megatron: (Default)
megatron ([personal profile] megatron) wrote2007-06-12 11:36 pm

Fanfiction: Regrets - PotC - PG-13 - James/Elizabeth

Title: Regrets
Author: [personal profile] whisperwords | [personal profile] megatron
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Pairing: James/Elizabeth
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Spoilers for AWE
Summary: She did not understand him; he always knew what he was doing.
Disclaimer: PotC and the franchise belongs to Disney; I'm just playing in their paddling pool.
Word Count: 1,595

There were a great many things that James Norrington knew. He knew how to sail ships, he knew how to maneuver in a swordfight, and he knew how to handle a pistol. He knew the proper etiquette for even the tiniest detail at a social gathering of high esteem. He knew how to file his paperwork so that it would go through the proper channels, and quickly. He knew the fastest way to each and every port in the Caribbean and he knew how to read the changes in the wind. He knew he hated pirates.

James Norrington knew which side he had chosen once and for all when he made his way down to the brig of the Dutchman. He knew where to find the key that would open the lock barring them in, and he knew that Elizabeth Swann would glare daggers at him even as she used him for escape.

He knew that they'd inevitably be caught, and he knew that he would have to fight so that she could go. He knew without an inkling of a doubt that this was his last night on this cold and wretched ship and he knew, he knew, that he was going to give his life to let Elizabeth go back to her dear William. Even as the dark fingers of fate wrapped around his heart he knew that he was in complete control of his own actions; that was one thing he had always known. He had no regrets, because everything he'd ever done was the result of careful consideration.

No, James Norrington had no regrets. No regrets... save one.

****

Elizabeth Swann had no idea what the Admiral was doing. He'd betrayed them; taken the chest and the heart and run back to Beckett to deliver piracy as a whole to the depths of hell and now he held the bars open as she slipped between them with her pirate crew. She didn't understand why he'd spent all that time with them on the Pearl and still chosen, at the end of the day, to leave them all -- to leave her -- and effectively sign the papers that made their lives so much harder than they already were. Her father was dead, the lives of all pirates were endangered, and the friendship she thought she'd had was gone. She did not understand how they had come to this. She did not understand at all.

She didn't know what he was doing and she couldn't comprehend the look in his green eyes when he urged her desperately to hurry up and leave. She couldn't understand why, when she'd first seen him on the Dutchman, she'd been so eager to run to him but could not bring herself to wrap her arms around him when he embraced her. She didn't know why she'd been so cruel to him on deck, and she didn't know why he was here now, helping her after all she'd done, all she'd said to him.

She often wondered how he could stand to look at her after Jack's failed hanging.

She allowed her crew to leave the brig ahead of her. She was still trying, still searching his face for any clue at all that would help her understand. Why now? Why, at the eleventh hour, was he changing his mind yet again? Why couldn't he have made up his mind the first time?

Elizabeth Swann could not understand what was so plainly set in front of her, so she asked him.

"What are you doing?"

"Choosing a side."

She still did not quite understand.

****

Elizabeth Swann allowed her crew to leave the ship before her. She stood aside and stared at him, studying his face. He could feel her eyes burning through him even as he watched her crew scurry across the ropes to to the Empress.

"Do not go to shipwreck cove," he started. He steeled himself and kept his tone flat. "Beckett knows you'll be meeting the brethren, I fear there may be a traitor among them."

"It's too late to earn my forgiveness," she said to him, her jaw clenched. He knew in his heart that she would give it in time; he also knew he did not have the luxury of waiting to hear it.

"I had nothing to do with your father's death." He could not bear the look on her face. "But that doesn't absolve me of my other sins."

"Come with us."

He hadn't anticipated that. His heart leapt, his pulse racing even faster than it already was. And then she said his name.

"James, come with me."

He wanted to. He knew what he would do, then; he would follow her onto the ropes, he would be the last on the line and he would shoot through it as he clambered across. He knew then, that he would follow her to the ends of the earth regardless of where her affections lay. He saw in her face something he thought he would never see. It was a look he'd seen on her face before; he'd even pointed it out to her on the Pearl. He'd just never seen it directed at him.

"WHO GOES THERE?"

Both of their heads snapped toward the sound; there was no time. James turned to her.

"Go. I will follow." He said it, though he knew he would not. He'd never lied before; now he knew why. Elizabeth's face fell.

"You're lying," she said. Her eyes searched his face, her brow furrowed. She didn't understand. He looked frantically at the Dutchman and then back at her. He swallowed hard.

"Our destinies have been entwined, Elizabeth, but never joined."

He took care of his one regret then, bringing his lips to hers with all the passion in the world. Her lips were soft, as he'd always dreamed they would be, and they tasted faintly like the salt wind off the sea. In that small moment he knew that he had done what he should have done years ago and instantly his regrets leapt from one to hundreds. But when he felt her kissing him back they fell to none at all. He wanted so badly for this moment to last forever but he knew she had mere moments before it was too late for either of them.

"Go, now." His voice cracked and too much of him was revealed; she looked at him then with sadness in her eyes. For the first time, she understood. The same sadness broke through his chest like a cold wave across the bow of a ship.

She hoisted herself up and began to move along the ropes. Bootstrap Bill emerged from the Dutchman too soon and James drew his weapon.

"Back to your station, sailor."

"No one leaves the ship."

"Stand down. That's an order!" James raised his voice.

"That's an order..." the crusty old man searched what was left of his memory. "Part of the crew, part of the ship. Part of the crew, part of the ship." And louder. "Part of the crew, part of the ship."

"Steady, man," James said, taking a single step toward the ropes.

"Part of the crew, part of the ship." And then he raised the alarm. "ALL HANDS! PRISONER ESCAPE!"

It was too soon.

"Belay that!" James shouted, panic touching the edges of his voice. His heart raced in his chest, begging his ribs for more space.

She screamed his name, then, and James knew what he had to do but could not bear it. She started to come back, scrambling frantically to change directions, dangling high above the water. James could hear it in her voice; she knew, now, knew so clearly what he was doing. The sea-salt of her lips lingered there on his mouth. He had to do it, he knew he did: he pressed his lips together and turned his gun to the ropes.

He heard her scream and the splash of the water as she struck the surface, and he felt the blade run clean through him. His breath stopped suddenly, the shock coursing through him like fire and ice as he fell to the deck. And behind him, beneath him -- distant -- he heard her scream his name, heard her sob her unwilling goodbyes, her frantic denial. He did not hear the Dutchman's crew, did not listen as they announced his own death. He heard only her cries and he knew, he knew without a shadow of a doubt, that she had indeed loved him. He knew, then, the answer to the question he knew he'd next be asked.

"James Norrington, do you fear death?"

****

She saw him fall, saw the shape of him tumble to the deck of the Dutchman, and she felt her heart fall with him. She had not known, had not understood, until her lips met his and she'd wanted, needed for him to come with her, to show her again what it truly means to be loved unconditionally. To show her again and again the difference between saying you would die for someone and showing that you would.

He fell and her heart screamed his name. She knew then that she loved him, and she knew now that all of her regrets would only ever be James.

[identity profile] erethesunrises.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 04:14 am (UTC)(link)
That was so beautifully done.

He knew then, that he would follow her to the ends of the earth regardless of where her affections lay. He saw in her face something he thought he would never see. It was a look he'd seen on her face before; he'd even pointed it out to her on the Pearl. He'd just never seen it directed at him.

Best lines of the whole piece of work. You conveyed the two characters' emotions and moods and just everything perfectly. Wonderful. I hope to read more of your work.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I had just rewatched the scene -- I wanted to get the dialogue right -- and so the looks on their faces, the emotions... everything was so vivid and fresh. I'm glad I conveyed it well!

[identity profile] obeetaybee.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this was lovely. A perfect thing to read after the high of viewing AWE.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you!

[identity profile] chibirhm.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 05:04 am (UTC)(link)
<- ANGRY BABY

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, that's how I felt when WATCHING IT. :( *cries*

[identity profile] sidhedreams.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 05:31 am (UTC)(link)
Wow. Very eloquently put. It's incredibly believable and after watching AWE, I almost put my full support behind this pairing. Ahh, Norrington. You made me wibble.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much. I've loved this pairing since the first film; I'm so glad to see that the films since then have only added to it.

[identity profile] not-last-resort.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 06:03 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, wow, wow! You really have the emotions behind this scene down perfectly. It was so heartbreaking and really powerful.

I really loved this bit: "In that small moment he knew that he had done what he should have done years ago and instantly his regrets leapt from one to hundreds. But when he felt her kissing him back they fell to none at all."

And of course, the part where he realizes the answer to Davey Jones's question before it's even asked. I love how you mentioned the unconditional love he has for her and end with such a feeling of regret. I do love Elizabeth, but I do rather hope she always carries some regret and guilt with her for never realizing how much James truly loved her because of her willful blindness (grrr, no pun intended).

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I had just rewatched the scene (for the dialogue; I wanted to get it right) so everything was so fresh in my mind. All the looks on their faces, all the emotions in the air.

I agree with you as well -- I hope she has James forever, if only as a ghost.

[identity profile] artic-fox.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 06:23 am (UTC)(link)
*whimpers* Oh, this scene makes me feel so sad, and yet so ill at the same time. For everything unfulfilled and unsaid, and you captured everything perfectly.

I've linked this on the norribeth fanfic archive (http://community.livejournal.com/norribeth/87726.html), and I hope that is okay.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! And of course it's okay to have it linked there; I'm proud to be listed with all of those amazing authors. My OTP has the best writers. *sigh*

[identity profile] artic-fox.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 07:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Great!
There is such high quality fic there, so makes me proud to ship it too :D

[identity profile] lizzie-sparrow.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 11:26 am (UTC)(link)
On my way to school for finals, and I'm crying. Thanks, haha.

This was so perfect. I have no words.

<3

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Awh, I hope I didn't mess your finals up! (Also, finals in June? Seems so late!)

Thank you!

[identity profile] lizzie-sparrow.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
You didn't mess me up, hehe.

Yeah, I get out of school on monday though.

=]

[identity profile] givemethechild.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
....Oh, that's so good. So, so in character. The opening paragraph was phrased so perfectly. And the end! It really felt like I was reliving it with them. So sad.

She started to come back, scrambling frantically to change directions...
Hey, that's right! She was trying to change directions! I never noticed that before. I just thought she was slipping.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was trying so, so hard to get the characters right; I'm glad it worked.

She was trying to change directions! That small action of hers is actually what inspired this entire fic. That, and the face he made just as he shot down the ropes. So much pain in such a small moment. :(

[identity profile] givemethechild.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 01:23 am (UTC)(link)
The look in his eyes! I did notice that - such woe; he knew he was losing her forever right there. Meh.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Mffh there is this iiiiittty bitty shot of him, like a split-second close-up right before he shoots through the ropes, where he squinches up his face like he's about to cry. It breaks my heart. :(

[identity profile] atraphoenix.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 01:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh god, I've got tears in my eyes now. You portrayal of James was utterly, mind blowingly fantastic, and this kiss was beautifully bittersweet.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much. That scene breaks my heart. :(

[identity profile] kurosawa.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 03:48 pm (UTC)(link)
now you need to write one where they end up together because this was TOO SAD. ;__;

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
No worries, I've got one of those well on its way already. :D

[identity profile] archetypal.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 04:41 pm (UTC)(link)
*SOB*


I'll write more later but I love this bit the most
She saw him fall, saw the shape of him tumble to the deck of the Dutchman, and she felt her heart fall with him. She had not known, had not understood, until her lips met his and she'd wanted, needed for him to come with her, to show her again what it truly means to be loved unconditionally. To show her again and again the difference between saying you would die for someone and showing that you would.

He fell and her heart screamed his name. She knew then that she loved him, and she knew now that all of her regrets would only ever be James.



Because that was really, really it. Loooove it. Loooove it.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
YEAH SHE'D BETTER REGRET IT. *cough*

I mean, I'm so sad! Sad for James! *cries*

[identity profile] purplebloom500.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
That was so sad but I loved it.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 09:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!

[identity profile] oltha_heri.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 08:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay I cried. This was really good, I thought you had both characters down well. And I loved the last two paragraphs.



[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-13 09:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!

[identity profile] commodore-lydia.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 03:03 am (UTC)(link)
So bittersweet, and yet so beautiful! I love the contrast between James and Elizabeth at the beginning - very well played out. The moment itself is stunningly rendered, and your last line is gorgeous. Fantastic!

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you liked it. :)

[identity profile] clanne.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
So beautiful. I look forward to seeing more of your stories(perhaps with happier endings).

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I have two in the works, both much happier than this one. I'm glad you liked it, though!

[identity profile] ignited.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 04:56 am (UTC)(link)
AGHAAAHHH. Jeez, woman. I loved this. So much. It's just... beautiful, all of it, the imagery, the fact that she's trying to come back and she can't get to him on time. Loved the beginning paragraph -- the wording and the little details in James' approach to things. And the last line killed me. You laid out just what's so great about this pairing and why I want to read more of it!

Excellent work! :D

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:41 pm (UTC)(link)
*clings to you* You want to come live in my houseboat on the Nile? JAMES IS HERE.

I love this pairing so hard, Stef. It is like the lifeblood of my enjoyment of the PotC movies.

Thaaaanks. :D

[identity profile] evemac.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 06:03 am (UTC)(link)
Ohhhhhh. It just hurts. But so, so lovely. Thank you for writing this.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:42 pm (UTC)(link)
*clings to you* I live in a houseboat on the Nile with James Norrington, care to join me? :)

[identity profile] madamtorsion.livejournal.com 2007-06-16 06:55 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely, just lovely. I just watched saw AWE again this evening. I hate watching that scene, but there's just so much going on underneath that dialogue that I love it all the same. You captured that emotion flawlessly here. Brava, indeed.

[identity profile] whisperwords.livejournal.com 2007-06-20 05:26 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for commenting. I agree that there was TONS going on underneath that scene; I'm glad the way I filled it out works for you!

[identity profile] mordainlove.livejournal.com 2007-06-21 08:19 am (UTC)(link)
i didn't say it before, but i'll say it now: wonderful way to flesh out scenes that were simply not long enough. jack davenport acted his heart out during those scenes - and hell, her hardly had anything to say! wtf! - and the looks from both of them were just so... so intense. you captured it better than i thought most people could, really.

and yeah - the scene, split second before he shoots the rope? WHOA WITH THE HEARTBREAK.

the funny thing is, i liked norrington in the first movie. didn't care for the second movie at all, period. and after seeing the 3rd, i'm all about norrington and how much love he deserves. i swear it was the expression across his face right after elizabeth says "james, come with me..." as her eyes get all watery.

now i need to watch the scene again. damn.

[identity profile] starbuckhan.livejournal.com 2007-07-06 11:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Ok this bit just breaks my little shippy heart :
She had not known, had not understood, until her lips met his and she'd wanted, needed for him to come with her, to show her again what it truly means to be loved unconditionally. To show her again and again the difference between saying you would die for someone and showing that you would.

so heartbreakingly fantastic!!

[identity profile] wickedground.livejournal.com 2007-10-27 03:58 am (UTC)(link)
*sobs* heartbreaking, and beautifully written!
steph: <lj user="steph"> (Paramore|| everybody live)

[personal profile] steph 2008-04-26 03:43 am (UTC)(link)
Teija! I always love to read the things you write, and even though I'm not big in the POTC fandom, I still love this fic. You always seem to just cut right into the heart, and I love it.