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Penance

by Dove

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: NC-17    Pairing: Jack/Will    Full Header Proprietary Rights - 6

 


He doesn't really know why he's kept the beads all these years. It isn't as though they mean anything to him--he never shared his mother's faith. Will's faith had gone to sea with his father and sailed away with a gold-toothed stranger. Years later, his mother dead and his father gone, faith long since forgotten, Will found the gold-toothed stranger again. And things got... strange.

He rubs the wooden beads between calloused fingertips, burned smooth by the forge and roughened again by the sea. Maybe the beads do mean something. They hadn't had much to begin with, and after the pirate assault on the crossing, Will had almost nothing of his mother. The beads had stayed with him, wrapped safely around his wrist, and anchored him, a little, to home.

He's developed a habit, over the years, of pulling the rosary out when he's quiet. Will cannot think like Jack does, talking nineteen to the dozen, dancing all over the place, mind a half step ahead. Will needs stillness and peace, and when he needs to think about things, he retreats to a quiet place and rubs the beads, whispers his fears to them.

Today, he doesn't whisper. He does not, in fact, say anything. Will sits in the crow's nest, staring at the blurred line between sea and sky. The gentle roll of the waves is amplified by the mast into a great pitch and yaw. Will, absorbed in his penitence, doesn't feel it.

Things got strange, and now Will doesn’t know if he’s sickened or angry, and if he’s angry, at whom. Jack, for leading him down this path? Or himself, for following so eagerly? He loves Elizabeth. He tells himself that so often it’s starting to sound hollow in his ear. Like the beads, the words have lost their original meaning, become a mantra he chants to reassure himself that all is right in the world.

He loves Elizabeth. He has loved her all his life, since the day he met her. Last night was no exception. He loved her as he sat in Jack’s cabin, laughing over supper and stories of his father. He loved her as the conversation turned serious, as Jack promised him they’d be seeing Elizabeth soon. He loved her as Jack slung a slightly-more-than-companionable arm around his shoulder, whispering assurances and other such nonsense hot against his ear. And as he turned, watching himself from afar, watching himself lean in and kiss those comforting lips, did he love her then, too?

He wants to believe that he did.

He can believe that he loved Elizabeth while kissing Jack. He can believe that he loved her last night, even as things… progressed. What Will truly doubts is that he loves her enough, or the right way. Maybe he is just a bad person, his father’s pirate blood running too strong in his veins. He wants to be sorry and ashamed this morning, wants to be sickened when he thinks of Jack’s hands feathering over his thighs. He ought to be disgusted by what he let the pirate do to him, and even now he feels his face flush when he hears his own voice, chanting, “Please, Jack, please, Jack, Jack…”

Everything Will has ever known tells him that what happened was wrong. His love for Elizabeth, his mother’s faith, Norrington’s laws, every moral fiber of Will’s being tells him that he has behaved unforgivably, and he will burn for this. If he’s lucky, he’ll die first, before Elizabeth has a chance to show him hell at her own hands.

So it is that Will finds himself perched in the crow’s nest, the closest thing to privacy he’ll ever find on the Pearl, with his mother’s rosary beads running between his fingers. He tries to remember the magic words, what incantations she might have spoken in atonement. Nothing he can think of seems adequate for the magnitude of his sins.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed is the fruit of Thy womb… That won’t do. He can only remember the first line, and it feels altogether wrong to be praying to a woman for help, considering. There was nothing of the woman in Jack last night, his beard unfamiliar against Will’s face, even more unfamiliar on the tender insides of his thighs. There was nothing of the woman in Jack, even as he knelt before Will, even as he pleasured Will with that succulent, sinful mouth… Will forces himself out of his reverie. He’s meant to be seeking forgiveness, not reliving his transgressions.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name… That one’s right out, even if he could remember the rest of it. He’s certainly not turning to his father for help on this—he’s damned enough as it is without borrowing the troubles of the dead. Besides, his father had known Jack, and, well, and Will just doesn’t want to know what Bootstrap Bill Turner would think of Jack Sparrow swiving his son.

Having exhausted his options for prayer, Will stands, leaning against the mast, rubbing the beads thoughtfully. Though it is a habit of many years, it feels somehow new today, and then he can see, in his mind’s eye, a curtain of black, shot through with unlikely color and shine. Sees Jack’s brown fingers, stroking a bone-white bead. Feels the weaving of Jack’s life laced between his fingers as he threads his hands into Jack’s hair, pull’s Jack’s face to his, offers his mouth to be plundered as thoroughly as Jack is delving into other parts of him.

Will drops the rosary as if suddenly realizing it’s strung with hot coals.

He’s meant to be atoning, and instead, he’s shuddering at the gut-clenching heat he feels remembering the first time Jack touched him. The twinge he feels, recalling kisses that tasted of apples and gunpowder, is not in his conscience, but in his cock, and when he remembers spilling into Jack’s mouth, he flushes not with shame but with lust. It’s all backwards and wrong and probably four different kinds of evil, but that doesn’t stop him tugging at the buttons on his trousers.

He still loves Elizabeth, but the laughing black eyes he sees when he closes his own are not hers. The wind lifting his hair, dragging curls across the nape of his neck, reminds him of hands much darker than Elizabeth’s, though no less delicate.

It’s not penance, but it is a sort of prayer he whispers as he folds his hand around his cock, God help me as he strokes, oh God please as he imagines Jack’s tongue slipping down, teasing nerves he’d never been aware of, God, Jack, yes as he feels again the not-quite-pain of Jack pushing slowly, carefully inside him.

It is not God’s name, nor Elizabeth’s, that the wind tears from his lips, but an entirely different whispered prayer as he splashes white onto his hand like seafoam on the bow of the Pearl.

Later that night, in the quiet after, he will smile secretly to himself as Jack, thinking he’s asleep, filches one of the brown wooden beads and braids it into his hair.
 

 

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