Title: Floodable Length
Author: Pigeon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: PG13 / 12
Summary: Apart and drifting in their own worlds.
Series: The Afloat Trilogy. Comes after 'Between Wind and Water' and before 'Pierhead Jump'.
Disclaimer: Disney and the makers of PotC own all and get all the credit. I'm just a poor and obsessive student who likes to play with others' characters. No harm is meant. Please don't sue, I'm broke anyway.
And I rose-trayed sailors
And you still shining
And I'm still waiting not to go
And I lied for sailors
And I lied for certain
And I lied to everyone I know
"The Clock Struck Fifteen Hours Ago," Ocean Colour Scene
Elizabeth was beautiful. She was spirited and fiery. She had a good heart.
Every man had to want her.
Will would die for her.
But he cant, won't, and will not live for her.
The sway and the rock told Jack he was home.
Back on his Pearl.
Will walks past the taverns in Port Royal and remembers Tortuga.
There is not the same level of filth and muck and dissipation. The whores are not so brazen, keeping to the actual brothels and cat-houses, brawls still occur but are rarer and never end in a slit throat or broken skull, and the scent of rum, and ale, and vomit, and rot pales in comparison.
At night Jack sleeps safely in his Pearl.
He has sheets of velvet and satin and shot silk. The bed is littered with cushions and bolsters, they have ruffles and frills and embroidered patterns, and come in all colours from elegant grey to brightest cerise. None of them match. All claimed booty from a myriad of ships taken and plundered.
He twists and turns, the familiar creaks from the Black Pearl reassure him but still can't stop the dreams and terrors.
Sometimes he sees Will and reaches for him before he wakes.
Will hasn't the words to explain it all to Elizabeth.
They haven't kissed since that day on the promontory. Will returning to the forge and his apprenticeship, Elizabeth to the mansion and society.
They see each other and smile and walk on.
Will would die for her.
He would fall on a thousand swords.
He would bleed and hurt and breathe his last breath for her.
For Jack for Jack he would live.
Jack drinks and swaggers and orders the crew.
He stands by the wheel and consults his compass and feels the north-easterly on his face.
His hands caress Pearl's dark wood, reacquainting himself with each line of grain and knot, with her very texture, and thinks of the smooth heat of Will's skin
Will, who was pure youth and innocence and passion, and burnt and shivered under his touch. Will who betrayed and left him. Will who wore a ridiculous hat with a ridiculous plume and stood before him and beside him and with him.
As the sun sets in Port Royal and Will finishes his work for the day, he thinks about going down to the docks.
He thinks about sitting on a capstan and looking out over the sea, watching the boats bob, listening to the coarse foreign talk of sailors. He thinks about feeling the brush of seaspray on his skin, of the smell of salt and seaweed.
He thinks about watching for dark sails.
He wipes the sweat from his brow and feeds the hinny before settling down for the night in his small bed, with rough white cotton sheets and corn-shuck mattress.
Jack is not here.
Jack will not return.
And Will is no pirate and will not chase after him.
Somewhere caught between reefs and uncharted depths Jack lies awake and listens to his Pearl.
He tells her how Will was just a boy, nothing more than a green whelp with a quick temper and no real knowledge of the world.
He tells her how the lad has his bonny lass and the opportune moment has long since past.
Pearl groans and tilts and whispers so soft only Jack can hear.
It is as Will practices with his swords that he knows this cannot continue.
He thrusts and parries and denies his desire to scream.
He can hear the scrape as Jack's sword slid against his. Remember each step as they danced their duel. Taste the fear and thrill and desire in his mouth.
The forge smells of steel and cinders and tar and it churns his stomach.
As he walks the streets he hears the whispers.
Should have hung.
Lynch the boy. Hang him from the highest yardarm. Kill him before he kills us.
And he wishes he were, so he could just sail away from the people he has known since his youth and now will not look him in the eye.
A storm breaks and Pearl's whispers turn to screams.
The wind rips at her sails and rigging, the deck is pounded by mountainous waves and Jack remains by the wheel.
She lurches and threatens to break up.
She leaves a mess of debris in her wake. Loose planks torn from her.
She heaves over crests and Jack listens and feels her pain.
And as dawn rises and the swells reduce to nothing he takes his compass and points his Pearl back to Port Royal.
continue to part 3: Pierhead Jump
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