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First Blood

by Melusina

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG-13    Pairing: Will/Elizabeth    Full Header

 


The sky outside the window was just beginning to lighten when Elizabeth felt the bed shift with an extra weight. Will, belatedly returning from a night at the tavern.

Jack Sparrow had blown into town the previous day, with a commission for Will and a fat purse to put down on it. Will had left with him to discuss the order right after dinner, and there been no word of either of them since.

Elizabeth cracked an eye and surveyed Will's rumpled appearance. He was still in his clothes from the night before, shirt stained and torn. There was a purple bruise on his cheek, and he reeked of smoke, ale, cheap perfume, and something that smelled suspiciously like sewage. He grinned at her roguishly, clearly still quite drunk, and planted a sloppy kiss somewhere between her mouth and her nose. She harumphed and turned her back on him. Ignoring her frosty demeanor, Will pressed himself against her, his amorous intentions obvious.

Elizabeth scooted to the other side of the bed. Will followed her there and reached around to cup her breast in his hand. Elizabeth turned around, boxed his ear, and then angrily stomped out of the room.

*


Will held his hand to his stinging ear and watched in confusion as Elizabeth stormed out. He collapsed back into the bed and was snoring before her footsteps faded.

He awoke to a pounding head and the realization that he was in very deep trouble with his wife. Using all the water in the basin, he tidied himself as best he could, changed clothes, and went to face the music.

Elizabeth was in the parlor, mending one of Will's shirts. She was not a particularly skilled seamstress, and sewing was one of her least favorite chores. If Will were inclined to be uncharitable, he might have thought she was deliberately working herself into a snit. The flashing needle stabbed in and out of the cloth with angry precision and Elizabeth refused to meet Will's eyes. This was going to be worse than he'd feared.

"Elizabeth?"

She ignored him.

"Elizabeth, I'm sorry I was out so late last night. We were drinking and time ran away from us."

An aggrieved sniff.

"I didn't mean to worry you. . ." In the face of her icy reserve, Will faltered. He stood there, feeling foolish, grasping for words that would not come into his thick head. Then, with unerring timing, his stomach revolted against the eight tankards of ale, the half a bottle of rum, and the fish stew he'd consumed the previous night, and he retched all over the Persian rug Elizabeth's Great Aunt Arabella had given them as a wedding gift.

*


Finding no sympathy at home, Will spent the afternoon at the forge, doing preliminary work on Jack's sword. When he returned, Estrella informed him archly that her mistress had retired early with a sick head. Will ate a lonely, cold dinner (the servants appeared to be in solidarity with Elizabeth) and then went up to bed himself, only to discover that the door to their bedchamber was locked and the key was missing. The message was clear. Sighing, he went to make his bed in the guest room.

The next morning, he went out early and bought Elizabeth a big bunch of lilies, which he asked Estrella to present to her with her morning chocolate. Elizabeth stayed closeted in the bedroom until Will left for the forge, and when he walked beneath the window, a shower of fragrant petals and stems rained on his head.

*


A week later, Elizabeth was still not speaking to Will. When Jack arrived at the forge to check the progress of his new sword, he took one look at Will's pinched face and nodded astutely. "Woman trouble?"

"Yes. Elizabeth's terribly angry at me for staying out all night with you. We've never quarreled before and I don't know what to do to make it up to her."

"Hmm. She's not breedin' is she?"

Will shrugged. "Not that I know of. Not that she's telling me much lately."

"Have you tried flowers?"

"She threw them out her window."

Jack rocked back on his heels and mulled the problem over. "What about a sword?"

"What? Give her a weapon when she's in this state?"

"She might take it as an unconditional surrender and spare your life. . ." He cut short his jest at Will's dark look. "Only one thing to do, mate. Have it out with her, let her do her worst, then beg for mercy."

*


When Will returned from the forge, he knocked and pleaded at the bedroom door, but Elizabeth refused to let him in. She still wasn't ready to forgive him for his thoughtless behavior. How dare he spend the whole night out drinking and brawling and getting into God knows what kind of trouble with Jack Sparrow, and leave her home to toss and turn!

The noise in the hallway quieted. Will must have given up and gone to bed. Elizabeth stared at the door longingly, torn between the desire to make things right with Will and her continued frustration. She turned her back to the door deliberately and picked up the novel her father had given her for her birthday.

Hearing the snick of the latch, she turned to see Will standing in the door, a thin file in his hand and a reckless look on his face. "You've driven me to force the lock on my own bedchamber. Are you satisfied?"

Fraught with anger, guilt and a little fear, Elizabeth reacted instinctually, throwing the book in her hand. It smacked into Will's forehead, leaving a red mark. His expression turned murderous.

Suddenly fearing that she'd pushed him too far, Elizabeth took a small step back.

Will stalked towards her and grabbed her hands.

She struggled vainly to escape his grip. "Will! You-"

His voice was low and dangerous. "No. You've had your chance to talk and you refused to take it. Now you will listen to me." He took a deep breath and his expression softened, although he kept a tight grip on her wrists. "I am sorry. I shouldn't have stayed out so late. My behavior was churlish and rude. But you've treated me as no wife should treat her husband."

Elizabeth's eyes filled with tears. "Oh Will, I didn't mean to be cruel. I was just so worried! I thought. . ." She trailed off, reluctant to admit the fear that had kept her awake through that long night.

Will stroked the hair back from her face. "Yes?" he said, gently but insistently.

"I thought you'd run off with Jack." The dumbfounded look on his face almost made her laugh. "To be a pirate," she explained.

He took her in his arms and rocked her gently. "Sweet Bess, I'm not near the pirate you think me. I have all the treasure I want, right here. Nothing could lure me away from you."

Elizabeth sagged against his shoulder, a torrent of tears finally freed. Will held her tenderly until the heaving sobs were replaced with the occasional snivel, then tipped her chin up and kissed her passionately, reminding her of how much she'd missed his touch. She returned his kiss with equal ardor and heedless of the bed only a few feet away, they tumbled onto the rug, scrabbling at each other's clothes and murmuring frantic apologies and words of love.

Afterwards, Elizabeth snuggled up to him and rested her head upon his shoulder. "Are you truly happy here?"

Something in her tone made Will look askance at her. "Ye-es. Aren't you?"

Elizabeth hesitated. "You have the forge. I have mending, and Father's dinner parties and precious little else." She held his hand in hers, tracing the scar that cut across his palm, her voice deceptively light. "So you never think of running away to be a pirate?"

Will's eyes twinkled with dawning comprehension. He wrapped his fingers around hers, stilling the nervous motion. "Only when I'm faced with one of your father's dinner parties. But if I ever succumb to the temptation, I swear I'll take you with me." His tone was teasing, but Elizabeth heard something there that lightened her heart. She grinned at him and kissed him hard, content for now.

 

 

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