The Blade of Captain Sparrow
By Thalia Weaver
The blade was polished to a fine sheen, and on the handle two initials were filigreed in gold: JS. Jack Sparrow grinned, hefting the sword in his hand.
"Will's work," he mumbled, trying a parry. He lunged forward, not lurching for once, imagining he was opposite Will again.
How's your footwork, boy? Lunge, parry, thrust.
"Sword practice, Cap'n?" the sharp voice of Annamaria cut into his thoughts.
"Aye. Just tryin' to keep me skills, savvy?" he looked at her sidelong.
"New sword, I see." She leaned against the wall of his spacious captain's quarters. "Well, I've been sent to call ye to grub."
Care to cross blades with a pirate? "Give me a moment."
She nodded, knowing enough to leave him to his thoughts, and exited.
"He forgot the C," Jack muttered ruefully, eyeing the blade before slipping it into its scabbard and traipsing off to eat with the crew.
"Elizabeth," Will said, trying her name out on his tongue. Since the wedding he had been trying to still the impulse to call her "Miss Swann". His governor's daughter, resplendent in white, walking beside him with her face beaming. He loved the way her lips parted slightly, as though in invitation, the way her eyes sought his in a crowd. He could always pick her out: had been able to since that day on the ship, half-drowned, having survived a pirate attack only to be thrust into the arms of a savior with freckles and brown curls. Now she lay beside him in the bed and morning had come.
"Yes, Will?" her voice sleepy, understandable as they hadn't had much time for sleep the night before. But she woke for his voice. He watched her eyes, half-open, rest on his face and then flicker downward to his bare chest. Again that thrill: the knowledge that here was a jewel, bright gold beyond any smith's forge, and something bright and fragile as the sun's glint off a new-polished blade lit in his chest at the knowledge that she was his.
His brow furrowed for a moment, thinking. Why had he made the blade for Jack? There was no cause to. Jack had a blade of his own, long and sharp, and able in battle: for a moment he thought of their duel, as his master had snored away, parrying and thrusting over roof beams and around the forge. The thought would have made him laugh had not another flash, bright as silver, strong as steel, sliced through his mind. He had Elizabeth, the one he would have died for cheerfully if he thought it would have let her go on living, albeit without him. Why bother to waste a thought on the unmannerly, drunken- or perhaps merely insane- pirate with overmuch kohl about the eyes?
But Jack, traipsing through his head in the infuriating manner he did everything, refused to be dislodged. Will shook his head, looking at Elizabeth, for once, without really seeing her.
"What's troubling you?" she passed a hand over his brow, smoothing the wrinkles, and smiled at him. That smile could have stilled a thousand of his heartaches (or more likely have been the cause of them) a month ago.
I should have told you this since the day we met. I love you.
"Nothing, Mi- Elizabeth." He tried to smile, knowing that- as with everything false he had ever done- it did not ring true. Why was he lying to her?
Care to cross blades with a pirate? Jack lifting a brow, those black-lined eyes unfathomable. At that moment Will had been frightened, though he would not have admitted it for all the world. There was something unsettling about the way he moved, that pirate: the half-drunk swagger, the slur that would have been a sure sign on anyone else of being severely blitzed on rum. But Jack had certainly been sober for some of those moments…the grin like white-hot metal on the night of the rainstorm, Jack soaking wet still clinging to the steering wheel: we're catching up. Something inexplicable, much like Jack himself, stirred within the pit of his stomach.
The object of Will's tumbled thoughts lifted a tankard of rum. "To freedom," he slurred, not noticeably different drunk than he was sober.
"To freedom!" the crew chorused, thinking this sounded quite agreeable. Unlike their captain, most of them were showing the effects of large amounts of alcohol quite clearly.
"Shiver me timbers!" croaked Cotton's parrot as the mute tipped back on the bench and fell over with a thump.
"To Bootstrap Bill," Jack added as an afterthought, lurching slightly sideways. "Oooh, the view's better from here," he drawled, eyeing Annamaria's ample cleavage, displayed prominently in a low-cut shirt. "Lean over a bit, eh?"
The sound of a bo'sun slapping a captain's face, while normally quite unheard of in the Carribean, had become ritual on the Black Pearl. Despite her rather smashed state, Annamaria was quite lucid enough to retaliate.
"Why're you toasting ol' Billie, Cap'n?" asked Griggs, scratching his salt-and-pepper beard. (He had told Bidon, the dwarf, that he thought this made him looked distinguished: however, many were of the opinion he had a rather bad case of beard nits.)
"Din't you know?" Jack replied, lifting his mug in a salute. "It's his birthday."
"Ahhh," Griggs nodded, satisfied, then pitched over and landed in a heap next to cotton.
"Bloody wankers," Jack muttered, and took another swig of rum.