Three Days

Disclaimer: No, he's not mine, blast it...but imagine if he could be....:) I'll give him back, I promise. Eventually.

Summary: So what did happen while you were alone on that island, Jack? No, really.

Update: In response to a great deal of excellent feedback (thank you!!) I have edited some of Jack's references to things that (silly me!) did not exist in the late 1700s :) However, I am leaving in the reference to "ketchup". I am doing so both because it is funny, and because it is actually loosely possible that Jack had been to China at some point (they invented kei-cheop, don't'cha know!) or met a Chinese sailor who introduced him to a strange, tomato-ey sauce. I can't find an exact date for the creation of ketchup, but Chinese and Indian cookbooks are using variants of the substance around 1860, so it's not impossible that it existed, in some form or other, in the late 1700s. Awww, c'mon, guys, suspend your disbelief for a while and watch the pretty pirate's behind wiggle! :)

Also, I apologise, but when I watch the movie, I do not hear Jack speaking "pirate patois" -- i.e., "Arrrr matey" and "Avast!" I cannot place his accent (although I'm willing to watch the movie 600 more times to get it right! :) I'm not going to try. When I hear him speak, I hear more-or-less good English, with some contractions and some weird phrases, savvy? :) So that is what I write. It's all I've got -- don't take it away from me! :)

This is my Jack, for good or ill. Thank you for enjoying him, and for telling me how much you enjoyed him! :)

Captain - well, perhaps not currently, but just you wait - Captain Jack Sparrow spat salt water and glared after the retreating form of the Black Pearl. First it was a ship - his ship - tall and fair against the water, crowned with a halo of black sails, and then it was a smaller ship, and then a toy, and then a dwindling speck upon the waves. It faded amongst a chorus of jeers and hoots, and even as it vanished from sight, through some hideous trick of acoustics he could hear the splashes of the mutinous crew - his crew - tossing his possessions into the water, dividing what they wanted between them, joking and laughing.

Their faces, as they forced him at sword point off the plank, flashed before him each time he blinked. Full of hate, spite, derision. As though he had treated them badly! When he held his eyes shut, though, feeling the sting of - it must be salt water, he had just been drowning, er, swimming in the ocean, after all - he could see one face, one kind face, whose hate was not aimed at him.

Poor old Bootstrap, he thought. He'll be next, if he doesn't watch himself.

Well. To business. He inventoried himself. Assets: one strapping young pirate. One, count it, one pistol, with a single shot. Pants, a belt, one remaining shoe. Some brass trinkets, some beads, and whatever other crap the crew couldn't cut out of your hair. Nothing of much use, in other words. The crew had stripped him bare - they had taken his rings, his necklaces, his knife, his sword - oh, he would miss that sword - his coat, and his favourite hat.

He gazed out over the empty, wide, empty, blue, empty, empty ocean. One, count it, one pistol. One shot.


The sun was blazing, drying the water on his body and making his clothes crunchy and hard. The soaked and shredded remains of rope bonds were still knotted around his wrists; he bit and pulled at the rope until it unraveled. He kicked off his single shoe, flipped it over, and examined it thoroughly. Nothing of note was unearthed.

He tossed the shoe away and wandered off down the beach.

It was a small island. God had not intended anybody to be living on it and had provided only the most meagre of supplies. There were several species of extremely stupid but entirely unappetizing lizards, some quite smart and equally unappetizing rats, scraggly grass-like plants, and some profoundly boring palm trees.

He probed one thoroughly for hidden rowboats or rum, but it yielded nothing.

It was getting hotter. He was vaguely aware that to drink seawater was to invite a slow and painful death involving long and painful words he did not entirely understand, but already the concept was appearing inviting. He staggered into the paltry shelter of the palm trees and sat down.

One, count it, one shot.

He thought about that for a while, but no matter how carefully he considered it the thought did not become any more pleasant.


A muscle under his left eye began to twitch nastily, slowly at first, then faster. He rubbed it with a grimy finger and it went away, but its promise was there, lurking.

Must survive, he thought. Need food, water, shelter.


Food could wait. He wouldn't starve for several weeks, but water deprivation would kill him, sure as a bullet, within days. Where do you find water on a giant pile of sand?

Walk while you can. Move while you can. If you wait, you'll only be weaker.

Damn, it's hot.

Using the trees for shade as much as possible, he started near the shoreline, and began walking blindly along the beach, and then up and down through what passed for the "forest" of scrawny palms. The impromptu search yielded the other end of the island, with an equally depressing vista of moribund palm trees and unadorned ocean. No hidden oases, no concealed bejeweled concubines, and no rum.

Jack spent a moment sulking fiercely against a tree trunk. The tree bore his weight stoically, but offered no sympathy for his suffering. He gave it a sullen look and sat down beside it. It remained unmoved by his criticism.

No signal flares - no nearby shipping lanes - no lifeboats - no convenient, helpful porpoises - no rum.

Jack felt a fist clench involuntarily as Barbossa's taunting laughter echoed faintly in his ears. He glanced down at the pistol, and considered it, briefly. He shook his head. Whatever happened, that shot wasn't for him, not him, not Captain Jack Sparrow. He knew a bastard who needed a shot like that, his traitorous first mate Barbossa, and damned if Captain Jack Sparrow -

He looked forlornly out over the bleak and faceless sea.

Damned if Captain Jack Sparrow -

The ocean breeze dwindled flat for a moment, and silence rang mockingly in his ears.


His thoughts filled with an agonizing powerlessness and he turned the pistol over and over in his hands, feeling hot metal burn his palms. His eyes burned slightly - must be all that salt water he'd been swimming in - and he wondered what it would feel like. Maybe there would be a cool breeze as the air touched his brain, and a moment of peace as his fears fled through the hole.

Probably it would hurt like hell. With his luck, it might not even kill him, and he could lie where he fell on the beach until the sun baked him and his brain boiled in his open skull. The rats would find him there on the shore, baked like a pastry, warm cooked brains ready for the tasting, his head already open for easy access. Would he feel it as their tiny feet scampered over his memories? Would the rats suddenly find themselves longing for treasure, building little boats and braiding trinkets in their hair?

He felt mildly light-headed suddenly, and a little giggle escaped him. He pointed the gun at his temple, playfully, then targeted a nearby rock he felt might be capable of offending him. He held the rock in his sights for some time, but it remained inoffensive. He lowered the weapon, and the sense of impending doom settled over him once more.

If Captain Jack Sparrow survives this -

He had no idea what to do. The island was empty except for him and that pistol. There were no hidden tunnels, no ladders, no carriages appearing at coincidentally advantageous times. There was no rum. He was on an utterly empty island. The only remnant he had of the "civilised" world was a weapon granted him for his own destruction.

He felt lonely and went and visited his shoe. It lay where he'd thrown it on the sand. It wasn't much company.

The sun beat the island flat with its fury. Jack was fit and strongly tanned, but eventually he had to crawl back into the shade of the trees, his head spinning. Oh, god. For some rum. My left arm, my bloody hat, my soul - for a single drop of rum....

Oh, hell, even water. Ketchup. Anything.

He watched the remorseless waves erode the beach for a while, imagining the little granules of sand as they wandered slowly out to sea. He tried to imagine where the Pearl was now, how far it had gone, and whether Bootstrap was still aboard. If Bill kept his mouth shut, all would be well for him - but Bill had an honest streak in him, the poor sod. It was what had kept the two of them together, even through bad drunken close harmony singing on those lonely cold nights on deck. If that honest streak took over, even for a second, he might say something ... stupid ... and they'd surely toss him overboard.

Jack imagined William Turner swimming away from the Pearl and washing ashore on the island with him. So enthralled by the image was he that he looked up and scanned the sand, a hopeful look on his face.

Despite his enthusiastic mental encouragement, nothing appeared on the beach. He sank back, dejected.

He thought about the Pearl some more, and thought about Barbossa. He fought Barbossa's image out of his mind and played noughts-and-crosses with himself, drawing with a stick in the sand. He fought Barbossa's giggling image out of his mind and built a little castle out of sticks. He fought Barbossa's slathering, capering image out of his mind and threw rocks out into the ocean.


He threw rocks at the trees. He threw rocks at his castle, which fell over. Barbossa taunted him still, and now there would be no reckoning, no vengeance. He would die here, alone on this island, and no-one would ever know how he had been betrayed. How could he have been so gullible, so stupid? I thought I could trust you....

Night was falling, slowly. A spectacular sunset flamed wildly on the horizon, pigmenting the sand with glorious gold and red, but he refused to be lulled by its hollow beauty. He wandered aimlessly between the trees, buoyed slightly by the gradually dropping temperature, hoping to stumble upon some hidden restaurant or hotel or, perhaps, a mansion filled with nubile young nymphomaniacs. He wasn't feeling picky.

When the sun dropped below the horizon his world sank into blackness. There was no moon to light his path, and the stars gave but little light, a reference delineating "up" from "down". For lack of anything better to occupy his time, Jack walked on. He smacked face-first into a palm tree. He walked on. He collided with another palm tree. On the fifth palm tree - they came out of the shadows like demons, they did - Jack gave up and slid down the trunk with a sigh. He spent the night where he was, and when small skittering things scrabbled across his hands in the sand he caught them and ate them. It was little comfort.


He woke to a fading dream of the crew, jeering and carrying on as Barbossa, naked except for a pair of pleated and frilled ladies' crinoline bloomers, challenged him to a duel. The crew of the Black Pearl were missing their heads, but on the end of each neck a different object perched: a crown, a live fish, bloody human hands. Tight to Barbossa's shoulder clung a livid green parrot, its claws drawing streamers of blood from his flesh. The parrot screamed, frantic, sobbing protests.

Jack shuddered awake, blinking the dream away. He sat up and looked puzzled: his throat was raw and tears had worn clean paths through the salty, dusty plains of his face. Echoes of shrill shrieking danced away along the flanks of the island and out to sea.

He swiped at his eyes with the sides of his hands, smearing the damp trails into nameless smudges. No, no. That won't do at all.

It was long past dawn. The sun shone high in an otherwise unadorned sky and the sad shade offered by the palm under which he'd slept had not perceptibly reduced the ambient heat. He felt sluggish and hot; his muscles ached. He hauled himself upright, licking his dry lips sore in a futile attempt to moisten his mouth. He longed for water.

He swayed a little as he stood, and supported himself against the tree until the sand resolved itself under his feet instead of dancing around him in giddy little circles. He took a deep breath, shook himself. Under control. Totally under - fuck that.

Steeling himself, he strode off boldly in the direction of shore. A few moments later he found it necessary to stride boldly off in the opposite direction, having momentarily misplaced the shore.

The sand was as he'd left it. Likewise, the sky, the trees, and the ever-present sun. He found the place he'd washed ashore - differentiated by the deep dents in the sand where he'd pounded his frustration into the turf - and searched it thoroughly. No sign of a boat dock, landing, or other human presence.

A bit to the left - similar results. A bit to the right - sand. Further right - more sand. Even further to the right - even more sand. A hundred yards to the right - more sand. Two screaming circles of the island to the right - sand.

Sand. Fucking sand as far as the eye could see.

Panting, he waded out into the ocean, as though being twenty feet closer would enable him to see a hidden ship on the horizon. The water was warm and the waves gentle, and for a moment or two he floated peacefully, comforted by the embrace, but a terrible thirst rose in Jack as the sea surrounded him. Without thinking he opened his mouth and received a mouthful of warm salt, gently seasoned with water. Gagging, he struggled out of the waves, wiping his tongue with his hands.

He fell panting on the beach. His hands were shaking. He crawled into a patch of shade away from the shore and lay there, fuming and trembling. The heat of the day was not lessening, and Jack felt logy and feverish. The muscles in his calves were twitching - heat spasms - and he could feel the beginnings of heat exhaustion, soon to be heat stroke, creeping into his consciousness through the malignant radiant fire coming up through the sand.

The muscle below his left eye offered a wild, intermittent twitching to help him along. He slapped himself hard in the face, and the twitching ceased, leaving behind it a single, razor-sharp thought:

I'm going to die.

He did not find that thought palatable.

There isn't a damned thing I can do about it.

Barbossa's supercilious sneer filled his vision and he spent a moment cursing and foaming until he could refocus himself.

He raised the gun into the air, vaguely, aiming the muzzle at the universe in general. When I find out which one of you heavenly deities arranged this, he promised them, I'm going to hunt you down and kill you. Maybe I'll just kill you all, one by one.

"Kill you," he swore aloud, waving the pistol. His voice rasped harshly in his throat, rusty and hoarse. The palm trees echoed his promise back to him from their swaying fronds.

Barbossa swam through his thoughts again. Jack's face creased into a furious grimace. "Kill you, too."

Oh, god. He was alone; he was going to die; there was nothing he could do. His eyes stung and he wearily wondered why.

He thought of Bootstrap Bill, and sent some silent good wishes his way, though he knew in his heart that Bill's fortunes would be no better than his own. At least they'd be meeting again soon, and they could wreak havoc among the heavenly choir by teaching them some of their favourite drinking songs, including the one about the peaches. Especially the one about the peaches.

He thought of the Pearl, and his cool comfortable cabin. He thought of mugs of beer and plates of meat on the long table, a warm glow coming from the oil lamps, a satisfied concubine in the bed.

His murky thoughts once again brought up Barbossa, who was no doubt even at that moment enjoying that bed, and probably the aforementioned concubine as well, and Jack had to bang his head quite hard on the sand to make him go away.

A succession of women, women he'd once known, courted, perhaps loved for a minute or two in the smoky back rooms of unsavoury establishments, wandered through his head. He had cared for each of them, in a distant, ne'er-meet-again way, and he remembered every one with bizarre clarity. Every sweaty encounter limned in lamplight, every swift embrace stolen under a jealous husband's nose. What he wouldn't give for such a moment now. Jack wondered where those women were at that moment, what they were doing, if the children had his eyes or his ears or his damnable sense of honour.

Barbossa cantered through on a black horse and beheaded them all, and Jack found himself on his feet, crying and fighting the air, swinging punches against an invisible foe.

He collapsed onto the sand, sobbing, and muzzled a frothing curse in his throat. To this. It's come. To this. Captain. Fucking Captain. Sparrow. Jack Sparrow. Gonna die, mate. Can feel it coming.

He rolled onto his back, his breath coming in sighing gasps, and felt his thoughts wander in and out of his head like waves on a sea.

Don't want to go this way.

His lips formed a childish pout and he slammed his fists into the sand.

Don't want to go this way!

He had to think a moment about how he did wish to go. He hadn't many options.

Go fighting.

Not gonna be a skeleton warning on the beach. Another marooned dead man. Another. Marooned. Gonna fight. Gonna kick ass.

Gonna fucking swim!

Gonna die....

He raised his head, and waited the few moments it took for the many writhing beaches to resolve themselves into one beach, for the terrible throbbing ache to subside and wait for a more opportune moment. Die fighting. Gonna go out fighting.

The ocean undulated at him, as if inviting him to try.

He leaped to his feet, and was startled to discover that his legs had vanished. They folded beneath him, dead things, and dropped him to the sand.

As he forced himself back up, dizzy with dehydration, his heart hammering, his fingers sank into the sand and slid along something smooth and familiar. He jerked back with a violent start and stared at the spot. Then he realised he'd just lost track of the thing, whatever it was. Jack screamed, and pounced on the spot where his hand had been, excavating wildly, flinging sand in crazy fountains into the air behind him.

His questing fingers located the object and ripped it free. He got a good look at it and his jaw dropped open.

A bottle? He stared, glassy-eyed, and found it necessary to touch the thing, to run his fingers over it. He began to caress it joyously, suggestively, stopping only when he sliced his palm open on its ragged broken edge.

A bottle. He sniffed the inside. God! Rum!

Humans had been here before him. They had had rum. He felt an irrational, urgent need to scream again. He did so. He screamed and called out and jumped up and down. He waved branches. He ran about. He thudded into a tree - that seemed to be happening a lot these days - and landed on his back, choking on dust and his own screams.

He could not tell if he was happy or not. He was having trouble stringing words together. They seemed to want to make their own patterns, without his conscious intervention. He kept thinking about cabbages.

Concentrate! All right, whoever they were, they aren't here right now.

Question is, did they leave anything else behind?

Jack got himself upright, clutching the broken bottle to his chest like a precious talisman, and began to search the surrounding sand, shoving his hands deep into the grains and tossing flurries of it aside. He found some tiny shards of glass, which caught under his nails, and a couple of pieces of cork. Then nothing. He searched deeper. He dug until he began to hit seawater. Still nothing more.

He opened his mouth to vent a bark of frustration, and then stopped, his eyes widening. His brain, upon which he was not relying too heavily any more, had suddenly held a garishly painted noticeboard up in front of him and he had to pause to read it, his lips working.

Who would have rum on a desert island?

Rum runners.

What do rum runners do with rum on desert islands?

They store it. Secretly.

How do you mark a hidden store on an island covered in shifting sand?

The trees.

Jack organized his limbs and with great effort he got his feet under him and his head arranged smartly on top. After a brief consultation with the reflexes committee he remembered how to walk. He approached the nearest tree, put his hands around the trunk, and felt it from top to bottom, like a policeman searching a suspect. Nothing. He gazed at the tree, faintly disappointed, and used the edge of the muzzle of the pistol to carve a single notch at eye-height in the trunk, marking the tree as searched. He moved on to the next tree, found nothing, and gave it a mark.

The rest of the afternoon passed in a similar fashion.

The gods were giving it another go on the spectacular sunset front as Jack wobbled fiercely up to the last tree, his lean body trembling violently and rimed with salt-crusted sweat. Shakily, he threatened the tree with the pistol, cursed its progenitors and its offspring, mentioned the dubious nature of its heritage and gave it a kick for good measure. He muttered dark imprecations as his hands, stiff, sore and bleeding, searched the trunk.


Mad with heat exhaustion and frustration, Jack reared back, bringing the gun round in a flat wild swing and smashing it against the trunk, leaving a splintered slash in the wood. He glared at the damage, his chest heaving with outrage. That peculiar stinging began in his eyes again, and his vision blurred. He waved his hands at the tree, as though demanding to know what right it had not being a secret passageway to Tortuga, or, at the least, a supple prostitute.

The tree did not appear impressed. Its fronds moved gently in the endless salt breeze, but if it had anything to say, it wasn't saying it to him.

He screamed his frustration to the sky with impotent ferocity.

Gonna fucking. Die. Die here....all that bastard. That bastard. Barbossa. His fault.

Gonna die.

Gonna kill him.

Gonna die first.

'S gonna make things complicated.

Jack saw Barbossa in his head again, laughing at him, and crumpled to his knees. In a last angry, defeated display he slammed his hand against the tree trunk and damaged himself severely. He cupped his bruised fingers to his chest and gave the tree a stern look.

It was then that he saw the knife mark, partially healed, near the base of the trunk.

Jack fell forward, grabbed the tree as he went past, wrapped himself around the trunk, and kissed it. Then, in the fading light, he pulled himself upright one last time. He turned perpendicular to the tree, and began a spiral around it, stomping hard at each step. His footsteps churned up a widening circle of sand.

As the sun made its final drop behind the horizon, Jack's heel came down hard on sand which produced a hollow wooden noise. With a shrill yell, he stabbed with both feet at the sand, jumping frenziedly up and down. There was a creak, a crunch, and in total blackness, he plunged downward.

There was the sound of splintering wood, breaking glass, and then a high-pitched, not entirely sane laugh.

One might say I'm caching in!

And then there was a happy, busy silence.


The sun peeked over the horizon the following morning, its questing rays illuminating a dark pit in the sand. Idiot humming was coming out of the pit. Occasionally words, mostly along the lines of "la la la rum", would sprinkle themselves in around the edges.

The sun shone also on a sleek little nondescript ship, berthed inconspicuously offshore. As the heavens grew lighter a tiny rowboat was revealed, heading with great purpose toward the shore.

The little boat reached the shore. Two furtive figures rose, lifted a trunk from its recesses, and trotted off along the beach. The trunk clinked merrily, suggesting a certain alcoholic note to its contents.

The healthy ting! of rattling rum bottles woke Jack from a sound and drunken sleep. He clambered out of a pile of empty bottles. His head popped up out of the rum runners' pit as though on a spring. It wobbled slowly. He held it in his hands to stop it moving.

He took note, once the horizon stopped swaying, of the ship, the rowboat, and the two figures. His vision did a special zooming-in on the alcohol-filled chest the rum runners had come to cache. His brain, which was blurring in and out of focus, had to remind him about the ship, several times.

Captain Jack Sparrow clambered ecstatically out of the rum runners' cache, to the great consternation of the rum runners in question. Arms waving, Jack ran unsteadily down to the beach, the rowboat, and freedom, returning only briefly to retrieve his pants, and the one, count it, one pistol.

And the rest, as they say, is history.