I'm really, truly, deeply sorry. I can't believe it took me this long to update this thing. I feel especially terrible since last chapter got the most reviews so far and I was so grateful for them. So naturally I show my appreciation by not updating for a half a year. In my defense, I really want to make sure all the continuity matches up, which is difficult enough in a regular story, let alone one with about three seperate time periods that are all interacting with one another. Well, enough apologies and excuses, and on with the story!
Jack stared intently at Gibbs a moment, trying to figure out what he had to drink to cause him to hallucinate like that, and where he could get some. As he pondered this, a very peculiar thing happened. He heard himself shouting. Jack was the first to admit he was a bit tipsy, the empty bottle on his desk clear evidence of this, but he was fairly certain he hadn't just opened his mouth. When this phenomenon happened a second time, Jack wasted no time in flying around his desk and hurtling past Gibbs towards the door. He paused a moment, not sure he was entirely prepared to see what lay on the other side of the worn wood.
Jack turned and gave Gibbs a final 'here goes nothing' look before flinging open the door.
He was met once again with the sound of his own voice, much louder and clearer and most undoubtedly his."What do you bloody mean 'How did I leave my cabin and get on this ship?' I wasn't in the cabin! The other me is! Really, how hard is this to understand?"
Jack emerged from the door and cleared the staircase to see the silvery grey masts of a much smaller ship bobbing next to them. It must have been exceptionally fast, for no one appeared to have noticed it in time to notify him. That, he mused, or the fact that he told the entire crew he was not to be bothered under any circumstances while fixing them all with the iciest stare he could muster before going into his cabin to plot their course.
"I will explain this one more time," he heard his own voice continue as he slunk up to the railing in a apprehensive and rather exaggerated fashion, the smaller ship finally coming into view. " I need to see mysel-"the voice cut off as Jack peered over the railing and directly into his own eyes.
There was a collective gasp as both crews realized their Captain was on each of the ships.
Jack Sparrow, the Jack of the Lorean that is, stopped talking mid-sentence, his mouth open and his eyes wide as his spitting image appeared at the railing of the Pearl. The Jack aboard the Pearl quickly mirrored his dumbfounded expression.
"My God," He whispered as he stared up himself. Will, who had been just as awe-struck as everyone else, heard Jack and quickly tried to recover and help the pirate through this strange ordeal. He was about to place a supportive hand on Jack's shoulder and ask if he was feeling alright when Jack finished his sentence. "Am I really that dashing?"
The hand that was destined for Jack shoulder made a sharp detour to Will's forehead. "I had always suspected, but you don't really know 'till it's staring you right in the face. How on Earth did Elizabeth manage to resist me? Will, you really must commend her on her willpower the next time you two meet." Will's hand slowly slid down his face. Jack however took absolutely no notice of this, and continued, throwing his arms up himself. "Just look at that devilishly handsome rogue."
"I am looking at him." Came a voice from the other ship. The Pearl's Jack had taken slightly longer to get over the shock of seeing himself, since it was entirely unexpected, but the other Jack's barrage of compliments seemed to work wonders for him, and he was recovering from the shock rather nicely. "And I must say that I agree with every word, mate."
Both Jacks stood for a moment grinning madly at each other until the Jack onboard the Lorean was interrupted by a rather hard elbow to the ribs, courtesy of Will.
"Ouch! Oh, yes. Captain, my deepest and most sincere apologies for what I can only assume to be a rather shocking and unsettling interruption, but I have an immensely important matter to discuss with you."
"But of course." replied the other Jack, leaning slightly over the railing. "This should be interesting."
Jack, Will, Anamaria and Gibbs all made their way up the Black Pearl and onto the deck of the ship. Though the the Pearl Jack had coped with seeing himself rather well at first, the effect was naturally amplified when said self was mere inches away. That coupled with his ever increasing sobriety made for a very bewildered and agitated pirate Captain. He, along with the rest of the Pearl's crew, kept their distance from Jack, Gibbs, Will, and Anamaria, as if getting to close would cause some sort of tear in the fabric of reality and suck them into oblivion. That, or they merely thought it would be bad luck. Finally Pearl Jack, ever the brave and gallant Captain, took a step forward, paused a moment, and gave his counterpart a good poke. He retracted his finger immediately and watched carefully, but the other Jack merely swayed backwards a bit before righting himself. Satisfied that he did not pop, ignite, explode, or get offended, the Pearl Jack waved his hand in a gesture that seemed to signify both his approval and that he was ready for an explanation, which Lorean Jack was only too happy to supply.
"Once again Captain, my sincerest apologies, but this visit is unfortunately entirely necessary." Jack said, placing a hand on his chest and bowing slightly. Will couldn't help but notice that he had never heard Jack speak to anyone with such respect. 'Figures' he thought, rolling his eyes while Jack continued. "As...upsetting as I'm sure this all is, there really is a profoundly simple explanation. You see, I'm the you from your past that accidentally traveled to our future and found that events in the past, that is to say events in our future, but the past from where I was in our future, lead to our demise. Upon realizing this, I found a crew in the present, that is to say, our future that I was presently in, and traveled back to my future and your present so that I can save both our futures allowing me to safely return to your past which is my present."
A rather long pause ensued after this explanation in which the crews from both ships, Will, Gibb, Ana, Pearl Jack, and interestingly enough, the Jack that had just offered the explanation stood and attempted to make some sense of what they had just heard. After a minute or so of this silence, Jack, brows knitted in concentration, looked toward to the edge of the group congregated on the deck and noticed someone in particular who had just come up from below decks to find out what the commotion was about. The young man looked stunned, and rightly so, at what he saw. Jack gave the slightest of smiles and cleared his throat. "We're here to keep that," he said, pointing to the young and quite dumbfounded William Turner, "from turning into this." Jack flung both arms over to the old, wretched Will. Jack grinned as this explanation seemed to register with everyone. Meanwhile his two hapless visual aids locked eyes from across the ship. Young Will paled visibly and gulped.
"How long have they been in there for?"
"By my best estimation, at least three hours."
Both Young and Old Will winced as identical roars of laughter emanated from the Captain's cabin for the umpteenth time that evening.
"You think they'll ever actually get down to formulating a plan?"
"Eventually. It only stands to reason that they'll run out of stories sooner or later."
The two Turners found themselves sitting side by side on the stairs near the Captain's cabin after a long and eventful afternoon. After the time-traveling Sparrow's explanation of his presence, the two captains quickly agreed that a plan needed to be formulated, and wasted no time in swaggering into the cabin and slamming the door behind them. This left behind a rather awkward situation for the six people on deck that had alternate versions of themselvesThe three future versions of Will, Gibbs, and Anamaria stood together on the deck and slowly their counterparts emerged from the group to examine them. The younger Anamaria took one slow walk around her older, exhausted looking future self, scrutinizing her carefully while both crews held their breath. She finally grumbled, "Leave it to Jack Sparrow to leave us in such a damned bizarre situation."
"Exactly!" The older Anamaria nearly shouted. "Only he could manage something this ridiculous!" and before anyone knew it the two had stalked off together, complaining about what a damned fool Jack Sparrow was.
The next to examine their future counterpart was Gibbs, who looked down at his worn, scruffy, unkept self and then to his worn, scruffy, unkept, slightly older looking future self and gave a gruff nod of approval before handing him a bottle, and the two rather happily went off looking for a place to share it.
Finally, Will was left alone in the circle, surrounded by various crew members. He watched as the men quietly separated until he was face to face with his twenty-year younger self. He noticed the emotions playing across the younger man's face. Hesitation, shock, and ultimately, much to his own dismay, disgust. After an eternity, the younger man spoke. "I refuse to believe you're me. I would never let something like this happen to myself."
The older Will actually snorted at this. "You'd be surprised what you'd let happen."
Young Will balled up his fits and clenched his teeth. "I wouldn't just let Elizabeth go! I wouldn't give up and run away! I wouldn't-"
"Don't you dare try to tell me what you would have done or to presume you've had any idea what I've been through" Old Will growled, his eyes narrowing. "You haven't the slightest idea of the hardships I've had to endure."
"You took the life I worked so hard for and threw it away!" Young Will's temper gave way and he unsheathed his sword and pointed it directly at the heart of his older self, who responded by doing the same thing albeit slower.
The commotion on deck finally reached the Captain's cabin an irritated Jack stuck his head out to pinpoint the source of the trouble, and shouted "Honestly, can you two not be left alone for five minutes without doing something incredibly stupid?" This was immediately followed by the other Jack sticking his head out directly above the first and adding, "Everyone else is getting along perfectly, now if you two could avoid killing each other and throwing our lives into jeopardy, we may just be able to formulate a plan that will save all our skins." They each shot a dark glare out at the embarrassed Wills before pulling their heads back in and slamming the door.
The two men looked at the door and then back at each other, and shamefully bowed their heads. The crew, realizing that there was no longer a chance to watch the past and future versions of the same man try to disembowel himself, wandered off to their respective ships to ready them and attempt to get some rest.
"I apologize for my actions." Young Will finally managed to mumble, staring at the worn deck of the ship.
"You have every right to be upset. I would've done the exact same thing in your position." said Old Will, adding after a moment of thought. "Though I suppose that's a bit obvious."
"It's just that suddenly seeing that everything that could have possibly gone wrong has is a bit...unsettling."
"Unsettling? You don't know the half of it. Imagine waking up to see a man that's been dead for near twenty years screaming a few inches from your face..." The two men walked off across the deck together, the older filling in the younger on the events that had recently transpired.
After an afternoon of getting one another caught up and checking over both ships numerous times to make sure they were ready to sail, the two Wills finally found there wasn't much left to do but wait for the Jacks to finish formulating a plan, and so they found themselves sitting together on the stairs, their patience gradually ebbing away.
"Perhaps their plan is to just not show up and leave no one for Gillette to ambush." Young Will said sarcastically, leaning backwards on the stairs to stretch out his stiff back.
"If only." Old Will said ruefully. "If there's one thing we can count on, it's that Jack won't let Gillette get off that easy."
Suddenly both the men were nearly knocked off the stairs by the force of the cabin's door being thrown open and both Captain Jack Sparrows emerging triumphantly. Both stepped forward to address the crew, and immediately bowed to let the other speak.
"My sincerest apologies Captain, do go on."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Captain. Please do us the honor."
"I couldn't possibl-"
"Oh would one of you just get on with it already!" Both Wills shouted in unison, staring at each other in surprise afterward.
One Jack then narrowed his eyes at the two Wills while the other spoke.
"After hours of painful deliberation and strategizing of the most thorough and exhausting sort-" At this the other Jack paused from his glaring to discreetly hide what looked suspiciously like a bottle under his sash, "-we have devised a plan that is so brilliant and artfully composed, that only the most adept and ingenious of naval masterminds could even the attempt to appreciate or fathom it."
"So what is it?" Young Will asked eagerly.
"We're gonna surprise Gillette, and then blow the bejeezus out of him with our cannons." Said the other Jack as he finished hiding the empty bottle.
"Some spectacular plan." Old Will mumbled and he crossed his arms over his chest.
"I told you he wouldn't be able to appreciate or fathom it." one Jack said, shaking his head at the other.
"It takes an enlightened individual to realize that it's brilliant in it's simplicity."The other Jack agreed.
"Whatever the plan, we had better get moving if we ever hope succeed with it." Older Will said to the two captians. They both nodded in agreement and began barking out orders to the crew.
Thanks to everyone who's still reading and reviewing. I promise I'll try my hardest to get the next chapter out faster!