by Collie

"Not all men seek rest and peace. Some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood."

Tortuga. Nightfall.

He did not know the name of the tavern. He was not even certain if it had an actual name. A nameless hole in this godforsaken port would have suited them all best, Will thought, as he gingerly pushed the door open. His senses were immediately assaulted with the noise of drunken carousing and of rutting in darkened corners. The scent of stale rum, ale, and whiskey clung to the air like morning fog, and the room was so thick with smoke he was surprised his eyes did not tear.

Will paused right in front of the door, his entire body tensed as his instincts screamed for him to run. Run back home to Elizabeth and live a nice, safe, secluded life. After all, is that not all he had ever craved? Normalcy?

Perhaps. But perhaps the call of the sea on the wind and the blood in his veins was a bit stronger than his craving for normalcy.

He stepped in, the smoke swirling around his head, a few whispers as he passed a table. He ignored them; dark eyes scanning the room for the familiar flit of fingers and ears listening for that proverbial drawl -

"And so the prodigal returns," a quiet voice slurred off to his right.

He spun around and spotted Jack, slumped over a piano, fingertips pressing daintily against the keys as he tinkled out a slow but cheery tune. Will blinked, lips curling into a wry smile. "I didn't know you could play," he said, gesturing to the piano.

Jack paused, grinning his easy grin, and then slammed his hands down on the keys, coaxing the piano into a monstrous noise that earned him several jeers, and even an empty bottle, smashing against the side of the old, wooden upright.

"I can't," he deadpanned, throwing the boy a wink.

"Yer damned right ye can't!" a loud and drunken voice shouted, "And ye be makin' me ears bleed, Jack Sparrow!" The scrape of a chair against the floor prompted Jack to clamber hastily to his feet.

"Not my best audience," he said, his voice harried as he pressed a hand to Will's back, and none too gently propelled the clearly confused and anxious boy right back out the door.

Jack's boots clunked hollowly on the wooden planks of the dock as he hauled Will behind him, surprisingly strong fingers wrapped around his wrists. He stopped suddenly, yanking Will up alongside him, staring out at the Black Pearl, which was docked not too far out in the bay.

"Come back to the Pearl, mate," Jack said, slipping his arm around Will's back, his fingers tapping out an idle rhythm on the boy's shoulder.

Will nodded, glancing out over the darkened sea; the moonlight mirroring on it beautifully. "That's why I came here."

"Aye," Jack responded. "She'll always call you home."

Will glanced at Jack, tilting his head in question. "Who will?"

Jack said nothing, but smiled astutely and looked out at the sea.


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