Author: kHo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: It wasn't the first time he'd thought of Will since their parting. He'd thought of him often in the months following that day on the parapet. He'd thought of him as he went to sleep, and as he woke up in the morning...
Series: On High Seas, pt 1
It's not that Jack Sparrow is incapable of love, it's that the only love he's sure of is his love of the sea. The other ones have always been fleeting. Lips on lips, skin on skin, a whisper here, a moan there, and an empty bed in the morning. He's too smart to think that fairytale romances can ever happen. Love isn't kind, and it's not neat, and it's never easy. Love is lust and infatuation and obsession, all rolled up into one messy, incongruent, ever-maddening ball of inevitable hurt.
Not that he knew from experience. Not direct experience anyway. By the time he was old enough to love truly he'd seen too much. He'd seen too many women cheat, and lie, and fall out of love. He'd seen too many men complain into their glasses half full of Rum about the woes of women, vowing they'd never touch another only to go home with the barmaid an hour later.
And to be fair, he'd seen the flip side of that too. Women being strung along, women that were made promises the men knew they wouldn't keep. He'd seen men lie with a smile on their face and fistful of diamonds behind their back as they backed out of rooms. He'd seen women cry crocodile tears as the man they'd thought loved them left them without a backward glance.
So Jack made it a practice to never promise them anything, and to sleep with them a nominal amount of times. One was his goal, but twice sometimes if he were stuck in a town for more than a day and the prospects weren't good. He never told them he loved them, and he never told them he'd be back. He wasn't oblivious to the fact that some women thought those sentiments were implied though, and was rarely surprised to be slapped across the face by those women should he cross their paths again.
Love's something he's always thought he was capable of, though. Something that, if given the right conquest, he'd be quite good at. He just hadn't found the person that was worthy of it just yet, and he wasn't sure he ever would.
The sea though. The sea he never doubted in. The sea always ebbed and flowed, and it was always there for him. Sometimes the sea was angry, and he'd nearly lost his boat on any number of occasions, but the sea never held grudges. The same day it tried to capsize him and his men would be the same day it would break and calm, letting the ship pass with nary a squall to contend with.
When the sea urged him in the direction of Port Royal he didn't question it. He never knew where he was being led when it decided to guide him, but the sea was older and wiser than he so he let it direct him at it's will. Gibbs warned him they were heading into the Commodore's waters minutes after he'd come to the same conclusion and was quickly joined by Annamaria shrieking that they should turn about immediately. He shushed them with a typical off-putting glance and flick of the wrist. 'I'm the Captain of this ship, mates,' he'd said. 'And I'll say where we dock.'
He looked up at the darkening sky and smiled at the rain clouds forming. They will be docking that night, because an angry sky is an angrier sea, and Jack knew better than to risk disobeying a sky as dark as that one. They docked just before dusk and he set his crew up in a tavern at the town five miles to the east of Port Royal.
It wasn't the first time he'd thought of Will since their parting. He'd thought of him often in the months following that day on the parapet. He'd thought of him as he went to sleep, and as he woke up in the morning. He'd thought of him when he drew the sails in, and he even thought of him when he looked at the sword by his side. 'I bet he'd make one even better than this,' he'd think to himself.
His feelings for Will were confusing though. Jack had never been one to keep acquaintances for long, be they male or female. The last through and through friend he'd had, though, had been old Bootstraps, so perhaps it was fitting that the longing he had for a friend would be his son. It wasn't just a friend he wanted in Will though, and that's where the confusion came in.
Old Gibbs was faithful and true, and he stood by Jack's side like a faithful first mate should. Jack had no queries as to where Gibbs' alliances lay, and he would, and did, trust the man with his life. He didn't trust him with his thoughts though, or his past, or his feelings, or his true nature. He didn't trust anyone with those, and he hadn't trusted Will with those either.
But he wanted to. He wanted to tell Will about the sadness that enveloped him at night sometimes when the Rum had gone through his blood quicker than he'd expected it too. He wanted to hear Will laugh at him when he made a particularly stupid comment, which he did on a regular basis. Gibbs would nod, and smile at him, and aye-aye him to his heart's content, but that's not what he wanted when he took his Captain's hat off. Not anymore anyway.
Which is not to say he pined for him. Pining was not something Jack Sparrow did. These thoughts were fleeting, and lasted just long enough to give him an itch in his heart. He'd quell it with Rum, and a good hearty laugh with his crew. After, he'd retreat to his quarters where he'd usually fall flat on his face, asleep before his nose hit the pillow. He didn't think about Will all that much really, and most of that was because when he caught himself thinking about him he'd bellow out a change of plans to his crew and get lost in the banalities of being the captain of a ship that no-one could catch.
The thing about Will that got to him wasn't his charm or his good looks. Jack was not drawn to the boy for his external accoutrements. It was something a little more visceral than that. A likeness he saw of himself in the boy. As if somehow Will embodied all that Jack could have been had he led a different life. The kindness, the softness, the earnestness that Jack had possessed when he was just a young boy following his father was echoed in Will's eyes. It was something Jack both hated and admired in the boy, but mostly it was something that terrified him to his core.
All the hurt that Jack had dealt with in his life that hardened and turned to stone over the years, only growing rounder and rougher as each year added it's layers. There was something though that Will was able to penetrate, even in his absence. It was ridiculous for the boy to have had such an affect on him in such a short span of time, but the resemblance to his father was so strong that Jack attributed it to the fact that he'd felt the same for Bootstraps as well.
He was almost surprised to find himself at the swordsmith's shop hours after docking. He felt betrayed that his feet had led him straight to the doors of the man who he'd been trying to forget without him even knowing. He grumbled to himself as he saw the red coat of one of the Commodore's army rounding the corner and knew he had no choice but to go in.
He closed the door silently behind him, because Jack was nothing if not swift, and was immediately socked in the gut by the image of Will standing over his kiln, sculpting whatever it was he sculpted. Whatever illusions Jack harbored about his feelings for Will were dissolved in that second, leaving him stuck to the wall as the realization dawned on him.
His love was now for two things... the sea, and Will.
"Careful," he said teasingly, taking two steps toward Will's turned back. "Get that too hot and you're liable to drip it in places you'll never get the sting out of."
Will whirled around fast enough to give anyone a neck ache and the poker would have singed the Captain's hair had he not been agile enough not to jump back so quickly. His mouth opened three times before he shut his jaw in a determined line and slowly put the poker down on the workbench beside him.
"Two years I don't see you," Will said, a ghost of a smile appearing on his face. "And you greet me with instruction on how to do something I've been doing half my life?"
Jack winked at him, walking around the shop, picking things up as he passed tables of saws and handles, dropping them on adjoining tables haphazardly. "Such a little shop," he said quietly, looking slyly at Will. "One would think the governor's son-in-law would have a bigger..."
"One would think that," Will said, abruptly turning around to resume what he'd been doing. "And perhaps were I the governor's son-in-law I would."
Jack covered the shock with a scowl and studied Will's stiff posture with a once-over. "Come again, mate?"
"The fact of the matter is, Jack," Will said, looking at him for a moment before turning back to the kiln. "I was never suitable for her."
"Bullocks," Jack said, tossing his hair off his shoulder and stepping towards Will. "She's not the kind of lass to let that..."
"She's not, but she is the kind of girl to follow her father's orders when he's dying," he said softly.
Jack paused briefly in his trek, his fingers fluttering in the air as he searched for the right question to ask to get Will to meet his eyes. "Dying," he repeated finally, trailing his hand along the edge of the table, keeping a watchful eye on Will.
"In London," Will said softly. "Where all the good doctors are, and Elizabeth is by his side."
"And here you sit," Jack said, furrowing his brow. "Making swords while your love's father dies."
Will faced him, an angry mask on his face. "You know nothing of it."
Jack held up his hands, silently championing his ability to get Will to face him. "No harm meant, love... just figured you for the type to stand by her side."
"And there is no where I'd rather be than by her side," he said in an angry growl, his voice trembling. "But he's forbidden it, and she's respected it."
"How long has..."
"18 months," Will said, turning back to his task.
Jack leaned against the table, running a hand over his goatee. "You've had a long wait, haven't you," he said softly. "Since I've been gone, nearly."
"And three months since I last heard from her," Will said in a voice that was barely audible. "A steep drop off from her once a week correspondence a year ago."
Jack nodded, licking his lips. "Will..."
"Why are you here?"
"Will," Jack said, his voice a bit louder. "Face me."
Will hung his head slightly. "I'm busy, Jack... you can't just waltz in unexpectedly and ask me to drop..."
"Face me like a man, Will Turner," Jack said in his most authoritative voice.
Will turned to him, his eyes filled with unshed tears. "What," he asked, his voice showcasing his desperation.
Jack stepped forward, clasping a hand soundly on Will's shoulder, bending closer to him to look him dead in the eye. "It's time you had a drink or two, mate."
"I have to..."
"No one 'has to' anything, love," Jack said softly, smiling at him and winking. "Come... drink with your old friend Captain Jack Sparrow. It would be rude not to."
Will smiled softly. "Well far be it from me to be rude to the man that saved my life," he said softly.
Jack nodded in satisfaction, darting his eyes to the door. "Let's find a tavern out of town, shall we? Wouldn't do to get me caught by Norrington's men. Can't risk what almost happened last time, savvy?"
Will nodded, laughing slightly. "Jack Sparrow," he said whistfully, allowing Jack to sling an arm around him as they walked out of the shop. "Two years is too long, friend."
"I know, love," Jack said, winking at him. "But absence makes the heart grow fonder. Ye must be full up to your eyeballs by now, aye?"
Jack stared dismally into the nearly black depths of his drink, silently seething as Will held back another set of tears. Two hours they'd been sitting in the tavern, Will not having even finished his first drink and Jack on his fifth. He didn't know what to do any more to sooth his friend's pain, and somehow it had managed to seep into him as well. Feeling other's pain wasn't something Jack was used to anymore, it wasn't something he'd done in the 20 years he'd spent out on the sea.
"I should just accept it," Will said finally, shaking his head and finally draining the remnants of his ale. "She's not coming back to me."
"You don't know that, mate," Jack said, glancing at him. "Perhaps the old man's gone and died and she can't make herself pick up the pen to tell you."
Will shook his head. "Norrington said he's still doing well," he said softly. "Said he's bedridden, but looking well."
Jack frowned for a moment, peering over the top of the glass at Will. "Norrington?"
Will's smile faded as quickly as it came, but the appearance of it lifted Jack's spirits enough for it to count. "He's a good man, Jack... a little dogged, but a good man."
"Dogged," Jack snorted. "Stiff you mean."
Will snorted a laugh. "That too, yes."
"You're too sensitive, tha's all," Jack said, reaching over and hitting Will lightly on the hand.
"No, Jack," Will said quietly. "Her letters have been coming less frequently for some time now, each one getting shorter and shorter... less personal."
Jack bit his lip to keep from letting out the litany of curses he felt boiling in his stomach. His anger at Elizabeth wasn't what Will needed right now. "Father's dyin', love," he said softly. "That's bound to take the joy out of your correspondence habits."
"Don't placate me, Jack," Will said, gritting his teeth slightly. "I'm not a fool."
Jack shrugged, sighing. "What do you want me to say, mate? You want me to say she's not worth it? She's just a nice skirt to chase and leave once you've gotten your fill? You want me to say you're right, she's gone and found someone else? Tell me what you want me to say, and I'll say it."
"Do you think that," Will asked, his eyes too vulnerable and raw for Jack to meet fully. "Do you really think she's not worth it?"
"Who am I," Jack said softly, smiling at him. "Jack Sparrow doesn't do love, remember? It's me and sea, and there's no room for three."
"I should do that," Will said softly, his finger tracing the rim of his glass. "Maybe I'd be happier if I didn't love..."
"Happy," Jack said with a snort. "Happy's not what it's about, Will."
Will looked at him, frowning. "You're not happy?"
"Happy isn't something you can rely on, love," Jack said. "My first mate, that's what I can rely on. The sea, she's what I can rely on. My ship, my crew, my gold... reliable. Happiness? Love? Unreliable to their core."
"That's a miserable way to live," Will said, tilting his head to the side. "Nothing makes you happy?"
"Sure," Jack said, shrugging. "A good roll in the hey with some bonnie lass, that makes me happy. A good pillaging, that makes me happy. Getting away from the Commodore's of the world, that makes me happy."
"And after that's worn off?"
Jack shrugged, raising his glass in the air. "It's onto the next, mate," he said, tilting the glass and draining it of the dark mahogany fluid.
"You know the only thing that makes me happy anymore," Will asked softly, drumming his fingers lightly on the wooden table top. "A well balanced sword. Seems it's the only thing I can do right these days."
"Then you make as many well balanced swords as you can," Jack said, leaning forward. "You make your own, love... can't count on anyone else to do it for you."
Will took a deep breath, letting it out slowly with a puff of the cheeks. "Can I pull up a spot of your floor," he asked, looking at Jack. "Don't feel up to making the five miles back to Port Royal."
Jack frowned, nodding his head. "Course you can. You don't even have to ask."
Will stood, smiling at him sadly. "Just tell me where it is... I'll see myself to it."
"Don't be ridiculous," Jack said, standing and throwing a few coins on the table. "We'll both go."
"No, I don't want to ruin..."
"Ruin nothing," Jack said, smiling and shaking his head at Will. "I say again, mate... too sensitive."
Jack was disrobed and lying in bed before Will returned from the bathhouse, sitting up and looking over the few maps he'd brought with him to shore. "Forget the floor," he said. "Hard as anything down there."
Will looked at the narrow space between the bed and the wall and looked warily at the bed. "I've slept on harder surfaces..."
"No point to it, mate," Jack said with a wink. "I won't bite any harder than you want."
Will eyed the bed before sitting down to take his shoes off, toeing off his socks. Standing he stripped down to his long johns, faltering before taking off the top half to match Jack's state of undress. Pulling the sheets back he cast a shy glance at Jack's profile. "Sure you don't mind sharing your bed," he asked.
"Get your ass under the covers," Jack said, laughing at Will's hesitance. "I say, you'd think you'd never shared a bed with anyone before."
"Not with a man I wasn't related to," Will said, sliding under the covers and pulling them up to his chin. "Have you?"
"Aye," Jack said with a nod, putting the maps down on the floor beside him. "More times than I can count in my feeble head." He frowned, wiggling his fingers in the air. "Knew most of them too... I think."
Will laughed, running a hand through his hair before propping his head up in the crook of his bended arm. "I'm glad you came back," he said, looking at him. "Even if just for a day."
Jack smiled at him, hoping the amount of joy that comment gave him didn't show. "The wind tells me where to go, I just follow."
Will laughed, looking up at the ceiling. "And here I was thinking you came to see me."
"Didn't say there weren't benefits, love," Jack said softly, hunkering down in the bed slightly and looking at the spot on the ceiling that Will seemed to be transfixed by.
"You do that so easily," Will said, glancing at him.
Jack frowned, his fingers lacing together over his stomach. "Do what, love?"
"That," Will said, propping himself up on one elbow to look closer at Jack. "Say love... call me love."
Jack glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. "Does it bother you?"
Will smiled, his eyes shifting back to the ceiling. "Not at all. You'd think it would."
"Because most men say it to women and never men," Jack asked with a smirk. "I'm nothing like most men on most counts... shouldn't be a surprise that I'm not like them on that one either."
When Will's eyes shut Jack followed suit despite the fact that he knew chances were he wouldn't be sleeping well if at all that night. He began an internal monologue with himself about the next day at sea because if he didn't he'd be distracted by the warm body beside him, and the last thing he needed was for Will to find him in that state.
"Sometimes I wish we'd never met, Jack," Will said softly, startling Jack out of his thoughts.
"Aye," Jack said, frowning. "Some days I wish I'd never met me-self either."
Will laughed. "Want to know why?"
Jack opened an eye, looking at him. "Why, love?"
Will sighed, a silent tear falling down his cheek. "Because over the past year, aside from Elizabeth, the person I've most felt the need to talk to has been you. I've spent my whole life being the outcast... I thought I was accustomed to the solitude."
Jack felt his throat close for a moment, the itch in his heart beginning to twinge again. "Are you trying to seduce me, Will Turner?"
Will laughed. "I'm just telling you the truth, Jack."
Jack lifted up onto his side, reaching out gently to wipe the tear off of Will's cheek. "I've felt the same longing, love," he said softly. "And if you repeat that, I'll cut your throat." Leaning over he placed his lips gently to the corner of Will's mouth, breaking contact after mere seconds and returning to his side of the bed feeling like he'd just committed a cardinal sin in the Book of Jack Sparrow.
He closed his eyes and willed his resolve to return, biting the inside of his cheek because physical pain is much easier to deal with. He saw a shadow loom over him and squeezed his eyes shut tighter as he braced himself for what would perhaps be a punch to the jaw. He felt soft lips apply themselves to his, a hand hovering over his shoulder before lifting to grip his hair lightly.
He grunted in surprise and his eyes flew open, watching as Will drew back with fear in his eyes. "I'm sorry," Will stuttered out. "I don't..."
Jack darted forward, quick as anything, and grabbed the back of Will's head, pulling him forward and mashing his lips to his. He sighed as he felt Will relax into the kiss, the itch in his heart beginning to abate. His hand wound in Will's hair as his tongue delved into the younger man's mouth, surprised at how easily it was accepted and reciprocated.
The quiet moan escaped from Will's chest almost unwillingly as he sank into the pillow, Jack's lips following him on the trip down. His hand reached up to pass over Jack's face as their kiss deepened, Jack's hand running down the length of his torso slowly. His next moan was echoed by Jack's, and Will's ability to think was drowned out by the roar of arousal and something akin to happiness in his ears.
Jack's nimble fingers worked fastidiously on Will's pants, slipping under when he couldn't quite work the knot. Will grunted as Jack's hand closed around him, his hips bucking involuntarily. He felt Jack laugh lightly into his mouth before pulling back and starting to nibble at his collarbone. "Easy love," Jack mumbled. "Not too quickly."
"Jack," Will hissed, his eyes squeezed shut and his voice strained.
Jack ran his tongue up Will's neck, his teeth tickling lightly as he nipped along the column. "Yeah..."
"Are you... should we..."
"Shut up, love," Jack said bemusedly. "Just feel."
Jack was quick and nimble, and Will's climax came a little faster than he intended for it to. He was slightly disappointed when Will's shuddering sighs subsided, but he withdrew his hand and kissed him lightly on the lips before turning on his back. He expected Will to fall asleep and was pleasantly proved wrong when Will covered his body with his, kissing him with more passion than he had before.
Will's fingers weren't as callused as Jack's, but they were callused enough to not be feminine, and Jack sighed as his thumb brushed over his nipple. "Wanted this," he ground out between kisses. "Some time now."
"Me too," Will whispered, reaching his hand into Jack's pants, echoing the movements Jack's hand had been making minutes before. "Dreamt about it..."
"Did you," Jack asked, pulling Will's head back to look in his eyes.
Will licked his lips, nodding. "I did," he said, bending down and kissing Jack slowly as he pumped his hand faster and faster.
When they both lie spent Jack allowed himself a small smile, his fingers splaying through Will's hair as Will's hand ran absentmindedly down his chest. Bending his head he rested his lips to the top of Will's head, breathing in the scent of sweat and soap and dust. "Night turned out a might better than it started," he said softly.
Will laughed lightly. "It did," he said.
Jack looked down at Will, feeling the itch in his heart come back a little bit. He closed his eyes for a moment, opening them to stare at the ceiling once again. "Will?"
Will lifted his head, looking at him. "Yeah?"
"Come back to the Pearl," he said softly. "It's because of you I have her back, and... it's just not right without you."
Will smiled. "Ask me to come back because you want me to, and I will."
Jack looked at him, smiling softly. "Come back because I want you to, love."
Will smiled, nodding his head. "When do we ship out?"
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