Although she was eager to board the small boat and row toward that dream-like shoreline where she knew Will was waiting, twenty-year-old Elizabeth Swann forced herself to stop and linger before the man who stood before her.
He was nowhere near as beautiful as he had been on that island when they had been marooned. He had aged, not in years, but in other ways less determinable. He was shrunken – instead of standing with his head up, he leaned against the rail, his spine curled and his expression sheepish. He was bedraggled, worn out.
But there was something he had now that he had been lacking then. Something that made up for all the childhood illusions dashed to pieces. Captain Jack Sparrow might not have been the great and heroic pirate she had read about, but he was something more. He was human. And he had given Elizabeth her dreams back – in the form of a broken sword through a monstrous heart at his own expense, in the form of the awaiting dinghy dangling beyond the rail, and in the form of the man waiting on the shore beyond.