Title: The Babysitters
By: Ceria (CeriaTaliesin@hotmail.com)
Rated: PG13 at most
Summary: Jack and Will look after the Norringtons' children.
Disclaimer: We all know who owns them, thank you very much, and it is not I.
Beta: Melusina, aka Fabu, as always, thank you.
A/N: For: Veronica Rich and N Ranken. I hope I skipped the whole wet bitch!Will for you! : ) Many, many thanks Sparrowhawk for the comments and help specifically with my story, and also for volunteering to organize this fic-a-thon to begin with. Nice job!
With only a quick kiss to say goodbye, Will grabbed his knapsack and flung it over his shoulder. He truly believed Jack enjoyed his time alone with the Pearl or more likely, the Pearl enjoyed her time alone with Jack.
The man in question sighed and sat up, idly adjusting the bandana out of his eyes, "It has been five years, the whelps can't be any worse than 'ole Cotton drunk."
Deciding to not look startled that Jack agreed, Will shrugged, "Elizabeth asks about you each year."
"Why do you think I visit the same time each year? I've yet to see him in the five times I've returned."
"She asks about me? What do you tell 'er?"
It was the most interest Jack had displayed in Will's childhood home for a long time, and he found himself curious about the sudden attention. Maybe it was Elizabeth's request from the prior year. Will assumed she still wanted to try her hand writing a novel, and what better inspiration than Jack Sparrow himself?
"Is she so different now?"
Will nodded, "A little. Motherhood and marriage have settled her more than I expected. Each year she's a little less the daring girl I once knew, and more Norrington's wife than I can understand."
Jack eyed him curiously, casually dressing while Will watched, "And you're sure you want me there?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
Smiling softly, Jack sashayed across the cabin, "Just checkin' love."
* * *
A surprised Elizabeth greeted Will with a hug at the gate to her home, " I've missed you."
Smiling at her, Will responded, "So have we."
"Did your bring that scallywag with you this time?"
" He'll be along," Will agreed. "Where's your husband?
"Oh," Elizabeth laughed, "James isn't here. Matter of fact, I was to join him today, for a couple days alone, but the nanny and my father are both taken ill. I was looking forward to spending some time with him."
"Is this a bad time to visit?" he asked.
"Not at all, both of them are in the guest house though with Maria. You'll have to stay in the main house with us."
"How are the twins?" Taking her arm, Will escorted her toward her home.
"Precocious, terrifying, mystifying. I'm not quite sure sometimes they are our children. Cora's vocabulary is immense; she spends too much time with her father studying naval history. Nathaniel is learning his letters, just to read my old books..."
Elizabeth stopped her monologue, "Will, your eyes are glazing over. Come inside and I'll fix you some tea. You must forgive a mother."
"I would forgive you anything, as long as you tell me Jack will be safe to enter Rear-Admiral Norrington's home."
"This is my home also, Will. Of course Jack will be welcomed."
"Oh good then," the pirate said, startling Elizabeth. Limberly dropping over the gated enclosure, he smiled and bowed to her, "My lady."
She didn't leave Will's arms, but leaned forward to kiss his cheek as he sauntered closer. Jack winked at his lover and turned his head, touching his lips to hers.
"Pirate!" she laughed.
* * *
A voice echoed from the mansion door, "Mama, mama!"
Two small children running toward them made Will smile. He remembered the last visit, when Nathaniel couldn't run without falling. Both were tall and slim, with long straight brown hair; though neither had the beautiful blonde coloration of Elizabeth's that fascinated him as a youth.
Both caught sight of Will and Jack at the same time. The boy ignored them in favor of his mother's hug. The little girl stopped and curtsied immediately.
"I didn't know we expected guests, mother."
"Fortune has favored us, Cora. Do you remember Will Turner?"
"Please to see you, Mr. Will."
She turned expectantly to Jack and raised an eyebrow at her mother.
Elizabeth hesitated a moment, then answered, "This is Will's shipmate, Captain Jack."
"Pleased to make your quain'tance," she curtsied very properly and Will saw Jack's smirk. It only took him one sentence to see which child favored Norrington.
"Captain?" the young boy cut in. "Captain of what?"
" 'Lizbeth, what aren't you telling this boy?" Jack asked indignantly.
Will laughed so hard he couldn't catch his breath, and Elizabeth ignored Jack's query, opting to pound on Will's back. Will heard her mutter in embarrassment 'at James' request.'
The little girl figured it out first, "Mother! You didn't, you couldn't! Daddy's going to kill you. What if he steals the silver?"
"Why would a Captain steal the. You're a bloody pirate!" Nathaniel jumped around, squealing.
All three adults winced at his high-pitched, and earsplitting, voice. "Nathaniel! Your language! And you mustn't say that so loud," Elizabeth corrected.
"Well," Cora said primly, "that's how Daddy refers to them."
The girl stood directly in front of Jack, blocking his way. He crouched down to look at her eye level, and she immediately scooted back. "You can't come inside, pirate. By decree of the Royal Navy."
Poor Jack was at a loss on how to deal with the girl. He kept glancing over his shoulder to Elizabeth, as though not quite sure what he could say.
Will knelt in the dirt close to Jack. "Cora, do you trust your mother?"
"Then you know that your mother trusts me. What if I promise that Captain Jack won't steal a single thing why we're here? On my honor."
She looked at him closely, and suddenly Will was glad he wore respectable clothes, covering his tattoos and removed the beads and baubles that Jack loved to braid in his hair.
* * *
Jack tried again, "Cora..."
" 'Cuse me?"
"I did not give you p'misson to call me by my given name."
Jack motioned to Will, "Will did."
"Mr. Will is a long time friend of my mother, of course he may call me by my given name."
"I'm a friend of your mum's too. I even saved her life once. Now that is the beginning of a good tale."
Cora gawked, looking between Jack and her mother. She covered her mouth and, for a moment, Will thought Jack won some respect.
Giggles escaped from clenched fingers, "Captain Jack, I know you are a pirate, but I'm smart, and you shouldn't tell such tales. My mother is married to the head of the Royal Navy in Port Royal. Why would she need a pirate to save her life?"
" 'Lizbeth?" Jack asked again, and again she thwarted the question, busying herself with the boy who was still clutching her skirts.
"Jack, Will, why don't you come inside? Cora, be polite to our guests."
Norrington's daughter whirled imperiously and led the way. Nathaniel was peeking around his mother, watching Will and Jack. She smiled at him and he stepped bravely forward, touching Will's arm.
"Is he really a pirate?"
Will smiled and took boy's hand, "He really is, and why we're visiting, make sure you ask him about his stories. Jack loves to tell stories, and if you are interested, he'll tell you lots of them."
* * *
"It's only for a night and a day, Jack. What harm could come from this?"
He shook his head emphatically and the tinkling beads reminded Will of home. One day had passed, and he already missed the Pearl.
"Love, it's bad enough to visit the Rear-Admiral's home and wife, but to offer to watch his children? If you want torture, I can break the cat' out again."
For a moment Will blushed, then grinned, "You're the one who wanted to kiss the gunner's daughter, not me."
It was amazing to Will how mentioning that darkened Jack's eyes. The amused and perpetually drunk act disappeared and Jack stalked across the room, focused intently on his lover.
A breathless kiss, a quick grope, and suddenly four feet were trying to find a bed. With a twist of his hips, Will landed on top of Jack, pushing hands above their heads to hold him still.
" 'Lizbeth might have one we could borrow," Jack suggested. And quicker than a storm at sea, Will rolled off Jack and landed next to him on the bed.
"She does seem a bit, dreary," Will said mischievously.
"Quiet," Jack added.
"Weighed down by her life," Will teased.
"Very much so, she was such a free spirit."
Will knew that he had Jack now, "We could help that, you know."
Jack looked at Will, then glanced at the bed, "Just what's in your head, whelp?"
"Only what's best for Elizabeth, nothing else."
"You thought of a way to help her?" he asked, clearly intrigued.
"Of course, but it requires your cooperation."
Jack sat up, interested, "Do tell, lover."
Pausing for a moment, Will gathered his breath; Jack really didn't like being trapped. "She needs some time away from the children, alone with her husband. Say, one night and day?"
An astonished Jack just looked at Will, and then fell dramatically onto the bed, "I deserved that."
"Yes, you did."
"All right, Will Turner. You win, one night and one day with the Norrington children. For 'Lizbeth."
* * *
"Are you a pirate too?"
Will stopped for a moment, considering his answer. To deny being a pirate was to deny his blood, and Jack.
Jack paused and bowed slightly to the boy, "Nate me boy, you can't ask that of Will here. He's terribly honest and your sister seems to like him. She's gotta like one of us, you see."
"Oh," Nathaniel said, thinking.
"Oh," he whispered, "it's a secret!"
Jack saluted him and turned back around to harass Cora. Will watched her sidestep to keep some distance between them and Elizabeth sighed.
"Just like her father?" he asked.
"Exactly," she said.
Will laughed, "You'll have to find her a nice apprentice to break her of that, you know."
She smiled softly, "Of course. And maybe he won't run off with some pirate."
"I miss you also, Elizabeth," he teased, leaning over to kiss her check.
"Are you happy on the Pearl, Will? Truly?"
He took a moment to answer, watching Jack taunt Cora. Every time he stepped closer, she backed away. Jack still had a way of intruding in everyone's individual space. Personally, though, Will enjoyed that about him, more like Will enjoyed others' reactions to Jack.
"He is a good man, Elizabeth," Will smiled; they had this inane exchange every time they saw each other. It always made the two laugh and seemed to erase the reserve distance put between their friendship.
"He's a pirate, Will." It was amazing how well she parroted the indignation of her father's voice.
"The sea called to me, Elizabeth, and I answered. When I answered, Jack was waiting also. So yes, I'm very happy."
"I would have thought Jack belonged only to the Pearl," she said, a little more serious.
"Not only to her," Will answered with a brilliant smile.
"Mama?" Nathaniel asked, "Do you like Mr. Will?"
"Of course, Nathaniel, he's my oldest friend."
"And he's a pirate?"
"Well," she paused for a moment, "yes he is."
"Does that make Daddy wrong then?"
"Whatever do you mean, Nathaniel?" she asked, pausing to lean closer to her son.
"Daddy said the only good pirate is a dead one. Mr. Will here isn't dead, and he just said the captain is a good man. I don't get it."
Will watched her eyebrows climb into her forehead, he'd forgotten just how big Elizabeth's eyes were. Well, not actually forgotten, but he had replaced them with a pair of brown eyes he loved.
Apparently Elizabeth was still flabbergasted over her son's words, Will leaned over and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. " Nathaniel, do you know what a forge is?"
"Yes," he said, still confused.
"Well, I used to make swords and daggers in the forge. Sometimes nails and hammers and other things too. Do you know what they are all made of?"
"Very good, Nathaniel. They are. And they are all made by the same process. You heat them, pound them, cool them, and then do it again. Did you know that?"
"Sorta, but why are you telling me this?"
"To make a point. I made you father's sword, did you know that?"
"Yes, mama told me."
"And I made the dagger your mother keeps, and Captain Jack's sword, and my sword. Did you know that also?"
"No," Nathaniel said enthusiastically, though he cocked an eye at the mention of his mother owing a dagger.
"Well, not one of them is like the other, not the swords, the daggers, the nails, but each one is made the same way, from the same material. Your father and Captain Jack are like that."
He looked at Will for a moment, then responded, "I see, I think."
Elizabeth smiled at Will, "Thank you. You know, though, the next time you're in town, he's going to ask you about that."
Winking at her, Will answered, "Then we'll just have to make sure we visit sooner."
* * *
"Thank you for dinner, Elizabeth," Will said, relaxing on the settee.
She smiled, "If you wait a moment, I'll ready the children for bed, then be back down to speak with you."
"Mama!" Nathaniel said, "what about our story?"
Jack perked up from another seat across the room, "Story? What's this about a story?"
Will watched Jack and Elizabeth face each other. Jack finally saw the possibility to have fun with the children, while Elizabeth saw only the consequences of the wrong tale.
"All right," she said slowly. "I usually read them a story before bed. Would you be interested, Jack?"
Smiling brilliantly at her, he settled on the floor and motioned the Norringtons to gather 'round him. Even Will moved closer, taking Jack's spot on the chair while the older man leaned gently on his leg. Elizabeth folded herself against the divan with a child on each side.
"Once upon a time, there was a fair maiden named Aino. Aino and her father lived in a small fishing village near the Caspian Sea. Her father was not a rich man, and they lived quietly amongst other fishermen, earning their living on his fishing and her sewing.
"An old, rich man moved into town. Now this man had a great love for clothing. And after inquiring about a seamstress for his clothing, several women told him to seek out Aino's father.
"Aino's father only wanted what was best for his daughter, and he agreed to let the man court his daughter for a year and a day, in exchange for clothing, on the condition that Aino didn't know of their bargain.
"Now Aino, like all young, beautiful women, dreamed of a fair prince or knight to whisk her away from her quiet life. The more she sewed, the more she dreamed. And as the old, rich man spent more and more time in her presence, she realized that she would never find her dream.
"Aino felt there was only one solution to her problem. A night before the bargain would have ended, she walked into the Caspian Sea, never to be seen again by her father or that small village."
Nathaniel leaned closer to Jack, clapping his hands. Cora only sniffed, "That is a sad story, Captain Jack. Whatever happened to the father, and that nice old man?"
Smiling, he shook his head, "Miss Cora, that isn't quite the correct question. The correct question is 'whatever happened to Aino?'"
She perked up, "Do you know?"
He motioned the children to lean in and whispered, "Of course I know, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. And I'm here to tell you that Aino lived by turning into a mermaid."
Nathaniel giggled, "How could you know that?"
"Elizabeth, isn't it time for bed?" Will interrupted, trying to draw attention away from Jack. But she only shook her head, willing to let Jack indulge her children.
"Because William here met Aino not too long ago."
"You met a real, live mermaid?" Nathaniel squealed.
Elizabeth grinned, getting into the story, only to glance up at Will's blushing face. Confused, she turned back to Jack, who was nodding.
"You see, Aino didn't want anything to do with that old, rich man, but I never said she didn't want anything to do with a young, beautiful man. Last spring, as we sailed through the Caspian Sea, William heard a noise while on watch.
"Investigating it, he found an enchanting young woman clinging to the side of the Pearl. She had been watching him for two nights, you see, and waited patiently for me first mate to be alone. Will had never seen a mermaid, and unknowingly came close to her."
Nathaniel gasped, "What happened? How did you find out?"
Elizabeth was startled to see the blush deepen on Will's face as Jack leaned back from her children and settled against Will's leg again.
"Let's just say that, what belongs to the Pearl, stays with the Pearl. She woke me in time to intervene, savvy?"
* * *
Jack pulled Will closer against his body.
Smiling, Will rolled over in the bed. It hadn't taken Jack long to sneak into his room. Will pulled gently on Jack's chin, running twin braids through his fingers as he kissed him. They had hours together, Elizabeth told them on her way out to join her husband that both children slept late.
He moaned as Jack quickly grabbed his waist and pulled them together, it was <i>still</i> amazing, even after countless times, to feel those calloused hands on his bare skin.
Jack shimmied loose breeches off Will's hips quickly as he arched into lips nibbling across his stomach.
Gasping, he failed to hear the door creak open, failed to hear anything until a small voice said, "Mr. Will? I can't find mama."
* * *
" 'ello poppet,"
"It's Miss Norrington, and Captain Jack, I have a question."
"Of course, Miss Norrington, what would you like to ask?"
"How do you drink with your hair?"
" 'cuse me? I don't understand."
"Daddy called you a maney, vial man."
Will snickered from the table where he and Nathaniel sat. "I think you mean mangy and vile, as in dirty and depraved."
Jack glared at him, "You aren't helping, Will." His face lit up for a moment, "Well, that's not quite the right words either. Miss Norrington, do you want to really know what pirates are?"
She nodded, as though curious to what the man would say.
"I know this perfect song, it goes like this."
* * *
Jack dropped the game piece, frustrated with Cora. The little girl just sat back, arms folded like her mother, watching him. He looked pleadingly at Will who ignored him, intent on practicing. Jack turned to Nathaniel, who was watching Will intently.
"Nate me boy, don't you want to play with your sister?"
"No way, Captain Jack! She cheats!"
Rubbing his head, Jack frowned, "Are you sure? How can a five-year-old cheat?"
"Because," Nathaniel started imitating his sister's voice, "There's no such thing as rules, just guidelines." The boy rolled his eyes, "Every time some tries to beat her, she just changes the rules, she's no fun."
Frustrated, he gave up, "Will, why don't you take a turn with Cora?"
Will grinned, "Face it, Jack, you've no luck at all with women," he paused for a moment, "even miniature ones."
"That's it!" Jack snarled.
Seconds later, two shrieking children watched Will and Jack roll on the ground, playfully fighting.
"Get 'im, Will!" Cora yelled.
"No way he'll win," taunted Nathaniel. "You can't beat a pirate!"
At first, they couldn't decide who was winning, until Will yelped and stilled.
Cora gasped, "How did you do that?"
Jack grinned over his shoulder, "Well Miss Norrington, there's only two options in a fight. A man can win, or a man can lose. Personally, I choose to win. And the only way to win against a stronger foe, is to cheat."
"But you didn't beat him!" she hissed, "You didn't fight fair!"
A startled Jack turned toward Will, who shrugged. "Who do you think taught me the rules of engagement?" Will asked.
"Missy, let me explain something about life to you. There are no rules. Life is kinda like your game over there. There are only guidelines to follow. You have to choose what guidelines best suit your life. And then follow them."
Jack shook his head; "There is no room in life for buts. You pray for wind in your sails all the time, then trust the rest to brains. If you're smart, and you are smart or you wouldn't be 'Lizbeth's daughter, you stay ahead of the game. You figure out what the other person is going to do before they do it, and how to defeat it."
"Oh," she said softly, "then how did you win just now?"
"Easy," Jack crowed, "I know how to overwhelm Will."
"How's that?" Nathaniel asked.
Jack shrugged, "He's ticklish."
The twins giggled and sat down next to them. Cora spread her skirts, shyly glancing up. "Do you think you could tell us another story, Captain Jack?"
* * *
Jack blew softly on the boy's back, "It will be a'right in only a moment, Nate."
He squirmed beneath the captain and Jack laughed, softly swatting his hip, " 'old still, boy."
"I can't decide if it hurts or tickles," Nate breathed, "I think it tickles."
"Well, if you don't be still, it'll hurt. I'm almost there."
The door clicked open and Will rushed through, "Norrington and Elizabeth are fast approaching and. What in God's name are you doing, Jack?"
The older man looked up, grinning, fingers black with ink. "Decorating me boy here. He's too young for a tattoo, so I borrowed 'Lizbeth's ink. It'll wash off with a good scrubbing."
Nate lay still as Jack moved away, and Will closed the distance to inspect the temporary tattoo. The Jolly Roger rippled across Nathaniel Norrington's little shoulder blades.
"Norrington's going to kill you, Jack!" Will laughed.
"We'll never be able to visit again!"
Jack eyed him, "And that is bad?"
Will blinked, unsure for a moment if Jack was serious or teasing.
"Well," Jack drawled, "at least I didn't steal the silver."
Will pulled Jack up for a quick kiss while the boy lay still, eyes closed, ink drying.
"No, my pirate," Will said softly. "You stole something worse. You just stole the boy's heart."
Jack winked, "All part of the plan, dear William."
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