Title: Love Just Is
Author: kHo (email@example.com)
Summary: Jack has just left Will with Elizabeth and isn't sure of the actions he's taken... Gibbs tries to help his Captain out
Series: On High Seas, insert
Jack looked up abruptly, surprised at Gibbs' sudden nearness. He frowned at him and turned back to his ale, tapping his fingers on the bar. He sighed inwardly as Gibbs sat next to him and continued to look at him with a slight smirk on his face. "I think I might be slippin' Jack," he said, leaning forward. "Took me a bit too long to catch on to this one."
Jack looked at him again, his frown deepening. "What one, mate?"
"I thought it odd, us docking in London. Thought to me'self, Jack must've lost his mind, docking in the heartland of the British Law... Lord knows Commodore Norrington's got 'is men 'round here briefed on the likes of us." He nodded, taking a sip of his own drink before continuing. "Then I caught on... bout the time you walked in here's when it dawned on me."
Jack rolled his eyes at Gibbs' rambling ways, turning to face him more fully. "Get on with it, mate."
"So I was thinkin', who is it Jack knows in London," he said, looking at Jack and quirking an eyebrow up. At Jack's reticence to meet his eyes his smile broadened. "Then I realized, it's not who Jack knows... it's who Will knows."
"Mind yer own, Gibbs," Jack growled, gulping down the last of his ale and hitting the bar a little harder than was expressly needed for another.
"An' then you came prowlin' in here like a tiger wantin' out of 'is cage at the circus, an' I knew that's what it must be," Gibbs continued, not deterred by Jack's surly expression. "Said to me'self, that explains it. Jack's brought Will back to his Elizabeth."
He tried to not let the reference of Elizabeth being Will's sting him, but sting him it did. "I'm warnin' you, mate... leave well enough alone..."
Gibbs laughed, a bit heartier than Jack would have thought him likely to do, and clapped a hand on Jack's shoulder. "You're a good man, Jack."
"Cap'n Jack," Jack growled, glaring at him. "Cap'n to you... and you're oversteppin' your bounds, mate."
"Hogwash," Gibbs said, still smiling cajolingly at Jack. "You know you need to talk to someone, so cut the bullshit, Jack."
Jack sighed, wrapping long fingers around the handle to the newly refreshed mug of ale and concentrating on the dark amber liquid contained within. "Talk nothin' mate... what's done is done."
"Thing that I can't understand," Gibbs continued, motioning for his own mug to be refilled. "Is why Will would request such a thing of you... knowin' as he does how you feel for him." He smiled and shook his head. "Shoulda known better though... should 'ave realized Will'd never ask it of you. You, on the other, would of him."
Jack couldn't help the small smile that escaped out, shaking his head as he laughed slightly. "Anyone ever told you you're a little more observant than makes one comfortable?"
Gibbs nodded, jostling Jack's shoulders with the hand that was still clamped firmly on them. "Out with it."
"Will didn't know," Jack said softly. "He needed it though, and... well, I meant to give it to him."
Gibbs nodded, licking the beer that had splashed onto his hand off. "I'd wager a guess he was pretty peeved at you for keepin' it secret from 'im."
Jack smiled softly, darting his eyes to look at Gibbs quickly. "You'd be a rich man if you put money on all the things you'd wager on."
Gibbs laughed, nodding his head. "Already am rich, Jack. Rich enough, thanks to the likes of you."
Jack reached over and place a hand on Gibbs leg, squeezing slightly. "You're a good man Gibbs," he said softly. "Knowin' when I need to be pressed."
Gibbs nodded, patting Jack's hand before removing it. "Jus' so you don't go getting' any ideas," he said with a wink. "So it were your idea, planned, executed, and secreted by you... s'what I'd like to know is what's got you all upset?"
Jack shrugged, swirling his mug around, careful not to spill it. "M'not upset."
Gibbs laughed. "Right... an Cotton lost his tongue on account of eating one too many grapes... acidic buggers that they are."
Jack laughed lightly, setting his mug down to run his hands over his face. "Your perception is grating on my nerves, Gibbs."
Gibbs let his hand drop from Jack's shoulders and looked him square in the eye. "Jack, we've known each other goin' on ten years now, aye?"
"Aye," Jack said, nodding.
"I know when yer upset, mate... can see it a mile away." He paused, tapping his fingers on the counter for a moment before continuing. "So best I can figure is... Will's either peeved, and reasonably so I might add, that you've gone behind his back... or you're worried that Will's left you for his Elizabeth."
"I've no way of knowin' his choice yet," Jack said softly, digging out the dirt from beneath his nails, even as the back of his mind told him Will would be laughing at him for doing so. Will had always said he knew when Jack was truly upset by how clean his fingernails were. "Just left him... them... naught but an hour ago."
"Ah," Gibbs said, nodding sagely. "That'll eat you alive, that will... the waiting. Just get it over always is easier, ain' it?"
Jack nodded, taking a rather large gulp from his mug. "Quicker the better."
Gibbs leaned in closer to Jack, resting his hand on Jack's shoulder and smiling at him. "He loves you, mate."
Jack shrugged. "Loves 'Lizabeth too, though, don' he?"
Gibbs nodded. "Reckon he does," he said, squeezing Jack's shoulder. "Loves you, though, as well. I say he'll be back."
Jack laughed, looking at him. "You say that like you're certain."
Gibbs nodded. "I'd even wager on it... were I a wagerin' man."
Jack shook his head, unconvinced. "He's loved her since he met her... goin' on 10 years, mate."
"Love is love, Jack," Gibbs said softly. "Don't matter if it's a month, a year, or a decade... Love, when it's true... is just that."
Jack nodded, looking at him. "An' how do I know it isn't truer with 'Lizabeth?"
Gibbs pinched his lips together, sitting back in his chair. "Well," he said, shrugging. "Guess that's why you forced his hand, Jack... find out once an' fer all. Sped up the process by forcing the stars into alignment before nature intended."
Jack nodded. "Thought it were the best plan of action," he said softly.
"An' now," Gibbs asked, raising an eyebrow. "Not so sure?"
Jack shook his head, unable to meet his eyes. "Not as, no."
Gibbs smiled at him, standing up. Placing a hand on Jack's back he winked at him. "As I said, mate... the boy loves you. I say he'll be back before we set sail in the morn'."
Jack nodded, smiling at Gibbs as he made his way back over to Anamaria and the crew. Pushing his chair back he threw a few dollars on the bar to pay for his tab and stole the mug for himself on his way out. He wanted to believe Gibbs, for he knew that Gibbs was rarely wrong. He couldn't let himself though, because that gave him hope, and hope was good for nothing but being crushed.
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