jackxwill - pirates of the caribbean slash

Title: Occupational Hazards
Author: Kaija West (kaijawest@yahoo.ca)
Pairing: Jack/Will
Rating: R
Summary: When Jack is captured by an enemy pirate captain it’s Will to the rescue.
Disclaimer: Not mine, making no money, etc.
Written for: Sparrow’s Blackbird. Requests: Someone wants Jack dead, and it's up to Will to save him. Would like to see: Pirate!Will, some h/c. Restrictions: no-non con, please, and no death of Jack or Will.
Note: I’m sorry this didn’t turn out all that great. It fought me every step of the way. If it wasn’t for the ficathon I’d have deleted this fic and put it out of its misery.



Chapter 1

Had he been betrayed before? Certainly. Yet this stung in a whole new way and it wasn’t just the bleeding slashes in his side that made it hurt so. There was something in the familiarity of the situation that made him feel not only stupid for letting it happen again, but also somehow defeated.

The two burly pirates unceremoniously, and without any sort of warning, dropped Jack onto the hard floor. Thumping to the ground, Jack felt not only his wounds hurt anew, but he also tasted blood as his jaw connected sharply with the stone floor beneath him, causing him to bite his tongue.

“Could ‘ave used a heads up, mates. Literally,” Jack mumbled as he lifted his chin from where it had impacted with the ground. Before he could pull himself up, Jack felt a hand roughly grab the back of his hair and yank him painfully to his knees. Large, tightly-gripping fingers wrapped around his shoulders.

As Captain Askew bent down to look him in the eye, Jack realized that he was getting very close to him, right into his space. Normally Jack wasn’t very respectful to the idea of personal space, but now it almost unnerved him. It seemed the man no longer considered him a threat. Feeling the blood soaked shirt clinging wetly to his chest and the slight spin to his head, Jack could understand why. He knew how terrible he must look, and if it was even half as poorly as he felt, then it was no wonder Captain Askew viewed him as no threat at the moment. Of course the two giant crewmembers standing behind Jack could have had something to do with it as well, or so he thought to pacify himself.

It was true, he really was of no immediate threat to Captain Askew, not in his present condition anyway. But did the man (and his putrid breath) really need to get so insultingly close?

“Jaaaaack?” the man drawled out in a tone that was more than a little reminiscent of Barbossa. “Not so cocky now are you? Now I think you know just what I want from you, so why not make this easy and tell me?”

“Alright, I confess,” Jack began, forcing his voice just to get it near half its normal volume and strength. The room was now doing a nauseating half spin, and he would have liked nothing better than to shake off the hands holding him up on his knees and lay down on the cool floor until the spinning stopped. As he continued speaking, Jack vaguely noticed the deep slice on his shoulder had reopened and apparently doubled its efforts to spill as much blood from his body as quickly as possible. “I DID see you paying that harlot to dress you up in her best dress then spank you ‘till you cried and called her Mama. But, see, there’s no reason that sorted little tale has to go beyond just us two.” Watching as the man in front of him doubled and then tripled in front of his fuzzy eyes, Jack added, “Or us four as the case may be.”

Captain Askew smirked at Jack for a moment before his expression turned dark and he backhanded the captive man. While the blow hurt, Jack noticed it wasn’t nearly as hard as the man was capable of (he unfortunately knew that first hand). Then again, they were both aware that Jack wouldn’t have stayed conscious if much more force had been applied.

Spitting out blood, Jack felt his jaw grabbed in a crushing grip as Captain Askew forced his face up. Rotten breath escaping with each word, he asked, “Now, Jack, since you are regrettably the Captain of the Black Pearl, you know where she’s headed. I don’t care much for goose chases, nor do I like having my patience tried. You have caused both these thing for the last time.” Increasing his hold even tighter, leaning so that he was nearly nose to nose with Jack, he asked, “You’ve led me on for the last time CAPTAIN Sparrow. Where is the Black Pearl?”

“Tha’s where you’re wrong, mate,” Jack slurred. “I don’ know where she is since I’m not her captain anymore.”

“Really,” Captain Askew said, voice full of disbelief. “And just whom do you want me to believe is in charge of her now?”

“Well see, I ‘ad a wee bit of a falling out with the first mate as it were. Traitorous bastard that one is,” Jack said, finding the words all too familiar.

“Is that so?” said Captain Askew, tone still clearly reflecting his lack of confidence in Jack’s words.

“Led the crew to mutany ‘gainst me, he did,” Jack said with a slight nod.

“Seems you’re not one to learn from your mistakes are you, Sparrow?” Captain Askew said, a smirk twisting normally blank face evilly.

Taking in the familiar man before him, and feeling the biting hold of the two pirates behind him, Jack nodded honestly.

“So who did you lose the Pearl to THIS time, then?” Narrowing his eyes and lowering his voice, Captain Askew added, “Who’d you make the naïve mistake of trusting THIS time, Jack?” Seeing Jack bristle with each question, he drew it out just to further hurt the man. “Who’s the first mate that stole the Black Pearl from you for the last time?”

Jack looked up at Captain Askew, even as spots quickly covered his vision and his head felt as if it was floating away from his body. With a resigned sigh just before passing out, he told Captain Askew, “Will Turner.”

Chapter 2

“Please tell me you’re joking,” Will said seriously. Looking into the old sea dog’s eyes, he could tell that Gibbs was not messing with him. “There is absolutely no way I can do that.”

“Sure ya can,” Gibbs said, slapping the young man on the back, his tone almost confident enough to be convincing. Almost.

Standing on the deck of the Pearl, Gibbs wasn’t too certain that Will could do it, but he did trust Jack’s judgment. Specific instructions had been given some time back should a situation such as this arise, and Gibbs knew just how Captain Sparrow wanted to deal with it. The biggest problem would be convincing Will to go through with it.

“I can’t pretend to be the Captain of the Pearl! I can’t even sail with a reasonable level of skill though I’ve been aboard for months!” Will said. It was, sadly, true. A finer swordsman you couldn’t ask for, but Will Turner was just not a natural when it came to sailing. Nor was he particularly good at lying. In fact, truth be known, he really wasn’t much of a pirate at all despite his bloodline. But his astonishing skill with a sword and his deep attachment to Jack kept him living the life of a pirate.

Jack told Will everyday that, with practice, he would get better with some of the finer points of pirating and Will did think his skills had improved some over the past months. He was still terrible at sailing and as poor a liar as could ever be found, yet he’d shown a previously unknown knack for plotting and scheming. Jack had been very impressed (and a bit surprised) at Will’s sound tactical and nautical decisions.

Two days earlier:

“Should’ve been in the King’s Navy,” Jack said with a grin after they’d successfully caught up with a particularly heavily loaded merchant vessel due to Will’s suggestions. The now retired blacksmith had acquired information about shipping routes while in port and had used that knowledge to plan a specific route that not only kept the Pearl out of danger, but also allowed her to plunder four ships in as many days. “But then if you’d been in the Navy, you’d be chasing after me now, wouldn’t ye?” Jack asked.

“I’d have caught you,” Will said, lifting his chin smugly, though he had a laughing glint in his eyes.

Reaching an arm to encircle Will’s waist and pull the young man closer, Jack admitted, “For you I might’ve allowed such a thing.”

“I doubt that. Can’t see you letting anyone catch you on purpose, Jack.”

“No, I guess not. Well I’d’ve taken you captive. Held you for an enormous ransom too. So large that they’d refuse to pay it an’ I’d just ‘ave to keep you aboard.”

“Leave me in the brig until you got bored?”

“Hmm, my own personal little Navy toy. That would be tempting,” Jack said, one finger resting against his chin, in a mockery of deep thought.

“I do hope you’re not expecting me to play out this little fantasy of yours,” Will said. He was no fan of the brig and wasn’t at all keen on the thought of being trapped in there, even in the name of one of Jack’s little sex games. Oddly, ever since he’d left Port Royal and come to live on the Pearl, Will had become distinctly uncomfortable with the very idea of being trapped. He’d developed a sort of claustrophobia that he’d never suffered from before. He attributed it to spending so much time aboard the Pearl, the very essence of freedom.

“No, no,” Jack assured him. “Although … you would look rather dashing in one of those Navy uniforms.”

Will barked out a laugh, glancing down at his considerably more disheveled appearance. While being a blacksmith hadn’t allowed him to dress in the delicate finery of those who were well to do, he had certainly been a lot tidier before joining with a crew of pirates. The very idea of being trussed up in a fussy uniform was now very amusing to him.

“Speaking of the Navy,” Jack had continued, finally pulling away from Will’s side, “did I tell you who I met in port last week?”

“Danielle?” he asked, searching his mind for the names of the “ladies” Jack used to frequent in the area.

“No.”

“Lucinda?”

“No.”

“What was that other one’s name … oh yes, Misty Mountains?”

“Tha’s not what I meant,” Jack said, looking slightly disappointed. He’d thought Will was past being jealous of his former bedmates. “Captain Askew.”

“Who?”

“Rufus Askew. Surprised you ‘aven’t heard of him before.”

“Not all of us have the full benefit of a sea bound education,” Will reminded, feeling for neither the first time nor the last that he was horribly unknowledgeable in the history of pirates.

“Sorry, Luv. Captain Askew used to be a Navy Captain before turning pirate.”

“Surely that doesn’t happen frequently.”

“Mmm, maybe more than you’d expect. Still, at that level, no, it’s infrequent. ‘s the lower ranking officers who’re more commonly lured to the proper side.”

Will snorted and shook his head at Jack’s choice of wording for turning pirate.

“An’way, I met him about ten years back. Things didn’t go so well back then. Course I wasn’ at my best then either.”

Will was once again left to read between the lines. Jack hadn’t filled him in on all his adventures between the time he’d lost the Pearl up until his eventual fortuitous meeting with Will. Given the time period though, Will knew it was not too terribly long after Jack had lost the Pearl.

“Was more’n hesitant to make deals with ‘im again, but seein’ as how I’ve got the Pearl now, I figured I could take the risk.”

“And what risk would that be, Jack?” Will asked, not entirely sure he wanted to know the answer.

Sensing Will was about to go into what Jack privately called “Mother Hen” mode, Jack waved it off. “Oh you know, the usual: Pirates, treasure maps, treasure, blah blah blah.”

“Why are avoiding telling me about this Jack?” Will asked, seeing right through him.

“No need to worry yerself about such things, William,” Jack said, his tone bordering on condescending (or at least that’s how it seemed to Will’s ears).

“But weren’t you just saying how pleased you were with my planning?”

“Yes, well tha’s the point isn’t it?” Jack said, spinning on his heel and leaving a confused Will behind him.

“What is?” Will asked, calling out after the retreating Captain.

“If I were pleased with your planning then I’d be pleased to tell you only I’m pleased wif it, but you’d be not at all pleased, in fact you’d be downright displeased. And if you were not pleased then…”

Will could tell he wasn’t going to get a straight answer out of Jack and tuned him out. He’d learned quickly that Jack’s circular ramblings weren’t worth the effort to try to reason out – mainly because they quite often didn’t make any sense whatsoever anyway.

Will had meant to see if he could find out more about what Jack had decided not to tell him. Odd, Jack was rarely secretive with him anymore and didn’t change his mind midstream about telling Will something (rather the opposite: once he got going he was all but unstoppable). He really had intended to ask Jack, but had become sidetracked when he’d entered the cabin they shared to find the Captain wearing nothing but his hat…

Chapter 3

Jack woke on the cold stone floor. He was confused for a few moments, but when he moved, the pain returned along with all his memories of the past several days. Rolling carefully from his side onto his back, Jack recalled how he’d come to find himself in a familiar situation…

Jack had bumped into Capt. Askew (almost literally since he was quite drunk and thus reeling slightly more than usual) in a tavern. Will had been away (collecting information as Jack found out later) and Jack had somehow found himself conversing seriously with a man who had tried to kill him when last they’d met.

Against his better judgment, Jack had agreed to join up with Captain Askew and his ship, the Black Calamity, so that they could combine their efforts to overtake a small merchant fleet headed through the area. If all went well, both men stood to gain a lot of booty with minimal effort. They’d agreed on placement of the ships (the Pearl hidden in a cove to the east and the Black Calamity waiting in open waters to the south). Like wolves they would circle the small fleet and overtake it.

An accord had been struck and plans set to have the ships in the set positions in one week’s time, when the fleet was scheduled to arrive. Jack hadn’t completely trusted Captain Askew, especially in light of the fact that the man had caused him considerable problems when they’d last met some 10 years ago. Of course, Jack had also given Capt. Askew his fair share of grief in return.

But Jack wasn’t in the same position as 10 years ago. He had the Pearl and the support of his faithful (inasmuch as pirates can be at any rate) crew and he was certainly not as naive as he’d been back then. Still, he knew in the back of his head that the arrangement wasn’t a particularly good idea. What had seemed smart in the middle of the night, with far too much rum under his belt, struck Jack as rather foolhardy the next morning. By then, both pirate ships had gone their separate ways, and Jack was hesitant to mention his arrangement to Will.

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

“I don’t understand. Why didn’t he tell me all this?” Will asked Gibbs. Gibbs had been filling Will in on things. The Pearl was sailing right to Grey Spot Island, rumored to be the island Askew used as a hideout.

“Couldn’ tell ya, Will. But I figure he didn’ think you’d approve of his arrangement with Cap’n Askew.”

“And why’s that?”

“On account of what happened last time Jack found himself tied in with the man…”

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

Jack squirmed around a bit on the cold floor and again cursed his stupidity at having been caught. He’d decided to not tell Will exactly why the Pearl had to be in the exact spot on that particular day. Just to avoid discussing it, he’d given Will full charge of plotting their course over the week prior, which the young man had done especially well.

Upon their arrival at the cove, things had gone badly. The Pearl was a fast ship and very maneuverable for her size, but Capt. Askew was clearly more familiar with the waters in that area. He’d trapped the Pearl by blocking her in. The land formed a natural bay shape so the Pearl became caught between the curved land and the Black Calamity. Just as the crew of the Black Calamity had begun to storm the decks of the trapped Pearl, an unexpected arrival had occurred. The fleet that was supposed to be relatively unarmed had been escorted by several small yet heavily armed ships of the Spanish Navy.

Chaos had broken out, and somehow both the Pearl and the Black Calamity had escaped. The Pearl had sustained minimal damage and had easily out run the other ships. There was only one problem – she was minus her Captain. As fate would have it, the moment the Spanish ships had appeared, Jack had been onboard the Black Calamity engaged in a sword fight. He was on the far side of the deck and was as cornered as his ship had been. Though the rest of his crew that had been onboard the opposing ship had managed to swing back to the Pearl, Jack was stuck. He’d waved off the Pearl, knowing that if they remained on his account, the ship would have been caught, or worse yet, sunk.

Although the Black Calamity had been damaged, it too escaped. Jack had been immediately tossed in the brig and ignored since the Captain was much more concerned with limping his ship out of the area to do repairs on her. It had been almost a day by the time Jack was dragged off the ship onto the Grey Spot island. He’d made a valiant attempt to escape his captors, but unfortunately, luck was not with him for a change and Jack had been on the receiving end of more sword stabs and cuts then were absolutely necessary. By the time he’d been hauled in to see Capt. Askew, he’d known he was in trouble.

Rolling over yet again, still searching for a more comfortable position (though there was none to be had), Jack felt his shoulder wound throb. It’s proximity to a much older scar almost amused him. Almost.

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

“What? What happened last time Capt. Askew got Jack?” Will asked as Gibbs paused. He was silently cursing Gibbs style of dramatic storytelling and wishing the man would just get on with it. There really was no need to draw out the tension like it was just some barroom tale.

“Now remember this happened just before I met Jack. He’d just lost the Pearl and was still tryin’ to get ‘er back. He tried to lure Askew into chasin’ after her, taking him with them. After telling him about the treasure of Isle de Muerta, Jack’d certainly got the man’s attention. Problem was, Askew wasn’t interested in goin’ after the Pearl. Jack had tried to bargain with the man to give him half the treasure in exchange for helping him regain control of his ship. But Askew figured there wasn’t need to get the Pearl to get the treasure; afterall, the only thing he needed was someone who’d been to the island before to find it.”

“Jack.”

“That’s right. But when Askew pointed that out, Jack said even he couldn’t get to the island without a map, a map that was hidden onboard the Pearl. Well ol’ Jack kept them chasin’ after the Pearl for ni’ on three months before one day, Cap’n Askew finally lost his patience. He tied Jack up and beat the livin’ hell outta him right there on deck, an’ then demanded he figure some other way to the treasure. Well Jack said he’d had the map all along, hidden in his effects, and seein’ as he was surrounded by Askew’s crew and on board the Black Calamity, they untied him. Jack pulled out a map and gave it to them, then jumped overboard into the ocean.

“He jumped overboard?”

“Well, almost. More like he was stabbed and conveniently fell o’er the side I imagine. But, you know, if ever he tells the story, he escaped unharmed doing a swan dive o’er the side. Anyway, somehow the crazy bastard swam ashore on Tortuga an’ that’s when I met him. He was still bleedin’ pretty bad, and looked like a half drowned rat, but you know he was still smiling. Even as I dragged his sorry, bloody carcass up the beach, he was laughin’ his head off.”

Irritated by yet another one of Gibbs storytelling pauses, Will prompted, “Well … why?”

“Cause that map he gave Askew wasn’t to the Isle de Muerta.”

“Where was it to?”

“The finest whore houses in Tortuga!” Gibbs finished with a laugh of his own. “An the best part is even though he knows Tortuga like the back of his hand, Jack’s been complaining about losing that map ever since.”

“Sounds about right,” Will said with a shake of his head. “You said he was stabbed?”

“Aye, you know that big scar on his left shoulder?”

Will blushed a bit before nodding, remembering just how the raised, healed flesh felt under his tongue.

“That was courtesy of Capt Askew. I’m figurin’ that’s why he didn’t want to tell you his arrangement with Askew – figured you’d worry too much, seen’ as how he has that little reminder of his last encounter with ‘im.”

“Why would he do something so stupid? Why make deals with a man like that?”

Gibbs shrugged. “Maybe to prove to himself that he can still get the best of ol’ Askew?”

“Maybe because he thought he’d have the Pearl to protect him, that he’d have me to protect him,” Will said, the guilt making him sick. During the attack, Will had been onboard the Pearl, defending the ship. There had been no way for him to help Jack, not from his position, when everything had gone wrong.

“Hey now lad,” Gibbs said. “There was nothin’ we could’ve done just then. I’ve been on the waters for longer then I can remember and I’ve never seen an’thing like that mess. We did what was best, what Jack wanted.”

“What? Leaving him with that bastard Askew because he fell behind?” Will said loudly as he got up and began pacing the room. He could still see Jack waving them off. Even so, it felt like betrayal. He’d watched as the man he now knew was Askew had grabbed Jack and hauled him away.

“No, doin’ just what Jack wanted. You saw him signal clear as I did. Now we’ve got to do it, finish what Jack wants.”

“You mean I do,” Will said, stopping to face Gibbs.

“Aye, ‘s time for you to be Captain of the Black Pearl.”

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

Chapter 4

Jack jerked awake when the door to his little cell opened. It was Capt. Askew, alone. Much as he didn’t want to admit it, even just to himself, Jack felt more than a little nervous. He remembered what it was like being stuck at the mercy of this man before, and it had become quickly clear back then that the former Naval Captain was rather lacking in the quality of mercy. Jack wasn’t tied up this time but he didn’t feel like he’d be much use in a fight right now.

He really hadn’t been last time either. Askew had beaten him so badly that he was barely able to stand when he’d finally convinced the man to untie him so he could hand over the map. He’d been given that map two years before with the instructions to carry it close to his heart. He’d done just that, and was thankful he’d done so. Not only did it give him something with which to bargain, it also had taken up residence in the pocket sewn into his shirt. It had made for a wonderful excuse to need to be untied. Askew had been cocky, hadn’t seen Jack as a threat at the time. After all, the man was surrounded by his crew and the ship was out in the ocean.

Noticing how Capt. Askew closed the heavy door behind himself, Jack knew the man was not going to make the same mistake twice. There was no ocean to escape to, at least not within a few feet like before. Even if he did happen to get past the Captain, Jack would still need to make it out of the building.

As he struggled to sit up, the throbbing in the back of his shoulder intensified and he could feel a small trickle of blood escape the newly reopened wound. He wondered if it was close enough to the scar that the new and old damage connected.

“Jack,” Askew began as he circled around Sparrow. “I’d really like nothing better than to kill you right now. Yes, I think that would suit me just fine.”

“Well why don’t you get on with it then. I’ve a pressing engagement I need to attend to,” Jack said. Surely there was some way the Captain could make money off Jack Sparrow, and just as surely, he wasn’t foolish enough to waste that opportunity. He knew no matter how badly Askew wanted to kill him, the man would restrain himself, at least for now. Despite being a Pirate for as long as Jack, Capt. Askew still carried with him the intense discipline he’d learned in the Navy. Jack knew he was safe from being killed for the moment. Safe from being injured was, unfortunately, another matter.

“And what pressing engagement could you possibly have, Mr. Sparrow?”

“CAPTAIN, and, if you really must know, your darling mother and I are to…”

*CRACK*

Jack found himself on the receiving end of a vicious blow to the cheek. Dragging himself back into a seated position, Jack noted that Askew did not take kindly to jokes about his mother.

“You know what I think Jack?” Askew asked as he resumed his pacing, his tone eerily flat.

“I’m just surprised that YOU do,” Jack said quietly. He prepared himself for another hit that never came. He did, however, notice that Askew was aware he had been expecting it, had seen him tense up.

“I think you are in a hurry to return to the Isle de Muerta to stash more treasure.”

Now that was a surprise to Jack. “Where have you been for the past year, mate?” he asked seriously.

“The Orient mostly,” Askew answered honestly.

“Ah, well I suppose the stories have not yet met all shores then. The Isle de Muerta is now under the control of the British Navy. I should imagine by now they’ve confiscated everything.”

“I don’t believe you, Jack. And I think that the map to get there is still on the Pearl. Now I want you to tell me where she’s gone.”

“Like I told you before, I’m not her Captain so I don’t know where she is, savvy?” Jack all but snapped. He was feeling worse and just wanted Askew to leave him be for a little longer.

Jack had been wrong about one thing – Askew didn’t retain all the control he appeared to. Capt. Askew suddenly lunged for Jack and pinned him to the ground, knee digging painfully into his chest.

“I want that God damned map! Where is it!?!” he yelled in Jack’s face. While the man had shown almost no emotion before, he was now totally flying off the handle, and nearly seething with rage.

Jack forced a grin on his face. “There is no map, there never was.”

Askew backhanded Jack again and succeeded in driving him into unconsciousness. Sighing in irritation, he stood and gave Jack’s limp body a final hard kick before pulling out his pistol, intent on doing away with Jack once and for all. If the map was aboard the Black Pearl then he would get it himself. And if not, if Jack was telling the truth and there really was no map, then he’d at least make sure he got whatever booty she had at the time before sinking her. Yes, he’d do away with the ship right after he did away with her sometimes Captain, he thought as he aimed his pistol at Jack’s chest.

Chapter 5

“Alright, I think that’s everything,” Will said as he made his way to the side of the Pearl. He was going to take a longboat ashore, to Askew’s hideout. He was going to claim to be Captain of the Pearl. He was going to save Jack. He was going to throw up on himself if he was any more nervous.

“You’ll do just fine, lad,” Gibbs reassured the young man. Will tended to be a poor liar most of the time, but Gibbs knew when something (or someone) important was on the line, Will would deliver. He didn’t look scared, just tense. With luck Will would make that tension work for him, make it appear to be anger. “You know the plan.”

“I do. Thank you, Gibbs,” Will said as he turned to leave. Turning back, he asked, “You don’t think the hat’s too much do you?”

“No, very Captain-like,” Gibbs reassured, looking at the oversized hat Will had brought with him from the day of Jack’s almost hanging. He watched Will row towards the shore until he couldn’t see the huge feather bobbing in the breeze anymore.

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

As Capt. Askew started to squeeze the trigger, a knock came on the other side of the door. With a snort of irritation, he replaced the pistol and opened the door.

“Captain, sir, there’s a man come on shore. Claims to be a Captain Turner of the Black Pearl. Says he wants to talk with you, sir,” a crewmember let him know.

“I’ll be right out,” Capt. Askew informed the man. Turning back the where Jack still lay on the floor, he added, “You better hope he tells the same story you did or I’ll kill you just for the sport of it.”

Capt. Askew left the room, the slamming of the door echoing after him.

“Not much sport when I can’t even run, is there?” Jack asked the empty room when he was sure Askew was well out of earshot. He’d caught only the last line about killing for sport and wondered what else Askew had said while he’d been knocked out.

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

Will was shown to a surprisingly plush sitting room. It was quickly apparent that although the building had appeared to be nothing more than a fortress/hideout, Capt. Askew spent at least some of his treasure to make the place comfortable. If it weren’t for the fact that this was an enemy pirate’s lair, Will would have thought it quite inviting and homey inside. The thought of Jack being kept elsewhere, somewhere far less comfortable, made Will significantly less appreciative of his surroundings. Of course the alternative was far worse – that Jack was not there at all, but rather had been killed and his body probably dumped at sea.

Capt. Askew entered the room from a side door. Will had to admit that the man certainly had a commanding air about him. His face was a blank. He walked stiffly, yet it was easy to tell he was very strong. He was clearly used to being unquestionably in charge. Will straightened his posture a bit in unconscious mimicry of the Captain before him.

“Captain Turner,” Will introduced himself, successfully squashing down the urge to offer his hand to shake.

Capt. Askew regarded him for a moment, a look of barely disguised disgust on his features, before saying, “Captain Askew, but then I suppose you already knew that since you’ve tracked me down. You should know I don’t take kindly to outsiders invading my home.”

“I came alone to speak with you about the return of a Mr. Jack Sparrow,” Will said, not directly acknowledging Askew’s previous comment.

“Mr. Jack Sparrow?” Askew said with obviously fake confusion. “What makes you think I know of whom you speak anyway?”

Screwing up his nerve, Will stepped threateningly (or that’s what he hoped it looked like) up to Askew. “I may not have made the accord with you but I did sail the Black Pearl to the cove. You damned well know who Jack Sparrow is because he was Captain of the Pearl when you made the accord – the accord that YOU violated!”

“Well since I made the accord with Sparrow, I was under no obligation to keep it with a new Captain,” Askew reasoned.

“But you DO know of Jack then,” Will said. “Is he here?”

“Perhaps.”

As Will addressed Askew, he made a slow circuit of the room, unknowingly circling the man just as he’d done to Jack only moments ago.

“Since you and I have never made any arrangements before, I’m willing to forgive the way you pinned the Black Pearl. Jack may have let such things happen but don’t think I’m about to make the same mistakes.” Returning to stand in front of Askew (and again noticing the man’s perfect, rigid posture) Will said in his most confident voice, “You will hand Jack Sparrow over to me.”

Askew immediately laughed in Will’s face. Will bristled but held his ground. “Really boy, you nearly had me going for a minute there. I damn near could have thought you a real captain.” Askew shook his head as he turned and made for the door out of the room.

“You doubt I’m a pirate, is that it?” Will asked, intent on proving the man wrong.

Turning back, all traces of humour gone from his face and tone, Askew said, “I doubt that you understand your position.”

“What I understand is The Black Pearl is in fine condition and she’s armed. Your ship is beached around the side of this island for repairs.”

“This island is my stronghold. Do you know nothing, boy? Do you really think you could make a dent in this place?” Askew asked, knocking on a solid wall for emphasis. “There’s a reason it appears to be a fortress, it was built to be just that.”

“If it were such a ‘fortress’ then you’d have taken better care to see that the job was done properly.” On Askew’s suspicious look, Will continued, “You had it built into the cliffs for stability, yet there’s a crack along the third, last row of stone wall. While it’s not huge, that’s a stress fracture. One good hit and your ‘fortress’ would be in dire straits, Capt. Askew.”

“You know an awful lot about building craftsmanship for the Captain of a ship,” Askew remarked, well aware of the crack he expected would go unnoticed by others. He’d spent a small fortune to have the building constructed, given its remote location. He’d noticed the crack himself late last year. He would have hunted down and killed the man commissioned to create the building had he not killed him upon its completion years back. That damn crack – all the more reason he needed to take Isle de Muerta as his new hideout.

“You’re right, I’ve not long been on the seas. But if you think I don’t know how to handle myself and a crew you’d be mistaken.” Will paused, then finished slowly, “I could take this fortress of yours out with one, maybe two good shots, Captain.”

Pulling his sword, Askew said, “Well then perhaps I should dispense of you right now then?”

Holding still and pushing down the impulse to draw his own weapon, Will said steadily, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

“And why not?” Askew asked, in an almost bored tone.

“My crew will attack in less than one hour’s time if I do not return. They’re likely loading the cannons as we speak. And I’m not the only one who knows about the inferior craftsmanship of this building.”

Will could see Askew’s jaw twitch. He knew the man had probably spent a fortune to have the building constructed and fortified. Will was very, very glad he’d picked up some knowledge of masonry along with his education in blacksmithing. If he hadn’t noticed that potentially fatal crack he’d have had far less to bargain with. He only hoped Askew believed him about the crew’s intent to attack since they were not indeed scheduled to do so until dawn if Will did not return.

“But I don’t come offering nothing. I’m willing to trade handsomely for the safe return of Jack Sparrow.”

“Trade you say?” Askew returned his sword to its sheath. “Why just a moment ago you were threatening to attack,” he pointed out.

“I think we can come to an agreeable arrangement, you and I. I have ten barrels and eight chests of various treasures. Gold, silver, crystal, the finest linens and silks. I’d be willing to part with half that number in exchange for Jack’s safe return.”

“I’d be taking all eighteen,” demanded Askew.

“Twelve.”

“Sixteen.”

“Fourteen.”

“Fifteen.”

“Fifteen, done. We have an accord then?” Will asked.

“We do,” Askew confirmed. Having made a bargain, and deciding that fighting wasn’t imminent, his wording and tone returned to a far more cordial and refined state. “Now may I ask why it is that you want that idiot Sparrow back so badly?”

“He wronged me in ways you could never understand,” Will said darkly. “I lost the love of my life because of him. He will pay, he will die by my hand and my hand alone.”

“I can’t return him in the condition he was previously, but he will die by your hand, you have my word,” Askew assured.

Will swallowed his questions as to Jack’s state. “Fine. Will you take me to him now?”

“When the goods are loaded into my hold room, Mr. Sparrow will be returned to you. I expect you will not cross me, or Jack will never know who ended his miserable life.”

“But you said you wouldn’t kill him, that he would die by my hand.”

“Yes, ‘Captain’ Turner, but if you want him returned in such condition that he’ll be aware of that fact, then I suggest you return to your ship and begin loading up my fee.” Turning his back to Will to leave, he added, “I’m serious Mr. Turner, don’t try to cross me.”

In a flash, Will unsheathed his sword and threw it with perfect accuracy. Before Askew could even register the sound of the weapon whistling through the air as it hurtled toward him, the sword hit its mark in the polished wood door frame, pinning his sleeve to it. Askew pulled the sword from its resting place, where it had bobbed slightly. He turned to give back the weapon as Will strode across the room.

“Don’t cross ME, Capt. Askew. I may be the worst sailor this side of the Atlantic, but I could kill you before you even drew your weapon, Savvy?” Will said, surprised how it rolled off his tongue so naturally. He was also slightly disturbed at the way his head cocked to the side, eyes narrowed when he said it. Having spent so much time in Jack’s company, perhaps he could pull off this Captain thing after all.

“Then it’s agreed, a fair exchange it shall be, Captain,” Askew said. For the first time the title wasn’t uttered in a tone of sarcasm.

Chapter 6

Jack had felt worse. He’d once had a hangover so painful he’d probably have slit his own wrists were it not for the fact that he knew the condition was only temporary. That, and he really didn’t want to be dead. The problem now was Jack was becoming increasingly aware that this wasn’t something he could just sleep off. His injuries were significant, and he knew that sleeping would probably be ill advised given his condition if he ever wanted to wake again. That of course was a real inconvenience because all Jack wanted to do was curl up and give into the dizzy drowsiness that pulled at him. Sure, he’d felt worse, but not by that much, and in the past he’d either have escaped a bad situation or had a plan to do so. Whether it was the blood loss (which was significant if the ever growing dark stain on the floor beneath him was any indicator) or that his luck had finally run out, Jack didn’t know. What he did know was that he still had no real plan to get out, and even if he did, he was quite possibly past the point where he would be able to execute said plan. Unless of course the plan had something to do with playing dead, in which case Jack thought he might just be able to handle it.

Jack curled himself tighter into a ball despite the way it pulled on his many wounds. He was getting cold, and had long since given into shivering and was now totally unable to stop. Not that he needed to; after all, nobody was watching since he was alone in his cell.

He was thankful for small blessings.

The heavy door banged open again.

Jack barely resisted the urge to laugh at the timing.

Askew walked up to where Jack laid on the floor. Jack meant to sit up but couldn’t quite talk his sluggish limbs into cooperating. Askew sat down across from him, a grin on his face that didn’t make it all the way to his eyes.

“I spoke with your Captain,” he said.

“My Captain?” Jack began in confusion before his tired mind remembered the story. “Ah yes, come to rescue me has he?”

“Whatever would give you that idea?”

“Thought maybe he came to his senses, realized I was valuable.”

“That you are, Mr. Sparrow, in a way. But I’m afraid young Turner has rather specific plans for you and while they may include your departure from my hospitality, they don’t harbour much hope when it comes to your life.”

“Eh?”

“Well I’d hate to spoil the surprise but I think he plans to kill you. Quite angry and willing to go through a great deal of trouble and expense to get you back so he can kill you himself,” Askew said, sounding amused. “Although,” he paused, “I COULD just do away with you myself.” Askew fingered the hilt of his sword subtly.

“I doubt Will would take kindly to that,” Jack said honestly.

“Likely. Whatever did you do to the boy to make him so set on your death?” Askew asked casually, as though he hadn’t just threatened to kill Jack. “Why is he willing to trade your life, or your death I should say, for fourteen chests of treasure?”

“You know I’m not entirely sure what I did to make him so fixated on me. I only regret that I did it.” In his head Jack corrected, ‘I’m so glad I did … whatever it was that made Will so devoted to me.’ He continued aloud, “Might’ve had something to do with his lady love though, with me sayin’ what I shouldn’t ‘ave… Hey, wait! Fourteen chests! That’s it?! I’m worth twice that,” Jack said automatically, without thinking.

“My thoughts exactly,” Askew said with a chilling grin.

Jack decided that this would be a good time to practice keeping his mouth shut, especially since it seemed there wasn’t enough blood left in him to power his mind properly.

Chapter 7

Captain Askew stood and watched as the last of the chests and barrels were loaded into his holding room, each taking two men to carry. The chests were surprisingly large and he’d insisted they open the first one so that he could inspect it. The items filling it had been packed carefully, expensive fabrics acting as cushions for fine crystal, with the heavier items in the bottom. It wasn’t the most space effective packing job, but then Askew figured he could always rearrange things later. Glancing around the store room area, he was again reminded that he would have to abandon the location soon. It wouldn’t do to have the whole crew of the Black Pearl knowing where he made berth. Oh there had been rumors before, but this would not do, and besides, there was another place he’d long since decided would make a fine location for his stores – Isle de Muerta.

If all went well he wouldn’t have to worry about the crew of the Pearl giving away his location here – they’d be too busy taking him to Isle de Muerta or dying if they refused. The Black Calamity was so badly damaged at the moment that even with most of his crew working to repair her, it would be far too long before she would be sea worthy. There would be too much time that his island and its flawed fortress would be vulnerable.

Though at first Askew had planned only to get the map (and the entire holdings) from the Pearl, the Captain had now decided that he could make good use of such a fine ship. Better use than its current young and inexperienced Captain at any rate, he decided.

The Pearl was armed and Askew’s building not strong but Captain Turner, while clearly brave, wasn’t capable of organizing and effectively defending his ship. Askew didn’t doubt that the crew could be overtaken, especially with them divided as they were now.

There were five crewmembers of the Pearl who had brought in the chests and barrels, six if you included her Captain. Askew had more than twice that number of men inside the room, waiting around the sides. It would be simple enough to overtake his enemies with the possible exception of Turner. If the boy was even half as handy with a sword as Askew suspected, he would be a formidable opponent. Still, sheer numbers would work in his favour, and with the head of Captain Turner dangling from his hand, the remaining members on board the Pearl would give up easily enough. Given the young man’s lack of experience, Askew decided the men might just be willing and pleased to find themselves under the rule of a more competent Captain.

Askew smiled as he imagined the looks of fear and respect he would get as he boarded the Pearl with Turner’s severed head. In a last minute decision, Askew decided rather than just kill Sparrow and dump the body, he’d take HIS head along too. He held back a giggle that threatened to burst out of him. Askew still remembered the first time a superior had mentioned that were it not for his good tactical skills, young Askew would have found himself confined to a sanatorium for the rest of his days. He’d been more careful to hide his excitement and eccentricities after that. Indeed, he’d become highly skilled at appearing quite normal and controlled. Dropping the final, and apparently rather, heavy chest in the middle of the room, Will walked up to Askew. The five crew members moved back against the far wall, trading menacing glares with Askew’s men.

“Fourteen as agreed. Now return Sparrow to me,” Will said, sounding slightly winded. Carrying the chests up the beach and into the building had been long and tiring.

Askew smiled graciously at Will. If he hadn’t realized it before, Will would have noticed then that there was something off about the man. At times he acted as polite and cordial as one would expect of a fine Naval Captain. Yet in other moments there was a dark, sinister glint to his eye, and it was more than that of a pirate; it was the menacing look of the dangerously insane. Being on the receiving end of his imitation polite smiles was more unnerving for Will than if the man had just outright glared at him.

“Certainly Captain Turner. I’ll bring him in right now,” Askew said with sickening politeness. He opened a door and leaned around the edge, pulling something up from the floor.

Jack had been sitting against the wall outside the chamber, his hands bound and a guard holding a loaded pistol against his head. The last two things, in addition to his generally weakened state, had induced him to keep still and quiet. But when Askew roughly yanked him to his feet, Jack let out a pained yelp. He suddenly found himself pulled into a large room. At his end was himself and Askew, who regrettably was holding something decidedly sharp and pointy and digging it into his back with enough force to hurt, but not enough to cut though the fabric.

Along the sides of the room were men, a few of whom he recognized from his recent time onboard the Black Calamity. On the far side of the room was a handful of his crew. In the middle were a number of chests, the one farthest to the right opened and displaying treasure. A small and easily distracted part of his mind noted that the crystal in the chest was from the last ship they had raided.

But what caught his attention the most was Will, staring at him. Relief, shock and confusion were all apparent on the young man’s face. He watched as Will soundlessly mouthed his name. Jack wanted to go to him but the dagger pressing into his back made him think otherwise.

“You know Turner,” Askew began, his previously expressionless face suddenly taking on a new look. “I think it would be better if there were a few changes. Since neither you, nor Jack, can take adequate care of the Black Pearl, it would be best that I became her new Captain.”

Askew pulled the dagger away from Jack’s back. Jack felt relief for a moment before he felt the cold knife blade return, now pressing dangerously against his throat. “So I’ll be taking your ship and the treasure, and Isle de Muerta will be mine.”

Will held his ground. If he blew it and moved too soon, Jack could die. If he hesitated too long, it could end just as badly though. Will had had never wanted to play a pirate captain. He’d never wanted to be a pirate at all. Looking into Jack’s eyes, Will searched for a sign. He wasn’t a Captain, he didn’t know what to do. He certainly didn’t know how to lead a crew into battle. A swordfight with an opponent was one thing, but this was entirely different. Yet Jack had taught him the importance of the opportune moment. If only Jack would give him some sign when that was…

“And I’ll also be taking both your heads. A little something for your crew to remember you by as they rot on the deck. Two captains who couldn’t handle the Black Pearl,” Askew said.

Jack felt Askew’s body shift as the man prepared to cut his throat.

“That just can’t happen, mate,” Jack said, feeling the dagger blade scrape against his throat as he spoke. His voice was rough and weak.

“And why is that Mr. Sparrow?” Askew asked, tightening his grip, preparing to slice Jack’s neck open.

“Because I’m CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow!” he said loudly.

Will watched, frozen in shock as Jack’s body fell to the ground at Askew’s feet.

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

Chapter 8

After Jack for the thousandth time corrected the lack of title, he let his body go limp, effectively surprising Askew enough to escape his grip. Askew recovered quickly though and almost before Jack could roll over, the man was swinging the dagger at his chest. Jack caught the knife-wielding hand and deflected the slash. He twisted around so that he was on his knees, still holding Askew’s right hand that clutched the knife tightly. It seemed like they were caught there, struggling with the knife for an eternity. Jack’s arms shook with the strain of holding the other man off. He could see that the dagger’s sharp point was slowly being forced alarmingly close to his chest. Jack pushed back with all the force he had left but only managed to move the knife’s trajectory slightly. Askew leaned into his knife arm, using his higher position to his advantage as his weight gave it more force. The dagger lunged forward, headed straight for Jack’s heart.

****** Will watched in stunned shock as Jack had fallen to the floor. It had taken a moment before it registered that Jack’s throat had not been slit, not yet at any rate. Askew was positioned over Jack; they were struggling for control of the dagger. Standing halfway across the large room, Will found himself again in the horrid position of watching Jack yet being unable to help him. With the two of them moving around like that, there was far too much risk to Jack for him to try throwing a weapon and taking Askew out.

Suddenly Will realized there was no water separating them this time. He wasn’t forced to stand idly by as Jack was again trapped in the clutches of his enemy. Will started to run to where Jack and Askew were fighting. He saw Askew’s men coming to surround him as they moved from their previously statue-like, unmoving positions around the walls of the chamber.

Still running to Jack, Will yelled, “Now!” Suddenly, in the middle of the room, the chests and barrels of treasure came to life as lids were thrown open and sides kicked away. Thirteen angry, and previously very cramped, pirates sprang into action. Along with the crewmembers who had delivered the “treasure”, they immediately threw themselves into assorted sword and fist fights with Askew’s men.

Knowing the crew would keep Askew’s pirates at bay, Will finally arrived at the tussling pair just as the dagger was about to reach its target. Will drove right into Askew with his shoulder. As the man had been leaning all his weight downwards, trying to force the knife into Jack, he was easily thrown off balance and knocked off.

Will stood over the fallen man, his boot resting heavily on Askew’s collarbone, his sword point hovering dangerously close to the Captain’s face.

“Bastard!” Askew seethed, his face contorted in undisguised hatred. Looking away from Will, and his ominous sword tip, Askew could see his men losing. “You cheated!”

Will smirked, cocked his head, and said, “Pirate.”

*****

Handing over the chore of watching Askew to another crew member (with explicit instructions to kill the man if he dared to move but an inch), Will turned to Jack. He crouched down, looking over Jack in concern. When Jack tried to get up, Will half supported, half pulled him into a standing position.

“‘s allright, Will. ‘m okay,” Jack slurred as he struggled to keep standing. He was beyond dizzy and appreciated the hand that Will put on his shoulder to help steady him. He especially appreciated that Will held his non-injured shoulder, as the wound had begun to bleed and throb again.

“No, you’re not,” Will said insistently, worry clearly in his eyes. He pulled Jack against his chest, half to assure himself that the man was really back with him and half to keep the Captain from falling over. “What happened to you?”

Before Jack could answer, a booming thud shook the building. Had it been merely cannon fire, that might well have been the end of it until the next shot, but the slight shaking of the floor beneath them continued. The fighting pirates stopped, both crews froze, several men in mid-swing. Everyone waited to hear cannon fire but instead there was the ever increasing rumble of something else. Dust and mortar began to fall from the ceiling, and the shaking grew in strength.

“My God, the building’s going to collapse,” Will said quietly, thinking of the crack. Suddenly everyone else in the room figured out the same, or at least that something was dangerously wrong. Fighting opponents turned from each other, abandoning their battles as the shaking grew even more severe, the groaning and rumbling louder still. In the blink of an eye, chaos had broken out and everywhere there were pirates scurrying for exits. Small bits of rock began to fall from the ceiling and cracks snaked their way across the stone walls. The lit torches fell from their holders. From their resting place on the floor, the torches cast a strange, off balanced light into the increasingly dusty air.

Will wrapped an arm around Jack’s waist and started them moving. Despite focusing on navigating through the sea of panicked pirates, Will was aware of the sticky, wet feel of blood under his hand.

“Jack?” he asked over the din of shouting men and groaning building.

“Right ‘ere,” Jack said as he limped alongside Will. “Where’s Askew?”

Will looked back to where they’d left the man. He saw the sailor he’d put in charge of guarding Askew dive out of the way just as a huge chunk of the heavy stone and wood ceiling fell. Through the dust, Will couldn’t make out whether it had landed on top of Askew or not, but the debris was now resting where the Captain had been moments before.

“It’s not him we need to worry about at the moment,” Will said, hurrying their pace. They had to step over debris, careful not to trip.

When Jack and Will finally made it to the far doorway, the rumbling and groaning had become constant and so loud that it was nearly deafening. They had narrowly avoided the large, falling hunks of stone. Just as they moved out of the room and into the relative safety of the hallway, Will heard a horrific noise. It could have been just the sound of the ceiling finally caving in, but Will could swear he heard something else too: a voice scream his last name before the sound of falling rock drowned out everything else.

Chapter 9

By the time they had rowed back to the Black Pearl, Askew’s fortress was nearly destroyed. The stone building had collapsed in on itself, leaving one very large and dusty ruin. Neither Jack nor Will had made any attempts to stop Askew’s men from escaping. The Black Calamity was still beached on the other side of the island, though not about to set sail any time soon, so they had no qualms about leaving the men there.

The Pearl had not fired on the building so it was something of a mystery as to why it had begun to fall at that moment. From her vantage point some distance off the shore, the crew of the Pearl couldn’t have made out everything, but they surely would have seen if another vessel had fired a lucky shot, yet they had seen no such ship. It was puzzling but could perhaps be chocked up to fate.

“So what do you think became of Askew then?” Jack asked, his voice still rough from a combination of exhaustion, pain, and dust inhaled earlier. They’d seen to his wounds and bandaged most of them up. The shoulder wound had been as bad as Jack had expected and had taken many stitches to keep closed. Because of its location it hurt and pulled whenever he moved his right arm. Actually, pretty much EVERYTHING hurt when he moved ANYTHING and Jack had decided to stay as still as he could, not an easy task for a man who talked with his hands and was animated with his whole body when he spoke. “Do you think he could have made it out?”

Will sighed. He honestly couldn’t say. He’d seen what looked like the Captain getting squished by a huge piece of falling rock, but that scream … had it been his imagination? Could Askew have escaped? “I don’t know, Jack. We made it out, so I guess he could have.”

Will would like to believe the bastard had been buried in his own flawed fortress. He’d been beyond angry when he got a good look at how badly Askew had injured Jack. Had the building not collapsed and they not been already a good way out to sea, Will would have gone back just to see if he couldn’t kill Askew himself.

Will had stitched Jack’s shoulder wound himself. It had crisscrossed with the older scar, forming a perfect X. He hoped that if Askew did survive, he didn’t believe X marked the spot, and returned to destroy Jack.

“’e’s not gonna come after me, Will,” Jack said, voice gravelly.

“What makes you so sure? If he did survive,” Will asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Askew’d go after you,” Jack said solemnly.

“Me?” Will asked. He thought for a moment before realizing that the man would indeed have more reason to pursue him than Jack now. “Me.”

“Aye, he’d be going after the Black Pearl and her Captain.”

“Who is definitely not me,” Will said.

“I don’t know, Will,” Jack said, grinning. “You did a right fine job, and I’m likely t’ be laid up for some time.”

“I would never be Captain of the Pearl, not for real,” Will said, shaking his head.

“Well that’s too bad, cause you’d’ve made an excellent Captain. Oh well, guess I’ll have to go see Miss Swan ‘bout becoming my replacement should anything unforeseen happen to ol’ Jack.”

“Elizabeth?”

“Sure, she’d make a hell of a pirate, a good Captain. Not as good as you, but if you didn’t want the job…”

“You’re mad, Jack,” Will said, shaking his head. Thinking of Elizabeth, he said, “I told Askew I was going to kill you, that you’d made me lose the love of my life.” Jack waited silently for Will to finish. “I once thought you did,” Will admitted. He paused before continuing, “I don’t blame you, Jack. I know things would have turned out the way they did whether you’d returned or not. I know that now.”

Will still loved Elizabeth, but their love wasn’t the kind that bound people together for life; in the end, while it was love, it was not the kind they’d once thought.

“I always knew, Will,” Jack said, reaching a hand forward carefully, resting it on Will’s leg. “I jus’ didn’ have the patience to let you two figure it out for yerselves.” Shaking himself out of the more serious mode, Jack said, “You looked very Captain-like, standing there. And the chests, your idea?”

“Yeah,” Will said, feeling vaguely uncomfortable with the praise.

“Clever,” Jack said with a small nod.

“Why didn’t you tell me you wanted me to claim to be Captain if you were ever captured? Why tell Gibbs but not me?” Will asked.

“You’d ‘ave refused,” Jack said.

“No, I wouldn’t have,” Will said automatically. On Jack’s look, he admitted, “Alright, maybe I would have.”

“Mmm hmm. And you would ‘ave worried ‘bout it. I didn’ want you sittin’ round stewin’ over something that might never ‘ave happened.”

“I don’t ‘stew’,” Will said defensively.

“You do, Luv. Why do you think I didn’ tell you ‘bout the accord wif Askew, eh?”

“About that,” Will started, remembering his earlier irritation with Jack. “You should have told me. Don’t you trust me, Jack?”

“I trusted you wif the Pearl, Will,” Jack said simply, as though this was answer enough. It was. “I jus’ didn’t want you worryin’ o’er something that might not ‘ave been a big deal.”

“But it was, Jack,” Will said as he got up to pace around the cabin a bit. “It nearly got you killed!”

“Right, I admit it. Not the most intelligent accord I’ve made,” Jack said. There was a time he’d never have admitted such a thing. But now, with Will, things were different.

“You should have told me … about the agreement with Askew, the plan for if you were ever captured.” The frustration with the recent situation came back to him. “How can you say you trust me with the Pearl but still keep these secrets?”

“Not secrets, Will. I thought it better if you din’ have to worry ‘bout all that. But you can handle it, I’ve seen it. You could Captain this ship, wif all that entails. I’ve no doubt of it now.” Will huffed still pacing the room. Jack followed the irritated young man with his eyes. “You going to stay angry wif’ me?” Jack asked.

Sometimes dealing with Will was far worse than any woman. The young man could hold a grudge with the best of them if he thought he’d been wronged. He was more than worth it though. No woman had ever come to Jack’s rescue like that. No woman had ever carried out a plan to save him from an enemy. Actually, nobody really ever had done those things for him, man or woman, except for Will. Jack had spent a difficult 10 years alone. Very alone. It was a new feeling to trust that someone would come to his aid no matter what.

Will looked across the room at Jack. Between the bandages and the big, beaten puppy eyes, Will knew he couldn’t hold out. Returning to sit on the bed beside Jack, Will said, “No, I’m not going to stay angry, not if you promise to stop keeping things from me.”

“I promise. I trust you, Will, wif’ the Pearl, wif my life,” Jack declared, sincerely, his voice raw.

Will very carefully leaned over Jack to kiss him. The angle wasn’t ideal as Will was trying to keep all his weight off of Jack’s chest, but their passion, forgiveness, and acceptance more than made up for that. In the kiss their lips said more than if either had spoken aloud.

Sitting back up, Will, no longer angry, said, “I was worried he’d kill you. When you waved us off…” Will shook his head, “it felt like the worst thing I’d ever done, leaving you there.”

“Did what we ‘ad to. It’s an occupational hazard, Will. These thing ‘appen. I knew that, an’ now you do as well.” Will nodded. Trying to make the question sound light, Jack asked, “Not having second thoughts ‘bout bein’ a pirate are you?”

“No, not anymore,” Will said, looking down at Jack. He realized Jack hadn’t meant to be secretive, and it wasn’t that he’d kept things from Will because he didn’t trust him. If pretending to be Captain of the Black Pearl is what it took to convince Jack that he was capable of handling anything, then it was all worth it. Still, Will hoped he wouldn’t have to do it again, at least not any time soon. He was perfectly happy to leave that job to Jack.

But being in charge hadn’t been all bad, indeed it gave him an idea…

“Since I’m still acting Captain of the Pearl, I have a couple orders for you,” Will said.

Jack’s eyebrows shot up, but he said nothing.

Will smirked as he said, “Now lie still, no squirming around like you usually do.” He added the command, “And no talking.”

“Yes, sir,” Jack said, his dark eyes filling with lust. He’d always wanted Will to be more take charge in their lovemaking, but thus far, he’d never convinced him. Not until now. Not squirming was going to be a challenge. Even the slightest of moves made him hurt again. It probably would have been easier if Will tied him to the bed posts. He’d wanted to make the suggestion for some time now but he’d been unsure how Will would react. However, if this new commanding play was any indication…

Will knew Jack would have a hard time staying still. It was difficult for the man to keep from fidgeting and waving around at the best of times. It was more important now though. The last thing Will wanted to do was cause Jack to start bleeding again all in the name of a little fooling around. And yet it was more than that. If it were just for fun’s sake he wouldn’t have risked it, risked hurting Jack. But Will needed to confirm for himself that Jack was here and safe. Speaking with him was one thing, but somehow his body needed confirmation that Jack had returned. It wasn’t the best time to do this, but he couldn’t wait.

Will pulled back the blankets, letting his hand trail lightly over Jack’s skin. Given the look in Jack’s eyes, Will wasn’t surprised to find he was already erect.

“Wasn’t sure there was enough blood lef’ in me for that,” Jack said, grinning. Though he made light of the situation now he was still quite weakened by blood loss. He was pale to the point of looking decidedly unhealthy, and despite the fact that Will had taken great care to properly clean his wounds, Jack thought he could already feel the first stirrings of a fever. Of course, that was forgotten for the moment as his face flushed with something else entirely.

“Shhh,” Will said as he leaned over, taking the head of Jack’s cock in his mouth.

His words and actions had opposing reactions as Jack cried out softly, trying to follow Will’s orders, but failing to do so. Will braced himself with one hand on the bed so as not to put any of his weight on Jack. He wanted to grab Jack’s hips, to guide his thrusts. He knew that drove Jack wild, but at the moment, a bucking Jack was not what he needed. Will instead settled on more gently caressing Jack’s body, working his way from chest to stomach to finally tickle lightly over his hipbones and back again, carefully avoiding the various bandages and sore spots as best he could.

Jack panted as his heart started to race. He blamed the blood loss for the intense dizziness that was overtaking him as he felt the bed spin beneath him. Tensing up to avoid moving wasn’t comfortable and much as he thrived on the feeling of Will sucking him, he hoped the young man would take pity on him and finish it quickly for once. If Will drew it out, Jack was likely to be in just as much pain as pleasure.

As though Will had just read his mind, though he knew it was more likely the young man had “read” his body instead, Jack felt his cock being deep throated. The gentle hand that had been trailing around his body suddenly latched onto his balls, squeezing, then pushing a finger behind.

Jack came with a grunt. The feeling of spinning suddenly felt more intense and his vision spotted.

Lightheaded and panting, Jack became aware again, confused to find Will not in front of him but behind, supporting him into a half sitting position. Will’s chest felt cool and firm against his back. There was a small pillow behind his injured shoulder to keep the pressure off it.

“Are you alright now?” Will asked, feeling Jack stir.

“Mmm hmm,” Jack murmured. In some ways he felt more than alright. There was something very reassuring about being held in the arms of a lover after sex. Though he felt better for the moment, Jack had the sneaking suspicion that he would soon be feeling his injuries again. Already he noticed the chilled feeling starting to return.

“You had me worried again. Not your normal reaction,” Will said. Were it not for Jack’s generally weakened state, he’d have been terrified by the reaction.

“What can I say, Luv? You just get better and better every time.” Jack knew Will still had reservations about some aspects of their relationship, namely sex. Will’s upbringing in so-called respectable society had not been lavish but it had clearly been full of so-called morals. It had taken a fair amount of convincing to get Will to believe he wasn’t being deviant, nor was he going to burn in hell for following his body and heart’s instincts. Jack had one day made the point that if Will were to be eternally damned, the young man’s place had long since been reserved as a result of his part in acts of piracy. The argument had been an effective one, and ever since, Will had become less and less believing in the “morals” he’d been taught.

“I don’t think your reaction had all that much to do with me. You should lie down, Jack,” Will said, and he prepared to carefully shift Jack back onto the bed to lie flat. He could feel too warm skin through his shirt, and since Jack had passed out, he was very much regretting his decision to engage in any kind of sexual activity, no matter how badly he’d thought he needed to reassure himself.

“’s all right for the moment. Comfortable,” Jack said sleepily.

They were quiet for a few moments before Will spoke again. “Do you think he survived the collapse?”

“Maybe.”

“You think he’ll come after us if he did?”

“Absolutely.”

“So we’ll be looking over our shoulders forever then?” Will asked.

“Will, yer a pirate, ‘e’s not exactly the only person out to get you,” Jack pointed out.

“I know. I just … don’t want to spend every day worrying about tomorrow.”

“Can’t tell what tomorrow’s gonna bring, Luv,” Jack said drowsily. “Can’t tell for sure what turn the weather’ll take, who’ll come lookin’ to spill yer blood. The most ye can do is be ready to face it.”

“Is that being a pirate captain?”

“That’s being a survivor, Will. Jus’ know that for the moment everythin’s all right. For tomorrow, I make no promises.”

Will nodded and pulled Jack closer to him, all too aware of the way the injured man was shivering slightly against him. It felt good to have Jack in his arms again, he took comfort in it. Still, he worried what the coming weeks might bring.

End


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