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Ficlet: Ancient History - [ potc100 ] — LiveJournal
pirates of the caribbean drabble challenge

phoenix_9664 posting in Pirates of the Caribbean Drabbles
User: potc100 (posted by phoenix_9664)
Date: 2013-06-13 19:41
Subject: Ficlet: Ancient History
Security: Public
Title:  Ancient History
Author: phoenix_9664
Pairing:  J/E
Rating:  G
Disclaimer:  I am playing with Disney dolls.  No infringement, no profit.
A/N:  This is something that's been germinating in my romantic imagination for a while, and once it got out, I realized it fit the blackpearlsails prompt "History."  Very angsty and lovey and Jack at his most sincere, as they think themselves back to a remarkable scene in P3:AWE.

Ancient History

            Having spent an hour or so calculating headings on his maps, Jack looked up to find that the tall stern windows had gone dark.  Realizing he hadn’t heard from Elizabeth in hours—and also that the rum was, once again, gone--he rose and went out on deck.
There she was, leaning over the gunwales, lost in thought, studying the waves.  He moved up alongside her and watched her for a moment.
            “Shilling for your thoughts.”
            She looked up, smiling.  “Thought the going rate was a penny.”
            “Surely a king’s thoughts are worth more than that.”
            She smiled.  “Just watching the shining fish.  The light.”  They both looked down into the water, where streaks of light, blue, green, white, moved ghostly and surreal. “Reminds me of the lights in the water . . . that night.  The . . . spirits.  Coming back.  From the Locker.  The night when we saw . . . my father.”

          She’d been standing there in that strange sense of limbo—not watching for anything, hoping for anything, for there was no sense of what to watch for.  She’d been thinking, Maybe we’re here forever.  Maybe we never get back.
          When she saw him, there in that candlelit bark, it meant she could return—to the world she’d known, to the girl she’d been.
          Then Jack spoke her name, and those next three words.  She’d looked him directly in the eyes.  Fleetingly she registered that for the first time since she’d known him, he was utterly serious.  Dead serious. 
            She knew he was right.  There was never any going back; she’d learned that.  But she had to try, so she’d run astern, toward the rope ladder, praying, desperate.  And Will had caught her, held her tightly while she struggled and then submitted. Held her later, in the night, as the ship wandered across that strange, unearthly sea.
          And even then, some small part of her wished that it had been Jack who had caught her.  She thought of his eyes, huge and black, as he said those words.

          “I was thinking,” Elizabeth said, “how so many of our stories have had to do with lost fathers.  It’s strange.”
          He turned to her, quizzical.
          “My . . . well, voyage, I guess you’d say, away from my father and his world.  Will’s search for Bootstrap Bill—which pretty much determined our entire saga, all of us.  Even your associate Angelica’s quest for her diabolical father.” A slant glance.  “And then, you and Teague.  It’s odd, really, that we’re all here seeking . . . these men who have created us, marked us. Abandoned us.  Or . . . been abandoned by us.”  Her face clouded.
          “You never abandoned your father, love.” His voice was soft as the evening breeze.
          She shrugged, eyes out to sea.  “Not intentionally.  But I certainly wound up a long way from everything he believed in.  Everything he was.”
          “That’s the world turning, darling.”
          “But me turning as well.”
          “Of course. If you hadn’t, you’d be dead, probably.  Or lost in a life like a grave.  And by the way, your father turned with the world as well.”
          She looked up, confused.                                                          
          “Something you said he said . . . something about piracy sometimes being the best choice.”
          She smiled.
          Jack nodded.  “He understood what was happening.  That it was all changing.”
          “I hope he did.”  Her voice was thin, high.
          “Rest assured, darling.  After all, weren’t his last words about his pride in you? Heard ‘em with me own ears.”
          “But that wasn’t really . . . him, was it?  That was his spirit, or something.”
          “And his spirit isn’t really him?”
          She turned to look at him, her eyes filling.   He pulled her into in his arms, sighing deeply, stroking the back of her hair.  After some minutes he said, “This is what I wanted to do that night, when you thought we were back.”
          “Did you?”
          “You have no idea.  Nearly killed me to see you fly into Turner’s arms.”
          “I’m sorry I wasn’t in yours, Jack.  Truly.”
          “Don’t wish it away.  You loved him, and he you.  It was his role in our little comedy, to catch you, to keep you on board.”
          “But now . . . I’m so glad to be in yours.”
          He pressed her head against his shoulder, rocking her gently as the evening wind rose around them.

          “We’re back!” she chirped, her face alight.
          He felt himself go still.  “Elizabeth,” he said, turning sharply to face her. “We’re not back.”
          He knew she wouldn’t believe it. She’d try to reach her father, floating past in the little boat among a sea of little boats, bound for the other side. 
          When she moved, it was all he could do not to catch her.  Unused as he was to restraining his impulses, every muscle wanted to catch her, stop her, hold her as the reality set into her, as she collapsed into grief.  But Turner was there, down the deck, waiting.  He called his warning, then watched as Will caught her, contained her, quieted her struggles.  He watched as they went off together.  Then he turned back to the water, where the silent, glowing spirits glided past.
          It was, he recognized, the first time he’d thought of holding her without desire, without lust. It came as a surprise, a disturbing one.  He tried not to imagine them together, but he kept feeling her grief, her sobs, her slim body.  He felt exactly what it would be to hold her as she curled into him and cried herself to sleep. He stood on the deck for a long time. 
          Finally he closed his eyes.  In the Locker, she hadn’t existed.  Now, with some kind of luck, he’d return to the world she occupied.  Which was worse, a blazing, waterless world with too many Jacks, or the one with just one Elizabeth?  He wondered, yet again, why this particular slip of a girl had such power over him.

          “And regarding your theory of paternal abandonment:  Leave me out of it.   I never lost mine.”
          “But Teague wasn’t . . . there.”“Precisely.  Means I never lost him.”
          “Yet you keep finding him.”
          “On the contrary, darling:  he keeps finding me.  It’s what he does.  He turns up.”
          “Good thing he did on that London backstreet, or the Legend of Jack Sparrow would have come to a bloody end!”
          He shrugged.  “Lucky shot.”
          She turned back to the water.  “I think . . . you’ve felt the lack of him.”
          “Can’t lack something you haven’t had.”
          She shook her head.  “You’ll never admit needing anyone.”
          He turned, took her arm, turned her to him, took her in his arms again.  “Wrong again, love,” he whispered into her hair.  “Wrong again.”
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June 2013