Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Disclaimer: Not mine, even a little.
Summary: The first time she sees him, one of them is in trouble. Oneshot. Set sort of before DMC. (Originally posted 7-19-06)
An Act of Outright Stupidity
The first time she sees him she nearly keels over from the surprise. It's been five months since he sailed away, and after the shock she can't contain her delight at seeing him.
"Hush, luv." He's got his hand over her mouth immediately, wrapped loosely about her neck as he spins her, her back is pressed to his chest and she feels the bandoliers and buttons, and she thinks to herself with amusement, Just like old times. He's dragged her into an alley and the thought crosses her mind that she would object, stridently and in no uncertain terms, if this were any other man. Even if it were Will. Jack, now, either she trusted him implicitly or she didn't particularly care what he did with her once he got her into the alley.
And of course it was an act of outright stupidity to trust a pirate.
He's letting go of her now, spinning her back round to face him, and before she can react that bewhiskered (bewitching) mouth is pressed to her cheek, a bit too close to her own mouth for propriety's sake. She brings her hands up automatically to shove him away, but since his back is to a brick wall and he's clearly not going anywhere, she herself is forced to take a few steps backwards instead.
"Jack, what are you— why are you here?"
"Quiet the voice a bit, if ye don't mind."
She lowers her voice and takes a step forward, enunciating her words with exaggerated clarity. "It's dangerous for you to be here, Jack—"
"I know, 'Lizbeth," he says patiently, "that's why we're in an alley."
"James will have your hide!"
"And it's such a pretty one, too," he says, pursing his lips.
"Yes, it'll look lovely hanging on his wall," she says, rolling her eyes. "Quite seriously, Jack, it's downright stupid to be back here. He let you go once, he won't do it again. He's got a reputation to hold up, as a man in service to the Queen Mother—"
"Mamma's boy, eh," says Jack with a wolfish grin, which she tries very hard not to respond to, without marked success.
"Tell me what you're doing here. Are you in trouble?"
"Nah," he says, "that's you, 'Lizbeth. Had to drop in when I heard about the upcoming nuptials between two old friends—" He grins at her and this time she doesn't even try to resist, joining in with a smile of her own.
"You came back for us? That's nice of you, Jack. Foolish, stupid, and rather idiotically sentimental on the whole— but nice." Her eyes narrow at him. "Rather nicer than I might have expected from you."
"Expectin' things of a pirate, luv," he chides with another grin, which he talks through, "rather stupid yerself. Did ye miss me?"
"I did, Jack," she says, "I had dreams about you." His eyes widen, eyebrows elevate, and the grin becomes even sharper. Simultaneously it hits her that this might not be a proper thing for a young lady to admit to a gentleman, even if the gentleman is a pirate. Especially if the gentleman is a pirate. She follows it therefore with a command of, "Shut up," with a view to forestalling any further comments.
"I didn't say anything!"
"You were thinking it!" she accused him. "You have a— very wrong mind."
"You're the one with the dreams, luv," he reminds her unnecessarily.
"Just hush about the dreams."
"You brought 'em up."
"But never mind them."
"I didn't even ask what kind of dreams they were," says Jack, with the air of an innocent aggrieved. "Not the dirty kind, were they luv—" He tucks his chin down and eyes her with those— those terrible brown orbs. It is indeed only her best guess that he was looking at her at all; but whether she was actually meeting his gaze or not, she can't bring herself to look away. She wants to deny him tartly, firmly, flippantly, but her lips won't form the words. His eyes turn a bit worried.
"It were only a joke," he tries, but she still won't meet his eyes.
"I'm getting married in two days," she says, quietly, "and all I want is that horizon. That one sunrise I never got."
He has nothing to say to this. She stands for a moment and then smiles up at him forcefully.
"Marriage, like death, is another adventure," she says. This worries him even more but he tries to tuck the worry away, hide it underneath something more normal; he sways towards her and busses her once more on the forehead.
"A kiss for the bride," he says, and when their eyes meet finally she goes very still and tense; he never stops moving, not for a moment, but neither forward towards her nor back away. She won't tell him what she's been wanting, and for the moment he won't give it to her.
There are shouts from somewhere in the near distance, and his eyes widen; he brushes past her, getting his fingers tangled in his hair, then hers, pushing his chest against hers, bruising her with his various accoutrements and a quick squeeze of his hand on her arm, as a goodbye. He's gone then, and she leans against the brick wall to try and put it all out of her mind, simply to enable her to get over the sense of loss and abandonment that squeezes at her windpipe. He's taken all the fresh air with him and the alley is stale and close.
She takes a deep breath, and resolves to move on, but she's so hollow that when she steps out onto the street she nearly folds over in half. The difference between herself five minutes ago and herself now is so drastic that it makes her laugh, and curse the chaos that he always, always leaves in his wake.
The next time she sees him, she's taking a walk on her last night as an unmarried woman, and he is being chased out of town by an enthusiastic, if stone-faced, brigade of soldiers.
She doesn't catch sight of him at first; it's getting dark and all she has as a warning is the pedal-fast beating of his boots against the ground. Not his boots specifically, of course, they could have been anyone's boots. When she reflects on it later she does come to realize that very few people run in three-and-a-quarter time, though she assumes it's the rum and the urgency of escape that fuel his drunken steps into a faster parody of his normal lilting stroll. Regardless, he's caught her by the arm and crushed her to a wall— no alley this time— before she quite realizes what's going on.
"A kiss for the bride," he murmurs once more into her ear, then onto her lips, and gives her what she wanted and never asked for. His lips are chapped and very warm; they draw her open and for a brief second tell the lie that they have all the time in the world. It's hurried but she doesn't know it; his fingers close around her waist and with an angle of his head he gets her just where she should be. It's forever and not at all, and he draws back almost at once, quite before she was ready for him to. There's a warmth and a pulse and a life to him that reminds her that he's spent some time dead; evidently, having been given back his life, he's determined to live it.
He's off, though, dashing haphazardly through the streets, a hand holding his hat firm on his head, and she watches in some amusement to see if he'll make it to the wharf without actually tripping over himself. That half-backwards grace serves him well, and he makes it in plenty of time, the soldiers coming marching past her a moment after he's boarded an unimportant, unlikely vessel bound for a destination that is also unimportant and unlikely, but useful to a man like Captain Jack. She knows he has no true destinations; she knows that making landfall is merely the touch that he needs to leap once more out to sea, and open waters.
In an act of outright stupidity, she stands on the dock and waves at some other ship entirely.