Title: Two Jacks
Author: kHo (email@example.com)
Summary: He knows Jack perhaps better than anyone, and all hes come up with is that there are simply two Jack Sparrows: the one he shows the world, and the one he shows Will.
Series: On High Seas, pt 4
A lot of people get caught up in the notion that things are or aren't. They think of things as good or bad. Godly or evil. Black or white. Too few people realize that nothing ever is black and white, nothing ever is inherently good or bad, godly or evil. Things, people, situations, there are yings and yangs to everything, and more often than not there's more than just a few interpretations of any one thing. Everyone sees, thinks, or feels their own way, and if you take two people from the same situation, you're likely to get two completely different takes.
People are like that too. Many would try to have you believe that a man is either this or that, that they can't be both. The fact of the matter is, they are both, and they're many other things as well. Most men, and women as well to a lesser degree, have at least two personas. This isn't madness, this is a way to keep sane. A man cannot be one way their whole life, steadfast, through mutiny or love or day or night.
This is true of Jack as well. Will has thought long and hard about how to define Jack and has come up dreadfully short of a whole picture. He knows Jack perhaps better than anyone, and all he's come up with is that there are simply two Jack Sparrows: the one he shows the world, and the one he shows Will.
On deck, as Captain, he's steadfast, and sure, barking orders and smiling to himself as his crew scrambles around at his beck and call. He stands at the helm, compass in hand, nodding as Gibbs tells him how far they are from port. He tells Gibbs when to check the maps, and where to scout their next voyage to. He is perhaps toughest on Anamaria, which is either because her response of flashing eyes and spit riddled curses are fun to watch in Jack's somewhat perverse way, or because he knows she is the most talented of the bunch, woman or not.
At night though, and in the early hours of the morning, that's when Will's Jack surfaced. Callused hands roam Will's body even when they're not making love, simple touches to the back of Will's neck as they talk or fingers in Will's hair showing the tenderness contained within the pirate. Will's come to know more about Jack and his past over the past few months than anyone else had ever cared to know. The good, the bad, and the ugly as well.
What was hardest though was reconciling the two in his own head Will found. There was almost a visible flip of a switch when Jack turned from lover to Captain, and the loss of light from his eyes was almost painful for Will to witness. He wasn't surprised when Jack began leaving the room before Will awoke, because Jack had an uncanny ability to read Will and must have known that the metamorphosis pained Will too much to witness daily.
Which is not to say that Jack doesn't find small ways to show his love to Will even in the company of others. A secret smile, a saved seat around the table at dinner, a hand on the shoulder followed by a wink. It used to confuse him, bother him, that Jack wouldn't show the crew the Jack he'd come to know behind closed doors. He thought that Jack was a wonderful person, one whom made it even more worth it to follow loyally and defend to the death.
He came to realize though that perhaps Jack had shown that side once before, and was rewarded by a betrayal so hurtful Will couldn't even begin to comprehend it. Perhaps aboard the Pearl a decade ago Captain Jack Sparrow had been the smiling, winking, light-hearted person Will knew him to be in the company of two. Perhaps that's how Barbossa had managed to weasel his way out on top in the end. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and then leave them stranded on a God forsaken island for the buzzards to feast on.
There was one other person aboard this ship that knew the other Jack as well, though he'd never willingly admit to it. He'd know the Jack of before the mutiny, and he'd known him directly after it. He'd known him throughout the years since as well, and the unspoken bond between Captain and First Mate was palpable. Will thought maybe he should be jealous of the man, but as much as he thought that he couldn't muster up the emotion towards the man.
If it were any man but Gibbs Will might have been offended that Jack would choose him over Will as First Mate, but Gibbs was a good man, and knew a might more than Will did about the sea's temper and rituals. Besides that, he'd been a good friend to Jack and Will alike, and was likely the first to know when their relationship had taken a turn from cohort to lover. He also knew when to tell Will to leave well enough alone.
"Awful quiet, love," Jack said, breaking into his internal monologue as he turned onto his side. "Composing a sonnet for your dear ole captain, are ya?"
Will laughed, looking at him and shaking his head. "Just thinking about the two Jacks."
Jack nodded, settling back on his back and lacing his fingers on his stomach. "Aye... one-eyed, or otherwise?"
Will laughed again. "Not cards, Jack... you."
Jack's eyes closed as a smile played over his face. "More 'an two, I'd think."
"More," Will asked, watching him smile into the darkness penetrated only by light blue moonlight.
"At least three, love," he said, nodding his head resolutely. "There's Captain me... there's Pirate me..." He opened an eye, peeking at Will. "An' then there's your me."
"And my you... is he your favorite?"
Jack laughed. "Don't know if I 'ave a favorite me, love. Think I love all me me's."
Will shifted, turning on his shoulder and reaching out to rest a hand on Jack's chest, his fingers brushing lightly over the marred bronze skin of the older man. "He's mine," he said softly, bending to place a kiss to Jack's chest, mindful of the bullet wounds that Jack never wanted touched.
Jack's hand came to rest on the back of his head, pulling him up for a soft exploratory kiss before releasing him. "An' the other'ns? Are you not fond of them?"
"Not as fond, no," Will said honestly, looking into Jack's coal eyes.
"I know it bothers you, love," Jack said, a regretful look flickering over his visage.
"It's fine, Jack," Will said, smiling and bending to kiss him again.
"No," Jack said, pulling his head back slightly. "Let me explain, Will."
"You don't have to explain, Jack... I understand it."
Jack nodded, running a finger lightly down the side of Will's face and across his lips. Sliding it back up he wound his fingers in Will's slightly wavy locks, smiling at him. "I have to be those guys out there, Will. It's not that I want to, but without them... I wouldn't get to be your me, not ever."
Will frowned. "I don't..."
"I have to be detached as Captain," he whispered, his eyes serious and searching. "I can't let them think I have a weakness... they see a weakness, love, and it's off to that island again for good ole Jack."
Will shook his head. "They wouldn't do that, Jack..."
Jack's mouth lifted up into a slow smile as he shook his head. "You're na ve, Will."
"I'm not," Will said, feeling unreasonably affronted by a comment that was probably more true than he wanted to admit. "You can trust them... you can trust Gibbs."
"I do trust Gibbs," Jack said, nodding. "Gibbs has known me near my whole life... the part of it that counts anyway. Knew me as Cap'n Jack the former, 's well as the present. Knew me when I was half a man."
Will shook his head, reaching out to brush Jack's hair back. "You weren't half a man..."
"A pirate captain without 'is ship is half a man, mate," Jack said, smiling amusedly. "Any way you cut it." When Will started to speak again Jack stopped him with no more than a raise of the eyebrows. "I was a bitter man then... good fer nothin' sod of a man. Angry at my men, angry at men in general... angry at God hisself."
"For good reason," Will insisted.
Jack laughed, pulling Will onto his chest and wrapping his arms around him. "You sound like a child, Will... so defensive of me. 'No one talks about Jack like that...' you're the most earnest person I know, love."
Will smiled against Jack's chest, brushing his fingers down Jack's side. "Just because I'm earnest doesn't mean I'm a child."
"Aye," Jack said, nodding and resting his chin on Will's crown. "What I meant, love, is you're innocent yet. See the world through rose colored spectacles... don't quite see the injustices the way an old dog like me does."
Will pulled back, looking at Jack with a frown. "If you're saying I'm ignorant to the sorrows of the world, you're wrong."
"I'm not, love," he said, smiling comfortingly at him. "I'm saying even though you know them, you've yet to become jaded."
Will continued to frown but allowed Jack to pull him back into his embrace, tapping his fingers on Jack's chest. "Ever stop to think perhaps you're too jaded?"
Jack laughed, running his fingers through Will's head to assuage any residual hurt feelings. "No such thing in this world, Will. Perhaps in yours, back in Port Royal, when a bad day is running low on scrap metal... but not in mine, ours now. Not when you're a captain, when you're a pirate." He nodded again, looking down at the top of Will's head. "Healthy dose of skepticism is required, necessary, in our world."
"But when does healthy cross over into overindulgence," Will asked, lifting his head again, reaching up a hand to rest on Jack's neck, passing a thumb over his adam's apple. "When does it cloud your judgment in the other direction?"
"Can't be too jaded yet, love," Jack whispered, smiling down at him. "Still had enough room in me heart to let you in, didn' I?"
Will smiled, allowing Jack to pull him into another searing kiss, still marveling at the way this man could make him melt just by touching lip to lip. Jack's hand wound in his hair, pulling him closer to him, close enough for Will to feel his teeth biting into his lips before Jack's tongue delved in his mouth.
Reluctantly Jack pulled back, cupping Will's face in his hands and bending forward to kiss Will's forehead. "Get some sleep, love. S'late."
Will smiled, his heart still flipping when Jack showed those rare moments of sweetness. "I understand it, Jack," he said, rolling onto Jack's chest and curling up for sleep. "I wish the things that forced you to become jaded hadn't happened... but I understand it."
"I know you do, love," Jack said softly, resting his lips lightly into Will's hair. "I just pray they never happen to you."
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