Title: Pierhead Jump
Author: Pigeon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: PG13 / 15
Summary: Together but rip tides of the past still threaten.
Series: The Afloat Trilogy. Comes after 'Between Wind and Water' and 'Floodable Length'.
Disclaimer: Disney and the makers of PotC own all and get all the credit. I'm just a poor and obsessive student who likes to play with others' characters. No harm is meant. Please don't sue, I'm broke anyway.
Well it comes down to the fact
that Im now different from the past,
demanding all my ideals its just trying to make them last,
and some of the things you say
theyre ringing home so true.
I hang my head out of the door and I follow you,
yes I follow you and get away
"Get Away," Ocean Colour Scene
There was something quintessentially wrong with Captain Jack Sparrow having to slink through the back-alleys of Port Royal like the most common of criminals.
Hes been considered such before, of course, but not since he was eight and got caught with his hand in some toffs pocket.
For that he got a dozen of the best and the notion that being a dip wasnt the way to go.
But hes kept his hand in, so to speak and not without a dash of the literal, and when he sees Master J. Brown, Blacksmith and all around drunkard, staggering and singing something blue, its the easiest thing in the world to walk up to the man, throw a companionable arm about his shoulders, and relieve him of his keys.
Will shifts and sweats in his small room. The only window is sealed shut and set high, but Will can remember England and the window tax and the dark, smoky garret he and his mother occupied and is grateful nonetheless.
He kicks off the cotton sheet and lies quietly in his nightshirt.
His mouth is dry and he thinks of rum flowing hot and thick over his lips and down his throat.
All in all the alleys of Port Royal are remarkably clean. The ground is nothing but hard packed mud, but the sun is hot and it hasn't rained in an age, and it is nothing like the slick grimy cobbles of London.
Jack avoids where bedpans and filth have been emptied from windows and hums low to himself as he slips closer to the smithy.
Will tries to lull his mind to sleep.
He must rise before dawn to light the forge and the day's work has left him bone-weary.
But the land is solid and doesn't move or rock beneath him and it is the far side of midnight before he slips off.
Jack pauses before the door to the forge.
He was nine when he went down to the docks, stowed away on a ship, and left The Rookery behind.
She was the Lady Jane, a sleek, highly polished, yare vessel, all smooth woodgrain and shiny brightwork. He scrubbed her deck and played cabin boy for the officers, and was rewarded in sips of rum and a sporadic education.
He remembers that from the moment they sailed down The Thames, and he stared back at the docks, and the Isle of Dogs, and the crowded mass of London, he knew he belonged on water, away from cities and a landlocked life.
He slips the key into the lock and eases the door silently open.
Will dreams of many things.
His nightshirt sticks damply to his body, and his breaths are deep and even.
He dreams of the sea and freedom.
He dreams of treasure.
He dreams of Jack.
Jack went pirate when he was fifteen.
Being a cabin boy was honest work.
He laid out charts for the Captain, fetched and carried, lit lamps, was always on hand to serve meals, and did what he was bade.
He also learnt that Roger the cabin boy was not so much a joke as a threat, and his duties included being on his back at a moment's notice.
Will shifts in his sleep.
Jack also considers whoring to be honest work.
But if he's to spread his legs he wants the money to be upfront and agreed upon.
He had the chance of turning pro before he left London. He sees no shame in it, a trade's a trade, services rendered, and a tart's as worthy as any swell.
But he's not going to bend over at the Captain's whim when there's not so much as a shilling in it for him.
So when the crew mutinies and he's caught between honesty and a good buggering, or dishonesty and his body being his own, there's little thought needed.
Will's dreams skitter away from him as he hears the hinny give a soft bray and the door creak.
He's out of bed and clutching a sword within a second.
Jack's foot collides with something and he swears and curses and hops forward.
And then he sees Will
Will who's holding a sword and is looking sleek and fierce and dangerous.
Will who's looking sexy as hell.
And Jack smiles and shakes his head and says, "You wouldn't want to stick me on that, would you, mate?"
When Will was thirteen he ran away from Master Brown and the smithy and Port Royal.
He had come to the Caribbean to find his father. He had crossed an entire ocean to search for him, to tell him of his wife's slow death from consumption.
To tell him how he'd watched blood bubble up from between her lips.
How she'd grown paler each day, until her skin was ashen and thin and withered.
And to tell him how he'd tried to look after her, tried to nurse her, and do all the menial tasks like bathe and feed her. How he'd honestly tried to make her better, make her well again.
But she'd died all the same and now lay in a pauper's grave on the outskirts of the city.
"Jack." Will wishes he could say more but he can't. The words are in his throat, words of surprise and happiness and longing, but they stick and choke him.
He steps forward and his hand is suddenly caught in Jack's hair, and Jack's mouth is on his and his breath runs short, and the thump of Jack's heart feels more familiar than his own.
"Bed, whelp," Jack gasps. "Where?"
Will takes Jacks hand, quickly leading him back to where he is too aware than no one else has ever been invited. "Here," he rasps, shedding his nightshirt, "Just here."
They'd found him two days after he'd run away, visiting the inns and trawling all over the docks, asking desperately after a merchant sailor called William Turner.
Will was taken back to the forge and beaten until he couldn't stand.
He was told how ungrateful he was.
That he was a hard-hearted wretch who gave no thought to others.
That the forge was his home now, he belonged there, and god help him if he ever tried to run away again.
Jack can remember Bootstrap who liked girls and tits and smiles.
Bootstrap, who was never quite above a good old romp no matter how puritan he pretended to be.
Bootstrap, who would sigh and cry in pleasure just as much as any man given the right impetus, but never gave his heart.
Will bites his lip and arches his back.
"I've missed you, boy," Jack whispers.
"Missed you too much."
"Too much," Will repeats as Jack's mouth nips and sucks at his skin.
"Far too much."
"Yes." Will lets loose a whimper as Jack's hand closes about him.
"What do you want, lad?" Jack grins down at him. "Tell me."
The scar on Jack's belly came from his first serious lover.
Not his first by any stretch of the imagination, he'd had both men and women long before Henry came along.
The 'V' was from a small fruit knife, the kind most commonly used for apples and pears, he thought Jack was playing away and decided to leave his mark indelibly etched.
"You," Will can't think of anything else to reply. "I want you."
Henry kissed the blood away, his tongue lapping at the wound and murmured, "Vincio, Jack, and vinco, and victor. It's Latin; to bind, defeat." He smiled, "I am the victor here, Jack."
"You've got me," Jack murmurs, "Now, what?"
Will doesn't answer, just surges up, kissing Jack again, and reverses their positions so that Jack is firmly pinned beneath him.
Jack laughs, "You want to lead this dance, lad?"
After Jack killed Henry, bashing in the back of his skull while he slept, Jack played with what other words the 'V' could stand for.
Vunnificus and valesco from Latin.
Voile and voyageur from French.
And vengeance and vice and villain in English.
Will draws back a little. "Would you let me?" He frowns and drags his eyes from Jack, to focus on the far wall. "Would you trust me like that?"
"Trust's a funny thing, Will." Jack scrapes his nails down the boy's back, trailing them over the firm muscles. "I wouldn't tell you the bearings of hidden treasure, I wouldn't let you hold a pistol on me, or a knife to my throat. This I'll trust you with."
"People act according to their nature. I steal, drink, and generally pillage my weasely black guts out. You make swords, pine over lasses, and try to pretend you're not a pirate. It might happen that one day it'll be natural to your nature to try and kill ol' Jack, being as you is a fine upstanding citizen, and me being an infamous wanted man known through-out the seven seas." He gives a little twist of his hips, pleased at the small little gasps it elicits from Will. "But it isn't and won't be according to your nature to take advantage of what was offered, trusted to you."
Will can feel sweat rolling down the length of his spine.
The room is quiet and he almost wishes for the distracting sounds of Tortuga.
Jack's breath brushes against his face and he shuts his eyes. "I don't know if I can trust myself."
Jack leans up, takes Will's jaw in his hand, and kisses him.
Tortuga was drunken passion.
It held lies and deceit and blurred kisses so deep they were starved of breath.
Will can remember fire and pain and pressing his face in to the pillow as he was breached.
And he can remember lightning shocks and pleasure dancing before his eyes.
Jack looks Will directly in the eye. "Squaring with yerself takes time, mate."
"I don't fit anymore."
Jack laughs, and his fingers beat out a light tattoo on the boy's hip. "Who said you ever did, mate?"
Will lets all his weight drop onto Jack, burying his face in the crook his neck, breathing in sweat and sea-salt.
"Blacksmiths don't normally make a habit of practising with their swords all day, or dreaming over the Gov'ners daughter. It's not what's expected of them, and it's not how they behave."
"I was a good blacksmith."
"No, you were skilled at blacksmithing," Jack insists and shifts his hold, tracing the muscles in Will's back. "Now, you do appear to be naked and lying in me arms, as it were, and this doesn't seem to be the opportune moment for having conversation."
"Luv, we'll talk and argue and hash it all out come morning. For now let's see how you take to being on top."
In Tortuga Jack can only remember fuzzy images of heat and skin and pressing his tongue to the flesh between Will's shoulder blades, and tasting the salt of him.
Will sinks into Jack and holds his breath.
Jack is making short sharp little noises beneath him.
Will's movements are jerky, he's scorched and clutched by Jack, and little air reaches his lungs.
"Slow and steady, lad," Jack whispers and gasps.
They find a rhythm.
Jack calls out. Will makes one last deep thrust. And they collapse on to the bed.
The small window faces East, and the morning sun shines in a small bright shaft down onto the bed where Jack lies.
The air is thick with old dust, and wood, and the stench of candles made from animal fat, and a newer layer of sweat and sex.
Jack shifts and wriggles on the bed, throwing up an arm to shield his eyes from the dawn.
There is no warm sleepy body beside him, but he can hear the steady pound of iron on steel and doesn't worry.
He reaches for his hat, places it firmly over his face and settles down for a further doze.
When Jack awakes for the second time, the forge is quiet, and still, and deserted.
It is madness for Jack to walk the streets of Port Royal in daylight.
But it is late morning now and Will has yet to return.
He gathers his effects, and sidles out the door into the busy Port Royal streets.
Jack wonders if Will has ever been to London.
Wonders if, even, Will could be from London. Maybe from South of the river. Or over by Cheapside.
Not from The Rookery though, young as Will was when he left there'd be no chance he'd forget the squalor and misery and lawlessness.
No chance he wouldn't recognise in Tortuga a certain similitude.
Not that Tortuga's in any way as bad as the old place, not nearly so dangerous and sordid, but it's as near as you can get beneath the bright Caribbean sun.
Jack tries the taverns first.
He only pauses long enough for one drink in each before moving on to the next and searching round for Will.
Bootstrap once mentioned something about Cornwall.
But then he might also have mentioned something about York and Norfolk.
Jack can't quite recall what old Bill had to say about them exactly, whether it be 'that's the place I was born and raised', or 'never got round to visiting there', but he's sure he never said nowt about leaving a wife and child in any of these places.
After the taverns and a good few mugs of rum Jack tries the Governor's house.
He slips over walls and dives through hedgerows until he's at the back wall of the house and next to an ever-so-handy trellis that reaches up to the first floor balcony.
It's not so easy as climbing the rigging, Jack discovers, and before he reaches the top there's a mess of jasmine blossoms decorating his hair and twigs sticking to his clothes.
He slinks into what appears to be Elizabeth's bedchamber, with its lace and embroidered patterns and wide bed. He picks up a delicate hand mirror and rearranges the white flowers about his ears, before scattering them across the bed.
Jack wonders if Will ever got round to tupping the girl in that big bed.
If perhaps they are actually engaged and just waiting for the wedding day and wedding night.
A smile drawn tight across his lips, Jack slides a dagger from his boot and a scores a simple sparrow into the fine, rich wood of the dressing table.
It is by accident, when he finally finds the lad, sitting with his back pressed to a gravestone in the little churchyard that couldn't be more different from the ones back in England if it tried.
Jack doesn't call out a welcome, just plants himself at the boy's feet, takes a long swig of rum, then tosses the bottle to the boy.
Jack can recall old Bootstrap crossing himself as waves threatened to pull the ship apart, hands moving easily from forehead to lower belly, from one side of his chest to the other, eyes down turned.
Will can recall his mother reading him scripture each night before bed. Her low voice intoning each word with pure reverence, before she bade her son kneel and give thanks for his health and strength and beg pardon for the depths of his sins.
"Will you ask me to come with you?" Will asks.
"You're a pirate," Jack smiles. "Or you've the making of one at any rate."
"Because I broke the rules," Will murmurs, the bottle of rum heavy in his hands.
Jack shifts closer, catching the boy's jaw in his hand. "Because you want more. Because you know some things just have to be seized. Because you need the freedom a forge and a powdered wig can't give you."
The churchyard is quiet, bar the occasional call of the tropical birds that gather on the pitched roof. Will takes a sip of the rum and hears his mother's tirades against the demon drink, but the liquid is warm and sets fires in his stomach, and makes the cold go away.
"Why should I go with you?" Will asks tonelessly.
"Because you trust me, even if you don't trust yourself." Jack takes back the rum and lets a large slosh of it run down his throat. He turns to look at the gravestones, at the variety of epitaphs engraved there. "Into thine hand I commit my spirit," he reads.
"Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth," Will reaches for the rum bottle again. "I am like a broken vessel."
Jack frowns, "Does that follow?"
"No, but it's the same chapter.
"Ah," Jack nods. "You know them by heart then?"
Will gives a half smile, "Only Mum's favourites. I haven't touched a Bible for years." He takes a sip of the drink, a small drop trailing its way down his chin. "Who's it for?" he gestures to the gravestone.
"You can't read it? Don't know your letters, mate?"
Will ducks his head slightly, "I can read the scripture."
"'Cause you already know it." Jack grins and plants a hand firmly on the boy's knee. "It's for a Constantine Popham, who departed for the great hereafter some seven years ago." He pushes his hand further up Will's leg, squeezing his thigh, "We'll just have to give you a bit of schooling, won't we, lad?"
"I'm not an idiot, Jack." Will goes to pull away as Jack's hand slides higher.
"Never said you were, despite your propensity for doing stupid things, savvy?" He winds his arm around the boy's waist to hold him still. "Not knowing something is ignorance, not idiocy. But to turn down the offer of a bit of education, now that would imply you were a bit on the dull-witted side, mate."
"So, you want to teach me?"
Jack grins, "Aye, many things, luv, many things."
The sun rises higher in the sky, waves of heat battering down on the land. The women and men disappear from the streets, hiding out in the shadowed interiors of their rooms.
Jack and Will slip back to the smithy, and as Jack pulls Will towards the bed and away from his work, he whispers that the Pearl will collect them come nightfall and they'll be leagues away by the morrow.
As Jack sleeps next to him, Will imagines leaving a message for Elizabeth.
He composes lines in his head.
He tries to think of poetic words, eternal words that would explain all the things he does not yet understand.
Eventually he gives up, surrendering to the idea that he will never be able to tell Elizabeth of what he feels, of what he wants and needs.
He begins to realise that he will never be able to tell her of how Jack, inexplicably, seems to be the answer.
As Jack pretends to sleep, with Will thoughtful and quiet beside him, he imagines them stretched out like this on his bed on the Pearl.
He knows that she will grow to love the boy, to fasten him to them both.
Jack knows that his Pearl is a possessive woman and once they have had him, once they have caused the boy to gasp and shiver and loose himself with them, there will be no turning back.
Young William Turner will be bound to them, as surely as Jack already feels bound to him.
Dusk comes on slowly and they have a small supper of bread and fruit and honey.
Jack delights in making Will blush as he describes the properties and applications of honey, and can't help but grin at the thought of tasting the salt of the boy's skin through the thickened sweetness.
Will collects his small bundle of clothes and a handful of swords and daggers.
They make their way down to the docks.
Will can remember the murk of the port the day he left England.
A mist had swept in, and as he looked back at his old home from the stern of the ship, he'd found his view obscured.
His mother had been dead for ten days, and as he sailed away, he couldn't even see the beyond the wharf.
Jack can remember little.
Or so he tells himself.
He knows his name is Jack Sparrow and that he might have once had a mother.
Beyond that there is simply the sea, and the Black Pearl, and sailors, and lovers.
There are sentries, of course, down by the dock, but these are easily avoided, and they await the arrival of a rowboat in relative safety.
"First thing," Jack declares, swigging from a fresh bottle of rum. "First thing we do, is find you some proper boots, mate. You look like bloody gentry with those dainty shoes."
"And a decent pistol. Can you shoot, Will? And we'll get to working on your letters, and the sailing as well." Jack frowns, "Don't suppose you've any knack for reading a map, lad?"
"I " Will shakes his head.
"Not to worry, luv, we'll soon put you aright." Jack grins and plants a quick kiss on the boy's cheek. "Ooh, and songs, I'll have you singing sea shanties before you know it."
Will smiles faintly and bites at his lip.
Jack squeezes the lad's hand. "Can you hear her?"
"The sea, Will."
Will nods slowly. "I think so." He cocks his head to one side, "The water sounds sounds I'm not sure. Soft like? But then not, and "
"Aye, mate." They hear the rhythmic splash of oars approaching, and Jack tugs Will to his feet. "That's her." He settles a hand on the boy's shoulder, "You were born for this, savvy?"
"A pirate's life for me?"
"Yes," Jack jumps down into the rowboat and gestures wildly. "A pirate's life for you."
Will smiles and joins him.
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