Thank you for the reviews. Sorry this is a little slow, I'm working on several fics right now, but I'm seeing PotC again tomorrow so that should keep me in the writing mood.

 Did I mention I own nothing? No, I'm serious I really don't own a thing, everything I have is from Rent-A-Center. J

The Sea Holds the Answers chap 3/?

By Goody

"Shouldn't you be up running my ship by now?" Jack asked groggily as he awoke.

 Anamaria, who was sleeping quite contently next to him, answered, "I will in a few minutes. Those worthless seadogs won't rise unless I force them anyway."

 Jack sat up, blinking away the remnants of sleep, and listened for a moment with a confused expression on his face, "My dear, I believe you are gravely mistaken. Those 'seadogs' have already risen and are ondeck at the present moment."

 "They cannot be," Anamaria argued, instantly awake and pulling on her clothes. Jack sighed at the loss of the warm body.

 "Indeed they are, unless another crew has graciously come aboard and taken it upon itself to run the ship," Jack replied, stretching out, in no hurry to rise. Anamaria finished dressing, kissed him quickly, and then rushed onto the deck, curious as to why the lazy scallywags were already awake.

 Jack laid back, perfectly content where he was. Being captain had substantial benefits and he reaped them all. Looking across the room he wondered what he should have for breakfast. Will would probably like to join him and he could introduce the boy to the crew. Or maybe he would just stay in bed. There were so many options put before him … but his silent contemplation was being loudly interrupted by voices outside. There was laughter, anger, astonishment all muddled together and all very annoying. What was going on out there? Jack started to get up to find out when Anamaria reappeared in the doorway, her face stuck between dread and indecision.

 "You better get yourself up, we've got a … situation," She informed him.

 Sighing dramatically Jack got up, pulled on his boots and followed her immediately, not even bothering to find a shirt. Grumbling about the uselessness of his crew he shielded his eyes from the sun and looked over the pathetic lot. They were all there, staring back at him. Some were smiling, others were upset, but most were undecided it seemed.

 Putting his captain's authority into his voice, Jack said, very slowly, "One of you, preferably someone who knows what's going on, is going to explain to me what is wrong in ten words or less. Upon hearing the problem, I will then solve it, and you will all go about your tasks. Is that understood?"

 A series of "Yes, Cap'n'"s responded.

 "Good. Now, who will be the one explaining?" Jack asked, looking over his crew. No one stepped forward, the ones that had been smiling, frowned and took a step back. Something wasn't right. Finally a single man raised his hand and stepped forward. It was Cotton.

 "Ah yes, Mr. Cotton. Though I am sure you are very informed about the situation I'm sure you won't be offended when I say that I intended for someone to explain, that had a tongue. So, anyone?" Still no one else stepped forward. Finally Jack gave in, "Very well Mr. Cotton, go ahead. Won't you need your parrot or something?"

 Cotton just shook his head and then proceeded to simply point upwards. Jack followed the man's finger up, expecting to see the parrot amid the masts, and blinked at the sight before him. Blinked several times to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing. Eventually his shoulders slumped and he shot his crew a disappointed and somewhat pouty look.

 "Oh come on, what did you do that for? This wasn't … I mean … why doesn't anyone tell me anything? Clear it with me first? I'm. In. Charge." He said, emphasizing each word, "Is this chain of command too complicated for you?"

 One of his new recruits, Tilling, stepped forward boldly, "With all due respect Cap'n, it's crew business, not yours. What the crew does amongst itself is our affair, as long as it doesn't interfere with the running of the ship."

 "Oh, it's crew business. Well, that makes it all right then doesn't it? Except for the fact that you're my crew, and all of your business, is my business. As is the business of my guests. For the love of …how long's he been up there?" Jack asked, deflating.

 "Little over an hour," Tilling replied.

 Jack looked up again and pondered his next course of action. The crew would be disappointed and not pleased with him if he didn't let them have their fun, and Will could probably take a joke, "Well, the sun's not too bad today, he should be fine for a little while. When will you be letting him down?"

 "Not too long cap'n, just seeing what he's made of," Gibbs replied.

 "Solid steel I assure you," Jack seemed to lull it over a minute then announced, "Blast it. Fine you can have your fun, but leave him after this, that's an order. I better go talk to him though. Ah, he's going to be furious."

 "Oh don't worry cap'n, he's gagged," Tilling assured him.

 " 'don't worry, he's gagged' That's fabulous, it will make him much easier to speak to," Jack said with mock happiness, then he strode off toward the ladder leading to the crow's nest, pondering aloud, "What did I do to deserve a crew like this? Least they're not stabbing me in the back every chance they get."

 It was a long climb up to the lookout post, and Jack kept his eye on Will the whole time, wondering how the boy was doing. After all, it wasn't everyday that a person was hauled from their sleep, tied up, and then hung by their wrists from the mast of a pirate ship. No, not everyday at all. He could see that Will was struggling to get free and admired his determination. Most people would just give up after about twenty minutes. Will was so focussed on his task that he didn't notice Jack climbing up to see him.

 Smirking jovially Jack reached the large post and easily walked along half its length to where Will was dangling helplessly. Spotting him, Will's struggles doubled and he screamed against the gag in his mouth. Taking a deep breath and a seat on the plank, Jack crossed his legs and smiled wider.

 "Nice morning isn't it?" He said conversationally.

 Will's eyes widened and he screamed something (most likely obscene) at him. Jack caved immediately and reached down, pulling the gag free from his mouth.

 "Jack, get me down from here quickly. That new crew of yours is treacherous, help me before they come up here," Will said, keeping his eye on the crew below as he struggled to free himself. He was tied well, his wrists firmly secured and the rope knotted around the board several times. The boy's feet were also tied together around the ankles but the ropes were starting to give from his restlessness.

 "They're not treacherous, not yet anyway. In fact they're an okay bunch once you know them."

 "I don't care, and I don't want to know them, just get me down," Will ordered now, quickly becoming furious.

 Jack tried to explain, "That's where the problem lies, you see, I can't. Well, I can, that is I could, but I can't. It's nothing personal, the boys are just having a little fun. You know what it's like, have to play a few tricks on the new guy onboard."

 "A few tricks? Jack they attacked me and have hung me here to die," Will pleaded with him.

 "They won't leave you to die, you're far too dramatic. They're just having some fun," Jack said again.

 "Yes, I'm the one that's too dramatic. Well I'm not having fun so get me down," Will explained, sounding threatening. The captain was not impressed.

 "That sounds an awful lot like an order William, and I am the captain and to avoid dissension among the ranks I am going to let them play out this game. You just unfortunately get stuck with being the ball," Jack said.

 Will couldn't believe his own ears, "This is insane. Jack, I'm not cut out for sea life, I don't think I can do this. I was having enough trouble dealing with seeing my father again, but now your crew clearly hates me and …"

 "Ah they don't hate you. If they hated you they would have hung you by your feet, or your neck," Jack explained casually.

 "That makes me feel so much better," Will replied sarcastically, "Just cut me down."

 "Sorry, I can't, as I've said. But it's been good talking to you, just wanted to see how you were," Jack said, getting up to leave.

 Will's eyes widened in shock and he called out, "Jack get back here and help me! Jack! Don't you dare leave me like this?"

 "Nothing I can do my boy. But, if you do want the crew to like you, or at least respect you, you would find your own way down," Jack suggested as he started down the ladder.

 "Jack!!!! Jack get back here right now!!!! Jack this is crazy. If you don't get me down, so help me!!!" Will continued screaming, hoping to annoy the pirate so bad he would help him. He smiled when it seemed to work and Jack started back up the ladder, onto the board and then stomped to where he hung.

 "I'm glad you've come to your senses, now pull me up and then …" Will's instructions were cut short as Jack replaced the gag in his mouth with a satisfied huff. Will yelled at him, but little more came out than a muffled howl.

 "Thank goodness, you scream louder than that prostitute from Singapore did when we … uh, yes. Anyway, best of you luck to you," Jack called out as he once again descended the ladder, Will cursing him the entire way. When he reached the bottom the captain waved and then returned to his room, having a few more hours of sleep to catch up on.

 Will was not happy. He understood why the crew would do this, they were probably a respectable group suffering from sea boredom so they decided a little hazing was in order. The only problem was Will had no intention of becoming a pirate or a member of the crew, or staying onboard any longer than necessary, and therefore thought this initiation rule shouldn't apply. But he would be onboard for quite some time; first to Keresto and then for the long voyage to England that Jack had promised to make for him. With so many weeks ahead of him, Will knew he would have to find a way to co-exist with the crew, so he couldn't hold this little stunt against them. What he could do though was find a way down himself as Jack suggested.

 First he needed to get his legs free. He had been mainly focussing on the ropes around his wrists, but he formed a new plan after Jack left him. His legs were tied tightly, but after wriggling his toes and using his left foot to help he was able to remove the boot from his right foot. This subsequently fell to the deck beneath him, but Will smiled in satisfaction when he saw the shoe strike one of the crew members that had attacked him as it fell. With one less boot the rope around his ankles fell away easily. His smiling widening Will swung himself upwards until he was able to wrap his legs around the large walkway and then pulled himself into a sitting position on top of the plank. He breathed a sigh of relief as the stress of his bodyweight was finally removed from his stiff arms. Thanking god that he was no longer dangling he started to work on his wrists.

 Meanwhile, down below, there was another argument brewing.

 "He's going to get down," Tilling pointed out, rubbing his head where he'd been struck by the boy's boot.

 "So he is," Anamaria said casually, "Good for him."

 "He's not supposed to get down until we let him," Tilling reminded the rest of the crew, particularly those that had helped string him up.

 "Well, he wasn't supposed to, but the best laid plans as they say. There's nothing we can do now, unless you want to go up there and tie him up again, tighter," Gibbs said, watching Will for a moment and then returning to navigating. It was clear from Tilling's face that he wanted to do just that and even started towards the ladder.

 "You stay where you are Mr. Tilling and you leave that boy alone. He's not causing you or anyone else any trouble, so he's not to be touched. Captain's orders," Anamaria reminded him sternly.

 "What's he doing here anyway, he's no pirate," Tilling grumbled, still watching the blacksmith struggle for freedom.

 "He's the captain's, well friend I guess is the best term to use but it doesn't seem right. They have some history, let's just leave it at that," Gibbs replied, not in the mood to relate the long, but exciting, tale.

 "What sort of history?" Tilling asked, interested now.

 "Complicated history," Anamaria said, frustrated, "Now leave him be and get to work on that deck. I want it to shine brighter than my smile when you're done, and that's no easy task."

 "Aye ma'am," Tilling grumbled. That was another thing he didn't like, along with this outsider, taking orders from a woman.

 "God, that's horrid," Will grumbled as he pulled the gag from his parched mouth. The rope around his wrists was tied tightly so there was no way for Will to manoeuvre his fingers to untie himself, but there was a short length connecting the rope to the wood that he worked on undoing. It was taking longer than he thought.

 "Damn sailor's knot, pirate's knot, whatever it is," he grumbled as he tugged at the bonds. He finally untangled the mess from the walkway and was free, of course his wrists were still bound, but now he could at least get back on solid deck. Of course he could have used his teeth to free himself completely, but the rope was filthy and he wasn't that desperate just yet. He was sure someone would untie him once he got down. Striding across the walkway he started down the ladder slowly, his bound hands causing him some problems. It was slow moving as he relied mostly on his feet but he eventually reached the ground and was greeted by several cheers and jeers from the crew. A few were glad to see him down, others were clearly unimpressed, and the majority didn't care either way.

 Tilling walked up to him, clearly one of the not impressed; even so Will held out his hands questioningly, clearly waiting to be untied.

 "You seem to be good at solving problems, why don't you find your own way out of that?" Tilling suggested, obviously unwilling to help him.

 "Very well," Will grit out through clenched teeth, deciding he would take no more from this crew. Swiftly side-stepping to the pirate's left Will kicked him hard in the back of leg, most unexpectedly. This sent the larger man flying and he landed sprawled on his back, moaning in pain. Will put a boot on the man's chest to keep him down and then reached down, smirking, and took the knife from Tilling's belt. He casually cut free his hands, and then dropped the knife and rope onto the man's chest.

 The crew chuckled as Will wiped his hands clean and then turned on his heel and walked away, as if the incident had been as unusual as a Sunday stroll. Tilling fumed, his face turning red, as he grabbed his knife, resheathed it, and threw away the rope in disgust. Damn that boy, he thought, he has no right even being at sea. The crew man scuffled away, determined not be embarrassed further this day, but silently vowed revenge.

 Anamaria smiled as Will strode up to her, a smirk on his face as well. It was good the boy could take a joke, the crew would get along with him much better that way. Well, all except Tilling, but no one really liked the man anyway.

 "Well done, we'll make a proper pirate out of you yet," Anamaria promised as she patted him on the back.

 "Thank you but uh," he suddenly looked embarrassed, "have you by any chance seen my boot?" The crew chuckled as Will wiggled his bare foot for emphasis. It seemed he had passed the test of initiation to join the Black Pearl.

 Anamaria laughed as well, and promised, "We'll find you something."

~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|~|

 Jack sighed contently as he lay in bed, the sun's rays warming his skin from the open window. He knew that he should get up soon, order the crew to cut down his poor passenger, but for the moment he was really, really comfy.

 "I suppose the lad does need to get some sun on his skin anyway," Jack reasoned as he rolled back over. A soft chuckling from the crew drifted into the room, followed shortly by a very loud chuckling. Captain Jack Sparrow frowned, hoping he had not missed out on a very good joke. He did love a good laugh. Perhaps someone would tell it to him. But first he would have to get up. Resolute now, Jack sat up and swung both feet onto the floor, but before he could leave the room, someone else entered.

 Pushing open both doors, Will strode into the cabin, looking as if this was the best morning of his life. Jack stood as he entered but found himself sprawled on the bed once more after Will punched him across the jaw.

 "Trust me, you did deserve that. What's for breakfast?" Will asked, taking a seat at the table across the room.

 Jack looked confused for a moment as he rubbed his cheek. He looked at Will, then out the door, then back at Will.

 "I believe that rum I had last night may have spoiled, because I just had the strangest dream. Were you by any chance hanging by the masts, not twenty minutes ago?" Jack asked, inspecting the fine spirited blacksmith.

 "Well, let's see. My day's been so full already. I went to bed, had a surprise guest in the middle of the night, had a lovely sword fight with this guest, then I left my old life behind to join a pirate's crew in search of my father, went to bed again, was awakened rather rudely, and oh yes, I do seem to recall hanging briefly from the masts," Will replied, smiling inside due to Jack's confused expression.

 "I'm glad that's cleared up then, I would have hated to have been forced to throw out the rum. Do you by chance enjoy walking crooked, because you're missing a boot?" Jack pointed out, still not sounding quite sober, but that's just the way he was.

 "I know. Anamaria thinks it fell overboard, she's asking around for another pair for me," Will said casually.

 Jack pulled himself out of bed and crossed the room to join Will at the table, "Good to know you're getting along with the crew; everyone's playing nicely."

 "You were right, they aren't too bad when you get to know them. But you were wrong about one thing," Will told him.

 "There is a first time for everything you know."

 "I am no longer the ball. I believe that privilege has now been passed on to Tilling," Will said, somewhat triumphantly.

 "Congratulations then, would you like a medal?" Jack asked.

 Will deflated slightly, "You were the one who told me to win their respect."

 "Oh you misunderstand me, I was quite serious," Jack said as he opened a drawer that Will could see was filled to the brim with gold pieces, "Here, I've got dozens of the things, have a few."

 The blacksmith chuckled when Jack did indeed pull out a handful of medallions from the drawer, "Oh, this one's nice. This one too. Here, look at this one, it's got these pretty jewels … on second thought I'm keeping that."

 "Jack," Will called out loudly, breaking his train of thought, "When will we be reaching Keresto?"

 "You want to leave already? I'm hurt, I truly am," Jack said mockingly, but upon Will's glare replied, "Another day, don't jump out of your boots. Boot."

 Then the doors burst open once more admitting Anamaria, who looked at the two in disdain.

 "I swear, I'm the only one on this ship that does any work. It's men that are bad luck on sea, now, a ship full of women, that would be a force to be reckoned with," She ranted, amazed that Jack had not gotten up yet and that Will was not working. "You Mr. Turner, plan on earning your keep?"

 Will just nodded, not wanting to suffer the women's wrath.

 "Good, put those on," she tossed him a pair of boots. "Since you clearly have no trouble with heights, you can man the crow's nest."

 "Yes ma'am." Will replied dutifully as he pulled on the shoes and then scurried out of the room.

 "And as for you …" Anamaria pointed at Jack who looked as innocent as ever.

 "I order you out of my cabin before you give me anything to do," Jack spurted out before she could finish.

 Anamaria gritted her teeth in annoyance, but just bowed her head, "Aye captain."

 Smirking, Jack leaned back in his chair proudly as he popped a grape into his mouth. As his first mate left the room she slammed the doors so hard the cabin shook, effectively knocking Jack's chair off balance. He swung his arms to try to recover, but eventually found himself flat on his back.

 "Women," he grumbled as he lay on the floor, deciding it might be time to get up.

TBC

 They'll be reaching Keresto next chapter. Hope you'll all be there. Goody ^_^