Author: Lady K dAzrael (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pairing: Jack Sparrow/Will Turner
Summary: A down-and-out Will finds himself in Asias most notorious port and encounters and old acquaintance.
Disclaimer: The characters dont belong to me. They belong to Disney, whose legal department would sue me if only they thought I had enough money to bother with.
Authors Notes: Youd best start believin in slash stories Mr. Turner youre in one! (ho ho!) I hope no one comments on my scant knowledge of 18th century history and shipping routes. Thanks go to Tom Waits, for inspiring me in this story, and countless nights of gin-filled madness, to First Mate Red Sarah of No Responsibilities and Eilis the Cabin Boy Not long to we set off for New Orleans in search of Cajuns and pirates!
Chapter I: New Orleans
We sail tonight for Singapore
Were all as mad as hatters here.
Ive fallen for a tawny Moor,
Took off too the Land of Nod.
. . . You must say goodbye to me.
[Tom Waits, Singapore]
Captain Jack Sparrow had seen many seedy ports in his time, and those in the New World were the worst. You would expect mankind to learn from their mistakes and build places that were clean and ordered, but it was not so. Jack sat in a tavern called Le Chat Noir in New Orleans while all around him were Cajun gamblers and cut-purses, Creole bawds and miscreant sailors from all parts. The air rang with coarse laughter and oaths, condensation ran down the walls, and the smell of the Mississippi in the height of summer, filled as it was with all the detritus of progress, was enough to make a grown man swoon.
Jack was unconcerned by all this, sipping his drink, deep in thought. Most of his crew were down the street in Le Cheval Blanc, living it up for what would be the last time in months. They sailed in the early hours for Singapore.
He took a deep swallow of rum that had been watered down by the miserly proprietor and glanced about him. At a table in the corner sat a beautiful youth of Moorish origin, his delicate fingers hovering about the rim of a glass of brandy. He looked slightly nervous and out of place, and by his fine clothes Jack surmised he was probably the son of a wealthy merchant, out on the town without his fathers permission. He was very foolish, Jack thought, and took pity on him. He walked across from where he had been standing at the bar, and slid into a seat beside him, his back against the clammy wall.
You want to watch yourself in a place like this. Some shady characters about.
So I see. The young man said, in a haughty, disdainful tone. He had good English, probably French and Spanish too, as a merchants son ought too.
Easy, mate. No harm meant. Im just a sailor passing the time of shore leave. Its just . . . you remind me of someone. Someone I knew years ago. He had eyes like yours, like a deer wots been startled.
A pirate, like you? the boy asked, Jack was somewhat surprised by his shrewdness and laughed.
Nah, he was a blacksmith.
The youth seemed to find this comparison amusing, he snorted contemptuously. The tavern door opened and in walked a whore in a red dress, casting about for customers. Her hair was pinned high on her head, she wore white make-up and a painted beauty spot on her cheek. The youth looked up with interest.
Wouldnt do that if I were you.
Theyre rough ones round here. Youd be courting the pox. Itd be a shame for a fresh-faced beauty like yourself to be dying so young.
The youth looked at him, studying Jack silently for a moment to see if he understood the situation.
I sail tonight.
Theres a coincidence. Jack smiled.
What am I to do to amuse myself until then?
Theres pleasurable company to be had, my lad, and some of it you dont have to pay for. Savvy?
Savvy. The youth said, in his beguiling accent, his dark eyes sparkling with an intensity he had never seen in the eyes of the one they had been reminding him of.
Chapter II: Singapore, three months later.
The world dont care what a sailor does in the town
Its hanging in the windows by the pound.
[Tom Waits Everything Goes to Hell]
It was a strange and unlikely story, that of how a married man of age to know better found himself in the disreputable dens of Singapore, but then every lost soul in that place had a tale to make your heart bleed. Around Will Turner, reclining on shabby couches were men with tales of adventure, or of ruin; those who came to the brothels and the opium dens for amusement and those who came to escape. Wills story, it seemed, was not exceptional at all many men had drifted from unloving spouses, from ruined businesses, just like him.
It was wartime, as it always seemed to be in England. The French Revolution had sparked discontent across Europe and King George was anxious of rebellion from within, and attack from without. The colonies were all but forgotten, the navy shipped off to patrol the channel between the motherland and the enemy. In Port Royal, a man in shabby clothing bartering his way on to a merchant ship bound for Asia had not been remarked upon.
The drifters of the world surrounded him in that warm, smoky interior. Will did not care for opium, mainly because he could not afford it, so he drank rum and watched the whores scurrying to and fro, giggling, pursued by ardent sailors. He would be at that himself, when he had had enough to drink.
The sound of someone being slapped by one of the girls rang through the parlor, this was not unusual, but then slurred voice from the corner caught his attention..
Im not sure I deserved that!
Will lifted his head sluggishly he observed one of the oriental girls shouting at the speaker in her own language. The man laughed and gold teeth glinted in the lamplight. He turned and stepped, or rather swaggered towards the unoccupied seat by Will.
Jack Sparrow. Will said, hoarsely.
Captain Jack Sparrow. Jack corrected in the posh accent he often assumed, under the impression that it leant him authority, before realising who it was that had addressed him and slipping back into his natural cockney. Well Ill be damned - Will Turner, innit? he took the bottle of rum from Will without asking and pulled the cork out with his teeth, taking a deep swig.
Last time I saw you you were a fresh-faced whelp ready to be married to the love of your life. What brings you to Singapore?
Long story I dont care to tell. It had been only five years since he had last laid eyes on Jack, and yet to Will it seemed half a lifetime.
Fair enough, fair enough. Jack said. But tell us, at least, what became of that bonny lass Elizabeth. He thought fondly of the time he and Wills woman had danced drunk as Irish newts round a bonfire singing a song that went Its a pirates life for me . . .
She went back to her father, cursing the day she pulled me out of the sea.
Ay, women theyre a fickle lot. Jack said, as if this didnt surprise him. Might as well have a whore, they cost less than wives and give you less of this. He opened and closed his hand to suggest a woman nagging.
What about you, Jack? Howve you been? Will hadnt ever expected to see Jack Sparrow alive again he thought his old friend would have done the Tyburn jig one day for his piracy.
Cant complain. Been to the Americas to see lady Louisiana and now here I am back in old Singapore, see some old friends and what do you know, here you are.
Bet you didnt expect me to be here.
Jack shrugged negligently. Youre more like your father than you care to admit. He could never sit still, was never content without waves moving beneath him. Its the same with you, I reckon. Jack seemed for one moment very still, and very serious. Then he said brightly: Cmon mate. Whats say me an you get a room upstairs with the two prettiest girls here?
Expensive. Will replied, dubiously.
Youre forgetting that I am Captain Jack Sparrow a man of considerable means.
Jack gave another glinting grin and produced a purse which he had almost certainly stolen.
Will found himself in an upstairs room that was gaudily decorated yet fell short of opulence. They brought with them two whores: a plump, Moorish girl who Jack had taken a fancy to, and a local-looking girl who was petite and prettyish beneath her make-up.
Jack was enthusiastic and utterly shameless, fairly tearing off the dark whores bodice and shrugging off his own clothes in a trail as he pursued her across the room.
Once, when theyd been on The Interceptor, Will had seen Jack in the early morning dive naked into the sea with a knife clenched between his teeth. When he had returned, he clambered onto deck to stand dripping and shimmering like a bronze statue of a god. He was the same now, tanned all over, lean and sinuous, acting like he was fully dressed when wearing only his ridiculous battered tricorn hat over his mass of black, beaded braids. He had more kohl on than the whore, his mouth quirked into a lecherous grin as he grasped her playfully and pushed her sprawling forwards over a dressing table.
Will tore his eyes away and forced an interest in his own woman, who was unbuttoning his shirt and looking puzzled and slightly angry at his lack of attention. He didnt take his shirt off, but pulled off his trousers and flopped drunkenly down on the bed, letting the whore climb on top of him and go about her trade.
Jacks girl was squealing with delight as the pirate took her from behind, then she broke away in sport and managed to get three steps from him before Jack tackled her and brought her crashing down on the bed next to Will.
The mattress bounced again as Jack clambered on to her and Will felt queasy. Next thing he knew, Jacks face was an inch from his own.
Yes. Will replied gruffly, grabbing his woman by the waist in a show of encouragement. She was still in her dress, but her breasts had heaved out of it and were bobbing up and down with her motion. Jack was on top of his girl, she had her legs wrapped tightly around his narrow waist and was clinging on to his shoulders, moaning convincingly. Will watched, wide-eyed as Jack tossed his hair back, beads and trinkets clacking and jingling as they hit his shoulders. The whore tried to take his hat, but without even being put off his stroke he caught her wrist and pinned it down on the bed, saying: Leave it, luv. His hips twisted with each thrust and in the close, humid air of Singapore sweat ran down his back in rivulets between his shifting muscles.
It was what he was watching, as much as the whore above him, that brought Will to climax, and at that point he found the unfathomable dark eyes of Jack were locked on him.
The whores dressed with a kind of lazy reluctance and pinned their hair back in place before returning downstairs to procure more customers.
Jack lay close to Will, radiating heat, and Will was embarrassed, so got up and yanked his trousers back on.
Shy one, you are. Jack commented, his eyes heavy-lidded, kohl somehow still perfect.
Will reached for the rum bottle he had discarded on the nightstand and took a deep drink. Jack was strangely still; it was his habit to be always reeling and making expansive gestures, whether out of drunkenness or eccentricity it was difficult to say. There was an element of theatricality about him, in his flamboyant dress and mannerisms and Will had always suspected that much of what he did was part of his assumed role of adventurer, cad and pirate.
You got somewhere to go? He asked quietly, as he shifted himself off the bed and began to dress.
Will shrugged. I said Id be at The Pharon by dawn.
Jack wrinkled his nose as he wound his sash around his waist. Merchant ship, aint it?
Thats no life for you, young Turner. Come back with me to The Pearl.
And be a pirate?
Aye! Tis a noble profession. Jack said, his arms folded across his bare chest and a mock-serious expression on his face. Will couldnt help but laugh, Jack was such a sight half dressed like that and with his hat slipped over to one side.
Good lad. Theres the spirit I remember!
They reeled all the way back to the docks, arms slung round each other in a display of companionship and also to assist being upright. Jack proved at least sober enough to row. They were back to back in the skiff, Will leaned against him and watched the play of the swinging lamps light over the water as Jack sang in a rousing and only slightly off-key tenor Drink up me hearties yo ho! A pirates life for me!
Jack! Jack! Will interrupted.
What is it, me old mate?
I missed you. Will struggled with words, he wasnt sure where this was going. I didnt realise until now . . . but I did.
Course you did Will. Ill be honest with you it never did sit well with me, leaving you to the mercies of dry land. You were a good blacksmith, but you were a better swordsman.
Will remembered little after that, and he woke the next afternoon with hazy recollections, a sharp, unmerciful headache and a nausea so severe that it seemed the world was swaying beneath him. He opened his eyes and found that his last suspicion was, in fact, true. He was on The Black Pearl, and once this was established his memory began to inform him as to why. The bed he lay in was large and there were windows he was above deck, so these were the captains quarters it was Jacks bed.
Will staggered out on deck in bare feet and his ragged trousers to get a cup of water from one of the rainwater barrels. No one was about, and Will stood gazing across the Strait of Singapore watching the longboats traversing between ship and shore, the busy merchants just arguing, gesticulating specks in the distance.
There was a thud to his right and behind him, he turned to see a dark hand appearing over the side, followed by a face with a knife clutched between its teeth.
Jack, you scared the living daylights out of me!
Sorry mate. Jack slithered onto the deck, bronzed, magnificent and glinting with beads of water.
Why do you take a knife with you when you go swimming?
Jack shook his hair. Fend off lusty mermaids.
You do realise why people say youre mad, dont you?
Jack grinned and studied Will in the sunlight. He had been a handsome boy, and he was a handsome man now, still with those chestnut curls and dark, liquid eyes like a startled roe deer, but he was currently shaky and pale.
You look like death.
Feel like it too.
Hair of the dog is what you need. Advised Jack, leaning back against the rails and sunning himself. Will blanched further at the thought of another sip of rum.
Where are the crew? he asked. The Pearl was as deserted as the Mary Celeste.
Shore leave. Were docked for the week, been out on the Pacific for nigh on two months and everyone was going a little mad from cabin fever, savvy?
But they dont come back to the Pearl to sleep?
They prefer a tavern bed or the gutter, I think. Now me, I hate sleeping on dry land. Dont feel natural, yknow? Reminds me of being in prison.
Dont you need a guard for the ship?
On the Cursed Black Pearl? Jacks eyes widened and he made one of his reeling gestures. It is piloted by the damned!
Will laughed Yes I suppose itd take a brave or mad man to steal The Pearl.
Thats right. Thats why its the safest place to be.
Except with you as captain, of course.
Youre asking for a keel-hauling. Jack crossed his arms across his chest. He might have looked more threatening if hed been wearing clothes.
The next days were spent between The Pearl and the bars on the port. Will found Jacks company almost magnetic, he never wished to be further from him than his shadow. At night they would crash drunkenly into Jacks cabin and collapse in a tangled, fully-clothed heap on his bed. In the mornings Jack went swimming, Will sat recovering on the deck, snoozing in the sun. In the evenings they would go ashore and wind from place to place together through the narrow streets.
Other people were drawn to Jack too, it seemed, but they were creditors mainly, and spurned women, and people who alleged he had stolen from them. They had their fair share of fist fights with shady characters they met and were thrown, laughing, into the streets by many a red-faced proprietor. Those days were a haze to Will; he recalled the dark, smoky interiors of the bars, full of talking, laughing and roaring, sailors from all four corners of the earth. Will remembered the gaudily bright dresses and painted smiles of the whores and the sugary sweetness of rum. He also remembered images of Jack, still moments in time he could picture in his head like sketches. Jacks dark-ringed eyes gazing across the table at him as he related some new half-baked scheme which would result in trouble, Jacks hand on his shoulder, calloused from hauling hemp ropes and with dirt ingrained under the nails, yet fine-fingered and subtle, as a pickpockets should be; Jacks glinting smile with its flashes of gold and the rich, deliberate tone of his voice as he would lean forward to clinch a proposal and say Savvy?
Six nights in Singapore and Will was feeling decidedly the worse for wear. Jack, of course, was holding court in the tavern with undiminished vigour. They sat at a round table, Will to Jacks right hand and various crew members and acquainted buccaneers surrounding them, sitting or standing, all with tankards of ale and rapt expressions. Jack had his arm around Will and was telling the story of the curse of the Black Pearl, uncharacteristically for Jack, with few embellishments perhaps because the story was so fantastic he was having sufficient trouble securing his audiences credulity.
Every time Jack mentioned Elizabeth, Will was filled with shame. She had been a beautiful, spirited woman, and he had not treated her as she deserved. Competition had driven his business under and he had been too proud to go with her to her father. The blood of his pirate father made him unwilling to submit to Governor Swanns patronage; Wills independent spirit was repulsed by the very idea. For better or worse, he was here in Singapore and he would not have it any different. He was aware, through the haze of rum, that Jack was speaking of him, of his brave deeds and he suddenly felt hemmed in and the air was close, he could hardly breathe. He got up and pushed his way to the door, then stumbled out into the warm dark. He leaned back and slid down the wall, his head swimming or rather, floundering. Jack was by his side in what seemed like an instant.
Will. Will, are you alright? Jack held Wills face between his hands, his eyes flitting anxiously across his pale friends face.
No more rum!
Jack smiled. Alright, no more rum.
And no more taverns. And no more girls.
Savvy. What you need is to sober up and get some sleep.
Take me home.
Back to The Pearl it is, mate. Jack hauled Will to his feet and they swayed back into the wall. Jack was tantalisingly close to him then, Will could feel his sharp hips through the clothes that separated them. Jacks face lingered, his lips slightly parted and his breath warm on Wills cheek. He had a strange look on his face, as if he was uncertain of something, or perhaps it was that something had just occurred to him. Come on. He said, suddenly tugging Wills arm and leading him down the street.
They rowed out to the Pearl and Will tried to clamber up the ladder, but got his foot snagged in a rung. He felt himself fall with a detached slowness, until the water smacked his back and he sank into the dark water. He was too confused and shocked to even know which direction was up, he thrashed uselessly and felt certain that his life was at an end. Suddenly, from what seemed like below, a strong arm circled his torso and brought him spluttering into the night air.
Alright mate, alright. Ive got you. Jack said, keeping their heads above by treading water and moving his free arm in circular strokes.
Will climbed more carefully up the ladder this time, shivering as the coastal wind buffeted his sodden form. Jack shepherded him into his cabin. They stripped quickly, their clothes strewn in a puddled heap on the floor. Jack rummaged in a chest and threw Will a dry, woolen blanket.
He sat down heavily next to him on the bed, rubbing Wills shoulders.
Bet that sobered you up, eh?
A little. Wills fingers clenched in the edges of the blanket. From the rum or the near-death experience, he felt bold. He let the blanket go and it slid down his back to pool on the bed behind him. He reached for Jack and rested one of his freed hands on a tanned shoulder, the other beneath wet locks, his thumb before Jacks ear, stroking the sharp line of his cheekbone. Jack stayed still for the moment before Wills lips descended on his own, and Will feared that he had made a terrible mistake. Then Jacks mouth opened and they were suddenly kissing, passionately like lovers do in the fanciful novels Elizabeth had read. Jacks hands stroked down Wills naked back with a pickpockets feather-light touch and he sucked delicately on Wills tongue before biting his bottom lip sharply. They sank down onto the bed and breathless, Will pulled back and studied him. The kohl-ringed eyes were heavy lidded as Jack stroked Wills tangled, wet hair back from his face.
I thought . . . I thought youd be shocked.
Jack gave Will one of his peculiar, quirked smiles. You cant shock a sailor. Worse things happen at sea.
I thought you wouldnt that you werent interested in me.
The first night, you were so passionate with that girl.
Jack laughed softly. It was only a bit of fun with a whore. No call to be jealous, young Turner.
I want you to be like you were with that girl.
Jacks voice dropped, it became hushed and insidious. Oh, I can do much better than that.
Will felt Jack above him, his body hard and powerful, so unlike a womans. His skin was scorching hot, like he had absorbed the suns rays and Will dipped his head to kiss Jacks neck, he tasted the sea salt on his skin and smelled the musk of his hair, washed only by the sea.
Will had longed to be the focus of Jacks desire, not even now realising that in the brothel he had been, just as Jack had been his. The pirates eyes were not as easily read as Wills, he was used to equivocation and deceit. Perhaps Jack hadnt even admitted to himself the intensity of desire he felt for the younger man, but now that his body was lying exposed beneath his own, he felt a lust that overshadowed all that he had ever felt for the port women, even his tawny Moor, who had been a mere substitute for this man. The only thing he had ever longed for other than the sea and treasure. He found he didnt want to throw Will over furniture or slap him playfully like he would have done with a whore, he was struck with an uncharacteristic tenderness for this young blacksmith, who was trembling slightly with expectation.
Soon they were drenched in sweat, sticking to the cotton bed sheets and each other. Jacks arms strained on either side of Wills face, his narrow hips thrusting in a sharp, desperate rhythm. The way they lay, with Jack on top and Wills legs crossed across his back, sliding and trying to get a purchase, was not the most comfortable position they could have contrived, but it had been worth it for Jack to see Wills wonderfully expressive features. Now, however, Jacks face was buried in the crook of Wills neck, panting as his body tried to keep up with the demands his lust.
Jack, Will whispered harshly, faster . . .
Im trying, luv Jack wanted to tell him, only he felt it would spoil the mood. He raised his head in a supreme effort, shifted himself forward, his belly meeting Wills scorching hot loins. Will moaned urgently, his fingernails digging into the pirates back. Jack felt his whole body was taut, pulled between collapsing on top of the man beneath him and supporting himself so he could thrust faster, as his body urged him to. Will thought Jack, like that, was the most erotic sight he had ever beheld. He felt none of the disgust he had with women in their abandon, the image of Jacks dark skin shifting over his muscles and the scent of his sweat drove him mad with lust. Better than even that was Jacks expressions the way his eyes widened in a flash of the whites around his obsidian pupils, the way the smile that had at first twisted with something like menace and amusement had given way to lip-biting desperation. Jack twisted his hips and Will, who had been holding his breathed huffed it out unevenly as he climaxed. Jack watched Wills face again, his lips flushed and parted, his eyes dilated and his hair stuck to his face in damp strands. Jack grinned at him and but then his arms went out from under him as he came. He landed heavily on Will, who made an offended oof noise. Jack managed to roll himself over onto his back next to Will and lay there, chest heaving. The sheets were hopelessly tangled around their legs like seaweed.
Next time youre going to do all the work. He told Will, glancing at him sideways through half-closed eyes.
Unh. Said Will, not sure whether he was agreeing or disagreeing. He fell asleep with the warm weight of Jacks arm slung across his middle.
Will woke alone, as usual, and was slightly angry. He wrapped a sheet around his waist, as his clothes were gone, and wandered outside. The missing clothes were hung out over the rails, drying, and there was no sign of Jack. He dressed and then leaned out, enjoying the feel of the sun on his face and studying the swirling waters below. Suddenly a dark head broke the water and there was a loud gasp.
Jack! Are you alright? Will called. Jack didnt respond for a moment, he was busy taking heaving breaths.
Never better. He managed, coughing, then replaced his knife between his teeth and started to climb the rope ladder on the Port side, using only one hand as the other was clenched in a fist.
Morning. He said, jovially, sticking his knife point down on a barrel and walking towards Will.
What have you got there?
A pearl. He assumed his ridiculous aristocratic drawl and opened his hand to reveal the shimmering specimen, then pressed it into Wills palm. For my pearl on The Pearl.
Sounds like the kind of thing youd say to a Tortuga whore.
Jack clutched a hand to his chest looking up in theatrical sorrow. You wound me, Will Turner. I offer you the first piece of treasure I ever got without pilfering it and youre still jealous of the brothel girls.
Theres no need for the Captain Jack Sparrow act with me, you know. Will wrapped an arm around Jacks glistening torso.
What makes you think its an act? Jack threw his head back as Will kissed his neck and drops of water from his hair fell pattering on the boards behind him.
Ive been around and seen you without an audience, and youre not always as drunk or mad as you pretend to be. Will whispered to Jacks jaw line.
Me secrets out. Ill have to maroon you on an island somewhere.
Id lash sea turtles together and escape.
Then Ill just have to take you everywhere with me and keep an eye on you, wont I?
Hoy! Came a female voice from the water below. You going to put some clothes on and take us out of this dump?
Jack leaned over the side and laughed. Anna-Maria was standing on the prow of a longboat, behind her various hung-over crew members sat.
Jack spread his hands in front of his chest. Cmon, dont pretend its not the biggest thrill youve had all week, luv!
Will threw Jacks trousers at him and they hit him in the face as he turned around.
He pulled them on, and assumed a dignified position by the helm, his hand over his eyes and scanning the horizon as roughly half his crew climbed up on deck.
So your stuck with us again, young Turner? Mr. Gibbs asked, coming up beside Will, who had been staring thoughtfully into the middle-distance.
So it would seem. Will lifted Jacks hat from where it had been laid aside on a barrel, and walked to his side, setting it on its owners head slightly askew.
You dont look right without your captains costume.
Jack slung an arm around Wills shoulders and took up his compass, singing tunelessly to himself for a moment before asking: Where to, matie? Tortuga? Marseilles? Amsterdam?
Somewhere better than Singapore.
Tell me luv, have you ever been to New Orleans?
Excellent. Jack snapped his compass shut and grinned at him.