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Misappropriation

by Dove

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG    Pairing: Jack/Will    Full Header  Proprietary Rights - 3

 


It wasn't so much that he'd changed, Elizabeth thought, as that there were now parts of him unavailable to her. He still smiled at her, but when he did he looked through her, and there was something familiar about the distance in his eyes. He still refused to call her "Elizabeth," but now his "Miss Swann" felt less like a boy's insecurity and more like gentle mockery. When the conversation turned to Jack, she realized who Will reminded her of, and it saddened her to know she was losing her childhood friend. She chided herself gently for that, and tried to tell herself that Will was changing, not leaving, and even though he was roaming the seas with Jack, he'd always come for her.

He wrote to her weekly, tales of their adventures and Jack's antics, descriptions of wild lands and strange people, and always he'd close by saying how much he missed her, and he hoped to be back in Jamaica soon. Not to stay; she understood that there was too much of Jack in him now for Will to stay anywhere but the Pearl. What she didn't know was that Jack was not the only one who had a claim on Will.

Elizabeth stayed aboard the Pearl for the better part of the night. Hardly proper, as if she gave a fig. She'd missed Will so much, and Jack too, unexpectedly. And certainly they were happy enough to see her. Even Anamaria had smiled warmly, and Elizabeth hadn't been sure the woman was capable of such. Most of the faces, she didn't recognize, and she didn't need Will's nervous reminder not to go wandering about alone. She was content to stay at Will's side anyway, and Jack was thrilled to have someone aboard who wasn't tired of his stories.

He talked non-stop throughout dinner, and if he ate a single bite, Elizabeth didn't see how. She lost herself in the cadence of Jack's words, letting the ebb and flow of his soft, rolled speech wash over her like the waves lapping at the Pearl. It was impossible to suss out fantasy from fact in Jack's tales, but then, the magic of them lay not in the content, but in the telling.

The moon was arcing down toward the dawn when Elizabeth finally took her leave of the Black Pearl. Jack began to make a production of how much he would miss her, pretending to weep effusively, but he was stopped by a sharp look from Will. He settled for a courteous bow and a sincere, if somewhat lingering, kiss on her hand. Anamaria shook her hand heartily, and even Gibbs was persuaded to accept a quick kiss on the cheek, which he rationalized as a counter to the bad luck of having a woman aboard in the first place.

Will was silent as he rowed the dinghy back to Port Royal. Elizabeth was sure he, too, was struggling not to think about the parting that awaited them on shore. She was tempted to ask him to stay. Every time he visited, she wanted with all her heart to beg him to stay with her. Knowing it would be unfair, even cruel, she kept her tongue.

It was only moments after they reached dry land that Elizabeth realized how completely lost to her Will was. He stood to help her out of the boat, then pitched and nearly fell as soon as his feet hit the sand. He stood facing her on the beach, swaying in a disturbingly recognizable manner, and his eyes constantly drifted out to sea, as though searching for something. Elizabeth knew damn well what he was searching for, and had she still been aboard the Pearl, she would've slapped Jack with all her might and set fire to his bloody cursed ship.

She swallowed her anger and hugged Will fiercely. As she kissed his cheek, she whispered, "Goodbye, Will."

He smiled down at her, returning her embrace, and replied, "I'll be home again soon, Elizabeth."

Her hatred for the Pearl flared anew at the way Will's eyes skittered seaward at the word "home".
 

 

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