your helm, Mr. Turner." To Jack's great surprise, Will never hesitated. With
nary a befuddled look, he turned the wheel, leading the Pearl into a
broad starboard arc. It was exactly right, which was exactly why it was
Jack's eyes narrowed as he took in Will's confident, surefooted stance and
his strong grip on the wheel. When had that happened? Wasn't it just
last month that Will couldn't remember which way was aft?
Will cocked his head and, humming to himself, adjusted their course
"That'll be all, Turner," Jack snapped. "I'll take the helm."
With obvious reluctance, Will stepped away, his fingers sliding slowly off
the gleaming wood.
Will started and gave Jack a hurt look. "Aye, Captain." He stalked
off, clearly none too pleased.
Once more at the helm of his ship, Jack closed his eyes, getting a feel for
how the Pearl was riding in the water. Something felt off. He eyed
the horizon, closed his eyes again and listened, but he heard nothing but
the crack of the wind in the sails.
When Jack once more opened his eyes, he could see Will in the bow, leaning
against the rail and staring out at the ocean. His lean body was intent,
every muscle taut and focused.
"Gibbs!" Jack growled. "Take the helm!"
When Jack reached the bow, he said, without preamble, "What the devil are
you doing making up to my girl?"
"Don't think I don't know what you're up to."
"Huh?" Will repeated, with slightly more emphasis. "What are you going on
Anamaria and Marty, who were splicing rope near the capstan, paused in their
"I've seen this sort of thing before," Jack hissed, "I won't be betrayed
"Betrayed?" Will's face was a picture of confusion.
"You think you can sail this ship better than me?"
"Of course not!" Will's laugh sounded completely sincere. "But. . .I thought
that's what you wanted -- for me to become a sailor. You said I was so
lubberly, you were only taking me on for the sake of my father. . .that I'd
best learn what I was about before you lost patience and put me off on the
nearest spit of land."
"Well, I didn't expect you to go about it like that. How would you
have felt if I'd made eyes at--"
Jack held both hands up in a placating gesture. "I just thought. . ."
"Whatever you thought, you thought wrong!"
The Pearl suddenly heeled to port; a huge wave washed over the side,
dousing them both as they scrabbled for the rail. Just as quickly, she
righted herself. Jack couldn't help laughing, and when he wiped his eyes, he
saw that Will's fierce expression had been replaced with a look of pure joy.
"You've done your father proud."
Will blushed faintly, and looked out over the water. "I didn't want you to
regret letting me sail with you."
"Not a chance, son, not a chance."