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The Twinkling of an Eye: What if? 1/4

Summary: James and Elizabeth are still stuck on the island.
Characters: James, Elizabeth
Pairing: Norribeth, Willabeth
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: This is totally AU. Disney owns everything and Ted and Terry are wonderful guys so please don’t sue!!!
Comments: aquaseamage wanted to know what would have happened if the end of The Twinkling of an Eye was slightly different…
The original story:

Chapter One

Elizabeth and James both heard a sound and when they had turned to the direction it had come from; there was a ship headed this way.

“The rumrunners!” she cried, bounding up and fetching her breeches. From inside a pocket, she took out the pearls her father had given her for the wedding.

“This should buy us anywhere we want to go,” she said softly and James asked, “That would be Sparrow, would it not?”
He surely wouldn’t be bringing that up again about her having supposed feelings for the Captain and the annoyance must have been evident on her face because James added with a cheerless smile, “Isn’t that who we need to find your Will?”

With a reassuring hand on the compass that would know where to go, she nodded and agreed, “Yes, I believe he is.”
In a hurry, they dressed and made their way for the beach for when the boat arrived. However, the boat changed direction and started away from them.

“What? No! Come back!” she yelled at the sight and James put a hand on her shoulder. She twisted away from him and ran to the middle of the island with the thicket of palms. It had all been so close, so attainable. Elizabeth could almost feel Will in her arms again and then it had all been taken away…again. Not only was she on an island in the middle of nowhere, Will was on the Flying Dutchman.

Even if they could find a way off this island, could Jack help her find him? How would having the heart of Davy Jones help? Now, there was James. After what they’d done, she hadn’t expected herself to have that reaction when he put his hand on her shoulder. It was like she hadn’t wanted him to touch her which had never bothered her before. She sat pondering this until she heard a new sound close by; a striking, harsh sound.

When she found its source, James was trying to cut down a palm with his sword.

“What are you doing?”

“We’ve been here several days and if we are to remain here, we must have an actual shelter,” James explained while clad only in his breeches.

“Then, I want to help,” she said although not sure how to. At first, they tried to fasten the tree to two others horizontally by wrapping it with stripped pieces of palm fronds, too low for a doorway or at least for James. However, it fell with a crash as the frond pieces came untied. They were looking over their failed attempt when a growling sound came from her stomach.

“Perhaps this would be a good time to break for now,” James agreed. The pair glanced up at the coconuts with a certain amount of loathing. It had been different for the first few days, but now, they had reached their limit for coconut consumption. A small smirk appeared on his face and she knew he had an idea. She followed him as he made for the beach where he waded into the shallows and waited with his sword poised above him.

Elizabeth hadn’t the faintest idea what he thought he could accomplish in that manner. Several minutes passed so that she was on the verge of getting a coconut when he quickly thrust his weapon into the water and when he held it up again, there was a wiggling fish on the end.

“James!” she marveled at this talent that had been unknown to her, “Where did you learn that?”
His good mood deteriorated slightly at that question and he replied in a soft voice, full of sadness, “My grandfather taught me. It was the last time I saw him.”

The subject of James’ family almost never came up and now she found herself both wanting to know more and wanting to hug him. Instead, she touched his bare arm as he passed to their fire and rekindled it. He deftly skinned the fish and boned it in a way that she thought only servants knew. The remaining meat was placed on the fire and he’d found a stick that had washed up that was used to poke it.

Soon, a wonderful smell filled the air. Elizabeth held a piece of fish in a coconut shell and blew on it to cool it off. When they returned to their construction of the shelter, she was glad that things no longer seemed awkward like earlier when he touched her on the shoulder. She and Will were often of one mind especially when teaching her how to sword fight.

However, she’d noticed since they landed on the island that it was the same way with James although she wasn’t sure when that had started. She couldn’t recall that happening in Port Royal. The man started propping up the cut tree vertically against a gap in the trees and she knew without being told to strip more palm fronds. Together, they tied the trees together while taking advantage of a natural cluster of palm trees.

All it lacked was a roof as the stars shown above and they were both stifling yawns. With the tying of one last palm frond the next day by James, it was finally finished and Elizabeth was elated at their success. They got caught up in the moment and hugged before he pulled away. Then, they went back to their prior habit of drinking rum and lying on the beach, but she found herself thinking of the hug and she missed that thrill of completing something together.

Her cheeks flushed at another activity that they had completed together and she reminded herself that it would only be the one time. It had been about a week since then and she looked over at James who was asleep as she felt wet, but in a familiar way. She hurried to another patch of the beach for some privacy where she pulled down her breeches.

There was blood on them and she silently cursed for not having another week to figure something out like she thought she did. Picking through the things that had washed ashore, she found a ragged piece of cloth that suited her purposes, but she was still relieved when it ended up lighter and shorter than usual.

“It’s so beautiful,” Elizabeth commented as they looked up at the stars one night.

“Yes,” James agreed, “but there was once, after we’d sailed through the Drake passage that we looked up and there were colors in the sky; blue and green and…just like I’d seen in Scotland once. It was almost like being home again.”

“But the Drake Passage, that would mean that you were in the Pacific,” she inquired.

“I was,” he said, “I was still quite young and we traveled around the world on the Dauntless before it was assigned to Port Royal.”
This was exciting. She’d never thought of James as someone who’d seen the world, assuming that he’d just been in Britain and the Caribbean. Now, she was intrigued.

“Tell me a story,” she requested in that way that very few had found their courage to refuse. However, James frowned before saying, “Most of the stories would not be appropriate for a young lady.”

“I’m no lady,” she retorted and immediately cringed at the things that came out of her mouth without thinking. There was a bit of silence as a smile finally formed on the man’s face and she wished she could see that more often.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she spoke and there was a twinkle in his green eyes as he explained, “I was remembering a girl that used to sneak down to the docks without her father’s permission to hear stories about pirates and once she would be found, I’d have to escort her home.”
Elizabeth smiled as well at the memory of when she was younger.

“Your tales can’t be any worse than those or the ones that Mr. Gibbs tells,” she remarked.

“Ah, Mr. Gibbs,” he said, “he was a good man.”
There was something she’d always wanted to know. She’d asked her dad once, but he hadn’t given her a real answer.

“What was the real reason behind his leaving the Royal Navy?” she inquired with her head propped up on an elbow so she faced him.

“He had more love for drink than the laws of the king. I gave him enough for the passage back to England,” James explained, “I was surprised to hear he’d gone to Tortuga.”

“So did you.”
There was a sigh and he sat up before saying, “Mr. Gibbs has a family. His sister is married to a barrister in London. He had someone to go back to.”

“And so did you,” she maintained as he shook his head and refuted her,


“If it’s just a matter of pride,” she said as she got to her feet, “any family would surely understand.”
James had a peculiar look on his face and she distinctly had the impression that he was mad at her as he spoke, “No, you misunderstand. There is no family that’s missing me.”

He quickly stood up and left towards their shelter. She had assumed the worst of him and wasn’t sure what to do except that she had to make it up to him somehow. His family was a source of pain for James and she knew something bad must have happened. Her thoughts turned to one answer, but she hoped that wasn’t it. Elizabeth slept on the beach so he could have the shelter to himself.

Sleep came slowly and fitfully before she woke up early to take a coconut half to where a certain plan grew in abundance on one patch of beach. A couple days ago he had wanted to pick the fruit that grew on them and she was against it. They resembled grapes, but this wasn’t Europe and she hadn’t trusted them. Although it was now the only gesture she could think of that could cheer him up and make things better again.

She set the coconut half of grapes at the entrance to the shelter and waited close by. After noticing them, James had a softer expression on his face and held a grape out to her. Elizabeth took it and they each bit into one together. Her lips puckered at the sour taste and she saw that his did as well. The natural impulse was to laugh and they both did so yet he reached for another.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly.

“Well, there was overreaction on my part,” he admitted, sitting down beside her, “I had thought you would have already known, that your father might have told you at some point after our engagement was called off.”
Elizabeth shook her head.

“I almost told you once. Remember when I took you for a walk on the beach to watch the sunset?” he asked. Truthfully, she had little recollection of that evening and avoided his gaze.

“I thought not,” the man continued, “Your attention that night was on Mr. Turner as always which is why I didn’t confide in you.”
In shame, she put her hands to her face at being reminded of how she’d treated James.

“I had hoped to replace him in your heart then, but I realize now that that would never be possible.”
There was nothing she could say to that so she just ate another grape and still didn’t find out about James’ family.

A month passed in which the knowledge remained secret from her although they formed an alliance, helping each other with food and anything that came up. The sun was hot as she walked along the beach, looking at what the tide had washed up. James was eating the grapes again, but they seemed to be disagreeing with her lately. Her stomach hurt.

Strawberry blonde curls framed her face although it was progressively blonder as the weeks passed. Metal glinted in the sand and when she picked it up, the object was a folding knife. Elizabeth rolled it around in her hand and wondered what to do with it. Obviously, she could use it on coconuts or palm fronds or usefulness, but she wanted to have fun with it and her brown eyes kept drifting to the scattered pieces of driftwood.

She’d seen a man once in England who carved small bits of wood as this into things, like animals or ships. Maybe she could, too.

“You’re going to cut your bloody finger off,” said James helpfully when he across her later that day. It was met by the appropriate dirty glare as she held up the bit that she’d been working on for over an hour.

“A man?” he guessed at the odd shaped wood.

“Dog,” she corrected in a dejected tone. There was very little to pass the time on the island, she longed for a book to read but there hadn’t been a single scrap of paper to appear. James practiced with his sword and she wished that she still had her sword. The one that she would practice with Will with was back in Port Royal and the newer one she’d attained had been lost in the storm somehow.

She’d thought about alternatives except that the sections of palm that would fall looked very flimsy, none of the wood that washed ashore was the right size and she didn’t want to cut down a whole tree just for this purpose. Unfortunately, they’d need the coconuts.
With a sigh, she sat down on the sand and dropped the knife and badly formed dog.

His expression softened and he sat down beside her.

“Would you like a story?”
The mood she was in didn’t allow for a real response so she only shrugged. However, he knew what she meant because he started the tale of Minerva who was also known as Athena. Her eyes shut from the soothing sound of his voice and she must have fallen asleep because later, she couldn’t remember what had happened after Minerva discovered that Medusa had desecrated her temple.

Under a starry sky that was pinkening, she woke a week later. Not that she’d spent that entire week sleeping. There were tales to be told, variations of fish, coconuts and sea grapes to invent and swimming although they weren’t going through the rum nearly as much as when they first arrived.

It was just so easy on the island to take a nap with the gentle roar of the waves and the heat. She’d always loved sleeping in but there were always servants to thrust the day upon her far too early at her father’s house.

Her father…
Would she ever see him again? Now, that she all the time in the world and nothing to do, she’d come to realize things, things that she tried not to think about before. It would have been exceedingly easy for Beckett to figure out who had released her from prison…and she wondered what that meant for her father. They wouldn’t actually kill him…would they?

October 2017

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