Games of Chance
"Are you a gambling man?" Jack had asked him up on deck, before leading him down into the Captain's quarters, shuffling around on a shelf until he produced an old, dusty deck of playing cards.
"I do not know many card games," Will said, seating himself in the dirty chair after wrinkling his nose at it, and then at Jack. "I do not normally play at games of chance."
Jack rolled kohl-rimmed eyes and flopped down opposite him, the well-worn cards held loosely in one hand, his hat in the other.
"No matter, then. The cards aren't as important as the game itself," he said, dropping his hat on the bed and dividing the deck into two small piles, neatly shuffling them back together again.
"And what is the game?" Will asked softly, looking from Jack's quick hands to the pirate's eyes, which gleamed like a cat's in the candlelight.
Jack smirked and flipped a card, not even looking at it. "Do you believe in fate, William Turner?" He set card down, eyes on Will.
Jack of Diamonds.
Will glanced at it, and then back up at Jack. "No, I do not. I believe that each man carves his own destiny."
Jack nodded absently, placing the next card: The Jack of Clubs. "And just why do you feel that is the one and only truth?"
Will furrowed his brow, watching Jack's normally flighty hands lay these cards so carefully on the old, splintered table. He had never seen a game of cards that played like this before. "It is just a personal opinion that I stick to. I cannot abide the thought that my destiny has been plotted. It makes life seem worthless."
Jack said nothing, only laid a third card; the Jack of Spades.
Will stared down at them for a few moments, awaiting Jack's next move. When nothing happened, he glanced back up at the Pirate, both surprised and intrigued by the concentration he saw on the Captain's face.
"Interesting," Jack said softly, reaching up with his free hand, slowly stroking his fingers down his twice-plaited goatee.
Will frowned, annoyed already. "What is interesting? What are you doing?" he demanded, his voice taking on a slightly nasal tone as he tried to keep the whine from it.
Jack cleared his throat and reached to his deck again, flipping over the Eight of Hearts and placing it sideways over the Jack of Diamonds, arching a dark eyebrow as he contemplated it. "Ah, yes… and as a man that does not believe in fate, just what do you plan on doing with your bonnie Elizabeth upon rescuing her?" he asked, seeming more interested in his cards than his questions.
Will sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest as he glared at Jack. "I plan to see her returned safely to Port Royal where she belongs," he said, his tone obstinate.
"So I see," the distracted pirate murmured, drawing his fifth card and laying it over the Jack of Clubs: The Four of Hearts. He tilted his head, beads and coins jangling in his hair as he lowered his face closer to the table, his eyes squinting carefully as he seemed to be examining the cards very closely.
Will sighed loudly, rolling his eyes. "What in God's name are you doing?"
Jack reached up and rubbed his nose with his free hand, sniffing loudly before answering. "I am examining my hand, young William. Now keep your nose out of it."
"What is this?" Will asked, annoyed. He gestured to the incomplete spread with an angry sweep of his hand. "Is this some sort of individualistic card game? Or are you really just as mad as everyone says?"
Jack snapped his head up, his features comically wounded. "Who says that?" he asked, seeming truly offended.
Will stared at him for a moment before scoffing and gesturing back to the cards. "Jack!"
Jack smirked and waved his free hand at Will; a dismissive gesture for a question he deemed unworthy.
Will groaned in frustration and stood, running his hands over his tangled, salty hair as he paced the tiny cabin, pausing to stare out of a grimy porthole. Jack glanced at him, a small smile playing about his lips as he flipped the final card, laying it over the Jack of Spades.
Ah, the Four of Spades.
"Ah, that's what old Jack wants to see," he murmured to himself, sweeping up all of the cards in one quick swoop. He gathered them back into the deck and cut it, shuffling the cards back amongst the others, as if they had never once been singled out.
He dealt out a few cards to himself and to the empty seat across from him. Gathering up his own hand, he smiled coyly, gold teeth glinting in the faint candlelight, the Jack of Spades smiling up at him, nestled in between his good friends the Jack of Diamonds and the Jack of Clubs.
The Pirate chuckled and glanced over at Will. "Poker?" he asked.
[An explanation of the cards.]
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