Pairing: Pintel/Ragetti

Disclaimer: In no way do I own the characters of Pintel and Ragetti, or anything pertaining to PotC.

..-.oOo.-..

It was a gorgeous night in the Caribbean. The moonlight streamed down upon the sparkling water as a gentle breeze played amongst the palm trees. However, there were two who paid no mind to the perfect weather. For deep within the innermost dungeon cell, huddled in the overbearing darkness, two subdued pirates awaited the moment of their demise.

The thinner of the two raised his sandy blonde head to fix a steady, one-eyed gaze upon the grimy dirt-smeared face of the other. His single eye, uninhibited in the despair of the situation, slowly studied the larger man's rugged features. The long greying hair, broad face, gleaming eyes. Each seemed so beautiful now in the darkness of this hellish place. He had been looking at a dirty crack in the wall, but he had probably sensed the thinner man's eyes so avidly upon his countenance. He returned his counterpart's gaze with a bothered glare.

"Ragetti," he addressed the lean man gruffly, "whatcha bloody starin' at?"

Ragetti dropped his gaze and almost let out a hopeless sigh. "Jus reckonin' you're less borin t' watch than the goddamn walls." A low grunt was the only reply. Ragetti decided to try again. "Pintel," he began. "When d'ya think they'll come an' get us?"

Pintel attempted to ignore Ragetti, but the question seemed to hang persistently in the air. "Don't matter. Sooner th'bett'r."

"Yeh," Ragetti nearly whispered. "I was jus' wonderin', tha's all." He turned his eye back upon Pintel's haggard face, once again studying in silence.

Pintel let out a grunt as he shifted into a more comfortable position and closed his eyes. "Might as well 'njoy a last nap afore we meet up w'Davy Jones." He settled down as if to sleep, but sleep he could not. He could feel the uneasy presence of his fellow pirate only too well. Opening his eyes, Pintel was met with an ever-intent look courtesy of his friend. He sighed roughly and asked, "Wos really on yer mind, Rags?"

Ragetti's face softened into a sad, regretful smile. "I was jus thinkin', if i'd known th' end was so near, I would o' done lots o' things I ne'er did, Pin me ol' mate."

Pintel's eyebrows rose slightly in question. "Like?" He wondered what Ragetti could mean. They had done nearly everything a man could ask for, afterall. They had lived life freely, sampled women as they pleased, taken gold as they needed it. Of course, all that had been before the curse had been laid upon the Black Pearl's crew.

Ragetti abruptly stood up and slowly moved across the room until finally he was completely enveloped in shadows. "Nothin'. Tis' pers'nal." The sound of creaking wood reached Ragetti's ears when the other man sat on the single plank that served as a bunk.

As ridiculous as it was, Pintel felt insulted. As if now it really mattered to keep things secret? He scowled in Ragetti's general direction and grumbled, "Fine. You can keep yer bloody secrets. A' leas' now ya migh' keep yer mouf shut an' I can take me nap."

"Suit yerself."

A nervous quiet hung ominously over the two restless pirates, as they fought a subconscious battle of wills with each other. They both knew that neither would be able to rest in peace until things between them were settled.

Ragetti shifted uncomfortably, causing the plank to creak noisily. He opened his mouth as though about to speak but quickly closed it again.

Pintel, sensing his counterpart's unrest, started feeling nervous himself. The unmentioned seemed to stare him in the face. Almost hesitantly, he uttered in a barely audible, gruff voice, "'Tis bout me, ain't it? Wut ye bein' so nervous fo?"

For a long time, the only sound was the distant pattering of dripping water. At last, Ragetti stammered, "I-I…know it ain't…right or nothin'…" He paused, struggling to find the courage to say what was needed. "I jes'…. well…" His voice faded as he let the sentence trail off.

Pintel felt a tightening in his chest. He knew where this was going. He should have guessed. He had often thought about the same thing, but lacked the courage to defy the unwritten laws of what a pirate and a man should be. He didn't have the courage now, and he doubted he had the courage to listen. "Ti's fine, Rags. Ye don' gotta say it if it's so hard for ye. Not that it matters none anymo'."

With a sudden burst of emotion, Ragetti exclaimed, "No, Pin!" He rose from his seat and moved out of the shadows, nearer to the other man. "I ain't got no place up there anyhow…" He motioned upwards, towards the heavens. "I migh' as well say…" Even then he couldn't seem to find the words he was searching for.

Long hours must have gone by, for the toll of the nearby church bell could be heard striking two o' clock. In less than six hours both of them would be forever blinded from the light, their last breath long escaped from their lungs. These were the last hours of their lives... and they would spend them together.

"Funny, firs time we met I 'ad a feelin'..." He caught himself thinking aloud, and quickly became silent. His heart was beating so fast he thought it'd break right out of his chest.

" 'S'alrigh', Rags," Pintel muttered warily. "Ya don' hafta stay quiet. If ya need ta talk, then go righ' ahead. I don't fink it matters now what yeh say anyways." He had decided in that moment that it would be somewhat cruel to deny Ragetti the right to admit to…things. "Dead men tell no tales, af'erall."

Once again there was a creak, and Pintel sensed rather than heard the quiet rustling of the straw on the stone floor as Ragetti crawled toward him. He held his breath and pretended not to notice this, but it came out with a gasp when he felt a slender, yet rough hand pause gently on his cheek. He felt his heartbeat quicken and pulled away instinctively. The touch was gone just as suddenly as it had appeared. "I told yeh ta talk," he mumbled gruffly, casting a sideways glance in Ragetti's direction.

Ragetti's hand jerked back quickly at Pintel's rejection. He unconsciously looked away so the shorter man wouldn't be able to see the hurt in his eyes. "Talkin' ain' gonna do any good now," he said almost in a whisper, a hint of melancholy in his voice.

Once again the pair sat in silence. Then, at last, Pintel came to a decision. The internal war that had been raging deep inside his bosom had ended. "Rags," he began simply, his hoarse voice cutting through the air with suppressed emotions. "Come over 'ere, mate..."

Ragetti hesitated for a few seconds, but then slowly approached his comrade. A beam of moonlight shone through the narrow slit on the stone wall, making his moist eyes shine like stars in the darkest firmament. As his face became visible, Pintel thought he saw his chin quiver slightly. It was then that he realized how long it truly had been since he had seen Ragetti's face illuminated by moonlight. His real, human face; not that rotted, skeletal monster the Black Pearl's crew had become so familiar with. He looked squarely into that thin face now, his gaze soft and sad. Pintel reached out, wrapping his strong arms around the other man's seemingly frail body, drawing him close against his broad chest. He felt Ragetti tense in surprise, and then gradually relax. For a long time they sat there frozen in their embrace, each relishing in the other's scent and warm touch, a warmth that moments ago seemed impossible in such a place as they were in.

Ragetti rested his head on the other man's chest. It seemed so natural. However, he felt as though one of them should say something, even at risk of ruining the moment.

"This is wot I been wantin' to say, more'r less," Ragetti whispered softly. There was more silence as he struggled to keep tears from spilling down his face.

Pintel couldn't help but smile, a warm glow filling his chest. But it was soon to be replaced with regret, for although he had finally succumbed to love, he had spent his whole life denying his emotions. He held the slender man closer. "Aye... Yer a brave man, Rag. Brave man 'ndeed." Try as he might not, he couldn't keep a lone tear from sliding down his weathered cheek.

Ragetti chuckled bitterly. "'M not brave," he sighed. "If I were, I woulda' told ye long ago." He looked up into Pintel's eyes with his one and observed the single, crystal-like tear. With one thin hand, Ragetti brushed the tear away, savoring the touch that had earlier been denied. "Don' cry, Pin," he soothed, once more speaking in barely a whisper. "Please don' cry..."

"If ye would'na started it, I'd probly jus' a died without admittin'," Pintel muttered, clutching the ragged cloth of the thinner man's shirt. "Will ye fergive me, Rag?" He felt devastated that he'd betray love in this way, giving more importance to what people thought of him than to his feelings.

Pintel's burning question was answered when Ragetti's lips pressed against his own in a clumsy kiss.

Ragetti pulled away and needlessly replied, "I fergive ya." He snuggled back down against Pintel's chest and stayed there, listening to the rhythmic beating of his friend's heart.

Pintel wasn't expecting the kiss, and his heart skipped a beat as their lips touched. But as Rag's head settled back down on his chest, he felt as though his insides were melting with love. He almost cried again, he was so touched by his comrade's gesture. However, the kiss had awoken in him a need that he'd never known before. His whole being ached for Ragetti. Something had to be done. "Rag!" No answer. "Ragetti!" Still nothing. He gave the other man a persistent nudge in the ribs.

Ragetti raised his head and stared at Pintel, his eye shining. "Pin? Wos wrong?"

His question was answered with the moist, heavy warmth of Pintel's mouth on his. The larger man's strong, calloused hands ran over his tanned skin, soothing his tensed muscles. Pintel felt the passion grow in the very center of his being and returned the kiss, surrendering to the bliss that is Love.

..-.oOo.-..

The following morning, the pair found themselves standing side by side in the gallows awaiting their inevitable doom. The sun wasn't shining this day, but instead the sky was blanketed by thick, gray clouds. Raindrops showered down gently from above now and then, occasionally accompanied by a soft roll of thunder. It was as if Mother Nature understood the pirates' tragic fate and was weeping for them and their lost love.

Pintel and Ragetti tried not to look at each other, dreading the moment their love would vanish like the floor beneath their feet when they were hanged. Subdued, they waited as the nooses were slipped over their heads and tightened around their necks. But suddenly the clouds split, and a ray of sunlight shone on them and warmed their clammy skins.

They had but a moment to savor the warmth upon their faces. The telltale drum roll had begun its morbid song and an air of anticipation hung about the watchful audience. Soon it would all end. Ragetti stole a glance at Pintel, his heart aching.

Their eyes met, and in spite of their situation, Pintel smiled. His eyes were pools of love in which Ragetti could feel himself dissolving, and there was an understanding between them. Maybe it was Destiny that had plotted for them to die together just so that they would, for one brief night, discover their love for each other. He wished he could hold Pintel's hand, but they were tighly bound together, so he contented himself by returning the smile.

The drum's beat came to an abrupt stop and, before the two men even realized what was happening, the wooden platform below their feet was gone, the ropes around their necks were taut.

For the crowd, the show was over. They began to disperse, chatting amongst themselves, not wishing to witness the throes of the dying pirates. Only a few members of the royal navy remained; they were used to the twitches and spasms of hanged men.

Fin