Title: Man and Boy
Author: Gabby (yllosubmarine@yahoo.com)
Pairing: Jack Sparrow/Will Turner
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Jack ruminates about Will, his father, and the stance of both the man and the boy.
Disclaimer: Completely not mine. (um, sorry, Disney.)
Feedback: Yes, please.

The boy ("Man! I'm a man!" he objected at every mentioning of "c'mere, boy" or "get me some drink, boy" or "sit down and shut your damn mouth, boy") refused to sleep. Stubborn, the crew members said with a curve of their lips and a shake of their heads.

Just like his father, Jack thought, drinking rum from his flask until it tasted like seawater. The burn it took as it washed down his throat managed to stop the fluttering under his belt, if only for a few minutes.

When Will finally gave in (completely against his resolve) and collapsed under deck on the bunker that held extra coiled rope, there were black smudges under his eyes that resembled shoe polish. Yes, Jack thought, standing beside him, watching his chest rise and fall in the flickering light from a nearby lantern. Just like old Bootstrap Bill.

Jack needn't steady himself by placing his hand on something nearby, whether it be a barrel or a Will's leg, both of which were curled up against his body. Blinking to clear his eyes (rum in combination with being too long in the hazy mist which covered the sea several hours before dawn), his hair comfortably tickled the shells of his ears, and his fingers curled and uncurled at his sides. Standing straight, his feet planted firmly, if he wavered and rocked back and forth from his heels to the balls of his feet, it was because of the drink, and not the sea's motion itself. "I haven't been seasick since I was two months old," he would boast if there was anyone to listen.

He'd probably boast even if no one would listen, in fact. That was something that old Bootstrap used to say. He would clap Jack on the shoulder, give a boisterous laugh and then claim, "Boy, no one here's listening to you. Might as well save your energy." A wink, and then more laughter. A belly laugh from somewhere deep inside the solid stature of a good man could only force people nearby to laugh along. Sometimes, when fire awakening, Jack could still hear it. He would breathe in warmth, breathe it down to the tips of his fingers and the boots on his feet. He would remember times of a father figure (even though he reportedly had a son of his own, and was maybe only a decade older) whose laugh could make even the foulest pirate crack a smile. He heard it, he could sense it, on those clear, crisp mornings. Or maybe it was just the whistle of the wind.

"You know," he said as he stood over Will's exhausted body, the both of them rocking back and forth, being tossed along with the ship. Jack spoke in a stage whisper, though he was positive that if he were to grab Will by the ears and scream obscenities at the tops of his lungs, he wouldn't stir. No matter, though. The drink managed in dulling him like a blade. If he tried exactly that, he'd probably fall onto Will. He'd end up with his knee colliding into a sharp chin, his head knocking into the ship behind the bunker, rope everywhere, limbs everywhere, fighting to get out of something that isn't exactly holding on...

"You know," and he had to speak louder so as to hear himself over the churning that accounted for his thoughts. "You look remarkably like him." His gaze traced over the brow, furrowed in a fitful sleep, hands rough and calloused folded atop a slim chest, lips slightly open and mimicking two dark stains, like coffee, in the dim light given from the lantern.

Jack didn't remember the first time he saw Bootstrap. Instead, he remembered the last. And with the dark shadows obscuring most of his body, and the shoe polish marks under his eyes, the boy looked. He could pass. It was almost like.

"Just like old times, eh, Bill?" A murmur from Jack's lips, and he wasn't even aware that he had said it. The smell was the same, as was the muffled footsteps from above. The snores from nearby men. And if Jack were to close his eyes, ah. He could almost hear the familiar creaking and straining of the Black Pearl's hull. So many nights spent on that ship. (His ship.) Through murky eyes he could see it all as plain as the opened shirt that exposed smooth, tan skin with a smear of black directly in front of him. He could see it as easily as he could touch it, and what would happen then?

A jolt, bright green eyes opening, awakening. "Jack?" A soft whisper, almost pleased surprise, as though it had been expected. Breathing would become louder with each step that Jack took. Yes, he would say. Yes, Bill. Chapped lips as tangy as salt and as sweet as rum would meet his, would open up underneath his, strong hands touching him, holding him tight, bringing him down into the mess of rope and limbs, drowning out the insistent creaks and groans of the boat around them, drowning out the rolling of the waves, drowning out everything but them. And even though in the past it had been the other way around (the memory of rope digging into his back as Billy climbed into the bunker, sleep being wiped away completely because of the warmth of the kisses and the bright eyes that looked the same and yet different, because that heat blazing within them, that was new, yes...), it was so very easy to see. So very easy to want.

It felt as he had remembered. Hard muscle underneath, soft skin covering it. Jack's head swam, he rocked forward a little too hard, and almost lost his balance. His breath wheezed from his open mouth, and he half expected to see it crystallized in front of him. It was smoldering down there. Or maybe it was just Jack.

The eyes that opened were not green, but brown. They blinked up at him. Lean, rough fingers attached to a hand attached to an arm folded around Jack's waist. "Jack?" Surprise. "You're drunk." Accusatory.

"Nothing." Tongue too thick for his mouth, for his head and body, for the entire boat, Jack stepped backward, almost tripping over a barrel that had gotten in his way. He scrambled back up into a standing position, eyes not moving from the man (boy, he's a fucking boy) who had for a split second been so very much like. No. "Nothing. Nothing like him."

Will's raised eyebrows and opening mouth were the last thing he saw before he turned and quickly walked away (too drunk to run), his palms smacking against the wood surrounding him, caving in around him. Nothing like him, his mind echoed. Nothing.

Hanging his head over the side of the boat as men chuckled and shook their heads, Jack had to close his eyes against the surge of nausea as his stomach heaved.