silver_flecks: (Swallowing My Fish)
[personal profile] silver_flecks
Del likes Singapore.

It's busy, and there are people, which isn't always true when things are busy (she thinks but could be wrong) and there are duckies (now there are weren't before one has purple and green feathers and she's named him Jennifer Ignatius) and gum.

She's chewing the gum. That's where it is. In her mouth. To be chewed.

It tastes like dandelion wine that's been spilled on wooden benches.

It's good. She thinks. She knows.

It's fun, as she skips with her duckie in arms (and if it used to be a crewman, she isn't bothered) along the dock, crooning to it before looking back at Jack and grinning.

Date: 2006-05-13 03:48 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack, in turn, is strolling along as though he owns the place. His hands are resting on his belt, casually near several knives-- hidden and not -- and a pistol.

He catches Del's grin and winks at her.

"Anywhere in particular you'd like to go first, luv?"

Date: 2006-05-13 04:10 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
He eyes the duck, which eyes him back, and then squawks rather desperately.

Jack tucks it under his arm and pats it on the head.

"Shhh, lad. I'll see what I can do."

A beat, as he watches her dance.


Date: 2006-05-13 04:44 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
He makes an elaborate gesture, jostling the frantically quacking duck as he presents it to her.

"Lass, I'm going to need him back as he was to help with the Pearl, savvy?" It's almost apologetic.

Date: 2006-05-13 04:54 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Absolutely," he promises, grinning.

The duck's protests are completely ignored.

Jack sets the waterfowl down at her feet and looks expectant.

Date: 2006-05-13 05:16 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
The restored crewmember flees in the opposite direction as fast as he can.

(It turns out that he never actually does return to the Pearl-- instead, Jennifer Ignatius (whose previous name no one now remembers, including himself) finds himself drawn to a small market booth where ducks are sold. Two weeks later, he's married to the boothkeeper's daughter and doing a prosperous business of his own. Odd, the affinity he has for tending the flock-- one might even think he could talk to them.)

Jack watches as Del wanders in her own fashion. Before he follows, however, he pulls out a compass -- one that doesn't point north-- and takes a bearing.

"Now that's interesting." Black eyes are gleaming as he follows her.

Date: 2006-05-13 05:30 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
He doesn't look surprised at all to find himself standing with her outside the dusty little junk shop, with its darkened windows and ancient door. One tiny sign creaks in the wind, swinging slowly back and forth.

"Been here before, have you, luv?"

Jack's grinning.

Date: 2006-05-14 02:30 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"So do I, Del-me-luv," he says, unnaturally serious all in a heartbat. "It's the best sort of place, savvy?"

And then he's grinning.

"Been here before, I have, to this very shop. There's a man." A beat. "D'you know him, then?"

Date: 2006-05-14 02:47 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack winks at her and lets himself be drawn, then pulls his hand free in order to sling his arm around her shoulders.

With his other hand, he opens the door.

The scent of dust and aged incense fills the air of the shop. Underlying it are other scents, faded and dim and strangely blended-- scents of green leaf and dark leather, bronze and brass and gun-oil and powder, sea-salt and ocean spray, wood and dark earth.

It is filled with knick-knacks and piled junk, covering every available space and corner. The only evident light seems to fall through the dirty glass of the front window, scattering faint rays into the dimness.

In a far corner, behind a counter, an old man stands and watches quietly. He is polishing a brass bowl, which occasionally throws a spark as he turns it over and over in his hands.

Date: 2006-05-14 03:13 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (there's a man in singapore)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
The old man looks at her. Even in the dim light, there's something strange about his eyes. With careful deliberation, he sets the bowl down, then smooths his hands over his long white beard and brings the palms together before his chest.

"Gāoxìng jìandào nĭ, fū rén," he says politely, watching her.

In Mandarin.

Date: 2006-05-14 03:52 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Haudquaquam conieci esse," Jack replies smoothly, and then flashes her a wicked grin and a wink.

He watches as the old man takes the mango from Del and studies it gravely, then turns to set it on a velvet pillow on a high shelf behind him. When he turns back, Jack steps forward.

The bells jingle in his hair as he tips his hat into his hands and bows his head in formal acknowledgement.

"Delightful to see you again, mate."

Seriously said, almost gruff in tone.

Date: 2006-05-14 04:13 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (there's a man in singapore)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
The old man watches Del settle in with the little cat, smiling enigmatically behind his beard, and then turns to Jack and offers a slight bow.

"The pleasure is mine, Captain Sparrow." It's hard to place his accent, precisely-- he sounds as though he could be from anywhere, or from everywhere.

"What brings you and your companion to grace my shop with the honor of your presence?"

Jack grins at him. "The lady wanted to sail somewhere interesting, savvy?"

There's a beat, though, and then he casually adds, "And I've got a bit of a challenge for you. I'm seeking a very particular sort of treasure-- something very special indeed."

Date: 2006-05-14 04:58 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Absently, Jack starts rubbing his left palm on his pants-leg-- and then realizes what he's doing.

The old man gets a very sharp look as Jack clenches his hand into a fist and puts it behind his back.

"Not talking about that, mate. I've got time left yet."

There might be something of desperate resolve in his voice.

Date: 2006-05-14 05:16 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
The hand held behind his back twitches violently, but Jack doesn't move.

"Long enough. It'll be long enough."

He takes a deep breath, and then grins once more.

"But in fact, it's a matter of time that I wanted to talk about, savvy? A trick to turn it about."

Date: 2006-05-14 05:42 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Affordability's not the problem, mate. I'm sure that a reasonable price can be met." Jack leans closer, setting his beads and bangles clacking.

"It's finding the treasure in the first place that's the real challenge, savvy?"

Date: 2006-05-14 05:58 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Funny thing, that," he agrees drolly. "And there are some who might frequent the business establishments of those others."

Jack is momentarily distracted by the open brasswork on a lamp-stand nearby, or so it seems. He runs a finger along lines and curves that swell like ocean waves as he adds,

"Like this one. Might you happen to know of where I could find such a pretty piece of work?"

Black eyes are gleaming with manic, madcap glee.

Date: 2006-05-15 01:37 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack grins wickedly, and doesn't say anything at first.

He holds his right hand out, looking at the rings on his fingers, then reaches up to stroke his braided beard thoughtfully.

With a flick of the wrist, a brilliant blue star sapphire begins its near-hypnotic dance over his knuckles. Forward and back again, shining even in the shop's dim light-- and the gleaming white star almost seems to wink like a mystic eye.

Date: 2006-05-15 01:54 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Well now." Jack sets the sapphire down on the counter, and holds out his hands for the chest.

"Let's have a look-see, mate."

Date: 2006-05-15 02:16 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (wistful)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
And as she does, something inside the chest catches the light with a bright gleam.

Slowly, half-enchanted, Jack reaches into the depths and lifts the astrolabe from its red-velvet nest.

Is it gold, or simply shining brass? It doesn't matter. Very nearly a work of art in its own right, its scrolled surface shows carefully engraved maps, with rings of stars and rings of planets smoothly lying one over another, with compass-points atop them both in order to easily provide direction. One circle shows latitude, another longitude, and a third describes the degrees of the night sky and the earth below. All of these are familiar to any sailor accustomed to navigation.

One more ring shines clearly, however, circumscribing the whole-- a simple golden band with two words in delicate script:

Tempus Frangit.

"This is a treasure indeed, mate." It's very softly said, almost as if Jack's afraid the sound of his voice might break the shining thing. "How does it work?"

Date: 2006-05-15 02:33 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"That's all part of the fun of it, isn't it?"

Jack takes a soft leather pouch from a pocket and slides the astrolabe into it, then wraps it up with care. He returns the pouch with its precious contents to an inner pocket, far away from prying eyes and thieves' knives, then brings both hands together in the same sort of oddly formal gesture the old man had used earlier.

With a half-bow, he says, "A delight doing business with you, honored dà gē." He's grinning, wickedly enchanted, and then a thought strikes him. Jack flashes Del a look.

"See anything you'd particularly like to have, lass?"

Date: 2006-05-15 02:53 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack looks quizzically at the cat, and then shrugs and looks back at the old man.

"Your call, mate."

Date: 2006-05-15 03:17 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack grins, turning back to Del.

"Up to your new friend, luv. But your Babylon's welcome on me Pearl."

Date: 2006-05-15 03:41 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Jack just smiles, and doesn't even try to steal a further kiss-- not from Del, not here, not now.

He does slip an arm around her waist, however, as he turns back to the old man.

"Until next time, mate. Fair winds and smooth sailing to you."

Date: 2006-05-15 03:57 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
Black eyes glitter sharply, but Jack says nothing, even when his hand twitches once more.

Instead, he guides Del and Babylon toward the door, and the three of them step out into the street.

"Well, now." He grins down at her. "Care to continue our tour, luv?"

Date: 2006-05-15 04:13 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
The cat has made its way up to Del's shoulder and is poking its nose out from behind locks of her hair, but stops long enough to let out a miaow of agreement.


Jack leaves his hand in Del's and grins wickedly down at her.

"Devils and black sheep and really bad eggs," he says confidentially.

Date: 2006-05-15 04:27 am (UTC)
pirate_jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pirate_jack
"Wise of you, luv," he says seriously, tucking her hand in the crook of his arm and leading the way down the street.

It's more of a sway than a walk, and as they pass from street to street it gets more crowded, but Jack always seems to find a way through, weaving deftly through small openings that become larger ones.

From ahead comes the sound of hundreds of voices all shrilling chatter at high volume, along with the scents of fish and rice and sweet things and sour things and fire and ocean and salt and singed metal and all the things that a crowded city market might hold, dockside.



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