Title: A Good Man
Author: Plaid Poppet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: Jack/Will, Will/Elizabeth
Summary: Elizabeth thinks about what she learned the night she spent stranded with Jack.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. The people who own them own them. Sue not the author.
Notes: Enjoy. There may be more later.
Elizabeth awoke from her dream much in the same way she did the night she uncovered Will's pirate medallion from its hiding place in her bedside table. The dream that had awakened her, however, was not one of darkness and danger. She touched her lips, feeling the perspiration there, and wondered if she were unusually warm because of the dream, the August heat, or the fact that Will had, once again, managed to foil her father's attempts to keep him out of her bedroom at night once again. He was a pirate, after all, and what sense was it to keep to her rules of propriety if Will was bound to break them?
She had lost much of her sense of propriety anyhow, since the incident with Captain Barbossa and his ghostly crew. She remembered how she had shrieked in terror when the moonlight first revealed the true nature of the Black Pearl's crew. Now, when her window rattled at night, she quickly unbuttoned the top of her nightdress and turned in her bed to await her bold friend, with one hand gripping a dagger under her pillow just in case her midnight visitor turned out to be an unsavory character. Will had teased her, after a particularly playful round of kissing that the dagger, if not removed from the bed, may one day end up in his shoulder - or someplace even less comfortable.
Smoothing the place beside her where Will had been a few hours before, Elizabeth kicked off the remaining coverlet and stretched out, begging for the Caribbean breeze to cool her skin. Will had left her feeling fevered, as usual, and the dream that was still lingering didn't help much. After all, Will was a gentleman, pirate or no, and refused to do much of anything besides for kissing. Elizabeth wondered if he left her bedroom in as an uncomfortable state as she remained for the rest of the night. And while her perspective on propriety began to crumble, relieving herself was strictly out of the question. The wedding was only two weeks away, after all. They could wait.
But the dreams...Elizabeth could dream of her lover, and awake feeling sated. This one was different, though, she thought as sleep failed to reclaim her. She tried to recall the reverie, but with little success. Eventually she gave up, opened her eyes, and listened to the waves as they broke distantly below the fort. The moon was high tonight, and while she used to consider moonlight romantic, she now preferred the dark, partially because it made things easier on Will to arrive undetected, but mostly because it reminded her of things that weren't conducive to sleeping. Recalling her adventure was energizing, if anything. Tonight, the moonlight filtered through her windows, casting her dressing screen and bureau in sharp relief against the grainy silver-darkness of the walls. Moonlight illuminated only enough to make objects stand out from the dark, revealing things in shadows rather than in their true vibrancy. Her own skin looked pale and luminous. The moon had changed position, now barely peeking through the side windows. Earlier it had fallen on Will, the planes of his face, as he bent to kiss her. She opened her eyes as they kissed, watching his eyelids flutter and the moonlight sharpen the angles of his face, the curve of his eyebrow. She closed her eyes again, remembering the softness of his lips as they lay pressed together, the tickle of his mustache...
Her eyes opened wide in the dark. That was it. The dream. And the tickle of mustache...not Will's. Elizabeth stared at the ceiling, memories that she thought she's lost flooding back to her. Until now, she had remembered next to nothing of her night with the devil's drink, the night she spent stranded on the island with Jack, save her memory that she awakened the next morning knowing that Captain Jack Sparrow was indeed a good man. But now it was there, not quite clear, but illuminated in silver and gray. She was there, with Jack, drinking and dancing around an alcohol-fueled fire. For the first time she felt truly free, free from her father, her social position, even those damn corsets, and tested curse words in her mouth along with the rum as she danced hand-in-hand with a mangy pirate. Eventually she had collapsed with Jack, drunk, tired, and hot. A warm breeze was blowing from the east, making the fire seem hotter. She wondered how Jack could stand being dressed in so many layers when he could, being a pirate and all, at least remove his coat and shirt without being indecent. Even her petticoat, the only article of clothing Barbossa didn't demand back, save her bloomers, seemed hot and confining. She had tucked the skirts up, and received not even a raise of an eyebrow from Jack. She supposed she should have been scared. Alone in the middle of the ocean with a fearsome pirate was hardly a place for a young lady to let down her guard. But as she lay on the beach with Jack's arm wrapped protectively around her, she felt comfortable, at ease.
Now, staring at her ceiling instead of the stars, Elizabeth remembered how he had leaned in, close enough for a kiss, close enough for her feel the tickle of his mustache on her lips. She had pulled away then, and he had not kissed her, but now she realized that he would not have, anyway. It was what happened later, after the fire had died down and he was too drunk and she was too tired to do anything about it. They lay there in silence for some time, until Elizabeth swore she felt the waves and heard her heartbeat...or was it the other way around? Things were quite dizzy. Yet it was peaceful, and she was sure Jack was sound asleep beside her, belly down in the sand, until he muttered something into the sand.
"Pardon?" she asked, turning to look at him.
Jack's eyes were closed, and sand was sticking in his beard. "I see why you like him, luv," he repeated. Elizabeth furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. Was he asleep?
"Yes, he is pretty remarkable," she affirmed as she tried to settle back into a comfortable position.
"Tell me," Jack continued, the sand matriculating through his beard as he slurred. "What is it about him?"
Elizabeth smiled. "Oh, plenty of things. He's very kind, and brave."
The corners of Jack's mouth twitched. "Aye, and not to mention good looking."
"He has beautiful eyes..."
"And strong shoulders..."
"and lovely hair..."
Jack attempted to roll over on his back, but remained on his stomach when he discovered his limbs were not obeying orders. He did manage to open his eyes to meet Elizabeth's. "You forgot the part about the soft lips, gentle hands, and heart of gold."
"Soft lips! Why Jack, you speak as if you know from experience!" Elizabeth laughed, but then saw something in Jack's charcoaled eyes she hadn't noticed before. "Oh God, you fancy him," she said softly, her eyebrows coming together in confusion and understanding. "You fancy Will Turner."
"Is 'at obvious?" Suddenly Jack seemed a lot less drunk than he had before. With effort, he managed to raise himself up on an elbow. "Suppose I do." He furrowed his own eyebrows and stared at his nose, cross-eyed, before meeting her eyes again. "That's really quite interesting."
"You're drunk," she said, trying to disregard his confession. He nodded his head in agreement. Elizabeth regarded her companion. He seemed to be full of surprises, but this one was a bit beyond her. It simply didn't add up. He was a pirate... a dirty, drunken, blundering pirate...and in love with Will Turner? It didn't make any sense. She could imagine that it could become rather...lonely...out on the sea, and being in the constant company of men, perhaps... But that was nothing than lust, right? "Have you...kissed him?" she asked out of curiosity.
"A pirate does not kiss and tell."
"Part of the code?" she asked half-teasingly. She was truly curious. She had barely kissed Will herself, and if Captain Jack Sparrow was kissing Will, she certainly had a right to know about it. "Really, Jack, what was it like?" Emboldened by alcohol, she pressed him for answers.
"You really don't want to know, luv."
"I think I do." Was that mischivousness in her voice? "Tell me, Jack, did you use your tongue?"
"Good God woman, you're going to undo me," moaned Jack, who lost the use of his supporting arm. He lay there, staring at her with his eyes half-closed and a lopsided grin on his lips.
"I want to know what it's like to kiss a man."
Jack's grin widened. "Well, I could show you," he slurred.
"No, I want to know what it's like...kissing Will."
"I'd rather kiss him anyway."
"Mmm. So would I. Did you touch his face as you kissed him? Put your hands in his hair?" She leaned in closer. "Did he moan with delight?"
Jack's eyes snapped fully open. "You know, 'Lizabeth, I've come to the conclusion that this conversation has become a bit odd, wouldn't you agree? Let's go to sleep." He promptly shut his eyes and pretended to snore. Elizabeth wasn't fooled; the way Jack wriggled in the sand made her wonder if he were hiding something that had become...uncomfortable. So he had kissed Will, and perhaps done more than that. She could live with that. At the time, the rum made everything quite livable. Kissing was fine. Kissing was great. Yet there was something in Jack's behavior that made her wonder...
"Do you love him?" she asked quietly, although she already knew the truth.
Jack stopped wriggling and snoring, propping himself up again on his arm. He nodded, the beads in his hair glinting in the dying firelight. A bit of shock ran through her then. Was it possible? She could barely squeak out the words.
"Does he love you?"
"I cannot answer that." His eyes were unwavering as he reached for her hand. She took it reluctantly, and helped him roll onto his back. He didn't let go of her hand as he tried his best to explain. "Listen, 'Lizabeth. He's yours, savvy? All yours. On my honor, I'll not be meddling. Do you believe me?"
Elizabeth searched his eyes, and knew that, as usual, Jack was telling the truth. She nodded. "You're a good woman, you are." He closed his eyes then, and was really asleep no less than two minutes later.
Just over two months later, Elizabeth was wide awake and still staring at the ceiling. The crash of the waves seemed a bit louder, she thought, and wondered if a small storm might be brewing out at sea. She wondered about Jack, and if he were at port, safe. She wondered about Will, who had pledged his love and soul to her. Could he have pledged it to another? She wondered about his times with Jack, and recalled his excitement at hearing that Jack would indeed grace them with his presence at their wedding. Had she misinterpreted his enthusiasm? She wondered about his lips, the lips that had so recently kissed her, clashed in passion with Jack. Did he think of Jack as he kissed her, his hands tangled in her hair in the darkness? How could she have forgotten that night on the beach?
The moonlight began to fade, throwing her room into pre-dawn darkness. Soon the light would penetrate the darkness, chasing the shadows from her bedroom and making everything vibrant and clear. Elizabeth shut her eyes, and breathed deeply. Will was hers, Jack had promised her that. As she finally drifted back to sleep, she found herself back on that narrow beach with Jack, the morning after she had consumed more rum than she ever had or would again. As she peered down the beech at the heap of leather, gold, and hair that still lay face-down in the sand, she came to the conclusion that indeed, Jack Sparrow was a good man, and now she remembered why.