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[ goodnight sweet prince ]
by kHo

It was far past dark when it happened, and the worst part of it was that it shouldn´t have happened at all. They´d docked for ale and food, not for piratical activity. They´d gone to a tavern and gotten mugs of ale, eaten hearty meals and laughed well into the night. Will had decided he was tired before the rest of them were and Jack had offered to walk him to the ship before returning to the festivities.

Gibbs, ever the daft fellow that he was, hadn´t known that Jack was talking in code and decided to accompany them. Jack had winked slyly at Will and thrown an arm around Gibbs as they walked out of the tavern, whispering conspiratorially in his ear. Gibbs had laughed and sworn that it was to his quarters, alone, immediately after they arrived. Jack had called him a good man and kissed his cheek and looped a finger through Will´s trouser waistband as they stepped into the street.


“Man the sails,’ Jack barked out, his fists still clenched from the evening´s interruption. “We´re setting sail immediately!’

“Jack,’ Anamaria said, speaking softly.

Jack looked at her, raising an eyebrow. “Yes, Anamaria?’

Anamaria looked to the side at Will, and frowned. Will felt a pit form in his gut at the realization that Jack didn´t know what Anamaria was about to say. “Jack,’ he said softly.

Jack frowned, looking between the two of them. “Aye, Will, what is it,’ he asked tersely, his hand grasping the wheel hard enough to turn his knuckles white.

“Gibbs,’ Anamaria said, and the solemnity in her eyes caused Jack to falter back a few steps. “Jack, it´s Gibbs.’

Jack looked at Will, who refused to meet his eyes. “What about Gibbs,’ he asked slowly, casting his gaze around the scurrying crew aboard the Pearl.

“Jack,’ Will said, taking his hand in his and taking a deep breath to meet his eyes. Jack looked at him and the wildness and uncertainty in his eyes almost made Will break down himself.

“Let me, Will,’ Anamaria said softly, reaching out to take Jack´s hand. “Let him take it out on me.’

Jack angrily threw both of them off of him, backing up until his back was pressed up against the wheel. “I don´t know what the two of you aren´t saying, but you bloody well better spit it out a´fore I throw you both overboard, savvy?’

Anamaria took a deep breath and Will steeled himself for what was to come. “He´s gone, Jack,’ Will said softly, his chest heavy with the unspent tears he knew were building up.

Jack blinked. “Gone where?’

“Oh, Jack,’ Anamaria said with a sigh, stepping up to him and grabbing his chin in her bony fingers, turning his face to hers and fixing him with a look of gravity. “Gibbs is dead, Jack.’


The men had looked like trouble from the get go and Jack had shoved Will behind him before the younger man had even noticed the approaching group of ten or so. Gibbs took a stand beside Jack and together they drew their swords as Will ran back into the tavern for reinforcements. Their crew outnumbered the men that had cornered Gibbs and Jack, but the men were strong, and weren´t easily defeated.

It was a wild fight, full of flashing metal and angry words. Someone had shouted something about finally curtailing the likes of one Captain Jack Sparrow, and Will´s blade had gone straight through the horse´s mouth itself. He´d never known what it was the men were after, but the fight lasted far too long and by the time they made it back to the ship, Jack was exhausted and furious, itching to get out of port.


Jack stared at Anamaria for a full minute and the rage on his face was enough to send a shiver of trepidation down Will´s spine. “You´re lying.’ Jack gritted out, stepping forward and causing Anamaria to step back in confusion.

“Jack…’ Will started.

“S´true, Jack,’ Anamaria said, meeting his gaze straight on.

Jack shook his head. “Can´t be.’

“Jack…’ Will said again.

“Silence, Will,’ Jack said, still staring Anamaria down. “That´s a nasty trick to play on your captain, there, Ana. ´Nuff t´throw you off me ship.’ Jack paused and leaned menacingly close to Anamaria, raising an eyebrow. “Without your affects.’

“It´s true Jack,’ Will said softly, stepping forward and resting a hand on top of his. “I saw it, Jack. It´s true.’

“Raise anchor, Cap´n,’ Marty asked, shouting across the deck to them.

Jack´s hand waved in the air, his fingers rising to pinch his lips together. “Well, it´s back on land then, mates,’ he said, nodding quickly. “No, Marty,’ he called over, walking to the ladder and beginning to climb over. “We ´ave Gibbs to collect.’

“Jack,’ Will hissed, rushing over to him and grabbing his hands. “Jack it´s not safe here.’

Jack´s eyes flashed dangerously at him and Will backed up in shock. He´d never seen that look directed at him before. “I´ll not leave Gibbs here alone, Will.’

Will sighed, stepping forward again. “Jack, it´s not safe…’

“I´ll not leave him!’

“He´s dead!’ Will´s eyes widened and his hand flew to his mouth as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

Jack´s hand darted forward to grip Will´s arm harshly, pulling him forward until they were nose to nose. “Then I´ll not leave his body here for them to do to it what they will, savvy,’ he growled out. “Come or stay, Will. Your choice.’


They´d found him propped up against the side of the tavern they´d been laughing in not an hour before, looking no more than his usual drunk self. Will had half a mind to find the nearest pail of water and throw it on him, and almost smiled at the memory of the second dousing he´d given him that first night they´d met. He wasn´t moving though, and he wasn´t breathing, and the bloody gash through his shirt and flesh alike was enough to let Will know water would accomplish nothing.

Jack had lowered himself to the ground beside Gibbs, a hand reaching out to peel back the shirt to reveal the fatal wound that still oozed blood. His face had remained neutral as his hand lifted to cup Gibbs´ face and it was so tender a gesture Will had to force his tears to stay at bay. When Jack whispered a wavering ‘goodnight, sweet prince,´ the bile Will had been fighting took over and it took nearly a quarter of an hour before he was able to help Jack lug Gibbs´ body back aboard the Pearl.


“Jack, I just wanted to say I was sorry for how I…’

Jack waved his hand, frowning up at Will from his seat at the table on deck. “It´s fine, Will,’ he said, his voice colder than Will had ever heard it. “Things were...’

“Just the same, Jack, I never meant…’

Jack´s face hardened and he raised the mug of rum to his lips. “Enough, Will.’

Will´s hands hung by his sides and he looked over Jack´s shoulder to Anamaria, who was watching them with a worried expression on her face. “Jack.’

“I´d really rather be alone, love,’ Jack said, flashing a quick smile that didn´t even attempt to reach his eyes. “If that´s alright.’

Will felt his eyes fill up with tears and he tried to tell himself that Jack was only reacting to Gibbs´ death. He tried to tell himself that the anger in Jack´s voice was in no way directed at him. He looked at Anamaria and he saw that she was trying to tell him the same thing, but it still didn´t take.

“As you wish, Jack,’ he said, swallowing past the lump in his throat and standing.

“Take the bed, Will,’ Jack said, frowning as he picked at a sharp splinter rising off of the wooden table. “I´ll likely sleep on deck tonight.’

Will barely made it to their cabin before breaking down in tears and before he could shut the door Anamaria´s arms were around him and she was muttering soft words in his ears. Her hands smoothed his hair and she kissed his temple and held him until his sobs subsided.

“He´s angry with me.’

“He´s not, chere,’ she said softly, reaching out to wipe a tear from his cheek. “He´s upset, and Jack doesn´t deal well with sadness.’

Will shook his head. “He´s angry with me.’

Anamaria smiled, shaking her head. “You´ll see, love. He´ll come ‘round soon ‘nuff.’


Days had passed, and the only time Will saw Jack was on the deck of the Pearl, barking out orders to an inordinately quiet crew. Everyone on board had loved Gibbs, and they all mourned him. He had been their collective father, their confidant. Every night at dinner they ad gathered around the table and shared stories about him, and they laughed when they weren´t crying, because Gibbs probably would have preferred that.

Jack had stayed in the distance though, swinging his legs over the side of the ship and staring out at the ocean. They´d dropped him overboard the day after leaving port to, as Jack said, “give him a right good Viking seeing off.’ He´d sat there every night, muttering things that no one else could hear at the trail the moon left in the rippling waters. He ate alone, and he drank alone, and if anyone had asked him to join them they´d likely have gotten their heads snapped off.


The moon cast an odd glow on Jack´s bronzed skin and Will was reminded of Barbossa for a moment. Reminded of the immortal Captain Jack Sparrow that almost was, and he laughed nervously as he lowered himself next to Jack.

“May I join you, Jack,’ he asked softly, bumping his shoulder.

Jack smiled softly, nodding. “Aye, Will, you may.’

Will breathed out a sigh of relief, but prepared himself for a quick turn of mood. “Jack, you didn´t eat dinner tonight.’

Jack held a silver flask in his hands, his grimy fingers swiping lovingly over it. “I should have picked something different,’ he said softly. “I thought about a button, or perhaps his pipe, but he loved this.’

Will realized then that it was Gibbs´ flask Jack held in his hands, his initials etched in scratchy swirls across the front of it. He reached out and Jack jerked his hands away from Will´s grasp. His chest deflated and he lowered his hand to place it on Jack´s leg instead.

“He did,’ he said.

Jack nodded, chewing on his lip. “Think ‘e got it from ‘is father,’ he said, his voice low and gravelly. “His most prized possession, this was.’

Will watched him for a moment, trying to decipher the look on his face. He wasn´t used to Jack´s face being so passive. He was used to knowing what Jack was thinking through his eyes and his facial ticks. The past week Jack´s face may as well have been made out of stone for all the emotion it showed.

“Should have chosen something small though,’ Jack continued, muttering almost under his breath. “M´afraid I´ll lose this.’

“You won´t,’ Will said, placing a hand on Jack´s back gently. “We´ll make sure.’

Jack smiled, looking at him briefly. “Still. Should´ve chosen something that´d fit in me hair.’

Will couldn´t hold the emotions in anymore. He´d been holding them in check for more than a week and when he felt the tears course down his cheek he cursed himself for being weak. “Jack, come back to me. Please.’

Jack shook his head, returning his gaze back to the ocean before them. “Can´t right now, love,’ he said gruffly.

Will sighed and reached up to wipe at his tears. “Why?’

Jack smiled stiffly, shrugging and not meeting his eyes. “Because right now Will, it´s all I can do to not ask you why you had to leave the tavern when you did.’


Jack had gotten better after a while, joining them at the table for dinner sometimes. No one spoke of Gibbs though, for fear that their captain would retreat once again. His men loved Jack, that much was clear, even if the majority of the time was spent bickering with him. Will would have thought it was sweet, the way everyone was careful to not upset Jack, if he hadn´t been holding back his own tears every time he looked at Jack not looking at him.

It had been two weeks since Gibbs had been killed and Will was contemplating whether or not to return to Port Royal. He´d told Anamaria and she´d gotten angry with him, berating him for not having patience. He had to understand where Jack was coming from, she´d told him. Gibbs had been the only one to never judge him, she´d reminded him. Will hadn´t either though, and he had begun to think his departure is what would be best for Jack.


Will was just settling into bed when there was a light rapping on his chamber door. He grunted out a come in and all the breath left his chest when he saw a timid Jack step into the room, smiling softly and holding out a bottle of Rum to Will as he shut the door behind him.

“Jack,’ Will said, sitting up.

“I come in peace, Will,’ Jack said softly, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Anamaria tells me you´re thinking of returning home.’

Will pulled the covers up to his chin, feeling his hands beginning to shake. “I thought it best, perhaps.’

Jack took a deep breath, standing up and walking over to the table and grabbing two mugs off of it. He poured two drinks and turned to face Will again. “Gibbs meant a lot to me, love,’ he said softly.

Will nodded. “I know, Jack.’

Jack nodded, walking over to Will and settling in beside him on the bed, handing him a mug. “Met me when I was nothin´, he did. Never judged me for it neither.’

Will nodded, holding the mug in his hands, hoping the solid mass would stop his hands from shaking too badly. “Jack--’

“Just a minute, Will,’ Jack said with a smile, reaching out and tucking a wayward strand of Will´s hair behind an ear. “Thing is, I´m not good with death,’ he said, shrugging. “Not good with emotions at all, really.’

“I understand, Jack,’ Will said, turning to face him. “I do.’

Jack shook his head. “What I said to you the other night, Will,’ he said, looking down and frowning into his mug. “It was inexcusable, love. Inexcusable.’

Will felt tears of relief fill his eyes but was able to stave them off momentarily. “You loved him, Jack.’

“Love,’ Jack said softly. “Love him. Still do. Death don´t stop love, Will.’

Will nodded. “´Course not.’

Jack looked at him, licking his lips. “But I love you as well. And what I said was bore out of anger, and pain, and I didn´t mean it,’ he said, and the rawness in his eyes caused Will´s hand to reach out and touch his face. He smiled and leaned into the caress. “I didn´t mean it Will. I was angry he was gone, and I was blaming the wrong people.’

Will shook his head. “It´s alright, Jack.’

Jack shook his head and his eyes shone with unshed tears. He leaned forward and placed a soft kiss to Will´s lips, his hand lifting to wind in Will´s hair. Pulling back his eyes met Will´s and Will was relieved to be able to see into their depths once again. “It´s not okay, Will. But I´ll make it up to you, I swear it.’


Jack named Will first mate and everyone cheered because not only did Will deserve it, but it meant Jack was back on the track to becoming himself again. Anamaria laughed and hugged them both, and then slapped them squarely upside the head for turning their boat into a Shakespearean play for the past two weeks.

Jack held him that night, and every night after, and he´d told Will stories of him and Gibbs. Jack was sad for a good long while, and in the confines of their room he shed more than a few tears for his dearly passed friend. They made love and Jack apologized so many times that Will began to laugh at his apologies, telling him enough was enough. Will forgave Jack the instant he stepped back into their cabin, the words had only been decoration.

Will needs no words to understand Jack, as long as he can read his eyes.

All feedback much appreciated!
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