The Captain caught the other Pirate's arm, none too gently, and pull'd him close. He had expected a Struggle -- hop'd for one, indeed -- but Jack came willingly enough.
Scratch, scratch, went the quill pen. Outside on the street, the watch called "Midnight!"
'Tell me what it is you want," Morgan whispered, feeling the Evidence of the other's Desire. 'Anythi
"Elizabeth? Still awake?" Will pushed open the door of her chamber, smiling at her.
It was that sweet, boyish smile that she couldn't resist, and Elizabeth's indignant alarm melted into fond affection. "I couldn't sleep," she said.
"What's that you're scribbling?" Will's gaze fell upon the tattered journal, the inkpot, the gnawed quill-pen.
"Just -- nothing," said Elizabeth, flushing. She reached for the book, but Will was faster.
"Aha. Stories, I see."
Elizabeth nodded mutely. She could have taken it from him -- six months of marriage had taught her all about Will's most vulnerable places, and a great deal besides -- but she found herself strangely reluctant to do so.
After all, if anyone understood, it would be Will.
And really, it was quite entertaining to see Will blush as he read. She wondered which story he'd found.
"Pirate stories," he said at last, voice thick with ... was that amusement? "You've been writing pirate stories."
Elizabeth's expression must have shown her alarm, for Will smiled at her reassuringly.
"How long have you been writing these ... these ..."
"Fantasies?" suggested Elizabeth demurely. "Ever since I first started to read about pirates. You know I've always found them fascinating! And the books I found were never ..." She swallowed. "I used to write them back in England, too, before we came here."
Will raised an eyebrow. "You've been writing ... romances ... since you were a little girl?" He made it sound wicked, and she supposed it was.
"They weren't always like that," she said honestly. "Not so -"
"Detailed?" said Will, grinning. He turned a couple of pages. "So, Mrs Turner. You have a vivid imagination."
Elizabeth nodded, clasping her hands tightly together to stop them from shaking. Will seemed amused, rather than angry, which was a relief. When she was thirteen, her governess had beaten her for writing such foolish tales -- and there had been nothing in those save for longing glances and vows of blood-brotherhood. Miss Grey had found it scandalous that Elizabeth wrote about friendships between men, let alone pirates. But Will, surely, would understand.
"So," he said, closing the book with a snap and letting it drop to the table, "my wife has been writing carnal romances with ne'er a woman in sight."
Elizabeth nodded again.
Will stepped closer. "And are they all about Jack Sparrow?" he asked.
"N-no! That is, not really. Not -- no," managed Elizabeth indignantly.
"Or have you only been writing about him since you met him?" In the dim lamplight, Elizabeth wasn't sure whether Will was teasing her or not.
"No, not -- that is, I wrote about him before. I'd read about him. Before I -"
"Before you spent the night alone with him on a desert island?" Will was standing very close now, and she could feel the heat of his breath against her throat.
"I told you, nothing happened!" protested Elizabeth. It sounded like a lie, though she knew -- and she thought Will knew too, really -- that it wasn't. "I -- I wrote some stories about him before I met him. I write a lot of stories."
"All about pirates," said Will, picking up the book again.
"All about pirates. Different pirates. Not just Jack."
Will leafed through the dog-eared pages of the little book, frowning slightly at what he read.
"Captain Morgan ... Calico Jack ... Hmm, Elizabeth, I don't think that's possible."
"What isn't possible?"
Will pointed to a long paragraph with many crossings-out.
"Oh, that," said Elizabeth, colouring. "No, I don't suppose that it is." She cleared her throat. "When I wrote that, I'd never seen -- that is, I didn't know -"
"I'm glad to hear it," said Will. He was smiling at her again. "So, what was it like, writing about Jack Sparrow and then meeting him in real life?"
Elizabeth stared at him, and blushed. "Errr. Terrifying?" she offered.
Will looked at her sternly, though there was still a glint of humour in his eyes.
"Oh, very well," said Elizabeth. "It was exciting. Of course it was."
"Even when he threatened you?"
Elizabeth didn't respond to that. "But he was so ..."
"Peculiar?" said Will, chuckling.
"Pretty," said Elizabeth firmly.
Will's eyebrows shot up. "Pretty?" he repeated, incredulously.
Elizabeth glared back at him, daring him to laugh.
Will cleared his throat. "Did -- did meeting him make it easier to write about him?"
"Well, I had to revise a lot of my ideas about pirate life," said Elizabeth. "Not that I suppose the Black Pearl's crew -- Barbossa's crew, I mean -- were at all typical."
"The curse?" said Will, nodding understandingly.
"Not just the curse," said Elizabeth. "They were ...villainous."
Will nodded. "Jack's not like that," he said, quick to defend his friend. "He's honourable. In his own way, of course, but ... he's not a murdering -"
"And he's pretty," teased Elizabeth, not in the mood for another recital of Jack Sparrow's charms. Will had mentioned him less and less since their marriage, but it was abundantly clear that he still thought highly of the Black Pearl's eccentric Captain.
"Am I pretty?" demanded Will, distractedly.
"You, my love -" Elizabeth ran her finger along the sharp line of his cheekbone "- are handsome. Very handsome."
"And I'm a pirate?"
"Of course you are!"
"And -- and have you written -- no, never mind."
This time Elizabeth could feel his blush.
"Have I written pirate stories -- what was it you called them, 'carnal romances' -- about you, Will?" said Elizabeth sweetly. "Is that what you're asking, love? I have no need to write about you. I have you here in my arms." She demonstrated.
"Oh," said Will. He sounded ... disappointed.
"Anyway," said Elizabeth, "surely you wouldn't want me to write about you kissing another man?"
Will's blush deepened. His colour had never been so high, save at the height of passion.
"Of course not," he mumbled, not meeting her eyes.
Elizabeth caught his chin and kissed him deeply, overwhelmed by affection. It would be unkind, she decided, to mention Jack Sparrow again. Unkind and untactful.
But in the morning, she hastened to the desk and pulled out the battered, leather-bound notebook. She trimmed the quill, dipped her pen in ink and wrote -- in an ornate, flowing script -- "The Swordsmith and the Pirate: A Romance of the Spanish Main".
Elizabeth chewed the end of the quill. Where to begin?
This time, she resolved, the story would have a happy ending.