Onthe way back from defeating Barbossa, Norrington calls the imprisoned Jack Sparrow into his quarters for one last drink. Sequel to "Silent as the Grave".
James didn't deign to answer as he poured rum into two finely-etched silver goblets. "Take off his restraints and leave us," he ordered the guard who had accompanied Jack from the brig. He waited until his orders were carried out before lifting his eyes to Jack.
Jack looked understandably confused as he rubbed his raw wrists. James forced himself not to react as he saw the damage done to the skin by cuff too tightly bound, but there was nothing he could do now. He'd only ordered the man to be bound and thrown into the brig; he hadn't specified anything else. If the men were angry at the trick Jack had played on them, then Jack had no one to blame but himself.
However, that did not mean James had to give his men any more opportunity to mistreat their prisoner.
He lifted goblets and walked around his desk, holding one out to Jack. "I thought you might like one last drink before we land tomorrow."
Jack took it warily, a smile tugging up the corners of his mouth. "Under the guise of freedom, I see?"
"The guise, yes." He held out his goblet and was gratified when Jack touched it with his own. Their eyes met, and the seductive stormy gaze that Jack always seemed to use on him returned. Skin hot, James turned away. "I'm sorry your ship left without you," he said. And he sincerely meant it. The truth was, despite Jack having almost succeed in having both him and his men killed and, thus, his ship vulnerable for the taking, James had developed a sort of .... Well, fondness wasn't the right word. Admiration, that was it. James had developed an admiration for Jack Sparrow, and there'd been a part of him that had hoped Jack would escape to freedom.
It should bother him, being admiring of a lawless man, but that was just it. Jack was lawless, not dishonorable or malicious. He did what was right by himself, and he didn't go out of the way to hurt others. He simply acted in accordance with his own desires and gratifications, and although James did not agree with such selfishness, nevertheless, there was a part of him that was ... envious of the luxury Jack allowed himself.
"You're sorry, eh?" He took a few steps closer to James. "But not enough to set me free," Jack suggested.
James sighed and walked behind his desk. "What would you have me do, Jack? You are guilty of all the crimes you are charged with." He sat down, meeting Jack's eyes. "The law is the law."
"But the law and what's right are not necessarily the same thing," Jack replied, and the memory of their "conversation" prior to reaching the island flushed hotly through James's blood.
"Nevertheless, my hands are tied." Then he remembered that their prior conversation hadn't been about the law, but about honor. So he added, "And pirating isn't exactly what's right, either."
"It's the means, love." Jack sashayed towards him, holding his goblet delicately. "Keeps me at the end, as it were."
James blinked and turned that in his mind a moment. But it was no use. Shaking his head, he said, "I'm really too tired to decipher that one."
Teeth glinted and Jack settled on the desk in front of James. "If I could sail forever with a crew content only to sail, with the promise of good food, and good rum, and means to purchase the necessities of life, then pirating wouldn't be necessary." He shrugged, a whimsical smile on his face. "But it's not possible. There is no crew in the world that would do that, and no possibility of it happening. I need a source of income, both to keep the ship sailing and the crew what sails her." His hand drifted lazily into the air, twisting at the wrist as he said, "So, you see, the ends justifies the pillage and plundering."
"Ah, yes. Of course, justification. And yet ... "All so you can sail?"
A dreamy expression crossed Jack's face as he stared out the great windows behind James. "Not just sail, love. Sail as a freeman, beholden to nobody."
There was a passion in Jack's face, and something more. Something heartbreaking and terrifying and ... and evidence of a place. Of an existence of which James would never know.
He swallowed hard. "I don't understand," he whispered, throat parched.
"A ship is freedom," Jack said. "Freedom and life. It is all that matters."
James swallowed again, heart in his throat. "Freedom without responsibility is terrifying."
The dreamy eyes came into sudden, sharp focus on him. "Aye," Jack said slowly. "But responsibility without freedom is even more so." Very deliberately, he set his goblet down. Eyes gazing deep into James's, Jack placed his hands on the arms of his chair and leaned in.
This time, the kiss did not surprise or upset him. James welcomed the salty, chapped lips that took his own, and the rum flavored tongue that gently invaded his mouth.
But it was over too soon, and then Jack was sinking to his knees, breath hot on James's crotch.
"Jack." He caught Jack's chin in his hand. "No."
Confusion drifted over Jack's face. "Now it's my turn not to understand."
He smiled regretfully. "It's wrong. You're my prisoner. You needn't ..."
"I know I needn't," he interrupted. I want to, was the silent end to it, but there was no need to say it. They both wanted it; James was already half-hard at the idea of Jack's mouth, and Jack ... simply seemed to want him.
But he shook his head again. "Drink your rum, Jack." He released Jack's chin. "Talk to me more about freedom."
Still on his knees, Jack gave him long, measuring look. He seemed to strip James bare, laying clothes and skin aside until he looked in the very essence of the man.
James swallowed and shifted, aware that, if anything, the feel of those eyes on him aroused him even more than the prospect of the chapped lips around him, the clever tongue massaging him, and the wicked mouth having Jack's way with him.
Finally, Jack broke the statue-like stillness that had bound him. He shook his head slowly and said, "No one like you exists."
"I beg your pardon?" James managed out through the lump in his throat.
Jack didn't seem to notice his problem as he repeated, "No one like you exists, James. You give me the guise of freedom, the idea of dignity before death. I know how far we are away from Port Royal, and I can only assume you mean to keep me here before we land."
Damn the man. "The brig is ... infested."
"Aye. I noticed." Lips quirked upwards, almost hidden by the beard. "You give this, but refuse me."
"I don't want ..."
"Yes. You do."
He closed his eyes briefly in annoyance before continuing, "I don't want this on my soul as well. I can promise you nothing. You must face the gallows. You have been charged and there is no doubt of your guilt. You yourself admit quite freely."
"So give me one last pleasure." Hands slid up James's thighs.
James caught him by the wrists. "Can't you see my position?"
"Aye. And I've seen your position many times before. No one says no."
"Then why do you offer?" he demanded angrily, squeezing the oddly delicate wrists. "You know the outcome. You know your position. It's one of weakness, and I have you surrounded by my guards and in my quarters. I could. Do. Anything. Don't you understand?"
Jack nodded calmly and twisted his wrists until James loosened his grip. "To the victor."
"You are not spoils!" Abruptly, he released Jack and rose. Going to the great window, he leaned his head against the glass and said, "Allow me the illusion, Jack, that I am a good man."
There was a sigh behind him, and the soft creak of wood. Soon after, Jack came to stand behind James. He placed a hand on his shoulder and leaned in to kiss the exposed skin just below James's jaw gently.
"You need no illusion, Jamie."
He laughed without sound, eyes closed tightly against the night. He didn't wasn't even surprised when Jack put both arms around him and rested his chin on his shoulder.
"Open your eyes, love."
"Please." Lips pressed against his skin, and against that tone, he was suddenly helpless.
The sea was black under the night sky. But there were patterns and variations that drew him. James watched in fascination as the stars danced lightly over the glassy surface and the moon paint long, bold streaks of silver that trailed after the ship.
"Freedom, Jamie, is always all around you," Jack whispered, breath hot against his ear. "You only need to look to find it."
He sighed and pressed his forehead against the glass harder. He felt as if he were burgeoning helplessly among the waves, a feeling both terrifying and exhilarating all at once.
"I wish your crew had waited for you," he said softly.
Jack chuckled. "Aye." Teeth tugged at James's earlobe. "I won't forget."
"That you said no. That you were an honor to your station, if a nuisance to me." He pressed against James's backside, allowing him to feel the half-hard member beneath Jack's clothes.
He couldn't help but smile dryly. "And what good will that do you, Mr. Sparrow?"
Jack laughed again and raised his hand to caress the side of James's face.
"Trust me, good Commodore. No matter what happens at the gallows, remembering your behavior tonight will do us both a world of good."