alyndra: (Default)
alyndra ([personal profile] alyndra) wrote2005-10-19 09:58 pm
Entry tags:


Title: Comparisons
Author: Alyndra
Rating: PG
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Summary: Elizabeth thinks about the men in her life.
Notes: Thanks very much to [ profile] hazelhawthorne and [ profile] misskass for looking this over for me!

I'm not quite sure whether I like this version of Elizabeth or not. Possibly I've attempted to inject too much realism into what is, after all, 'a Pirate Movie.' :D

Cross-posted at [ profile] pirategasm.

There have been four men in Elizabeth’s life, it sometimes seems, and they form a straight line, a sliding scale: Norrington, Turner, Sparrow, Barbossa.

There are others, of course, her father for one, or gruff Mr. Gibbs who bent to her wheedling on that long trip from England and told her tall tales of high adventure on the seas, of mad storms and strange lands.

Tales of pirates.

She wonders if that was when it began, her fascination with pirates. But no, she remembers requesting the pirate stories right from the start. And already she had carefully memorized the pirate song.

But mainly there were four men, men of varying degrees of and approaches to piracy, and each of them had changed her in different ways.

When Norrington first proposed to her – well, somewhat afterwards to be precise, when things had calmed down a bit – but when she lay in bed pretending to concentrate on her book, she thought that he was a fine man and she worried that she would marry him not because he was kind to her or because she loved him, but because he was a pirate-hunter and that was the next best thing, certainly much better than a landlubberly plantation owner, which was the kind of man a governor’s daughter might be expected to marry. She knew the difference between fantasy and reality, she told herself. It was a very suitable match.

Then real pirates invaded her life and she thought she was prepared because she’d read about this sort of thing. She would bargain with the captain (not that she wanted to meet a real pirate, no, but it was necessary) and then it would be over, one way or another. She did not expect a man who could give her chills with a simple (and deserved) apology. She hated Barbossa, because he took her romanticized dreams of pirates and he made them his own with every word and grin, even with the damn monkey, and then he twisted them, made them filthy and evil and stripped the illusions from her eyes. There was nothing admirable about Captain Barbossa, and when he leered at her, she would have been happy – overjoyed – at the chance to marry a landlubberly plantation owner.

Jack Sparrow was worse, because, even more than Barbossa, he embodied one of the pirates out of the stories. Half of the best stories were about Captain Jack Sparrow. She wanted nothing more to do with any of it, not after the living nightmare of the Black Pearl, and she could keep telling herself that, if it weren’t that . . . What made Jack worse was that she couldn’t help liking him. She didn’t trust him, no, and he was one of the few men she had ever met who didn’t trust her (which was wise, and she tried not to feel too put out over it), but when he spoke of freedom on the sea and curled his mustache in that ridiculous – endearing – rum-drunk manner,– well, she had had to get rid of the rum, and never mind any plans to coax out promises that he wouldn’t give sober. Because she had the nasty feeling that it wouldn’t take much more rum at all to allow things that she never would contemplate – sober. Peas in a pod, indeed.

She really did mean what she said to Norrington. She had been wrong about pirates, about adventure and especially about Jack Sparrow, who had been looking rather small and bedraggled in the space between two red-coated marines. She was tired of feeling hung-over after being drunk, of the thought of how she had behaved while drunk, and of the thought of how much worse she might have behaved, if drunker. She was tired and she wanted it all to be over, and if it weren’t for Will she would happily have returned to Port Royal, married the Commodore, and asked for a house facing away from the sea to live in. But she couldn’t abandon Will. So there would be this last one adventure, and then she would return to her life of servants and society and corsets, and be, if not happy, at least content with it.

And her resolve lasted right up until Will stood in front of her in a red cape and told her he loved her, and turned away and rescued Jack, and suddenly her stories came back to life, and the hero in them was Will. He knew her, and he turned himself into what she had always dreamed of, and afterwards they stood on the wall and he asked her if she had thought about following Jack into the sea. She didn’t say no, of course not, and she didn’t say yes, but you’re more important. She said, didn’t you? And he said, of course. And she laughed with him, because Norrington would not have understood, and when they vowed, each to the other and on the spot, that if they ever did go, they would not leave the other behind, Elizabeth thought that perhaps next to Will was somewhere she could be happy after all.

And she is. It’s only on nights like these, when she leaves her bed to stare at the moonlight on the sea, that she thinks about the others it might have turned out differently with. She thinks about good men, and pirates: from Barbossa, who was pirate through and through and not at all a good man, through Jack, a pirate but also, somehow (in a uniquely Jack-ish way), a good man. Then Will, a good man and with a bit of pirate in him, and at the other end Norrington, a good man through and through and not a pirate at all.

She hears Will come up behind her, looking out at the shimmering dark ocean, where there is perhaps the faint suggestion of a ship in the darkness, and smiles at him. Together they stare out towards the sea.

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