the locker, he'd accepted the fact that he loved her and couldn't turn it off. But it wouldn't stop him from trying.

At the current moment, as he slipped down the stairs into the belly of the ship where it was dark and cool and quiet, he was stuck in that infuriating place between love and hate. He found himself praying to a god that he didn't even believe in to relieve him of any feelings he had for her. He prayed for the days when he was indifferent. At least maybe then the pain would go away.

The storage cellar was indeed dark and cool and quiet. That's exactly why Elizabeth chose it. She didn't want to be around Will, for the guilt of no longer loving him the way he loved her was consuming. She didn't want to be around Barbossa. She still thought of him poorly, still remembering how she was held as his captive and how he would have killed her at any moment to lift his curse. And she certainly didn't want to be around Jack.

It wasn't so much that she didn't want to be around him. She found that she couldn't. If her guilt over falling out of love with Will was consuming, her guilt over her duplicity in sending Jack to the locker was suffocating, stifling to a point where she felt she couldn't breathe. The look in his eyes back on that beach in the locker, when he told all that she'd been the one to send him to his doom, was enough to confirm his feelings towards her. She didn't blame him. She hated herself for what she'd done so it was perfectly understandable that he would too.

She'd spent many sleepless nights on the way to save him wondering why she'd done it and she had yet to arrive at a reasonable explanation. She thought she was doing the right thing. She had reminded him that day that the kraken was after him, not the ship, and that was true. Perhaps he'd seen her act as selfish, as a way to save herself, but that's not what she intended. She was saving Will… Gibbs, Marty, Cotton… everyone.

Still, her justifications did little, if not nothing, to ease her sorrows. Almost from the minute they'd met her mind had been consumed with thoughts of him. Though in the first initial months of his departure those feelings conflicted, they steadily became more obsessive. Between approving the menu for her wedding, deciding on flowers and seating arrangements and a cake, even helping to design her own dress, she thought of Jack.

Two weeks before her union to Will was to take place, she realized something devastating. While it was true that she loved Will and trusted him perhaps more than she'd ever trusted anyone, she was not in love with him. He was a constant in her life, a friend since the tender age of twelve… her first, really… that was why she had allowed herself to believe that she was in love. Coupled with the fact that he was undeniably handsome and unwaveringly loyalty to her (not to mention to bravery he exhibited and the lengths he went to in order to save her), it was perfectly understandable how this, her engagement, had unfolded. Besides, Will was a happy alternative to James Norrington, her father's choice of a husband. She'd gotten caught up in it all, allowed herself to think that her platonic affections for Will were more than they were. It broke her heart to think that she couldn't truly return his affections.

Still… maybe she could grow to love him. Many arranged marriages, such as her parents', evolved into loving unions. And Will would be a good husband, kind and brave and loyal. There was no loss in marrying him and she couldn't back out now and destroy him, especially after all he'd done for her. So she would go through with it. She would do the right thing and marry Will Turner. If anything, he would remain a cherished friend and be an excellent partner.

However, all those things set aside, it couldn't stop her mind from wondering. She promised herself that she would go through with it and be loyal to her blacksmith. She could do a hell of a lot worse than Will Turner. Not to suggest that there was anything wrong with him, quite the opposite. Many girls would be thrilled to take his name. She just didn't love him, plain and simple. It wasn't until several nights before their nuptials would have taken place that her world began to change.

A warning sign
I missed the good part, then I realized
I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses

She had a dream, a vivid, incredibly real dream in which she returned to her bedchamber to find the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow waiting for her. He said nothing, didn't need to, but only crossed the short distance between them. Placing his hand on the back of her neck, he pulled her into an intensely passionate kiss. She wasn't offended or afraid or resistant in the slightest bit. She wanted him, all of him, and just as he was about to make her his, she woke up.

Everything changed after that. Her contented opinion of Will began to change. Her feelings towards him remained the same. He was still her most trusted friend, but the idea of marrying someone she didn't really love began to panic her. In the remaining days and hours before their wedding, she found herself coming up with reasons to not see him… she was having a dress fitting, she needed rest from all the planning… anything to avoid seeing him. Her blissful world had shattered.

The very night before her wedding she lay awake with a pit in her stomach. Her mind had been feverishly overwhelmed with thoughts of Jack, thoughts that made her feel ashamed and exhilarated at the same time. She imagined how his lips would feel against her neck, how the stubble of his beard would tickle her skin. She imagined how the beads in his beard would feel along her bare stomach as he dipped lower and lower… she imagined his calloused hands cupping her breast. She imagined what it must feel like to have him inside her, to feel his weight on top of her as he slid in and out. On the eve of her wedding to Will, she brought herself up and over the edge while fantasizing about Jack.

As it turned out, the wedding wouldn't happen. Will would be arrested, as would she, for helping Jack. Once again she found herself frustrated with the pirate rather than aroused by him. All that would change in another brief instance, however, when her father helped her escape from prison and she set off the save Will, just as he had set off to save her. The very instant she saw Jack, even before he recognized her, she was again set aflame.

That night, her first night back on the Black Pearl, she was more than tempted to tell Jack everything. She couldn't help but feel like if she told him, got it out of her system, then maybe it would go away. Maybe one night with Jack would be all she needed to get over him… not that she loved him or anything. He was just a fantasy, an object of desire. Nonetheless, thoughts of him were consuming her, and she was desperate to get it out.

Come on in
I've gotta tell you what a state I'm in
I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

But she wouldn't say anything. Not ever. She let the tension stand, enjoyed their shameless flirting and witty banter. It wasn't until the very end, when it was just the two of them left on the Pearl and she locked eyes with him that she knew it was no longer just about lust. His eyes were said, his voice low. She knew she loved him then, but it wouldn't change anything. She knew what she had to do… it was the only way, the only way the rest of them would ever have a chance. Had Jack left with them in the longboat the kraken would have found them and consumed them all. She couldn't let that happen.

So she kissed him, and not just as a mark of her deception. She knew it would be her only chance to ever do so. The fact that her kiss was what gave her the leverage she needed is what hurt the most, for the moment her lips touched his she felt something go through her. She would never be able to marry Will, even if she could never have Jack. But knowing that that kiss meant so much more to her than what it was, what Jack must have thought it was, was the real torture.

The minute she clicked the manacle shut around his wrist, she regretted it. She told him she wasn't sorry, a lie. He told her she was a pirate, which wasn't a lie. What she truly wanted to do was kiss him again, sacrifice herself so he wouldn't have to go it alone, but she was a coward. She fled and left him behind and she hated herself for it. As she floated away in the longboat with Will and the remaining members of Jack's crew, she felt sick. She'd just sent the man she loved to his death and she was instantly left with a hole in her heart.

When the truth is, I miss you
Yeah the truth is, that I miss you so

She ached after that. She ached nearly every minute of every day until she saw him again, and not just from her own self loathing. True, she despised herself for what she had done to him, prayed she had been strong enough to go down with him. It still astounded her, even now, sitting alone in the darkness, how quickly she had gone from lust to love. She almost didn't trust herself considering how confused she'd been over her feelings for Will. But the hurt she felt at losing Jack left little room for doubt.

At that point she had nothing. She'd ended things with Will, broken his heart. But she couldn't go on living the lie she'd been living since she had that dream about Jack so many months before. It wasn't fair to him, especially after he'd been nothing but good to her. She needed a clean slate. She didn't expect anything would ever happen with Jack, not ever. However, she couldn't go on as she had been.

She was preparing herself for another round of self pity and guilt when she heard the cellar door creak open. She instinctively darted behind a tower of rum barrels and watched as the narrow stairwell flooded itself with light from above. A pair of heavy boots trudged about three quarters of the way down. She stood there, peering out, halfway between embarrassment and fear, as Jack sat down and let out a heavy sigh.

She didn't know what to do. A part of her was screaming at herself to stay hidden, to not incur the wrath that he was surely feeling. The other part of her encouraged her to make her presence known, to go to him and do whatever it took to make amends. Before all this had happened, she'd had so many opportunities to make something happen with Jack, no matter how significant or insignificant it would have been. But she'd missed her chance and she suddenly felt determined to not let it happen again, even if he shot her down.

A warning sign
It came back to haunt me, and I realized
That you were an island and I passed you by
And you were an island to discover

Elizabeth watched him intently as she began to move out from her hiding spot. He looked tired and discouraged as he rubbed his temple, then reached for a flask on his belt. He tilted his head back to take a drink, but it was empty. She jumped when he threw the empty container, frustrated, into the darkness of the cellar. She paused for a moment, wondering if approaching him was a good idea after all, but she pressed on anyways.

"Hello," she said quietly, standing a safe enough distance away as she clasped her hands behind her back. She was afraid that if she kept her hands in front of her, he would see them shaking. She didn't want him to see how intimidated she was.

"Christ," Jack muttered, his dark eyes flashing away from her. "Is there not a single unoccupied spot on this whole bloody ship?"

Elizabeth didn't know what to say. Should she apologize? Should she leave? Should she just sit down and not say anything? Why hadn't she come up with something better to say than just hello? There once was a time when she could hold her own with Jack, when she could hit back just as hard. But not now. She didn't have the energy or the resolve to fight fire with fire.

"I'm glad you're here," she said timidly, forcing the tiniest of smiles onto her face. "I've been wanting to talk to you." Every word that came out of her mouth she felt sounded ridiculous. Nothing she could say would take away what she'd done.

"I bet you have," Jack grumbled, pushing up off his seat at the bottom of the stairs and then pushing past her. She turned slowly and watched him as he disappeared into the shadows in what she assumed was the pursuit of his discarded flask.

"We haven't had the opportunity to be alone yet," she reminded him, watching him as he rooted around in the darkness.

"Ye don't say," he said flatly, essentially ignoring her presence. "Ah!" he chimed, grasping onto the flask and quickly tucking it back underneath his belt. "Got it." He straightened up and could see her standing less than four feet away, wringing her hands together nervously. A part of him felt bad for her, truly sorry that she felt so unhinged around him. But the other larger part of him was still so angry with her for what she'd done that he just didn't care. "Well, Miss Swann… I've some captainly duties to attend to, so if you'll excuse me—"

He went to brush past her again, but she grabbed onto his elbow. Out of sheer instinct (given what happened the last time they had bodily contact), he tore away from her, spinning so that they were facing each other. He wasn't ready to turn his back to her yet.

Elizabeth saw a flash of fear behind his eyes followed by a twinge of anger, which she knew was a direct result of that fear. She knew him to be a proud and guarded man and what she did made him feel vulnerable, something he clearly wasn't handling well. Yet she didn't blame him.

"Please don't go," she quietly begged, struggling to maintain her composure.

Jack let out another sigh, though this one seemed more agitated than the one before. "Don't you have a blacksmith to attend to, Lizzie?"

She lowered her face from his, wondering whether or not to tell him. She decided she would… a little honesty was the least she could provide him with. "No." She shook her head, wrapping her arms around her body as if she were cold. "We're not together anymore."

"Ah," Jack took a step towards her, a feral grin spreading across his face. He took a step towards her, taking obvious satisfaction in her misfortune. Again, she didn't blame him, but she didn't realize that he was pleased not because she was suffering, but because it made her fair game once again. "No longer affianced, eh?" He crept closer to her, she took a step backwards. "And did your impending union dissolve before or after he found out he was engaged to a charming murderess?"

"It didn't end like that," she insisted, continuing to back up as he kept coming towards her. "I ended it, not him." There was fire in his eyes, an angry energy she'd never seen before. She was almost afraid of him, remembering that he was still a pirate, still capable of many things she never thought he'd do.

"Wanted another taste, did you?" He whispered, his voice low and throaty. "Once you tasted Jack you couldn't ever go back to young Mr. Turner, could you?" She was about to continue insisting otherwise when her back collided against the cellar wall. Jack's hand planted itself firmly next to her head, effectively pinning her beneath him and the wood behind her head. "Not man enough for you, eh?"

Come on in
I've gotta tell you what a state I'm in
I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

"Jack," she said his name slowly, as if it would snap him out of it. "You're not behaving like yourself."

He reeled back a little bit, realizing he was scaring her. The half of him that was so angry and hurt over what she'd done had overhauled the part of him that genuinely cared about her. But he couldn't stop himself, couldn't control how out of hand he'd gotten.

"Perhaps I'm not myself," he whispered, edging his lips closer and closer to hers until he could feel her unsteady breathing against his face. "Perhaps I'm something else… perhaps the real Jack is back in the locker where you sent him."

"Jack, I'm sorry," she managed to squeak out, before he cut her off again.

"How long had you been planning it, hmm?" He asked, bringing his fingers up to trace her jaw. He watched as her eyelids fluttered shut, though from something other than fear. "How long did you plot my demise?"

"I didn't," she persisted, her voice cracking. This was a darker side of Jack, something she'd never seen before. She was completely intimidated, almost afraid of this new menacing side that was so new. But part of it thrilled her, part of her wanted to kiss him into a frenzy, wanted him to weave his hand into her hair and take her right there in the cellar. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

"No you're not," he said, moving his mouth until it was beside her ear. "You told me yourself, remember?" He let his hand drift down from her jaw, the backs of his fingers falling down the side of her throat. When he reached the top of her shoulder, he let the flat of his palm trace a feather light touch all the way down her arm until he came to grip her waist.

"Jack…" Elizabeth closed her eyes again, too unsettled by him to look him in the face. The sensation of his hand on her waist, his possessive hold on her was both frightening and exhilarating.

"Tell me you don't want me, Lizzie-Beth," he whispered. "Tell me to stop." He wanted her to think he wasn't going to stop, wanted her to think he would keep going regardless of what she said. Truth be told he would never, under any circumstances, force her to do a single thing she didn't want to. He cared about her too much to cause her that kind of misery.

For her it was a reminder that behind it all, he was still Jack. He was still the good man she knew him to be and she felt relieved and saddened at the same time. She wondered if she would ever see that Jack again. She longed for him, longed for this to be everything she had always fantasized it would be. But she couldn't tell him to stop. She was too far gone to tell him to stop.

When the truth is, I miss you
Yeah the truth is, that I miss you so

"Don't stop," she encouraged him, "Jack, don't stop." It was all he needed. He let his hand slip under her clothing, moving back up towards her chest where she had bound her breasts. His hand gingerly moved over the binding there, his thumb moving in slow circles until he felt her nipple harden beneath all the excess fabric.

"You should never bind these, Lizzie," he encouraged. "Never hide what God gave you." His hand moved down again, traveling down to the juncture between her legs. He let it rest above her undergarments, relishing in how she quivered beneath his touch. She opened her eyes and they locked with his. Having her stare at him, so trusting and so willing, made something shoot through him.

"Kiss me, Jack," she begged, finally feeling brave enough to place her hand against the flat of his chest. Having her hand there, knowing she could likely feel his heart beating, made him suddenly feel like this was wrong. In an instant, the part of him that wanted some form of revenge began to fade away. In an instant, he knew this wasn't just lust or an unattainable fantasy. He loved her. He loved her absolutely and he would be damned if he took advantage of her emotional stage in a storage cellar. This was not going to happen, not like this.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, quickly removing his hand from her most delicate spot. "I can't." He took a step back and watched as her face dropped, her lips parting in what must have been a mix of frustration and shock. He knew in that moment that if he wanted to hurt her, he'd done it, and he hated himself for it. Despite everything, despite what she'd done, he hated himself for it.

She said nothing, leaving him to watch as she tightening her clothing around herself as if suddenly feeling utterly exposed. Something inside him began to hurt as he saw her eyes well up with tears.

"This was a game to you," she said quietly, a statement, not a question.

"It wasn't," he promised. He wanted to tell her he was sorry again, that he didn't mean for it to go that far, that he wanted her, genuinely. But the words wouldn't come. She just stared at him for a few moments before stifling a sob and fleeing. He didn't even turn to watch her go.

And I'm tired, I should not have let you go

The rest of the day came and went with relative quietness. Jack was able to avoid Elizabeth and Will both, a feat he was truly pleased with. He was overwhelmed… his opinion of Elizabeth had changed so suddenly and so drastically that he felt a strong desire to drink himself into a stupor. And he was going to. But the ship slipped deeper into the locker, trapped in a sea of lost souls, one of them being her father. In another rapid instant, everything changed.

To see the devastation on her face when she game to grasp that her father was dead was in itself distressing. She flew into Will's arms upon realizing the grisly truth, that he'd been murdered, and once again Jack was left to watch. Not that it bothered him. Sure, he wanted to be the one she came to, but given their earlier encounter, he didn't blame her in the slightest. And he wanted her to do what comforted her most. He could only imagine what Will was going to do to him when he found out what had happened.

He sat now in the bow of the ship, a rum bottle firmly grasped in his hand. Once again, he was torn between two halves of himself. One half wanted to be near her, just in case she changed her mind and perhaps needed him. The other half felt it wise to stay far away. He let his head fall back as he looked up at the stars.

He was about to take another swig from the bottle when he heard footsteps approach. He looked up and over his shoulder to see Barbossa standing beside him. To his surprise, the older captain slid down and sat beside him, his ever present monkey coming to settle on his knee.

Jack could have picked a fight with him, but he chose not to. He was too tired for it. "Come to drink away yer woes, mate?" he asked, carelessly passing the bottle to his longtime adversary.

"A fitting end for a troublin' day," Barbossa sighed, accepting the bottle gladly. He tilted his head back and took a long drink. Jack watched, nostrils flared, as his precious rum disappeared down the throat of the older man. "Thank ye, lad," he said, passing the bottle back. Jack grimaced and set it down beside him. "But that's not why I came."

"Oh?" Jack feigned interest. "What, then, do I owe to the honor of your charisma?"

"The girl. S'been a rough night for 'er."

"Evidently," Jack concurred, surprised at their civility. "She's got William to dry her tears."

"No," Barbossa sighed. "She sent him away 'bout an hour ago. S'been alone since."

Jack closed his eyes, torn between two different concepts of the right thing. "She won't want to see me," he finally said.

"An' what makes ye think that?"

Jack grunted. He did not want to be sharing this with Barbossa. "We had an… incident. Earlier."



"Well, per'aps this is an appropriate opportunity to correct said incident."

"Doubtful," Jack said quickly.

"Oh, Jack," Barbossa snapped his fingers and the monkey shot off his knee and onto his shoulder. Jack jumped and fought the urge to grimace again. "You always think you have the answers. Maybe that's the problem." Without another word, Barbossa disappeared back from where he came.

Elizabeth was glad, not for the first time, that there wasn't a mirror in the makeshift cabin she'd created for herself. Her face was the last she wanted to see at the current moment. The bunk he had was small, yet cozy and warm. She lay with her back to the door, unaware that she hadn't locked it when she asked Will to leave earlier. She was emotionally exhausted, too tired to care anymore about Jack or anyone else. She was alone, truly alone. Her father, gone… her mother, gone… Will, Jack… both gone.

She'd stopped crying hours ago, too tired to do even that. Yet sleep would not take her. It would be so easy to slip off the back of the ship, to fall unnoticed into the black, inky water below. Maybe then relief would find her. But yet again, she was too tired to move, too tired to care enough to get up.

She heard the door click open behind her and she was about to whirl around and yell at Will to leave her be when she saw Jack. Their eyes locked and he stood, almost stunned, before she let out a deep breath and turned around again to face the wall.

"What do you want?" she asked in a heavy, saturated voice.

"Came to see how you were doing," he said quietly, removing his hat and fiddling with the rim as he stood there. Their situation was an almost perfect reflection of what had occurred earlier, their positions the only thing changed.

"You care?" She didn't wait for him to answer as she sighed another heavy sigh. "You don't care."

This time it was Jack who sighed. "Lizzie…" he paused. Would anything he said even matter? Should he even try? He glanced up at the low ceiling and, against his better judgment, continued on anyways. "I didn't really have parents," he admitted, "so I can't rightfully say I know how you feel. But I'm around for an ear and a drink if you care to talk."

He turned away from her, genuinely wishing he had something better to say to her. His hand was inches away from the doorknob when he heard her speak.

"How does one not have parents?" she asked. He glanced over his shoulder to see that she'd turned around, her puffy eyes and tear stained cheeks facing him.

"Well," he shrugged, moving towards her a little too quickly. He stopped when he saw her inch backwards against the wall. "I had parents. I just didn't know them."

"Oh," she said, looking away from him again. "I'm sorry."

"S'no matter," he insisted, flashing a small grin. An uncomfortable silence fell between the two of them.

"You didn't let me finish earlier," she finally said. "That was rude of you."

He listed forward. "S'pose it was." She stared at him, the stony, stubborn resolve he loved so much about her finally returning. "You can finish now, if you like."

Elizabeth felt her heart pound a little harder in her chest. She hadn't expected him to say that. "Sit," she finally demanded, sitting upwards herself and patting the bunk beside her. Her firmness surprised her. She didn't quite know where this was coming from. Sometimes her complexity confounded her and she wondered if Jack ever felt the same way. It hit her then, how perfectly matched they were, and once again she was overwhelmed by him.

He obeyed, their awkward, uncharacteristic meeting bewildering him. When he sat on the bunk beside her, she turned in to him. "You were saying, then, Miss Swann?"

Elizabeth paused, scowling at him. She crossed her arms, partially astonished that losing her father had brought so much strength. "First of all, I don't want to hear you ever call me Miss Swann ever again. Am I making myself clear?"

Jack swallowed, himself astonished at how bold she was being, given what happened earlier. Even more astounding was the fact that he found himself unable to deny her anything, falling subservient to her every demand. "Yes… Elizabeth." He finally said, clearing his throat.

"My father called me Elizabeth," she said firmly.

"Lizzie," Jack corrected.

"That's better." She was able to maintain her tenacity, but deep inside she was thrilled to hear him call her that. It wasn't so much that her father called her Elizabeth… it was that everyone called her Elizabeth, or Miss Swann, two names she had grown to detest the formality of. Jack was the only one who ever dared to call her Lizzie, or Lizzie-Beth, or sometimes even Liz. And she loved him for it.

She got lost for a moment, staring at him, studying him, taking in all the things about his face and features that she adored. Finally, he cleared his throat and she was shaken from her reverie. "Where was I?" she asked.

"Lizzie," he said, adding a simple smile.

"Oh yes. Second of all, I am going to finish what I started to say in the cellar earlier and you are not going to interrupt me like you did before. I have had perhaps one of the worst days of my entire life and I'd like to finish before you barge in with all your ideas on who I am and why I did what I did."

"Alright." Jack had to fight himself not to grin. He wanted to obey her every word, truly. Her strength and obduracy and determination were things that he admired so much about her, things that he rarely saw in other women. He was reminded as she sat, stone cold and bossy, why he loved her. He himself was naturally stubborn and pig-headed, but his desire to watch her persistence was enough to quell his own desire to override her.

She took a deep breath and when she spoke he was surprised to hear that the tone in her voice had softened. She seemed more like the broken and defeated Lizzie he'd encountered earlier in the day, the one he had so easily taken down. "I am sorry for what happened, Jack," she said quietly. She looked down at her hands and began to shake. That spot deep within Jack's chest once again began to hurt. "You'll never know how sorry," she continued, her voice straining with the effort to speak. "You must know it wasn't planned. The idea came to me so quickly… I did what I did because I thought it was the right thing, I never wanted to… to…" She couldn't finish as the emotion of it overcame her. She covered her mouth with her hand as the tears began to fall.

"Alright, now," he whispered. He instinctively scooted forward and took her in his arms, relishing at the feeling of actually holding her in a way that was innocent and sweet, not perverse and twisted as it had felt earlier. She shook in his arms, overcome by a multitude of emotions circling around him and her father and everything else she'd lost since the very day James Norrington proposed to her.

"I'm sorry, Jack," she finally said when she was able to compose herself. "I'm so sorry."

"Now, Lizzie," Jack said, being careful to call her by her nickname of choice. He pushed her back slightly and yanked a handkerchief off his belt before tenderly dabbing her wet cheeks with it. "I'm going to tell you something that every pirate should know. You are a pirate, aren't you?" He looked down his nose at her, forcing a humorously preposterous look on his face.

Elizabeth let out a small smile at this. "I suppose I am." She took the handkerchief he offered and twirled it between her fingers as she sniffled.

"That's what I thought," he said, theatrically curling the ends of his mustache. "Now. This is the first rule of pirating, so pay attention, as I'm only goin' to tell you this one time." He paused for dramatic effect. "Pirates. Do not. Apologize. Ever. Not ever. Do you understand?" He watched as she swallowed hard. "Have you ever heard of a pirate, Lizzie, who apologized for sacking a port? Have you ever heard of a pirate who apologized for plundering a Spanish treasure galleon or an English merchant ship?" He waited until she shook her head. "I thought not. So don't you ever dare apologize to me again. Captain's orders."

"Aye, Captain," she said, sniffling and then feigning seriousness. He nodded, satisfied with his lesson. She cleared her throat, gathering her strength before speaking. "You interrupted me again."

"I suppose I have," Jack sighed. "Well," he sat up straight. "Seeing as how I can't apologize, bein' a pirate and whatnot… what can I do to make it up to you, luv?"

She smiled at him, a small, sweet smile. When her glistening eyes met his dangerously dark ones, she felt that heat once again return to her core, felt the desire she'd been battling for months creep into her belly. Mustering the rest of her strength, she leaned forward, her delicate fingers coming up to trace the arch of his eyebrow before falling away as the slid down his cheek. "Finish what you started earlier, Jack," she commanded, her voice resolute and unyielding.


"Why did you stop?" she asked, ignoring the hesitation in his voice.

He closed his eyes and breathed her in as she drew closer to him. "Because…" he sighed. "Because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Because the cellar is an awfully soggy place to… you know… for the first time…"

"We're not in the cellar anymore," she pointed out, the tip of her nose brushing against his as she locked her fingers into his tangled hair.

"A valid point… but, Eliz—"

Before he could finish his sentence, she pressed her mouth against his, finding the oddest sense of relief in his kiss. It was as if something she had been inadvertently searching for finally found her, an overwhelming sense of completeness surging through her. It was as if she had finally figured out where she was always meant to be. His head moved forward, his arms snaking around her waist as his tongue sought entrance into her mouth. She willingly obliged, tasting rum as their kiss deepened, moaning into him as she felt herself losing control.

"Elizabeth," he finally said, pulling away from her when the need for air became too imperative to ignore. "We don't have to do this," he assured her, the gentlemen in him a welcome yet annoying surprise. "Just say the words an'—"

She interrupted him by placing her fingers against his lips. "Jack," she said softly, leaning her forehead against his. When she spoke again, her voice was firm and mildly threatening. "If you ask me to tell you to stop again, I'm going to cut it off and use it myself." The strength and impropriety behind her statement sent a fresh wave of excitement to his loins, giving him all he needed to continue.

He kissed her again, this time a more pressing urgency making itself apparent. She began to undress him as he kissed her. Knowing he had more to remove than she, he let her get a good start, determined that they unveil each other at the same time. She somehow managed to finish first, however, falling to her knees on the floor to strip him of his boots. He watched with great affection as she carefully arranged his pistol and sword, compass and accessories, in a neat pile beside the bunk.

She looked up at him, her eyes the marker of her arousal… he'd never seen them so dark. She was wearing nothing but her breeches and the fabric that bound her breasts, an invigorating sight, indeed. Her eyes darted between him and his fully hardened member, her hands placing themselves on each of his knees.

In a brief instant, the courageousness she seemed to carry faded, and her voice was quiet and small as she said, "I don't… I've never done this. I don't know what to do."

Jack smiled at her, leaned forward, and kissed her long and deep before tucking her golden hair out of her eyes. "Yes you do, luv. Trust your instincts." She smiled back at him and he watched her, eager almost beyond control, as she tentatively reached out and took hold of him. Within moments, she firmed her grip and he sucked a breath in sharply through his teeth. The notion that it was her who was touching him made the sensation all the more incredible.

Her hand slowly pumped up and down, her eyes watching him with accelerated enjoyment. The noises he was making were enough to set her on fire and she could feel the moisture pooling between her thighs. His voice echoed through her head as she worked… trust your instincts. She waited until he closed his eyes in bliss, wanting so badly to take him by surprise. When she was sure that they were in fact closed, she leaned into him, taking the very tip of him into her mouth and swirling her tongue.

He let out a guttural moan then, following with "Christ, Lizzie…" It took all he had to not fall back on the bed, but he wanted to watch her, wanted to see her as her wonderfully warm mouth moved up and down on him. She moved slowly at first, adjusting to the new sensation of having him inside her mouth. As she became more comfortable, however, she began to move faster, taking more and more of him in.

She delighted in the raggedness of his breath, taking immense pleasure in the simple fact that she was pleasuring him. It astounded her how doing this to him made her feel, how it made her want him even more. She hadn't even known she could want him more than she already did. She could feel him pulsing, throbbing, fighting the urge not to push all of him into her mouth, though a part of her wished he would. Suddenly he jerked forward and pushed her away, his breathing a sign that he was fighting with himself to stay in control.

Elizabeth looked up at him with wide eyes, fearful that she'd done something to hurt him. "What is it?" she asked, wiping the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand. "Did I do something… wrong?"

"No, Lizzie," he said, a wicked grin curling onto his lips. "You did everything right… so right, in fact, that I needed ye to stop so the night didn't end prematurely, savvy?" She smiled at him, wanting to feel more of him, wanting his mouth and lips all over her.

"Stand up," he firmly commanded, and she felt another wave of excitement brush over her at the authority in his voice. She did as she was told, holding onto his shoulders for balance as he slipped off her breeches and undergarments. She had expected to feel embarrassed and exposed, but she didn't. She wanted him to see her, wanted him to drink her in.

"Come to me, Lizzie," he instructed, smiling at the sight of her and pulling her into his lap. She straddled him and for a brief moment felt his hardness brush up against her bare, slick, sex, something that elicited moans from the both of him. Regaining his composure, he breathed in deep through his nose before beginning to unravel the fabric around her breasts. As layer after layer began to disappear, she began to feel more anxious, knowing she must not be as ample as other women he'd bedded. Sensing her growing stiffness and discomfort, he leaned forward, pausing his actions to lay a trail of kisses up her neck. "Yer beautiful, darlin'. Don't ever think otherwise." Feeling truly beautiful and desired, she relaxed and leaned into him, wrapping her arms around his neck as he undid the last of it.

He shifted sideways and laid her on her back, drinking her in with a satiated grin on his face. "So beautiful," he repeated, brushing the hair out of her face. He leaned down over her and kissed her, one hand moving down to a respite against her breast. She moaned into his kiss as he began to gently massage the tender skin there, pinching and tugging at her nipple before focusing his attentions on the other breast.

She began to feel more and more aroused, wanting more of him, all of him. She let out a moan of disappointment when he left her lips, craving him as he slowly moved down her body. His mouth took the place of his hand at her breast. She cried out and weaved her fingers into his hair, arching against him as his mouth and hand took turns between her two breasts. After several satisfying moments of this he moved further down, lightly scratching at her belly with his facial hair.

When he reached her thighs, he left another trail of kisses at the tender skin there before looking up at her with dark, lustful eyes. She nodded her approval though her heart was beating so hard she was sure it would break through her chest. "Breath, luv," he said quietly, leaving her to wonder how he always knew. She nodded again and leaned back against the pillows, closing her eyes. When he tasted her for the first time, the sensation was such that she jerked upwards and cried out. She covered her face with her hands, embarrassed, but Jack once again managed to steady her nerves by placing one hand on her flat, smooth belly.

He continued on, his mouth and tongue kissing her in a place that she never imagined Will being brave enough to traverse. She jerked again against Jack's mouth, crying out his name and wedging her fingers between his dreadlocks. She felt him smile against her but the feeling there was so intense that it quickly gave way. He continued onward, adding a finger, then two, slipping in and out of her slickened center. She couldn't take it anymore and she screamed her pleasure, bucking against him as he carried her over the edge. Feeling hot and sweaty, she was almost unaware that he had climbed back up her body until she felt him kiss her cheek. Wanting more, she wrapped her arm around his back, tasting herself on his tongue.

"More, Jack," she pleaded, "I need more."

"Then more you'll have," he promised. She felt him position himself over her, propping his weight up on one elbow and using his other hand to guide his glistened tip to her wet entrance. "This will hurt, luv," he warned her, "but I promise it won't last more'n a moment. And if it's too much, I'll stop."

"Don't stop," she begged, grasping onto him. "Don't ever stop."

Jack nodded and leaned forward, placing an astonishingly light kiss atop her forehead. He shifted to the side, his mouth level with her ear, and in a moment he was sheathed within her. The pain was not nearly as unbearable as she had anticipated, but it still rocketed through her body in a way that stole her breath. Her nails dug into his skin and she heard him hiss with pain. Within moments, however, the pain subsided, and when he felt her relax he began to move.

Slow at first, so as to let her adjust, he began to move faster as her breathing increased. He met her mouth in a bruising kiss, tongues swirling together and teeth colliding as their passion increased. He hit a spot deep within her that she didn't even know she had and the sensation was so exquisite that she cried out her pleasure, screaming his name before cursing, "Fuck me, Jack!"

Jack laughed, slowing only momentarily as he buried his face in her neck and licked the tender skin there. "Such vulgar language, and from a proper lady, at that."

"I'm hardly the proper lady you believe I am," she reminded him, playfulness in her eyes as their lips once again mashed together. "I'll remind you that I've lived on a pirate ship for some time now. You'd be surprised at the things I've learned."

"You'll have to show me some time, sweet Lizzie," he whispered, his voice nearly hoarse before he began to move faster, thrusting into her at a frenzied pace.

"Jack… Jack!" she panted, tilting her head backwards and closing her eyes, leaving her neck exposed. He again kissed and licked the skin there, loving the vibrations he felt when she moaned at his attentions. She could feel all her pleasure building and in a moment that came so fast, he again sent her over the edge. She cried his name a final time, going rigid beneath him as she came.

For his part, the sheer sensation of her climaxing around him was all it took to send him to his own sweet release. He pulled out of her just in time, spurting onto her legs and belly. He frowned, feeling as though he'd soiled her, before reaching around for the handkerchief she'd previously discarded. He gently wiped it away before tossing the cloth to join the pile of clothing opposite the bunk.

Elizabeth gazed up at him with sleepy eyes, a contented smile on her face that overwhelmed him. When he thought of how he'd allowed himself to hate her only hours earlier, it only served to make him hate himself. He rolled to his side and without saying anything, tucked his arm under her backside and pulled her so she was resting comfortably in the crook of his arm. He stroked her hair, a silent way to remind her that it would all turn out alright after their tumultuous day, until he heard her breathing steady. When he was certain she had drifted off, he closed his eyes, allowing himself to fall asleep as well.

Elizabeth awoke at what she assumed was the next morning, or possibly very late that same night. There was no window in her makeshift cabin and it was too dark to see the small clock on the opposite wall, one that had, no doubt, been pillaged in one of Jack's excursions.


She had awoken to find herself nestled against him, the small bunk barely containing the both of them. As her eyes adjusted, she looked up to see him sleeping, his fine features relaxed and peaceful. She delicately ran one hand up his chest, lightly tracing the bullet holes that remained as scars far too close to his heart. She leaned into him, placing a feather-light kiss on his tan skin. He shifted and stretched before blinking his eyes open.

"Is it morning already?" he asked, a yawn permeating his speech.

"I don't know," she confessed, placing her hand flat against his skin. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"I'm glad you did," he told her. "Besides. You have to learn to be a light sleeper when you captain a ship. All it takes is a heavy night of sleep to get a man marooned."

"You mean they marooned you in the middle of the night?" she asked, almost wishing he wouldn't answer.

"Aye. But I don't wish to trouble you with such thoughts, my fair Lizzie. It's been a difficult enough day as it is."

"You were so cross with me earlier."

"I was confused," he told her. "The locker's a complicated place… a man can go in normal and come out sideways."

She giggled, unable to resist the urge to poke fun at him. "When were you ever normal?"

"Oi, watch it missy, I don't want to have to pull rank over you."

Elizabeth giggled again. "I'm sorry." They were silent for a moment as her words sunk in. "I am sorry."

"None of that," he said dismissively. "Pirates don't apologize, remember?"

"I could see the venom in your eyes," she told him. "I could hear it in your voice… you were so… menacing. I've never seen you like that before."

"I don't like that I frightened you, Lizzie," he admitted, turning his face from hers. "If I could go back an' change how I acted towards you, I would."

"You needed to let it out," she said, wrapping herself tighter around him. "And I'm glad you did." Again, the room fell silent. Several moments passed and once more, she was the first to speak. "You came so close to taking then. Why did you stop?"

"Haven't I answered that already?" he asked, cocking his head towards her.

"Yes, and you provided a weak answer," she replied. "Something about being soggy…? The cellar's perfectly dry."

Jack sighed. "You really want the truth, then?"

"Yes, please," she persisted.

He sighed again. "Lizzie-Beth, I'll confess something." He paused, trying to formulate the right words. Elizabeth knew Jack to be a master of words, more eloquent than any educated man she had ever known. To see him speechless, struggling to find the right thing to say, was both perplexing and humbling. "I've been thinking about this… you and I, I and you… us… for some time now. I just didn't want it to happen in a storage cellar, that's all. I wanted it to be proper, for you. And I wanted to take you then, as I said, for the wrong reasons. That wasn't fair to you."

She was touched deeply and she propped herself up so she could fully see his face. "I always knew you were a good man," she said softly before leaning down and kissing him, reveling in the fact that he, Jack Sparrow, was kissing her back. "May I ask you something else?"


"What are the right reasons? For us?"

He sat up then, cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again. "You're my Lizzie," he said. The words weren't literal, but she could hear him saying that he loved her, and her heart swelled. She leaned into him, resting against his shoulder and breathing him in.

"And you're my Jack." He patted her backside. "You're awfully forgiving to a woman who sent you to your death."

"Many others have tried to send me to my death, Lizzie," he reminded her. "You're the only one who wouldn't stop fighting until she brought me back. That's worthy of forgiveness." She smiled brightly at him and threw her arms around his neck, pressing an ardent kiss against his lips. He chuckled and held onto her as he nestled them back down against the mattress.


"Yes, darlin'?"

"Now that we have done it proper…"

"Now that we've done it proper, all bets are off," he said quickly. "The cellar's fair game now, as far as I'm concerned."

Elizabeth laughed. "Oh, good. I was worried."

"So's the brig. And the galley. And even the wheel, if we're careful," he told her.

"And what about the crow's nest?" she asked.

"Oh, of course the bloody crow's nest." He paused. "Heights are an aphrodisiac."

"Oh, are they?" she laughed again.

"Most definitely. Now close your eyes. Morning or not, I'm not ready to get out of bed yet, you?"

"No." She gripped onto him, resting her head against his chest, the steady beating of his heart lulling her back into a peaceful sleep. But before she nodded off, she squeezed his side, feeling safe and secure enough to say the words she had longed to for what felt like ages. "I love you, Jack."

"I love you, too, Lizzie-beth."

So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms.

A/N: That's it, folks! Now go review, I want to know what you think!He wHhhh