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Reclaiming

by Dove

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG-13    Pairing: Jack/Will/Pearl    Full Header  Proprietary Rights - 8

 


The call came in the still of a clear, calm night. Though they'd both been fast asleep, Jack was out of bed and pulling on his pants before Will got his eyes completely open. "Jack? What is it?"

"Ship--we're under attack." Jack grinned madly and ran out of the room, leaving Will to scramble after him.

It was an ambush of truly miserable scale; three rival ships had worked in collusion to draw Jack here so they could beset the Pearl together. Already, the men were swarming over her decks like ants, and everywhere Will turned, he saw nothing but targets for his sword. Unable to find Jack, to protect his captain, Will grew increasingly more desperate. He almost missed the Pearl's warning, nearly dismissed her wild scream as an echo of his own agitation. Almost, and then he understood, and spun to see Jack go down heavily under the butt of someone's pistol. He could no longer differentiate between his own frenzied cries and the Pearl's as he surged forward, frantic to reach Jack, but he was too late, too far away, too many bodies in between them, and the attackers were already pouring back off of the Pearl. They took Jack with them and left Will standing on the deck of a crippled ship, screaming in inarticulate rage and despair.

~~~~~

"Bloody hell that hurts," Jack thought on waking, and immediately wished he hadn't. The words seemed to chase each other around inside his head, caroming off his skull like stray bullets. Merciful blackness rose up like a blanket, and then he was looking up into cold blue eyes. Real, or not? Jack squinted, trying to decide if the noisome man leaning over him was part of the headache or part of the waking world.

All doubt was removed when he opened his mouth and bellowed, "Oi! Jamie! 'E's wakin' up!" For one delirious moment, Jack expected to see Commodore Norrington walk through the door, and his impaired brain was quite thrown when his gaze fell on an unfamiliar visage instead.

"Captain Sparrow... I'm so glad you're feeling better. I thought for a moment you'd leave us forever."

Jack attempted his trademark grin, and knew it fell flat, but pushed on anyway. "I'm afraid you have the advantage, good sir, as I must confess I've no idea who you are."

The other man smiled, if such a grotesquerie could be called so. "The advantage? Over Jack Sparrow? I sincerely hope so. Now, I'll have a bit of information from you. We have heard of your Isla de Muerta, and we have a mind to sail for this Aztec gold. Where do we find this island?"

Jack's eyes widened in surprise. "Oh, no, mate, you want no part of that! There really is a curse, you know."

"So we've heard. Barbossa was an idiot. Have you any idea what kind of advantage a pirate crew would have, being immortal? We'll rule the world inside a year. We know what it is, and we want it for ourselves, and I'll not have you telling me no. Give it up, Sparrow, where do we sail?"

The pistol pointed at his head really was an unnecessary addition, Jack thought. He sighed. "You've put me in an awful spot, mate. I'll take you to--to that place, but I'll tell you now, you won't be happy about it."

"I told you, we're well aware of the curse, and we've made our own minds up. We're willing to live with it, if you'll pardon the pun." Again that farcical idea of a smile crossed the man's scarred face.

"Nay, isn't that, only... well, the gold's all gone. Will... my men took that Aztec gold out to sea and buried it with Bootstrap. The rest 'as long been carried off by the Pearl. What the Royal bloody Navy didn't take, I mean." Jack growled this last with a vehement bitterness that refused to be blunted by the passage of time.

"Horseshit. You'll take us to this island, and I'll have no more of your lies." The barrel of the pistol was now pressed firmly against Jack's temple, and at this point he couldn't honestly say he wouldn't rather be shot than have more pain in his head.

"I'll take you; I said I would, didn't I? I just don't want you to get all out of sorts and shoot me just because it turns out I was bein' honest about the gold."

"I won't shoot you, Captain Sparrow. I give you my word as a gentleman." Another clip with the pistol butt and Jack was blissfully unconscious before his head hit the floor.

~~~~~

Well, Jack reflected, the man had been true to his word. He hadn't been shot. Marooned on the Isla de Muerte, yes, but shot, no. Marooned on an island nobody could find, with no rum, no food, and no pistol, no last shot. "Gentleman, my ass," Jack muttered. As he chewed on a shriveled, tasteless piece of unidentifiable fruit, Jack thought of the Pearl. He hoped Will would have the sense to keep to her. She'd do well with Will as her captain, and the boy could make a name for himself. Vows or no, Jack truly did not want Will and the Pearl to die with him, not like this. Someone should be left to remember Captain Jack Sparrow fondly.

~~~~~

"Thought I told you to keep to the code." Jack's mouth was serious, chastising his crew for disobeying orders, but his eyes revealed relief at being aboard the Pearl once more.

"You can take your code, Captain, and screw it up your own tender ass." Oh. Jack had provoked Will before, deliberately trying to get a rise out of the seemingly implacable young man, but this... he wasn't prepared to find this kind of fury boiling beneath the placid surface. He certainly wasn't prepared to have it all focused on his own person.

"Now, William... I gave an order... lives at stake you know, only one man, not worth risking the crew..." There was going to be no mollifying Will, that much was obvious, but he wouldn't be Jack if he didn't babble endlessly at the man, trying to hit on something that would better his admittedly precarious position.

Will, surprisingly, didn't appear to get angrier at this approach. Instead, he sighed, and shook his head. "You've said it yourself so many times, Jack, and you still don't understand. The Pearl is freedom... for you, and all who sail under you. We're free men, and we make our own choices. For myself, I chose not to die adrift on some empty ocean. Pearl felt the same way; she wasn't ready to go yet. So pardon us for not letting you take that choice from us today. Pardon us for saving your life, and your ship, not to mention your reputation, and a little god-damned gratitude would not go amiss, here, Jack!"

Ah, yes, and there was the righteous anger he'd anticipated. Fair enough. His eyes narrowed and he dropped his voice to a half step above a purr... or a growl. "Oh, I'm grateful... make no mistake of it. Who ordered that the Pearl sail for me, Mr. Gibbs?" The question was addressed to the quartermaster, but Jack's eyes never left Will's face.

“Ah, well, Jack, that is, Captain, we discussed it amongst ourselves, and it was, ah, mutually agreed, ye might say—“

“I ordered it.” Will spoke quietly but clearly, with no hesitation in his voice.

Jack nodded. “And who brought her here? Who sailed her through those twice-damned shoals, and brought her safe to this thrice-damned isle?”

“I took her helm. Day and night, Jack, to find you. She wouldn’t have anyone else guiding her on such a journey.”

Jack nodded again, contemplating what Will had told him. “Right then, Mr. Turner, as you have so forcefully reminded me, we are all free men aboard the Pearl. And one of the charges of being a free man is being willing to accept the consequences that follow from the choices you make. Can’t hardly flog the whole crew, though, now can I?”

Will could see where Jack was headed. His eyes tightened, and damned if Jack didn't think Will looked disappointed in him. Such insolence... "If there is to be punishment handed down for this, Captain, then I will accept the blame squarely on my shoulders."

Jack had to fight back the urge to giggle madly. He couldn't help it; Will had never in his life reminded him so strongly of Jamie Norrington. Absolutely ridiculous... and how was Jack supposed to be scary if the boy had him in stitches with his dead-on, albeit unwitting, Commodore impression? Jack's mouth twitched in what could have been a smile trying to escape, but was more likely dismissed as part of the general twitchiness that comprised Jack Sparrow. "All right, Mr. Turner. To my cabin." Will raised an eyebrow, and Jack replied in kind. "I'll need to be debriefing you anyway, for news of goings-on I may have missed. Would you prefer to be flogged up on deck, in front of the entire crew?" Will did not reply, but his mouth twisted into a half-smirk entirely too much like Commodore Norrington's patented look of resignation, and he followed Jack to the captain's berth.

~~~~~

Gibbs winced at Will's cries, muffled but still audible above decks. He'd been on the receiving end of the lash himself more than once, though never at Jack Sparrow's hand. And, truth told, this punishment did not sit well with him. "I hope Jack's not bein' too hard on 'im," he said to the brown-skinned pirate at his side. Anamaria gaped at him as though he were six kinds of fool.

"You 'ave got to be joking, Gibbs."

"Oi, Anamaria, don't be mean, the boy were only tryin' to 'elp Jack, and he did a fine job sailin' the Pearl through some true rough waters. Don't seem right to flog a man for savin' your life, is all."

Anamaria rolled her eyes in exasperation. "For fuck's sake, Gibbs, open your ears... hear what's there instead of what Jack told you to. Does that sound like a man being flogged to within an inch of his life?"

Gibbs cocked his head and listened, and as comprehension dawned, his expression slid from bemusement to epiphany to wry amusement. He began to chuckle and was soon gasping with uproarious laughter.

"What's so damn funny?" Anamaria looked at him crossly.

He was only able to gasp out parts of it--"not--Ha! Not to hard on--Ha!" and even Anamaria couldn't help but giggle.
 

 

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