Tangible Schizophrenia


Brotherhood of the Wolf
Boondock Saints
From Dusk Till Dawn
From Hell
Kill Bill
King Arthur
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Pirates of the Caribbean
Sin City
The Ninth Gate
The 13th Warrior

Q-sense ’verse


Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG-13. Couple of kisses.
Pairing: Will/Norrington/Elizabeth
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: These characters and world are not my original creations.
Notes: A short what-if for the third movie.
Summary: We who are about to die…


“I thought it’d have apples here,” Will said, staring at the bottle. He laughed a little, staring as hard as he could away from Elizabeth, and twisted his hands around each other. Beneath the dirt and tan, his skin had greyed like a windless winter sea. “I’m not sure why.”

Elizabeth seemed torn between firing up at him and succumbing to her damned guilt again, which quite honestly got on James’ nerves more than anything else. If she was going to be a pirate, then she shouldn’t look back, and if she was going to be remorseful now, of all times, she should never have tried her hand at this in the first place. “Will—”

“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t ‘Will’ me now.” Will slouched back and watched sullenly as the impulse to defend came to the forefront on Elizabeth’s face, then violently kicked at the ground so she shut up. That honestly impressed James. “It doesn’t work that way. We can talk and talk and it’s already happened. I can’t forget what I saw, and I certainly can’t go back to how we were before you kissed him…I can’t even go back to before I knew why you really kissed him.”

“Want another crack on the head?” James offered. “I’m told it can be quite beneficial to blotting out memory.”

Both of them glared at him, as if they had had any better ideas about anything lately—well, all right. Elizabeth had never considered giving the heart to Beckett, and after Will had understood its real power, he hadn’t had to think long and hard and bitterly about changing his mind for the better.

“Will…” It was Elizabeth’s turn to stare at her hands. She worked her lip between her teeth, visibly swallowing several knee-jerk replies before her shoulders finally slumped. When she looked up again, her eyes were nearly dead in a way James didn’t quite recognize. “I know. I know now…” her mouth twisted “…I suppose this is growing up. But…I just want to know you won’t die hating me. Because whatever happens out there, you are still the one I want to marry. The one I’d want to bind myself to.”

She might even really know what she was talking about, James decided after a moment. He certainly hoped she did after all the lessons they’d had in careless bindings. “Pity you waited to have this touching moment till after I’d thrown my command in Beckett’s face. Otherwise I could’ve joined you two in wedded bliss and then you’d be merrily diving into your tragedy.”

“Shut up, James.” Elizabeth stared at Will, who stared hard back. “Will Turner—will you still have my hand?”

Will tightened his jaw, then glanced away, towards James. His eyes flicked to James’ face and darkened, and then he leaned over. The thick callus of his palm rasped half the stubble off James’ chin, but his lips were quite soft.

“Will!” Elizabeth gasped.

“While we’re about things to do before we’re dying,” Will said, “I just wanted to apologize. I don’t think I respected you as much as I should have.” His grin was a ghost of amusement. “When you turned and defended Jack from me on the island, that was…well, when I thought about it later and understood it, that was something that stayed with me. By the way, Elizabeth, I forgave you ages ago, and I never stopped loving you.”

Elizabeth looked slightly less than satisfied. “And you just kissed Norrington! You--Will.”

He didn’t quite turn to look at her. Forgive, perhaps, but he hadn’t let go. “Well, how is turnabout?”

“Thank you very much for making me an excuse for you two again,” James said. Frankly, it’d happened so often by now that he couldn’t work up more than an exhausted irritation, but principle demanded he say it.

“You know I love you no matter what. And I know what you’re doing,” Elizabeth told Will in a tight voice. She crawled over and pulled him around by the shoulder to make him look at her. “Well, it won’t work. I’m not leaving you behind to face this, Will. You can’t make me.”

For a moment, it looked as if Turner was going to crumple and sweep her across James’ lap for a dramatic, heartfelt kiss. Then a strange mix of embarrassment and determination came into his face. “Actually, I meant all of that. To you—” he looked at James, back at Elizabeth “—and to you.”

James blinked. “Well.” He thought a moment. “Swann, give me that rum bottle.”

She absently passed him it, then yanked it back just as he’d gotten it uncorked and drank off a healthy draft. After a moment, Elizabeth huffed down and pressed her hand against her face. “It’s not bad for something that’s been sitting here for God knows how many centuries.”

“Good. Though I would’ve been perfectly happy to have played the gentleman here again and tasted it first,” James said, reaching for the bottle. He was being mostly sarcastic.

Elizabeth kissed him, still tasting of enough rum for James’ head to swim. A startled noise came from slightly beyond her and she reached back and jerked so Will fell heavily against James. After a moment, Will’s hand hesitantly pressed over the one Elizabeth had on James’ belly, and James found himself rubbing his thumb along Will’s jaw, feeling the chill in the other man.

“Jack Sparrow left both of you that cold? Well, never say I didn’t warn you,” James snorted when he had a chance. He expected them to stiffen the way they did, but was more than a little surprised when they didn’t draw back as well.

“If Will can be honest and open, then I can hardly do less.” A little of the old idealistic fervor had crept back into Elizabeth’s voice and the high carriage of her head. Some of her newfound maturity was in the genuine heated flush of her cheeks, and fear was in the way she was gripping James’ thigh and Will’s hand. “Besides, we’re about to die.”

James couldn’t help flinching. Then he had to laugh, because really, the timing was absolutely ridiculous. “Convenient. No awkward afterwards.”

Elizabeth blinked. Will rolled her eyes and tugged at her hand. “No, he’s right. There’s no time for that now.” Flash of boyish regret. “Though don’t think I’m not sorry for the lost chance.”

“I told you, but no, you wanted to be a gentleman,” Elizabeth muttered, looking rather grumpy. She dug around behind her, then produced the surprisingly-unspilled bottle. “Well, what about the rum?”

“The rum is a brilliant idea,” James said. He took the bottle, took a drink, and then after a moment, passed it to Will. Pity it wasn’t that large; a third each wouldn’t get them nearly insensible enough for what they had to try in a moment.

Elizabeth sucked in her breath, her hair straggling in filthy twists in front of her face. Her and Will’s entwined hands were trembling on James’ belly. Will tilted back his head, apparently determined to take his share all at once—another late lesson learned—but the rum didn’t put any more color into his face. If anything, he paled even more. They looked like terrified children.

“Actually, I was rooting for you two. In the very beginning. Before Sparrow brought my life down around my ears and you didn’t bother trying to dig me out of the ruins.” James helped Elizabeth take the bottle from Will, since she didn’t want to let go of Will’s hand and she was shaking so badly. “It would’ve meant that love and happy endings were real, and that I might have a chance myself later on.”

Will turned towards him first, and then Elizabeth. They twitched towards each other, the same thoughts clearly running through their heads. The little rum left splashed noisily against the sides of the bottle, which was swinging in Elizabeth’s trembling hand.

“But it didn’t happen that way, and I believe Will already addressed what can be done about that,” James added. “Probably just as well. I don’t have the slightest idea how this right now would work out if we had more time.”

The splashings quieted, though they didn’t completely stop. “Well—” Elizabeth started.

“—I don’t want to die, even if it seems like that’s all that’s left. And I’m willing to fight to see what would happen,” Will finished.

James took the bottle from Elizabeth and dealt with the rest of the rum. His hand brushed his cheek and he was startled by how cold it was. His stomach started to twist hard again, wrenching his bowels about so he felt faintly nauseated. He put down the bottle and looked into its black interior, then lifted his head to regard Will and Elizabeth again. If not the first time, then try, try again said the gruff voice of his father, and he wanted to laugh in the man’s face. His hands were positively icy. “Did I suggest we sit here and take it?”

“No.” Will lifted his hand, then grabbed James’ fingers. His eyebrows briefly arched. “Elizabeth, he’s…well, we’re all cold, aren’t we…we don’t have much time before we have to do something.”

Elizabeth took James’ other hand and pushed forward to look earnestly at him. Her spell of despair was over, it seemed. “Are you ready to try this?”

“Absolutely not,” James said. He pulled his feet towards him and started to get up, but only got as far as a squatting position. “It’s absurd and if we do live, we’re all going to change our minds and claim we only meant this because of the situation. Why are you two still sitting there? We might as well try now.”

After a second of confused staring, Elizabeth pulled herself up and abruptly embraced James, her arms going round him so tightly that he thought he heard his ribs crack. When she let go, Will was standing just beyond her with a smile that had slightly more substance to it on his face.

“You think we don’t have a chance,” he said almost conversationally.

James shrugged and kissed him. The nausea hadn’t died down at all, and it was clear now that the chilliness was due to where they were, and they were, in all likelihood, about to die just as they were coming to terms with each other. It seemed as if Will and Elizabeth had taken new hope from this conversation, but James couldn’t quite be so sanguine. Quite.

“Well, if we live, I’ll marry you,” he told them, letting his mouth quirk in all the irony it wanted. He shook his head, sighing, and then straightened up. “But first, the end of the world.”