Title: Unrequited
Author: Sparrowhawk (sparrowhawk723@yahoo.com)
Pairing: Jack/Will
Rating: PG
Summary: Anamaria knows who broke the captain's heart.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't make money off 'em.
Feedback?: Always welcome.


After all this time, Jack Sparrow could still break her heart without batting an eye. She was reminded of it yet again, the day of his escape from the hangman's noose when she'd surrendered the helm to him with a soft-voiced, "Captain Sparrow, the Black Pearl is yours." He'd been pleased, yes, more than pleased to finally reclaim his ship, but not in his usual high spirits. Faraway as he had seemed, he'd not missed the subtle intonation of her words, acknowledging her with the barest flicker of his enigmatic eyes. She'd been his black pearl, once, and didn't hesitate to gently remind him of it when given the chance--not that the reminding made any difference. Long ago that was, and they'd both changed since then. But he had not changed so much that she couldn't read his moods; she could read them like few others were able.

Three days and nights spent in the fort jail and fresh rope burns around his neck would be enough to weigh down any man's thoughts, but she knew Jack well enough to know he'd shake off those concerns like a mutt shakes off water. No, whatever was troubling the captain unsettled him far more than high-stakes cat and mouse games with the Royal Navy. It had taken her a day or two to put her finger on the likeliest cause.

Over the years many a lass had tried to capture Jack Sparrow's heart, and a fair number of lads as well, but the elusive pirate had never slept in anyone's bed very long--not even her own, though she had tried her damnedest to keep him there. With a twinge of unreasonable jealousy she realized that someone had managed to ensnare him at last, unlikely as that seemed, and she knew who it was. That boy, Will Turner. Too handsome for his own good and hopelessly naive besides. Jack had never bothered with the young ones, the innocent ones--always said they were more trouble than they were worth. But in spite of that, she'd watched Jack watching Will, shrewd kohl-smudged eyes narrowed as if puzzling something out. At some point during the handful of days they'd spent on the Interceptor, Jack had apparently solved the puzzle, for he'd taken the boy to his bed--no secret, that, for there was precious little privacy aboard any ship and still less when passion outweighed self-restraint.

But something more must have passed between them, beyond the obvious, and it was wearing on Jack. Even with the Pearl securely under his command once more, even with their apparent lack of pursuit. It showed in the way he paced the well-worn decks as if searching for something irretrievably lost; it showed in the little vertical crease never quite erased from between his dark brows. Most of all it showed in his eyes, for even the return of his beloved Pearl had not assuaged the haunted look that crept across his features when he thought no one was watching. It pained her to see it, though Jack would not appreciate not accept any offer of comfort from her. Better not to speak of it to him, she decided regretfully, better to leave well enough alone. But she knew what he felt all too well, for it echoed the aching of her own heart--that silent, unrequited yearning for someone held close for a brief while but now forever beyond reach.

END

(25th of August, 2003)