Title: "And Not a Drop to Drink"
Rating/Classification: AC, J/E/W, angst.
Disclaimer: Nope. I STILL don't own them. The title is courtesy of Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.'
Summary: Seventh in "...And a Bottle of Rum." Sliding back to the past... sometimes all you want is that which you can never truly have.
"There is *not* a place called Bora Bora..."
"There is, there is! I've been there. There and around the world. Would Captain Jack Sparrow lie to you, Lizzie?"
"Frankly? Yes. All the time."
"Here now...you're the schoolroom miss, ain't you? And you don't know your geography? What kind of example's that for your boy? So you listen to Jack, savvy?"
"If I listened to you...I would get nothing accomplished..."
Their argument floats back up the gangplank as he secures the anchor and gives the order for the sails to be brought down. Jack says he has somebody to look up. He's got a hot tip on a Chinese junk that's out of its borders and could use a little toss--heavy on the plunder and light on the pillaging. Elizabeth wants to fetch Billy a new pair of boots since he's all ready outgrown the tiny ones they had crafted in Jamaica.
That leaves him in charge. Although, Anamaria would sooner slit his
throat than surrender the wheel. And he would sooner let it be slit.
He has been a pirate on the high seas for six years.
He has been a husband and a lover and a father for that amount of time,
For all the good it has done him.
Will Turner knows...he knows his life is borrowed.
Months aboard the Pearl make her hunger for dry land. For just a hint
of earth beneath her feet. For the spiced scents from the bazaar stalls and the children running in the streets.
As Jack leaves her to go crawling through the pubs on the small island's
main thoroughfare, she goes from stand to stand in the marketplace...testing the weight of the pineapples, the mangos. She fled this very existence when she left Port Royale. The stiff skirts and shopping... the looking after of husbands and babies...and has somehow returned to a flip-side variation of it. Where she buys limes and oranges to prevent scurvy and unties her drawers for not one, but *two* men every evening.
When she stops between sellers, a hand clamps around her wrist...then her mouth, to cut off the scream...and she finds herself kicking and screaming
against the bricks of an alley even as she recognizes the salt-sandalwood taste of the palm against her lips. She would know his flavor anywhere...and even as she arches against it, flicks her tongue out to stroke the places where his fingers meet, it is replaced by the tart-sweet taste of something else...
Cold...delicious...thick. The rim of the bottle is smooth. "No!" she gasps, twisting her head away and meeting his eyes. Noting the challenge, the madness, there that tells her he's all ready has his own taste of damnation.
"Come on...nobody here but Jack Sparrow and he won't tell." He sways,
dangerously, his hips pinning her against the wall even as he raises her skirts with one hand, bunching up the cloth. "Have a drink, Lass."
"W-we...we mustn't..." she says, choking against and swallowing rum all at the same time. Drinking until her belly is as warm as the lower place where his wicked fingers are dancing. "Will's not...here..."
"Yeah?" He takes the bottle back, tipping it all the way and finishing
all that's left. When the glass shatters and the dregs melt into the dust, she doesn't even flinch. She cannot. "An' how many times've I had our Will without *you*?" he counters, sounding altogether too lucid for someone who has been in his cups since they left the Pearl. "How many times've you watched ...an' he watched...and I watched?" His now free hand cups the back of her head, thumb moving around to trace her lower lip. "'T'ain't no eyes here and now, savvy?"
"S-savvy," she agrees, breathlessly, as he finds the seam in her thin,
cotton, drawers and rips.
"Papa! Papa! Look! I caught a fish! An' 'tis bigger than Mr. Gibbs!"
He smiles as the hands coil the ropes that will secure the Pearl to the
dock. Billy struggles with the rod and the squirming catfish that has several feet to go before it outgrows their first mate. He's a bright boy. He can climb the rigging like a little monkey and practically sleeps in the crow's nest every night because he wants to touch the sky. He sits dutifully through his lessons... knows his sums and his letters. Sometimes, when Jack Sparrow allows it, he'll read him the news from the water-spotted, six-month old, columns of the English papers, stumbling over the large words as Jack underlines them with the tips of his fingers.
"T-taxation. What's 'taxation', Cap'n Jack?"
"'S when somebody bleeds you dry. Like with leeches. Nasty little
buggers, ain't they?"
"What's a 'bugger'?"
"Ask your mum, Little Man."
Those are the moments where Will can't smile.
Billy is a bright boy. Yes.
It is only a matter of time before he sees that his eyes hold a dark
twinkle. That his skin speaks of the Orient. That he, too, is borrowed. Nay...stolen. Ransomed.
Will holds him hostage, in his arms, as he spins tales of faraway places
and beautiful governors' daughters. Because their son...their son is the only part of Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth that he has any true claim on. And their son is all he has of family.
He is a master of self-delusion. He crafts it even more beautifully than
She does not love him anymore. Perhaps she did once... with a child's
eyes, a child's heart... but the woman...the woman is not his. And the other...? Jack, his teacher...? There was never love there to begin with. Simply games. Indulgence. The back of a hand, the flip of a blade. His shoulders against the mast and teeth grazing his jaw because the blood welling beneath that silver tongue is not hers... far safer than hers.
He never wanted to leave Port Royale. He's fairly certain that he never
would have left the forge, stepped two places out of line, if Barbossa hadn't come for the medallion, hadn't taken Elizabeth away. His life was a simple life. The heat of the fire, the pride of a well-made horseshoe and a well-made sword much the same. He was content to stare up at the mansion and dream of Miss Swann, never let her given name pass his unworthy lips.
But Barbossa took her.
And simplicity fell like his lady's fall from grace.
He kissed a pirate's lips and felt the sing of piracy in his blood...a song he has long-since forgotten in favor of lullabies.
If he holds their child, he has a son.
If he stays between them, he has a place.
If he loves them just a little too much... he has a purpose.
She's missed the weight of her legs twisted up with his...just their bodies, crashing into each other like waves. No hands at her back or on his shoulder, urging them on. Simply this. Like that long ago night in the sand. Rum-insanity and silver leaving trails on her flesh. Her teeth tugging at his earrings, digging into his shoulder as he holds her aloft and guides her like the Pearl with the slightest tilt of his fingers.
"J-Jack...I...I..." she gasps as she collapses against him, the damp slide
of their thighs enough to open up something more intimate. Stupidly intimate. "I..."
"Nay," he hisses, burying his face against her throat as she trembles in
the wake of release. "Don't. You hear me? Don't. William's not here," *he* reminds, this time.
And she remembers...without Will, it's betrayal. She cannot afford the
luxury of forgetting. Not even with all the treasures piled in the hold. *"How many times've you watched...an' he watched...and I watched?"* How many times has Jack listened...as she spoke tenderly to someone else? As he denied himself? And will he ever tire of it?
Nay. *Don't*. Never. Not as long as the Black Pearl and the sea come first.
"No eyes," she agrees, swallowing the words...the words he cannot hear. That she will not venture to say...save in weak moments like this. He pulls away, tugs down her skirts... fixes the bodice with a critical eye...and lurches back and forth with approval.
"Aye. Perfect, my fair Lizzie. Not a hair out o' place. We got perfection here, right?" he pronounces, blurring the dampness from her cheeks... sweat, not tears, no...with his thumbs. "W-would Jack Sparrow lie to you?"
"A-all the time." She laughs, softly, and turns her face to his palm, kissing it. She would know his flavor anywhere...but she commits it to memory once more. Once more and forever.
They stop by the cobbler before returning home. She buys boots for her
son and a belt for her husband. There is not enough coin to buy absolution for her sins.
She knows...she knows her heart is borrowed.
July 15, 2003.