Title: My Turn
Author: kHo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: Jack/Will, J/E, W/E, etc.
Summary: It's Will's turn to throw caution to the wind, to grasp what he wishes he could have but knows he shouldn't, consequences be damned.
Notes: This is the "Tortuga Series". It consists of They Say He's a Liar, A Pirate's Life, this, and Doubt. The series isn't done, and isn't solely Jack/Will. It's also Will/Elizabeth and hints at Elizabeth/Jack. This is the third installment, and it's the chapter that concentrates on Jack/Will. It probably reads fine without having read the other stories, but none of them are too long, and you may get a little confused if you haven't read them. You can find them here.
For the first time in twelve years when Jack arrived in Tortuga Will was there in her place. He met Jack with a smile and a traveling case, and boarded the Pearl before Jack could even voice his confusion. The rest of the crew greeted him like a long lost brother, even the ones he'd never met, because Elizabeth had spread his legacy almost as widely as she had her own.
The only answer he gave Jack when he finally got around to asking him later that afternoon was 'it's my turn,' and who was Jack to argue with logic like that? He smiled at the boy, threw an arm around him, and steered him to Elizabeth's usual sleeping quarters. Before Jack left him he stopped him with a hand on his arm and smiled. 'I'm 30 years old, Jack. It's my turn.'
He brought with him stories of his children, which all of the crew were anxious to hear. The eldest boy was now 11, and learning how to fence almost as well as his father. He'd developed a crush on one of the town's girls that was his age, and Will smiled with pride at how gallant his son turned out to be. His youngest was still too young to be a suitor, but he had every faith he'd be just as successful.
He also brought swords, three of them. He'd made them on his own, and especially for Jack and Gibbs. Gibbs had thanked him and immediately challenged anyone daring to risk it to a battle, smiling in confidence that a Turner blade would defeat anyone's poor impersonation of one. Jack thanked him with a wink and a kiss to the temple, and a smile that made him feel satisfied in a deep corner of his soul.
By the end of the week it was easy to forget that Will hadn't sailed with the crew of the Pearl the whole time. He was right there with the rest of them, sweating in the sun, drinking in the dusk, and retiring in the evening to fall asleep before head met pillow. The men on board flocked to his side to learn of his home life, and he spoke in a wistful tone that made them miss their own homes, despite the fact that there had been a reason to leave them in the first place.
Jack kept a wary eye on him, though, knowing there was more to the reason behind Will's decision to sail with them this year. Elizabeth had let on the last time he'd dropped her home that Will had been growing weary of her spending so much time away from home. She'd told him that Will never said it, but there was a dullness in his eyes when she came home that never used to be there. The longing and sadness that used to see her off every year had now been replaced by a stoic acceptance that almost scared her.
She feared his love for her was waning, being replaced by twelve years of being left for exciting adventures at the sea with an even more exciting captain. She told Jack that when she had called his name out two years before, she feared a part of Will had given up that day. He hadn't told her till a year after it happened, after having told Jack, but she didn't doubt it was true. The acceptance in his eyes when he'd told her was what put her on edge. 'It's as if he doesn't care anymore if I love him,' she'd told Jack. 'As though it doesn't matter any more.'
Jack had left it at that, but he'd had to battle down a familiar flickering of anger at her words. He'd wanted to growl at her that of course he'd given up hope by now. He wanted to berate her for leaving that wonderful husband of hers at home all these years, taking it for granted that he'd remain true at heart to her. That he'd never lose faith, and that he'd always love her with the veracity of the young man that had saved her from dead pirates years before. 'Of course, he's given up,' he'd wanted to say. 'You've given him no reason to not.'
He didn't say it though, because he knew what might come after it. What might come after it was the unleashing of years of bitterness that he'd tried to not feel towards her. He knew that he might wind up opening the door to hating her for having what he wanted and not appreciating it properly. He might tell her he was in love with the man she left 8 months out of the year, and that he hated himself for allowing her to by providing a vessel for her. For hurting Will by association. For propagating the deterioration of what was once an innocent, naïve, truly wonderful soul.
So he kept his mouth shut, and kept his door the same. He no longer accepted her into his bed, no matter how angry she might be in the morning. With every knock on his door his conscience hammered home the fact that he too, of his own accord, had betrayed Will. He'd allowed her into his bedroom and he'd kissed her and held her, and made love to her, despite the fact that it was Will he dreamed of. Despite the fact that while Will knew it somewhere in that brain of his, that it would hurt when he found out the truth.
When it came time for him to return to Tortuga after Will confronted him about it, he almost had passed it up. He hadn't because he remembered the love in Will's eyes when he looked at him, and he knew that Will would be disappointed if he didn't at least visit. He thought of little Sam and Jamie, and he'd decided to go to Tortuga if for no other reason than to see them one last time. Will had laughed at him when he'd asked if he wanted him to leave Elizabeth behind this time, and Jack had allowed her to return once more to the Black Pearl.
He had to admit to himself though, that despite the bitterness that ate away at him when he thought of Elizabeth and Will, he still loved the girl. She was firey and passionate, and too much like Jack himself for him to truly feel any ill-will towards her. He'd allowed Elizabeth on his ship initially because it was what Will had asked of him. In the years to follow, he'd come to realize that Elizabeth truly was a pirate at the core of her, and he'd come to appreciate her as a crewmember.
And now it was Will aboard his ship, and he was having unwelcome feelings of regret that it hadn't been Will all along. He knew it was wrong, and not what Will had wanted, but it was what he truly felt. He cared for Elizabeth, and he'd never let anything happen to her, and he'd feel sorrow if anything ever should. He liked having her aboard his ship, and knew she was an asset. He'd always wished it had been Will instead, though.
Every night he and Will sat in his quarters and talked into the wee hours of the morning, sometimes sleeping only four hours any given night. Will seemed happy and alive when he was on deck, but Jack couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing from the picture. He tried to place it, tried to ask Will what he was hiding, but Will just smiled and laughed at him. 'You're too jaded, Jack,' he'd say. 'Nothing's wrong. Just my turn, is all.'
Four weeks into the trip they docked on an island just off the coast of England. The majority of the crew got off the ship to go into town for some much needed debauchery, leaving Jack and Will alone on board. Jack had told him to go but Will had shaken his head, saying he'd rather spend the time catching up with Jack. He'd told Will they'd had four weeks of catching up, but Will had smiled and said they had yet more still to do.
They sat on deck hours after the sun had set, the night only pierced by a small lantern placed on the table between the two of them. They drank rum and played cards, talking and laughing, forgetting that they'd ever been apart. Jack remarked that Will had certainly developed a tolerance for rum and Will had winked at him, reminding him that 13 years of experience was behind him by now.
In the middle of a hand Jack had gotten up to go to the side of the ship, taking a leak over the side. Laughing to himself he thought about whether or not mermaids existed and whether or not they appreciated his contribution to their water. He'd returned to the table minutes later to find it empty, Will's cards held in place by a flask of rum. He waited a few minutes before deciding to go look for him, finding him in his room.
"Is this the same hat you've had all these years?" Will asked, picking up his tricorn hat from his desk of drawers and placing it on his head. "The same one you had when we first met?"
"Aye," Jack said, walking forward and smiling at the boy. "Looks better on you though, I'd say."
Will's smile was wide and easy as he took the hat off and placed it on Jack's head, nodding in satisfaction. "No. Definitely yours."
Jack smiled and reached up to place a hand on his hat, winking at Will. Taking it off he tossed it back to its place on his desk of drawers and motioned behind him. "There's a game of poker still waiting to be won. Shall we?"
Will frowned, turning away from Jack and walking slowly around his room. He stood and looked at a tear in Jack's covers. "I've given Elizabeth an ultimatum," he said quietly, turning to look at Jack, smiling softly.
Jack raised an eyebrow at him, leaning against the wall behind him. "So then all this talk about nothing being wrong -- about this simply being your turn--"
"Hogwash," Will said, shrugging and laughing, sitting down on Jack's bed. "Wasn't ready to tell you yet."
Jack nodded slowly, walking to where Will sat and sitting next to him. "All ears, mate."
Will laughed, lying back on the bed and placing his fingers laced together on his stomach as he studied Jack's ceiling. "Told her I wouldn't have it anymore. Told her this taking off for 8 months a year wasn't going to cut it any longer." He frowned, shrugging. "Which I know is unfair of me, but it's how I feel."
"S'not unfair of you, Will," Jack said softly, resting a hand lightly on Will's leg. "Seems more 'n fair to me."
"It's not," Will said, shaking his head. "It was part of our agreement. She and I made a pact 12 years ago that this is how it would be."
"12 years," Jack said, raising an eyebrow. "Long enough to realize a few mistakes, wouldn't you say?"
Will smiled, laughing lightly. "Suppose so, yes."
"So this ultimatum," Jack asked, running a thumb comfortingly across Will's thigh. "What was it?"
Will's eyes flicked towards him, looking suddenly 18 once again. "That she leave for good, or stay for good. No in between."
Jack nodded, his thumb still running lightly over Will's thigh absentmindedly. He was vaguely aware that it was a maneuver that could be taken wrongly, or correctly as it were, but figured Will would know what he intended it to be. "And you've come this go 'round to give her time to let it sink in."
"Aye," Will said in a sigh. "I figure 8 months is enough time for her to realize what staying home will truly be for her."
"Also," Jack said with a wry smile. "What it feels like to be left alone to fend for herself and your two kids."
"That too," Will answered, smiling softly and sitting up, placing a hand on Jack's as he looked at him. "But that's not all."
Jack nodded for him to continue, frowning when Will didn't. "What else then, love?"
"It honestly *is* my turn," Will said, his voice pitching slightly lower as he shifted closer still to Jack. "My turn to throw caution to the wind. To grasp what I wish I could have but know I shouldn't, consequences be damned."
Unwilling to let himself interpret what he thought Will was saying Jack stared at Will for a good while before opening his mouth to speak. "What exactly are you saying, Will?" he asked softly, pulling back away from Will's suddenly too close proximity.
Will's thin blacksmith fingers wound in Jack's shirt, pulling him closer to him, his eyes meeting Jack's fully. "I'm drawn to you, Jack," he said, licking his lips as his eyes swept over the pirate's face. "Always have been, since I first met you."
Will shook his head, silencing Jack with a look that took his breath away. It was a look of passion, and want, and need, and something along the lines of love that was perhaps more than brotherly. "I've thought of you, Jack. In that way. In the way I've thought about Elizabeth. In the way I thought I'd *only* think of Elizabeth in," he said, nodding his head as Jack began to shake his. "Look at my eyes, Jack. I'm being truthful."
Jack's mouth opened once or twice before words would come out, and when they did they weren't said in as strong of a voice as he'd intended. "You don't, Will. You don't mean it. You're saying this because you're hurt, you're wounded, by what Elizabeth has done, by what Elizabeth and I have done--"
"This is separate," Will said softly, his hand creeping up Jack's shirt to his neck, brushing lightly over Jack's jutting Adam's apple and across his collarbone. "This is about me and you, not me and Elizabeth, or you and Elizabeth. Me and you."
Jack's lips pierced together, fear and anger coursing through him. "Will, you don't know what you're saying," he said, his voice coming out harsh and bitter. "You have to think about what you're saying, because you're messing with emotions now, boy." He lowered his voice to a whisper despite the fact that they were the only two on board that night. "You know how I feel about you. You know, Will."
Will's certainty flickered for a moment as he looked down, but fingers continued their path into Jack's hair. "I didn't intend to make you feel as though I were messing with your emotions, Jack," he said. "I don't think I'm expressing myself very well."
"Well then clarify," Jack spat out, unsure of whether or not the shakes that were beginning to coarse through his body were of nerves or anger.
Will looked at him, his eyes sad. "I love you, Jack," he said, shaking his head. "Don't you know I wouldn't intentionally hurt you?"
"Don't avoid the topic at hand, Will," Jack said, pulling back slightly, almost regretting it as Will's hand slipped from his neck. "Answer my question-- clarify what you mean."
"I'd die for you," Will said quietly. "I would have died for you the day you were to be hanged, and I still would. I didn't know what that meant then, and I don't know what it means now. I only know it means I love you." He paused, pulling up his legs onto the bed and sitting Indian-style. "But last year when you told me, made it clear for me, how you felt for me, I've been able to think of little else."
"I didn't tell you to get anything from you, love," Jack said softly, leaning against his bedpost and peering at him through half closed eyes.
Will laughed, surprising the older man. "I know that, Jack." Putting his hands on Jack's knees he pulled, closing the distance between them once again. "I've thought about you, in ways I never allowed myself to. I thought about what it might be like to kiss you. What it might be like to feel you-- naked, and next to me."
Jack felt his heart thud in his toes and wondered how it was possible for the room to have gone so still despite the waves rocking the ship. Looking into Will's eyes he saw a lust he knew his own echoed and he shook his head. "Have you," he asked, needing to hear it again.
Will nodded, taking Jack's hand in his and bringing it to his lips, smiling almost shyly as he kissed it. "I know it's not proper for a man to kiss another man's hand, Jack," he said, holding it to his chest. "But that's the point. You're not another man to me."
"I most certainly am a man, Will," Jack said, his eyebrows pinching together. "I may sway a bit when I walk but--"
"You're not *just* another man to me," Will clarified, holding up a hand for Jack to quiet. "You're much more than that."
"And you as well," Jack whispered, staring wide eyed at the boy in front of him.
"Don't you remember what you said, Jack," Will said, smiling and leaning forward slightly, his nose inches away from Jack's face. "Take what you want, give nothing back? Damn the consequences, do what your will tells you?"
Jack nodded. "But in certain situations, Will, the consequences aren't worth the--"
"These are," Will said softly, leaning closer still. "Because what matters won't change. I'll still care for you, even if I learn it's not in this way."
"And if it is," Jack asked, his eyes drifting nearly closed. "What if it is?"
Will frowned slightly. "Then it is what it is."
Jack shook his head. "No, Will, because then you're faced with the same problem you are now. I can't stay in Tortuga, Will. Elizabeth may, but I can't."
Will nodded. "I know."
Jack frowned. "And what of that?"
"Because I'll still have Elizabeth," Will said, leaning back slightly and looking at Jack. "Where before I had no one."
Jack shook his head, smiling slightly. "And me, Will? What will I have?"
The utter devastation that passed over Will's face at that comment almost made Jack wish he could take it back out of the air. There was doubt in Will's eyes where there had been determination and assuredness, and he dropped Jack's hand. "I honestly hadn't thought of that, Jack."
"I know," Jack said, leaning forward and laying his hand on Will's cheek, cupping it as Will leaned into it. "I also said, once upon a time, that that's just part of the job, didn't I," he asked, smiling. "Nothing to truly call my own. Burden of the life I've chosen?"
Will's eyes widened slightly as Jack leaned forward even more, his head jerking back slightly before Jack kissed him. "Jack--"
"S'worth it to me, Will," Jack said, reaching up to grasp the boy's face in his hands and kissing him lightly at first. "I'd rather have you once then not at all, but only if you're sure," he said, looking seriously at him. "Only if you're certain this is what you want."
Will's hand rose to rest on the outside of Jack's, holding his hands in place. "I'm certain, Jack."
Jack nodded, his eyes sweeping over Will's face. "I've dreamed of this time and time again, you know that?"
"Me too," Will whispered, his eyelids lowering as he looked into Jack's eyes, drawn into the endless depths.
And finally, after thirteen years of unrequited longing, Jack felt what it was like to kiss the young passionate son of Bootstrap Bill Turner. His lips were soft, and his tongue lithe and assured, winding lazily in time to Jack's. When his hands wound into Will's hair he felt the boy moan into his mouth and their tempo increased. He marveled at what a good kisser the boy was and was forced to remind himself that the boy was a man now, of 30 years.
That first time wound up being the first of many times they explored one another while on that 8-month voyage. Every night they talked and laughed, kissed and made love, and lay in each other's arms till the wee hours of the morning, still getting only four hours of sleep.
They avoided talking about the change in the weather and what that meant.
Winter was coming, and with it a beginning and an end, but that would come later.
Now was here, and here was now, and that's all that mattered.
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