Elizabeth wants lifetime with Will. What will she do when what's very nearly a marriage is very nearly worth it?
This story contains some very dramatic spoilers for some very key plot points.
They were strangers when they met again.
On that one day, the first day, they hadn't talked about what she'd do without him. New grief and the single-mindedness of youth had turned forethought to a spyglass, homing in on one distant target with no nevermind to all the wide world around it and in between. In the months that followed, she'd wondered about it. Did he imagine her returned to Port Royal? Did he picture her as his own mother, raising a growing son alone?
In truth, the profane station of pirate king did not come with many duties, but Elizabeth had held tight to hers like a holy vow. The Company wasn't gone, but neither were they. It hadn't been easy, and she had the scars to prove it. She could remember how she'd gotten each one. But they only had a day.
In ten years, he'd learned ten thousand things. He'd wanted to tell her all of them. He'd gotten to know his father again and ferried countless souls --countless stories-- from this world into the next and found it good honest work. But they only had a day.
His beard was longer. There were lines starting around her eyes. The cut on his chest had healed. She'd switched one rotted side tooth for gold. His voice, his steps, his manner had all changed and she would never know what it meant, not seeing it happen day by day. They were strangers when they met again, the years of other people's breath and food and tears and sweat and laughs piling up between them like the battlements at Port Royal.
And they fell like a cannon blast as Will laces his fingers through hers, leaning in to brush his lips against her cheek.
"I kept it safe for you," she whispers. There is more than one meaning in her mind.
"You should," he says back, doubt cresting off of him like water off the bow of the Dutchman. "It's yours."
There are only two people in the universe. This is the only time that's ever been. Until it isn't.
She's more than lived without him, but it tears her like the Kraken's claws to say goodbye again. His feet move, step by step into the sand, pulled by something strong as all the world.
He left and so did she.
She'd wanted him when he was an outlaw, was a blacksmith, was a scrap of a boy on a scrap of wood. And now what? When she'd first him sent off to servitude, how could she say anything but "Yes, I'll wait"? Waiting had been hard. She'd been so ready to be married. And she wasn't really married, not for true. That he was in the world made it seem brighter and deeper, but widows could pour away their tears and remarry, and she could not. He must have wondered, but if he'd noticed that her hands were quicker, her mouth more demanding, he'd known it for the eagerness it was or he hadn't. He trusted her or he didn't.
She'd wanted a life with Will but ten years was plenty of time to learn that that was never going to happen in ten thousand years. They weren't being punished; they weren't cursed for sins; this was just the way the world was. People who had one day after another could fight and make up, break and mend, learn, forget, get bored, get used to each other, build a life out of a hundred different barely-anythings and there it was. Elizabeth had gotten a life of her own and so had Will and that was that.
Sao Feng had called her Calypso, but she was no goddess who could live for centuries on one taste of a husband. He'd looked the same. She hadn't. He'd grown no older. She had.
He'd asked about children, and why not? Her young body had been smooth as a blessing and for all she wanted to see him, hear him speak, touch his hand, know his scent, taste his skin, child-making wasn't far from either of their minds. But it hadn't happened then, and if it didn't happen this time, would it ever? From nineteen to twenty-nine to thirty-nine and then too late. Twice more after that, perhaps, and then he'd find her at world's end, hair gone white as her slip of a dress. Five days in all her lifetime and then nothing.
It would not stand. Elizabeth Swann made a decision, alone. It wasn't hard. She'd been doing it for near four thousand days.
There was always a cost to be paid in the end. Gaining one thing meant giving up another. Surely Will would understand. She was only human. Something had to change.
He was a hard man to find, Jack Sparrow, jaunting from Singapore to Shipwreck Cove in his darting shadow of a reclaimed Pearl. But before the crew had grown weary of chasing the rum fumes, Captain Swann caught up to him in San Juan.
He, too, looked exactly the same, still lining his eyes with the sweet-smelling soot of burnt molasses.
Captain Swann wasted no time. Sparrow might have more than one day to spend at port, but habits were habits. Jack's chair splintered and cracked him flat-back-up onto the floor.
He smiled that golden gap-toothed smile as she crouched over him, one palm on the middle of his chest. "Well this is a fine how-do-you-do, love--"
She cut him to the point. "The water of life, Jack," she said. "Where is it?"