One-shot: Christmas Reunion
Disclaimer: If I weren't crazy, this would never work.
Summary: A Christmas reunion of several beloved characters set post AWE. Jack's POV. Entirely fluffy. Written for the final day of the Twelve Days of Christmas Fic / FanArt Festival at Livejournal's "blackpearlsails".
Thank you, Geekmama, for beta-reading this.
Gibbs hadn't wanted to go. Like a rusty hinge, he'd refused to budge. All Jack's cajolery, bribery and threats had merely increased the volume of his protests.
In the end, Jack had pulled rank on him. Well, not exactly Jack's rank.
"Fine then," Captain Sparrow said, throwing up his hands in exasperated surrender. "You won't go." His lips pulled back over a truly evil grin. "Now you can march right up there and explain to the Pirate King just exactly why it is you can't be obeying her orders."
Folding his arms in satisfaction, Jack watched the dour face of his old friend turn an intriguing shade not natural to human physiognomy.
"We're not at war, so she's not really king of anything," Gibbs muttered. Nevertheless, he looked nervously over his shoulder to make sure no one of the female persuasion was overhearing his insubordination.
"You're a braver man than I am, mate!" Jack smirked, knowing he'd won. Elizabeth had never been a lass a man could cross with impunity, and now, in her condition, she was about as predictable as a fierce squall. Gibbs might survive refusing to do her bidding, but the matter was doubtful.
"You know pigs make very good company," Gibbs offered plaintively, one last desperate wriggle before he admitted the gaff.
Jack draped an arm over his shoulder. "We'll be fine," he reassured. "Nothing like a shipload of the living dead to spice up a party."
He felt Gibbs shudder.
Jack had no need to resort to extraordinary measures to herd his reluctant crew toward the ship's boat swaying by the dock. With Elizabeth's arm tucked warmly in his, he had merely to direct her attention to any straggler and marvel at the alacrity of the unfortunate wretch's acceleration. Elizabeth, however, seemed oblivious both to her cobbled-together crew`s unease and to her own gravid belly. She was, Jack noted wryly, skipping beside him, throwing in an occasional prance, bobbing as jauntily as the boat they were approaching. The long afternoon light gilded her hair and lit fires in her dark eyes, and the expressions chasing themselves across her face would require all the synonyms for joy in Jack's vocabulary to begin to describe them. Trust the bonnie lass to find choppy seas, the approach of night, and a journey that terrified her subjects irrelevant when she was getting her way. Poor Weatherby Swann was probably finding the afterlife exceedingly restful.
In fact, their presence in this venture represented an uncommon prudence on Elizabeth's part, her acknowledgment of her delicate condition. Before her expectation of an interesting event, she would hie herself off all by her lonesome in whatever leaky dinghy or disreputable boat she could commandeer and throw her craft and herself against the pitiless sea with the serene faith that she would always find the decks of the Flying Dutchman rising beneath her sinking feet. To do her justice, she had never been mistaken in that trust.
Reaching the dock, Elizabeth let go of Jack`s arm to hold out her hands to the owner of the boat.
"Captain Anamaria," she said to the dark young woman. "I thank you for the use of your vessel."
Anamaria, not one for effusive greetings, condescended to a short, sharp handshake. "As long as you promise to replace her if you send her under, we're square," she said with a shrug.
"Of course," Elizabeth agreed with a winning smile.
Anamaria nodded impassively and gestured for the crew to board her vessel.
Thus it was that they found themselves in the last long light of Christmas Eve, rowing for their very lives as the sea frothed and heaved around their small boat in ways no sane and natural water should.
Even Jack, who had spent a significant percentage of his life enduring nightmares about Davy Jones' skeletal vessel and fleeing the very rumour of her, had to forcibly remind himself that she was under new management, and his soul would remain safely in his own possession.
The only person on board who welcomed the appearance of the dread Flying Dutchman was Elizabeth. She stood in the stern, as unmoved as a carven figurehead in spite of the gyrations of their vessel, her sea-wet hair flying like a banner, her eyes flashing lightning to the ocean's thunder, laughing and clapping her hands.
"That woman," Gibbs yelled in Jack's ear above the roaring cataracts of seawater streaming from the washports of the ghost ship, "is twenty-five pounds of crazy in a five pound bag!"
At that, he might be underestimating the case, Jack thought, making a frantic grab for the girl before she could be swept over by a sea that nearly swamped them.
"Sit down!" he ordered her in exasperation. "Are you forgetting why you invited us on this little holiday excursion? You're supposed to be thinking for two, now! Stop trying to see how close to drowned you can get."
Elizabeth stuck her tongue out at him, but she did resume her seat.
Jack hoped Weatherby Swann was not attempting to watch over his daughter from heaven, because that seemed like a hell of a reward for a virtuous man.
When the sound and fury of the elements had subsided, and the Flying Dutchman was transformed from a creature below the sea to one above it, Jack had to enforce prudence on his carefree charge once again as she demanded to be first to ascend the precarious Jacob's ladder.
"You'll be riding up in the bosun's chair, young lady," he informed her. Giving her no chance to protest that she was merely pregnant and not invalid, he leapt from their tossing boat to the pitching side of the Dutchman and scurried up the ladder.
The men meeting him at the rail bore no resemblance to the fishy monsters Jones had created. Jack felt some of the tension he hadn't realized he was feeling drain down the side of the ship. The Flying Dutchman was no longer a vision of torment but a promise of safe harbour.
Gaining the deck, he waved his arms grandly. "Gentlemen, my name is Captain Jack Sparrow, and if you'd be so kind, I'd like to speak to your captain."
His request was unnecessary. The crowd parted to reveal the approach of a man Jack had not seen since the day he'd assisted in the gory surgery that had removed the dying heart from that scarred chest. Will Turner was looking well for a man missing such a vital organ, but then the lad had never really possessed his own heart from long before Jack had ever met him. With the shadowy scarf binding his hair and the wine dark shirt open at the throat, Will appeared far more dashing and heroic than he'd always tried to be when he was still among the living.
"Jack!" Will's long strides closed measure swiftly, and he grasped Jack's shoulders with both hands, a welcoming smile lighting his face. "How wonderful to see you!"
"It's good to see you again, too, lad," Jack said sincerely, giving the boy's head a tousle as if he were still an apprentice blacksmith and not the lord and master of the Flying Dutchman. "I've brought you a bit of a surprise, as a matter of fact."
"A surprise?" Will looked wary.
Jack supposed he deserved that.
"A nice surprise," he amended. "However, you'll have to send down the bosun's chair to get it."
Will looked puzzled, but he gave the order.
Elizabeth rode the swinging platform over the deck of the Dutchman standing rather than sitting decorously, and she vaulted from its height far too soon for the peace of Jack's stomach. Then she launched herself at Will like a tidal wave at a precipice.
Occasionally there were sights so sublime they stung the eyes and tightened the throat and made the heart race at the splendour of them. Just such a vision was the reunion of the King of the Pirates and the Captain of the iFlying Dutchman/i.
The radiant girl and the striking young man clung to each other in a kiss so passionate Jack had a momentary urge to look away. He quashed that in favour of enjoying the view and anticipating the moment . . . Ah! There it was . . . when the two of them broke away breathless and trembling, and Will Turner noticed.
"Elizabeth!" he said, wonder dawning. "There's more of you than there used to be."
Holding him close, although admittedly not as close as she had formerly been able to get, Elizabeth nodded. "I may have finally gained some weight." She laughed. "For the first time in my life I have cleavage!"
"But," Will drew his hand over the rather distinctive protrusion of his wife's stomach, "it's almost like you're . . ." he stopped, searching Elizabeth's eyes. "But that's not possible!"
"Oh, but it is," she breathed. "We're going to have a baby, my love."
As though that statement had knocked the pins out from under him, Will Turner sank to his knees, his face pressed to her belly, the evidence of growing new life. Elizabeth looked tenderly down at him, threading her slender fingers in his dark hair.
There was, Jack marveled, already a bit of the Madonna in this wild colt of a girl.
When Will lifted his eyes again, the traces of tears glittered on his cheeks. "How is this possible?" he asked. "I am a dead man. Surely there is not enough life in me to create a child!"
"Not dead," Elizabeth grinned. "Immortal. So much more life than an ordinary man. I'll be lucky if we don't have a litter!" The thought seemed suddenly to appall her. She turned. "Jack!" Her voice was slightly panicked. "You don't think . . ."
"No worries, lass," Jack soothed. "Zeus was forever fathering mortal bastards without ever producing more than one or two."
Elizabeth looked relieved, but Will looked freshly stunned.
"I'm going to be a father!"
"I think you already are," Elizabeth reminded him, drawing him back to his feet and holding him tightly. A wise move since the boy looked like a fine puff of air would send him back down.
"Congratulations, whelp," Jack said, holding out his hand.
Will removed one arm from around Elizabeth long enough to shake Jack's hand. "Thank you for bringing her—and for not letting her come alone."
"Wouldn't have missed it for all the rum," Jack considered, "all the rum in . . . that little boat down there." His words reminded him that he had other crew still waiting on his word. Leaning over the rail, he invited them to join him aboard the Dutchman.
The moment of distraction kept him from noticing the approach of one of Turner's men.
"Permit me also to offer my congratulations on this happy occasion."
It was a voice Jack knew only too well. The king's English spoken in that mellow, rich tone that would cause a deaf man to delight in the language even while it was ordering a man strung up by the neck. Jack, who had developed several extra senses devoted to alerting him of potential hangings, began to edge behind Gibbs' protective bulk.
"I am perfectly aware that you are there, Sparrow," James Norrington said. "You have no need to cower behind your crew."
He was not cowering. Indignantly Jack left the refuge of Gibbs, admittedly for territory behind Elizabeth, but not cowering.
"Whatever brings you here, Commodore?" Jack asked peeking over Elizabeth's shoulder. "I thought you were dead."
"As did I you," Norrington returned, amused. "Death does seem to be a rather inconclusive state around here. When Captain Turner offered me a berth aboard his ship, I thought that there might yet be some good I could do in my death that I had not accomplished in my life."
"He very much improves the tone around this place," Elizabeth said fondly.
"Not so much as your presence does." Norrington smiled. "Elizabeth, you are looking well." He bowed over her proffered hand, brushing it with his lips.
A commotion at the rail of the ship signified the arrival of Jack's contribution to the party—a barrel of rum. This roused the crew to high interest in the proceedings.
Norrington raised a brow. "I suspect we shall shortly be treated to a display of drunken pirates."
"Ah, but for the quality, we have better potations," Elizabeth said. "Jack?"
Jack removed the bottle of a very fine vintage of wine from his pocket, recognizing at last why Elizabeth had asked him to bring it.
Elizabeth took the bottle and held it out to Norrington. "Merry Christmas, James."
Norrington received the bottle with the reverence that was its due. "And where did you acquire such a treasure?" the former commodore asked.
"It is entirely legal and above board," Elizabeth assured him. "I embroidered antimacassars and doilies to earn it. And you know how I despise needlework!"
"A gift of love, then. I shall cherish it and use it to toast your health and that of the child."
A hand fell on Jack's shoulder, taking his attention from his old enemy.
"Jack, you black-hearted scoundrel, it's good to see you again," Bill Turner said.
"Hello, Grandpop," Jack embraced his old friend. "Just delivering a Christmas gift for the whelp, as it were."
Bill glanced over at his son and daughter-in-law. Will still held one hand protectively over his unborn child; his other arm encircled his wife. "A gift for us all, Jack." Bill said with uncharacteristic tenderness. "A gift for us all."
Elizabeth nuzzled her husband, her eyes ardent. "Will Turner," she said. "As heartwarming as meeting old friends and family can be, I feel it is only fair to warn you that if you do not accompany me to your cabin immediately, I shall rip your clothing off right here on this deck in front of God and everybody!"
Bill let out a bark of laughter, and the crew erupted into whistles and cheers.
Norrington looked wistful.
Jack told his incorrigible mind to cease and desist providing his imagination with that image.
Will's smile grew incandescent. "Friends, I believe I've been given my marching orders," he said, allowing himself to be piloted away.
Before the two youngsters disappeared into the captain's cabin, Will turned to his father, the commodore, and Jack. "I've ordered the rum opened. I imagine you gentlemen are capable of organizing a holiday celebration for the crew."
"A very loud celebration," Elizabeth added with a look at her husband that could have ignited granite—and had done so, if Will's return look bore any truth in it.
"Extremely loud," agreed Will over his shoulder as Elizabeth propelled him cabin-ward.
"Oh, aye," Jack promised the two lovebirds, sharing a grin with Bill. "It will be an epic party, the loudest you've ever not heard."
His only answer was the door of the captain's cabin closing in indecent haste.
Jack Sparrow pivoted around with a festive flourish. "Drinks all around, mates! And Merry Christmas to all!"