BY:  Colimbina


William hadn't been a man of great instinct until he met Captain Jack
Sparrow. There were a lot of things William hadn't been until he met
Jack, actually, but as he and Elizabeth watched the man sail toward
the horizon on his beloved ship, for the first time in his life Will
felt that something was off. His blood was still singing from the
escape—it had been like nothing he'd ever felt before, battling at
Jack's side, each knowing exactly where the other was and what they
were about to do. Now, standing next to the woman he loved and
watching the other man sail away, Will felt he'd miss-stepped and the
folly would lose him something critical.

"Will," Elizabeth whispered close to his ear when the Black Pearl was
reduced to a dark spot quickly blending with the horizon. "I love
you, too, Will," she said. Will tried to smile genuinely, remembering
how he had longed to hear those words, trying to summon that warmth
that had come so easily when he had dared to imagine them, but the
unsettled feeling was growing stronger as the ship faded and he
couldn't understand why.

"Will, darling, are you alright?" Elizabeth asked, now sounding
genuinely worried.

The Black Pearl vanished completely.

He finally turned to Elizabeth, smiled as well as he could, and
pulled her close. "Of course, I'm… wonderful."

When he returned after four weeks at sea working as a privateer—the
governor's daughter could hardly be engaged to a true pirate—his
fiancé greeted him with nothing warmer than ice. In public that day
she was cold and stoic, mechanically polite as a lady of her standing
must be in company, but that afternoon when they found a moment to
themselves, the ice melted instantly.

Will ducked as pottery was hurled at his head with great precision.

"Elizabeth!" he said.

"William! You left me here, alone, for a /month,/ William! All I've
had to do was stare out the window and pine for you like some… some…
sailor's wife!"

She threw a powder jar, which exploded on impact and covered Will's
chest in dust.

"I don't understand, Elizabeth," he said with a touch of panic and
dodged something else, "I thought you wanted me to be a pirate—

"I wanted!—" she paused, eyes flashing, hand poised to throw a heavy
silver hairbrush. She let out a growl of frustration, put the brush
down, and marched over until they were nose to nose. "You will /not/
leave me behind again, William Turner," she said fiercely and marched
out of the room.

The next time he left port, she came along. Her father had forbid it,
of course, despite the pleas from both Elizabeth and Will—as had
Commodore Norrington, who had commissioned the journey. Will had
naively thought she had given up on it. Elizabeth, hardly being one
to forfeit adventure so easily, had stowed away with the provisions.
Will had to barter away a quarter of his share of loot and remind the
crew very forcefully that she was Elizabeth /Swann/, only daughter of
the governor, to convince the crew not to throw her overboard the
moment she was discovered. Even with that he had fallen out of favor
with the crew, having broken the Articles, and was made to do all the
worst jobs and take all the worst shifts.

On Elizabeth's part, she learned that not all adventures on the high
sea were terribly adventurous. Her first one had lasted less than a
week during which she had been kidnapped, marooned on an island,
propositioned by cursed undead pirates (along with a cursed, undead
pirate monkey,) saved multiple lives multiple times, and began her
romantic relationship with her fiancé. This second voyage mostly
consisted of sitting and waiting. The boat was old and slower than
any she had ever been on, so there days of inaction between the
raids, and when those did come around, the crew locked her in one of
the cabins despite her kicking, screaming, and scornful looks to
Will. They let her out for the celebration afterward, but being the
only female on the ship, she was more want to lock herself back in
the cabin. The salty air made her skin constantly itch, and a diet of
hardtack and grog did little for seasickness. When they finally
returned to Port Royal, she was desperate for her life of fine lace
dresses and meals that consisted of more than stale bread and very
bad alcohol.

William hadn't faired any better on that voyage, having to deal with
both the taunts of the crew over his Missus, and scorn from said
Missus for taking her along on the wretched trip. Afterward William
had virtually locked himself in the smith, putting all his
conflicting emotions into beautiful blades. He did not hear from
Elizabeth for weeks, having secluded herself in her father's mansion,
and he thought better than to approach her for… well, as long as he
could avoid it.

It stopped being an option when, one day at dawn, a messenger
delivered an invitation to his own wedding scheduled two weeks from
that day. He went to the mansion as quickly as he could, still
covered in filth from doing little else than working at the forge for

"Oh, William, you're filthy," Elizabeth greeted cheerfully and kissed
the air near his cheek. "Come, let's get you cleaned. You need to be
fitted for your gown as soon as possible."

He was dragged into the bath room, stripped, and bathed by two
servants despite a great deal of protest and blushing on his part.
Elizabeth stood behind a screen the entire time, speaking matter-of-
factly about the wedding and their future plans, most of which were a
surprise to William.

"You're going to buy me a forge?" He said.

"Yes, daddy decided to include it in the dowry. Your talent with
blades is too good to waste, and you can hardly be Master Brown's
apprentice your entire life, can you? You'll get your own shop, with
the best equipment available. You'll be world-renound for your work!"

"That's—" he said, picturing his life anchored in a shop overlooking
fleets of ships that he wouldn't be on. One of the servants scrubbed
restlessly at his scalp, trying to get all the dirt out. "Great…"

"Is anything the matter, dear?" she asked.

"Of course not," he said, trying to sound anything other than

She went on to talk about the plans for the wedding. It would be a
huge ceremony, nearly the entire town attending. Will imagined it
vast and bright and clean, and the wrongness he had been feeling
since he watched the Black Pearl sail away increased, churned around
his stomach while the maids rinsed him off one last time.

He stood through the fittings by day and worked on swords at night,
dread building silently, so vast and encompassing he struggled to
muster any emotion beyond blankness. The swords he made were possibly
the worst since he had begun his training. His wedding gown was…
elaborate. It was possibly more expensive than everything he had ever
owned combined, layers of fine cloth and lace, all creamy white. The
hat was nice, though, gigantic with an unnecessarily large plume.
More than once he thought about a particular pirate that would quite
like the monstrosity, and the thought seemed to be the only thing
that could make him smile anymore.

The sun was setting when he left the governor's mansion the night
before the wedding. He hadn't seen much of Elizabeth lately, her
being to busy with the wedding preparations, but that night she met
him at the door before he left. She felt so fragile in his arms, and
when she kissed him all he felt was the heavy weight in his stomach.
"I love you, William," she said.

"I love you, Elizabeth," he said, and felt awful.

He walked home slowly, watching the sun set over the water. This
would be the last night he would spend in his childhood home, curled
up on the hard but familiar apprentice's cot in the blacksmith's
storage room. He would move into the mansion and sleep in a fine bed,
eat fine meals, and wear fine clothes. He would be married to the
woman he had loved for as long as he could remember, and he would
be /happy./ Surely.

He was so absorbed in these thoughts that at first nothing seemed
amiss in the smith. Only when he situated himself in front of the
forge did anything seem wrong. He frowned and looked around, and
noticed… a hat. A familiar hat perched on his anvil like the first
time he had ever glimpsed it. He reached for it, thinking it was a
mirage brought on by stress or possibly the peculiar soup he had been
served for dinner, but his fingers brushed worn leather, sure enough.

A sword came down and rapped his knuckles smartly.

His eyes followed the blade up slowly, stomach fluttering with
something other than dread now, something far more exciting, and he
met familiar kohl-lined eyes.


"Jack?" Will said, disbelieving.

"Hello, Young William," Jack crooned and bowed slightly, "lovely to
see you again."

"Jack, I. How—you—why—" Jack grinned and tilted his head back, gazing
at Will though half-lidded eyes. Will paused a moment and gathered
enough thought to form a complete sentence. "What are you doing here?"

"I've recently found myself in the market for a new blade," Jack
said, "and who better to provide me with one than the best blacksmith
in the Caribbean?"

Will glanced at the sword drooping lazily at Jack's side and saw that
it was indeed one of his better creations. "Were you planning on
informing me of this acquisition, or simply `borrowing it without
permission' and running?

The pirate sniffed, hefted the cutlass, and began inspecting it,
making it obvious he wasn't going to dignify that with a response.
Will felt elated by Jack's presence, a mixture of amusement and
annoyance that only came in Capitan Jack Sparrow's company, so he let
the issue slide. Instead he said, "I didn't see the Pearl in the
harbor. You haven't lost it again, have you?"

Eyes flashed briefly up from their inspection of the sword, then
quickly back down. His voice was thick with menace when he
spoke. "Nothing short of death—if even that—could separate me from my
Pearl again, lad." Then he looked up once more his sinisterly gleeful
self, gold teeth flashing in his grin. "My being a wanted man, I
couldn't risk your dear Commodore recognizing her. I temporarily
commandeered a--less /conspicuous/ vessel."

William grinned. "Was the owner informed?"

"They know by now, no doubt. This is a beautiful piece of work," he
said, tucking the saber into his belt behind to the empty scabbard,
the new one being wider than the previous blade.

"Thank you," Will said incredulously, "by all means, keep it if you

"Aahhhhh, you're too kind," Jack said, swaggering over and putting an
arm around Will's shoulder. Despite being taller, Will always felt
like the smaller of the two around Jack, and in such proximity he
felt like he was surrounded, smothered in coat and hair and the scent
of unwashed pirate. "Now," Jack said, guiding Will to the
door, "how's about you buy your dear old friend a drink or twenty
while you pour your aching heart out about waning lady love?"


"Drinks first," Jack insisted in a tone that broached no argument,
and escorted them into the street.

None of the bars in Port Royal had low enough standards for Jack's
tastes, but they made due with the seediest place in town, an inn at
the very outskirts where the less savory seafaring folk stayed while
in port. When they entered Jack surveyed the room as grandly as he
did everything. He seemed to find the place—whatever it was he wanted
it to be—so he strutted toward a table near the back of the room and

Will sat as well, leaning heavily on his elbows toward
Jack. "Elizabeth and I are not having problems," he insisted too
quickly. "We're to be married tomorrow."

Jack looked unimpressed. Then he looked at the bar. Pointedly.

Will sighed and got up to order the first of what he guessed would be
many rounds of drinks. The woman behind he bar leaned in close when
she put the two mugs down, showing off ludicrous amounts of cleavage.

"Eh, boy," she said in a voice that thought it was whimpering but was
often wrong about these things. "Issat Jack Sparrow, there?"

He glanced back at Jack, who reached out to catch a passing wench and
pull her into his lap. Will turned back to the bar rather than see
where it went from there. "He prefers /Capitan/ Jack Sparrow."

"Word around town is the Capitan there has a very pretty price on his

That was hardly a surprise. "Is that so," Will said, reaching for the

The woman held them fast. "Yeeaah," she said pointedly, "that's so."

"I'll be sure to inform him," Will said and yanked the mugs out of
her grasp. She grinned unpleasantly. At a second glance, the grin
wasn't unpleasant so much as the teeth were.

"Eh," she said, grinning and darting glances at Jack, "issit true,
that he escaped from a deserted island by taming a pair of sharks
wit' not but a boot tack and his wits?"
"So I hear," Will said and took his drinks.

Jack was muttering something near the whore he had commandeered's
ear. Will couldn't make out anything beyond gravely, rough
mutterings, but the woman seemed to like it, because she was giggling
and pawing at Jack's chest. She gasped as Will approached.

"How on earth did you escape?" she said.

"Well, you see, the Admiral—" he broke off, seeing Will set the beer
in front of him. "'Scuse me, dahhling," he said and virtually pushed
her off his lap.

Will glared at the woman's back while she walked off to find a
customer. When he returned his attention to Jack, the man was staring
at him with large, innocent-looking eyes over the rim of his mug.
Something in Will's stomach rippled pleasantly, like it used to do
when he thought about Elizabeth. That thought reminded him of
Elizabeth and the impending wedding, and all the dread he had been
suffering returned at full force.

Something must have shown, because Jack squinted at him and
said, "Alright, there?"

Will nodded slightly. /Happy/, he reminded himself, and nodded again,
a bit too vigorously. "Fine," he said. Then, trying to change the
subject, "the woman at the bar told me you're a wanted man."

Jack grinned. "Wanted by many, luv."  He turned and winked at the
woman, who had been pretending not to be keeping an eye on him. She
grinned and blew a kiss that Will could smell all the way across the

"It's idiot for you to be here, Jack. I find it hard to believe you'd
take such a risk for only a sword."

"A sword and to witness the union of my two dearest friends in wedded
bliss," Jack insisted.

William thought better than to mention his doubt that he and
Elizabeth were Jack's dearest friends, that title having already been
filled by a ship and a hat. "So you did know about the wedding?" he

"The entire Caribbean knows about the wedding, mate. Quite a scandal
you've started, the daughter of Port Royal's governor marrying a
common blacksmith and scallywag. And you didn't think to invite me, I
might add."

"/I/ thought to invite you," Will said, "but Elizabeth arranged
everything, and…"

"And the impression I left on her rather resembled a pock mark." Jack
emptied what remained in his mug. "No worries, had I been invited, I
wouldn't have come. No sense in being where you're wanted, eh?"

Will tried to nod like he agreed, or at least understood.

"So," Jack said, leaning forward on his elbows, "how is it that
you're scheduled to marry your lady love on the morrow, yet you've
got the airs of a condemned man?"

"I don't—"

"I've no head for denial, mind," Jack said.

"I'm—" Will stopped the denial quickly, seeing the warning glint in
Jack's eyes. "I don't think I'm drunk enough to admit it yet," he
said meekly instead.

"I know the perfect cure for that," Jack said and slid his empty mug
across the table. "None of that hog's piss this time, either."

After three rounds of very weak, very bad rum, Will's tongue was
feeling looser, and he had taken to hunching over his mug, doing a
marvelous impression of a kicked puppy.

"She just… changed," he said.

"Aye?" said Jack.

"/Aye/," Will said grandly.

"I imagine you knew her well before your went off and saved her life,
her being of high social standing and you being the apprentice to one
of many blacksmiths in port. Plenty of opportunities for bonding

"It wasn't like that," Will said, "we were… she /saved/ me. Not with
you, I mean, before that… but then too. When I was a boy."

"And you grew up being the closest of friends."

"We talked a lot," Will said defensively, though now that he thought
of it most of the conversations they had were in his imagination, and
the actual ones had been short and impersonal. She had been kind, but
she was a kind woman by habit. "Honestly," he pressed on, "I didn't
need to talk to her, I knew her. She was beautiful, and sweet, and
perfect, and…"

"And then you got to know her."

Will snorted. "More like she got to know me."


Will took a deep breath. "I got a job as a privateer under
bloody /Norrington/, to please her and she got all uppy when I left
without her. Then she came along, and she wasn't pleased
with /anything/.  She even refused to drink anything, because there
was only rum and grog, and for some reason she gets sick at the mere
mention of rum."

Jack grinned briefly.

"You know what I think, mate?"

"No, Capitan Sparrow, I very rarely know what you think."

"Far as I see it, the lady doesn't know what she wants."

Will blinked slowly. "How could someone not know what they want?"

"Couldn't tell you," Jack said, "I always know /exactly/ what I want."

"And what is that?" Will asked.

"Hear some advice, lad," Jack said, leaning over the table again and
looking at him with that oddly innocent expression. "If people don't
know what you're after, they'll have a time of keeping you from it.

Will nodded and lied, "yes, /very/ savvy."

"So what is it that you want, then?" Jack said, smiling pleasantly.


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