10 May 2009 @ 04:29 pm
Fic: The Still Point of the Turning World  

Title: The Still Point of the Turning World
Author: breathless_dawn
Rating: PG
Pairings: J/E, W/E
Disclaimer: To my great regret, I do not own them. I bow to the mouse.
A/N: A short unbeta'd post-AWE fountain of youth fic that fits in my Requiem verse. It should be noted that in this fic, the fountain merely makes a person younger, not immortal. This was written as a gift for [info]djarum99's birthday. So sorry I'm late, darlin'! And Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there :)

 

 

I

 

On a particularly warm July morning, he appears at her bedroom window, which she has thrown open in hopes of coaxing a breeze inside.

 

She is not surprised to see him.

 

“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Lizzie is the sun!”

 

She grins. “And I suppose that would make you the envious moon?”

 

She watches as he climbs gracefully through the window. “I s’pose so,” he muses. “Fitting, don’t you think, as you’ve already risen and killed me?”

 

“Hardly.”

 

He merely grins and swaggers into her kitchen where he divests his coat and sits down at the table, propping his feet upon it.

 

“I would offer to make tea, but the weather is much too hot for that,” she says, watching him as he lazily peels the skin from an orange he has taken from a bowl on the table.

 

“Never much cared for tea, love. And anyway, I’ve a proposition for you.” He slides a piece of the fruit into his mouth. She notices a trickle of juice running over his bottom lip.

 

“Of what sort?” she asks warily.

 

Jack’s crooked smile glints gold. “What do you know of the Aqua de Vida?”

 

II

 

She is certain she is getting younger. Her tired joints now spring comfortably when she flexes her fingers. She feels stronger, wilder, and smiles appear easily at the newly unwrinkled corners of her mouth.

 

Jack takes her by the waist and begins twirling her about. She laughs and hooks an arm around his neck, holding tight to the rum bottle in her hand. The bonfire turns into an orange blur.

 

“We’re devils and black sheep, and really bad eggs! Drink up me hearties, yo ho!”

 

Jack trips over something and falls onto the sand, pulling her down next to him. “This seems rather familiar,” he says, glancing at her.

 

She runs a finger across his brow. His eyes flutter closed and she notices the wrinkles at their corners have disappeared. After a moment, he opens them again and asks, “What’re you thinking about, Lizzie?”

 

She nestles herself into his shoulder. “I feel…”

 

“Alive?” Jack suggests.

 

Free,” she says, and leans up to kiss him.

 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

 

III

 

She doesn’t tell Will of their son or the fountain.

 

Her room is littered with trinkets and baubles she has accumulated on her travels, and she notices Will gazing at them curiously as he combs his fingers gently through her hair.

 

“Jack’s come to visit.” It is not a question.

 

“Yes.”

 

“And you found the fountain.”

 

She looks over at him in surprise. “How did you know?”

 

He brushes the hair from her face. “You look the same.”

 

“Oh,” she says when she can’t think of anything else.

 

Will shifts into a sitting position. “Immortality comes at a heavy price, Elizabeth. You needn’t –”

 

“I know.”

 

She is doing this for him. For herself. And for Jack, for a reason she does not wish to name.

 

IV

 

It is her fifty-third birthday, though she still feels as if she’s five and twenty.

 

She and Jack spend the day eating mangos and apricots and drinking madeira pilfered from a Spanish Galleon, shielded from the sun’s heat by the shade of the palms. When the sun sinks below the water, the music begins to play and the crew emerge from their hiding places in the shade and begin to sing and dance merrily.

 

Jack pulls her to her feet. “Dance with me.” And she does.

 

Pintel and Ragetti approach her later, smiling nervously. When Ragetti produces and ivory handled dagger from behind his back and offers it to her, Pintel says, “We bought it legal and everything.” Ragetti nods and she grins, pulling them both into a hug.

 

Gibbs appears moments later, proffering a brightly coloured silk sash, which she takes and ties about her waist. When she gives her thanks, he smiles warmly and raises his bottle to her.

 

It is much later, when the only sound is that of the tide lapping quietly at the shore, that Jack finds her again. “Quite the load you’ve accumulated, love,” he says fingering the sash.

 

“Pirates,” she says smiling.

 

“And since pirates are such a greedy lot, I suppose you won’t mind another gift.” He ducks out of sight for a moment and returns with a small glass bottle with a replica of the Pearl inside and a delicately carved wooden swan.

 

“They’re beautiful, Jack.”

 

“Happy birthday, Lizzie,” he whispers, kissing the hair above her ear.

 

When they lie down to sleep, Elizabeth hears the tide, and Jack’s slow breathing, and the steady tattoo of Will’s heart, buried ten paces from the hollow palm tree.

 

V

 

She stops going to the fountain and lets age catch up with her.

 

By actual aging standards, she is eighty-two, but she looks and feels fifty. Her hair is beginning to grey and her joints have grown stiff.

 

She knows she is dying.

 

Bet even so, she is more alive than she has ever been, she thinks. Alive with love and memory and the sea.

She can still smell the roses in her mother’s garden, feel her father’s embrace, and the softness of Will’s hands, taste the salt in the air and on Jack’s lips.

 

He stays with her now, having abandoned his quest for immortality, though his trips to the fountain have left him three years younger than her.

 

They still sail on Elizabeth’s small ship, Cygnus, but they are no longer chasing the horizon. They know they will reach it eventually.

 

VI

 

She is cradled against him and he is drawing lazy circles over her arms when she says, “You could go back, you know.”

 

“Back where, love?”

 

“The fountain.”

 

“No reason to, Lizzie,” he says. “Who needs immortality when you’ve got this?” He makes a sweeping gesture with his hand. “’S good enough for me.”

She smiles and kisses the tops of his fingers. It is good enough for her too.

A/N2: The dialogue from the first part is, ofcourse from Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 2. Title inspiration from T.S. Eliot.

 
 
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