Categories > Movies > Pirates of the Caribbean

Safe Harbor

by RapunzelK 7 reviews

Jack and Elizabeth have a brief heart-to-heart. Minor spoiler concerning the compass that doesn't point North. Set post-"Dead Man's Chest"

Category: Pirates of the Caribbean - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Characters: Anamaria, Elizabeth, Jack, Will - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-07-11 - Updated: 2006-07-11 - 2559 words - Complete

Oh Lord, hot water. Actual, hot water. And soap. Fragrant soap. Jack held the little yellow block to his nose and sniffed more carefully. It was no scent he could lay a finger on, just a sort of vaguely sweet, fresh fragrance; far better than several-months unwashed pirate. Doubled-checking to make sure the door was secure (he'd never admit it, but modesty was one of the many curious qualities Jack possessed), he shed his clothes and all but cannon-balled into the waiting tub. It wasn't large, but there was room enough to comfortably sit down. Far better than a sail bath of cold and dirty salt water, only good for washing away the very worst of surface dirt. Grabbing the provided soap and a convenient back brush, Jack got to work, abstractly trying to reference the last time he'd had a chance to clean up like this. A couple of instances floated to mind, none terribly recent. Smelling of lilies and roses was all well and good for women. However, that didn't mean a man couldn't smell like something besides sour rum and gunpowder once in a while.

There was already a layer of grime floating on the surface of the water as Jack determinedly scrubbed the grit away. The polishing made his tattoos show up a bit better as well as his scars. There wasn't much to be done with his hair, but he scrubbed soap and his fingers through it just to make certain there wasn't anything lurking there that shouldn't be. Anything beyond soaking the matted tails was beside the point, but his scalp at least would be clean. Dousing himself with a last bucket of clear water he stood, shook himself off, and fumbled for a towel.

There were a number of elegant little bottles left on the dressing table as well as a razor, brush, and comb. He admired himself for a moment in the hand mirror, stroking his pigtailed beard before setting the little silver ornament down again. He would have thought the soon-to-be-Mrs. Turner would know better than to put such things within easy reach of a pirate. The comb and brush were probably a subtle hint that he ought to do something with his hopelessly tangled mane of hair, but felt it unfair to pit delicate ivory teeth and fresh boar bristle against his jungle of thick dark hair. It would be pointless to even try. Still, the items were valuable and Jack made a mental note to pocket them before leaving. Perhaps Anamaria would like the brush and comb, the mirror he might keep for himself. Maybe. He'd definitely be taking the straight razor with him, its handsome ivory handle enough to convince him that it would only go to waste here in one of the governor's guest rooms. There were also several little vials of fragrant lotion and scented water. One in particular, a little glass bottle of brilliant peacock blue embellished with bright gilding, caught his attention. The word "Cologne" was spelled out in elaborate letters on the front. No self-respecting pirate was stupid enough to sail north of Africa into European waters; conversely, no self-respecting pirate was unaware of name of one of the best producers of wine and spirits in France. Pulling out the heavy glass stopper, Jack downed the contents in one gulp. Well, he reflected, eyes watering slightly, it wasn't rum, but it wasn't bad.

He hoped Gibbs and the others were being treated as well; they'd all be invited to witness Will and Elizabeth's wedding. He, Jack, would be performing the ceremony himself on the deck of his beloved Black Pearl. The actual ceremony, however, wasn't for another day and so the crew had been granted pass to stay in port as long as no one cause too much trouble. Honestly, the governor had too little faith in his people. Gibbs and the crew were all being housed comfortably at the inn. As captain, and a friend of the family, Jack had been invited to stay with the happy couple till their nuptials. Perhaps Governor Swan felt he owed this questionable citizen a debt of gratitude. Or maybe Elizabeth just wanted him looking halfway presentable and not smelling like the inside of an old rum barrel. Jack preferred to think it was the former. Either way, clothes had been set out for him, his own having mysteriously vanished while he'd been busy bathing, presumably to be cleaned and mended. He hoped. He liked that hat, blast it. Everything had been taken with the noted exception of his pistol, sword, and compass. At least the Swan household help had sense enough to leave the truly valuable items alone.

Donning the provided drawers and shirt, Jack took exaggerated care in turning back the bedclothes. The stark whiteness of the sheets and counterpane made him glad he'd bathed, he would have felt almost guilty flopping on the pristine surface in all his clothes and dirt. Leaping onto the bed the way he'd practically dove into the bathwater was tempting, but the rope lattice beneath the thick mattress and the still-fresh and bandaged bullet wound in his side persuaded him against it. Instead he sat down on the edge, a bit of a stretch to reach even with his long legs, and enjoyed the sensation of slowly sinking into the soft surface. Not goose down, but baked and curled horsehair, just as soft but much cooler and more practical for the tropical climate of the Caribbean. And no bedbugs to share the mattress with either, he reckoned. The giant pillow had probably been shaken and beaten for an hour straight to make sure that any stowaways had been cast overboard, if the springy, fluffy feel was any indication. Since he'd deprived himself the childish impulse to dive onto the bed, he allowed himself to flop onto his back, the thick mattress muffling the sound to a dull "whump". Oh Lord, what luxury. Absolutely ludicrous on a ship, of course, but still...a man could get used to this.

He was almost asleep when he realized he ought to lie down properly instead of sprawled as he was with his legs still dangling over the edge. Right. Reluctantly he pulled himself up and reoriented so his head and feet were where they were supposed to be. The mattress might not be goose down but the pillow was. Maybe he'd have to smuggle it back to The Pearl as well. It'd make a lovely addition to his hammock. Unable to stifle it, Jack gave a yawn that made his ears pop and his jaw crack. Lord, he was tired. Pirating took a lot out of one. He wished there was some rum to be had, but getting up and looking for it (particularly in pajamas) sounded like entirely too much work at the moment. Maybe the governor would offer spirits with breakfast? Breakfast... Another jaw-popping yawn. Mercy. He was almost too tired to sleep. Quickly, he hurried through his mental checklist before he could drift off entirely. Pistol under pillow, check; cutlass within easy reach, check; compass likewise within easy reach, check; door locked and window open, check. Very good. He couldn't afford to let his guard drop, not fully anyway, but it was tempting. It would be hard not to fall into the sleep of the exhausted, deep and dark and silent as the depths of the ocean itself. Jack could only trust in his own reflexes and Will and Elizabeth's good sense (what there was of it) that anything out of the ordinary could be kept from happening.

"Where are you going?" Will asked as Elizabeth, amid the swishing of half a dozen petticoats, rose and elbowed open the door.

"Just taking a midnight snack up to Jack. He never came down to dinner."

"He's probably asleep, Elizabeth, let him be."

"Well, he can have this when he wakes up, which will hopefully be before the ceremony."

Will couldn't help the smirk that brought. "Just make sure he doesn't confuse you for whatever he's dreaming about."

Elizabeth shook her head and rolled her eyes as the door swung closed behind her. Will, determined not to be the third leg in this love-triangle-that-wasn't, forced himself to stay put. He trusted Elizabeth at any rate, and he trusted Jack too...after a fashion. He was not going to follow her up, blast it! ... Oh who was he kidding? With a sigh, Will heaved himself out of the low armchair and crept up the stairs after his fiancé.

Elizabeth knocked softly on Jack's door, tray balanced on one hand.

"Jack? Jack? It's Elizabeth." She tried the knob but found it locked. Not wanting to disturb him (or see something she'd no desire to), she put an ear to the wood and listened. Faint snoring. Will was right, apparently the pirate had indeed fallen asleep. Well, she'd just leave the tray for him. Fumbling in her pocket for a moment, she produced a key and silently let herself in.

Jack lay sprawled on his back right in the middle of the big bed, sheet drawn to his waist, his hands- oddly free of all wrappings save his many thick rings- resting on his chest. The clean white sheets and nightshirt clashed violently with his darkly tanned skin and wild rat's nest of hair. Funny. She almost didn't recognize him without his bandana and great coat. He didn't look like himself, more like someone impersonating Captain Jack Sparrow, sporting his hairstyle and tattoos but forgetting everything else. For the first time, she was struck by how many years separated her and the pirate captain. It wasn't that he looked old, there was nothing frail or aged about him; rather, a wide rift of experience as well as years created a distance between them. She had always liked Jack, but never the way Will feared. Jack, she was fairly certain, had only ever been teasing. She hoped. A particularly loud snort interrupted her thoughts and drew her attention back to the pirate in the guest bed who had shifted in his sleep, one hand now resting near his head. Shaking her head and smiling to herself, she set the tray down on the bedside table where- she noticed with some amusement- the brush and comb set still lay. With no coat at the moment and therefore no pockets, Jack must have decided to wait until later to liberate the silver-plate objects.

He wasn't all bad for a pirate, she reflected. Indeed he was quite the rare breed, a buccaneer with a sense of compassion. There was a good man under the rough exterior with a heart that wasn't as black as he made it out to be. Leaning, she reached to brush a matted tendril of hair from his face. She caught her breath as a hand clamped round her wrist and the barrel of a pistol was shoved under her jaw. Her heart beat once, twice, three times. Jack relaxed his grip and lowered the pistol, carefully releasing the hammer and spiriting the firearm once more out of sight. Elizabeth couldn't help the sigh of relief that escaped her lips as Jack resettled on his pillow though he'd risen less than an inch from the soft padding.

"Come to give your Uncle Jack a kiss goodnight?" he asked, voice low and gold teeth glinting in the faint candlelight. Elizabeth smirked.

"I've brought you something since you missed dinner." She indicated the tray which had a pair of sandwiches and a teapot, cup, and saucer on it.

"That's very sweet of you, Love." Honestly he would have preferred a bottle of the governor's favorite vintage having never acquired much of a taste for tea himself, but he smiled anyway and accepted the little china cup that Elizabeth had filled from the pot. Lifting himself up on one elbow, he sipped the liquid and felt his eyebrows raise. Rum! Catching his look of surprise, Elizabeth smiled and winked.

"You're a good girl, Mrs. Almost-Turner," Jack smiled, raising the cup in toast before draining it in one go.

"I just wanted to make sure you were comfortable."

"I am, very."

"How's your wound? Is it bothering you much?"

"Nothing another cup of 'tea' won't cure," he told her, waving her away with a smile which she returned.

"I wanted to thank you, Jack. You know if it hadn't been for you...Will and I probably never would have had the chance to be together."

"All in a day's work, Love," Jack told her, his ego inflating pleasantly.

"Thank you just the same," she said, leaning to give him the hinted kiss on the cheek and displaying a distracting amount of cleavage. However, that wasn't what Jack was immediately concerned with.

"Steady, Love," he told her, placing his fingers between her lips and his face. "As much as I'd enjoy the company, it's not your old Uncle Jack you should fussing about."

She seemed surprised and straightened somewhat.

"Do not turn around."

She quirked an eyebrow in confusion. Taking the compass from the table, he placed it in her hands.

"I know what it is you really want," he told her, folding back the lid, "make sure it's as clear to everyone else."

Elizabeth made no reply but watched the spinning face of the compass until it stopped, the broad red arrow pointing directly at her bosom. Her lips fell apart with the realization. Will... Slowly, she set the compass back on the table. Jack had already resettled, eyes closed, seemingly dead to the world once more.

"Don't be too hard on dear William," he mumbled into the pillow. "He's only looking out for his bonnie lass. Uncle Jack can look out for himself."

She nodded mutely, unsure if she ought to feel chastened at her foolishness or annoyed at Will's jealousy. Even still, she waited until Jack's breathing had evened into light yet highly convincing snores and his pose had relaxed. If he wasn't asleep, he was at least doing a good job pretending. Either way, it was time she left him alone. Turning, she exited the room, closing the door and relocking it behind her. Will stood waiting on the other side.

"I suppose you heard all that," she stated stiffly, still mildly insulted that he didn't trust her.

"I did."

"Don't you trust me?"

"Of course. It was 'Uncle Jack' I was worried about." Will was smiling as he said it. He wasn't angry and apparently he wasn't feeling jealous any more either. It belatedly occurred to her that Jack had never referred to himself as "uncle" before. It had been a spoken marker, a verbal widening of the gap between him and Will and herself, shunting himself into the role of mentor and out of that of possible love interest. Not that she had ever entertained the thought. The idea of a pirate's life perhaps, but never the pirate himself. Jack was a good friend and she liked him best as such. He might flirt and tease, but she had trouble imagining him doing anything worse to her than stealing a kiss. Even that would be courting trouble, as Jack and everyone else all knew perfectly well. He knew better than to actually do anything. If he did, Anamaria would kill him.
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