Title: Examination of Time

Written by: danglingdingle and mamazano

Characters/pairing: Immor(t)al Captains Turner and Sparrow (Jack/Will), Eisenheim the Illusionist

Rating: G

Disclaimer: Characters used here belong to various producers and other quarters, none of whom are either of us. Neither do we make any kind of profit by using them to satisfy our creativity.

A/N: 525 words squelching rhythmically somewhere on the soggy soil of cross-overs. Can be seen taking place in the same realm with Secrets of the Trade.

Examination of Time

Some say time exists only in the mind, that it is the greatest illusion. And yet for those unforgivenly ravished by time, it is the stone hardened reality of life's essence, something who's existence can't be argued, as it is plainly proved with a mere glimpse in the mirror.

And yet, for those who can step beyond the curtain, who can step into the backroom and witness the mechanics of how time coils around itself, how it traverses the inner spaces of hearts, encompassing everything, everyone… How it is time that is the thread that links the universe, holding all things in perfect harmony with fragile gossamer, until it's time to cut the chord and find eternity.

All that's been said can be seen as truth, unless you're thrown in the current of time like two birds from the hands of a grand illusionist.

In time, they'd grown to accept the petrified state of the ungraspable abstract, time, that the two forevers effortlessly flew amidst and in between like the flow of time itself.

These two quirks of nature who balanced on the outer edges of reality, toeing the line which separated them from becoming a phantasm themselves, presently sat in the audience, watching as time was twisted, hastened, and slowed down.

It was a hand discreetly seeking for a smaller one that broke the illusion, and the comfort of the warmth of the twining touch that reminded them that there was only now. Their present.

…but for the briefest of moments, two hearts skipped a beat when it seemed that the ancient snake who endlessly feasted on its tail, had satisfied its hunger and time stood still. For a fraction of a blink, two breaths had halted in front of the thought of encapsulating a second, of being able to capture it between their hands and holding it unchanged even for a beat, so that it wouldn't erode and fade when time brushed against it like the waves of the tide.

Whereas the Illusionist was seemingly able to transcend time through clever fingers and contraptions, wheels and levers, their time had been stilled much like one stills a feverishly cantering mind. The beatific burden of love had borne them on stiffened pinions beyond the coils of the voracious, insatiable beast, destined to follow as it sank its fangs into one victim after another.

Yet there was immense relief hidden in the space betwixt two joined hands, concealed from the eyes of the looker-on's who excitingly pattered amongst themselves in disbelief.

Each one of the people grasped and clawed at the flash of something unspeakable lighting in their hearts, desperate to catch it and never let go. The rest of the house were left to assuage their grief - conscious or not - by trying to cling to the rehearsed tricks and deceptions they'd just seen, meanwhile there were two men who together held hope over their palms; Even when past and future continued to exist only in fleeing, frolicking images, forever after, they shared the sheer knowledge they would never have to live through the all-consuming ache of watching each other die.

Not again.