Title: Best Laid Plans
Author: Ponderosa (email@example.com)
Summary: Jack attempts to rescue Will from jail.
Written for: Sparrowhawk. Request: a follow-on from the end of the movie: the next time Jack and Will meet (under circumstances of your choosing), Jack has a few choice words for Will about the ill-planned rescue attempt the day of Jack's scheduled hanging. Humor, please.
There were few lanterns in the jail and the shadows were deep. Jack took hold of the bars of a cell and peered in at the figure sitting despondently in the far corner. "What's this? Stuck in a cell of your own making?" Jack said.
"Bugger off," Will snarled. He curled an arm miserably around the back of his head and began to tuck his chin closer towards his chest.
"If you insist, mate," Jack said. He turned slowly, trailing his fingertips along the bars, but he kept a keen eye on Will, waiting for the tightening of the muscles along the man's back.
Any second now...
"Wait... Jack?" Will's head snapped up and he turned around, scattering the filthy straw with his knees as he staggered to feet. He hastily brushed tangled strands of hair from his face. He surged at the door of his cell, relief and hope flooding his eyes. "Jack!"
Jack paused dramatically in a beam of bright moonlight, a cocky smile playing at the corner of his mouth. "In the flesh," he said. He whirled around and put his face to the bars again, thrusting an arm through to poke a few fingers at Will's chest. "So, struck a naval officer did you... Didn't think you had it in you, lad."
Will's face flushed and he grabbed for Jack's sleeve. "We can talk about that later, you have to get me out of here!"
"Don't worry, mate," Jack said, tugging his arm free from Will's desperate hold. "That's what I'm here for."
Will's demeanor abruptly changed, and he fixed a wary eye on Jack. "Wait, why have you come to rescue me?" he asked. "What's in it for you?"
Jack drew back, thrown off by Will's skepticism. "I suppose, in the end, a new able-bodied man for my crew," he said.
"For your crew..."
"Somethin' wrong with your ears?" Jack asked, regaining his composure. He lifted his chin and raised an eyebrow. "You haven't gone deaf, have you, Will? What of your lovely singing voice?"
Ignoring the last, Will shook his head. "Never mind, I'm glad you came, of course," he said. "Now, you said a plan? What sort of plan?"
"Rest assured one that is a far cry better than what you came up with when it was my neck in the noose," Jack said. "D'you have any idea how difficult it was to balance on the blade of a sword?" He snorted and pulled a brilliant white length of silk from his sleeve. "Take this, and go tie it to the window, would you."
With some measure of reluctance mixed in with the recklessness of going along with Jack's plan, Will took the silk and did as the pirate asked. He wound the scarf around the bars and let the long ends of it spill free out the window and catch on the breeze.
"Now, William," Jack said, retreating towards the rack holding Will's affects. "Ye best get away from the wall." Almost as an afterthought he motioned towards the floor. "And best keep your head down, as well."
"What do you-" Will broke off as he heard the roar of a cannon. "Jack!" he cried, throwing himself to the floor of the cell.
Bits of mortar and stone showered through the confines of the cell, coating everything with a fine layer of dust. A chunk of the wall had broken away, leaving a hole just big enough for a cat to squeeze through.
"This is your plan?" Will shouted, pointing accusatorily towards the small hole and the bulge of the stones around it. "If the next shot doesn't kill me, I'll either break my neck trying to climb down, or find myself with a bullet in my back! I don't suppose your men are out pillaging the town orchestrating some manner of diversion!"
"Well no...." Jack said, his brows furrowing. He seemed to have overlooked that little detail.
Will threw a sharp look at the pirate. "This is hardly my idea of a good plan!"
The Pearl's cannons roared again, and Will flattened himself against the bars, but a second shot didn't come barreling through the wall; Gibbs' crew was busy trying to take out the Fort's guns before they had a chance to fire back.
Jack shrugged helplessly. "I did say my plan was better than yours, but results notwithstanding, mate, yours did have rather dismal odds of both of us survivin'."
The clatter of boots sounded on the steps, and Jack drew the sword that had been stashed among Will's confiscated possessions. "New plan!" he said, holding the blade aloft and rounding his pistol at the jailer coming down the stairs. The man froze, eyes darting between his prisoner, Jack, and Jack's pistol. He looked over his shoulder, but he was alone. Jack cocked his gun menacingly, and with a groan of defeat, the soldier dropped his sword and held his arms up in surrender.
Jack gestured with the tip of his sword for the ring of keys at the man's belt. They didn't trust the keys to a dog anymore, he saw, but that didn't seem to be a better idea on the part of the officers with how quickly their man had given up. In short order, Will was ushered out of the cell and the jailer locked inside.
"Best take that scarf down from the window," Jack told the man.
"Is it safe?" he asked, voice quavering as he kept himself as far away as possible from the small breach in the wall.
"Safer than leaving it up there, I'd guess," Will said.
Jack nodded in agreement. He handed Will's sword back to its rightful owner and drew his own cutlass. "Remember, Will, if you play by the rules, you will invariably lose," Jack said, as he dashed up the stairs.
"Yes, I think I've learned that lesson now," Will said, hot on his heels.
"It seems that neither of us are particularly good at devising cunning escape plans," Will said. He sagged against the rail of the quarterdeck, his back to Port Royale. The lights of the town shrank in the distance, but he refused to look back at them, even while he still could. He couldn't go back even if he wanted to. "But we are both rather adept at getting away alive regardless."
Jack took up a spot beside Will, leaning gracefully on his forearms and holding a bottle of rum loosely in his hand. "Welcome to the crew of the Pearl," he said, which was as close as he'd get to agreeing that perhaps he wasn't as good at something as he supposed he was.
"Are you sure you want me?" Will said. Foolish really, when they'd all just risked their lives to save his. "I still hardly know anything about sailing."
"Knowing how to sail's only a small part of what it means to be pirate," Jack replied.
"Aye," Jack said, straightening up again and throwing a familiar arm around Will. "The most important part is-"
"The rum?" Will guessed, stealing the bottle out of Jack's hand.
Jack grinned. "Something like that."
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