Author: Hilary -- email@example.com
Pairing/Categories: Jack/The Pearl/Will (why are you looking at me like that?) Angst, POV, romance.
Rating: R, for language and sexual references (some implied non-con/het)
Summary: The Black Pearl, on Will.
Feedback: Are you kidding?
Disclaimers: These characters belong to the Disney machine. This is unauthorized, unmitigated, illegitimate and disreputable. But if you think this is dilution of copyright, feh. Go after all those people using "Kleenex" to refer to toilet paper. Now *that's* a problem.
Notes: Credit for the idea (and a beta reading) goes to AC Graybill, who implied, in this post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PiratesoftheCaribbean_Slash/message/2628 that the Pearl is a jealous mistress. Well, why shouldn't she be?
Beta credit also goes to dragonkal, who ran the first draft.
Kathleen Turner will be doing the voice-over for The Pearl. Thank you.
~ ~ ~ ~
It isn't enough that I spent ten years without Jack--ten bloody miserable years with Barbossa at the helm, mauling me, pawing me like some overeager boy just out of his short trousers. Barbossa was a molester, and he never cared what I wanted. It was always the coins, the blasted coins, the bloody, disgusting, hateful coins. I hated them and loved them at the same time, because they were both my curse and Barbossa's. I was doomed to roam the seas at the bastard's whim, playing at being a real ship while I chased after his dream against the wind.
Jack always makes sure the wind is tucked into my sails just so.
My name was whispered fearfully in every port. Sailors genuflected when they heard mention of The Black Pearl. It would have sent a glorious shiver through my hull had it been Jack's doing, but no. It was always Barbossa. He loved it when people feared him. The man had no subtlety. Jack could have made them fear me while he remained quietly obscure, sheltered behind my shady sails with the wind at his back.
Jack made love to me with his hands, always touching the ropes, the rails, the wheel. Barbossa never caressed me, never talked to me. He squeezed too hard, gripped too tightly, as he did with everything. His women always left my decks whimpering. He was cruel to them, and no woman wants to make love under the moon when she looks over her dainty, soft shoulder to the sailor behind her and discover what's taking her doesn't *have* a bone, he *is* one. But he squeezed hard and gripped tightly, and they never left until he was through with them. Oh, but I tired of hearing womens' wails, a hellish counterpoint to Barbossa's laugh. He made me hate women just for their screaming.
I missed Jack's laugh carrying on the breeze, wrapping around my sails. I missed the way he sang. He sang to *me*, you know. His fingers would caress the rails and he would sing beautiful, rum-filled ballads, his slow voice washing over my hull like the water.
I heard him that day: "Stop blowing holes in my ship!" Laugh, if you will. I know he loves me. He still carries my compass with him, even though he's found me now, and I swear I'll bloody sink and take him with me before I let him lose me again.
It isn't enough that I went ten years without that love, wondering when he might return, or if he might. It isn't enough that I fell into disrepair, those bloody bastards letting my sails go to tatters and the barnacles collect. I carried water in my belly for nigh on nineteen months--that's a disgrace. And it isn't enough that Jack had to sail that bitch of an HMS while he waited for me. Barbossa raped me, and the Intrepid snatched up Jack for a one-night stand, the trollop.
But what really puts the crow in the nest is that as soon as I got settled again with my beloved Jack's hands on me so sweetly, *he* came along.
Jack had only just finished the sails. He outfitted me with new rigging. He made those swabs polish me till Jack could see himself in the decks. And at night, he would sing. He would lie on my deck and stare at the stars, and I could taste the rum on his naked skin. My beautiful Jack.
Until. Only until that little... *pirate* came along. That whelp of a blacksmith, damn his eyes. The little bitch he left behind wasn't enough for him, no. He had to come and take *my* Jack.
At first, we all thought he was just a boy craving adventure. "I want to see the ocean again, Jack," he said. "Take me with you." And oh, how I wanted to drop the gangplank that day, right into the water, with him halfway up it and getting ready to set foot on my Jack's--*my*--deck.
*Get your own Captain,* I growled, but he only heard the creak of ropes on the masts.
He started out just swabbing. Jack put him through his paces, and he had the right of it, because even if you're making eyes at a pirate, that doesn't mean he'll go and make your life easy. That boy hauled cannonballs, meal sacks, leagues and leagues of rope. And the leaner and stronger he got, the more sun and wind and salt he got in him, the more Jack *looked.* And then Will--that's his name, Will--what a silly name for a boy, it's more a name for a ship. Naming a boy "Will" is like naming him "Courage." Ridiculous.
But--Will started to look back at Jack. And then one night on the bow, Will heard Jack singing to me.
"Who is that?" Will asked, so softly. He leaned on the rail and stroked it absently, petting me. I wanted to drop the deck out from under him--*You can't buy me so cheaply!*--but he went on. "Who is that woman you're singing about?"
Jack smiled his slow smile and took his hat off, pressing it to his breast. "The Pearl," he whispered. "My first love. My only true one." That was always his answer when anyone asked him that... but there was hesitation at the last.
He looked at Will then, and Will looked back. More looking.
"You know, mate," Jack murmured, and he brushed his fingers over Will's hair, down to the tail at his nape, in a way that he's only ever touched me before. "You really are the spittin' image of your father."
And something nagged, tugging at the wake of years behind me and Jack, stirring up something old...
"Bootstrap," the boy sighed, as though lamenting the name, and realization shivered through me.
And from then on, I had to *respect* the lad.
~ ~ ~ ~
Slowly, slowly, night by night, the ballads grew shorter and shorter, and Jack would retire to his cabin to stare at the ceiling. Night by night, he would toss and turn, and day by day he would look at the boy. And then one night, the ballad wasn't mine anymore; it was *his,* the dark and golden boy who came and stole the heart right out of me.
And the strangest thing...
The boy wandered out onto the deck, not looking for Jack, but heading for the stern. And he was singing.
I tried not to hear it. I tried to think he was just imitating Jack, a taller version of Mr. Cotton's parrot, just spitting out things he'd heard. But as he walked, he passed a hand along the railing, caressing me like Jack did.
Jack, curious, came around the port side and found Will. He listened a moment, then said softly, "She hears you, you know."
Will spun about, startled. "Does she?" His voice was breathless, but he was not mocking Jack, not at all. He leaned on the rail, and I could feel his pulse beating in his hands. I wanted to think it was just lust, but there had been too much *looking* going on, and not enough plundering for Jack's taste, honestly.
And Jack was nervous. He shuffled to one side, tucked a booted foot behind his other ankle, made as if to turn away, and then turned back again. He caught Will's arm and tugged him close. Then they were kissing, Will making breathless little protesting whimpers, and Jack pleading for him not to stop.
Jack. Pleading. I'd swear to it on my anchor.
Will kept one hand on my railing until Jack pulled him away and took him back to the Captain's quarters, and, later, to the stars. He was gentle, because Will's a bleeding *virgin,* of all the tired old nonsense. Was waiting for the Swann wench, and then left her in a pile of tears and petticoats for the sea. For Jack, and for me.
I can still hear his cries echoing inside me, even when he's gone into port. They make me warm.
That night, when Will came out of Jack's cabin--not for long, mind, because Jack kept growling after him to come back to bed--he went to the helm and touched the wheel, smiling and caressing me. He sang another song--one that was a sweet medley of his ballad and mine. He remade his song into something that was *ours.* And then he whispered, "Thank you, for letting him come back to me," trailing his fingers over my wood.
I suppose I'll let Jack keep us.