Title: Time Up
Prompt: seven minutes in Heaven
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Norrington, Beckett
Original posting date elsewhere: 7/22/07
Looking at the man's beaten face with a shocked expression adorning his own, Jack Sparrow knelt before the bound male and brushed away the dirty brown lock of hair that drifted onto the bruised visage. James Norrington flinched at first, but relaxed into the gentleness the coarse hand provided to his skin. He gazed directly at Jack's soft eyes, ignoring the various contusions that hindered the pirate's natural attractiveness.
"I wasn't sure if you'd come around or not," he said quietly with a small smile.
Jack returned the statement with a minute grin and whispered, "Of course I would. How long have I been out?"
"Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Are you?"
"I've been better. Interesting little setup they got here, eh?" Jack asked as he glanced leisurely about the stone cell, taking note of the darkened outskirts of the room where ominous figures were no doubt standing by.
"Jack, you have to do something," James voiced calmly, though the pirate could detect a hint of seriousness.
"What is it, love?"
"There isn't much time left. Behind you, just over there, is a pistol."
The instruction was left unsaid as Jack rose to his feet, turned around, and discovered the weapon on the ground. It was his own.
"What do I do with it?" he questioned, but he knew the inevitable answer.
Jack's throat constricted and his heart sped dangerously. He exhaled a quaking breath before he shook his head.
"I can't do that, James."
A faint smile pried the edges of Jack's lips. "If you would've asked me a year ago, I would've done it no problem, love. There has to be another way to get out of here."
"Only one is going to walk out that door alive. Now just do it and get it over with."
The nervous, amber eyes lit up suddenly. "You said, 'Only one.' Why can't it be youthen, ay?"
"Because I can't let you do that," James replied with intense sorrow present in his wearied, blue orbs. "You are the one who needs to continue to fuel the ridiculous stories that surround you. They'll burn the Pearland eradicate all trace of you. Do you really want to leave her to be brought down with no defense and leave the freedom you've worked to maintain your entire life?"
"What makes ya think they won't just lock me up the instant I put a bullet through ya?"
"Even if they tried, you could escape that fate; you always do," the former Commodore added with a slight laugh.
"And if I take myself instead?" Jack inquired warily.
"But if I did?"
"Then…I would simply be the one to go free. But damn it, Jack, you're going to live it for the both of us. I won't let you do it."
A clever grin flashed across the pirate's countenance. "You're tied to a chair. What can ya do to prevent me?"
James stared at him helplessly, pleadingly. "Please don't do it, Jack. Kill me."
"Three minutes, Jack," Lord Beckett's cold voice stated from one of the shrouded corners of the room.
Jack turned the pistol over continuously in his hand, examining it scrupulously as his mind and pulse raced. James observed him silently while the clock ticked on to the decisive decision.
Jack swallowed numerous times and stepped closer to James. He raised the gun and aimed – James inhaled sharply – but lowered it once more. The action was repeated again mere seconds later and yielded the same result.
"I can't do it," he whispered desperately with tremendous misery flooding his eyes.
"Yes, you can. You're Captain Jack Sparrow," James stated with confidence.
Jack shook his head. "There are things even I can't do, mate."
"Twenty. Nineteen. Eighteen…."
"Shut up!" Jack shouted madly as the overwhelming anxiety coursed vigorously through him.
"Kill me, Jack," James interjected, his voice trembling.
"….Eleven. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five-"
"Goodbye, love," Jack breathed shakily and aimed the firearm at James.
James straightened his posture and prepared for his death.
The shot ripped through the quiet room like a deafening blast. An eerie silence settled in as the wisps of smoke drifted away and the company present looked upon the dead.
Jack had fallen to the floor, and his head was cradled in a pool of his own blood.