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[POTC challenge fic] - "Spine" - PG-13 - samsara
so ripe. so rotten.
writing_samsara
writing_samsara
[POTC challenge fic] - "Spine" - PG-13
Challenge: Write a scene for each of the words below using characters from Pirates of the Caribbean.

1)spine
2)song
3)smoke
4)gold
5)box
6)flee
7)snake
8) memories
9)henna
10)eyes

Here's my first one.


1)SPINE:

It's taken at least five hours, but Elizabeth is proud of her work. The books dried nicely, and she’s nearly finished mending the last of the torn sails.

During their latest raid on the merchant vessel The Silver Lily, the row of windows above Jack’s large collection of books shattered, drowning nearly the entire library but leaving the rest of the room virtually unaffected. The brackish water pooled in their bindings, was drawn languidly into their pages over the course of the boarding, and lacy fingers of ink now fanned out across many of the pages. Elizabeth discovered the mess, having returned to change her bloodstained shirt. She noticed the scent first. Something stale and musty and damp: a wave of brine and binding glue and wet pulp assaulted her nostrils and alerted her to the tragedy.

“Blast,” she’d muttered, eyes finding the sparkle of glass shards. Jack was going to be heartbroken. And so she mopped up the mess carefully, gathered the books in a blanket, and carried them above deck to crisp in the sunlight.

That was about five hours ago. Dipping low in the sky, the sun paints the horizon a promising red. Across deck, Jack passes the wheel to Gibbs, momentarily walking away to examine the minor damages to the Pearl for the eleventh time. There is a frenetic energy about ship, the crew set to mending and Jack in his victorious glory. He flashes her his golden smile, winking shamelessly. For their audience, she makes a show of consternation, smirking as he returns to his ministrations. These are Elizabeth's best loved moments. Apart yet together and all the ship set to a purpose.

Elizabeth runs her fingertips across the spines of Jack's sun-baked books. The few that still lay open make a lovely fluttering sound in the breeze. Dante. Donne. Shakespeare. More and Spenser and Virgil. This is not the collection of the near-mythic, nefarious Captain Jack Sparrow - not the library of the man she watches prancing about deck, bawdy and hell-bent on an evening of rum and tall tales. No, these are the books of the man beneath that skin of bravado, an educated man that learned to read as a little boy in Kerala, sister nestled in his lap, the two of them struggling for comprehension as his fingers glanced across the verses of a pilfered volume of Paradise Lost. Elizabeth smiles a small, secret smile remembering the evenings spent with those books. He read each tome to her with reverence, his voice low but his fingers animated, tracing the words on her bare back. She learned him that way: drowsily, in the deepest pockets of night, Jack's voice rum-warm and purring.

The seawater has dried on their covers in crackled tributaries that remind her of the tangle of scars on his left arm. The pages are curled and hazy with water, but drying well. She blots at several stubborn spots. Tonight she will read a few pages to him. She imagines her own fingers marking soft sentiments in lazy curls across his belly, translating his scars into various clusters of verse. She will remember how to erase and rewrite him.

Until then she watches the sun slip low on the water, its last rays warming her captain’s books.


Title: Spine
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Spoilers: Through DMC and occurs post AWE, although Lord knows I haven't seen it.
Pairing: Jack/Elizabeth
Rating: PG-13 (a very light PG-13)
Word Count: 547
Summary: Written for a friend's ficlet challenge - the first of ten. Jack's got a library, and his books are all wet.

Disclaimer: I don't own POTC or any of the people in it. Would that I was that rich....
 
Note on the work: Although I've been writing for dog's years and an avid fan of several something-or-others for even longer, I'm fairly new to the POTC (and livejournal) world. I decided to stop lurking and try my hand at some fanfic. No beta as of yet - just my strained eyes and a sloppily-earned English degree on which to rely. Be gentle on a lady. It's my first time.
 
Feedback would be lovely!

Tags: , ,
Current Location: humid GA
Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Midival Punditz

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Comments
erinya From: erinya Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
No, these are the books of the man beneath that skin of bravado, an educated man that learned to read as a little boy in Kerala, sister nestled in his lap, the two of them struggling for comprehension as his fingers glanced across the verses of a pilfered volume of Paradise Lost. Elizabeth smiles a small, secret smile remembering the evenings spent with those books. He read each tome to her with reverence, his voice low but his fingers animated, tracing the words on her bare back. She learned him that way: drowsily, in the deepest pockets of night, Jack's voice rum-warm and purring.

*loves* That memory of his boyhood, the fact that she knows about it (his secret self) and the juxtaposition with her own memory of those books and him.

She imagines her own fingers marking soft sentiments in lazy curls across his belly, translating his scars into various clusters of verse. She will remember how to erase and rewrite him.

That too. Thoroughly gorgeous. I hope to see more of these two from you.
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)

yay!

Thanks so much! You've completely made my night. I can't tell you how I was on pins and needles, first attempt and all, and now I'm like a kite I'm so high and happy.

The bit about his boyhood in Kerala actually started me off on a lengthy bit of work about those times and that sister. I can't wait to really dig into it.

Hopefully I will be around for a while with more stories. New Year's resolution and all. Thanks again!

~Nasmat, smiling Cheshire-like

geekmama From: geekmama Date: January 2nd, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

The bit about his boyhood in Kerala actually started me off on a lengthy bit of work about those times and that sister. I can't wait to really dig into it.

Excuse me, but I must insert a YES!! here.

*bounces with anticipation*
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

Thanks! I've been working on my own poetry/novel for so long - and I use the word "working" tentatively - that I feel like I just won the lottery to be able to write about this world and run around in it.

I love the idea of Jack's semi-Indian background, being myself half Sri Lankan and knowing all about colonialism and the lot. I've even picked an actress to play his sister in my silly brain (Aishwarya Rai).

~Nasmat
geekmama From: geekmama Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

I love the idea of Jack's semi-Indian background,

I thought that was a viable backstory for Jack -- the British certainly had a foothold in India, and Jack could very well have had family connections to the EITC. I ended up using a simpler background for him in my stories, but I will be fascinated to read your version, versed as you are in eastern history.

Must google Aishwarya Rai now.
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

geekmama From: geekmama Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

She's so beautiful!! Thanks for the link.

And have you seen this? From the AWE teaser they showed on the Disney Channel yesterday...

E & J
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

Oh wow, I hadn't seen that! Thanks vastly! I love that look - there's a juicy story in there. It's an intimate look - a bit angry, but on equal ground - the kind of measured, smoldering anger that comes from having closeness and affection.

*does a happy dance in office*

~Nasmat, being a naughty wench and working on the next ficlet instead of a sales report.....
erinya From: erinya Date: January 2nd, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: yay!

Ooh, I would love to read a longer fic about that. And the lovely Aishwarya Rai would be perfect as his sister. I always thought it would make sense for Jack's mum to be an Indian princess, or something along those lines.

It's always nervewracking posting in a new fandom or forum, isn't it? Then again, I've been writing fic for several years now and I still get nerves when I post...
hereswith From: hereswith Date: January 2nd, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I really liked this, Elizabeth drying the books with such care, her musings and the glimpse of Jack's childhood. Lovely writing! She learned him that way: drowsily, in the deepest pockets of night, Jack's voice rum-warm and purring. That's my favourite line. Beautiful :-)

Might we hope that a few more of those challenge words will be J/E?
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
:) Thank you so much. The comments are totally fueling my fire.

And yes, I'll more than likely focus on J/E for the challenges as I'm a bit enamored of them at the moment.
hereswith From: hereswith Date: January 2nd, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll be looking forward to more, then :-)
geekmama From: geekmama Date: January 2nd, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
The seawater has dried on their covers in crackled tributaries that remind her of the tangle of scars on his left arm.

Just as painful, too, I'll bet. Jack's love of books is one of my very favorite elements of fanon.

But you've included so many of my favorite things here: piratical action and its aftermath; Jack backstory (an educated man, yes, that's part of mine, too; and a sister!!); Elizabeth privy to that backstory, friend as well as lover; the sort of descriptive writing that involves all the senses.

How glad I am that you've chosen to write in the Pirates fandom! I will be looking forward to more -- I am squeeing at the prompts on that challenge! Some really good ones there. Friending you, if you don't mind.
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Friended you back! :)

Just as painful, too, I'll bet. Jack's love of books is one of my very favorite elements of fanon.

But you've included so many of my favorite things here: piratical action and its aftermath; Jack backstory (an educated man, yes, that's part of mine, too; and a sister!!); Elizabeth privy to that backstory, friend as well as lover; the sort of descriptive writing that involves all the senses.


I'm completely with you that Jack + books = total fun. I agree with the element of fandom that sees him as having to be educated, and I like to think that he stole that education and made it his own as much as anything else.

How glad I am that you've chosen to write in the Pirates fandom!

I'm glad I did as well! It's not often that a fandom is so nice at first. I've had some less thrilling experiences in the past. Thanks for making me at home.
sixpences From: sixpences Date: January 2nd, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's lovely! I'm always a bit of a sucker for brainy!Jack (he's got to have a fair head on his shoulders to be able to navigate a ship, for starters), and this is a wonderful little snapshot.

I particularly liked The seawater has dried on their covers in crackled tributaries that remind her of the tangle of scars on his left arm, and the books as a demonstration of the Jack Sparrow underneath the costume and the stories.

I look forward to the rest of these ficlets!
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it would be pretty rough sailing if they had a total moron at the helm.

And let me just say, I'm ecstatic to see all of your comments. I've been lurking around this fandom for a little while, a bit freaked out about posting even a comment, but reading all of your amazing stories and getting inspired. Everyone who's commented on this page has written something that really moved me, and I feel a bit like I'm corresponding with celebrities. I'll have to go back and post all those comments this evening. :)
sixpences From: sixpences Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel a bit like I'm corresponding with celebrities

Haha, that's pretty much how I felt about the other commenters on this when I arrived in this fandom post-DMC. The PotC fandom on LJ is a fairly friendly place, it doesn't take long for you to settle in and feel at home.

BTW, if you've a soft spot for J/E then check out sparrabeth; tis a comm dedicated to the ship, and quite a fun place.
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooo, deliscious. I will check it out. :)

Thanks!
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bleeding sticky keyboard --- delicious. Geez.
hendercats From: hendercats Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The brackish water pooled in their bindings, was drawn languidly into their pages over the course of the boarding, and lacy fingers of ink now fanned out across many of the pages.
So hard to comment - this is so beautifully put, yet nearly impossible to separate from the agony of damaged books. Literate!Jack is an aspect I love to see portrayed, but my first response to the summary you gave at pirategasm was to wail.

The entire piece is lovely - shall look forward to seeing more from you!
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 2nd, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you liked the piece, and I really appreciate the feedback. A pirate with tenderness for books - that's my soft spot. :)

"Literate!Jack is an aspect I love to see portrayed, but my first response to the summary you gave at pirategasm was to wail."

Hahaha yeah I was a bit misleading. Jack's trickster spirit had me in its clutches. Or at least that's my story. ;)
penknife From: penknife Date: January 2nd, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, this is lovely! I love the vividness of the imagery here.
writing_samsara From: writing_samsara Date: January 3rd, 2007 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you very much. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :)
inhale or exhale