after.midnight // v.naked
Title: Midnight Confessions
Rating: R - angst and bitterness, pain and more pain.
Series: Sharing Will Turner
Summary: Jack and Elizabeth get a few things out in the open.
Disclaimers: Disney owns the characters. I do not.
Distribution: My page. If you already have the other stories in the series, sure, go ahead. If you want to archive, let me know.
A/N: I have given up writing these things in order. Just read them as they come and when you get the need to read them order, pretend they already are.
She was sitting in the middle of the bed, her legs drawn up against her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees, when he stepped inside his cabin. Anamaria had threatened him with a host of unpleasant things if he didn't get off the deck and stop badgering the crew, and he'd been too weary to remind her that *he* was the captain and as such only he had the right to do any threatening. Instead, he'd given over control of the Pearl to Ana and, with one last order, he'd retired to his room.
He hadn't really expected to find Elizabeth curled up on his bed, she rarely came to him without Will by her side, and recently, they'd been more at odds than friendly, but he wasn't surprised. Maintaining a relationship with a feisty Governor's daughter and a half-mad pirate captain was not easy, especially when one was so keen on making sure everyone was happy, despite the hardship to himself, and every once in a while, Will needed some time to himself. Never more than one night, and where he spent it, neither his wife nor his captain had ever managed to summon the courage to ask, but it was, without doubt, the hardest night of their lives. While Will's nights away had begun almost immediately after he and Elizabeth joined the Pearl, being away from him had only gotten harder when the friendship they shared changed to something more.
But it was most difficult for Elizabeth, who was used to having Will with her, if not every moment of every hour or even beside her in bed every night, then at least when she needed him, when being with him was more important than anything else. Jack had accepted the fact that Will and Elizabeth were tied together in a way he and Will would never be, the bands of silver around their fingers announcing that fact to the world, and there were more nights than not when he went to bed alone. Elizabeth grown accustomed to sharing her husband, not an easy feat, to be sure, but she'd never really had to give him up.
Not until that one night a month when Will abandoned them both.
Jack said nothing as he stripped out of his clothes, tossing them on the chair at the table. When he made his way over to the bed, Elizabeth moved over as he slipped beneath the sheets. A moment later, she rested her head against his shoulder and he wrapped an arm around her.
"Sometimes, I really wish I could be mad at him," she said softly, when the silence had stretched too long. There was a sadness in her tone he had never heard before and he pulled her tighter against him. "And then I feel guilty because we're the ones that make him leave."
There was nothing Jack could say to that because it was the truth. Those first few weeks, when Will and Elizabeth had just joined the crew, things between them had been uneasy at best and Will had been forced to play mediator, soothing tempers with long suffering sighs and dark pleading eyes. When the tension between his wife and his captain got to be too much, he would stalk away, leaving the two of them staring after him in disbelief.
They pushed, unfair of them as it was, and Will held up under the pressure better than most. But even Will was not strong enough to hold up indefinitely. It was during that one trying month when the three of them had gone from friends to lovers that Will, fed up with their nonsense, took off for parts unknown, leaving captain, wife, and the rest of the crew wondering just where he had gotten off to.
Only Anamaria was privileged enough to know of Will's whereabouts on those nights when he went away, and getting her to talk was almost as impossible as getting past her to find him.
They pushed, even when they tried not to, and as fond as Will was of having a family, having grown up without one, there was a part of him, buried deep and unshakable, that craved the familiarity and comfort of solitude.
Jack sighed. "Will knew what he was getting into when he decided to take us on, luv," he said gruffly.
There was a faint thump and Jack winced when Elizabeth's fist hit his shoulder with more force than he felt necessary. "You hate it as much as I do," she said. "Deny it all you want. You probably hate it more because you can't bear to think of Will doing something without you."
Sometimes Jack wondered how he ended up with two women on his crew who saw things they weren't supposed to see, knew things they weren't supposed to know, and said things that would be better left unspoken.
"Leaving me behind is okay," she continued, and there was a touch of anger in her tone, anger and pain and bitterness. "Someone has to make sure things carry on should anything happen to the captain, and that's up to me and Ana. But you hate the thought that there is one thing in his life that Will isn't willing to share with you, when you share everything in your life with him."
Jack did not like the direction this conversation was going and he untangled Liz from his embrace, setting her aside. "You might want to watch it, luv," he remarked, the light of fire in his eyes belying his empty tone. "Wouldn't want to say something you might regret."
Elizabeth's lips tilted up in a humorless smile. "Maybe the problem is you don't say enough, Jack," she said, sounding weary. "Maybe you should stop dragging him around on one insane venture after another just to prove to yourself that Will won't leave you."
Jack turned to look at her, his eyes glittering dangerously. "And what the hell does that mean?" he demanded, his tone just as hard as his eyes.
Elizabeth sat up in bed and glared at him, her own anger getting the better of her. "It means stop pretending the only reason you keep him around is because of what he does for you," she said, louder than she'd intended. "Will is not on this ship, a member of this crew, because he's handy with a sword or because he's a good man to have at your back in fight or even because he can make you forget your name when he gets your cock in his hands." Jack opened his mouth to protest, but Elizabeth shook her head and continued on. "You keep Will around because you have no idea what you'd do without him if he weren't here."
It was a lovely little speech and, after it was done, Elizabeth laid back on the bed with a sigh. "You love him," she said softly. "You love him, more than this ship or your rum or that bloody stupid hat that you can't seem to live without." She paused then, the tears she'd been fighting streaming down her face. "You love him and he loves you, and sometimes I hate you so much because you have a piece of him that I will never be able to touch."
Jack reached out, intending to pull her close, to do whatever he could to make those tears go away, but she flinched away from his touch and wrapped her arms around herself. "I'm losing him, Jack," her voice a sad whisper. "Every single day we spend on this ship, I lose a little more of him. It's only a matter of time before I have nothing left."
Jack sighed and looked away from the woman crying in his bed. Part of him had known that nothing good would come of the arrangement the three of them had fallen into. Jack and Elizabeth were both accustomed to getting what they wanted and it was only a matter of time before having half of Will would not be enough.
But Jack had never expected to care as much as he did. What had started as a way to get exactly what he wanted without having to give up anything had turned into a triangle full of emotions he just was not prepared to deal with.
Elizabeth was right. He loved the boy, more than he'd ever wanted to, as much as Elizabeth herself did.
"I can't give him up," Jack sad after a moment. "Not even for you."
Elizabeth's lips curled up in a sad smile. "And I can't let him go," she told him, pain in her tone. "So, what are we going to do?"
It was a question neither one of them was willing to answer, not now. Things between them had changed, and the only person who could make things right was the one person in the world they least wanted to hurt.
When Elizabeth finally relented and nestled up beside the pirate, Jack wrapped her in his arms and pulled her close. "He's going to have to choose," he said, his voice breaking the peaceful silence. There was only one way for this to end, and they both knew it. "Take care of him for me, savvy?"
Elizabeth nodded and he could feel the warmth of her tears against his skin. "Savvy," she replied sadly, her heart breaking for him, for all of them.