Title: The Gift
Author: Lady BD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Jack Sparrow ponders the eternal question: What do you get for the man who has everything? Sequel to 'Exceptionally Rare'. Part four of the Swords and Sparrows series
Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm too poor to sue.
Author's Notes: This is part four of the increasingly misnamed Swords and Sparrows trilogy. If Douglas Adams can do it, so can I.
Unusually still, unusually quiet, Jack Sparrow sat alone in the tavern, deep in thought. His rum sat by his elbow, barely acknowledged. The ruckus of the room crashed and boomed all around him like the ebb and flow of a human tide, leaving him largely untouched. Every now and again he would mutter under his breath, shake his head, then hunch into himself, as though that would somehow speed the process of his own dark deliberations.
"Giselle? No. Don't like blondes. Maybe Scarlet " He made a chuffing noise deep in his throat and quenched it with a swallow of rum. "Maybe St. Theresa at that." He shook his head and continued to ponder. "Dozen posies, fancy do, pretty music " Horrified, Jack slammed his head against the table, drawing curious glances from those seated around him. When he righted himself he felt a bit woozy, but the worst of the insanity had past. Back to business then.
What? What to do? The lad had everything, or seemed to anyway. He wished for nothing aside from his confounded blade. All he ever wanted was on the Pearl (a fine trait for a first mate, Jack noted). Will Turner never asked for more than Jack himself could give. Which made this especially difficult. It made every trinket seem rather silly and ordinary, every gesture border on useless.
Jack Sparrow was not normally described as a romantic. If anything, he was practical. Take what you can, give nothing back - words to live by. However, just recently, he had been moved by a certain young idiot who seemed intent on turning his hard earned cynicism upside down. Will was rash and bold, eager to do the right thing at all costs. He was a thoroughly good man and worst of all, honest to the core. Jack loved him without reservation and kicked himself at least once a day for it.
Which is why he sat alone, not even bothering with a pretense of drink, pondering his fortunes. "A kitten? Wonder if he'd like no." Jack had a horrible vision of said wee beast being swept overboard during the first squall and our noble young hero (read idiot) diving headfirst to rescue said ball of helpless fluff from the watery deep. He shivered at the thought, taking two stiff drinks to quell the image.
The problem was that he, Jack, was not a romantic. But that he, William, was rather desperately so. One had to look no further than Jack's right hand to confirm that fact. Stories of the fabulous black pearl he wore had already raced through the port. Some had tried to slit his throat for it. Others tried to curry favor, simply to get a glimpse at the magnificent treasure he wore - truly fit for a king. Jack wasn't sure Will knew what he was bringing back the night he bestowed the pearl. He just knew it for the namesake of Jack's precious ship. That it was most likely a crown jewel never crossed his mind. That he had TWO of them, perfectly matched Jack sighed and smiled a little at the thought. That was just Will.
That was the gift Will gave. What could Jack possibly give in return? "Z' not impressed by booze, broads, gold, diamonds hells!" He pounded his mug on the tabletop, sending a slosh of rum up in an impressive arc. "Only thing he likes is me!"
A fat prostitute waddled by, overhearing that last bit. "Easy, dearie!" She swooped in, nearly smothering him in cleavage, "Give him you then!"
He shoved her aside, fighting to breathe. "Me? But he's got me. Much as he can " Suddenly his eyes went wide and he sat hard. He knew. Cold certaintly, he knew. If he had the courage to walk out that door, he could do it. If he had the courage to stand. God's Blood, who knew love could terrify a soul?
Not a man to linger, if going toward certain death of any kind, he'd better be about it. So Jack slapped his thighs, then stood, straight and for once with minimal swagger. That in itself caused gossip. Something was in the air. Jack was meetin his maker, it seemed
Well, if that be the case, his maker lived in a small shop on the outskirts of town. They watched Jack knock, wait, straighten his coat, then enter, embraced as though by an old friend. Then at once the blinds were all drawn and no more was to be seen.
When Will heard Jack finally climb back down to his cabin it was the wee hours of the morning. He had been frantic with worry, knowing the attention the pearl would draw. But Jack entered at his ease, completely comfortable, utterly at rest. "How were things?" Will finally had to ask.
"OH, all right, I suppose. Kinda boring really."
"Did you go into that shop I spoke of?"
"The curiosity shop?" Will nodded. ''No. Didn't have time. Next time. Promise."
"Did you get anything at all?"
"Ah. Yes. Well, I did get one small somethin, yes."
Will waited, knowing Jack would tell him eventually. But when he started puttering around his desk Will lost patience. "What, exactly did you get?"
"Oh, notin worth mentionin. Not really."
Staring, Will put his hands on his hips. "Out with it, man. What is it?"
"Just a little surprise."
Will blinked. "Surprise? For me?"
"Ah, let me check." He made a great show of looking around. "For you."
"Jack why? You're all I need "
"And I need to give. This." His eyes locked with Wills as the younger man sat down on the edge of the bunk. "Good. Now then. Is it here?" He made a production of pulling off his boot and examining it thoroughly. "No, not there." He repeated the process with the other boot, leaning in closely to be able to tell for sure. "Not there at all." They were dropped behind him and then his coat removed, shaken and then the sleeves looked at suspiciously. The vest seemed shifty but was let off with a warning. Which finally left the shirt.
With great drama the buttons were undone one by one, until Will reached to help. That caused Jack to slide back to the edge and nearly start over. So Will held his distance, content to watch until the show was over. First the center row, then the cuffs and finally the soft white cloth slid from the beautifully tanned body.
Over the past weeks Will had made a study of Jack's tattoos. They were all beautiful in their own way, each had a story, most of which he had yet to hear. But bar non, his favorite was the one upon which he had based his own design upon. The sunburst on Jack's right arm, with the sparrow. His eyes were always drawn to it. So he sought it out naturally now, drew it in , held, and gasped. Without conscious thought he reached for the sunburst, drawing it to him, examining it closer, not believing.
"Careful, love," Jack cautioned quietly, "Ink's still fresh."
Eyes incredibly wide, Will ran his fingers an inch above the new tattoo, not touching, just reverently tracing the design. "It says It says "
"Go on, love, you can say it "
"It says William. Just above your sunburst. William."
"Indeed it does."
"But that that's "
Will more fell into his arms than anything, kissing him blindly through a rush of emotions Jack could barely keep up with. It seemed he tried with more than touch, but by feel of his body, by expression, by attitude itself to convey the depth of feelings going through him. Nothing more than kisses - neither felt themselves ready for anything more than that. But they said it all.
Shy, Will held out his tattoo, the bird in flight protected by two gleaming swords, over Jack's fresh artwork. Soft, he said, "I know we're not married. But I wear this always. So shall you. I sometimes think it's more a promise than a marriage vow ever was, in its way."
Jack's eyes were deep, unreadable, when he nodded. "In its way." He leaned up and kissed Will again, deep and hard and forever, knowing a promise was being made in that kiss, and returned.
Not bad for an honest night's work.