Will slammed his tankard down on the table and sputtered wildly. He covered his mouth with his hand, trying unsuccessfully for the ale in his mouth to stay put. It dribbled between his fingers as he stared at Jack in shock. "What…what did you say?" His voice was thick and choked. Jack grinned and leaned over, wiping the corner of Will's mouth with his thumb. "You heard me," he replied in a light, sing-song tone. "I'm living in Port Royal." "I know that. But why?! What about the Pearl?" Jack's eyes flickered with sadness for a few moments. "You heard good ole' Swannie. I become a privateer and I get to be her captain." Jack scratched his chin, mocking thoughtfulness. "Sounds like a win-win deal to me, eh? Not being hunted anymore, staying captain on the Pearl…" he chuckled. "Being paid to raid other ships…" Will became furious suddenly.
"But why are you so agreeable to this idea?" Jack looked at Will closely, noting the tone of anger in the blacksmith's voice. "Because it sounds like a good one," Jack said simply. "I get paid, I get protected, I get me ship." "But you don't get freedom!" Will's voice was quieter now. "You loved your freedom!" "I still do. But, 'tis just a matter of looking at the meaning of freedom differently." Will sighed, leaning back, and swishing the contents of his tankard. "I guess you're right," he muttered, taking a long drink from his rum. "Hey, hey, hey," Jack said softly, giving Will's hand a quick squeeze. "Don't look so sad. You can come with me, if you want." A small smile of hope flickered across Will's lips. "Really? Do you mean it?" Jack flashed a gold-plated grin. "Of course I do." Jack scooted in next to Will and draped an arm across his shoulders, the other one reaching out towards something unseen in the distance. "You and me, the infamous hunters!" Jack said, his eyes sharp and lively.
Will raised his tankard. "To privateer-ing!" he said, loud enough to sound proud, but low enough so that they wouldn't be heard. Jack's eyes softened ever so slightly. "To us," he agreed, clanking the heavy iron cups together. Both men flashed a grin at the other and took a long, hard drink of their rum. Will wiped his mouth when he was done, feeling the familiar soothing burn of the alcohol down his throat. "So, where are you staying?" he asked Jack, genuine curiosity coloring his voice. The pirate captain kicked back, a smile playing across his lips and he twirled his finger around his beard mischievously. "I arranged for me to acquire lodging at the good Commodore's residence until I can find my own," he said in a mock-proper tone. Will grinned. "You're staying with Norrington?!" Jack chuckled slyly. "I am going to have a ton of fun driving that man insane." Will nodded in mutual agreement, holding back a smile. "I only wish I could be there to see his gradual slide into madness," he sighed, still faintly smiling.