Title: Under the Command
Author: Mems (email@example.com)
Summary: Jack waits for the opportune moment.
Disclaimer: The boys belong to Disney, not to me. I wished upon a star, but no luck so far
Warning: Not much to warn against really, my first Pirates fic, and it ended up being more pre-slash than anything else.
Feedback: Would be appreciated!
A/N 1: For: Ibie Bloomwood. Request: I would like to see a Jack/Will fic set after the movie, involving Will somehow leaving Elizabeth and ending up with Jack. It must be a logical reason that Will and Elizabeth separate, preferably something creative. There can be swordfighting, Will can become a member of the Pearl's crew, but there should be romance and preferably no character death. Unfortunately, the story as is doesnt quite fit the guidelines, but I hope you like it anyway Ibie
A/N 2: Thank you to my brother for the fantastic beta job, his input was more than appreciated, and this story is so much better than it would have been. Merci mon frère! Any remaining errors are my own, as he doesnt read PotC fics and watched the movie just for me just so that he could beta this. What a guy
"Can you sail under the command of a pirate?
Jack distinctly remembered asking that question the first day that he and Will had sailed together on the Interceptor (a waste of a good ship that, another reason to hate Barbossa really). Today, he had asked practically the same question, and just like the first time, he had not received a straight answer. Ah well, he would keep asking until he got the answer he needed. The boy had been too overwhelmed by the situation to think straight anyway, so in fact, that had not really been the opportune moment.
It would come though; Jack had faith in that. In the mean time, with one last glance over his shoulder at the sleeping blacksmith (hopefully soon to be pirate) he spread out on the table the letters that had started this little adventure.
The first letter was from Will. A simple letter, recounting his return to a normal existence in Port Royal as a simple blacksmith's apprentice, and announcing his engagement to Elizabeth. It was a perfect balance of newsy and friendly, without being too personal, yet Jack couldnt help feeling that there was an undercurrent of something almost melancholy in the boys letter. It made him wonder if things were quite as ideal as Will obviously wanted him to think.
Jack had been thrilled to get it of course, but a bit disappointed that it was not more personal. He had been attracted to the boy the first time that he saw him; that hint of familiarity making him that much more appealing. Funny that, he had never been particularly attracted to Bootstrap, who only had eyes for women anyway, but one look at the boy and Jack was in lust. Love had come quickly thereafter, though the whelp sometimes made it damnably tempting to try and shake some sense into him. Unfortunately, he had never been sure what the boy really thought about him. Sometimes, it seemed like Will might harbor some sort of feeling for Jack, he had risked life and liberty to rescue him from the hangman after all. The rest of the time though, the whelp only had eyes for his fair Miss Swan so maybe he was like his father in that regard, after all. Because Jack was unsure, and to his own amazement, he managed to mostly keep his hands to himself.
The second letter was from Elizabeth. It had come several months later, and it was of a different caliber altogether. Her father had fallen victim to a brain seizure. Though he had survived, his mind had been gravely affected, and under the circumstances, he was unable to continue in his post as governor. His replacement would be arriving from England in the coming months, and they would have to move out of the Governors mansion. The next lines had changed the course of Jack's life.
I have broken off my engagement with Will. I care for him a great deal, and always will, but I have come to realize that if he marries me, he will never be truly happy. Please understand; my father needs me more than Will does. I am his only daughter, and it is my responsibility to take care of him. I am taking him back to England, and Will would be miserable there. He has finished his apprenticeship, Master Brown has grudgingly admitted that there is no more that he can teach. By the time that you get this letter, I will be gone, and Will should be in Nassau, working as a journeyman blacksmith in the shipyard there. He did not wish to stay in Port Royal any longer. Since he aided in your escape, the people here have been leery of him, and he finds it uncomfortable.
I know how you feel about him, let me just say that excessive amounts of rum loosen your tongue. If circumstances had been different, I would never have told you any of this, but you can make him happy. He has never really gotten over the time he spent with your crew; in his heart I know he wants to be back there. But perhaps there is more. While I cannot say for certain that he returns your feelings, I believe you both deserve a chance to find out. I do know that he admires and respects you. You are a link to his father, which is very important to him.
Jack had not paid much attention to the rest of the letter. Within hours, the Pearl had been en route to Nassau. Luckily for him, the stories Elizabeth had heard about his sacking of Nassau Port had been just that, neither he nor the Black Pearl were well know in the Bahamas and with a change to white sails, they proudly headed into port under a Union Jack.
Finding Will had not been hard. The rest had been harder than planned though. Bold as ever, Jack had walked right up to the shipyard entrance and waited for the laborers to leave for the day. When he spotted his prey, he walked right up to him and smiled.
Will! Ive been waiting for you!
Will stared at him in shock for several seconds before blurting out Jack? What are you doing here?
Why, Ive come to visit an old friend. Is there something wrong with that? Jack had replied as he tried to hide the hurt that he felt at this unenthusiastic greeting.
Will Turner was angry. He was angry at Elizabeth for leaving, angry at her father for falling ill, and most of all, angry at fate for not letting him have the dreams that he had dreamed since he had first set eyes on Elizabeth Swan all those years ago. In his bleakest moments, he was even angry with Jack for leaving him behind. He couldnt help thinking that if Jack had taken him back to the Pearl when he escaped, that he would never have gotten engaged to Elizabeth, and even more importantly, he would not have been humiliated when she broke it off. Most of all had he but stopped to admit it, he was angry with himself. If he had really wanted her, he could have tried harder. Why hadnt he? Why had he let her go?
He took out his frustration on the metal. Pounding it with all his might. Creating form from formlessness. It was the only way he could keep his emotions in check. His rational self knew why Elizabeth had broken off the engagement. He really did understand that her duty lay with her father. It was certainly not the governors fault that he had fallen ill either. The poor man deserved better. He had always been kind to Will, making sure that he wanted for nothing as he grew up. Even though he had been concerned about Wills engagement to Elizabeth, it had been concern for his daughters future, not dislike for Will. He had even publicly cleared Wills name after the whole incident with helping Jack escape the hangman.
As much as possible, he tried not to think about Jack. It was too confusing. Why on earth should he be upset with Jack who was, after all, just being Jack? He had never given the Pirate Captain any indication that he wanted to go with him. He had not even missed him for the first weeks after his escape. He first realized that he was missing Jack when it dawned on him that the sword that he was making in his spare time was meant for Jack. He had easily convinced himself that it was something a friend would do. When it was finished, he was quite proud of it; it was one of his best pieces as a matter of fact. Even Master Brown had grudgingly admitted that it was fine craftsmanship, and admitted that there was no more for Will to learn from him. In a fit of pride, Will had sent a letter to Jack, though he could never be certain that the letter had ever reached its destination, having never received and answer. Finding a ships captain willing to carry a letter to Tortugua had been harder than he expected. Now he was unsure if he hoped Jack had received it or if he hoped that the letter was lost forever. What would Jack think? Probably that Will had done something incredibly stupid once again.
Will, time to quit for the night Will nearly jumped out of his skin as the hand fell on his shoulder, trying to catch his attention. He stared in shock at the Forman, Jameson. Was it already quitting time? Where had the day gone?
Sorry sir, let me get the forge shut down, and I will be on my way.
No hurry Will, get this squared away and Ill meet you at the front gate and we can go and have a drink. You can tell me what is on your mind that made you miss the fact that no one else is working.
The offer seemed harmless enough. Will had gone out a few times with some of the other laborers since he had started working here, and Jameson had been along most of those times. This would be the first time he went out with only one person, but really, why not? Maybe it would take his mind off Elizabeth and Jack and well, everything.
Give me 15 minutes sir, and Ill be there, he replied with a smile. Jameson returned the smile, and waved as he left.
That was what he needed. To make new friends, forget the old ones. Well, maybe not forget exactly, but turn the page. Resolving to make a new start on his life, Will got everything shut down in record time, cleaned up as much as he could, and headed out.
The very last thing he expected as he walked out the front gate was to have an exuberant Captain Jack Sparrow saunter up and say Will! Ive been waiting for you!
It was so unfair! He had just decided to put this part of his life behind him! Why was Jack here now?
Jack? What are you doing here? Unfortunately, his mouth had engaged before he had time to think things through. He saw the hurt look in Jacks eyes, and mentally kicked himself. It was not Jacks fault that Will was angry at the world, and it was just bad timing that he was here now. Jack replied before he had time to think of a good apology though.
Why, Ive come to visit a friend. Is there something wrong with that?
At Jacks remark, Will looked contrite, and seemed on the verge of saying something else, when someone interrupted them. A rather handsome someone who spoke directly to Will in a somewhat condescending voice. Jack hated him on sight
Is this person bothering you Will? Bothering Will? Who did this person think he was? Jealousy veered towards possessiveness, on the way to murderous rage.
No sir, I was just surprised to see him here was Wills quick reply. Jack is an old family friend. I was just surprised to see him here. So there, thought Jack, feeling smug. He was a touch put off by the term 'old' though. Did Will consider him old? That just wouldn't do at all. It was true he was almost old enough to be Will's father, but not quite, and anyway, why was he thinking about this? He should be concentrating on Will and his would-be protector. This person obviously didn't know the boy very well if he thought he needed protecting though. The whelp was one of the best swordsmen Jack had ever met. Though, perhaps he should stop thinking of Will as a boy or a whelp if he wanted Will to stop thinking of him as old.
Decision made, Jack grabbed Will by the elbow, and started pulling him away from the other man who seemed to be arguing with Will. Jack didn't care; he just wanted to talk to Will, in private, now.
Jack! Wait, I was talking, sputtered Will as he tried to resist being dragged away.
No time for talking, time to get you back to the Pearl, where you belong. Perhaps that was not the most diplomatic way of phrasing it, but he was a pirate after all.
"But Jack! I can't go back to the Pearl; I have a job and a life here. What would I do on the Pearl?" Before Jack had a chance to form a reply, the very distinctive sound of a sword being drawn dragged his attention back to Wills self-appointed protector, putting a hand to his own sword.
Is there a problem here? he asked, putting on his most charming smile.
Unhand him! He obviously doesnt wish to go with you! was the impassioned reply from the other man. Jack finally gave the man a good long look, and realized what he had before him. His earlier jealous fit might have been justified after all, but, pleasant as it would be to gut the man there and then, that might not be the best way to get Will back to the ship without causing a fuss.
Jack turned up the charm another notch. Look mate, Will and I are old friends, and I just need to be talking with him in private, savvy? No need to be getting all upset. Nobody wants a fuss now do they? Especially not you Will, isnt that right? he was actually quite proud of himself that he had remembered to leave boy off the end of that sentence. Ill just be taking him for a little chat, then he can do as he pleases, honest.
Will was at a loss. Jameson was acting strange and wouldnt leave well enough alone. He couldnt understand why the man would think he needed protection from Jack of all people. Of course Jack was acting his usual slightly strange self, and he was a pirate after all, but Jameson had no way of knowing that, and there was nothing in Jacks current outward appearance to lead someone to that conclusion. Jack actually looked almost respectable, his unruly hair tied back under a fashionable hat.
Please sir, everything is fine, theres no reason to worry. Im sorry about the drink, but well do it some other time, if thats all right with you? I dont know how long Jack will be in port, and we should probably talk, turning to Jack he continued but not at the ship. I have something in my room for you. Please, if you dont mind, can we go there?
Jack looked startled, but agreed easily enough. Jameson just looked confused, as far as Will could tell, but after a few seconds he nodded slowly. Carefully putting his sword away he addressed Will, while trying to ignore Jack Ill see you tomorrow then.
Will watched the man walk away, wondering why he looked so dejected. Im sorry Jack, I dont know what came over him. I hardly know him, and I cant understand why he thinks I need protecting.
You really are naïve boy was Jacks cryptic reply. Will thought he noticed a slight cringe in Jacks expression, but wasnt sure.
Naïve? About what?
Lets just say that he thought that was the opportune moment. It wasnt. It never will be.
The opportune moment? What was Jack on about now? As he headed Jack in the direction of the boarding house where he had a room, he suddenly understood what Jack was alluding to and sputtered Jack! He was just trying to help a friend!
Keep telling yourself that mate, if it makes you feel better was Jacks only reply as he followed Will down the street. Obviously trying to change the subject Jack suddenly asked, What are we going to get?
Not one to give up without a fight, or be distracted, Will demanded Youll see when we get there. How would you know what he was thinking anyway? Are you an expert on this as well?
Doesnt take an expert mate, you just need to know what to look for.
Will started wondering how Jack knew what to look for. An idea started forming, and he mentally backed away from it very quickly. He would think about THAT possibility later. Much later.
When they arrived at Wills room, he let Jack in and went to his trunk. The room was Spartan: the bed, a tiny table, a chair, and the small wardrobe were the only other things in the small room. He found what he was looking for at the very bottom of the trunk, and handed it to Jack. I made it for you, before I left Port Royal. I hope you like it. Now that he had actually given the gift, he was unsure of himself. What if Jack didnt like it? What if he thought it was presumptuous? He realized he was holding his breath.
Jack too the case that Will handed him and carefully set it on the table to open it. A sword. The boy, no, no, no WILL had made him a sword. It was magnificent. He turned it over and over in his hand and didnt know what to say.
Beautiful. Oh, maybe he did know what to say. That worked. Looking up, he saw that Will looked nervous, afraid that he wouldnt like it. I love it he reassured. Drawing it carefully he looked at the fine craftsmanship. He had seen many of Wills swords of course, even fought with one for a few minutes the first time they met, but the thought that this one was made especially for him had him all choked up. It was exquisite, without quite being gaudy. Jack loved shiny things, and Will had known exactly how far to go without overstepping that invisible line of too much. That seemed to indicate that Will thought about him enough to know what he would like. Definitely a good sign. Things might work out after all.
He carefully sheathed the sword, setting it back in its case, and in a fit of exuberance turned and hugged the boy. Hmmm, maybe that hadnt been such a good idea. Will had gone completely rigid in his arms. Just as Jack was starting to back away to apologize, he felt Will hesitantly reach around to return the hug. Careful to not let it last too long, he reluctantly let go after a few seconds and backed a bit out of the boys personal space.
Its magnificent Will. Really, its wonderful. Thank you
Jack had hugged him. Ok, Will knew that Jack was a colorful and exuberant sort of person, but Jack had never hugged him before. In fact, other than his mother in his youth, and more recently Elizabeth, no one had ever hugged him, certainly not another man. How was one supposed to react to this? Taken with the opportune moment comment earlier, all those things Will didnt want to think about started to take a prominent place in his mind.
Jack was moving away now, going back to admire the sword some more. Will was relieved that Jack obviously really liked it. He had been worried that Jack would be offended, though he wasnt sure why. Watching Jack run his hand lovingly over the design on the hilt was like watching a child with a new toy. He looked absolutely enthralled. Jack carefully unhooked his own sword from his belt and replaced it with the new one. He put the old one in the case, closed it carefully and turned back to Will.
Please Will, come back to the Pearl with me. The crew would love to see you, they specifically asked me to bring you back for a visit. It was a chore to get them to agree to stay on board while I came here. It just wasnt fair when Jack used that pleading voice and look. He had managed to resist it once when he hadnt trusted Jack, much to all of their grief. Now there was nothing to resist, and he really did want to see the crew again. In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he longed to spend some time at sea with Jack and the crew. He had never had the opportunity to sail on the Black Pearl under Jacks command and he suddenly realized that that was something that he truly would enjoy. Not trusting this new realization completely, he compromised.
All right, but just to see the crew. There, that was safe enough. Jack looked immensely pleased with this answer and they set off together towards the port, Jack carrying the case that now contained his old sword.
Getting Will to the ship was a major step in the right direction as far as Jack was concerned. Once he had him there, it would be so much easier to convince him to stay. He knew he would have the backing of his whole crew in this matter. To a man (and woman, Anna Maria hadnt found just the right ship yet, no matter how many Jack presented her with, suspicious that) they all liked and respected Will, and it was never a bad thing to have an experienced blacksmith aboard.
As he approached the ship, he could see that Will was looking at it in awe. Jack was quite proud of the fact that in such a short time they had managed to erase a great deal of the evidence that Barbossa and his crew had ever been there. The Black Pearl was once again the proud ship that Jack remembered. He was pleased that Will seemed to approve.
Looks good, doesnt she? he said proudly.
Jack, shes amazing. Its hard to believe its the same ship.
Just as they came within hailing distance of the ship, they heard the distinctive voice of Mister Cottons parrot crying, Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!
Well said Jack, theyll know were here. No surprising them now.
He was right of course. By the time he and Will had started up the plank, what must have been the entire crew was on deck waiting for them. When they reached the deck, the crew swarmed all over Will. His hand was shaken repeatedly; his back was slapped heartily. Everyone was talking at once. Jack slipped to the side, just watching. Now he had Will right where he wanted him, and was showing him that there was a place where he fit in. He hadnt been in Nassau long enough to have really settled in, and maybe, with a judicial amount of persuasion, he might be convinced to stay. Jack could always hope.
As he watched the reunion between blacksmith and crew, Mr. Gibbs moved to his side.
Lads looking well, aint he Captn?
Aye, agreed Jack quite pleased with the situation.
Would that be a new sword youre wearing Captn? Might it be a Turner special?
Aye, Jack repeated proudly, setting a hand on the hilt. Made it just for me he did. A man was allowed to be smug in this situation. Jack was sure of it.
A beautiful piece indeed. Will the lad be staying on then?
Im still working on that, was Jacks only answer. Time to move things along, and rescue the boy.
Raising his voice he called out In honor of Mr. Turners return among us, however long it may be, I have only this to say. As everyones attention turned towards him, he threw his hands in the air and cried, Drinks all around! Mr. Gibbs, would you do the honors please?
As he expected, a cheer went up among the crew, and Mr. Gibbs went off to get the rum. He returned with a bottle and two mugs, which he handed to Jack, then went off to serve the crew who had all mysteriously acquired a mug to be filled. As soon as everyone had been served, Jack handed a filled mug to Will and raising his own, announced, Welcome to the Black Pearl Mr. Turner!
Another cheer went up, and the whole crew drank in honor of Wills return. The boy (Jack finally decided to stop worrying about the boy thing, too bothersome) looked completely overwhelmed, but dutifully downed his rum, though a bit more slowly than the crew. It was the first time Jack had ever seen him drink, come to think of it. There were a lot of things about Will that he didnt know he admitted to himself. Time to remedy that.
As soon as Wills mug was empty, Jack poured him another and took the boy by the elbow and started leading him towards the Captains cabin. Lets be finding somewhere a bit more private to have a chat then, shall we?
Before they got two paces though, Mr. Gibbs piped in, Before you go lad, would you do us the honor of seeing the Captains new sword in action? The rest of the crew enthusiastically seconded this notion and Jack turned to Will with a raised eyebrow. What do you think, shall we give them a show?
Will was in shock. The enthusiastic reception from Jacks crew was overwhelming. He hadnt realized how much he missed this unruly bunch. For the first time in his life it felt as if he were coming home. He agreed readily to Jacks suggestion that they do an impromptu sword demonstration for the crew; he needed to think before finding himself alone with Jack again. He realized that Jack wanted him to stay on board, and he was honestly not coming up with any real reasons to refuse. He quickly downed the contents of his mug and handed it to the closest sailor, Mr. Cotton as it happened.
As they faced off and began to carefully parry and thrust, Will finally admitted to himself that he knew exactly what Jack had been talking about with his opportune moment comment. He also realized that in his own crazy fashion, Jack was courting him. Did that bother him? He had only ever thought about romance in relation to Elizabeth, but she was gone and she wasnt coming back. She was nothing if not loyal to those she cared for, and in his condition, her father could linger on for years. Will suddenly understood where some of his earlier anger had come from. He was angry at fate for stealing her youth and her chance at happiness. Elizabeth might never marry, and if she did, it would most likely be for duty, now that she was far from the pirates that she loved so much. But what about himself? Would Will let fate steal his second chance at happiness as well? Was happiness possible for him aboard the Black Pearl? Had true happiness been here with Jack all along? Perhaps he should just wait and see how things went. He should enjoy this moment, and let the rest happen at its own pace.
He turned his entire attention to Jack and their duel. They had crossed the deck from one end to the other, the crew cheering them on the whole time. Up the stairs, past the wheel, back down, around the mast. Will hadnt had a workout like this in a long time. He had not found a good private place to practice in Nassau and was thoroughly enjoying himself. Jack was grinning from ear to ear, looking as happy as Will had ever seen him.
Unfortunately, a long days work and two quickly consumed mugs of rum on an empty stomach suddenly caught up with him and he stumbled slightly. He didnt quite parry Jacks latest thrust, getting hit across the knuckles as Jack pulled the blow, realizing something was wrong.
Will lad, are you all right? The pirate captain was immediately holding his hand, checking the damage.
Its nothing Jack, just a scratch, was Wills embarrassed reply. It felt nice to have Jack fussing over him though. Really nice actually.
It truly was just a scratch, Jack was relieved to see. He was irritated with himself for being so caught up in the joy of fencing with Will that he hadnt seen how tired the boy was. Now that he looked more closely, he saw that the boy was a bit shaky. Maybe he wasnt used to drinking rum after all. He called for his bottle, splashed a bit on the scratch and started leading Will to his cabin.
Come on then Will, lets be getting you a quiet place to sit down.
When they reached the stateroom that preceded his private cabin, he sat Will down at the table and looked at him sternly. When was the last time you ate boy?
Will looked contrite and admitted that he hadnt had anything since breakfast. Tsking in dismay, Jack went back out on deck and with Mr. Gibbs help, gathered some food for Will. While he was there he reassured the crew that the lad was fine. Hes just had a long day, he told them.
Returning to the cabin with food, he found Will with his eyes half closed, seemingly deep in thought.
Eat up Will, youll feel better for it, was all that he said though. The boy devoured the food, obviously starved. Jack offered more rum, but it was refused, Will claiming that he had reached his limit.
I should be going Jack, Im too tired to be good company just now. Somehow, Jack got the impression that the lad didnt mean it though. It almost sounded like the boy wanted to be contradicted. Well, Jack could do that!
No need to be leaving lad, you can bunk down here, be all rested up in the morning before we sail. Oops, hadnt meant for that last bit to slip in. Before he could backtrack, Will cut him off.
Is that what you want Captain Sparrow? For me to sail away with your crew?
Aye lad, it is, but I wont be forcing you. Old Jack, he dont want no one on board who doesnt want to be there. It was the first time Will had used his title since they had met up again. That was a good sign, wasnt it? Jack was hopeful that things were looking up.
Maybe it wouldnt be quite unwilling. It might depend on how everyone on board felt about it.
You saw the way the crew welcomed you Will. They would love for you to stay.
And how would the Captain feel? Would he personally be pleased to have someone on board who isnt even a sailor?
The captain would be more than thrilled Will. You have always had a place here for the taking, and not only because of your father. You have proved that you belong here, and I would be pleased if you would stay. Jack tried to keep his feelings for the lad out of his expression, hoping that he wasnt over doing it. How about you lad? Can you sail under the command of a pirate?
Will looked him straight in the eye. Does that pirate love me?
Jack was stunned, he didnt think the lad had figured it out. Truth always being his way, he returned Wills gaze. Aye lad, he does.
It was hard to read Wills expression, but he didnt look displeased, only contemplative. The next sentence was not the one that Jack was hoping for though.
You mentioned that I might be able to lie down for a bit? Im very tired.
Jack led the boy to his own cabin, and settled him in his own bunk. The lad was asleep in a matter of moments. As Jack watched him sleep, he read through the letters once more, and finally thinking back through their conversation thought that he had the answer that he needed after all. Decision made, he left the cabin and went in search of Mr. Gibbs and Anna-Maria. They both readily agreed.
Jack went back to the cabin, happy with the situation. The Black Pearl would be sailing with the morning tide and, in the meantime, someone would be sent to retrieve all of Wills things and leave a note explaining that he was not returning to his work at the shipyard. He would awaken Will just before they sailed to get a confirmation that the lad wished to sail with them. He had not been lying when he said he didnt want any unwilling crewmembers. Not even ones he was in love with.
When he re-entered the cabin, he was surprised to see that Wills eyes were open. Staring straight at him Will uttered the one sentence that Jack wanted to hear the most in all the world.
Aye Captain, I can sail under the command of a pirate, but only one that loves me. Will scooted over, making room for Jack, now come get some sleep. I assume we are leaving early in the morning.
Jack didnt need to be told twice. Taking only the time to remove belt and boots, he climbed into the small bunk. Even though all they were doing was sleeping, Jack knew that this was only the beginning of a truly wonderful adventure.
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