Pairing/Characters: Will/Elizabeth, implied Jack/Elizabeth
Word Count: 924
Summary: Will has a telling accident on the way to world's end.
Disclaimer: I merely borrow from the great mouse *doffs hat*
Spoilers: for DMC
Warnings: Contains blood (but no guts).
Notes: Hurrah, my first challenge fic. How exciting!
When the bottle shattered in his grip the amount of blood was horrible.
"Will!" As he staggered towards the forecastle, pale and trembling, she bolted down the ladder towards him and cradled his wounded hand, without a thought for the red splatters he was leaving on her shirtsleeves. He winced as she uncurled his fingers to inspect the damage. "Oh, Will..."
He had known Elizabeth Swann too long not to hear the unvoiced question as she delicately removed the shards of glass and bandaged his hand. He wasn't quite sure if he could have answered. Not honestly. Not to her. A youth as apprentice to Port Royal's most notorious drunk had given him more than a strong aversion to alcohol; he had been obliged to drink wine in the polite company that came with his engagement but had never quaffed more than a single glass in one sitting. A craftsman should not allow his mind to be clouded; a swordsman even less, and he knew she admired both aspects of him.
In the morning the pain had dulled slightly, though any attempts to move the hand felt like plunging it in the furnace. He had almost done that once, almost six years ago, but thankfully Master Brown had been sober enough to stop him slipping. When she came to bring him the stale water and hard tack that served for breakfast aboard the Eurydice he was picking absent-mindedly at the edge of the bandage.
"You shouldn't do that." Elizabeth squatted on the deck beside his hammock and handed him the water. "I'll change the bandage this evening, but if you don't leave it alone it will come off before then."
"I know." Meekly he took a sip. Too often she reminded him of his mother; the same gentle scolding and concerned eyes, though these were brown rather than piercing green, and they harboured a fire that never burned in Deborah Turner. She pressed a hand to his forehead.
"You feel normal. Stay here and rest, you shouldn't get up if you still feel dizzy. Gibbs has taken you off duty." With a brush of her lips where her newly-callused fingers had just vacated she was gone.
Forcing down another mouthful of the tack, he wished she had been right. He did not feel normal. Normal would have been asking Elizabeth how she had slept, enquiring after the rest of the crew, apologising for the scene he had caused. Normal would have been no scene at all, no acceptance of the bottle Marty offered... and the next... and the next...
Normal was not something Will was very good at right now.
A day passed and he managed to convince her that having little use of his left hand was not a reason to lay abed while there was work to be done. Gibbs clapped him on the back as he stepped on deck.
"Feelin' a bit better, lad? Don't be embarrassed, we've seen worse drunken mishaps than a man gettin' a little angry at an empty bottle." Will smiled weakly.
"I suppose I owe it an apology." Gibbs chuckled as he walked off.
"After cutting you up that bad, it owes one to you!"
A week passed and she continued to tend him dutifully. He could move the hand a little now, and he threw himself into whatever tasks he could find that took him away from her. He loved her still, as desperately and devotedly as ever, but he was afraid that might change if he spent too much time around her. That all-too-familiar swagger that she had adopted almost unconciously, the smell of sweat and salt and tar that clung to her closer than any perfume... being too near to Elizabeth made him doubt her, and he already did that far too much for his own good.
In the galley he couldn't help but voice the thoughts that he kept wrapped away from those who could answer. The parrot contendedly cracked Brazil nuts as Cotton silently sliced the dried fish and Will stirred his heart into the stew.
"When I think about it... about them... she must have been on the ship for days beforehand... alone with him." He took a sip off the spoon. Too salty. "She'd always wanted to be a pirate, I think. She must have enjoyed it... enjoyed..." He swallowed the lump in his throat. Cotton continued his wordless task. "I can't stop thinking about it, and every time I see her I see him too..." There was no sound but chop, chop, chop...
A month passed and he could use the hand freely, though the palm was marked with sore red lines. The deepest slashes lay crossways atop the thinner, older line of white. When he and Elizabeth had courted in the Jamaican springtime they would often hold their palms together, the twin scars meeting in remembrance of what had brought them to one another. Jack bore one too, but they had never mentioned that, never thought of it, because then all that had mattered was the two of them. He wondered now if Elizabeth had ever done the same with the captain, intimating the connection they too shared, when they were alone on the Pearl. It seemed ridiculous to tarry over such a small thing when he had seen with his own eyes the passion in their farewell kiss- a passion that spoke of things that he could not dwell on for fear for his sanity- but the image remained, and somehow cut deeper than anything else.