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It Cuts Both Ways

by Melusina


Fandom: PoTC    Rating: G    Pairing: Jack&Will friendship    Full Header


One man's anchor is another man's sail

Determined to leave Port Royal in style, Will wore a jaunty new hat and his best coat. He'd packed a string of black pearls (wrapped in a dirty handkerchief) and a sword he'd forged ten years before, as well as a gleaming new sword for Jack and a hogshead of rum for his crew. 

William carried his mother's pirate books, a small bag of sweets from his grandfather, and the dagger Jack had surreptitiously slipped William before he'd returned to the Black Pearl.  Under protest, William wore the new suit of clothes Will had ordered for him, unfortunately stained with jam from their hasty breakfast.

They would sail on the Guinevere as far as Tortuga, where they would join the Pearl; Governor Swann had come to see them off, under the impression that they were going for a long visit with Will's cousins in Virginia.  Will suspected that Swann was secretly relieved -- he appeared fond of William, but the boy was a sore reminder of what Swann had lost.

As the wind filled the sails, Will strained for a glimpse of the green hill where the cemetery lay.  William leaned forward over the rail, his eyes fixed on the open water.


One man's loss is another man's gain

Their first day on the Pearl, William explored the ship from the bilges to the crow's nest, chattering excitedly to anyone who would listen, too enthralled to make much mischief.  When the light through the gathering clouds had turned the sky an opalescent purple, it occurred to Will that he hadn't seen his son in several hours.  He found William asleep on a pile of black canvas, his bare feet already grimy and tar-stained.  There was a red rope burn on his wrist, and when Will knelt to examine it, a metallic gleam caught his eye.  Pushing aside the crimson scarf William had knotted around his waist, Will discovered the tiny dagger he'd made for Elizabeth before they were married, the one that had been missing since shortly after her death.

William stirred at Will's exclamation of surprise and blinked sleepily.  Will considered questioning him, but a moment's thought made it unnecessary; he knew all too well how William must have come by the knife.  Forcing his voice to a calm and measured tone, he whispered, "Go back to sleep."


One man's right is another man's wrong

"You stole it from me!"

"I held on to it, 'til young William had a use for it."

"After we. . .All that time, with never a word -- you were saving it for William?"

"I learned a long time ago that there's no such thing as a missed opportunity.  You said you couldn't come then.  No telling what might happen in the future, right, mate?"

Somewhat deflated, Will said, "You know, if you'd wanted something of hers, you only had to ask.  I would have given you anything you wanted."

Jack traced a serpentine pattern in the tabletop with the tip of the dagger.  "Would you have let me have this?"


"There you are then.  That's why I took it."  He spun the handle around and offered it to Will.  "You should give it back to William, it's his now."


One man's angel is another man's ghost

"We had to swim under the sharks, see.  But we made it to the island safe and sound, and she never uttered a word of complaint."  Jack paused and reconsidered.  "Not about the sharks, at any rate."

A wave broke in front of them, splashing William in the face.  He shook the salt water from his eyes, and prompted, "And then mother burnt the rum?"

Jack stood in the shallow water.  "No, first we drank a good deal of the rum, and then I slept the sleep of the just, and by the time I woke up, she'd burnt the rum and everything else on the island."

"But it worked, didn't it?  Admiral Norrington saw the smoke and rescued you."

Jack looked off into the distance, remembering Elizabeth's grim determination, her absolute belief that if she tried hard enough, she would prevail.  "It worked," he admitted absently. 

There was a rumble of thunder, and, as a matter of course, Jack's eyes sought out the Pearl, anchored offshore.  A dark figure stood in the bow, and when Jack shaded his eyes, he could see that it was Will. 

Will raised his hand up high and tossed something into the ocean: a bright flash of metal sliced through air and water and memory, and then it was gone.


One man's pleasure is another man's pain

Will tried to be a pirate for Jack's sake, just as he'd once tried to be a gentleman for Elizabeth's, but he was afraid he was a sad disappointment to Jack.  Will refused to visit a whorehouse, refused to get stinking drunk, and refused to attack English ships.  In response, Jack brought a string of increasingly beautiful girls onto the ship, plied Will with rum, brandy and ale, and pursued the French and Spanish with increased vigor.

When Jack complained that Will didnít seem to be entering into the spirit of things, Will merely pointed out that he was fighting and thieving with the best of them, and wasn't that what piracy was about?  Jack was appalled by this, and put forth the opinion that you could hardly expect a blacksmith to know anything about piracy.  The argument went long into the night, and despite his best intentions, Will wound up thoroughly soused.


One man's friend is another man's foe

"William Turner?"  Suspicion turned to certainty on the Admiral's face, and he grabbed William's arm before he could slip away into the crowd.  "It is you!  I thought you were in Virginia with your father's people.  What are you doing in Nassau - have you run away?" 

William tried in vain to think of some excuse.  Before he could stutter out a reply, Jack appeared and yanked him from Norrington's grasp. 

"I should have known you were at the bottom of this.  Does Turner know you've made off with his son?"  The venom in Norrington's voice was a shock to William, who'd never stopped to consider that the kind man who visited the forge so regularly was also the one responsible for the rotting bodies hanging on Dead Man's Point.

Quietly, Jack said, "Admiral Norrington, this is none of your concern.  Keep your nose out of it."  He gave William a little shove.  "Hightail it back to the ship, son."

Norrington started to protest, and then said, with dismay, "Turner?" 

William looked to see his father behind him, surprise and regret painted across his features.  "Norrington. . .I'm sorry.  I am.  But this is how it is."

Norrington slowly lowered his hand, shaking his head a bit in disbelief.  Without a word, he turned on his heels and walked away.


One man's reason is another man's rhyme

"Young William all settled?"

"He was asleep before I left the cabin."  Will pulled off his coat and tossed it onto a chair.  The Pearl rocked and swayed gently, and the feeling was soothing after a day spent on land.  Without intending to, he'd become accustomed to the constant shifting, and he'd missed it while they were ashore. 

Jack took a swig of rum and propped his heels on the table.  "Cat's out of the bag now."

Will sighed morosely.  Norrington was sure to tell Swann that he'd seen them in the company of a notorious pirate.  It would be a long downhill slide from here; in no time, Will's face -- and William's too, no doubt -- would be on handbills.

Echoing Will's thoughts, Jack asked, "D'you suppose he'll tell Swann he's seen you?"

Will quirked an eyebrow expressively and Jack nodded in agreement. 

"Then it's a good thing I got this today," he said, handing Will a document prominently marked with Governor Rogers' seal.

Will perused it with a mounting sense of confusion.  "A Letter of Marque?  You'd do this. . .for me?"

"Piracy's piracy, even when it's legal.  Can't hurt to have the Royal Navy on our side for a change."  Jack winked broadly and offered Will his hand.  "So, what say you?  Can you sail under the command of a privateer?"

"With pleasure."  They shook hands, and there was an odd clink from Jack's sleeve.  When Will gave his hand an extra shake, an ornate silver dagger (inscribed "WR") clattered onto the table.

Jack shrugged shamelessly.  "Can't reform completely in one day, can I?  Besides, a little birdie told me you owe William a knife."  At Will's stern look, he held up his hands.  "Alright, alright, I'll send it back.  But I'm tellin' you, mate, he'd never have missed it."


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