Title: Return to the Sea
Author: Sparrows Blackbird (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: Will Turner / Jack Sparrow
Summary: Will's ailing, and Jack has the cure.
Warning(s): none, except maybe tooth decay from the sweetness
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own 'em, just borrowed 'em.
Feedback: I'll take what I can get.
Archive: Anywhere, as long as I know about it.
Elizabeth Swann looked at the man lying in the bed from her seat by the window. Will Turner had been ill for almost a week now, lost in a delirious fever. They were barely getting enough water and broth down him to keep him alive, and most everyone, the doctor included, was only waiting for him to die.
But Elizabeth knew there was a chance for Will. One chance. She loved Will, but after their adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl, she and Will had discovered their love was not the great passion of lovers, but the steadfast love of loyal friends. Six months after breaking the curse of the Aztec gold, Elizabeth had met the man she knew was the other half of her. He was a captain in the Navy, and the younger son of an Earl. He adored her, just as she was, and would not try to tame or cage her. Will had given them both his blessing, the two men finding they genuinely liked each other.
And then, six weeks before, Will had shown the first signs of illness. He was tired all the time, and slept even during the day. It was hard for him to get up in the mornings. He looked haggard and pale, and had no appetite. Six days before, Elizabeths fiance, David Pennington, had found Will where he had collapsed in the forge. He had brought the man to his own home and sent for the doctor and Elizabeth. In the last six days, Will had been coherent only twice. The doctor didnt know what was wrong with him, and could only try to treat his sypmtoms, to no effect.
The day after Will collapsed, Elizabeth had sent word to all the sailors and pirates in town: find the Black Pearl and Captain Jack Sparrow. Will Turner had need of them, and would die if they did not come soon.
Now, though, Elizabeth was afraid Jack wouldnt arrive in time. Will hadnt moved in several hours, and theyd been unable to get him to swallow any water or broth since the night before. Elizabeth prayed that Jack arrived in time.
Elizabeth turned to look back out the window. Her breath caught. Just coming into the harbor was a ship with black sails. The Black Pearl! She was here Jack was here! She watched as a boat was lowered and four men rowed hard toward the shore. It had barely reached the shore when a man was leaping from the boat and running, hard, toward the city. She knew word had reached Jack and he was heading for Wills forge.
David looked up from his desk as Elizabeth came running from the guest bedroom. He quickly rose, thinking the worst. He caught Elizabeth as she ran to him. Elizabeth?
Theyre here! Jacks here! Hes headed to the forge! Will you go meet him? Please?
David nodded. Yes, Im on my way. He kissed Elizabeths cheek, grabbed his hat and hurried away.
Jack Sparrow had just reached the door of the forge when he was hailed. Captain Sparrow!
Jack looked around, frowning at the royal navy captain hurrying toward him. But the man was alone, and had no pistol aimed at him, so Jack waited warily.
Sir, you seek William Turner, hes not here.
Fear gripped Jacks heart. Where is he? he growled.
I had him taken to my home, hes very ill. Come, Ill take you to him. Elizabeth is with him.
Jack didnt move. Who are you?
Im sorry, sir, Im Capt. David Pennington, of His Majestys Navy. I captain the HMS Intrepid.
A good ship, that one.
Thank you. I ah, Im also Elizabeths fiance.
I thought she and Will .
No. They are fast friends, but they dont love each other that way.
What is wrong with young William?
He has a fever. The doctor could not determine what it is. But I think Elizabeth has an idea.
The two men were silent as they hurried back to Davids home. Elizabeth met them in the foyer.
Captain Jack Sparrow! She flung her arms around him. Thank God, youve arrived in time!
Milady, Jack hugged Elizabeth, then stepped back and gave an exaggerated bow, sweeping off his hat. But when he stood, his expression was serious. Where is he?
Come, Ill take you to him.
Elizabeth led the way to the bedroom where Will lay. She watched Jack as they entered the room. The mans eyes fastened on the unconscious young man and never left as he moved forward. He sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over Will, hands on either side of Wills head.
Ah, gods, Will. What a mess ye are in this time, me boy. He looked at Elizabeth. What is wrong with him?
I think its the sea fever.
Jack nodded, understanding. Everyone who lived near the ocean had heard of the sea fever, or sea longing. Will was the son of a pirate, the call of the sea was in his very blood and bones. The longing for the sea, for a fast ship and a loyal crew of friends, had been awakened in him during their adventure together. But Will had tried to deny that longing, to go back to his forge and a life on the land. But the longing would not be denied, and he had sickened until finally he was too weak to go on.
Jack looked at Will. Ye shouldve sent word, lad. Id ave come sooner, he said softly.
I dont think he understood what was wrong with him, said Elizabeth, staring at Will. He just knew a piece of him was missing, and he didnt know how to find it. She looked at Jack. You will take care of him, Captain Sparrow?
I will, missy.
Will hes so very innocent, in some ways. He has a gentle heart, and a loyal one, Captain. Dont hurt him.
Jack wrapped a thick blacket around Will and lifted him into his arms. He looked at Elizabeth. I let him go once. Ill not do so again. This time, hes mine, and what is mine, I keep!
Elizabeth watched as Jack cradled Will tenderly and carried him from the house. David met them at the gate, holding itopen. Ive sent some servants to pack his things. They should be at your ship within the hour.
Thank e, sir. Ye seem to be a good man. Take care o the lady.
I will. You take care of Will.
Ye have me word. Jack carried Will to the harbor, where his men helped him get the ailing man into their boat and out to their ship, where Will was taken to Jacks own quarters.
Wills belongings arrived, as promised, little less than an hour later. There was a trunk of clothes and various belongings, another of tools, and a third filled with his swords, daggers, and knives. The blades and tools were stored below, and the other was set beside Jacks own.
Jack gave the order for the ship to set sail, to head for open water. A storm was building, but Jack knew it wouldnt be a strong one. Just a summer thunderstorm. It was just the thing Will needed.
The storm broke at midnight. Jack carried Will out onto the deck and sat with him, holding him, letting the warm rain soak them, feeling the wind and spray on their faces, listening to the thunder and seeing the lightning dancing on the water. Jack talked to Will, telling him stories about his life as a pirate, telling Will about his father, Bootstrap. For hours he talked, as the crew worked silently around him. All of them were there, waiting, hoping.
As the horizon lightened with the coming of dawn, the rain stopped. The crew gathered around the two men, and Jack fell silent. As the sun peeked over the horizon to begin a new day, a soft voice asked, Jack?
Jack looked down at the young man he held. Will Turner was looking back at him, his eyes clear. Jack smiled and leaned down to press a kiss to the younger mans lips. When he pulled back, Will was looking at him in surprise, then gave him a shy grin.
Welcome to the Black Pearl, William Turner.
How did I get here?
Ye fell ill, young William. Elizabeth sent me word. A week ya wandered, in a fever. Twas the sea-longin, lad.
Will nodded. He sighed and laid his head on Jacks shoulder, his eyes closing. I think it wasnt just the sea I was longing for, Jack Sparrow, he said, very softly.
Jack stood, Will in his arms. Ye should have sent for me a long time ago, my lad. But never mind that now. Yere here, and here yell stay. He carried Will inside, to his cabin. Will was still weak, and he let Jack undress him, dry him off, dress him in an old silk nightshirt, and tuck him into the bed.
Jack ruffled Wills hair. Rest, luv. Ill go see about gettin Anamarie to make some broth and hot bread for ye.
Will smiled as his eyes closed. He sighed. He felt like he was home.
Over the next several weeks, Jack and the crew of the Black Pearl cared for Will, as he recovered from his long illness. For the first two weeks, he did little more than rest, sleeping mostly, and eating the good, plain food of the sailors. He especially liked the sweet bread Cotton made, and Jack made sure to keep sugar aboard. Will also preferred Gibbs strong black tea with a shot of rum to other drinks, and this led to many evenings of the old sailor sitting with Will, telling him more tales of his father.
Will recovered slowly, rebuilding his strength, until he was once more the strong young man he had been. What the sea longing had taken, the sea itself restored.
Jack lay in his bed, propped on one arm, gazing down at a sleeping Will, one hand on his chest, stroking lightly, not to arouse, but only to soothe and comfort. Will sighed and turned his face toward Jack, smiling in his sleep and murmuring Jacksname. Jack grinned, leaned down to press a soft kiss to Wills lips, and laid down, holding the more slender man close. Gold, silver, jewels, fine cloth, none of this held any real value to Jack. The open sea, his ship, a good crew, these were what was important to him. And the man in his arms. William Turner and the Black Pearl held equal portions of his heart. They were his true treasures, and he would never lose either one again.
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