"…and then this gian' bloke, 'e goes, 'Well I ain' gonna fit through tha' door!' An' 'is friend, then, 'e goes, 'Well o' course you ain', tha' door's fer the dog!'"
If this triumphantly pronounced statement wasn't enough to rouse Will Turner from his absentminded contemplation of his beer bottle, the roar of drunken laughter that followed it was. Will slowly spun his barstool around and was completely unsurprised to see his best friend sitting in the middle of a more-than-slightly inebriated crowd, a half-finished cocktail in his hand, with several empty glasses on a nearby table as testament to the amount that the man had already had to drink. Will rolled his eyes as he dug his cell phone out of his back pocket and dialed.
"Hey, Ana," he yelled over the rowdy noise in the bar. "You'd better come get your boyfriend."
There was a resigned sigh from Anamaria's end of the line. "Where is he this time?"
"In the middle of his own bar getting shit-faced… again," he added as an afterthought.
"Dammit," Ana muttered. "All right. I'll be there soon."
Will was about to reply when he was interrupted by an unsteady shout from his friend across the room.
"'ey, Willy, do me a favor an' gimme 'nother drink, mate!"
Will raised the phone to his ear again. "Ana, are you still there? You'd better hurry up. He's starting to call me Willy." He slipped the cell back into his pocket and spun his stool back around, ignoring any and all requests for more drinks. He completely failed to notice that the stool next to his was occupied until the woman sitting on it spoke to him.
"Should I not call you Willy, then?"
Will jumped and felt a sudden rush of heat in his face as he realized that the young woman who was now grinning at him in amusement was extremely attractive.
"I – just not – uh…" He swallowed hard, desperately trying to remember the best way in which to form a coherent sentence. He failed miserably.
Still grinning, the young woman prompted him, "Maybe you should tell me what I should call you."
Will cleared his throat, drank some beer, and at last managed to come up with an answer.
"I'm Will. Will Turner."
"Elizabeth Swann," the woman said in reply. "And I take it you know him…" She gestured behind them at Will's friend, whose speech was by now nearly unintelligible.
Will snorted. "Unfortunately. That's Jack Sparrow."
Elizabeth looked slightly startled. "Isn't this place owned by a Jack Sparrow?"
"So the man lying on the floor over there with some sort of rum-based drink in his hand would be – "
"The guy who owns the bar? Yeah." For some reason, Will found it much easier to talk about Jack than to talk about himself.
Elizabeth had to laugh a little. "And you know him how exactly?"
"Well… I'd like to say that I've just been frequenting this bar for a long time, but… he's sort of my best friend."
Elizabeth's raised eyebrows plainly showed her astonishment. "You don't seem like the type."
It was Will's turn to laugh. "I'm really not… It's a long story." He turned and contemplated his friend, adding to Elizabeth, "Could you hang on just a minute?"
She nodded her assent, and he made his way over to Jack. The crowd around him had quickly dispersed when they realized that they could no longer understand a word he said. Will hauled him unceremoniously to his feet.
"You do know that bartenders are supposed to mix drinks for people other than themselves, right?"
Jack stared at him rather unsteadily. "Wha'?"
"Never mind," Will muttered. "Who's supposed to work tonight, Jack?"
"Work…" Jack slurred. "Now there's a – an innerestin' con-" He hiccupped. "-concept…"
Will rolled his eyes as Elizabeth stifled a snort of laughter. Jack continued undeterred.
"Did – did ya know tha' – " Another hiccup. " – tha' I had ta take a double shif' tanight… 'cause I couldn' ge' hold o' no one ta work?"
"Jack," Will groaned, "are you saying you were supposed to be here all night?"
"Tha's wha' I'm a-sayin', Willy. All o' them good-fer-nothin' em – employs – emplables – "
"Employees," Elizabeth supplied with a grin.
"Righ', wha' she said… An' none of 'em, not a one – " Hiccup.
Will gave up. "Sometimes I really hate you, Jack."
Jack swayed drunkenly and nearly slid sideways off of his stool. "I luv ya too, Willy-boy."
Will felt himself blush as Elizabeth laughed even harder. Luckily for him, though, Ana chose that exact moment to enter the bar. Ignoring her boyfriend, she instead turned to Will.
"Do you want me to stay until you can find someone to fill in for Jack for the night?"
Will shook his head. "There's no point. He was supposed to work a double shift because he couldn't get ahold of anyone. And now he's so sodding drunk he probably doesn't even know his own name, much less anyone else's."
Jack decided to chime in. "Wha' ya talkin' 'bout? I'm Jack… an' yer Willy…"
"Dammit, Jack, what have I told you about that…" Will muttered, rubbing his forehead as though he was beginning to get a headache.
"So what are you going to do?" Ana asked. "Close the bar?"
"And end up with a drunken riot on my hands? No thanks." Will drained the last of his beer and positioned himself behind the bar with a resigned shrug. "I've done this enough times before to know how to run the place."
"Usually on the weekends, though," Ana countered. "Don't you have to work in the morning?"
Will sighed. "Yeah, I do." He grabbed Jack's arm in time to stop him from sliding to the floor, then turned back to Ana. "Just take him home before he throws up or something. I'll run the place, but I won't clean it."
As Anamaria hauled her semi-conscious boyfriend out of his bar, she called back to Will, "You're a saint, li'l man."
Will shook his head. "Make sure you tell him he owes me big for this one."
"Aye, will do, mate."
As the door swung shut behind Jack and Ana, Will realized that Elizabeth was still regarding him with interest.
"Sorry about that," he said apologetically.
Elizabeth smiled warmly at him. "Don't worry. I've seen drunk idiots before."
Will had to chuckle. "Just be glad you were never his roommate."
A small mob approached the bar, forcing Will to move away from Elizabeth for a few minutes to serve them.
When he came back, Elizabeth said conversationally, "So you don't really work here, then."
"No… although it feels like I do sometimes."
"So where do you work?"
Will looked uncomfortable. "I hate answering that question."
"Why?" Elizabeth laughed.
Will rolled his eyes. "Let's just say that Jack thinks that question is the reason why I don't really date all that much."
"Come on," Elizabeth smiled, "it can't be all that bad."
Will just shrugged, looking reluctant.
"Promise I won't laugh," Elizabeth coaxed.
"Oh, fine," Will said finally. "I'm a – a blacksmith."
Elizabeth's face brightened. "Really?" She sounded thrilled. "That's brilliant!"
Will stared at her blankly. "What?"
It was Elizabeth's turn to blush. "I guess that's not the response you're used to, huh?"
"Not really, no. It's usually somewhere along the lines of 'Oh, well that's… interesting,' followed by a round of less-than-subtle snickering as soon as I start to walk away."
Elizabeth smiled sympathetically. "Sorry."
Will grinned. "You're not off the hook just yet, Miss Elizabeth Swann. I still want to know what exactly makes my job 'brilliant'."
Elizabeth was still blushing slightly. "It's nothing, really… I was just always fascinated by things like pirates and ships and swords when I was little. You don't actually make swords, do you?"
"All the time."
"Are you being serious," Elizabeth laughed, "or are you just trying to pick me up?"
Will laughed as well, looking embarrassed. "That depends. Is it working?"
"It just might be… but only if you can prove that you're telling the truth."
"You could come by my shop tomorrow," Will suggested.
"Didn't I mention that? I own the place."
"How old are you? You're not way older that you look, are you?"
"No," Will laughed. "My dad bought it for me when I was sixteen, signed it over to me as soon as I was old enough. Best birthday present ever."
Elizabeth shook her head, smiling. "You're a very interesting man, Will Turner."
I have three things to say:
1. Writing drunk Jack is surprisingly fun.
2. I am open to any and all title ideas, because seriously, I've got nothing.
3. Reviews are like Christmas. I love Christmas. Therefore, I love reviews. Hint, hint ;)