Author: Melannen (Melaelfie@aol.com)
Summary: The story of how Jack and Will got together, told from a different
point of view.
Disclaimer: I don't own these lovely characters, Disney does. I promised I'd
have them home in time for supper. I'm not making any money from this, so
there's no point in suing me. I have 5 bucks and a few hairballs. Hardly worth the
hassle. This is all from my rather troubled mind, and I don't mean any harm.
Really, I'm harmless. I promise.
Beta: Princess gave it the a-okay, but any typos are mine.
A/N: This was written for the JackXWill group ficathon. A great big thank
you goes out to Sparrowhawk for giving me a challenge even though there was an
email mix up and my entry didn't get to her on time. Thank you muchly dear!
Original Challenge: Tell the story of how Jack and Will got together as a
couple from the point of view of a neutral observer. Include this line: "Will
knew running away never solved anything". This is what happened.
Loud voices, rough words, dim light, smell of too many bodies pressed too
close. This is a tavern. This is the place that men come to forget their lives,
to drink their fill, or to conduct their business. We see all types in here.
Little boys trying to be men, men trying to be little boys, and even some who
don't know what they're trying to be. We see the same faces every so often, the
same group of rag tag men and boys stumble in for a hot meal, cold drink, soft
bed, and willing woman. After a while, you get used to the rotation of crews
going in and out. You become familiar with their lives in ways you never
thought you would. It gets so you can read them like open books. So you begin to
read their story.
It's cold tonight, unseasonably cold. There must be a storm coming in. You go
about your duties, rubbing down the top of the bar with an already filthy
cloth, lining up the tankards, hiding the cash box. The first stragglers wander
in, sitting at tables or on the few stools around the bar. You watch as the
barwenches strut over and flirt a little, and take orders, and it promises to be
just an ordinary night. As the night grows old, and plates of food are
replaced with tankards and mugs, you notice a lone figure slink through the door. He
catches your eye because he doesn't look the part of pirate. His clothes are
better made, and they match, and he seems to be more boy than man. He looks to
be one of those snooty upper class fools to you. Which is rather odd, now that
you think of it.
So you watch him. He sits down with another man, one who fits the pirate
description rather well. The other man looks shocked to see the newcomer. Boy
smiles at Pirate, and Pirate slowly smiles back. They talk for a while, and it
seems to you that it's a bit awkward, with Pirate sitting rather closed off from
Boy. Boy sees this, and reaches out a hand to rest on Pirate's elbow. Pirate
doesn't react, just allows the contact for a moment. Your attention is pulled
away from them when a barwench comes up and asks for two pints and a bottle of
rum with two glasses. You shake your head at yourself, angry that you let
yourself get that involved with just watching those two.
You place the order on the barwench's tray and by the time you fill another
order and turn inquiring eyes back in the direction of Boy and Pirate, they're
gone. You're rather disappointed, and you don't understand why. You think you
don't want to understand. You turn and put them out of your mind as best you
can and go back to work.
Three weeks and two days later, not that you've been counting, they're back.
As you look up from the tantalizing sight of the barwench's rather low bodice
you see Pirate sit down at the same table as last time. Before you can ask
yourself where Boy is, he walks through the door and over to the table, and sits
down. This time, you notice it's no longer awkward between them. Pirate
motions for a barwench as Boy leans back in his chair. You manage somehow to fill
three tankards without really knowing how. You don't remember looking away from
Boy and Pirate. You shrug as you bend over to pick a up fallen rag. You
straighten up and are met with the sight of the barwench from Boy and Pirate's
table, and you take extra care to clean their glasses and get them a fresh bottle
of rum. After the barwench leaves with a somewhat suspicious glance you're
convinced you've gone crazy.
The main difference this time, aside from their laughter, is that they stay
long into the night. You've begun to clean up behind the bar when they struggle
to their feet. They're rather drunk, which is as it should be after 3 and a
half bottles of rum between them. You're running a soapy cloth, still filthy,
over the grimy bar top when Pirate catches Boy from a stumble. They laugh like
it's their last, and clinging to each other, head for the door. You watch as
they choose a rather indirect path, which you attribute to more than one door
in their field of vision. They finally pick the right door and with another
burst of laughter and a few coins tossed to the barwench, disappear into the
It's more than a month before you see Boy and Pirate again. During this time,
you wonder at the importance of these two people in relation to your own
life. You have never spoken to either, you don't know their names, you don't know
why they mean so much to you. It begins to leave a slightly sour taste in your
mouth, like you've drunk the last swallow from a day old tankard of beer. You
decide that if Boy and Pirate come into the tavern again you won't watch them
like you usually do. You'll just forget that they're there and go about your
duties as you did before they ever came into your tavern.... Was there a time
before they came into your tavern?
When Boy walks in the door, you have the misfortune to be cleaning a glass.
Your hand stills at the sight of Boy with the late afternoon sun shining behind
him, making his skin glisten like nothing you've ever seen before. His hair
is longer you notice, and when that glass slips from your suddenly numb
fingers, he looks in your direction with a smirk, like he knows the reason for your
clumsiness. Before your head disappears under the bar to pick up your mess,
Pirate walks in, with a noticeable limp. Like he sat on something funny. He
lowers himself gently into the chair of the table you've come to think of as
theirs, Boy smirks harder, and Pirate winces.
Boy is different tonight, there's an air of confidence about him, something
that you never noticed he lacked. But now, he's.... more. Smiling bigger,
laughing louder, shining brighter. They go through their customary three and a half
bottles of rum, and by the time they head for the exit, Boy is the one to
catch Pirate in his stumble. You don't think you can call him boy anymore, but
what else are you supposed to call him, Pirate #2? So you just decide to stick
with Boy. Even though you can see he's a man.
The next three months are lonely ones for you. Not hide nor hair of Boy or
Pirate. You've gone through days where you're just convinced that one or both is
going to walk through that door RIGHT NOW and when they don't, your
disappointment is sharp and biting. Then you've almost succeeded in your plot to wipe
them from your mind. Never saw Boy or Pirate before, no siree. But then you see
someone walk in and the sun hits them just right, or you catch a glimpse of a
leather tricorn hat, and your plot is foiled. Disillusionment is hard for
you, and you wonder if you'll ever recover. Then you fall back into your old
routine and you think that you never needed them in the first place. Then the
thought that you actually did need them at some point hits you and you again
wonder at your sanity.
One night, when the supper rush has passed and you're waiting for the serious
drinkers to stumble in, you raise your head from washing tankards and fall
right into a pair of shining golden-brown eyes. It takes you a minute to recover
from that, and when you realize that Boy is standing waiting patiently for
your attention, you nearly faint from shock. Now you know how Pirate felt. Poor
lad, his heart would never be the same judging from the rate that yours is
racing. Boy quietly and politely asks for a pint of ale, and you serve him quite
efficiently, hoping that he doesn't notice your hands trembling. He takes the
tankard from you with a quiet thank you and heads to their table. This time,
Pirate doesn't show up.
You keep an eye on boy as the night wears on. He's had a fair amount of ale
at this point, and with each pint, slips just a lower into his chair. His
shoulders have slumped, and his confidence is lying on the floor at his feet.
Shredded. Now, he really looks like that boy who walked in here over a lifetime
ago. What happened to tear down that bright shining Boy, you cannot even begin to
fathom. But you feel angry and frustrated and you suddenly need air or you
will make it your place to defend Boy's honor, and you're sure that would be
bad. You step out the front door of the tavern and lean just to the right of the
door. Your eyes scan your surroundings automatically and come to rest on a
figure in the shadows across the road. Tall, slender, leather tricorn hat,
leaning just so. And just from this vague glimpse of the man in the shadows, you
know it's Pirate. Boy comes out then, and he offers you a sad smile before
walking down the street. You catch shadow man straighten up across the road, and now
you're absolutely sure it's Pirate. Come to check up on his Boy. Suddenly,
everything is right in your world, and you go inside to fill more tankards and
wipe more glasses, but with a lighter heart.
Two more months pass, and you've seen Pirate just once, with another man. Not
his Boy. They come into the tavern and order rum and sit down at a table. Not
their table, which makes you glad. They talk quietly and drink their share of
rum and when they get up to leave, they pause by the bar. You hear Pirate's
companion speak a single sentence.
"Will knew running away never solved anything."
You wonder who Will is. Then they're gone.
This went on for quite some time. Pirate would come in with one man or
another, and though sometimes he would laugh and play merry, you knew he never was.
He never smiled at any of these men quite the same way he smiled at Boy. And
you think that it's a shame that Pirate won't smile that way or laugh that loud
or radiate that glow now that Boy's gone.
You don't know how much time has passed. Pirate has stopped coming in with
other men, and you almost don't remember what Boy looks like. At least, that's
what you tell yourself. You still see his eyes in your mind, and they follow
you everywhere. So naturally, it's quite a surprise when Boy walks through the
door one night. He looks at you and smiles, like greeting an old friend. You
smile back at him and nod your head, your way of saying welcome back. You
somehow know he understands. Before you can process this though, Pirate walks in and
heads for their table, where Boy is already sitting. They talk softly for a
few moments, eyes never leaving each other. You sense something's changed with
them, and you watch closer, looking for anything that would give you a clue.
Then you see it, a hand brushing an arm, legs pressed close under the table,
smiles in their eyes. Then you understand what's changed, and you smile
approvingly in their direction. They order supper and ale from their barwench and
continue their conversation. A soft glow of contentment seems to spread out from
them, like a warm fog rolling in from the sea at sunrise. You turn to fill an
order and feel a quiet peace settle over the tavern.
They linger over their meal, and then order another pint each. This they
drink as slowly as the first, but they're quiet now. They sit together and relax
into their chairs. You notice their feet are tangled under the table. You
glance in their direction every once in a while as you fill orders and wipe clean
glasses. They haven't moved, but now they're watching each other. This goes on
for a few minutes, smiling softly at each other, and you marvel how they've
not drawn attention to themselves in their closeness. Or maybe, you're just
watching too closely.
They're the last to leave tonight, and you're busying yourself with mopping
up the floor and putting up the chairs. There's no need for them to hurry, and
they know this. They're discussing some matter between them, and every once in
a while one will laugh, and you look over with a smile. You're glad they've
patched up their differences, and you hope they will continue to come in when
they have a mind. You're throwing the dirty wash water out the door when they
stand up as one. You watch in bemusement as they gather up their tankards and
put up their chairs. On their way to the door, Boy takes Pirate's tankard and
places both on the bar. Then, together, they head for the door. Pirate steps
out first, and Boy turns to you with a soft smile, nods his thanks and then
turns to follow Pirate out the door. You finish up quickly, wanting to get home
and to your warm bed as soon as you can. As you close the door behind you and
slip the key in the lock you think back on the past few months, and your heart
is glad that those two made it. Sliding the key into your boot, you turn and
head for your own house, just next door, whistling as you go.
These are my words and I'd like to keep it that way. Plagiarism is bad, and
if you can't think up an original story, you shouldn't be writing in the first
Copyright Melannen, April 2004
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