Jack Sparrow was a man who enjoyed things of beauty. He could spend hours memorizing the porcelain skin of a woman, made a point of going to the crow's nest each night to watch the sun set over the Caribbean, and could even be transfixed by something as simple as the flame of a candle.

He marveled as his fingers passed through the flame, one by one, with nothing more but a remembrance of warmth and a thin layer of soot to mark each passing. A slender line of red wax dripped down the side of the candle as the melted wax overflowed its small reservoir. Jack dipped his hand down to catch the wax on his outstretched index finger before it hardened, hissing slightly as a burning sensation slid down his finger with the wax. He returned his finger to the flame, watching as the wax liquefied and dripped back into the hollow around the flame.

"Jack? Are you down here?"

Speaking of things of beauty

Jack barely glanced up as Will Turner came thundering down the steps to the hold. The younger man took a seat across from Jack, staring at him.

"What are you doing?" he asked, watching Jack's fingers dance with the flame.

Jack glanced up at his companion, wondering absently if that was a rhetorical question. He thought it was quite obvious what he was doing, himself, and had originally marked Will as an intelligent boy.

When it became clear that Will was impatiently awaiting an answer, Jack replied softly, "I'm touching the flame."

Will blinked. "Why?"

Jack looked up, fingers still moving within the flame, and met Will's eyes unwaveringly.

"I like the way it burns."

At this revelation, Will sat back in his chair, apparently at a loss for words. Jack dropped his gaze and returned it to the flame, watching it slip across each finger in turn, seeming to split in the middle to allow each one through. After a few minutes in silence, Jack looked up suddenly.

"Do you want to touch it?"

Will jerked, clearly startled. "What?"

"Do you want to touch it?" Jack repeated, running one finger around the flame. "Do you want to touch the flame?"

"I-" Will touched his teeth with the tip of his tongue, evidently unsure of what to say.

"Go on. It doesn't hurt." Jack pushed the candle closer to Will, at which the dark-haired man flinched away slightly.

"Jack, I don't think that's a good idea-"

"Touch it!" Jack leaned forward, pushing the candle closer to Will with soot-stained fingertips. "Go on. It won't hurt you unless you let it."

Hesitantly, Will reached out and stroked a finger lightly across the very edge of the candle.

"No, Will. Really touch it. Don't be afraid."

As before, Will touched it, allowing his finger to hover inside the flame for half a second before jerking his arm back with a gasp.

"Feels good, doesn't it? That instant of warmth before it starts to burn? It's almost . . ." Jack pulled the candle back, beginning to run his fingers through the flame again, "addictive."

"addictive," he heard Will breathe almost inaudibly.

Jack bit back a smile, continually dragging his fingers, feeling the warmth enveloping his fingers.

Then, suddenly, he blew out the candle. Will gasped.

"Was there something you wanted to talk to me about, Will?" Jack asked, folding his hands on the table and staring levelly at the other man.

Will's mouth moved silently for a second as he blinked, completely bewildered. "Um no nothing at all." He pushed his chair back and stood, silently going back up the stairs leading to the deck.

When he was sure Will had left, Jack struck a match and re-lit the candle. He sat there and watched the flame cast its flickering light across the walls and ceiling before running a finger through it.

Jack Sparrow was a man who enjoyed things of beauty--whether it be the sensual beauty of a woman's body, the natural beauty of the sun sparkling on the water, or the innocent beauty of a man who'd never touched the flame.

guh. if jack sparrow ever said to me, "do you want to touch it?" i'd be like "hell yeah! ...wait, touch what?" ^_^

jack and will belong to disney.

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