Title: Here's The Thing
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Will, mentions of Barbossa
Rating: G
Disclaimer: All your characters are belong to Disney, but all your base still belong to us. That is to say that I do this for fun, and make not a penny, or any other currency, out of it.

A/N: 2222 words arranged to make a post-AWE-but-not-by-much- fic set in an AU where Will doesn't get married with Elizabeth.

Thanks to mamazano for beta, and for feeding me with ideas I couldn't pass without scribbling them out :)

Here's The Thing

The nagging feeling of having forgotten something very important kept clawing in the back of Jack's mind, no matter how much he tried to push it aside and concentrate on the map in front of him.

Idly turning the circles of the magnificent contraption, glancing irritably at the barred door of the Great Cabin whenever he heard someone walk past it - he'd won the race for it, fair and square, bloody chartman would have to limp and find himself quarters elsewhere - Jack let the recent happenings flit around in his mind.

A far as Jack was concerned, there was nothing missing; All he could have done, he'd done, meaning, he'd watched helplessly as the Dutchman took down two out of the three things Jack had come to hold valuable. That, by itself, wasn't anything to be concerned about, since he'd already set his mind to finding a way to get one back, and find other means to accomplish the other. It was only a matter of time before he could see Will again, perhaps a lot of time, but still, it was only time, and if the amount of fantastical locations the sea charts had already revealed were any indication, immortality wasn't too far out of his reach either.

The unnerving feeling grew as Jack reminisced on the last moments before the new Captain of the Flying Dutchman had set their improbable course.
When Will had gone to the island with Elizabeth, to agree about where the heart should be stored, Jack had been proud of himself for not being too affronted by the thought of said agreement not being made with him. He'd been thoroughly appeased later, when Will had come back with a piece of parchment wrapped around a key, and told Jack the exact place where the heart would be hidden, just in case, watching at a very close distance as Jack drew a hasty map with instructions.

So close, in fact, that if Jack closed his eyes, he could still feel Will's arms around him, his chest pressed against his back, and the sound of Will's voice speaking softly right beside Jack's ear.

Neither of them had mentioned such things as not knowing when they'd meet again, no promises made, no big romantic gestures which could've all too easily lead to desperation and to even more decisions that weren't all that well thought out… That was what had gotten them to this point anyway, both of them already knew all that, no need to rub the salt into the open wounds any further.

Still, the reasoning seemed to leave room for guessing, something left unsaid.

Jack frowned at the map, and after finding that it gave no answers to this particular problem, he sighed peevishly and reached for his drink.

In mid sip his eyebrows almost reached his hairline when a random thought revealed the cause of his anxiety.

Jack stared at the bottle in disbelief - filled with perfectly decent rum, which under any other circumstances would've been exactly how he'd wanted it, but right now it was far from what he needed.

Holding the bottle in his hand, Jack made a brief scan over the table, finding nothing of use amongst the sextant, compass and the maps, a vial piquing his interest for a second, though dying promptly, and the small bottle found useless in all its smallness and fullness of ink.

Next, Jack noticed the brim of his hat hanging low on his forehead, grabbed it, and placed it on the table, upside down. Luckily, he only wasted a trickle of the liquid before he realized that the hat capsized the moment he let go, and furthermore, a better container had just wandered in his line of vision.

Or, on a second thought, maybe not. Maybe, it would be better to have the rum course through its natural cycle before being deposited into a chamber pot…

Grimacing, appalled by what he had been about to do, Jack took another look at the bottle and shrugged in a surrendering manner, then brought the bottle to his lips, determined to chug it down at once.

Pausing to take a breath and to shiver vehemently from head to toe - good stuff - Jack saw a casket he'd not had time nor interest to open before. Now that he thought about it, he couldn't be sure if it had even been there before, but was determined to see what it held nevertheless.
Jack drew out his sword and eased it under the lid of the casket, yanked hard upwards, and with a creak of rusty nails, it opened.

Inside, carefully laid on straw, was an assortment of plates, and next to them, as if summoned, was a goblet.

Making only a very fleeting notice of the goblet being made of gold, and bejewelled with, what little could be made of them by such a quick evaluation, emeralds, cut and honed to their finest, and glancing only briefly back into the casket to determine that the plates were part of the set, Jack held the goblet up triumphantly.

Jack poured the rest of the rum into the goblet, tipped the bottle over his mouth to catch the last drop, discarded both, the bottle and the goblet onto the table, and briskly moved to rip some insignificant part of the world out of one of the maps standing in the corner of the cabin.

Excavating for a quill inside a drawer for a bit, Jack grinned, surprised to find a familiar dagger in it. It was beginning to look like everything was slowly materializing back into their places aboard the Black Pearl, therefore confirming Jack's trust in his plan to work. Whatever forces had played on them, hadn't abandoned him just yet.

A quill was found, dipped into the vial of ink, and Jack leaned over his makeshift paper to write.
When he was all set to shove the letter into the now-empty bottle, a thought occurred, which had to be written down.

Finally, Jack was pleased with his handiwork and flailed the parchment about to dry out the ink, while making sure the bottle was indeed as empty as he thought it was. It wouldn't do to have the note rum-soaked and ruined. Not, when the note was like this one.

The message safely tucked into the bottle and the cork firmly secured with sealing wax, Jack grabbed the rum-goblet, took one last look around the cabin and rolled his eyes, knowing full well that it might be a while before he could commandeer it back to himself again.

After going to the door and returning back to the table, putting his things down to put his hat on and to rearrange his appearance, and to be able to actually open the door, Jack strolled out to the main deck. Heroically restraining himself from smacking Barbossa with the bottle when the man stormed past him, Jack headed toward the aft.

Hoping not to be questioned by anyone for what he was doing, Jack, impulsively, planted a kiss on the side of the bottle and then quickly flung it as far out on the sea as he possibly could.

Watching the tiny dot of a bottle bob in the wake of the Pearl before it was engulfed by the froth, and relentlessly pulled down under water, Jack released his hold of the reel he was clutching, feeling much better already. At least the message had been sent in the right direction.

The sting in his eyes he blamed on the drop of rum that appeared to be coming from his hat.


A small fishing sloop had been taken by surprise by an unexpected storm near the coast of Northern Peru, the few men crewing the vessel having drowned shortly after the main mast had snapped and dragged the boat below the churning waves.

The Flying Dutchman arrived to reap the latest crop of the fates, the crew lowering a longboat for the souls to climb in and begin their last journey in their tow.
One of the men hollered up to the deck of the Dutchman, asking to see the captain immediately, claiming to have an urgent message to deliver, and no, sir, it could not wait.

Will, having been on his way to greet the newcomers, appeared and leaned over the railing, looking down at the man quizzically. Seeing the man waving a bottle in response to Will's unuttered question, Will ordered for a Jacob's ladder to be dropped for the man to climb aboard.

Wary of the man at first, not knowing if he'd want to bargain for a spot before the mast - Will had seen desperate people do that before - Will quickly assessed this was not the case. The man was telling Will how he'd, being a superstitious man, not dared to leave a message like that to be lost, but had held onto it, knowing he'd meet the Captain of the Flying Dutchman one day. Telling Will he wouldn't have read it, but he had to, to know who it was meant for, you see, the man looked away bashfully, then winked conspiratorially.

Promptly dropping the bottle into Will's hands, the man started to climb back down the ladder, chuckling about how he'd told his mates so, and here they were, the Captain and the Ship of the Dead, all as real as the back of his hand.

Amused by the rather unusual approach on being so abruptly and harshly killed, Will good-naturedly grinned down at the fisherman, and waved his hand for a greeting to the rest of the men now sitting in the longboat. Thinking it might be better to let them settle their wagers before hauling them aboard, hearing the delivery man boasting gleefully about being right all along, Will focused on the bottle.

Withdrawing below decks for the time being, heading to the captain's cabin, Will peered through the glass, intrigued by what the piece of parchment might reveal.
Closing the door behind him, Will instantly lost what ever patience he'd had, and clinked the bottle to a lantern hook on the wall.

After picking the note from the shards of glass, hands visibly shaking, and unravelling the scroll, Will's first reaction was to groan in frustration.

It seemed that the parchment had bloated and sea water had smeared the ink, destroying the writing beyond any recognition, but closer inspection showed that tilting it, just so, and letting the light from the lantern hit it, like that, it was still readable.

Squinting at the letters, Will started to decipher the message;

To Will Turner, the Captain of the Flying Dutchman

It seems that since your departure was rather haphazardly planned and executed, there were some things I may have forgot to mention. Now, Will, I have no means of knowing if you already know this, but I suspect you do…At least I hope you do... Anyway, just in case you don't, know, that is, here's the thing;
I love you Will.

Unfortunately I don
't have your current delivery address, so I'll just drop this into the drink and hope that it'll find you.
And before I forget, I should mention that I think I found the puddle we were talking about on the map, so that little detail should soon be in order.
't be too hard on your crew, it's not a naval vessel. Just a word of advice, nothing more.



If so happens that the person reading this note is not named Will Turner and is not the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, then I would appreciate if you'd either find the means to deliver this to the rightful receiver, or at least have the decency to toss it back into the sea and wish it good luck.
In any case, if you are not Will Turner, and share any information found in this note with anyone else, I
'll have you know that I will personally seek you out from what ever hole you've crawled into, and make sure there's a place reserved for you in Davy Jones' Will Turner's Locker, and let me tell you, that place isn't what I would call a tourist attraction. Although it is rather sunny.

Captain Jack Sparrow.

In a slow, dreamlike motion, Will found a chair to bonelessly slump on, and to read the letter through again.

Then he read it again, alternating between marveling how the loss of a heart did nothing to lessen the tingling feeling of joy and love swelling in his chest, and snickering at Jack's promise of doom, which just might have been arranged, had Will found the message any other way.

But it was here, and Will could fold it, and keep it, and unfold it, and read it again whenever he wished to be reminded of what he already knew. Closing his eyes, Will watched, pleased, as the blurred letters formed in his mind, the message they carried forever sealed inside him. Will wished, willed, ordered his response to reach the other realm as he whispered; "I love you too, Jack."

In the night of Tortuga, oblivious to the ruckus outside his window, a man who had lost everything he'd ever held dear, smiled happily in his sleep.