Title: Gold
Author: Gileonnen (anne_from_xanth@yahoo.com)
Pairing: Jack/Will (implied)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Not all treasure is forged of gold, but all gold is treasure, and a pirate loves his treasure.
Disclaimer: Disney owns these characters and the setting in which they live.
Author's Notes: susanweise has offered me one of the most difficult challenges I've ever received . . . because at heart, I'm a humor writer, and this story begs to be serious. As per her requests, this fic contains the rationale for Jack's hair, the story of his beads, the story of his hat, and plenty of rum.


Rum spread across the table in a puddle of pure gold.

Jack noticed things like that when he was good and soused. He passed his eyes along the grain of the wood, watching the lanterns summon fire from the thin, bright whorls and long, undulating lines. Rum and wood met in a haze of light that shimmered as his head drifted from side to side.

A hand burned gold by sunlight bore golden rings, and it was Jack's own hand. Lovely, lovely long fingers, and they were one with the rum and the wood and the light.

"You're drunk, aren't you?" Will asked accusingly.

Jack looked up from the shifting landscape of the alehouse table and into Will's eyes. They shifted in the light, now gold and now deep brown, and Jack nodded in satisfaction.

"You are!" Will cried, naming that nod confession.

"P'raps a bit," Jack admitted. He waved a wench to their table, and the blacksmith's eyes went dark. Boy had bent his head, and that was why. "Rum for my friend--he's spilled his."

"You are a drunkard, Jack Sparrow! Since we came to port here, you have done nothing but consort with ruffians and drink yourself into a stupor!"

"Cap'n." His eyes traced the places where light caught in Will's hair.

Never asks, does the boy. Tells me how to change my hair without wond'ring if I like it in African locks. Doesn't dangle in your eyes, hair that's all of a piece.

"I will not partake in the Devil's drink," Will muttered rebelliously as the wench brought him a new tankard and began to wipe up Jack's little lake of purest gold. The swirls that remained, though, made beautiful patterns against the woodgrain.

Not all treasure was forged of gold, but all gold was treasure, and a pirate loved his treasure.

"Have you no respect for propriety at all? You don't even have the decency to take off your hat indoors!" Will berated, dragging his fingers across the remnants of rum and into his clenched fist. His skin was slowly going to gold as well.

P'raps it's respect that makes me keep my hat. P'raps it's the last I have of my dear old Da, hanged in the town square after my mum found his brand. Da wore his hat indoors, and not only when the roof was leaking--a man is no man at all without his hat, right, Da?

And since you ask, lad--only you never ask, you tell--since you ask, my hair trinkets as well, then. Stole them off a passing gypsy. For truth, lad! Why, the gypsy took an easy ten years in passing, and I stole 'em from his outstretched hand. Never a better captain for his crew, and he taught me to be mad where I couldn't be drunk as a madman and a drunkard are never bored or lonely.

Will was quiet for a moment, and silence, too, is golden.

He sipped his rum and savored the liquid, letting it run over his tongue and lips.

"Well-sinned, Will Turner."

Will nagged like a woman and thought like a boy; he told where he should ask. There were things that he didn't understand and didn't want to understand, and so he probably never would.

But underneath, there was gold. Pure gold. It showed seldom and lasted seldomer, but it was there, like the glitter of amber in the grain of dark wood.

Jack swilled his rum and fingered his baubles.

A madman and a drunkard are never bored, because they notice the small things that shine brightest of all.

END