Title: Matelotge
Author: Lady BD (heerozechs195@yahoo.com)
Pairing: Will/Jack
Rating: PG
Summary: Jack Sparrow decides to follow a time honored pirate tradition. Sequel to 'The Gift'. Part five of the Swords and Sparrows series
Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm too poor to sue.
Author's Note: Apparently there was a website out there that described how a real ceremony was done, but it was down when I went to it. Then I thought about it and thought it unlikely that Jack would go by the rules anyway, so I had Jack make up his own to suit himself. So, once again save the cards and letters, friends. I know it's not letter perfect according to the times.


*whirrrrrr - thud*

*whirrrrrr - thud*

*whirrrrrr - thud*

The apple went up, and was neatly caught again.

*whirrrrrr - thud*

Jack Sparrow lay flat on his bunk, deep in thought.

The lad was happy. More than happy. During his time on the Pearl, Will had thrived. In spite of his deep thoughts, Jack grinned a bit. Like a pup, Will was almost over-eager. He learned anything anyone would teach him. He was as likely to be found in the rigging tying ropes as in the galley frying some godawful concoction. Jack made a mental note. Best keep the boy as far from the galley as possible. Point was, he was happy. Where he belonged. With his people, in his place. On the Pearl…

But that was where it turned sour. Like a worrisome tooth he couldn't let alone.

*whirrrrrr - thud*

*whirrrrrr - thud*

He truly was like a pup. Eager for the scraps thrown and content with what was given. If Will never saw an ounce of treasure, he'd never know want. Not like the scalawags he served with, always hungry for more, snapping at Jack's heels. Not Will. Simple things. That's what mattered to the lad. Wind in his face, a good days work behind him, pride in a task accomplished.

*whirrrrrr - thud*

This wasn't like Jack, this level of discontent. He had thought the tattoo would help. Certainly he'd never before done anything like it. His commitment to Will Turner was unlike anything he'd ever felt. To anyone or anything… aside from the Pearl herself. He thought something so permanent as the tattoo would show Will, show the world what he thought of the boy. That and the ring, which he never took from his finger.

If anything, it made it worse.

*whirrrrrr - thud*

*whirrrrrr - thud*

Empty gestures. Empty. Meaningless. Trite. Oh, he knew he moved Will the night he showed the artwork, but what was it really? A sailors design. One of eight he bore on his body. As for the pearl, it was Will's gift to him, not the other way around. And what did it symbolize? The ship that Will knew he carried in the deepest part of his heart. Not the two of them. First Mate to Captain, not…

"Oh HELLS." Jack caught the apple and took a savage bite out of it, chewing furiously.

What exactly *were* they to one another? All right, yes. First Mate to Captain. It was a position chosen with care and not to be taken lightly. He had done so once and paid dearly for the mistake. He trusted Will with not only himself and the crew, but with the Pearl herself. He trusted Will to make the right decisions in case he could not. He trusted Will, period. As he trusted himself. It was a marriage of sorts, really. If it was right. If it was good.

Jack stopped chewing, considering the thought, turning it over in his mind. He felt a warmth spread through him, the discontent evaporating in the wake of the new idea. It was all he had. Anything that meant anything.

It was perfect.

He was up from the bunk in a heartbeat, clothes flying haphazardly through the room. This had to be done right.

--

The ringing of the bell brought Will and the others on deck at a run. It was only used for emergencies or at least… extreme situations. Then he saw Jack.

The boots were polished. The coat was of the latest cut and fashion. The buckles shone in the midday sun. The shirt was of lace, the hair neatly combed (though still threaded with the ever present beads and charms) and the hat… was bedecked with feathers which swept grandly in the Caribbean breeze.

Jack held still for a moment, letting the assembled crew look their fill. And for the first time in perhaps the history of the ship, the crew of the Black Pearl was struck utterly speechless. It seemed to please her captain enormously. Then he looked to Will. "Might have dressed for the occasion." He held out his hand, indicating that Will should join him.

In a daze, Will moved to Jack's side. "Been thinkin' lad," Jack smiled, not letting go of his hand. "Been through a lot together. Hope to see you through a lot more. And you've taken on a lot, to be First Mate of this ship."

"She's the best ship in the world!" Will said at once. "I'm proud to…"

"Easy, lad, easy," Jack soothed. "I know your feelings. That's why we're here."

Will frowned. "I don't understand."

Jack looked to the sky, then straightened his shoulders, looking Will square in the eye. With one hand he continued to hold Will. With the other he swept off his hat. "William Turner, in front of these witnesses, I declare I love you. And that what's mine is yours, if you'll have me. If you want me." Then he swallowed. "Was harder than I thought. Take your time. Think about it."

Thunderstruck, Will stared. "Jack," he finally managed, voice a far cry from his usual tone, "are you asking me… to marry you?"

The crew was riveted, eyes switching back and forth from one to the other, with not a one having so much as moved since they had come on deck.

The pirate's reply was soft, slightly hesitant. "Well, in so many words… yes."

Will stepped close, his voice nearly a whisper. "I accept." Then he leaned in to seal his words with a kiss.

The deck erupted with cheers as the crew celebrated around them. It was only some time later that Will and Jack even became aware of the others, but they didn't seem to mind. Finally, Will in his arms, Jack called for some sort of order. "Big decision time, then," he finally managed, trying to look serious. He pulled Will around so that he could look down the length of the ship. "Which half do you want?"

Startled, Will simply stared at Jack. "You're… giving me the Black Pearl?"

"Well, only half of her. Keep the other half for m'self."

That prompted another kiss, along with whistles and catcalls from the crew. Finally they broke apart, and with an exaggerated grin, Jack took Will's hand, threading through the assembled well wishers to head down below, to his cabin. It was time.

Immediately Will turned, his hands on Jack in a light embrace. Jack stood still for a moment, then moved away. The question in Will's eyes was obvious. Rather than answer, Jack simply took his hand, then sat on the edge of the bunk, discarding the hat carelessly along the way. Will settled next to him, then waited.

Jack took a deep breath, looking at his lap. "You know, don't you, you just tied yourself to a virtual stranger."

Puzzled, Will shook his head. "What do you mean?"

"What do you know about me, lad?"

Will raised his hand to Jack's cheek, gently encouraging him to lift his head. "All I need to know. I know that you, Jack Sparrow, are a good man. The man I love. That I want to serve with until the end of my days."

"'N precious little else. I know a hundred times more about you than you know 'bout me, just from Bootstrap's history alone. I know…" Jack suddenly sighed. "What I know." He half turned, putting his knee up on the bunk, fully facing Will. "Ask."

Startled anew, Will simply stared. "What do you mean?"

Heart pounding, Jack closed his eyes for a long moment. When he opened them again, his expression was almost painfully naked, devoid of any shield or barrier. "Ask me. What you will. What you wish. Anything." He ducked his head in an unconsciously nervous gesture. "It's… what I can give."

Will's eyes widened at the enormity of what had been placed before him. Hesitantly, almost as though afraid of breaking some magical spell, he began. "My father…"

Jack smiled, expecting this.

"My father, and you. Did you… love him?"

"I did." No embellishment, no hesitation.

Will took a deep breath. "Were you his lover?"

"I was."

And so it began. They spoke all afternoon, and into the night, about the history of times long past, and the making of a legend. Jack held nothing back, baring his soul to the man he had committed everything to. And in the end it was Will who broke down, weeping in his arms at the magnitude of it all. Not in the story itself, but the man who would give it. They did not make love. When the emotions played out to such an extreme, the physical seemed too ordinary to matter.

When dawn filled the cabin Will rolled over, at once seeking out his partner. He was, as usual, sprawled happily, his arm over his face, snoring slightly. Smiling fondly at the sight, he reached out, brushing his fingertips across the newly healed tattoo of his own name, directly over the sunburst he loved so much. Then he glanced down at his own tattoo, the sword and sparrow design proudly worn on his right wrist, forever proclaiming his place in the world. Not just first mate. Not just the Black Pearl. Jack Sparrow's partner. Forever. That was what was placed in motion the moment the quill touched his skin.

Feeling a surge of love wash over him, he gently bent down to brush his lips across Jack's. In response Jack's arm instantly snaked around him, pulled him down while the pirate kissed him soundly. Some time later, "Now *that's* a proper hello." was heard in the cabin. It was the start of another perfect day.

END