: Witty JackAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: B:tVS, PotC. For what we want most, there is a cost must be paid in the end.
: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.Spoilers
: B:tVS post-"Chosen", with references from Angel Season 5 and no comics canon; "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007)Notes
: For glitterangelem, who requested "Buffy/PotC, Buffy/Jack. Romance or friendship." Also a sequel to "Daughters of Charon". Someone once asked me why Jack would ever settle down in Rome; here is a possible answer.
"It's not about living forever, Jackie. It's about living with yourself forever."
After what felt like an hour of sitting in a narrow, cramped seat with her eyelids clamped determinedly shut, Buffy Summers gave up on seeking refuge in a nap. Airplane rides had never exactly been fun for her, but ever since she'd found and activated the Slayer Scythe her supernatural instincts and senses had sharpened enough that every minute spent in the air became an exercise in endurance. She knew that if she could just let go she would be able to sleep, but she couldn't seem to relax; her muscles twitched with the restless desire to burst free of captivity, and her head throbbed with the sounds and scents of far too many people packed in far too small a space.
Slayers hadn't been created with modern technology in mind, she thought tiredly, staring out the small, clear window at a vast, gray bank of cloud fogging by. It reminded her of the sea, and of another being pursuing his duties far past his appointed time, and she smiled wanly, thinking of all she'd have to tell her sister when she got back to Rome.
"Don't forget witty Jack," a heavily accented voice whispered in her ear.
Startled, Buffy glanced over her shoulder at the empty seat next to her; but it remained unfilled. The seats before and behind her were filled with sleeping passengers, and the drink cart had already gone by; there was no one near who could have spoken, no faces turned in her direction.
"Willow?" Buffy murmured to herself, reaching for the next most likely alternative.
There was a moment of silence; warm, amused silence, that felt strangely familiar. Then the voice spoke again, deliberately skewing her comment for its own purposes. "You ask if Jack wear de willow? A wise question, sea's daughter; for de answer will affect all your choices."
"What answer? What choices?" Buffy asked, frustrated, as she glanced around the cabin again. If there wasn't anyone on the plane she recognized, and it wasn't Willow trying to contact her mind-to-mind with her witchy power, then the likelihood of it being a bad guy talking to her was pretty high. Well, either that or the Powers That Liked To Play Games With Buffy's Life; and Buffy knew which she'd rather it be.
The plane dipped a little in the air, once, then again; Buffy's stomach swooped, and her eyes snapped back to the window as the voice calmly replied. "There was a girl, once, who became de King of all de oceans; there was a boy, once, who became de priest of all de seas." Light flickered out among the clouds, and for a moment the shape of a woman's face was backlit amidst the vapor. "And before them both was him precious Pearl."
The face was like, though not identical to, that of Sineya; deep-eyed, tattooed, curved with fierce femininity, and framed by a gnarled fall of dreadlocked hair. It was the Powers, then, much as Buffy might wish otherwise; and from the tales she'd heard the day before, she knew which one this had to be. Not the patron and origin of Slayers she'd met before, but the goddess who ruled the seas and watched over the Turner line.
"The Black Pearl," Buffy murmured, naming the ship that had featured in many of her ancestor's tales. Reading them from the pages of the council's texts had been one thing; hearing them recounted by Captain William Turner of the Flying Dutchman
himself, they had taken on a weight that dragged at her soul. For by his accounting, her Giacomo, her Immortal, had once been a legendary pirate captain, far more notorious in certain supernaturally-aware circles than the relatively harmless, neutral philanderer he pretended to be now. Calypso was right; the true identity of Jack Sparrow, and the real reasons he'd attached himself to the distant daughter of William Turner and Elizabeth Swann, would seriously affect which path she chose for her future.
"De Black Pearl," Calypso agreed. "For her, he promise his soul to Davy Jones; but by the actions of William Turner and his bride was he freed from that price." Her face swirled into being in the clouds again, a wry, knowing smirk curving her lips. "And where is his ship now?"
Not in Italy, Buffy knew. She'd never so much as accompanied her current lover to the beach; whenever she went to sunbathe he sent his guards with her instead, always with the excuse of 'other business'. Nor was the Pearl's fate recorded anywhere in the Council's books. Jack Sparrow had had a hand in replacing Davy Jones with her ancestor, then found another means of achieving his own immortality-- and promptly dropped off the map, surfacing only very rarely over the following centuries.
She remembered the look in Giacomo's eyes when he'd gazed over her shoulder into her dressing mirror just before she'd flown west for the family gathering; remembered the way the name 'Turner' had fallen from his lips, heavy as an anchor. Her heart sank. "He wasn't allowed to keep it, was he?" she asked.
"For what we want most, there is a cost must be paid in de end," Calypso said, solemnly.
"And what did he want most?" Buffy breathed, certain she knew what it must be. Calypso's question about the willow suddenly made sense; people 'wore the willow' when they'd lost a lover, or been forsaken by one. In pursuing what he'd thought he wanted, Jack Sparrow had lost everything that truly mattered to him, as much as anything had ever mattered to the pirate captain. How much had that loss dominated his life since? Had he pursued Buffy for herself, or merely as a touchstone to the past?
"You know what it was," Calypso replied, a gently mocking note in her voice as she confirmed Buffy's fears. "He sought de Fountain of Youth. But de Timucua who held those lands had their own protector; and for his trespass Jack Sparrow was cursed to never touch de sea again, so long as de sacred waters run in his veins."
"So no more Pearl," Buffy said, dully. "No more Turners."
"Until now," Calypso said, materializing in the fog of water droplets one last time. "All these centuries, he maintain his distance; he claim no regret. I hear no word from him, not on de waves, not on de wind, until three days ago there come a change." Until Buffy had flown out in search of her heritage.
The plane broke abruptly out of the cloudbank, then; clear, early morning sunlight streamed in the window, breaking up Calypso's image as thoroughly as it shattered Buffy's dark mood. One last comment trailed behind the goddess, whispered in Buffy's ear; a comment that stayed with her all the rest of her journey, until she stepped off the last plane in Rome.
"And so I wonder, what would witty Jack give up for you
He was waiting for her when she stepped out the doors of the airport, lounging against the limousine the Council had sent as though he hadn't a care in the world. Buffy's heart leapt in her chest at the sight; he was as gorgeous as always, and his dark, lidded stare licked like fire against her skin, nearly erasing all thought of what she'd learned in the last forty-eight hours.
At the last second, however, she couldn't help but evade his welcoming kiss; she felt the brush of warm lips against her cheek instead and buried her face in his shoulder, inhaling deeply of his scent. Had the trace of salt water always been there under his cologne, or was she imagining things?
"Darling?" he asked, an uncharacteristically hesitant note in his voice.
"Giacomo," she murmured in reply, stepping back to get a good look at his face. What had he looked like back then, she wondered, in full pirate-y regalia? His hair would have been longer, of course; had he worn it pulled back under a bandana like Will Turner's? Had he grown a beard in place of his current neat goatee, maybe braided with decorative souvenirs from the cargoes he'd taken, set off by kohl under his eyes and heavy rings on his fingers? Was that when he'd learned to wield a sword so well?
"Yes, my dear?" he asked, wrinkling his brow in apparent puzzlement.
"You know, you've never told me your last name," she said conversationally, trying hard to keep any hint of accusation out of her tone.
He swallowed at that, but answered in his usual confident, cultured tones. "It never came up in conversation; I did not think it important."
He knew it; it was all true, and he knew
she knew now, the bastard. He was only waiting to see how she reacted. "Could it be Giacomo Passero
?" she asked, pointedly.
He stared back for a moment, all the amusement and affection draining out of his expression. "So you know, then," he said, grimmer than she'd ever seen him; in that moment, his eyes looked as old as Will Turner's, and she could believe every story she'd ever heard of him. His accent had slipped, as well; the cultured, upper-class European tones melting away in favor of something rougher and vaguely British to her undiscerning ear. "And if you have the knowing of that
, you ought know how to say it correctly. It's Capitano
Giacomo Passero, if you please."
"Not anymore," Buffy replied, softly, remembering the curse.
He flinched at the words, just a little, as though she'd struck him across the face; then those old, old eyes saddened with a grief she could almost feel beating against her skin. "No, not anymore." He stepped away from the limousine then, opening the rear door with a distracting flourish as he smoothed his face back into bland, peaceful lines. "Shall we go, then? I've made reservations for dinner at--"
"Jack," Buffy objected, hardly knowing what to say, only that she couldn't let him just dismiss the subject.
"Yes, my dear?" He was the perfect picture of calm patience-- except for his whitening knuckles on the edge of the car door.
"Will said he missed you," she told him, and as she spoke, something else clicked into place in her mind; she hadn't been able to figure out what Calypso's motivations were for their little in-flight heart-to-heart, but of course her concern was her captain; had always been her captain. And Will Turner wanted his friend back. "He said you were a scoundrel, and that you'd better take good care of me, but that he missed you; and he wanted you to come along, next time."
"Did he now," Jack replied, blandly, as though he hadn't a care in the world. "How nice of him."
"Of course he did," Buffy smiled wryly at him, feeling herself on firmer ground. Calypso hadn't been trying to warn her away, after all; she'd been trying to encourage Buffy, in her own creepy Power-y way. "You're Captain Jack Sparrow."
He blinked at that; then he snorted, and cracked a genuine grin, wide and bright enough that Buffy almost expected to see a flash of gold tooth in his smile. "And don't you forget it," he said.
She finally approached the car, then, and let him hand her onto the smooth leather seat; she took a moment to arrange her skirt on the seat, then reached up to let down her hair as he slid in beside her. When she looked up again, finger-combing the snarls out of her long blonde tresses, he was watching her again with the same achingly hungry look she'd seen in her mirror a few days before. "I remind you of her, don't I?" she asked.
"The indomitable Elizabeth?" he replied, as the limousine began to move. "No, not at all; and yes, of course you do. You're better with a sword than she was, but she was better at politics. First time in our history the King of the Brethren Court ever did more than just order up a war. 'Course, that might've been because the last one got himself killed before he could stir up more trouble, but there you have it. I wonder what she'd say if she knew one of her daughter's daughters was the first Slayer to rule her own kind, however poorly?"
"Poorly?" Buffy pouted at him, playing along. "Hey, just because I came to Rome instead of staying at the new headquarters in England--"
"If the slipper fits, love," he parried with a smirk.
If the shoe fits. Buffy's teasing smile faded as she thought again about what Calypso had told her. Jack had just compared her to her ancestress, the pirate King; but a more accurate comparison might be made between Buffy and Jack himself. At one point in her life, Buffy had thought she wanted to be a normal girl more than anything else in all the world, and had pursued that goal despite all warning signs to the contrary. Jack had done the same-- and actually made it to his. Did he regret succeeding as much as she would have? Inquiring minds wanted to know.
"Speaking of love," she said lightly, reaching out to grasp his hands. "I spoke with Calypso on the way home."
His expression shuttered again instantly, as his grip tightened around hers. "Then you know that, too," he replied, narrowing his eyes. "My, my, weren't you the industrious little detective while you were gone."
"I know that you feared death more than you loved the Pearl, or the sea, or your friends," she continued. "Is that still true? We've been together three years, longer than I've ever dated anyone else, and in all that time you've never said you loved me. Jack, if you're just with me because I'm a Turner--"
He rolled his eyes at that and assumed a condescending air. "You irritating little wench, of course I'm not with you just because you're a Turner. That came as a rather unpleasant surprise, actually. I picked you out because you were a Slayer; because you were interesting; and kept you because you're spectacular in bed. The rest of it--" He waved a hand in the air. "If I ever had a true love, it was the Pearl; she accepted no substitutes while I sailed her, and she's spoiled me for anyone else now that I can never have her again."
Buffy's pride smarted a little at his dismissive enumeration of her attractions, but she resolved to ignore it; she'd stung him worse, obviously, given the passion in his voice. She'd never heard him so angry before. "Then why don't you just break the curse
?" she asked.
"Break the curse?" he asked blankly, then chuckled bitterly to himself, letting go of her hands and leaning back against the seat. "Break the curse, she says. As if it's that simple."
"Isn't it?" she asked. "Calypso said it only lasts so long as 'the sacred water runs in your veins.' Isn't there a way to-- let it out?"
"Let it out
? You mean, in some way other than letting all the blood out with it? Which doesn't work, by the way." Jack shook his head. "Besides, it's not like there aren't compensations
," he added, dropping his gaze to linger on her legs. "I have all the swag, the rum, and the women I could ever ask for, just for the asking, just because of what I am. Jack Sparrow may have been a lucky son of a pirate, but he was still a thief and a beggar. Why would I ever want to give all this up?"
"Because you'll still have me," Buffy replied, just as fiercely. "Because I care about you for more than what
you are; I gave you my cookies because you're good to my sister, because you make me laugh, because you're hot-- and because you make me feel like I'm someone worth loving
"What does any
of this have to do with cookies?" Jack replied, completely avoiding the subject. "Unless they're rum cookies. Are they rum cookies?"
, they're rum cookies, if that's what your favorite is," Buffy said, exasperated. "And stop making with the distractions; it's annoying, and you know how I get when I'm annoyed."
"Maybe that's the idea," he replied.
"Then maybe you'd better get another idea," Buffy said, hotly. "Look, you can say 'I need some more time to think about this' if you need to. But if it's definitely going to be a 'No, ma'am', you'd better tell me now. This is the only 'Get Out of Jail Free' card you're going to get; if you break my heart later, I'm going to sic Dawn on you."
"Well, we can't have that," he said, and reached up to trace the planes of her face with callused fingers. "So, just assuming that I did say yes. Would you sail with me, love?"
"Can I take my cell phone with me? And stop at all the tourist ports to go shopping?" she asked, still too irritated to just give in gracefully.
"I'll take that as a yes, then, shall I?" Jack chuckled, dropping his hand down to her shoulder to tug her closer.
a yes, then?" Buffy fired back, scooting back out of reach.
"It's a 'definitely maybe'," he replied, scooting closer to her instead. "Let's see if it's even possible to break the curse, first. And why not look for some other way we could both live forever, while you're at it?"
"And what would you be willing to trade away for your immortality the next
time?" she asked, eyebrows raised as she felt her back press up against the limo's opposite door.
"Point," he conceded, leaning forward until he was murmuring directly in her ear. "I'll think of something."
"Well, while you're thinking
," she said, deciding to quit while she was ahead, "do you think you could welcome me home properly? I'm still waiting for my hello kiss, you know."
"And whose fault is that?" he asked indignantly, eyeing her with a mischievous sparkle from close range before dipping down to kiss her somewhere that most definitely wasn't
As she arched into his touch, Buffy could almost swear she heard the tinkle of a music box playing softly somewhere in a minor key; then she lost track of anything beyond the confines of the car. She'd never been more grateful for the long drive between the airport and Giacomo's-- Jack's-- residence.
Maybe the Powers weren't so bad, after all.