jackxwill - pirates of the caribbean slash

Title: In Medea’s Shadow

Author: Blue Buick R (blue_buick_r@hotmail.com)

Pairing: J/W

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Revenge can bring people together as well as tear them apart.

Warning: Character deaths (not to worry not Jack or Will). Notes: This is a make-up fic for the Jack/Will ficathon. I wrote it in a day and it didn’t really turn out the way I’d hoped but…shrug. No beta, as usual. Feedback ALWAYS welcome, as usual.

My assignment: For: Ceria Taliesin Requirements: None Restrictions: None, surprise me



“Innocence, that as a veil Had shodow’d them from knowing ill, was gon”

It must have been a tremendous and shattering cacophony of a noise which yanked Will Turner from sleep, but the sound never registered for its force was enough to paralyze the young man’s hearing. Thankfully he had enough wits about him to throw his body over Elizabeth’s, which lay beside, in time to shield her from the splinters of exploding debris which blew into their cabin. He could feel the bite of wood and bits of metal rake across is bare back, feel the thin trails of blood begin to trickle down his sides and soak into the waist of his breeches. The ringing in his ears blocked out all other sound.

Finally he moved off of Elizabeth when he felt her begin to struggle beneath him, attempting to push him off her. He sat back to give her room and shook his head at her when he saw her shocked face looking up at him, eyes wide, trembling lips forming words he could not hear. The ship rocked again beneath them and despite the lack of sound in Will’s world he could tell by Elizabeth’s sudden flinch, and press towards his body, that another shot had been fired. Casting a quick glance out through the port he saw the first traces of dawn beginning to lighten the sky. Whoever was attacking them was insane, tremendously confident, or desperate since sea battles in the dark were rare for numerous reasons, one of which was their tendency to go horribly wrong…for both parties involved.

Grabbing his wife of three days by the wrist he pulled Elizabeth from bed and began to lead her towards the deck. It would do no good for them to remain below and be blown to bits as whoever was attacking them shot cannon into the hull of The Veil. They were on their way to England for their honeymoon, weathering the passage aboard a well laden trade vessel captained by a friend of Commodore Norrington and the Governor’s. They planned to visit some of Elizabeth relatives, while at the same time give their respects to Will’s mother’s grave.

As they made their way up the stairwell, the eerie silence stuck Will. He could feel the ship shudder beneath his feet and the sweaty warmth of Elizabeth’s hand clutched tightly in his own, smell the fires and powder, see the haze of smoke begin to fill the lower deck, yet everything was playing out in complete and utter silence.

As they emerged on deck Will took a deep breath of clean air, coughing slightly to try and clear tightening lungs. Men were scurrying back and forth on deck; Captain Richards was up by the wheel, barking what Will assumed was orders. A flash from the murky darkness to their right heralded another cannon blast. Again Will found himself curled over Elizabeth trying to protect her from projectiles.

Once he felt the immediate danger was over he straightened up again and began to pick his way across deck, heading towards Richards with Elizabeth in tow. The Veil was obviously outmatched and in danger of sinking, or being blown to smithereens, if they didn’t surrender immediately. Finally they stopped next to the captain who cast them a scathing look before turning back to the battle at hand. He obviously felt it was better for the two of them to remain below deck and suffocate, or perhaps play catch with some cannon shot. Will scowled back, grabbing the man by the forearm, jerking him around to face them while he screamed (hopefully) for the fool to surrender.

Richards pulled free of his grasp, sneered back at him and to Will’s mounting fear and frustration his soundless lips mouthed a vehement ‘never’. His wife obviously took as much offence as he to this man’s determination to get them all killed for she stormed up beside Will, posture livid, as she hauled off and slapped the captain well and truly in the face. Will couldn’t hear what she was saying but by the angry turn to her mouth and the shocked expression on Richards’ face it must have been something not usually uttered by a fine bred lady.

The east horizon was starting to brighten, the weak light of early morning attempting to break through the night. With a bit more light they might be able to put up a better fight. Obviously their attackers were well prepared, and had planned out their assault very carefully, probably shadowing The Veil for most of the night, keeping any lights low and using the cover of darkness to their advantage.

Will hoped in vain. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the silhouette of the ship loom past them much too late. The railing and wheel exploded in front of them, knocking them all to the fractured planks of the deck. Wiping blood out of his eyes and shaking the daze from his head Will rolled over onto his side to see Richards’ mangled corps lying next to him, one of the wheel grips imbedded through his left eye.

Blurring eyes flitting about the shambles of the deck he searched frantically for Elizabeth, finally catching a glimpse of a tumble of hair and soot smeared white nightgown. She wasn’t moving and Will feared the worst. Crawling over Richards’ body he pulled himself over to her, almost afraid to reach out and turn her onto her back. When he finally managed the courage to touch her he relief surged through him as he felt the stuttering rise of her rib-cage. He gathered her up to him as gently as he could, turning her limp body over to look up at him. His relief was a brief and bitter thing.

Her eyes were unfocused and glazed, blood trickling from her nose and ear. But what stabbed at Will’s heart the most was the gruesome slash across her neck and throat. Blood poured from it freely, the occasionally red bubble bursting forth as she attempted to breath. Will could feel his soul shattering as he sobbed out, clamping his hand over the wound to stave the blood, winding it around her throat as if to choke her. It must have been painful for she jerked slightly and became slightly more aware, focusing in on Will’s tear streaked face hovering above her.

She reached up to touch the side of his face, pulling him down closer to her. Will could see her lips move weakly, speaking to him; speaking words he could not hear no matter how desperately he wanted to. Speaking her last to him. And then she went still and quiet under him, exhaling one last time, breath sharp with the tang of blood across Will’s face.

Will removed him hand from her throat, red and slick, to close her eyes; anointing the soft lids with the essence of her, as well as with the tears which fell unbidden from his eyes to hers. Leaning down he placed a chaste kiss on her lips. He caught movement and raised his gaze to look out over the water. His eyes narrowed as the other ship came into view, outlined by the strengthened light of dawn. He saw. Then the world exploded once again around him and he knew no more.

****************************

“My vile affections crucify, Nor let one darling lust survive”

They’d seen the column of smoke before the wreckage. The lookout had spotted the billowing pillar gutting up from the horizon and brought Jack’s attention to it long before they were in range to see anything clearly. Curious pirate captain that he was, and always eager for a little scavenging if the opportunity arose, Jack redirected their course towards the smoke. It took them the better part of the morning and afternoon before they arrived at the site and by then there was little left of the downed ship. By the looks of the wreckage Jack calculated she’d been afloat after the attack, probably been taken early in the morning, perhaps before the sun was even up, and left to burn through the day. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anything left for The Pearl to pick through, and the sight of mangled, charred bodies bobbing about did nothing to encourage a prolonged visit.

Just as he was about to order the crew to move on something floating in the water caught his eye. He looked over the side banister and saw a scrap of clothe floating by. It was half of a torn flag, and quite familiar. There emblazoned on the material was a full skeleton holding a severed head in one hand. Jack knew the other missing half of the flag contained the other skeletal arm holding a heavy metal spike. It was Josiah ‘The Crucifier’ Christ’s personal mark. Jack grimaced. Either The Crucifier had attacked this ship and somehow his damnable flag had torn during the battle or else this was The Hammer and Nail, or what was left of her anyway. Thinking on it the scene didn’t really have the mark of Christ’s work. He usually left his victims’ ship standing, dead in the water with its passengers and crew crucified on deck…both dead and alive.

Jack smiled. Yes indeed it would appear that good ol’ Josiah had met his match. And good riddance. The arrival of the malicious little maggot in the area almost a year back was one of the reasons behind Jack and his crew taking The Pearl on a little jaunt back out towards Europe. Things were jetting mighty uncomfortable for everyone involved (civilians, The Navy, and fellow pirates alike) in the Caribbean with the Crucifier stalking the waters. Never one to be considered a coward, however, Jack decided a return trip was in order…after all those were HIS waters and fat merchant vessels Christ was commandeering. Besides the man was giving piracy a bad name.

With a lighter mood and good winds Jack steered them towards the nearest friendly port to catch up on the latest as well as report the probably demise of Josiah Christ and his blood stained tub. It was small little town, couldn’t hold a candle to Tortuga, but the drink wasn’t watered down, and the people were of questionable enough character as not to lynch a pirate if they crossed paths. That was quite enough in Jack’s books, thank you very much.

After making sure The Pearl was secure he rowed ashore with Gibbs in tow, bursting into his preferred tavern as was his due as Captain Jack Sparrow.

“Ladies and gents I have returned!” he exclaimed arms wide, grinning at the myriad of faces which turned in his direction.

“Oi, Jack!” the barkeep called over the ruckus. “We’d taken you for dead for sure!”

Jack frowned, picking his way further into the room, and up to lean against the bar. “Just been for a bit of a roam. Found it a little too hot in the kitchen, so to speak, if you get my meanin’.”

“Oh, ai,” nodded the barkeep. “Three in eight months, with The Pearl nowhere in sight we’d thought it be four.”

“Four what?” Gibbs cut in suspiciously.

“Razed ships of ill repute if you get MY meaning,” the man replied. “The Fox, Heaven’s Gate, and The Hawk’s Eye.”

Jack’s frown deepened. “Then it is four. We just came in from the wreckage of what I believe to be The Hammer and Nail along with its ill fated crew.”

“Are we sure it wasn’t Christ who took out the other three and just ran amuck of the Navy or another vessel this time around? Bit off more than his rotten teeth could chew?” Gibbs offered.

“No, no,” the bartender shook his head. “We know who’s doin’ it. Well sorta know that is.”

Jack’s eyebrow rose. “Want to explain that to us, mate?”

The bartkeep, picking up a glass and beginning to ‘polish’ it with a rag which even to Jack looked much to soiled for comfort, eyed his audience as if getting ready to tell a children’s tale.

“The ship is called The Erinyes, whatever that means. No one knows where she came from or who captains her, but she’s sleek and fast and armed to the teeth. Swooped in about eight months past and took on The Fox as she was firing on an old merchant whale. Blew it to chuck and left the remaining crew to drown.”

“What d’mean no one knows who the captain is?” Jack interrupted.

“Meaning no one knows his name, he just goes by The Captain, and he hardly ever comes ashore. He’s got a fiery first mate…a WOMAN if you can believe that…who comes in looking for supplies or information.”

“A woman you say?” Gibbs hummed.

The bartended nodded his head emphatically. “I’ve seen her myself, and by her temperament I don’t think I want to be meeting this Captain of hers. They say he’s the hand of God. Pretty like those winged angels from church but don’t eat, or drink, or sleep. Never comes ashore looking for company either.”

Jack attempted to hide his smirk but failed miserably. “Next you’ll tell me he’s nine feet tall and bears a flaming sword.”

The man behind the bar scowled. “I wouldn’t be smirking if I were you Sparrow. Every time that mystery ship comes into port, any port apparently, they’re always looking for information about you and The Pearl. Has anyone seen you? Does anyone know where you are? When was the last sighting? And so on. I’m guessing those other four were just a bonus while they wait for you to show your face again.” He shrugged. “It was nice knowing you.” And with that he turned away from the two men and busied himself with the other customers.

Jack looked over to Gibbs and tapped a finger on the edge of the bar. “Well, what d’you think?”

“Alls we know are rumours,” Gibbs replied.

“It’s no rumour that three pirate ships have been downed in the last eight months. That’s a fact,” Jack reminded him. “And it sure as hell wasn’t a rumour that destroyed them either.”

Gibbs shrugged. “Then I say we go about our business as usual, don’t say nothin’ to the rest of the crew in case of desertions. We can only wait and see.” He turned a questioning eye on Jack. “Unless ye want to leave these waters for good.”

Jack snorted. “I may be many things, but easily frightened isn’t one of them.” He pushed himself away from the bar. “Let this ‘Captain’ and his Erinyes come; we can always outrun him if the need arises anyway.”

With his back retreating into the crowd Jack missed Gibbs’ wince. Those kind of words wee bad luck. Bad luck of the worst kind.

****************************

“Let due civilities be strictly paid. The wall surrender to the hooded maid”

The tremendous crash which yanked Jack Sparrow from his sleep was horribly familiar. It was the sound of cannons firing, and of speeding hunks of metal colliding and splintering The Pearl’s hull. Jack had been on both sides of that sound and knew it well.

Leaping out of bed, he grabbed his sword and pistols and ran out on deck. It was still dark out, the first glimpses of the softening horizon off in the distance. His men were scurrying here and there, Gibbs and Ana Maria stumbling out from below deck as well, yelling and demanding someone tell them what in God’s name was going on.

Jack grabbed the arm of a passing crewmember, jerking him to a stop. “Grab some men and get down to the cannons, be ready!” he ordered, sending him on his way again with a shove.

Gibbs and Ana came up beside him; both wide eyed and slightly shocked.

“What the hell’s going on!” Ana Maria snarled, catching the knowing look shared briefly between Gibb’s and Jack.

“There’s been a pirate hunter on the prowl lately, heard the tale in port,” Jack informed her gravely. “It’s what took care of The Hammer and Nail, apparently three others as well.”

Ana froze, then hauled back and slapped both Jack and Gibbs with one movement of her arm. “Nice of you two to inform us!” she spat, stomping off into the fray of men shrieking commands.

Jack worked his jaw and peered out into the darkness, trying to catch a glimpse of their assailant. It seemed the ship was staying far enough back as to not be easily spotted in the gloom, lights extinguished. It was a risky technique which Jack himself had used on occasion.

A flash of light gave away the attacker’s position but also rocked The Pearl, this time near the stern.

“They’re trying to take out the rudder!” Gibbs exclaimed, eyes frantic.

“Looks like they want us alive,” Jack agreed, lips pursed. “I don’t think I want to wait around to find out why. I want every bit of canvas up and set out the sweeps, we’re going to make a run for it.”

As Gibbs ran off to carry out his instructions, Jack lept up to the wheel and got ready to steer them to safety. Veering away from where he’d seen that last flash Jack maneuvered The Pearl away from danger, and once they were clear set the rowers to work putting as much distance between them and the other ship as possible.

The sky brightened but at the expense of Jack’s hopes. The dim light of early morning revealed their assailant…right on their tail. Jack cursed as he looked over his shoulder at the pursuing ship. It was smaller than The Pear, narrow and light, but with an alarming number of cannon bays. But it was the oars that really struck fear in Jack’s heart. The Black Pearl was no longer the fastest ship sailing the ocean…and in a few moments might not be sailing at all.

“That God damned bartender didn’t mention anything about oars!” Jack snarled as Gibbs and Ana Maria came up beside him.

Ana smiled humorlessly. “Now you know how it feels to get a nasty surprise.”

Jack didn’t bother to dignify THAT particular comment with a reaction, instead motioning her to take the wheel as he and Gibbs turned their attention towards the quickly gaining ship. Noting the minute change in direction Jack shook his head is dismay.

“She’s going to clip by our rear, sting us good, maneuver out of range and come in again and again until we’re cripple,” he informed Gibbs.

Gibbs nodded grimly. “They’re too light and fast and we’re too big a clumsy,” he agreed, ignoring Jack’s look of outrage at calling The Pearl ‘clumsy’. “We might get a lucky shot off if she moves slightly out of position, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

Jack patted Gibbs on the shoulder as indication he should get below with the cannons and wait for his lucky shot. Turning back to their attackers he sucked in a breath as it loomed closer. Here she comes, he thought, bracing himself. As the other ship sped past Jack caught sight of a crewman throwing something over towards him and dodged just in time to save his head from a collision with what appeared to be a rock.

He frowned in puzzlement as their attacker veered away, getting into position for another pass, only dimly aware of the sound of Gibbs firing a useless shot that was surely to miss. Stooping down to pick up the rock Jack realized that there was a slip of paper tied around it. Pulling it free he scanned the message quickly before whirling around in horror and performing a leaping tackle at Ana Maria, toppling them both away from the wheel and to the deck. Seconds later they heard a large bang and saw a precisely aimed ball and chain combination make kindling out of the helm. They were beaten.

Staggering to his feet he raced over to drop anchor, yelling for Ana to drop the sails. He was not going to let his ship, along with the rest of them, be blown out of the water; and if surrendering would save their lives (even for a short while) then that’s what they would have to do.

She didn’t immediately follow his orders, opting instead to stalk after him screeching in his ear. “Are you insane?! Why are we giving up! They’ll slaughter us like they did the crew of The Hammer!”

Jack spun back towards her, anger simmering. “The crew of The Hammer weren’t given the chance to surrender I’d wager! We’ve a better chance getting out of this by playing along than by fighting a hopeless battle. Now follow my orders woman, and tell Gibbs to cease fire while you’re at it!”

Carrying out his task Jack watched as the other vessel circled back around behind the slowing Pearl until it was clear the gun ports had been closed, and then slithered up beside them, sending over the grapples and boarding planks.

Gathering everyone up on deck Jack and his men watched grim faced as a boarding crew led by a short, well shouldered Negro woman, everything and nothing like Ana Maria, made their way onto The Pearl. The woman stalked up to them, exquisitely crafted sword clenched in her hand, along with a small party of men close behind her their pistols drawn on the pirates. The rest of their comrades fanned out across the ship, obviously looking for hidden crew.

“You Sparra?” She sneered, tossing her heavy braid of glossy black hair over her shoulder.

“Captain Sparrow,” Jack replied stiffly, “but yes, yes I am.”

Jack didn’t see the fist, the one still clenching the hilt of the sword, hurtle towards his jaw but he definitely felt it. Everything and NOTHING like Ana Maria for sure.

His men surged forward slightly but stopped in their tracks when one of the men holding the pistols at them shot a warning a little too close for comfort. Jack held up a hand, much too late of course, to stave them off, spitting out a glob of blood, along with a tooth, onto the deck by the woman’s feet. He shook his head to clear the stars from his eyes.

“No cheek from you Sparra, especially since you’ll find The Captain’s love taps a mighty more painful.”

“Ah,” Jack murmured. “And when will we be getting to meet this fine Captain of yours?”

“All in good time,” the woman smirked. “I shouldn’t think you’d be too eager to meet him, considering.”

“Considering what?” Jack asked.

She didn’t reply, but leaned over to receive the report of one of the men who’d just come up next to her. She nodded her head and motioned for the men with the pistols to begin disarming Jack’s crew. Jack was honoured with having great lady sunshine remove his weapons with all the gentleness of a hammerhead.

“Your bitch is all secure Sparra, I’d say goodbye if I’s was you,” she informed him as she yanked his pistol brace from him, intentionally grinding his lost tooth into the deck with the heel of her boot at the same time. Jack’s heart sped up at those words and he tensed despite himself. “I wanted to see the lot of you burn with her but The Captain wanted yous alive…so alive he’s going to get you. Of course,” she paused tapping the point of Jack’s dagger to her chin, “he never said what condition you had to be in.”

And with that she grabbed him by the shoulders, wrenched him down, and kneed him in the groin so hard that Jack, thankfully, only had a short moment to feel the blinding pain before he passed out.

****************************

“What can we now expect? Water and fire Both elements our ruin do conspire.”

Blinking his eyes open and quickly groaning in discomfort Jack Sparrow shifted on what felt like a mattress filled with lumpy mashed potatoes. Turning his head he looked about to see where he was, finding himself in a windowless room, lit sparsely by a few sputtering oil lamps. He attempted to roll over, but the movement of his legs sent a renewal of throbbing pain between his legs and he was forced to abandon the idea; flopping down onto this back he spread his legs in an effort to ease his discomfiture.

“Sorry about that,” a voice intoned from the shadows.

Jack nearly jumped out of his skin at that, whipping his head around quickly to see a figured hunched over in a stiff backed chair by the corner; his face and form mostly hidden by the gloom.

“Isabella can be a little overzealous at times,” the familiar voice continued.

“Eh?” Jack got out, hardly at his best at the moment.

“She was a lady’s maid at one of the port towns. The Hawk’s Eye sacked the place, some of the crew raped her and her mistress. One hemorrhaged out the other didn’t.”

“Was she such a wretched bitch before it all?” Jack snarled.

The figure rose and Jack could see the silhouette shrug. “I wouldn’t know.”

“Why don’t you come out so I can get a better look at you mate? Not polite to skulk.”

The shadow cocked its head. “You have no idea who I am, do you?”

“If I did, I wouldn’t be asking you to show yourself you great fucker,” Jack snarled again.

He heard the heavy sigh before the figure finally stepped out into the lamp light, illuminating the lithe and obviously weary form of one William Turner.

“Jesus!” Jack exclaimed, this time making it up into a sitting position in record time. “Will?!”

“I prefer Captain all the same, Jack Sparrow,” Will replied, dead eyes regarding Jack as if he were a stranger.

“What the hell? Will, YOU’RE the Captain of this marauder?!”

“The Erinyes. Yes.”

Jack goggled at him at a complete lost for words. Will looked pale, as if he hadn’t seen the sun in months, dark circles blooming starkly under his large eyes. His hair was cut shorter, more utilitarian, and he donned simple brown trousers and a white linen shirt, a sword strapped to his waist.

“What’s happened?” Jack finally choked out, not knowing what to do or say or even if this was at all real.

“The fact that you have to ask me that is the sad thing, really,” Will replied. “Tell me something, Jack,” Will softly said as he glided a little closer to the cot Jack was laying on. “Do you happen to remember a trade vessel, about a year ago on its way to England?”

Jack looked back puzzled. “There be plenty of trade vessels on their way to England, Will.”

“Captain,” Will interjected softly. “And this one was a little more memorable. You happened to blow it out of the water, you see.”

Jack’s mind raced. He remembered. The idiot captained had refused to surrender, kept on fighting until an unfortunately aimed shot from The Pearl had ignited the powder hold. It’d been an pre-dawn raid, just like this morn…

“God, Will you were there?!” he breathed horrified.

Will jerked his head once in the affirmative, as if the very admission pained him. “As well as Elizabeth…Elizabeth Turner of three days. She died with my name.”

Jack closed his eyes. Things were beginning to make sense now. “It wasn’t my intent, William. The God damn Captain wouldn’t surrender! It wasn’t my intent!”

“I don’t care!” Will shot back, showing for the first time a bit of emotion. “It was your intent to attack that vessel and steal its cargo. It was your intent to fire on it, knowing full well people could loose their lives! And they did, Jack, they did!” his voice began to rise in volume. “Everyone except me! That ship blew apart right from under me and I survived…again!”

“And what about all this,” Jack replied calmly, waving his hand about.

“I stole her…once I’d recovered that is.”

Jack raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you mean commandeer?”

Will shook his head. “No, I mean stole. Not like its former owners were going to need it anymore anyway,” he added matter of factly and perhaps with a touch of slyness the pirate didn’t like one bit. Jack shifted uneasily. “As for the crew. All like me, all looking for a bit of justice. All good loyal friends, who will never, ever stab me in the back.” He stared pointedly at Jack.

“What makes you say that?”

“Because they owe me. I’ve saved all their lives, make a point of it before I let anyone join the crew. Even if I have to go looking for trouble to find them. Which isn’t very hard by the by, there are much too many of us in this world, Jack.”

“You saved my life,” Jack pointed out, and took small bit of satisfaction out of watching Will flinch slightly, his eyes darken. “What about my crew, and The Pearl? You going to kill us too, William?”

Will shook his head. “No, I’ll let you all go at the nearest port…a sort of probation.”

“And you’re crew will agree to this…that wench of yours didn’t seem to happy about not letting us roast like the pigs she takes us for.”

“This is my revenge,” Will replied. “They know it. I helped them with theirs and now it’s my turn.”

“And what kind of revenge is it going to be, exactly?” Jack asked, hairs on the back of his neck beginning to stand on end.

“I’m a good Christian, lad, Jack,” Will grinned wolfishly. “I believe in the old adage ‘an eye for an eye’ and all that.”

Jack sat up straighter.

“You took away from me the most important thing in my life, now I’m going to return the favour. Come on,” and he moved forward to grasp Jack by the upper arm, hauling him painfully off the bed and dragging him out of the cabin into the bright sunlight.

They both squinted, Will’s hand coming up to shield his eyes. It was obvious to Jack that he didn’t spend a lot of time out in the sun, most likely stewing in his misery and rage within that windowless cell of a cabin, plotting havoc and mayhem in the dark.

Isabella saw them emerge and lopped over to them, giving Jack’s groin a sly, satisfied, glance.

“Everything is in place, Captain,” she said, falling into perfect step beside Will as they moved towards the railing facing The Peal.

Jack looked about. “Where’s the rest of my men?” he asked, not yet convinced Will hadn’t had them all murdered and tossed overboard.

“Secure down below,” Will replied. “I didn’t think it necessary to have them here to see you witness this. I’m not cruel, you know.”

Jack didn’t even attempt to hold back his derisive snort. As he looked out towards his ship Will’s words, and those of his attack dog before the unpleasantness with Jack’s giggly bits, began to sink in and he realized what was about to happen. He shook his head in denial, attempting to jerk his arm out of Will’s iron grasp.

“Don’t DO this to me, Will! That’s my life’s blood out there! I risked my life to get her back!” he implored.

“As well as mine,” Will reminded him. “and Elizabeth’s. And the very fact that in the end we helped you get her back, and she was our demise, makes it that much more ironic.”

Jack trembled at Will’s unyielding words. “What in Christ sakes am I supposed to do without her, eh?”

Will shrugged. “Start a new life. I did.” He turned to Jack, attempting what the pirate thought was supposed to be an encouraging smile. “Think of it as a second chance. She made you into a murderer Jack, I would think you’d be grateful.” Jack simply stared in completely and utter bewilderment. “Besides you did without her for almost ten years before, were going to move on with whatever you managed to slip out of Port Royal. It was dumb luck that The Pearl showed up at all.”

“Why are you doing this?” Jack exhaled.

“And eye for an eye, Jack.”

“The bloody bible says a lot of things, Will!” Jack hissed. “Don’t you dare use it as justification. The truth is you’re a vindictive, obsessed, sick little bugger who’s obviously lost what little sanity he had to begin with!”

Will paused a moment and it looked like he was about to lash out a strike Jack across the face (Jack knew Isabella was surely itching to). The moment passed, however, and he gazed back over towards The Pearl.

“You’re right, Jack.” The pirate just about swallowed his tongue at the admission. “But really, since that’s all quite true, there’s no point in arguing with me and no point in me delaying my vindictive, obsessive, sick little show either.”

Holding out his hand Jack watched on as a crewman darted forward and place a flaming torch into it. Pulling his arm back Will let the projectile go, eyes riveted to it as it sailed across the expanse between The Erinyes and The Pearl, landing on the deck and igniting what must have been oil slicked across the boards. As soon as The Black Pearl began to burn The Erinyes moved off a bit, creating a safe distance between the two, making sure no stray sparks or smoldering ash made their way over to start another fire.

Will watched avidly, and despite himself, so did Jack. He could not tear his eyes away from the flames which lick up the mast, catching the sails in their grip, trailing across the railings, and down to consume the figurehead.

“We set a trail down to your store of powder,” Will told him. “She’ll explode any minute now, just like The Veil.” He tore his eyes away from the fire for a moment to look earnestly at Jack. “I thought about letting her burn slowly, watch the entire thing all day, watch her turn into smoke and ash and sink bit by bit, but then I remembered Elizabeth didn’t linger, so neither would your Pearl.” He took a deep breath. “I couldn’t do that to you, no matter what’s between us.”

Jack could only look into those serious eyes and sigh. “You realize you aren’t well, William, don’t you?”

There was no reply for at that moment The Pearl blew apart in a detonation of fire and noise. Smoldering pieces of wood flew into the air, landing in the water about them, some pieces making there way onto the deck of The Erinyes to be quickly stamped out by her crew.

Jack turned away, feeling a slight twinge in his chest, although he wasn’t sure it was because of The Pearl or because of Will or if in the end they were the same thing. “Do you feel better now?” He asked the man beside him.

Will turned glistening eyes toward him. “Yes. Yes I do.”

Jack nodded not expecting the cliché ‘no’. He knew the satisfaction inherent in revenge fulfilled. “What now?”

This time Will looked confused. “I don’t know.”

****************************

“Cheek to cheek and breast to breast Lock’d together in one nest.”

Jack watched from his seat on Will’s ‘bed’ as the younger man paced back and forth in front of him, the light of the lamps with the addition of several candles casting a soft, flickering, yellow glow across them and the room, Will’s augmented shadow keeping in step with him on the wall.

“What now? What now?!” Will muttered, casting venomous looks in Jack’s direction every now and then.

“Sorry I asked,” Jack said, trying to calm the other man down.

“No, no you’re not! You’re not sorry about anything!” Will yelled at him, not bothering to stop his pacing.

“Well, I’m sorry William that you didn’t think past your nose. But what did you expect after all was said and done?” Jack reasoned.

Will stopped at this and turned to stare Jack straight in the face, hands on his hips. “I expected to avenge Elizabeth. I expected to watch The Pearl go up in flames. I expected you to be more cut up about it!” He deflated abruptly. “After that I don’t know.”

Will, Will, Will. Always with the grand, brash gestures, never thinking about what came after.

Just then there was a knock at the door and Isabella came in bearing a tray of bread, with some hard rind cheese (only slightly moldy) and some water. She put the tray on the small table set against the wall, and brushed her hands against thighs, as she looked between Jack and Will.

“Thank you, Izzy,” Will intoned.

She opened her mouth as if to reply, closed it, then opened it again.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Captain. What’re you goin’ to do now?”

Will’s face flushed with alarming speed. “Will you all stop asking me that! I don’t damn well know! Now get the hell out!” And he lunged forward for what Jack thought was an attack on the woman, but thankfully was a simple grab for one of the clay cups of water. Said cup abruptly found its way from Will’s hand to the wall, shattering and sending water and shards everywhere. Will had a good arm, Jack would give him that, especially when he tossed that brand over to The Pearl. Maybe he’d been practicing.

Isabella took the tirade like a man (perhaps she was used to them by now) and titled her head in understanding before she left the room, casting a scathing glare Jack’s way as if her Captain’s bad mood was entirely Jack’s doing.

“She seems quite fond of you,” Jack observed.

Will’s anger subsided as quickly as it came and he exhale noisily. “She’s a good, fine woman. My first ‘discovery’ so to speak.”

“And do you think she feels better. That her vengeance has been fulfilled?”

“No, never. She’s been hurt too deeply. She’ll go on until she’s dead…until they kill her.”

Jack dipped his head as if he expected as much. “You could always give The Erinyes to her.”

Will seemed to contemplate that for a moment, small furrow forming between his brows. “And what shall I do then?”

“Start a new life,” Jack offered with a slight sardonic grin.

“Third time’s a charm?” Will asked.

Levering himself to his feet Jack walked slowly, cautiously over to the younger man.

“You could show me how it’s done,” he suggested, warily bringing his hands up to settle on Will’s shoulders.

When Will did not reply or pull away Jack took that as a good sign, and feeling a trifle reckless leaned in slightly.

“What did she say to you, Jack,” Will startled the pirate into pulling back suddenly. Jack looked into the dark, distant eyes, as they stared off over his shoulder into what Jack assumed was another time and place. “What did The Pearl say to you as she died there before your eyes?”

Jack stepped back and pondered the question for a moment. “She said. She said not to grieve too grateful for her. To let her go and not to dwell in the moment of her death. To forgive.”

“I never got to hear what Elizabeth’s last words to me were. I was deaf, the initial canon blast had been close to our room, the noise…” he let out a heavy sob. “She spoke to me knowing it would be the last thing she would ever say and I couldn’t even hear her!”

“I’m sure it was not ‘go forth and avenge me William, leave any kind of real life behind and hunt pirates in an insane, miserable quest, mired in the dark,’” Jack presumed.

Will let out a shaky laugh. “And I’m sure it was not ‘go and join Jack Sparrow in some mad partnership, teach him to be…to be…”

“Teach EACH OTHER to be…different.” Jack finished.

A definite laugh this time. “Where’s our first stop then?”

“Tortuga.”

“Tortuga?”

“Tortuga.”


The Beginning


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