Tangible Schizophrenia


Any Given Sunday

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Combinations of Jack/James/Will/Elizabeth/Anamaria
Feedback: Fave lines, constructive crit.-anything you want, at any length.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Collective bad day.
Notes: Modern-day AU. Anamaria curses in French and English (take 'con' here to mean dumbass). Translations available upon request. //words// in Spanish. Ref. to Goldeneye (am in denial about Sean Bean being killed off yet again, dammit).


Poke. Prod. Harder prod.

"Murfle." Flailing slap.

"Fille…" Arms akimbo, Anamaria ducked into the bathroom for a moment, and then returned to the rumpled mounds on the bed. She gingerly tugged the sheets down, and then murmured, "Lève-toi. Coffee's brewin', an' th'dawn's very beau today."

"G'way. Will's warm."

"Merde." Giving up, Anamaria flung the wet towel down, then quickly jumped back from Elizabeth's tumbling, screeching awakening. The younger woman ripped the soaking fabric off and took a flying leap off the edge of her bed. Halfway through, blankets clutched greedily at one slim ankle, and Elizabeth was rudely yanked down to the ground.

"Owww…Ana, damn it."

"Anamaria, fille, an' it's 'bout time y'were up." A sashay in her hips and an unapologetic air lifting her chin, the other woman strode out of the room. Back on the bed, Will's groggy head finally emerged from a swirl of cotton. Still rubbing the night's crusts out of his eyes, he crawled over and looked down. "Liz?" he called. "You okay?"

Whoosh. Jerking back with an exclamation, Will winced. Before him, Elizabeth was busily yanking the bedsheets off of her. "Just fine," she snapped. "Wonderful, really. I do love being surprised awake on a Sunday morning. In fact, I wish I could wake up every day like that-" she threw the blankets back up and scrambled to her feet, ignoring the muffled yelp "-except I would be lying, and Anamaria would probably enjoy that entirely too mu-"

Wait a moment. Will…whirling back, Elizabeth pulled the sheets off of him. "God, I am really, really sorry," she babbled, digging for his head. "I completely forgot about your leg, Will. Which is even more unforgivable of me."

"Liz, Liz," he chuckled, grabbing at her wrists. "Stop." Will pulled her down for a brief kiss, and then both of them pulled back rather abruptly.

"Note to self," Elizabeth muttered, snuggling into Will's arms, "Brush his teeth first."

"Note to self," Will replied tartly, "Don't let girlfriend eat onions at last meal of the day." He snickered. "Second note: Elizabeth talks like James when she's drowsy."

"Oh, shut up," she bit back, though her voice lacked much heat. "You're already not in my good books. Don't have to bloody go out today."

Rolling his eyes, Will nipped at the soft spot behind her ear. "That's because I've got a sprained ankle, and Jack is an overprotective git."

"'s understandable," she sighed, fingers moving in lopsided ovals over his biceps. "Was kind of his fault. Though I'm sure he never would've dropped the swordfish if he'd known what would happen…"

"Hey." Will nudged his armful of blonde. "No sleeping. If Anamaria has to come back in again, she'll…wreck Disney World, or something huge like that."

"We're in Miami," Elizabeth retorted, though she grudgingly drew away to rummage through the closet. "Anyway, Anamaria likes Disney World. Especially-"

"Pirates of the Caribbean," Will snorted, carefully standing up and coming to stand next to her. "Yeah, Jack's favorite ride too. I think it's all right, but some parts of it just give me the creeps. So what are you doing today?"

Buttoning up her jeans, Elizabeth shrugged. "The rounds, I think. Office in the morning, then about the town in the afternoon to check up on a few sources. What are you doing?"

"Exactly what I did yesterday." He reflipped his shirt collar so it was straight, then automatically turned to lift Elizabeth's hair so she could do up the straps of her halter top. "Crunch numbers and fend off Jack's concerned phone calls. Honestly, Liz, he wasn't nearly this bad when we were dealing with Barbossa."

Both of them shivered a little at the mention of that name. Recovering quickly, she began collecting and dividing up weapons. "You two also weren't sharing tongues on a regular basis back then," she pointed out, handing Will a gun holster. "Anyway, you do that with me."

"Well, you do still stop functioning around needles," Will commented absently as he slid on a garrote-concealing leather wristlet. At the retreating footsteps, his head jerked up, and then the rest of him jolted after Elizabeth. "Wait! Liz, I didn't mean-"

"Of course not," she growled under her breath, shaking off his hand. At the sound of Jack's singing, Elizabeth slapped a smile across her face and breezed into the kitchen. "Morning, Captain Sparrow!"

Caught mid-verse, Jack blinked. And then he blinked again, watching Elizabeth swipe a stack of fully-dressed pancakes. "Liz m'dear, I believe that those-"

"Fuck!" Making a hasty grab for a chair, Will just managed to turn his stumble into a sudden sit-down on the floor. Hair whipping like a frizzy storm, Jack's attention clattered away from Elizabeth, who immediately took the opportunity to slide into the next room. "Still a bit weak, Turner?" came her faint call. "Perhaps you should retire to bed?"

"M'god, Will," Jack muttered, helping the other man into a chair. "What'd y'do? Oh, is it her time o' th-"

"No," Will answered shortly. "It's nothing. Anamaria just woke Elizabeth up with a wet towel, and she's still being a bit pissy about it." He seized the nearest plate of pancakes and began devouring them like the secret to all women lay beneath their soggy golden circles. About halfway through, Will stopped and snapped, "What?"

The flurry of patting and hand gestures paused. "Hmm?" asked Jack innocently.

Blowing out air, the younger man leaned his head against one bent arm. "Jack. You know where all my weapons were, are and will ever be. Therefore, you aren't frisking me. You're checking for injuries."

A worried glint suddenly lit, and Jack swayed in till he completely filled Will's vision with penetrating eyesha-kohl. The last man who'd called it eyeshadow still hadn't washed ashore. "Are you hurt?" Jack queried seriously.

Thoroughly irritated now, Will flicked the nose currently bumping along his cheekbone. "Sparrow. Sir. It is my most profound distress to inform you that I am about to die from purple beri-beri that I contracted from a grieving mother while stationed in the Falklands."

Jack gasped, apparently in sincere shock, and then his eyes went to laser-mode. He poked at Will's stiffly blank expression. "Lying."

"Of course I'm lying!" Will exploded, flinging his arms out dramatically. The hand nearest the table squelched, but he wasn't about to let a little syrup get in his way. "Damn it, Jack, it's a sprain! Fourteen-year-old boyband groupies get them. You spent the entire night with me, in the same bed. How the hell could I get hurt?!"

"Ehrm…" Jack tugged at his braids, then suddenly realized and pulled the bone forward. "Lose an eye, mebbe?"

"Get bent," Will snarled, shoving away from the table and storming off. As he left, Anamaria hurriedly rushed in and slammed the doors behind her. Having taken one step in Will's direction, Jack sighed and twirled back. "Lizzie?" he inquired in a resigned tone.

"Don' look at me," Anamaria replied, flopping in a chair. She picked at the half-eaten hotcakes that Will had left. "Woke her up yesterday wi' a towel, an' she didn' even bat an eye. Think we might be needin' an outside opinion."

"Jaime's in London till tomorrow," Jack commented drearily. "Least we'll not be doin' anythin' too complicated today."

"Y'hope," she reminded him. Jack waited till Anamaria'd turned back to the pancakes, and then he grimaced nastily at the back of her head.


"Morning, Gibbs," Will greeted, sounding like death with a triple hangover. The other man squinted back to make sure it was really him, and then dropped the files and discs on Will's desk.

"Morning, young Turner," Gibbs replied hesitatingly. "Will you be needin' anythin'? Coffee? Aspirin?"

Will thought about smacking his head on his keyboard, then thought about Jack's reaction to another bruise. "No, that's…get down!"

Both men instantly ducked, and a moment later, a particular set of sneakers walked by the slightly-ajar door of Will's office. Gibbs regarded them, then glanced back at Will. "Keep Miss Elizabeth away?"

"That'd be wonderful, Gibbs," the younger man answered, clawing back into his seat. "And Jack as well. If you can."

"But he'd be the captain…" A trace of irritation raced across Will's face, and Gibbs nodded knowingly. "Ah, then. I'll do the best I can." A tinge of embarrassment touched the older man's grizzled cheek-stubble. "And the, um, the…"

Digging in a desk, Will slapped a few CDs into the other man's hand. "There you go, Gibbs. Their next album, a couple bonus tracks, and that video-clip for your wife."

"Many, many thanks," Gibbs babbled, getting up. "Daughters are going t'love you, Will. Well, they do already, think you're 'beefcake'-an' I'm going t'leave now an' pretend no one's told me what that means."

Will watched perplexedly as the other man fled, then shrugged and got back to work. Ten minutes later, he was torn between shooting the computer and begging. Fortunately for both the monitor and his dignity, the phone rang. Flipping it up to his ear, Will was barely able to avoid sounding desperate. "James?"

*Will? I've just finished all my meetings, and I thought I'd call to see how everything was doing. I did try Jack's cell, but it seems to be busy at the moment.*

"I think he's leaving the office in a few minutes, so he's probably calling up some contact," Will replied, lifting his sprained ankle to rest it on the desk. "Thank God you called, by the way. I really need to talk to someone...sane."

*Oh.* James sounded a little wary, but soon regained his usual composure. *Well, I thank you for the compliment. What happened?*

"What happened," Will repeated, glowering at the computer screen. "I got slightly less than mortally hurt, and Jack turned into a bloody hen. Anamaria's like usual, and Elizabeth blew up at me for nothing."

*So this has nothing to do with any sudden movement in the underworld?*

"No, though I almost wish it had been that," Will seethed, reaching out and retyping a few lines. "God damn it, James. Why the hell do women have to be so touchy? All I said was what she already knew was true, but just because the planets were aligned, or off in Toronto someone screwed the pooch, Liz has to go and get pissed! And when she's not being that, she's being jealous 'cause I get to stay in and do deskshit while she gets to roar around in cars." He pounded hard into the computer keys, glaring at the changing numbers. "Hell, and Jack? Might as well be a woman. Last night he pulled half out and asked if my leg was all right. I almost strangled him."

*Will,* James said, tone a shade nervous. *I'm not quite in private at the moment. But Jack's…he cares about you. Admittedly, he does have odd ways of showing it, but--*

"Odd," the younger man snorted. "Tell me about it. First the swordfish trick, and then it's all-" he went to falsetto "-'oh, God, I'm sorry! Here now, let me get a doctor, get a hospital, get a bloody tower and call you Rapunzel.' It's absolute hell, James."

*Jack's become an eunuch?*

Startled out of his diatribe, Will didn't know how to respond. And suddenly, he was laughing till his stomach ached and his breath wheezed. From the phone, James' worried voice crackled, *Will? Are you all right? Your breathing sounds a bit erratic.*

Still grinning, Will didn't even register the concern. He got his amusement under control and replied, "No, I'm good. I'm very good…"

He stared, and then looked again. The monitor screen didn't change. "I'm fucking awesome, James," Will half-shouted, pouncing forward onto the keyboard. "Listen, thanks so much, I'll overhaul your accounting systems or something when you get back. Hope your shit went okay. And I've got to go-the computer gods are smiling, and yeah, have to take their blessings while you can. All right?"

*Ah…yes, I believe so,* James replied, tone now completely bewildered. *I'll see you tomorrow, then.*

"Sure. Definitely," Will mumbled offhandedly, fumbling the phone back onto its hook.


"D'accord, d'accord." Anamaria listened for a few more seconds, drumming her scarlet nails on the dashboard, and finally interrupted the stream of staticky slurring. "Con. Get off th'damn cell, an' start drivin' toward th'next stop. No, Jack, no one's called from th'office yet, so nothin's happened. Will's still mad at you. An' I'm hangin' up."

As she'd stated, she promptly snapped the cell phone closed and started up the engine, heading for the freeway. During the first fifteen minutes on it, Anamaria was too preoccupied with establishing her dominance over the black tar, and so didn't bother tackling the suntanned stormcloud slouching in the passenger's seat. Some quick-and-loose playing with traffic laws later, however, Anamaria finally had time to deal with the waves of sulkiness emanating from her partner. "What'd he say, fille?"

"Don't wanna talk about it." Elizabeth did one mean toddler-imitation, Anamaria had to admit. Not that that was going to satisfy her.

"Putain de merde," the older woman exhaled, already frustrated. She kept up a steady stream of Significant Looks at Elizabeth as she skidded the car into the exit ramp, and sure enough, the dam started to crack.

"It might've have been your wake-up call," Elizabeth grumbled, staring at the passing nightclub signs.

"Vrai," Anamaria allowed, slinging them down some grubby side-streets. "Y'did attack me pretty fierce yesterday mornin'." She smirked at the other woman's rosy blush. "Will's eyes 'bout popped out o' his head."

"Jackass. Thinks he's such a gentleman, and then he goes off and clearly shows that he's just as much an insensitive jerk-off as the rest of them."

"What'd he do?" At Elizabeth's faltering, Anamaria shot a sideways glare. "Parle. Or I'm headin' for th'nearest graveyard an' askin' th'loa."

"You really think Miami'd work for something like that?" the younger woman retorted disbelievingly. Nevertheless, she reluctantly started to speak as they parked and got out. "Will just-goddamn it. I hate how everyone knows I have needle-phobia, all right? And I know; I don't need anyone to point it out."

"Nobody's laughin' at you, fille," Anamaria said soberly, leading the way to the nearest seedy bar. Unnoticed, soft clinking came from a nearby alley. "An' if Will was-not that it's his style-"

"He didn't." Looking regretful now, Elizabeth made some exasperated noises. "It's…hell. I faced down a ghost, right? And there's nothing scarier than death, so I figured after that, syringes would be easy." She halted, staring mournfully up at a neon sign. "It's me, really, that I'm mad at. Just a bad morning, and Will's been short-tempered ever since Jack banned him from fieldwork till the doctor cleared him. I suppose I'll have to apologize at dinner."

Anamaria opened her mouth to respond, but then a loud clattering started up, and both women turned, tensing up. "Quoi? Elizabeth-"

"Godgodneedsomethingneedneed!" screeched the alley, and without warning, a six-foot tall rag blew out from the by-passage. Turning jittery-mad eyes on the two women, it grew a grotesquely chipped smile.

"Mon Dieu!" Scrambling backwards, Anamaria slid one hand over the butt of her gun. But the addict had stopped, and now mumbled almost-sensible nonsense.

"French? Like the French. Invented mayonnaise. Like mayonnaise. You're pretty, brown sugar. Y'got anything?" He reached a trembling hand forward, and in his other hand, thin glass and steel suddenly flashed in the sunlight. Catching sight of the familiar shape, Elizabeth gasped and stilled, eyes so wide they seemed to swallow the rest of her face. Anamaria started for the other woman, but the jangling man abruptly thrust himself between them. "Powder, y'know. Blow. Need some. I'm dying."

"Oh, Christ," Elizabeth whispered, and in her head, she was seeing a puddle of dirty water, reflecting a filthy face strung round with straggled locks that still glinted gold in places. In her veins, she was feeling the echo of the surging happiness, and then the brutal fall into despair and want.

Someone was calling her, but she couldn't make out the words. Words. The cracking mouth before was saying something. "Need, girl. Y'got some, doncha? Knew it, princess. Give me. Give me it, now, or I'll cut you open. I will. I will-"

But Elizabeth heard Will, and her mind snapped back to the present, just in time to see long ragged-sharp nails grabbing for her. "Fuck!"

Snatching out a gun, she slammed its butt into the side of the addict's head, then darted out from under his grasping arms and skittered forward. A car smashed into her side, and in a split second, Elizabeth had wrenched the door open and jumped inside. With shaking hands, she somehow got the key into the ignition and then the car was leaping forward, tires squealing as it sped away from the screaming.


"Putain de fucking merde!" Anamaria snarled at the fast-disappearing vehicle. A confused, angry flood of cursing came from behind her, and she whipped around into a roundhouse kick, sending the addict crashing into the bar's front. "Salaud," she added ferociously, glaring at the motionless huddle of man. "Y'damn lucky there's witnesses 'round, or I'd send your head to Ghede."

Whacking his skull with her pistol butt for good measure, she shouldered aside the staring onlookers crowded in the bar doorway. The owner came running up, questions in his face, and she irately waved him back. "You wait-non. You get that bundle o' bones away from me 'fore I turn this place into a crime scene. An' I'm borrowin' your office for a phone call. Private."

Without bothering to wait for an answer, Anamaria took off for the office and smacked the door shut, then dialed. "Will?"

*'lo? Hey, Anamaria, I just figured out this shortcut, so I'll be done and home by--*

"Elizabeth got harassed by an addict-"


"Shut up and pay 'tention," Anamaria interrupted. "Fille belted him good, but she took off in m'car. I've got t'deal wi' things here, get a ride an' finish up."

*Am leaving now,* Will replied. Hasty rustling came over the line, and then he said, *Good thing it's not my pedal foot that's bad. Who's calling Jack?*

Something banged outside, and Anamaria heaved a breath. "You. I'm busy."


James' phone was chiming. Politely but swiftly excusing himself from the group, he ducked down a side corridor and opened the nearest janitor's closet. And then he blinked.

Composing himself with admirable alacrity, 006 peered over a dark head that James could probably assume with confidence belonged to 007. "Norrington? May we help you?"

"Terribly sorry," James apologized, hurriedly removing his eyes from the long, well-shaped legs wrapped about Bond's waist, just above a rather nice double handful. "I was looking for an unbugged spot to take a call-" he held up the still-ringing phone "-and I'll just be on my way."

The head lifted from Trevelyan's throat, revealing that the other man was indeed Bond. "Try the second stall in the men's," he offered helpfully, and then promptly dove back into his partner's neck.

"Thanks," James muttered as he shut the door and strode off, trying very, very hard to remain calm. In his hand, the cell abruptly fell silent, then started up again. "Yes, yes, wait a moment," he told it as he entered the restroom and locked himself in the recommended staff. James began to sit on the seat, then realized Bond had most likely been the one to sweep the area for wiretaps, and thought better of it. Flipping the cell open, he checked the CallerID™ and then asked, "Elizabeth, is everything all right?"

*How'd you know-not that it matters.* Her tone was shaken, and suddenly the Atlantic Ocean seemed ridiculously large. Who needed seven seas, anyway? Six would do. *Oh, God. It was-was horrible, and I wish I could talk to Will.*

No matter how he tried to tell himself differently, that last comment still stung. "Why don't you?" James replied, a little more sharply than he intended.

*Jaime, what-shit. I'm doing it again. I'm so, so sorry.* She sighed. *I'm just a stupid fuck-up. The original walking blonde joke.*

And now he felt like an utter cad. "Elizabeth, it's I who should be sorry. You've obviously just had a shock, and here I am, snapping at you."

Giggling, she couldn't answer for a few moments. *Jesus Christ, James, I hope you're not this nice in interrogations.* In a quieter tone, Elizabeth continued, *I had a-a spat with Will this morning.*

James was about to mention that he'd already heard about it, but she was still talking. *Over my…little problem with skinny pointy things. And then later, when I was out with Anamaria, we ran into a druggie and I freaked. He almost got me before I snapped out of it and ran-and shit, I took Anamaria's car! Without her! Oh, fuuuuuck, she's going to kill me.*

"Not on the Sabbath, surely," James remarked, shifting his weight.

A beat of silence. *Well, today just gets even more mind-bending. And I'm not saying you don't have a wicked sense of humor, Jaime, because you do. It just doesn't show up much.*

Elizabeth certainly sounded better, and James relaxed in relief. "I take it you're uninjured?"

*Oh, yes, I'm fine. I'm just a little…lost.*

"Elizabeth, everyone has some great fear; personally, I myself am inclined to share yours after what we saw with the Aztec Gold. And furthermore, you're doing more than remarkably well in coming to terms with your problem," he said in as comforting and rational a tone he could manage. "I've known agents who for years have persisted in simply pretending they have no difficulties with anything. And they're complete fools, and cowards. You've twice the courage of them."

*Jaime…* she murmured. *Thank…I wish I could say something a little more meaningful, but I can't. Thank you.*

"It was my pleasure," James replied truthfully. Then they both were quiet, but it was a peaceful lack of words.

*Jaime?* Elizabeth eventually started. *I really am grateful. Beyond belief. But I'm also lost. As in, physically. So I think I have to get off now and dig up a map.*

Unable to help himself, he grinned. "I understand perfectly," James answered. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

*So am I. Hey, Jaime? Love you.*

The call clicked off, but for quite some time afterward, James simply stood there and stared at his phone.


"Bloody Will," Jack grumbled, downing another shot of rum.

Fed up, the bartender slapped down his rag and demanded, "Were you listening to a word I said?"

"Big drop, snowstorm in Florida, Mickey's got a likin' for th'strippers 'cause Minnie's not puttin' out these days," Jack rattled off. He scowled at the line of empty shotglasses in front of him. "Like ev'ryone else."

"Whatever, man," the other man said. "So that's what I've heard. Usual method of?"

"Yeah," Jack replied, reluctantly hopping off the barstool. "An' usual number of Ben Franklins." Ambling off towards his car, he tossed back a last comment. "Savvy?"

"Hell, yes. I ain't a greedy man."

Once outside, Jack took a moment to glance out past the boardwalk at the gently heaving waves. "Bootstrap, I love y'dearly, an' y'son even more, but would y'really blame me if I tossed him in there for a bit? He does know how t'swim."

But before the ocean could answer, the soft strains of 'A Pirate's Life for Me' filled the air, and Jack was suddenly groping in his clothing for his cell. At last finding it, he opened it up and asked, "Tired o' th'martinis yet?"

*Later, Jack,* James replied briskly. *I've just gotten some odd calls--*

A sharp beep interrupted the other man, and Jack frowned. "Hang on, Jaime. Got another one…Will?" Ignoring James' increasingly sharper tones, he switched over to the second call. "Ah, Will?"

*Jack.* Not quite as nasty as over breakfast, but still rather cool. *Liz and Anamaria met a crackhead, and Liz had a freak-out. Swiped Anamaria's car and took off, so I'm going to go find her.*

"Who's with you?" Jack demanded, whirling and making a beeline for his car.

*No one. Christ on His Cross, this isn't a goddamn operation, and anyway, Liz won't be in the mood for company,* Will replied, rapidly beginning to bristle. *I'm going out, and I'm taking her to an early dinner or something, so she calms down.*

Trying very hard not to bite at the phone, Jack took a deep breath before he spoke once more. "Not meanin' t'impugn your manhood, Will, but y're on th'injured list for a reason. Y'can' run."

*Then it's a fucking good thing I don't jog,* the younger man hissed, and immediately after that, the line went dead.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Jack leaned against the car and said it anyway. "Try not to do anything…stupid." Unexpectedly fuming, he shoved the cell somewhere and flung himself into the driver's seat. "Very well, then, Mr. Turner," he muttered crossly, slamming the car into gear, "I won't be stoppin' th'day's work t'call for a search an' track down th'resident eunuch an' princess. I'll…"

He slumped over the steering wheel. "Bloody Will."

Jack took out his cell phone and regarded it for a long, tense moment. And then he put it away. "Boy's got near-perfect aim," he reminded himself, pulling into traffic. "An' he's gotten smarter. Really. Anyone out o' Bootstrap's line can' be a complete idiot. An'…" Jack mentally reviewed his remaining stops, then took a spinning turn into a sidestreet. "Rum it is, then."


Glaring at the square piece of plastic, Norrington felt distinctly peeved. Jack had hung up on him. Even if they'd been somewhat less than courteous, Will and Elizabeth at least had remembered to say good-bye.

"Sir?" Gillette stood at the end of the hallway, inquiring expression badly hidden under his politeness. "Dinner is being served."

"Oh, yes." Secreting the cell in a jacket pocket, James turned on one heel and came forward to beside the other man. "Thank you, Gillette."

Forcefully shoving Miami out of his head, James concentrated on making it through another formal dinner. Time enough to speak to Jack later. And find out just what the devil Will and Elizabeth had been doing.


Slowing the car down, Will expertly maneuvered it into a thin slice of free space by the curb, then hopped out and locked the door. For a moment, he eyeballed the line of people stretched out before him. It didn't budge. Sighing, Will went about looking for an alternate way into the aquarium.

It took a bit of doing, but eventually, he was in and limping his way purposefully through the crowd towards the dolphin tanks. A familiar golden head glinted at the far end, right by the huge underwater windows, and Will quickened his pace, cutting through the mass of people like a shark slipping through the sea. But when he was nearly there, Elizabeth suddenly turned, and Will had to swiftly dodge behind a nearby pillar.

A wide-eyed little Hispanic boy looked up at the panting man. //Are you all right?//

A little confused, Will glanced around for the source of the voice, then registered its high pitch and turned his gaze downwards. //I'm…fine. I was…um…late for a meeting, and I had to run here. But thanks.//

//No problem, man//, the kid replied, winking. //I know how it is. My best to your lady.//

Will's brow furrowed. Huh? But the boy was already moving away, though he kept darting looks…behind Will. Half-heartedly ignoring the sinking feeling in his stomach, he called softly, "Elizabeth?"

And from the other side of the column, she answered, "Yeah?"

"I…Anamaria…" Will started slowly, then cut himself off with a wince. Best not to mention the matter directly. "Uh…I got you an apology gift."

He curled his arm around the pillar, and after a tense second, he felt Elizabeth taking the small package from his hand. "Will Turner, you are so whipped," she said, half-mocking and half-content. "And when it's me telling you, you know you're beyond recovery."

Rolling around the side of the column, she snuggled under his arm and unwrapped the present. "Alien Resurrection?-" hugging Will till he choked "-love you so much! And…your car keys?"

"Yeah," Will gasped, regaining his breath. "We've got reservations for dinner at James' Chinese place. And-and you get to drive. My ankle hurts."

"But you never let me drive…" Voice dying off, Elizabeth looked up into Will's earnest face. "Thank you," she finished, a little more quietly.


Tapping his fingers on the small table next to him, James showed just a trace of annoyance as he counted rings. Finally, someone answered. *Norrington? We'd be a little occupied right now, so Jack'll talk t'you later. Comprend?*

"Elizabeth called me, and she's fine," he told her quickly, and Anamaria fell silent. "Will called me, and he's fine. Jack called me, and he hung up on me. What the hell is wrong?"

*Here's Jack,* she replied laconically, and there was a brief pause while the cell was handed over.


"Captain Jack Sparrow," James muttered sardonically, indulging in a bit of a slouch. His back was starting to ache. "Are there any confessions you'd like to make? Problems of the heart you'd like to discuss? Because considering my record handling such matters today, I most likely could help. If you talk to me."

*Jaime, Jaime, I never meant to offend,* Jack cringed. *But it was a very distressing call I had from Will, an' I completely forgot you were on the line. Not nearly sufficient to excuse my…ill-treatment…of your fine patience, but I'll make it up to you. Promise. Really. Just have to settle Will and Liz.*

"And how are you planning to make it up to me?" James asked, still more aggravated than curious.

*Ah…Anamaria?* Jack's voice drifted away as he spoke to his colleague. *Go on an' call Lizzie. Y'can use th'room over there. Yes, now. Yes, please.* The cell hissed, then cleared, and Jack queried, *Jaime? You still there?*

"Holding my breath," the Brit said dryly.

*Damn it, Jaime, y've gone an' guessed it,* Jack mourned. *I was plannin' on takin' y'down t'morrow after y'd seen to your men, an' then layin' y'out on th'beach. On towels, 'course. Can' have th'sand roughin' up your nice skin. An' I nicked some bottles o' that one brand o' rum from Scarlet-y'know, th'kind that taste sweet on th'lips an' spicy on ev'rywhere else-for your welcome party. Thought I'd see which o' us could hold our air th'longest. But seein' as y'seem none-too-pleased-*

James swiftly unclamped his teeth from his lower lip and interjected, "No, no, that seems like a perfectly wonderful plan to me."

*Ah, good. Jaime-y'all right over there? Y'breath sounds a touch strained.*

"Jack," James hissed, uncomfortably twisting his legs around each other. "I'll see you tomorrow."

Five minutes after ending the call, James suddenly realized that he still didn't know what the cause of all the odd conversations was, but his attention being elsewhere, he decided it could wait. Indefinitely.


"Think my favorite was the-" Elizabeth grabbed onto the door handle "-crispy duck." She bucked up, sucking on Will's jaw. "It was-was very-"

"Crispy?" he suggested, sliding hands along her sides, fingers counting her ribs. He kissed away her snort, then cupped her buttocks and pulled her up. Consequently whacking his head against the roof of the car. "Ow! Fuck!"

As he came back down, Elizabeth writhed desperately, trying to keep him from slipping out while also trying to unwedge her foot from its niche between the far wall and the front passenger seat. "Hey! Whoa-we're gonna fall off-"

"Maybe this was a bad idea," Will muttered, hastily lunging for a seatbelt and yanking them back onto the seat. Elizabeth squeezed around his cock, and then her mouth dove between the two billowing sides of his unbuttoned shirt to latch onto a nipple. "Maybe it wasn't," he corrected, thrusting.

"God, come on, come on," she panted, rocking up against him. Nodding frantically, Will glued one hand to the top of the backseat, using that as support so he could speed up the pace. And then, from somewhere nearby, a faint jingle could be heard. Growling, Elizabeth slapped her cell into her hand, praying fiercely that it was someone she could blow off.

"Make it stop," Will moaned, caressing her breast.

"It's Anamaria," she hissed back. "We have to stop."

With a supreme effort, they managed to still themselves. Elizabeth flicked up one half of the cell and did her damnedest to sound collected. "Hi, Anamaria. I'm really, really sorry I ditched you like that."

*Long as th'car's back where it should be, it's all right, fille,* came the soothing reply. Then Anamaria's tone sharpened. *Is that…Will?*

Groaning silently, the aforementioned man craned down to the cell. "Hey, Anamaria."

*Mon Dieu…* Anamaria's next words were swallowed up in a gale of coin-bright laughter. *Bien, bien. At least y're both in nicer moods. An' that damn well better be Will's car.*

"Yeah, it is," Elizabeth swore. "I dropped yours off with Gibbs. And then I drove Will to dinner. Even paid attention to the red lights."

*Pauvre enfants,* Anamaria snickered, still amused. * S'pose I'll cover for you for now, fille, an' swing by t'pick you up for th'night. But y'have t'promise somethin'.*

"Yes?" Will and Elizabeth both answered.

*Will, talk t'Jack, dammit. He ain' funny when he's mopin', an' Norrie's not 'round t'cheer him up.* The older woman chuckled one last time. *A bientôt, petits.*

"Later," Will grunted, beginning to move again. Throwing her head back, Elizabeth blindly clicked off the phone before dropping it on the floor. "God, finally," he keened, pushing harder and deeper into her.

Then something tapped on the window. Completely fed-up now, Elizabeth reared up and bent around to fling the car door behind her wide-open. It smacked into someone, who promptly curled around the door to inquire, "Got any crack?"

"Fuck. Off," Elizabeth snarled, eyes almost glowing with pent-up rage. The stringy-haired being meeped, clutched its bag of syringes more tightly, and skittered off. Jerking the door shut again, Elizabeth turned back to find an awestruck Will staring at her. "What?"

"Liz…" he vaguely waved a hand towards the outside. "You…there were needles."

"Huh-" she finished backtracking her memory just as Will took her tongue into her mouth and kissed her soundly.

"You did it!" he grinned, leaning back and practically bouncing as he rocked furiously on the seat. "Christ, Liz, you did it!"

"I…oh my God," she gasped, eyes blooming with realization. And then Will plunged a hand down to where his cock went into her, doing something absolutely marvelous with his fingertips, and suddenly Elizabeth was breathless for an entirely different reason. "Oh my God!"

Her spasming set Will off, and going stiff above her, he came. "Elizabeth!"

"Love you, love you, love you," she whispered, drawing him back down. "Always."


Stepping out of the shower, Jack roughly dried himself, then wrapped the towel about his waist as he padded into the bedroom. He headed for the closet, and then performed an abrupt twirl, pointing accusingly at the huge bed. "Y'weren' there before. I checked."

"No, I wasn't," agreed Will. Naked Will. "Had to use the other shower, so now we're both dampish," Will observed, eeling across the length of the mattress. "You didn't call after that last chat."

Shrugging, Jack shuffled a little closer. "Didn' seem like y'were in th'mood. An' 'sides, y're best at trackin' down Liz, an' vice versa."

"Thanks, Jack," the younger man murmured, reaching out and snagging one end of Jack's towel. "I needed the space." Said piece of cotton fell to the floor. "And I didn't mean to be so pissy about things, but you were getting on my nerves."

"Delicate, are you?" Jack asked solicitously, taking a few more steps forward. "Seems like y'nerves are always jumpy."

"God, I don't know why I bother," Will mock-grumbled, grabbing Jack's wrist and rolling the other man onto the bed. Nipping down Jack's bronzed neck, Will went on, "Hell, if this is what happens when I sprain something, I'd hate to get a cold, or get shot-"

Warm rum-soaked lips swallowed the rest of the sentence, and Jack drank lazily from Will's mouth, turning them over. Propping up on elbows, he regarded the younger man pensively. "Don' mention that."

"Why were you so worried?" Will murmured, fixing an intense look on Jack. "You've seen me fight."

Jack's dark eyes shaded from charcoal to age-stained oak, and he bent down to bury his head in Will's neck. "Couldn't see you then," he confessed, lipping an earlobe. "For a couple seconds, I didn't know what'd happened to you."

"Oh," Will said. So it hadn't been the injury, after all. It'd been the separation, the lack of knowledge. And considering that their jobs depended on information…running soothing hands over Jack's silky back, Will remarked softly, "Now you do. I'm fine."

"Yeah, I know," Jack replied, licking down to Will's chest. The older man's legs spread out on the bed, and suddenly, they were flesh-to-flesh from shoulders to knees. "An' y're more likely t'do somethin' stupid when y're runnin' from me than by me."

"Like this?" Will queried breathlessly, arching up to rub their stiffening cocks together. Shaking his head, Jack raked his braids back with one hand, then bit down on one of Will's ribs.

"No, like leavin' th'slick in th'drawer," Jack groaned, grudgingly peeling off the delightfully-wriggling man beneath him. He humped himself over to the side of the bed, and had just closed his fingers around said item when Will launched a posterior assault. Literally: swiping a tongue down Jack's spine in one continuous movement, he wrenched Jack sideways and over to keep flicking his tongue further down till it dipped inside. "Right," Jack gasped, swaying back into Will's mouth, "'s not stupid. 's very, very smart."

"Thanks," Will mouthed against Jack's hip, curving himself round till he'd slithered beneath the other man. "Sorry, Jack. Couldn't help myself."

"Take what you can," the older man snorted, hurriedly coating his fingers before tossing the lubricant out of the way. "Give nothing back. That's a lesson y'don' need t'learn again," he grumbled lightheartedly, preparing Will at such a slow pace that by the time Jack finally slid his cock in, the younger man was almost certain his head would explode first. Either head.

Snaking a leg around Jack, Will yanked them together and growled, "Get on with it."

Pinning those thrashing hips to the bed, Jack tutted. "All in good ti-" his eyes widened a satisfactory amount as he jerked. "Will-"

"Lesson two," the other man retorted raggedly, repeating that particular internal ripple. "Never trust an honest man not to do something-"

"Lesson three," Jack interrupted, pounding into Will, "Learn th'diff'rence between stupid an'…an'…hell wi' it." By now shaking the bed with his thrusts, he fastened his mouth to Will's shoulder and kept it there till they'd both screamed their climaxes.

"Missed you," Will murmured sometime later, nuzzling Jack's ear. "Only a day, and I missed you.

Tugging the other man closer, Jack smirked at the ceiling. "Well, best enjoy now, then. Six hours till work."

At that, Will blearily checked the clock, then rumbled his discontent. "Damn it. Sometimes I wish we had a regular workweek. Hate Mondays."

"Can't be worse'n today," Jack sighed, smelling Will's hair. "An' 'sides, we get t'welcome Jaime home."


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