Title: A Change of Course
Author: ElizabethGreenleaf (ElvenArcherLover@aol.com)
Pairing: Jack Sparrow/Will Turner
Rating: R, Will be NC-17
Category: Drama/Romance
Summary: Post PotC, Jack/Will. Life for Will, and even Elizabeth will never be the same as for the first time they each take their lives into their own hands and Will comes to terms with who he is and who he loves.
Disclaimer: If they belonged to me, do you think that it would have been Elizabeth and Will kissing at the end? I’m in a dorky mood, so I’m going to put this into a nice simple truth/logic table form for you, though if I screw it up, pardon me and don’t tell my Philosophy Prodessor!): Theorem 1: If Will kisses Jack at the end of the movie, Will does not kiss Elizabeth, therefore they all belong to me (MWAHAHAHA). Theorem 2: If Will kisses Elizabeth at the end of the movie, Will does not kiss Jack at the end of the movie, therefore PotC belongs to Disney, Jerry Braucheimer, and anyone else that the movie reel says. It is logically impossible for both of these theorems to exist in a logical universe, therefore one sis true and the other is false. So what do you think? Aye, sadly, they be not mine, no matter what I be wishin’ for. Therefore I beg ye not to sue, for I fear ye’ll get no more from me than my collection of dust bunnies and fanfiction and maybe I’ll had over a few plot bunnies to harass you while I’m at it.
Feedback: ::Holds up a sign that says “Feed the Starving Writer” and a big red arrow pointing to REVIEW:: Any R&R is greatly appreciated. Any suggestions welcome!


Chapter 1: Of Sunsets and Letters

"// //" = dream

William Turner, a silent and stoic figure of a young man, stood knee deep in the salt water that was steadily rising as the tide came in. From his position beneath a stone bridge, he watched as the sun sank into the horizon, illuminating Port Royal and her ship filled harbor. Perhaps if he stared long and hard enough at the horizon it would appear. It would start as a small black spot, slowly growing larger until you could finally see the billowing black sails of the formerly-cursed ship. The Black Pearl. Just the thought of the ship was enough to send an inviting chill down his spine.

William smiled a bitter-sweet smile as he watched the sun slip beneath the waves. He sighed and waded back to the tree line and his hopefully still dry stockings and shoes, though his breeches were already wet to above the knee and it probably wouldn't make much difference. He found his shoes to be where he had left them, on top of a boulder beneath a palm-like bush. Sitting on the aforementioned rock, Will struggled to pull stockings onto still damp legs.

"Damn it!" He growled as he threw one of his shoes for no apparent reason. Well, that is what one would think. He had reason enough to be frustrated, angry even if one wanted to think of it that way -- but he had no right to take it out on his poor, defenseless shoe! Swearing, Will went in search of his ill-treated shoe as the thoughts and memories he had been trying to avoid flooded to the forefront of his thoughts.

Damn that walk. Damn that insufferably charming slurred drawl! Damn pirates! Will thought as he approached his shoe, and again contemplated throwing it, only this time into the sea. Some shred of common sense remained within Will's head though, for he picked up the shoe, placed it on his foot, and walked towards the road leading into town. He also had enough sense to stop muttering about pirates, the Black Pearl, and above all, one Captain Jack Sparrow.

A voice that sounded suspiciously like his dear Elizabeth's rang in his head. You're a fool, Will! Listen to yourself think! Have you lost every shred of intelligence you ever possessed? You sound like a love-sick fool. Nearly every night for the past, what -- three months is it now? -- You have come out here and watched the sunset and prayed for a mere glimpse of that damned ship! It's not just at night either! You're at the docks in the wee hours of the morn hoping that she'll have anchored into port during the night. You are a fool, William! A damned fool! Will sighed. Why was she always right?

Fitting his key into the lock of the smithy's door, Will was not entirely surprised to find it already unlocked. His heart fluttered in his chest. I didn't wait long enough! They came into port while I was walking home! He opened the door cautiously nonetheless, his dealings with a particular aforementioned pirate in this very shop had taught him to be cautious. Inside, a figure stood with his- no her back towards him.

"Elizabeth," he said quietly, hoping that none of his disappointment in finding her here rather than a particularly odd pirate permeated his voice.

Elizabeth turned towards Will, and even from a distance he could see the tear tracks on her face, not to mention her red and puffy eyes. She let out a small cry and practically threw herself into Will's arms and she began sobbing anew, quickly soaking his shoulder with her salty tears.

It was long moments before she was calm enough to answer any of the questions Will was biting his tongue to keep from asking. Elizabeth loosened her grip on Will and took a step away from him, wiping her tears with a handkerchief and smoothing her rumpled dress of some of its larger wrinkles. Elizabeth made her way to the nearest chair and sat down with less grace and finesse that Will had ever seen her use. Remembering his manners, Will put on the kettle to boil water for tea.

Elizabeth sat as if in a trance, unfolding, refolding, and re-creasing a peace of paper. Will, curiosity piqued, covered the distance between them. "May I?" He asked gesturing at the now-flimsy paper. Elizabeth seemed not to have heard him at first, for she continued to stair past Will, as if seeing something that was not there. Then suddenly she raised it up and passed it to him. Taking, or prying it, rather, from her hand, Will unfolded the paper. Upon closer inspection, he found it to be a rather official-looking document.

Dear Miss Elizabeth Swann,

I wish I could tell you this sad news in person, but this letter will have to suffice until such a time as I can return to port. It is with deepest regret that I must inform you of your father's passing. You have my deepest and most sincere condolences for your loss. He took ill some two weeks past, on the voyage here from Port Royal. He assured us all that it was nothing -- said that he had had the cough for months. By the time we were in port, his cough had turned deep and hacking. He saw a physician here, he said it was pneumonia. He died soon after that diagnosis, I am afraid. He was buried here with all the ceremony befitting a Governor of the Crown. Again, I send you my condolences and my deepest apologies. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. I shall be returning to Port Royal as soon as can be.

Commodore Gregory Norrington
British Royal Navy

Will stood stock-still, holding the letter, shell-shocked. Mr. Swann, dead? The denial swelled in his breast as he read and re-read the slip of paper. His revere was interrupted by the teakettle on the hearth. Will refolded the paper and placed it on the table next to Elizabeth before pouring tea for them both. He moved to sit, and then turned back to the shelf above the hearth where a bottle of brandy stood. Pouring a good amount into each of their cups before re-corking the bottle and placing it back on the shelf, Will finally sat down next to Elizabeth. Though she was usually adamantly opposed to the consumption of any type of libation, she drank her tea, which had far more brandy in it that Will's, without seeming to notice or care

"Oh, Elizabeth," Will murmured as her tears began afresh. "What am I going to do?" Elizabeth asked, her voice broken with tears.

She took a few deep breaths and stood, a look of cool resolve and finality fixed on her face. "I cannot stay here, in Port Royal; my house, my father's house, no, the Governor's House is not mine. It will belong to whomever their Majesties choose to appoint as the new Governor. I shall have to pack." Her voice was distant, and it pained Will to see her like this, but he knew not what to do to help her. "I suppose I could purchase my own home here, but it is not proper for a lady to live alone without a father, or a brother, or a husband to care for her and accompany her when she left the house. I suppose then I will be leaving for England soon. My mother and my father both had substantial estates near the coast. It has been dreadfully long since I have seen my home there. It will be nice to see it again..." She was speaking so impersonally and so flatly that Will was beginning to feel a sense of cold fear flowing through his veins.

"Elizabeth," He spoke evenly, hoping to distract her, but she kept on talking.

"I suppose the Commodore will ask for my hand again as soon as he is back in port. Maybe I should marry him, even if he is more of a heartless scoundrel than many pirates I know…"

"Elizabeth!" Will shouted at her, finally bringing her out of her trance-like state and back to the present. "Listen to yourself!" Tears began to fill up in her eyes as she looked at Will. He took a deep breath and pressed on, hoping to force some logic into her grief addled mind. "Elizabeth, do you realize that you just spoke of marrying Norrington!" Will's anger and disbelief in what he had heard filtered into his words.

"Oh, what do you know, Will!" She sobbed and yelled at the same time. "Do you know what it is like for me? Do you? You cannot understand that I will be forced to marry within the year or my reputation in society might as well be that of a Tortuga brothel girl! I must either return home to England and hope my Grandparents can find me a suitable husband, or I must marry someone here! Norrington is a good match! At least I could stay here!"

"Elizabeth, Elizabeth," Will soothed as he took her in his arms again and rubbed soothing circles on her back. "You are right, I do not understand, but I am trying." She continued to sob and Will did his best to comfort her.

A thought that had been creeping around in his brain came to the fore front again. He could ask for Elizabeth's hand again. He could sacrifice his life and future for her, to save her from a loveless marriage to Norrington or some other English lord. Could he really? Could he give up his dreams, those dreams that haunted his waking and sleeping moments? Could he put aside his longing for the sea for her? Could he do that for Elizabeth? If he did not act soon he would think too much on it and decide against it.

"We could marry, Elizabeth." Those words mad it sound so simple, so easy. She sniffled and pulled away from Will.

"What?" A myriad of emotions played out in her eyes as she tried to process what Will was suggesting.

"We could marry." Elizabeth turned from him but will grabbed her arm and forced her to meet his eyes. "If it is the only way for you to be happy and free from a marriage to Norrington, I will gladly do it. To keep you close I would gladly do anything. I told Jack that I would die for you and nothing has changed my mind." Elizabeth tried to move again, but Will's grip was as strong as the iron he worked with. "Look at me Elizabeth, I love you, I truly do." Elizabeth looked and gazed hard into his eyes.

"I love you too, Will," she whispered as tears silently continued to fall down her cheeks. "But I am not in love with you." She raised a hand to silence his sweet words. "Neither are you in love with me. We both know this is true, there is no denying it."

"But Elizabeth, we could make it work!"

"No, Will! I will not have us spending the rest of our lives resenting one another for being tied down. This is not the life either of us wants."

"But you deserve so much more, Elizabeth!" He reached a hand out to wipe away her tears. She removed his warm, calloused hand from her face and held it between both of hers.

"As do you, Will. I know what I am doing. I know what I must do." She smiled faintly. "I will be alright. I swear to you." She let go of his hand and turned back to the table to collect her letter, which she slipped discreetly into her dress.(1) She turned again to Will. "Goodbye, Will." She kissed his cheek softly and then she was gone, leaving will with a heavy heart and naught but his thoughts and memories for comfort.

--

Chapter 2: Of Dreams or Nightmares

"// //" = dream

Will's dreams were the one place where he could not escape the thoughts that he tried in vain to ignore during his waking hours. The good and the bad mingled in his subconscious to produce and project the desires he constantly tried to keep at bay.

//Images of a man who held himself with such grace and majesty that you had to wonder who he was in a previous life. Hair blowing in a sea breeze you could almost taste. The sight of him at the helm is enough to make Will's heart skip a beat.

The feeling of chapped lips against his own. Strength and hardness instead of curves and softness. Eyes alone that light a fire in Will's soul that no female ever could.

And then that same regal figure, who moments before was worshiping Will's body is broken, beaten, and dissolute as he is made an example of. Will watches on as Norrington orders the floor to be dropped and that once strong, proud man is no more than a broken rag-doll hanging from a string.

Unspoken words haunt Will as the decaying form of the dead pirate accuses him of all manner of evil and betrayal. Those bonny figures with bits of decayed flesh wrap around Will's neck, seeking to destroy his life as he destroyed the pirate's.

Tears stream down Will's cheeks as he is left alone in the darkness. No friends, no lovers, no one. There is not even the smell or sound of the sea to keep him company. There is no sound of bellows pumping, of fire crackling, of the steaming hiss of hot metal being shoved into cool water. There is not even the heat of the fire to warm him.

Totally and utterly alone.

Again he is adrift at sea, cold, lungs burn with the smoke of fire, the cries of the dying, people begging for their lives, filter in and out of his mind as he wavers between consciousness and the comforting black of oblivion

Then he watches as his body is buried in a cheap pine coffin, no one but the minister and the grave digger to send him into the afterlife.//

Will sat bolt upright in his bed, which, in reality, was little more than a cot. His night clothes were soaked through with sweat, his hair clung to his skin as his eyes frantically darted about. It was still fairly dark out; the sky was not even beginning to grey with pre-dawn light.

Will took a deep breath and placed a hand over his racing heart. It had been a dream, a horrible nightmare where he was left alone, forgotten by the rest of the world. There had been no Elizabeth, with her intelligence, scalding tongue, quick friendship and fierce loyalty. There had not even been a Norrington to despise or outwit or to even poke fun at. But most strikingly, and most painfully, there was no Jack.

"Jack." Will murmured the name aloud, as if saying his name would bring him closer, bring him to Will. Jack would never forget him, never leave him to die alone. Jack couldn't do that. He couldn't do that because…because Will had seen the way he looked at him. Seen that hungry look that was gone with another swallow or two of rum and more flirting with the prostitute who propositioned him, or re-checking that damned compass, or even feigning unconsciousness from too much alcohol. At the very least Jack wanted his body, at least for one night, at most…

"Stop it!" Will commanded himself in the dark, trying to force his heart to listen to sense. But Will was never one to do things the smart way; he'd always hada tendency to follow his heart, to live in the moment, to do idiotic and stupid things. He had even, albeit partially unwittingly, gone so far as to fall in love with a pirate.

Will cursed in a combination of at least six languages as he fought to be free of his sheets. It came from living in a port city, one could always learn to say the most vile and unpleasant things long before one ever learned the common 'hello,' 'goodbye,' 'please,' and 'thank you.'

Pulling on a loose shirt and well worn dark breeches, Will readied himself for another day. His thoughts drifted to Elizabeth and their conversation the night before. He put it out of his mind for the time being. He could think in a few moments, he just had to take care of a few things first. He pulled his hair back and tied it with a leather thong and slipped into his stocking and shoes before moving to the chest at the foot of his bead. Taking a key out of some its hiding place on his person, Will opened the trunk and retrieved a wooden box, about a foot long and a third as long across. In addition, he took out a flat, leather wrapped object about the size of his hand. Pulling on his dark jerkin, Will tucked the smaller of the parcels inside his vest and tucked the other box under his arm before closing the chest and locking it. He frowned. It would have been more appropriate to wear all black, but as he did not have clothes that would do, he had settled on his most dark and subdued clothing.

Ten minutes found him sitting on one of the piers gazing into the distance as the sun rose behind him and his wooden box sat next to him. It was then, and only then that he let the previous night overwhelm him.

The man who was almost like a very rich uncle and benefactor to him was dead. Governor Swann had paid for him to be apprenticed in the black-smith's trade. He had paid for Will's clothes and board until he was almost eighteen, and he would never hear of Will repaying him. He was a kind man, and he loved his daughter more than anything -- Will loved him for that. He knew the aching loss of loosing one's parents and being an orphan. He had been an orphan for most of his life, and he knew well the pain of not having parents there to love and guide, to support and even to reprimand. He knew that Elizabeth was feeling this loss keenly and he needed to go to her, but he would wait until it was at least a decent hour to call upon her.

She seemed so different last night. It was as if her fire had finally been tempered and she was cooling down after many years of passionate exuberance. This thought was not a comfort to Will. Where was the girl who longed to see pirates? Where was the young woman who would sacrifice her life for his? Where was his best friend? She seemed resolved to a woman's lot in life…She had even mentioned marrying Norrington. That alone unnerved him, and in and of its self would have made Will question if she was in her right mind.

I asked her to marry me! That shocked Will. He was surprised that he had done such a thing! And even more so that Elizabeth had said no. Her reasoning was so sound that it hurt.

They had tried to make it work between them not long after Jack left, but they both realized that what they felt for each other was the strongest bond of friendship combined with fantastical idolatry. It was the innocent love of childhood, but it did not contain the passion of lovers. When they kissed there were no sparks, there was no heat or longing. They were not meant to be, and after much anxiety and fear that the other felt something that they did not, they confessed in a rushed jumble of words the same thing - there was no hint of passion between them. They laughed about it afterward, and in the end, their failed romance seemed to seal their friendship.

The sun began to warm Will's back and he decided that he had waited long enough; he would hence to the Governor's Mansion and to Elizabeth, whom Will knew must be hurting something dreadful.

Upon arrival at the Governor's Mansion, Will was surprised to find the whole of the household already awake and busy. Will was welcomed in and stood gaping in the foyer as servants rushed around. Elizabeth appeared at the top of the stairs looking drawn and tired, as though she had not slept at all, and Will highly doubted that she had -- or if sleep had come to her it was fitful and unrestful.

"Will!" She called as she hurried down the stairs, ignored propriety and embraced him briefly. Even in her black mourning colors she was still stunning to behold. Her hair was done up more firmly than usual and it lent her a more aloof and removed appearance that her usual warm and welcoming demeanor.

"Elizabeth," Will smiled at her.

"Come, have breakfast with me." She seemed to have forgotten all her etiquette; it was not proper for a blacksmith to dine with the Governor's daughter! But Will could no more deny her now than he ever could, and nodded in acceptance.

Over breakfast he gave her the two parcels he had carried with him. The larger of the two contained a dagger, a light and fine piece of craftsman ship. "While I cannot be there to protect you, just knowing that you have a good dagger to defend yourself with is encouraging." Will had taught her how to use a dagger years ago, telling her that it could not hurt for a woman to know how to defend herself. She already carried a small dagger in her boot, but this one was of higher quality, and of superb craftsmanship.

"Thank you, Will," her voice was filled with sadness as she took the other parcel and unwrapped it. It seemed to be a lovely set of fine hair pins, but upon closer inspection…"Will!" Her feigned indignity made Will laugh. Not only had he taught her to defend herself and fight with a dagger, but he had taught her to pick locks, and these hair pins were merely fancy lock picks disguised as hair pins. Will grinned.

"You never know when you'll get kidnapped by pirates." He winked. "Besides, ye did a fine job of letin' yer self in to me own home last night." He imitated a stereotypical pirating voice as he smirked at her.

"Thank you, Will." This time she meant it. She inspected the 'hairpins' carefully. "You have a knack for the fine work of jewelry as well as your talent for fighting tools. I'm impressed."

Their conversation slowed after that, until Will inquired as to what the household was doing. It seemed that she would not let herself mourn. She was throwing herself into work, which for her at the moment was the packing of all necessary items in the house and the sale of the items she would not be taking with her to England. She would work both herself and her servants to exhaustion just to ward off the pain of grief. Will understood but still felt a great swell of compassion for Elizabeth's serving staff.

Elizabeth's hand shook as she tried to pour Will tea, and Will pretended not to notice. She would not meet his eyes and eventually, Will stopped trying to catch them.

He had intended to return to work that morning, but he decided to remain with Elizabeth as a steady stream of callers came to give her their condolences, and on the way out it was not an uncommon sight to see them speaking to Thomas, the head of the house servants who was in charge of the sale of the items within the home. Elizabeth seemed to wither as the day wore on to the point that, by dinner, Will told the servants she would not be receiving any more callers for the rest of the day.

Will said his goodbyes to Elizabeth and she barely acknowledged that he was there. The servants looked on with pity in their eyes and exhaustion in their bodies.

He returned home to a shop filled with half-finished orders that would need to be taken care of in the morning. There would be no sunrises or sunsets to watch until he was caught up, but first, Will needed sleep. Striping off his stockings, shoes, jerkin and shirt, Will fell into bed. He hoped that if his dreams were going to haunt him, they were the pleasant kind, that when he woke it would be to wet sheets and longing or to painful desire and a need for fulfillment. Either option was better than the hollow, empty, alone and scared feeling that he had awoken with that morning.

//Again Will's subconscious was bringing horrors mixed with fantasy to life. The rotting skeletal form of Jack Sparrow takes Will in his bony arms and they dance while Jack pours bitter poisonous words into Will's ear. Words like 'unworthy,' 'dirty,' and 'traitor' spin in Will's head.

They are no longer dancing; they are sitting on the battlements of Port Royal watching an execution below. There are two being hanged - Jack and…himself! Will watches as the nooses are slipped around each of their necks. Jack turns his head to Will, an expression of the deepest emotion -- of love -- is openly given to Will whom, upon feeling such a heated gaze, turns from where he is staring to look back at Jack. It is a mutual heated look of love and forever. They need no words to express how they feel; it is visible to all who are there to watch.

The Will sitting on the battlements feels his heart constrict in his chest. His greatest dreams and nightmares are being combined in ghastly ways. He looks over to where the other Will's gaze had originally been; there stands Elizabeth, her arm firmly in the grasp of Commodore Norrington. Norrington gives the command to let Jack fall and the Will on the battlements can hear both his own voice and the voice of the soon-to-be-hanged-as-well Will screaming. The cries of Elizabeth Norrington can be heard as well.

They wait before hanging Will as well; they let him watch as his lover, whose neck unfortunately did not break upon release, struggle for air as his face turns red-purple with too much blood as he is strangled to death. The Will on the battlements could feel his heart cry out in pain, and then he watches as the Will on the gallows dies. He can feel the life draining from himself and when he looks down, the Will on the battlements is just as skeletal as his companion.

Will and Jack, two damned souls - living skeletons dance in the light of the moon.//

--

Chapter 3: Of Unexpected Happenings and Farewells

"// //" = dream

Again, Will woke with a start, his heart was racing and his clothes sweated through. It was not anywhere near dawn, yet Will knew he would get no restful sleep that night. Will splashed some cool water on his face and left his bed without looking back at it, afraid that his dreams -- his nightmares -- were real. Will could almost feel the ghostly touch of the damned Jack who waltzed him into oblivion. Will shuddered, though not from cold, as he slipped his work clothes on.

Firing up the forge, Will stoked the fire until it was the proper temperature to heat the metal he would be working with. Will let himself go as he concentrated on working the steel of the sword blade. Hammering his emotions into every piece he worked on.

It may have sounded strange, but Will liked to compare particular tasks to different people and by concentrating on thoughts about that one person, it seemed to make the time pass quicker and his work was more thorough.

His hatred for Norrington was hammered into every link of the shackles and irons he worked, hoping with a perverse desire to see him shackled and behind bars without the leverage to save him from the bonds he deserved to wear. Will silently swore that he would never let Norrington marry his dear Elizabeth, for he would kill him before they could say their wedding vows. But it wasn't just Elizabeth, it was Jack. Will would never allow Norrington to lay a finger on Jack so long as there was breath in his lungs and strength enough in his body to lift a sword.

Then came the cannon balls. While pouring the liquid metal for these Will sent a silent prayer out to all who would use them and all who would die from them, praying that his soul would not pay with the burden of those lives lost.

He worked on shackles and cannon balls to every day items -- repairs mostly, pots, pans, common household things that people often took for granted but were truly the bread and butter of their livelihood. Into these Will concentrated on the strength and friendship of Elizabeth. Their long relationship was strong and as such Will sought to make his items just as strong.

Then came his swords, the thing he loved the most to work on, to create things of such grace and beauty. Once his inspiration for swords was his dear Elizabeth, but as of late, his swords had taken on an even more perfect design as Will's muse has morphed into a pirate unlike any Will has ever heard tale of. It was the little things that Will would obsess over while he worked; the swagger of his hips was beaten into the red hot metal, the keen, sleek, and cunning of his ever plotting mind was honed into the blade's edge. The sturdy reliability of Jack's good friend, rum, was part of the hilt. The reflection of the sun off his earrings and jewelry, and even his golden teeth was interlaced into the elegant design work of the hilt. And over it all was Jack's constantly cool appearance. Even on the dead of summer when the entire crew was half-naked, save Anamarie, Jack stood proud and tall, a sheen of sweat on his skin, but no sign of the heat that seemed to afflict everyone else. Some of the crew joked and said that it was because he had no blood left in him -- it had long since been replaced by his beloved rum.

Whatever it was about Jack that Will thought up went into the sword in his hands and in the end, Will would turn out another superb blade.

Will stepped away from his work. It was nearing mid-morning and he had not even noticed. His old master and still owner of the shop, John Brown, was due to stumble in any moment and take up his place in the corner and pass out as he had every day for the past five or so years. Will still had a few minutes to himself before then though, a few minutes he could steal away and work on the one piece he longed more than anything to be working on.

It was indeed something splendid and spectacular he wished to be working on, it was the blade he was making especially for Jack Sparrow. It was much like the dagger that he had given to Elizabeth, in fact he had started both at about the same time, but in the case of the sword, Will was putting every ounce of emotion he had into it. While he had made Elizabeth's dagger filled with the strength of their friendly love and sibling-like bond, it was not the greatest achievement in his young life. It was certainly one of his best pieces, but his sword for Jack, that would be spectacular.

With a greater eye for detail than any of his other works ever came close to receiving, that sword would be the crowning achievement of his life's work. The friendship, camaraderie, acceptance, trust (well that was iffy, but Will at least trusted Jack, even if Jack thought of him as a hot head who never learned to think before he acted,) and his faith in Jack was all hammered into his work and inlayed in the final details. Yet, in the end, it was incomplete and Will knew it. It was as if he feared to finish the sword because finishing it meant only one thing; he would have to come to terms with all the overwhelming feelings he felt for Jack.

Will carefully unwrapped the un-finished sword from its place within his locked chest and held it in his hands. The sword had not had a hammer brought to it in weeks, for Will had stopped just before he finished. He had begun forging the sword within days of his return to Port Royal and Jack's escape. But then he had stopped and put the blade away. It was his dreams that scared him into action. He had watched his inner-self look at Jack with the honesty of his true feelings and Will had felt his fear melting away, but it was dream-Jack's death that brought it all into perspective. He loved Jack. Was in love with Jack. That was the missing piece, the missing element.

Will returned to the forge to find Mr. Brown dead to the world, his snores drowned out by the bustling city outside the window and the loud forge inside. A bottle of something was clutched in his hand. Will wiped his brow with his shirt and set to work on Jack's sword.

The hours ticked by and Will only stopped briefly for a hearty slice of bread and a chunk of cheese to satisfy his hunger. He did not notice that he was not alone in the shop until a voice in front of him spoke in an oily smooth tone that made Will cringe as he looked up. "You're work seems to have improved as of late." Commodore Norrington stood in front of Will, a look of extreme concentration upon his face as he examined the sword in his hands. Jack's sword. Will resisted the sudden urge to snatch it back from the Commodore and he worked to keep his voice level and even.

"Thank you, sir." Will took a deep breath. "Is there something you want, or is this a social call?" Will couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

"How much for this sword?" Norrington asked as he continued to look the sword up and down. Will felt fire in his soul as Norrington examined the sword, it felt as though Norrington was lusting after his woman. Will gritted his teeth.

"It is not for sale." Will put out his hand to demand the sword back. Norrington hesitated. Will met his eyes squarely and Norrington quickly handed the sword back to him. "Is there something I can help you with, Commodore?"

Norrington sneered. "As a matter of fact, there is." He turned and took a step away from Will before turning back to him. "I know that you and Miss Swann have a strong, relationship. I was hoping that you could help me to…persuade her to accept my proposal." Norrington held up his hand to keep Will from talking. Will's nostrils flared as he bit his tongue to stem the tirade of words saying what he really felt. "In her sad and unfortunate situation, Miss Swann has come to realize just how important a good marriage is. There are none other than myself in the area who could offer her the sort of life she is accustomed to."

"What exactly is it you would like my help with, Commodore?"

"Why, that is simple, my boy. I want you to convince Elizabeth to marry me." He grinned almost sadistically. "If you do not, Miss Swann will return to England and be married off there. At least this way you could be near your 'dearest friend.'"

Will's jaw ached from his clenched teeth. The image of the Elizabeth in his dream struggling against Norrington's steel grip as Jack was hung was fresh in his memory. His nails bit into the palms of his hands. "Elizabeth is her own person, she can decide for herself who she will marry and when."

"Are as naïve as you appear to be, Mr. Turner? I thought you had more sense and a better understanding of the world than that! You are her friend, one of her few, if not her only confidant. She will listen to you because she trusts you. She will listen to you because you are the only person she has left to turn to." Norrington stepped closer to Will and lowered his voice. "She is vulnerable now, more so than she has ever been in the past and I intend to use that to my advantage."

"I will do no such thing, Commodore. I care for Elizabeth too much to lie to her, even if it meant keeping her close." Will was close to overstepping the bounds of his station and he knew it, but he did not care. It was time that Commodore Norrington learned that he was not an uneducated street-urchin who was blessed with a lucky break in life. He was the son of an educated Merchant's daughter, Jane Thomas, and a pirate, William "Bootstrap Bill" Turner. Strong blood, good blood flowed through his veins, even if some of it was pirate's blood. Perhaps it was that which made him so bold, and so reckless. "I would never recommend to her that she marry you." There he had said it.

"You, boy, are out of line! Who do you think you are? I demand an apology!" Norrington was livid, how dare anyone in Will Turner's position say such a thing to him!

"I owe you no apology, nor will I take back any of what I have said. I have spoken naught but the truth today and I shall not begin to lie now. I suggest you leave, Commodore, before I 'loose my mind, and in a fit of jealousy kill the man who wanted to remove me from my love's heart and affections,' " Will lifted Jack's sword and pointed it at Norrington, who retreated one step.

"You will pay for this, Mr. Turner. Someday I will see you hang for piracy and I will laugh as you struggle for breath that you cannot get. You are a pirate through and through, Mr. Turner. The old governor was too soft on you. I will see to it that his replacement knows all about your antics this past season. Just you wait."

"Get. Out." Will's voice was dangerously quiet. Norrington raised his hands in a forced air of nonchalance, but his eyes and a twitch of his mouth betrayed his nervousness, and he walked out the door.

"Tha' wers fair foolish of ye," A slurred voice said from behind Will. Startled, Will turned to see Mr. Brown half awake and watching him. "He'll be yer enemy fer life now, mark my words." And with that Brown closed his eyes and began to snore. Will shook his head.

He had slacked off for a day and did not practice his fencing skills. For the next two and a half hours Will constantly drilled himself in the same moves, parry, thrust, retreat, advance, etc. Constant repetitive drills taught the muscles of his body to respond to him at his slightest command. When he fought, it was as though he was always a step ahead of his opponent because he had practiced so much. He soon stripped off his shirt, hot from the mid day sun, the forge, and the physical exertion.

The sun was hanging low in the sky when he finished; sunset would be upon them soon. Will felt the ever constant pull of the sea and he could not ignore it. Changing quickly into a clean shirt, Will was ready to leave. Jack's sword still lay on the table and Will paused and walked over to it. He held it in his hand, and almost without thinking he strapped it to his side and was out the door.

Shoes and stockings hidden beneath the same vegetation on top of the same rock, Will was again under the bridge, in the shadows, watching the sunset and wishing that Jack were here with him. His hand continued to caress the hilt of the sword he had made for Jack. It truly was a magnificent weapon and had it been for anyone but Jack, Will would have bean loath to part with it, but as it were, now that it was complete, Will wanted nothing more to deliver it to Jack at that very moment.

Will sighed. It would probably be months, if not years before the Pearl sailed into Port Royal again and Will was a fool to think otherwise. The Pearl would not be coming to him, so he would have to be going to it. He knew what he would have to do, he'd been planning it from the day he helped Jack Sparrow escape the executioner's noose. The itch to be back at sea was growing stronger, and his desire for Jack was growing by the moment. But Will could not leave until Elizabeth was taken care of.

The sun had set and Will had not noticed. "Damn it." He muttered to himself as he gathered up his shoes and stockings and again hurriedly put them on.

Instead of returning to his home, Will made his way up the streets to Elizabeth's, hoping that it was not too late to call upon her. As it turned out, the household was still very much awake.

Will entered the house and he felt like he had never been in the place before. The foyer floor was covered in trunks and there was the occasional piece of furniture. The rooms were bare of most furniture and what was left seemed to be only the heaviest and most immobile things. "M'lady is in th' kitchen." The maid curtsied and gestured for Will to follow her.

"I know my way, Mary." The maid nodded and disappeared. Will turned a corner and walked down the hallway to the kitchen, where Elizabeth sat composing a letter.

"Elizabeth?" He asked hesitantly, not wanting to disturb her.

"Will!" She said in surprise. "I was just coming to see you after I finished this letter. Sit, sit, I'll only be a moment." Will did as he was told and looked around at the table. There were letters there addressed to everyone from the head of the house hold staff to Commodore Norrington. There was even one addressed to him. "Done." She said finally. Will noticed that her fingers were stained with ink when she swatted his hand for reaching for her letter to him. "You're not to read that until I'm gone." Will glared at her like a spoiled child who had been told no snacks before dinner, making her laugh. Her expression quickly darkened. "I'm going to miss that."

"Miss what?" Will asked in confusion.

"You making me laugh. Oh I'm just going to miss you, Will!" She launched herself out of her chair and into his arms. She was holding back her tears as best she could.

"But we still have a little time together," Will comforted her, despite the tug in his abdomen that told him this wasn't true.

"No we don't," She whispered. "I leave tomorrow for England, or rather to Virginia and then on a ship to England." She stood up to gauge Will's response.

"What?" So soon? Will thought that she might be leaving within a week or two, but within the day?

"I found out this morning that there is a merchant who was a childhood friend of my father's in port. He is sailing to Virginia with the morning tide. From there I will board either another merchant ship or a diplomatic royal ship and travel back to England that way."

"Is there no other ship?" Will didn't realize he was practically begging.

"No, nor is there one who's captain I trust more, aside from Jack, that is." She looked at him, her eyes pleading with him to understand.

"Oh, Elizabeth, I wish you were not going." Will said quietly. She closed the distance between them.

"I must, or I shall eventually have to marry the Commodore." She smiled, her eyes over-bright with tears. She smiled faintly and pressed her lips chastely against Will's.

"What?" Will asked in confusion when she pulled away.

"I had to be certain that there was truly nothing between us before I left." She explained simply.

"And was there?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

"No, there was not." She took a breath and looked down at her feet before continuing to talk. "There never has been anything between us, as we both well know. You need to follow your heart, wherever it takes you." She looked out the window as if looking towards the sea, which was not possible seeing as it was pitch dark out. "He loves you too, you know. He as much told me so the night we were on that island together."

"Wh-what!?" Will sputtered, unsure of what to say or how to respond.

"Captain Jack Sparrow is as much in love with you as you are in love with him." Will opened his mouth to speak but she cut him off. "Do not try to deny it. I see it in your eyes when ever anyone mentions his name. And that sword you have strapped to your side? You did not make that for just anyone, you made it for him."

"How-?" Will did not know what else to say. Elizabeth smiled.

"Call it 'woman's intuition,' " Will looked skeptically at her. "Or we could just be honest and say that Jack was a little too drunk the night he and I were trapped on that Island together and said a few things when his tongue was too loose." She smiled and kissed Will's blushing cheek.

"Elizabeth," Will huffed like a bird who fluffed his feathers indignantly.

"Hush. Lets just enjoy our last night together and talk about all the good times we've had."

"Agreed." He smiled and retrieved a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread from the counter as they sat down and talked.

Late into the evening they talked, and they were both yawning extensively when it was decided that Will should leave.

"Will I need you to do something for me." Elizabeth said in her most serious voice as Will was about to step out the door. From her tone alone Will knew she was not joking.

"Anything."

"Don't come and see me off tomorrow. If you are there, I don't think I can go through with leaving." Elizabeth searched his eyes for honesty when he responded.

"If I must stay away, I will." He smiled sadly at her. "I guess this is 'goodbye'?"

"I guess so." She smiled and was gathered up into a firm, strong, reassuring hug. She cried and wished the hug could go on forever. Will hung on, knowing this might be the last time he ever saw his dear friend.

"Goodbye, Elizabeth," Will said as he kissed her cheek lightly, tears shinning in his eyes as well.

"Goodbye Will. Tell Jack I said goodbye when you see him." She said the last like she knew it was certain, a firm fact of life.

"I will." He held her hands, still reluctant to leave her forever.

"Oh! Your letter! Elizabeth retreated into the house to retrieve the letter she had written for her friend. She returned and placed it in his hand. "Promise me you won't read it until I am gone? Until my ship has left port?"

"I swear." He turned and descended the front stairs.

"Good. Goodnight, Will Turner." She called after him

"Goodnight, Miss Swann" He called as he turned to call to her, not being able to resist teasing for old time's sake.

"How many times do I have to ask you to call me 'Elizabeth'?"

"At least once more, Miss Swann, as always." Will smiled as he waved and turned again and was gone.

Will was dead on his feet when he walked in the door of the shop. One good thing could be said for exhaustion - he rarely dreamed when his body was this exhausted. And Will did not dream that night, though his internal clock woke him just after dawn. Will hurried to dress and took Elizabeth's letter with him. He arrived on the dock that the Graceful Maiden had no more than half an hour left from, in fact he could still see it in the distance. He had kept his promise to Elizabeth and had not come and seen her off, but he had not yet begun to feel the loss of his best friend. He still could not believe she was gone!

Will carefully unsealed the letter Elizabeth had written and began to read it. It was far shorter than he expected it to be.

Dearest Will,

By the time you are reading this you are probably standing on the dock where the Graceful Maiden just set sail from. Please don't be mad with me Will, but I have done something that will change my life forever. I am not going to England. I am going to get off the ship in Virginia and make a new life for myself. I intend to change my name and such. Please do not be angry with me, but I just cannot do this anymore! I want to live my life the way I want to live it! Not the away society demands that I do! Someday I will write and tell you that I am alright, but you must promise not to come searching for me. Please, it is either this or a loveless marriage. I cannot do that Will, you know I cannot. I will not be forced to obey someone else's orders for the rest of my life! I want to be free! I want to be able to live with the same freedoms you and Jack have - the freedom to go where you want, do what you want, and to love who you want. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you'll do the same for me. Goodbye my dearest Will, I will certainly miss you.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

P.S. Don't be surprised if the Commodore visits you some time after he receives my letter, he is going to be none too pleased with me. Thank you for everything.

Will stood reading and rereading the letter. A combination of surprise, amusement and anger washed over him. She had taken her life into her own hands and he couldn't be happier for her, even if that happiness was tinged with fear for a woman alone in the world. If anyone could survive and prosper, it was Elizabeth. With that in mind, Will realized that he wasn't quite as shocked as he should have been.

It all began to fall into place. Elizabeth had always dreamed of going away, of traveling, but she thought those would only be dreams for her. The night she found out about her father's death, she had been too resigned to her fate, Will should have known she wouldn't go without a fight!

She had been too quiet, like she was planning something! But Will had just brushed it off as her packing and getting ready to move, he had not expected her to do this!

His brotherly instincts told him to steal the nearest boat and stop her, but as Elizabeth's best friend, he stood firmly rooted to the spot. "Fly, Elizabeth, fly!" He whispered as the ship faded out of view.

--

Chapter 4: Of Sword Fights and Travel

"// //"-dreams

Will stood on the docks for a long time after Elizabeth's ship was out of sight. He smiled one last time at the open ocean before taking his time getting back to the shop. He had caught up on his work the day before and was not intending to take on any more orders. Elizabeth was gone and that meant he no longer had any ties to Port Royal. He could leave, go anywhere he wanted in fact, and no one would care one way or the other. As soon as he received payment for everything in the shop, he would have more than enough money to--

"Mr. Turner," a cool, slick voice stopped Will in his tracks. Norrington. The Commodore was dressed in his usual uniform. Every hair in his wig was where it belonged and his clothing did not even have the slightest hint of a wrinkle. Will held his ground and his hand immediately went to the hilt of the sword -- Jack's sword -- he had taken to wearing.

"Commodore Norrington." Will nodded to the man, Elizabeth's words still fresh in his mind. "What can I help you with this morning?" Will let his voice sound tired, listless and sad, like someone who had lost someone dear to him; in reality, Will could not have been happier for Elizabeth and her freedom was his freedom as well.

"Do not play me for a fool," Norrington said in a dangerously quiet voice. "I know you were part of this!" He raised his right hand which held a letter written in Elizabeth's neat script.

"I do not know what you are talking about." Will took his time to almost melodramatically inspect the paper still clutched in Norrington's hand. "Well now, that appears to be a letter from dear Elizabeth, if I do not mistake her writing." He shrugged his shoulders in a non-committal way. "I saw a whole stack of them on her table last night."

Norrington looked as though he was about to pop a blood vessel or he wanted to ring someone's neck. Will had never been one to back down from a fight and Will was in just the mood to egg the good Commodore on. After all, he needn't worry about being good so as not to harm Elizabeth's reputation (which undoubtedly would have been stained had it been known her best friend was a bit of a ruffian rather than the mild mannered and courteous blacksmith.)

"She gave one to me as well, Commodore."

Norrington looked as if he was about to develop a twitch in his eye. "Aye, it is Elizabeth's hand." Norrington sneered. His eyes were full of a firry hatred as he looked at Will. "Might we go inside to discuss this matter?"

The gears in Will's head were working. Norrington did not want to have this conversation in public, which meant that Will definitely wanted to because even if it only gave him a slight advantage, it was an advantage none the less. Pirates knew how to take even the slightest of upper-hands and use it as leverage to achieve the desired ends.

"I know of nothing we need to discuss, Commodore." Will continued to play the part of the confused, exhausted, and melancholy young man who had just lost his dearest friend and possible future wife.

"Read this, and then tell me we have nothing to discuss." Norrington shoved the letter into Will's hand. With a sigh and much feigned disinterest, Will 'reluctantly' read the note, for while it was longer than the one dear Elizabeth had written to him, it was full of her biting sharp tongue.

Dear Commodore,

As you will have found out already (seeing as I was supposed to have luncheon with you, and you will have gone to my home to find it empty and a letter waiting there for you with one of my servants) that I have indeed left Port Royal and I am beginning my journey home by way of Virginia. You are, no doubt, offended that I left rather than accept your gracious proposal, or should I say demand, of marriage. You should long ago have realized that I do what I please and not what other people demand of me. To be perfectly honest, Commodore, I would rather marry a pirate than marry you.

I have a confession to make; I was not completely honest with you that day when I stood with Will in Captain Jack Sparrow's defense. Will said his place is between you and Jack, which certainly is true, but my place always has been -- and always will be -- between you and Will. Will gave me something you never did, and I wonder if you ever could. He gave me love. He loves me for who I am and not because I am the Governor's pretty young daughter. He loves me enough to trust me to follow my heart, wherever it takes me.

You are a shallow man, Commodore. You care naught for me or for the person that I am; you care only for your rank and for your country. This is a New World Commodore, and I intend to make the most of it. I know that you are probably thinking that you shall send a ship after me and try to catch up. I might have you note that I will not go willingly with you, and I promise you, I have friends who will come to my aid. You know of whom I speak; all pirates will do what you want, if you are willing to pay their price.

Good day, Commodore, I hope that our paths never meet again, for in all honesty I should very much like to run you through with my new dagger.

Never yours,

Elizabeth

Will nodded solemnly and re-folded the paper and handed it back to Norrington. He did his best to keep his voice even and neutral. "What exactly is it that you want, Commodore?"

"What do I want? Mr. Turner, I thought you to be more intelligent than that." He stepped closer to Will, invading his personal space. "I want Elizabeth."

"Well, Commodore, you seem to have a bit of a problem then. It seems to me that she does not want you." Will took a step back, knowing that his next words would provoke some action from the Commodore, especially when he made no effort to keep his voice down low in order to escape over hearing by the gossiping tongues of the locals. "If I were you, Commodore, I would not chase after someone who so obviously does not love me. A woman who would rather marry a pirate or skewer you with one of my daggers than accept your proposal does not sound like the trophy wife you seek, Commodore."

That certainly pushed the commodore into action. Had Will not been anticipating Norrington's reaction, he would have most likely lost an ear. Fortunately, Will brought Jack's blade up just in time to parry the Governor's movements and to take a step back.

"You dare to lecture me, Mr. Turner? You are out of line, sir." Norrington spat the last word out as though it was a vile thing. He advanced and lunged at Will; Will parried deftly and moved to the side, his eyes constantly watching Norrington's torso, waiting for the barest hint of muscle movement to betray what his opponent would do next.

"I lecture no one, Commodore, I only speak of facts. It is not my problem if you do not wish to listen to the facts." Will lunged forward, catching Norrington off guard. If Norrington wanted a fight, Will would give him one. He knew well the rules of fencing, and he had learned that you did not win a fight by defending yourself, you merely delayed the inevitable.

"How dare you!" Norrington thrust again and Will moved out of the way as the two began circling each other. The clang and swish of two well made swords filled the air. Norrington also carried one of Will's blades, one of his best actually, but it was not the spectacular piece that Will held in his own hand.

"How dare you, Commodore? Elizabeth does not want you. She would rather take her chances in England than to marry you. That should tell you something, Commodore." Will continued. "If you were to go after her," every few sentences Will would thrust or feign a movement to keep the Commodore on his toes. "Catch up with her and bring her back," thrust, "I am not the only one," feign, lunge, parry, "Who would protest or help her to get away from you."

"Still keeping company with pirates, Mr. Turner?" thrust, "I would have thought," thrust, "you would have," a series of chopping strikes aimed at forcing Will to retreat were dodged as Will gracefully maneuvered out of Norrington's way "learned your lesson by now." A feign high as he tried to come in low at Will's exposed side. Will, however, was there, almost expecting Norrington's move.

"Pirates are better company than self absorbed Navy men who seek only power and things they have no hope of gaining." Will moved in lightning fast causing the Commodore to stumble and barely block Will's attack.

"You are out of line, Mr. Turner." Norrington was beginning to sweat. "I shall have to tell the new governor that one of his citizens keeps company with pirates when he arrives." Norrington resumed circling Will. He could not defeat the boy with the sword, so he would have to defeat him with words.

"A new governor will not arrive for a few months yet and I shall be long gone by then, Commodore." They continued to watch each other, occasionally feigning but never engaging.

"Ah yes, you shall be long gone." Norrington smiled cruelly as he lunged for Wills heart. "You shall be dead." Will parried the advance deftly. "I will see you hanged for piracy long before the new governor arrives." He moved in again to strike, but Will advanced, forcing him to defend rather than to attack. Norrington broke away, his taunts and jabs becoming harsher. "And just let your friend Sparrow try to save you. I shall have him killed as well. And you will watch him swing before you join him in Hell."

That was what pushed Will over the edge. Norrington should have learned by now that Will didn't take kindly to his friends' lives being threatened or put in danger for any reason. But the Commodore seemed to have a hard time grasping this concept and it was high time Will taught it to him.

"You have gone too far, Commodore." Will advanced on Norrington, tight, measured thrusts and lunges, forcing Norrington to retreat backwards again and again. His blocks were becoming hurried and his parries were fast becoming careless. Norrington tried once more to gain the upper hand by feigning left with a sloppy attack towards Will's shoulder and then cutting downward. Will caught Norrington's blade with Jack's and forced the blade out of Norrington's hand, pushing the off-balanced and surprised Norrington to the ground; the tip of his sword resting at Norrington's throat.

"Now, Commodore, you will listen to me." Will leaned down towards Norrington, the tip of his sword never leaving Norrington's neck. "I could kill you right here and now Commodore, but I am a better man then you. I have more honor than you do as well. I do not attack a man when his back is turned." Will lowered his voice to a dangerously quiet level. "Here and now, Norrington, you are going to swear to me that you will not go after Elizabeth."

"Never," Norrington spat.

"Never is such a long time, even when you do have a sword to your throat." Will nicked the skin of Norrington's face and it began to bleed. Norrington flinched. Will smiled and spoke again. "I had thought to do this quietly, but it seems I shall have to talk loud enough for our audience to hear now. Pity." Will plainly did not believe the last. He smirked as he stood back up to his full height and began to speak loud enough so that his voice carried into the gathering crowd.

"Just think, Commodore, what it would do to your reputation to go after a girl who has plainly said she would rather kill you than marry you. Just think what people would say, 'The Commodore wen' afta d girl an' she din' wan' non' to do wit' 'im. Forced 'er t' come back, 'e did. Forced 'er t' marry 'im too. What a fool.' Is that what you want, Commodore? Don't be rash. And as for your blatant threat that I should help you to bring Elizabeth back or you would have me killed, you will do no such thing. You will never have the opportunity to hang me, for while I remain in Port Royal I shall give you no cause to have me arrested or hanged. Oh, and just so we are clear, if you ever lay a finger on either Elizabeth or Jack again, I shall cut you open from navel to nose. Just remember Commodore, I could have killed you today and I would have been in the right to do so, but I did not. I spared your worthless life today, remember that you attacked a man from behind, insulted him, threatened him, and it was you who ended up lying on the ground with a sword pointed at your throat."

Will spat on the ground, missing Norrington by mere inches, and removed the sword tip from Norrington's throat. He turned his back on Norrington, did not offer the other man a hand to get up off the ground and kicked dirt onto Norrington's lost blade.

Norrington used the nearby wall to help him stand and leaned against it for support as he called out to Will. "Where will you go now, Mr. Turner? Shall you go after your 'dearest Elizabeth' or do you intend to turn pirate and join up with Sparrow?" Will ignored Norrington's remark and cleaned the blood off the tip of Jack's sword. "I hope you do join up with that drunken, treacherous waste of a life and worthless member of society. Then I can see you both hanged, side by side. You will watch as he swings from the gallows and this time you will not be able to save him! You will be strung up next to him watching him dance from the hangman's noose. Yes, Will Turner, I will see you-" Norrington's words were cut short as Will threw the blade that had been abandoned on the ground directly into the wooden beam next to Norrington's head, just close enough to nick his ear.

"Commodore, I thought we went over this already -- threatening my friends will get you naught but a painful death. Then again, death might be preferable to the criticism you shall have to endure after this." Will turned on his heal and began to stride away.

A livid Norrington moved to catch up to Will, grabbed him by the shoulder, spun him around and brought his hand down with a loud SMACK! Norrington's palm had made firm contact with the side of Will's face and Will was not one to stand by after having been insulted in such a manner. Will's right-hook struck Norrington's face squarely in the eye. Norrington hunched over in pain, his wig slipping from his head as he held onto his aching face. Will kicked the wig towards Norrington. "Goodbye, Commodore. I take my leave of you and your city. I shall be gone by 'morrow noon, in search of my love."

Will quickly made his way back to the shop and shut the door behind him, thankful to be alone. He sunk down into a chair and rested his head on his arms on the table. He could not believe what he had just done. He had crossed swords with Norrington and won! He had insulted the man, as the man had insulted him. Norrington's insults and threats had cut him deeply, bringing Will's fears about his and Jack's deaths to the fore-front of his mind. If his mind had not been made up before the fight, it was after it. Will needed to see Jack. He needed to reassure himself that Jack was still alive and he wasn't the rotting skeleton that haunted his dreams and nightmares. And Will needed to know if Jack loved him too. Not to mention that he needed to deliver Jack's impressive sword to him.

The sword. It had served Will well in the fight. It was truly a masterfully designed piece and it flew threw the air as though it had a mind of its own and knew its target before Will did. Will examined the sword. The folded steel blade was etched with gold at the fuller(1). The grip of the hilt was solid and it too was inlaid with crisscrossing strands of gold and silver. Though the pattern was far more ornate and complex than was necessarily popular, it would suit the pirate very well. The pommel was solid steel washed with gold inlaid at the button with a rather large ruby Will had swiped from the piles of treasure at the Isla de Muerta. The full, swept guard was of a firm, yet intricate design and pattern, complete with a handful of black pearls set into the outer guard (the loop guard, the crossguard, and the knuckle guard). Will balanced the sword on his finger. Perfectly balance.

"'Tis a fine sword." Will turned and pointed the sword in mention at the speaker. It was Mr. Brown. He was standing up, with help from one of the beams supporting the ceiling. "Will, you have far surpassed the training of an apprentice, and your skills are far beyond those of a journeyman blacksmith. You have become a master blacksmith without my knowing it." Will had not heard him sound so lucid in years. He took a leather pouch out of the inside of his vest. "Here." He held out the bag to Will, who stood and walked over to Mr. Brown and took the bag into his hands, and opened it up. Inside was fifty Spanish Galleons. Will looked up, shocked.

"Sir, I don't understand," Will began, confused.

"It's simple, young William. Just the swords you have left here in this shop will easily amount to as much, and from what I have been hearing today, you need to leave Port Royal as soon as possible. You would not be able to sell nearly enough of what you have by tomorrow, so I am offering you a trade, the money for what you have left in the shop, minus what you intend to use personally, of course. What do you say?" Will had no choice, not that he really had any doubts about what to do.

"Agreed. Thank you Mr. Brown." Will smiled and tucked the pouch into his shirt.

"After all, if you do turn pirate, how many people will want to claim that they own a sword forged by the infamous Will Turner of the legendary damned ship the Black Pearl." Will laughed. He should have known there was some angle for Brown to make money in the situation.

"Thank you." Will put out his hand and Brown shook it firmly. "Good voyage to you lad." And with that, Brown left the shop.

Will quickly got over the shock of his good luck. He had not expected to have so much money leaving on this voyage, and he was suddenly thankful that he had a well-made trunk with a seamless, shallow, fake bottom. Will took one of the coins out of the pouch, placed it in his belt purse, and proceeded to empty his trunk. He placed the rest of the gold in the hidden compartment beneath the false bottom, repacked the trunk with all of his belongings, before adding his own personal sword (which he would use after giving Jack his sword), a dagger, a knife, and a hatchet.

Will locked the trunk and made his way from the shop to the docks, looking for a slightly disrespectful merchant ship whose captain would take him wherever he wanted, for the right price.

He spied The Spiteful Donkey, fondly known as 'the Ass' by her captain, John Southard, and her crew. The ship was in fact leaving in little over an hour when Will arrived. It did not take nearly as much monetary persuasion to convince Captain Southard to take him to Tortuga as he had expected. The two men shook on the deal and Will vowed to be back within the hour.

Will hurried to the baker's shop and found Christopher closing up shop. "Chris!" Will called to him.

"'Ello, Will." The slightly younger man with flaming red hair and a good dusting of freckles called back. "Wha' can I do fer ye?"

"Might you be able to give me an' my trunk a lift to the docks?" Will tried not to sound too hopeful.

"Surely. I'll be by as soon as possible. Dominic should be back with the wagon any time now." Chris smiled at Will. 'This would na 'ave any t'in ter do wit' yer fight wit' d' Commodore, wou' it?" Will just smiled at Chris mischievously.

"Just bring that cart by as quick as you can." Will disappeared down an ally and walked into the blacksmith's shop for the last time. He would miss the place, but not as much as he would miss Jack if he were to stay.

Chris came by a few minutes later and the two hoisted Will's trunk into the back of the wagon for the short trip to the docks. Chris talked about his upcoming wedding to one of the local seamstresses and in no time at all, they were at the dock where 'the Ass' was docked. Chris helped him get his trunk on board and two crewmembers showed them down below decks to the hammock that Will would use for the next two days. They returned topside and Will quickly said goodbye to his friend.

The ship set sail for Tortuga, much to some of the crew's dismay. Will dined with captain Southard in his cabin that night. "What business brings a blacksmith to Tortuga?" The captain asked will in what he hoped was a conversational manner.

"I'm looking for someone," Will said evasively.

"And, if ye don't mind me askin', who might this someone be?"

"A pirate."

"A pirate, eh? There are an awful lot of those down in Tortuga. One pirate in particular, or will any one do?"

"Oh, a specific one," Will said in a tone that ended the conversation neatly.

The ship sailed on fairly calm seas for just over two days. They reached Tortuga near sunset. They docked long enough for Will and his trunk to be let off and then they were gone again.

Will bribed a young man to help him carry his trunk to one of the 'nicer' inns. Will rented a room for the next two days, and retreated to his room to sleep for a few hours.

Around midnight, Will woke up ravenously hungry and in need of a drink. It had been a long week and rum, Jack's poison of choice, was beginning to sound awfully tempting. Will took a seat towards the back where he could see everyone without everyone taking notice of him. He gave his order to the serving wench and she returned moments latter with a turkey leg and some rum. Will listened to the conversations going on around him for news of the Pearl. Several prostitutes propositioned the 'Pretty lad,' but he brushed them off.

It wasn't until nearly dawn, when Will's eye lids were beginning to sag from lack of sleep and too much alcohol that word of the Pearl reached his ears.

"Aye! I swear Is seen i'! Not a week back! 'Twer headed back 'ere, mes thought. But 'twer caught in dat storm de other day. Ain't been no word 'bout 'er since."

This news made Will ill and he stumbled to his feet, anxious to get to his rented bed, to go to sleep and hope that the conversation was naught but a figment of his alcohol-clouded mind. Will stumbled into the room and onto the bed that Will did not want to even attempt to identify the smells and stains on the bed. Will fell almost instantly asleep.

//The Black Pearl blends in with the inky darkness of the storm. Sea swells splash over the sides of the ship. Jack stands at the wheel, trying to steer the ship threw the maze of endless, impossibly large waves. Will calls out to him but he can not even hear his own voice over the rain and wind. Lightning flashes in the distance and is followed almost instantly by thunder. The storm is coming closer; ever closer. Will races to Jack, but is swept off the stairs by a wave.

CRACK!

Lightning strikes the highest mast and sets the black sails aflame. Will calls out to Jack, to tell him, but Jack seems oblivious to it all. Fire creeps ever closer to Jack, and still he seems not to notice.

BAMM!

Will feels himself flying through the air before crashing painfully into the inky-water. Will fights to get to the surface, his lungs burning for air. He almost wishes he hadn't made it to the surface when he sees what awaits him. The Pearl is naught but flaming debris.

Will screams out into the night.

It is day and Will seems to hover above the water. There is sea, endless sea surrounding him. Jack! Jack lays almost motionless on a piece of wreckage. His clothes are a wreck and his skin is covered by burns. His breath comes in jagged gasps. Will tries to touch Jack, but his hand passed right through him. Will sits there and watches as Jack fries in the sun, alone and with no help in sight. Will feels so helpless.//

Will awoke some time in the afternoon with a slight hangover, which could have been much worse. He raised his hand to rub sleep from his eyes and was surprised to find that his cheeks were wet with tears. His dreams and nightmares had always made real his deepest fears, and if his dreams of late were any indication, Will's greatest fears involved losing Jack. Slowly, Will opened his eyes, squinting to keep out the damnable sunlight.

Will made to sit up, but found himself hindered. His hand was grasping the hilt of Jack's sword so tightly it hurt. It was an effort to command his fingers to release the hilt. Painfully Will stretched his cramped digits and sat up, taking a look around the room. His head was spinning a little and he most definitely had a headache. Will slowly swung his feet to the floor and tested them before standing on them. With a groan and the assistance of the bed post, Will stood up. "Mornin, luv." And fell over.

That voice. It sounded like…No, it can't be… "Jack?" Will's voice came out a croak as he tried to make his muscles work in the proper fashion and stand up.

He was abruptly pulled to his feet and came face to face with the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. For a moment, he was sure he was going to faint with happiness. Jack Sparrow held him upright with a hand on each of his arms. Jack's gold and ivory smile shined and his eyes sparkled with mischief. His hair was held back with its customary red bandana, though the hat was missing. And Will could smell the distinct aroma of rum, salt, and unwashed pirate. "Aye, 'tis me, Captain Jack Sparrow."

"Jack!" Will threw his arms around his friend, his love. Jack was warm and solid. He laughed and hugged Will back. "You need a bath." Will mumbled into Jack's shoulder.

"Nice to see you too, whelp." He released Will and draped his arm around Will's shoulder, causing Will to stumble again until Jack steadied him. "So did you miss ol' Jack?" he asked with a toothy grin.

(1) Here the sites I got my sword information from: http://www.deathstar.org/groups/ros/reference/rapieranatomy.gif and http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_anatomy.html if you're interested.

TBC…