Characters: Jack and Will
Disclaimer: A corporation like Disney makes my little bit of fanfic a bit superfluous, really.
Summary: In which Jack makes a request of Will before he is hanged. Another conversation in the brig of the Dauntless. Other conversations can be found at "A Pox on All Honour!", "Whose Guilt?", and "Here's Luck to You," ch. 6
950 words. CotBP compatible.
Thank you geekmama for casting a beta eye over this.
"They're really going to hang you, Jack."
The Dauntless had reached Port Royal. Even in the stygian depths of her brig, the prisoners could feel the alteration in her motion as she hove to and cast anchor, could hear the change in the activity of her crew. Time that had crept along interminably suddenly seemed frantic and short of breath. Any minute now, they could expect marines to drag them up out of the bowels of the ship.
It had struck Will that the end of this journey would only be a relief to a man who anticipated resuming some sort of life.
"I know." The pirate's voice revealed nothing of what he was feeling.
"They can't do that!" Will exclaimed.
"What? Getting cold feet, Will? What happened to those three hours a day practice to bag yourself a pirate, hmmm?"
Will considered the question, his mind traveling back over what seemed centuries that had intervened between that fight in the forge and this moment. He'd been given little cause to change his mind about the majority of pirates he'd encountered during their adventures. Rotting refuse of humanity, the lot of them. He'd spent most of that time mistrusting Jack Sparrow, as well—with his crazed plots and his labyrinthine secrets and his inability ever to let another soul in on either. However, Will no longer classified their strange benefactor with those pirates who'd earned his everlasting hatred. In fact he might even admit to a certain growing fondness for the disreputable character. Of one thing, he was sure:
"Jack, I don't want you to die."
"Well, that makes two of us, son. Unfortunately we appear to be in the minority."
"But you saved Elizabeth! You killed Barbossa!" Will objected.
"Pay attention, young William," the pirate said forcefully. "Good deeds are their own punishment."
"Then why did you do it?"
"Enlightened self-interest. Don't go painting me a hero, Will. I'm a pirate. I saw a chance to take what I could. Things just didn't quite work out as I'd planned."
"Liar," Will said pleasantly.
"Insufferable pup," Jack retorted amiably.
The two men fell silent, each traveling his own way in thought as they listened to the sounds of the harbour and waited for the tramp of feet on the hatch stairs.
Jack was the first to move, fumbling in the pocket of his vest.
"Ah ha!" he exclaimed in triumph as he withdrew the object he sought and held it out towards Will. "Take a look at this, lad."
Nestled in the rough, tar-stained cup of the pirate's hand, the cabochon ruby glowed like a drop of blood.
"Isn't that a beautiful thing?" Jack asked, smiling affectionately at his treasure.
"Where did you get that?" Will asked, astonished. "Never mind. I know where you got it. Where have you been hiding it? They searched us before they threw us in here!"
Jack polished the gem tenderly with the end of his sash, then he held it up between his thumb and forefinger. His mischievous grin curled at one corner of his mouth, winking gold. "You really don't want to know."
No, Will decided after a moment's reflection. He really didn't.
"I want you to take this Will." Jack said, waving the ruby at his cellmate.
"I can't!" Will objected. "That must be worth a fortune."
Jack simply dropped the ruby, leaving Will to scramble after it before it rolled out of the brig.
"You can. And it is." His voice went unwontedly soft and serious. "I have something in the nature of a last request, as it were."
Will closed his mouth mid-objection and stared from the jewel in his hand to the sober face of his companion. The shadows of the gallows seemed already to be gathering about the pirate.
"Anything I can do, Jack."
"There's a little boat sunk beside the dock here in the harbour –the Jolly Mon." Jack explained. "I want you to sell this and use the money to get her raised. Whatever it takes. Then you send a message to Anamaria. Eventually she'll be stopping in Tortuga, so leave the message at the Faithful Bride. Tell her she can have her boat back. I've no more need of it."
"But she has your ship!" Will objected.
"Why not just give her the money to buy another boat?"
Jack shook his head with a faint chime. "Some boats can't be replaced, son. Will you do it?"
"Of course." Will said. It was the least he could do.
The pirate captain leaned back against the bulkhead, folded his hands on his stomach and crossed his legs like a man inclined to nap. As if in after thought, he added, "There'll be some left over. That'll be yours."
"Jack, I can't take that!"
"Course you can. Consider it your inheritance. I owe your father far more than that." The pirate squinted at Will from under his hat and wrinkled his nose. "Get yourself some new clothes. You look a mess. You can buy yourself a hat or something. Your father always wore the stupidest hats."
Then Jack tipped his own hat down, hiding his eyes, and produced an amazingly authentic semblance of sleep.
Nevertheless, at the rumble of boots on wooden stairs, the pirate was on his feet, facing the door to their cell, thoroughly alert.
The sand had run out of their hourglass.
Will joined him, more slowly. "Jack," Will said tentatively.
"What is it?" Jack raised an enquiring brow at him.
Will held out his hand. "Thank you—for everything."
The pirate returned the handclasp. "You're a good man, Will Turner."
"You're a good man, too, Jack Sparrow."