pirate_jack: (they sank it burning)
[personal profile] pirate_jack
As he's shoved into the cabin, Jack sways and takes a moment to recover his balance, casting a quick glance around the room-- and spotting the man who stands on the far side of it, with his back to the door as he looks out the window. The pose is studiously precise, and the corners of Jack's mouth twitch with a tiny, knowing smile.

Haven't changed a bit, have you, mate?

"Curious. Your friends appear to be quite desperate, Jack. Perhaps they no longer believe that a gathering of squabbling pirates can defeat the Flying Dutchman."

Beckett doesn't bother looking at him, and Jack doesn't bother answering. Instead, he takes advantage of the other man's practiced speech to start searching through boxes and tins left lying on the nearby tables, into tankards and chests. It won't be here, he's reasonably certain-- but then again, he knows well just how much the other man likes to keep valuable prizes under his close, personal control.

He knows very well. Better than most could even imagine.

"And so despair leads to betrayal. But you and I are no strangers to betrayal, are we?"

Jack glances at the brand on his arm, and says nothing.

There's a small, exasperated sigh as Beckett turns around.

"It's not here, Jack."

And at this, Jack turns around as well, meeting the other man's eyes for the first time in years.

"What? What isn't?"

"The heart of Davy Jones," Beckett informs him, matter-of-factly. "It's safely aboard the Dutchman, and so unavailable for use as leverage to satisfy your debt to the good captain."

Beckett's thin, self-satisfied smile -- I know exactly what you're thinking, and I know why you're thinking it, I know everything about you, Jack-- is clear.

So is Jack's answering smirk.

You always did like to boast, mate.

Jack strides across the cabin toward the far side, drawling pointedly, "By my reckoning, that account has been settled."

It's the other business -- between them -- that's still left unfinished, after all.

"By your death?" A measured beat. "And yet here you are."

Jack swings round from contemplating a large portrait of Beckett in a lordly pose, with the flag of the East India Company waving like a banner above him, and gives him a wickedly knowing grin.

"Just close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. That’s how I get by."

"Perhaps you'll consider an alternative arrangement? One which requires absolutely nothing from you but information."

Beckett offers Jack a small glass of sherry, in prelude to carrying out the all-too-familiar and entirely proper social ritual shared by men of business during cordial negotiations, but Jack looks away.

As he does, his gaze falls on Beckett's desk, where an army of lead soldiers stands rigidly aligned on top of a series of maps and charts. A neat row of silver circles lies at the edge of the map before the miniature army.

Pieces of eight.

Jack turns back to Beckett and plucks the glass of sherry neatly from his hand-- and then takes Beckett's glass, as well, as the other man moves to raise it to his lips.

"Regarding the Brethren Court, no doubt. In exchange for fair compensation."

Jack downs his own glass in a single swallow, then continues,

"Square my debt with Jones..."

He pauses to drain Beckett's glass, while the other man sighs.

"Guarantee my freedom."

"Of course." Beckett proceeds to refill the glasses, then glances up at Jack. Pointedly.

"It's just good business."

Their eyes meet-- and hold.

Good business.

The meaning of that is just one more thing that they've never agreed on.

Perhaps the most important thing.

Jack picks up the small leaden figure of the army's admiral, studying it with interest. It's carefully crafted, from the white wig on its head down to the buttons on its coat, and matches the appearance of the man in the portrait behind him to every possible detail.

Always knew there was no end to your ambition, mate.

"Were I in a divulgitory mood," he says, slowly, "What then might I divulge?"

"Everything." The hunger in Beckett's voice is both unfeigned and impossible to hide. He takes a step closer to Jack, then another, lowering his voice.

"Everything. Where are they meeting? Who are the Pirate Lords?" His glance flickers up to Jack's at this, suspicious and half-expectant as he pauses-- but Jack says nothing. Beckett leans close to Jack then, breathing his final question in a rough whisper practically into the pirate's ear.

"What is the meaning of the nine pieces of eight?"

Jack Sparrow turns his head, and looks down at Cutler Beckett from a mere few inches away.

I have something you want.

Slowly, wickedly, he smiles.

Let the negotiations begin.

"You can keep Barbossa." On the other side of the cabin, Jack turns around, fanning himself with a fan of black Spanish lace, and starts back toward Beckett-- who's now seated behind his desk, listening to this proposal with interest.

"The belligerent homunculus and his friend with the wooden eye, both. And Turner."

Jack snaps the fan shut and lets his exasperation show as he growls,

"Especially Turner." A beat. "The rest go with me aboard the Pearl and I’ll lead you to Shipwreck Cove, where I will hand you the pirates and you will not hand me to Jones."

He opens the fan again and resumes fluttering it about as he concludes, "Bloody fair deal, don’t you think?"

Cutler Beckett doesn't answer immediately. He turns one of the pieces of eight over in his fingers, watching as it gleams silver in the light.

"And what becomes of Miss Swann?"

Jack sets the fan to one side and leans forward, eyeing Beckett with speculation.

"What interest is she to you?"

Beckett chuckles once under his breath, and gives Jack a small, enigmatic smile.

They both know the answer to that.

"But, Jack--"

There's real pleasure in his voice as Beckett stands up, smirking, and crosses the room.

"I've just recalled. I've got this wonderful compass which points to whatever I want!" A beat. "So for what do I need you?"

Standing still in front of Beckett's desk, Jack allows himself to roll his eyes before he turns around to see the other man holding out the compass on his extended hand.

It's familiar, as he'd known it would be.

Good work, William.

He shakes his head at Beckett. "'S not how it works, mate. It points to the thing you want most. And that's not the Brethren Court, now is it?"

It's clear Beckett doesn't like being corrected as he grits out, "Then what is, Jack?"

Jack grins at him.


A pause.

"... dead."

A longer pause.

"Damn." Evidently it's agreement, as Beckett tosses the compass back to Jack, who promptly tosses him the fan in return. As Beckett flicks it open and begins to fan himself, a thought appears to strike him.

"Although... if I kill you, then I can use the compass to find -- Shipwreck Cove, is it? – on my own."

He lifts a small nickel-plated pistol and cocks it, advancing on Jack.

"Cut out the middleman, as it were."

Not this again--

Jack spreads his hands and advances in his own turn, circling around Beckett as he points out,

"With me killed, you'd arrive at the Cove to find it's a stronghold, nigh impregnable and able to withstand blockade for years-- and I'm not sure you have that kind of time, do you, mate?"

Beckett lifts the barrel of the gun slightly and takes a step back as Jack closes the distance between them, looking down at him.

"And then you'd be wishing, 'Oh, if only there was someone I had not killed, inside, to ensure that the pirates then come outside.'"

Silence, for several seconds.

"And you can accomplish all this, can you?" Beckett sounds wary, but intrigued.

Jack grins at him in knowing satisfaction, then steps backward and says,

"You may kill me, but you may never insult me. Who am I?"

Beckett looks blankly at him and shakes his head, and Jack is visibly startled.

"...I’m Captain Jack Sparrow!"

Unfortunately, whatever answer Cutler Beckett might have made to this assertion is lost forever, as it's at this point that the wall explodes.

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Captain Jack Sparrow

March 2010

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