The damn cat was walking on Will's stomach again, making biscuits on
his chest and purring almost loudly enough to drown out Jack's snoring. The
digital clock blinked 3:57 am. Grumbling about stupid animals that wouldn't
let a man sleep, Will tossed the cat out of the bed and pulled the pillow
over his head.
At 4:44, Will nudged Jack and gave him a good shake.
Jack came awake with a loud, "Huh?"
"I can't sleep," Will announced. "Your cat was stomping all over me and I
predict the corpses from Peaceful Rest will be here any minute to complain
about your snoring."
Jack stared at him blearily and pushed his long hair out of his eyes.
"What're you goin' on about?" When he was sleepy, his sexy, mixed-up accent
was more pronounced.
"Your good-for-nothing cat and your snoring and the fact that
I can't get any sleep." Will reiterated, as if talking to a very slow
Jack assumed an indignant air. "Captain Morgan does more around here than
Will rolled on top of Jack, straddling his hips. "Yeah, sure, because
risking life and limb to hang lights in a thunderstorm is nothing."
He punctuated this with a twist of his hips that made Jack exhale sharply.
Pinning Jack's hands to the bed, Will continued, "And what were you doing
last night, while I was nearly electrocuted? Oh yeah, listening to Jimmy
Buffet and drinking margaritas with Liz and Ana, and probably mmphm-"
Whatever Will was going to add to his litany was swallowed up in Jack's
voracious kiss. Taking advantage of Will's surprise, Jack flipped them so
that he was on top. And then, just as he was about to show Will exactly how
sorry he was for keeping him awake, the radio alarm went off, filling the
room with the cheery strains of "Walking on Sunshine."
Jack was in the middle of
a costume fitting when his jeans rang. Unfortunately they were on the
cutting table, and he was standing on a wooden stool several feet away.
"Don't move." Liz warned, around a mouthful of pins.
Ana looked from the phone to Jack. She and Liz exchanged matching smirks.
"You programmed your ringer to play "A Pirate's Life"? I think you're
starting to take the swishbuckling a little too seriously."
Jack held out his hands and winked broadly. "Pirate!"
The phone rang again, in counterpoint to Liz singing "I am the pirate
queen" under her breath.
"Toss me the phone, will ya, Ana? And try not to get too excited about
getting into my pants."
The stage manager just rolled her eyes at this. She dug around in the
pockets of Jack's jeans until she found his phone, then threw it at his
head. He jerked around to catch it and Liz swatted him on the leg. "Hold
still I said, or I'm going to leave all these in your breeches and
you'll be picking pins out of your ass for the entire run."
Jack hit the talk button and said, "It's me."
As usual, Dan Brown sounded like he'd been drinking since daybreak. His
voice was so slurred that it took Jack a minute to catch up to what he was
saying. ". . .fell out of the grid. He hit his head pretty hard and knocked
himself out. EMS just took him to St. Vincent's. . ."
Will was fighting a
white-haired man in a red uniform. A marine, his mind supplied
effortlessly. There was a sword in his hand, not a prop sword like the one
Jack used in the show, but a real weapon, lethal and flashing bright in the
sun. His body seemed to be moving without any direction from him, skillfully
lunging and thrusting and slicing the air with his blade. The marine
retreated and Will advanced, then swept the man's feet out from under him.
He tumbled backwards into the water. Will suddenly registered that he was
on a boat. No, a ship. Below him a canon fired, and there was the
acrid explosive smell, exactly the same as when they fired the flashpots in
Again, his body moved of its own accord, spinning around and smacking into.
. .Jack? It was Jack, of course, although the hair was completely different
- crazy beaded dreadlocks - and instead of the neatly trimmed goatee, he
wore two little braids on his chin. Jack put a hand on his shoulder and
said, "Y'alright, love? You're bleedin'."
"Has he come to yet?"
Jack's voice, strained with anxiety, was the first thing Will heard as he
Will struggled to pull himself out of his strange dream, still hearing the
booming canons and seeing the light reflecting off that impossibly blue
water. Details filtered into his consciousness: bright florescent lights,
flowered curtains, and ah, sterile smell. Hospital then.
Will felt Jack take his hand and, with some difficulty, he pried his eyes
open. Jack gave him a crooked smile that immediately shifted to a more
nonchalant look. "Are you ok? You're bleeding."
Will blinked a bit at the déjà vu, then gingerly felt around and
found the lump on the side of his head and the stitches on his temple. A
smear of blood came away on his hand. Damn, that was some gash. He thought
back and remembered reaching for the dangling light, overbalancing himself
and toppling onto the stage below.
"Yeah," he said, slowly. "I think I am. But while I was out, I had the
weirdest dream. Really vivid and kind of freaky - like The Wizard of Oz
"Singing and dancing and Technicolor?"
"Not exactly. Canons and swordfights and 'you were there.'"
Jack chortled. "You got knocked on the head and you dreamed you were a
pirate? And Ana thinks I've had too much swishbuckling. . ."
"We were pirates. And you should have seen your hair!" Will grinned
at the memory. "I guess Buccaneers and Black Flags has taken up
permanent residence in my subconscious."
"James, I can't come in
tonight. Somebody needs to stay with Will - he's on concussion watch."
James' dry British sarcasm came through loud and clear, even over the phone.
"As usual. How many injuries does this make so far this summer? Six? And
last year I think he finished the year at nine visits to the emergency room.
He's got to be the clumsiest electrician I've ever worked with."
"He's not that bad, Jamie. He's good on the board, and at least he's
James sighed at the hated nickname. Jack was certain James was pinching the
bridge of his nose. "Fine, you're just the lead, why would we need you to
rehearse?" Then he relented a bit. "God knows you've done the show enough,
Jack, I guess it'll be fine. Tell Will I hope he feels better soon."
Jack hung up the phone and rubbed his hands together with glee. They both
had the night off, and concussion or not, Jack was going to make it worth
Jack had Will pushed up
against the refrigerator, one hand cupped loosely over the placket of Will's
jeans, the other pushing up Will's black t-shirt. It was almost enough to
make Will forget the throbbing pain in his head.
"I thought you were going to make me some dinner?" Will asked breathlessly.
"Not that I'm complaining."
Jack swiped his tongue up Will's stomach and muttered, "Half a moment." He
unbuttoned the top two buttons of Will's fly, his fingers grazing the
ticklish skin underneath. Will grabbed onto the refrigerator handle to
"Chicken noodle soup?" Jack bit down on the point of Will's hip. "Pizza?" He
finished unbuttoning Will's fly and curled his fingers around Will's cock.
"Beer? Anything you want." With one smooth motion, he yanked Will's jeans
down around his knees. He looked up at Will with smoldering eyes. "But
first. . ."
Instantly, the world
shifted. The linoleum under Will's bare feet was replaced by smooth
wood, the round kitchen light fixture morphed into an orangey full moon, and
a wooden wheel took the place of the cool metal of the refrigerator handle.
But the mouth on his cock was just the same, right down to the way Jack
dragged the tip of his tongue along the underside before suddenly engulfing
Jack fixed Will with those same smoldering dark eyes (lined with makeup the
way they were after a show) and then moaned deep in his throat. And that was
all it took.
When he opened his eyes,
he was back in the kitchen. Jack was licking his lips and bouncing back onto
his feet, with his usual lithe grace. He hooked one of the wooden chairs
with his foot and dragged it towards Will. "Here, sit down, you look wiped
out." Somehow Jack managed to make even this solicitous remark sound lewd.
Will fastened his jeans and sat down heavily in the chair. While Jack opened
a can of soup, Will scrubbed his hand across his face and thought about what
had just happened. It was the same as before - not dreamlike, but incredibly
concrete, as real as Jack standing there at the stove humming "Alice's
Restaurant" and doing a shuffle-y little dance as he stirred the soup. Will
recalled the doctor's words as she checked him out of the hospital, "Call us
if you experience any nausea, sleep difficulties, or hallucinations," and a
chill went through him. So far he'd managed to avoid serious injury, but
there's a first time for everything, right?
To Will's great relief, he
didn't have another hallucination for several days. He'd just managed to
convince himself that he'd been making a mountain out of a molehill, when it
He and Jack were sitting on the deck at the Crab Trap, the roar of the ocean
loud enough that they had to raise their voices to be heard. They'd just
finished a dozen raw oysters and a plate of fried shrimp, as well as a
bucket of Dos Equis.
The sky was rose and gold and a pleasant breeze blew in off the water. Jack
threw his last hushpuppy at a gull, then propped his feet up on planter of
rosemary and tipped his head back. His foot brushed the herb and the sharp,
clean smell filled the air.
Will leaned back himself, taking a simple, aesthetic pleasure in the line of
Jack's throat and the way the fading light caught on his cheekbones.
Predictably, the quiet mood only lasted a few minutes before Jack kicked off
his sandals and said, "Let's go down to the water."
Instead of walking on the board walk, Jack, ever the show-off, had to jump
up onto the rail and balance himself there. Something about his silhouette
against the horizon gave Will an oddly familiar feeling of vertigo and then
Jack was standing on a
wooden structure - the gallows - with a noose around his neck. A drum
was beating a steady tattoo, and Will's heart was pounding to the same
rhythm. Will felt a stab of panic; he had to do something, but his hands
were tied behind his back and there was a guard standing beside him. With a
sickening fatalism, Will realized that they were both about to die. Jack
turned his head so that he could meet Will's eyes, and grinned defiantly.
"Be seeing you, mate!" And the hangman pulled the lever and Jack disappeared
through the trap door.
This time, when Will
returned to himself, he was collapsed on the board walk with Jack's arms
around him. He couldn't shake the panic he'd felt in his hallucination, or
the pounding heart and shortness of breath. Jack was saying his name over
and over again, but it took Will a moment before he could reply.
"I'm ok, Jack, let me up." He sat up and brushed his fingers across Jack's
face. God, it had been so real. Will shuddered at the memory.
"Maybe you oughta go see that doctor again," Jack said quietly.
Jack was almost asleep
when Will spoke, picking up the thread of an earlier conversation. "The
thing is, they feel so real. He hesitated, and the mattress protested
as Will rolled onto his back. "Did you ever see that Kenneth Branagh movie -
Jack turned towards Will. The streetlight outside their window was shining
through the blinds, casting yellowish stripes across his face.
"Do you ever wonder if stuff like that - reincarnation - could be for real?"
There was sincerity in Will's voice, underneath the bantering tone, and Jack
was reminded of the anguish on Will's face after the most recent episode.
"I dunno. I always figured you live and then you die and that's it. Take
what you can and give nothing back, you know?"
"But there's no way to know. Anything's possible, right? 'More things in
heaven and earth. . .'"
The whole topic made Jack itchy and uncomfortable, and he couldn’t quite put
his finger on why. As much to shut Will up as anything, he said, "Yeah,
Some of the tension left Will's body. "So maybe I'm not nuts?"
Jack laughed. "I didn't say that. You'd have to be nuts to pick me twice.
Especially if I got you killed the first time."
Jack took the joint from
Ana and inhaled deeply, then held his breath. He tried to pass it on to
Will, but he waved it away, so Jack handed it on to Liz. It only took a few
drags for Jack to feel pleasantly buzzed. Shortly thereafter Ana and Liz
disappeared into the dunes, leaving Jack and Will dabbling their toes in the
Jack let his head loll back and opened his mouth, breathing in the salty
tang of the ocean and savoring it on his tongue.
Will sprawled out beside him, and threw one leg over Jack's. "So, you stoned
enough for a deep philosophical discussion?"
"What, like how do I know that what you see as green is what I
see as green?"
Will kicked the water with his foot, soaking the bottom half of Jack's
jeans. "No, like could we be reincarnated eighteenth century pirates."
Jack collapsed onto the sand with a sigh. "Not that again! I really want
to believe it, but you have to admit, it's pretty farfetched. I don't mean
to go all Scully on your ass, but I'm having a hard time buying this one."
Will pulled the elastic from his ponytail and raked his fingers through his
hair. "I can't explain it Jack, but I know it's real. I've seen
things, historical details, that I'd have no way of knowing."
Jack's frustration made his voice more sarcastic than he'd intended. "Except
for the fact that you've spent the past five summers crewing an outdoor
drama about pirates."
Will flinched like he'd been slapped and threw himself to his feet, kicking
sand all over both of them. "It's not like this crap - 'avast, yarrr me
hearties' - it's the real deal. If you don't believe me I don't know what
else to tell you." And without another word, he turned and walked back
towards their apartment.
Jack decided to hang out on the beach for a while, to give Will some time to
cool off - he had a hot temper, but it usually blew over fairly quickly.
Jack didn't intend to go to sleep, but it was dark and the sound of the surf
was soothing, and before he knew it, he'd drifted off.
His first thought was that
if this was anything like what Will had been experiencing, he owed him an
apology. Jack had assumed that Will's whatever-they-weres were like watching
a movie. But this was nothing like that. It was a little bit like a
performance, when things were really cooking and his muscle memory took over
and he didn't have to think about what to say or when to cross, because it
just flowed out of him. Except that Jack was intensely aware of
himself as separate from the body he was inhabiting, which was creepy as
He was at the helm of an old-fashioned tall ship - The Black Pearl -
he knew that was her name, as if he'd known it all his life. His hand fit
around the wheel like it was made for his grip, and the deck swayed gently
under his bare feet. Standing there, Jack felt a sense of completion, of
rightness, like nothing he'd ever known. There was nothing in his life
to compare to this - the way the ship felt like a part of him and also like
a lover responding to his touch.
Someone slipped behind him and slid an arm around his waist. Without his
volition, Jack's head turned. After Will's stories, Jack was unsurprised to
see Will's head resting on his shoulder.
Will kissed him hungrily and then gave him a predatory grin. "Come to bed,
Jack. I'll make it worth your while."
As Jack struggled back to
consciousness, he was immediately aware of two things: his damp jeans were
clinging uncomfortably to his erection, and Will was shaking his arm and
saying, "C'mon, get up and come to bed, Jack. If you sleep out here you're
liable to drown when the tide comes in."
The cue to cue was going
swimmingly until Ana called light cue 33, at which point the special for
Jack's entrance refused to come up.
"I'm working on it, Ana," Will said through gritted teeth. Damn drunk Dan,
he'd no doubt done something screwy with the dimmer packs. And as usual,
Will would have to be the one to straighten it out. Why Web Swann kept Dan
on was a mystery. With a sigh, Will set to troubleshooting the problem.
Ana took off her headset and yelled, "Technical difficulties, guys. Take a
While Will tried to solve
the lighting problem, the actors milled around gossiping and smoking, in
blatant violation of the no smoking in costume rule. Jack took off his
feathered hat and sat in the house, thinking about the previous night's
Jack should have told Will immediately, but he felt a strange reluctance to
do so. He was half-convinced it was nothing more than a combination of the
pot and Will's crazy stories that had prompted the dream anyway, and he
hated the idea of giving Will any more ammunition. But he felt guilty about
not telling him, especially since the hallucinations were still a sore topic
Liz approached with a needle in her hand, interrupting his thoughts. "The
pocket on your coat is torn. I noticed it just now and I thought I'd fix it
while we're all sitting around."
Jack silently took off his coat and handed it to her, hoping that she'd take
the hint and shove off. No such luck, she sat down in the seat next to him
and began sewing up the pocket. "So, how are things with you and Will?"
Jack raised an eyebrow at her. "You know exactly how things are with me and
Will or you wouldn't be asking."
"Subtlety's not my strong suit," Liz admitted. "Will says it's. . .tense."
"Did he tell you why it's tense, you interfering biddy?"
Liz nodded as she bit off the thread.
"And I trust Will. In all the years I've known him, he's never lied to me."
Jack toyed with the feather on his hat. "I don't think he's lying. But what
if he's off his rocker from that fall he took?"
Liz said, "Stop that - you'll break it," as she smacked his hands. "He seems
perfectly normal. And it's not like he's some kind of hippy dippy freak.
He's never shown the slightest interest in all that New Age crap."
Jack felt himself getting defensive. "First time for everything, right? You
can't tell me you believe in that crap. And don't you dare quote
Hamlet at me."
"Who the hell knows what happens after death? Why is reincarnation more
ridiculous than heaven? Or that we simply cease to exist?"
Before he could argue with that, Ana called places. Liz took his hat, placed
it on his head at a rakish angle and said, "Just think about it ok? It's
making him nuts that you think he's crazy."
After the cue to cue, Will
disappeared with Ana to discuss some last minute fixes. Jack walked home by
himself, thinking about his conversation with Liz.
If Jack's dream had been a memory (and that was a pretty big if), he'd once
been a real pirate. Captain Jack Sparrow, with a ship of his own, to take
him anywhere he cared to go. Now he was a sham, the next best thing to
Captain Kangaroo, a pantomime pirate with a prop gun, a fake sword, a toy
compass, and no ship.
What he needed, Jack decided, was some rum, stat.
After a quick trip to the
liquor store, Jack sat out on the balcony where he could see the moon on the
water. He downed a shot hastily, and lit a cigarette, then threw back
another shot. He wondered idly if he could induce one of the hallucinations.
Couldn't hurt to try, right? One more drink for courage, then he closed his
eyes, remembered that feeling of connection to the ship, and willed
himself to her.
When he opened his eyes,
the moon was just as full and bright on the water, and the air still smelled
of brine and rum, but the world was rocking and he could hear the slap of
waves against wood.
Will sat across from him, a bottle in his hand. His voice tuned in like a
radio, midsentence. ". . .got her back. Again." He grinned triumphantly.
Jack's mouth formed words that he had never planned on saying. "Of course I
did. I'm Captain Jack Sparrow!" And they clinked their bottles together and
In an instant, everything
was back to normal. Jack considered his alter ego's words. He'd lost his
ship. More than once. And he'd regained it. Maybe Jack couldn't have a ship
like that in this day and age, but that was no reason to mope around and
make himself and everyone around him miserable. He'd find something else to
fill that place in his soul. Hell, maybe he could even buy a sailboat - Ana
had been looking for someone to take her crappy little catamaran off her
hands. It was a piss-poor excuse for a boat, but you have to start
somewhere, right? And suddenly, Jack was filled with confidence. Damn
straight, he thought, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow!
Will got home well after
midnight and found Jack on the couch, half drunk and watching Captain
Blood. He appeared to be drinking rum straight from the bottle.
Jack sat up and toasted him with the bottle. "Those were the days, eh Will?"
So now Jack had moved from disbelief to outright mockery. Great. Will
resisted the temptation to throw his keys at Jack, and instead turned and
went into the bedroom. He tossed his toothbrush and a change of clothes into
an overnight bag and came back into the living room, saying, "I'm sleeping
at Liz and Ana's. I guess I'll see you tomorrow at the tech."
Jack swung his feet off the coffee table (knocking the rum over in the
process) and grabbed Will's arm. "Whatever you thought I meant by that, I
didn't mean it."
"Oh, I think it was pretty clear," Will said, heading towards the door.
Jack, who was more agile than Will, even after half a bottle of rum, leapt
in front of him and blocked the door. "This isn't going to fix anything.
Jack's eyes were still faintly rimmed with eyeliner, reminding Will of that
other Jack. Will felt some of his anger recede.
Jack seemed to sense his change of heart and pressed his advantage.
Will perched on the arm of the wingback chair and crossed his arms
Now that Jack had won a reprieve, he didn't seem to know what to say. "I
know I've been a pain in the ass lately," he said hesitantly.
Jack brightened. "I should have believed you when you said it was real."
Will nodded again.
Jack sauntered closer. "You were right and I was wrong."
Jack closed the distance between them, breathing, "I'm sorry," on Will's
lips before kissing him fiercely.
Will was smart enough to know that a good fuck wouldn't solve their
problems. His super-ego was insisting that he call a timeout until he and
Jack could talk through everything, but his id (which was screeching, "fuck
him now!") won.
Will and Jack barely noticed when the chair tipped over with their combined
weight, snapping a leg and toppling them right into the pool of spilt rum.
They were too busy tearing off each other's clothes to pay much attention to
at the chair leg in his hand. "We broke the chair."
"Yep," Will said in a satisfied tone, mopping up the rum with Jack's
"So, are things ok now?"
"That depends. Are you going to keep acting like I'm crazy?"
"Are you going to keep acting crazy?"
Will tossed the rum soaked t-shirt into Jack's face.
"Joke! Sorry, sorry, it was a joke."
The look on Will's face told Jack he'd gone too far.
He took Will's hand. "Seriously. I'm sorry. 'More things in heaven
and earth,' right?"
Will smiled and the relief was evident in his eyes. Jack opened his mouth to
tell him about his visions, about the ship that might have been his, once
upon a time; but something made him hesitate to share that story. It wasn't
time yet. But when it was, he knew where to go.