Laying in his bed again, after making sure the good doctor was as fine as he could be after the tormenting nightmares and a sandwich, Sherlock pressed his pillow to his face in hopes that the lack of oxygen would keep his own dreams at bay. Too much was toiling in the brilliant brain. So much so, that it had no option but to shut down completely…
Jack pushed his head out, carefully, much like a turtle, and tilted it to his left, his black eyes wide.
His hands were in front of him resembling to a hare when it's looking around for any danger.
Jack seemed puzzled for a second, then understanding replaced the puzzlement. "Ah… so it is that you found it"
He opened the parcel with nimble fingers, a serious, almost respectful look on his face.
A black pearl dropped from the folding of the cloth, reflecting dull light that came from the lanterns, rolling to the edge of the table where Will caught it before it fell.
He looked down on it, his soft gazed eyes matching his voice when he spoke; "I take it as an open invitation"
Jack was fighting his wide smile becoming too smug, although he felt entirely entitled to it.
He hadn't misinterpreted the smith anyway. The horrible nightmares were only a rum coated delusions and nothing more.
Anamaria caught Jack by his sleeve when he was swaying towards his cabin in full completion.
"She's finally here then, isn't she?" Anamaria's exclaim sounding more a statement than a question.
Jack twirled around on his heel and quirked an eyebrow "Where? She? Who?"
"She's here, she finally gave up the whelp, right?" Anamaria sounded way too bright to be alarming, so it couldn't be anyone who was posing a threat. Atleast not an imminent one.
Jack was baffled beyond words. The woman's appearance was exited and even slightly amused, and Jack just couldn't get as to why. Then again, it didn't matter. Must be something to do with the moon, or something like that…"You're not making any sense at all"
Jack pulled his sleeve off from Anamaria's clench and went back to his interrupted swaying, leaving Anamaria behind to send Jack the evil eye.
It was only a question. She'd get the answer in the morning.
It was the very first time Will was setting foot into the cabin in bright daylight.
Now that it wasn't dimly lit, everything was pouring colour to it.
Signing the Articles made Will feel an odd sensation of something huge, unimaginably proportioned…something, shift slightly forward, making him feel light-headed for a second.
"…So, dear William. What made you accept the invitation?"
Will smiled somewhat wickedly at the bottle in his hand.
"Do you have time to listen? I'm afraid the answer isn't short."
"I have all the time in the world." Jack' s tone and his open arms told that he was, in fact the owner of the world, and he could very well do what ever he pleased with it.
"And I'm in the mood for a good story." Jack leaned back in the chair and lift his feet on the desk to comfortably pay every attention to learn everything the man had to share. "Tell me. What happened?"
Will was ashamed of what he thought was stupidity, or a type of blindness to see how his life had conducted itself to the point where he was akin to an abused dog.
Always loyally coming back to it's master with the swinging, hurting, bruising cane, simply because it had no knowledge of anything else, therefore it didn't have a choice.
His sheltered life at the naval port hadn't given him the opportunity to see other aspects of life, only the ones that were presented to him.
He'd spent the early years of his adolescence in learning how to mask his feelings, learning propriety and how to present himself in front of people, living up to their expects.
There had been this gnawing feeling, eating away in the back of his mind, that in some way it wasn't right. Something was out of place but it was just out of reach for him to put his finger on it long enough to recognize it.
So he let it pass.
Mr. Brown had of course seen the possibilities in his friendship with Elizabeth.
Well, prospects, was more like it, as he would encourage Will to spend time with the Governor's daughter as much as the work at the smithy allowed. Mr. Brown hadn't always been a slobbering drunk, and Will didn't have nor hold any grunts against him. After all, Mr. Brown wasn't the only man in the world to take advantage of situations that held the potentiality of a better life for himself and for his fosterling. He had meant well.
Governor Swann on the other hand had indulged his daughter, bending on every wish the girl might come up with, even before Elisabeth had voiced them out, so the blooming, innocent friendship wasn't something Weatherby wanted, or was able to deny. The girl had lost her mother. The loss couldn't be replaced with gifts, couldn't be forgotten by fleeting distractions of elaborate surprises, so the boy was a godsend. The friendship obviously made Elizabeth happy, and so she got to keep Will.
Of course the working class status of the boy was an issue, but, in the rather small community there weren't too many suitable companions for a higher class female youth anyway, and Will could be moulded and taught properly to fit the description.
After all, Weatherby would have probably tried climbing to a greased pole arse first, if that was what his daughter asked for.
The sense of duty had been hammered into Will's core being from the very first day he set foot on the ground of Port Royal .
It's probable that the thought of Will possibly wanting something else had never crossed any one's mind. Not even his own.
Except, maybe, for the few days after his eighteenth birthday when his friends had taken him to god-knows-where, got him drunk and he'd woken up under a turned dinghy, with a stinging pain above his right wrist.
His friends told him that the tattoo spelled "nine" in some foreign language, and that he had insisted on getting it after seeing the design on some ragged sailor in the tavern.
Some other ragged sailor had had the honours to be the artist.
Even then, Will had pushed away the feeling of not belonging and discarded what ever little apprehension tried to work it's way through .
Then the day dawned. The day when Will took a step back to see what had become of him and his life.
Come the night, only to find the young blacksmith-apprentice mortified by the futility of his existence, and the lack of meaning that left him near cursing the day he was rescued from the sea.
He had been given the role of a fool and a marionette and he had been playing the part flawlessly.
To be able to think, to be able to recognize the circumstances had ultimately been triggered by Jack. He had planted a seed when meaning to use Will as leverage for his own profit. Had Will not misunderstood Jack's purposes, he would never had come around to take the first step towards to what was to determine the rest of his fate.
He would have never come to loathe the pirate from the bottom of his heart for so shamelessly using people for his own advance, only to see that things weren't always what they seem.
To see, that the exact same pattern had been woven for him all his life…and finally, in a state of awe, he took in the revelation that Jack had, against all odds, been the only person to be honest with him from the start.
Well, kind of.
Now, sitting here at the Black Pearl, with a black pearl in his hand he understood that he didn't have to be the dog anymore. He didn't have to take the beating. And he didn't have to go back.
Will took Jack's compass which was laying on the table, open, the needle fixed Southeast, or rather, right where Will sat.
"It has magic in it. All of this. You." Will smiled as the needle made it's way towards Jack, doing slow round across the Black Pearl, and returned back to Jack.
Jack, for his behalf, his countenance solemn, closed his hands around Will's, shutting the compass. "I figure we won't be needing this anymore…"
'Didn't have to go back.' 'Didn't have to go back', rang in Sherlock's ears as we woke up with a start, tangled in hi sheets, sweating, eyes flung wide open as the comprehension made its way through the dream. The mystery of the compass seemed so clear in the midst of his midnight maze, his brain working constantly even in sleep, and the answer was right on the border of his conscience, teasing him, flickering to and fro.
Sherlock untangled himself and sprung up from the bed, grabbed the compass and with utmost determination, decide to follow it through. No matter where it took him.
Upstairs, John was sleeping, for once in peace. The concoction Sherlock had made him drink had done its trick.
That was where Sherlock found himself, and no matter how much he twirled and hopped, the needle, as it always had, now that Sherlock dared to let the thought in his mind.
A twinge in his heart brought a recollection of his ream about the two men who found each other, how the compass had brought them together once an for all. Had Sherlock not had more important issues at hand, he might've wondered why the men were the same who had sold him the compass… But the notion of immortality was too far fetched, so Sherlock brushed it aside as poppycock. Figments f his imagination.
But his dreams had brought him here, to a man who had suffered like this blacksmith, Will, and overcame his troubles with chivalrous determination. All it had taken was a change. A change for the unknown. A change, where one could find his heart's desire.
'It'll come to you', echoed in Sherlock's ears once more, and in this moment, he realized it had.
What he could possibly do with this knowledge, was beside him.
"Have you stood there long?" John roused, lifting his head and squinting at Sherlock to better see him in the darkness.
"I don't have to go back."
"Pardon?" John shook his head to rid himself of the grasp his sleep still seemed to hold on him.
"You've been a distraction to me for quite some time now."
"Well…I, I never meant to meddle…"
"I can't work like this. This compass…it's trying to tell us something." Sherlock haned the gadget to John, who took it, leaning on his elbow on the bed.
The meager light drizzling through the curtains in the room revealed the compass' irection as it swirled again, headlong to Sherlock.
"Is there anything behind me you're craving for? Perhaps a glass of warm milk?"
"Then, obviously, it's pointing to me. Just like it's pointing to you each time I hold it in my hands. It's unstoppable."
Silence fell between the men as John stared from the curio, to Sherlock, and back at the compass again.
Finally, John broke the static air with a casual movement, flinging his covers aside, revealing his bare chest down to his waist.
"The ball is in your court, Sherlock. You choose."
"I already told you. I never have to go back."
The static in the air changed nigh miraculously into a near tangible feeling of warmth, as Sherlock climbed into bed with John.
Both the men lying on their backs, calm, yet anxious, John held the compass up, peering at it, crunching his forehead. "What, exactly, does it do."
"I'm not fully confident," Sherlock locked his fingers between John's, holding the compass together with John.
Whatever magic the thing held within, it came forth, glowing a sheen of light blue around it, the needle swirling around like a whirlwind, before settling to point towards the head of the bed.
The same head, where John and Sherlock laid close, Sherlock's arm having found its way across John's waist, John's arm resting on Sherlock's, looking to all the world that it had always been like this.
Sherlock flipped the compass shut, the men lowering it on Sherlock's abdomen in unison.
John turned his head to see Sherlock's eyes, inquisitive; "You keep saying you don't have to go back."
"I don't. From this."
The compass as their only witness, glowing clearer, brighter by the moment, alighting the faces of the men who, for the first time, sought each other's lips, for the first time let their hands roam on each other's skin, and for the first time, lost themselves into one another.
"Mister Turner" Jack sat on the edge of the desk, one leg dangling in the air, the other supporting him to the floor. With any luck, when the lad started throwing punches, he'd fall and hit his head and pass out for a while. The higher the fall the better. He would get to take five from all this.
'Tell the lad the reason, he'll pack his effects an' be gone in a matter of days. Problem arose, ensued, is overcome, eh?'
"William" he settled the tails of his coat to his lap.
Jack looked straight to the rigid young man's brown eyes and felt despair he remembered feeling when the Black Pearl sailed away from him. The feeling tore the only recently mended wounds open almost audibly.
"Will" he was tasting for the most suitable name for the occasion. This one felt right on his tongue. He'd found his own voice back too.
'Can't be that bad…yes it can'
"Will…there's really no way of sayin' this, so I'm jus' goin' to say it…you ready?"
Jack was shaking inwardly.
"Yes" Will sat straight like an arrow, trying not to think of anything. In the few seconds that he had tried to think what could have caused this, there was a hurricane that swooped everything blank. So he just waited for the reasoning. Assuming there was any.
"Will…So it jus' happens that I found meself bein' horrified out of me wits today, ye havin' that gentleman threatening yer life an' all that."
Jack fluttered his hand in between them as he spoke. His tone was clearly attempted to be casual but failed miserably.
"And it jus' so happens that I found meself contemplating on what might have caused said horror" He was gesturing with both hands to stop himself from trembling and falling off the desk.
"And so I think to meself, 'this is what it feels like to be in love'"
He stopped moving.
He looked right into the deep of Will's eyes, his face expressing mournfulness.
"And I can't have you on this ship when I'm afraid you will die, savvy?"
His hands were now folded on his lap, his head tilted to the left and he was waiting for what ever reaction his little speech might bring up. Surprisingly, he found himself smiling somewhat gently.
'There. I said it. I feel better about it'
Will sat silent, staring at the pulse that was visible on Jacks neck. It was as rapid as his own.
"You…what did you just say?" Will stuttered staring at the neck. Like waking up from a trance, he looked up to meet black eyes in front of him.
"You love me? Is that what you said?" The only thing that was readable in the tone, was disbelief.
"Aye. You got it right." Jack nodded. He was still smiling. He felt like an idiot, but he just felt so very, very good.
Will stood up, balanced himself taking support on the desk and took a step back.
Examining the tips of his boots, his eyes were darker than usual. His neck was lit red that was creeping higher to his cheeks with every breath.
"You love me." He was talking to his boots "And you want me to leave. You want me to leave because you are afraid that I might die. You're afraid that I might die, because I'm here. Is that so?"
"Aye" Jack nodded again. The tilt of his head was more to the left, but the smile had faded a bit. There was a glassy, dreamy look in the black eyes. Nothing was going to stop him from enjoying the last moments of Will's presence around the Pearl.
The alarming red flush of hot blood rushing through Will's veins had tinted his cheekbones with the rouge of anger.
"And what, Captain Sparrow, gives you the idea that I am acquiescing to your request?"
Will was now looking into Jack's eyes, holding them still with his gaze. His face was stoic in spite of the colour. His voice was null.
"What on earth makes you, Captain Sparrow, think, that I am not disinclined and, Gods help me, even mutinous towards this outrageous suggestion?" Will took a step closer. He kept his voice calm but it was full of pain for it becoming a fully grown yell in any second.
"I am appalled by the thought that I would leave this ship, to any port, anywhere, no matter how much goods I'd have with me, and be forced to live with not knowing what is happening here." The quick air-intake via nose sounded loud between the words.
He was again stepping closer, placing his palms against the desk on either side of Jack.
" I would have no means what so ever, to know if something has happened to you, Jack Sparrow, and I would be forced to live in constant fear coated with mind-shredding benightedness of what has become of the man that I love"
The last words came out something of a shouted whisper, making them husky and almost menacing.
His face was just centimetres from Jack's, and he hadn't broke the gaze. He stayed there, puzzled by the hasty thought of the possible consequences rising from defying your captain running through his brain. Then again, he didn't really care as long as it meant he wasn't going anywhere.
Finally Jack broke the silence, blurting out the obvious from the corner of his mouth.
"This mean yer questioning me authority?"
Will fiercely bounced back up from his leaning posture and stormed to the door.
The echo of a loud "Yes!" rang in Jack's ears, just before the door was slammed shut again.
Jack was confused beyond belief.
Will's words were slowly taken into process and understood even slower.
Looking around him as if to make sure he was there, where he thought he was, he noticed a small red dot on the desk where Will's hand had been.
The pressure on Will's digit had pushed out a single drop from the cut. Jack wiped over the dot with his finger and viewed it briefly.
He felt his head was stuck in hazy mush of wildly spinning thoughts that had some revelation to share. Completely unaware of his own actions, Jack, gazing into the void risen in front of him, he brought the tip of his finger to his lips and gave it a lick.
Almost like practicing with the less meaningful parts of bodily functions to limber up for the more challenging tasks, his brain allowed him to taste. Oh, blood. Salty. Like the sea.´
Grasping around the comforting familiarity of the thought about the sea, the wheels behind Jacks face got the badly needed lubrication to function again and started turning . Squeaky still, but functioning.
`He said he's not leaving` The first coherent thought made it's appearance like a candle lit in darkness, hand in hand with another one. `He most definitely said something about captains and love in the same sentence`
It was a stretch, but it finally formed into a complete sentence. "He was talking about me"
His eyes wide with the rush of feelings sweeping over and inside him, he slid down slowly from the edge of the desk, ending up in a heaving pile on the floor, every muscle in his body relaxed.
Never had anyone seen such bliss on the Captain's face as was pasted across it in that very moment.
The Sun rose, as is her wont, finding two men tangled in sheets where there once was only one. The compass, having made its way to the bedside table after becoming a nuisance delving into Sherlock's hip as he scooted closer to John, sat there, dulled from its gleam, no shining only the glow of old wood. Waiting.
Waiting to get back to its rightful owners. Those men whose task in this world was no more, no less, than Death, and Love.