Equals now, James goes to Jack. Set during Dead Man's Chest.
Unless they was under attack. Or there was a storm. Or it was Anamaria, who, although she had gone to better ports, followed no man's rules. Especially not Jack's.
No one else, though, dared break the rule. It could only be one of two people.
And it wasn't Elizabeth.
"No," he said, not looking up from the parchment he was drawing on.
The door closed. Footsteps sounded on the floor. Determined.
"I said no. You said no, now I'm saying no. Go away."
"This is hardly the same circumstances," said one James Norrington in a voice still entirely too prim, especially when one considered his state. Which Jack was trying not to, for various reasons. "You were my prisoner," he continued, drawing still nearer. "I am here of my own free will."
Jack snorted. Still didn't look up. "You're here because Elizabeth brought you here, nothing more. Weren't really going to sign on to my crew."
"Where else am I to go?"
"You could go home." Jack put down his quill, turned in his seat, and looked up at James.
James was far too close for comfort, on Jack's side of the desk. His tattered coat brushed at Jack's knees. The worn boots were almost toe to toe with Jack's own.
The man shook his head and rubbed his eyes wearily. "I have no home. Not any more. Not in Port Royal. Not in England. I am... cut adrift." His hand dropped. "Isn't that how it begins?"
"Not for me. Chose this life, I did." Then he shrugged. Crooked a smile. "Although, yes, it were better than the alternative."
James returned the smile, crooked, weary, lost. Then he sank to his knees.
Jack caught his chin. "I said no, luv."
"You're part of me crew now. Wouldn't be right." Waggled his eyebrow. "Wouldn't be honorable."
"I'm here of my own free will," he said again. "I want to be here." He pushed up on his knees. Brought his face closer to Jack's. "I want to be here," he whispered.
There was only so much teasing a man could take. First seeing Will again. Then, Elizabeth and her infernal boy's clothes and so mouth so close. Now this man. Again. Here.
He lowered his head.
With a hungry sound, James's mouth took his. Parted Jack's lips with his tongue. Delved deep, exploring. Pushing. Stroking. Soft, needy moans deep in his throat, and, oh that's right. Jamie'd never done this with anyone else. Never kissed another man, not like this. Never before him and, no, the man was no virgin, wasn't even then, but this...
Jack's head spun. His hands clenched over muscled shoulders he'd only have seen before, formerly covered with pale, creamy skin. He wondered now, now that James had changed, now that his life was no more than Jack's own, had his skin seen the sun. Had he been touched. Had....
"You never came for me," James whispered into Jack's mouth. He was half in Jack's lap now, half sitting on the desk. Hand tore at layers of Jack's clothing, tangled, trying to pull free. "I thought you might... come. Finish our business."
"And risk the gallows?" he caught James by the wrist. They were strong under his grip. With one twist, he'd be able to break Jack's hold.
He shivered, imagining what else the strength might do if directed correctly.
Lust-darkened eyes blinked slowly at him. "I wouldn't... For one night I... To finish..."
"I didn't mean for me." Cocked his head. "You're a wanted man now, too. East India Trading Company is a bastard of an enemy to make. Was it worth it?"
"Do you mean to make it so?"
Jack released James's wrists and stood. "I can't." He moved away, away from the tempting flesh and warm body. Away from the beautiful eyes and sensuous mouth. Away. "I can't," he repeated. "And you need to leave."
"Jack." James stepped forward. Stopped at Jack's look. "One night. That's all, I... Everything has been unclear since that night."
"And you think this will put it to rights?"
"I think this will put clear in my head of what I am not sure."
Jack snorted. "I have nothing to give you, James Norrington." He turned and looked out the great window, gazing at the sea. "For right now, I live on borrowed time. Borrowed souls," he added softly to himself.
"I'm not even asking a whole night. Half an hour. Less, if it pleases you."
He snorted again at the words.
"You know what I meant," James snapped. "We have time until we get to the island or wherever we're going. The chest." He stepped closer. "We have right now."
"And would it end here? Tonight?" Jack asked, turning to face James. "You're on my crew now. You're here, with us, until... whenever. You're stuck. You're a pirate."
"So, it won't be just one time. It won't just be now. Because, let's face it, mate, I'm the best option you have on the ship and same goes with you, unless Elizabeth stays and even then.... Well, let's just say, as lovely as the lass is, she's not someone I necessarily want on my ship overlong."
James took another step forward. "I don't understand. Sounds to me as if there's a certain benefit."
"No, no there's not a certain benefit!" Jack snapped. "I've already sold my soul once, don't much fancy doing it again."
The look on James's face immediately informed him that he'd said too much.
Damn, damn, and thrice damn.
Jack turned and walked to the cabinet. Opening it revealed a stash of rum he'd brought up.
He took a bottle.
"I'm captain of this crew. Above, a certain degree. Don't entangle with 'em. Prefer to sharpen my sword on land." He took a gulp and turned. "And if you were to leave, Mr. Norrington, who's to say you wouldn't look on this encounter with different eyes."
"Say I agree. Say I tell you to open your pretty mouth, slip inside you, spend myself." He drifted closer to James. "Say I remove your trouser, show you some of what I offered but was refused when last we rendezvoused. Suppose we fell to the bed there, entwined together, hot, sweaty. Suppose I let you plough into me as if you were a ship and I the sea," he said, now almost pressed against James. His breath came heavy and he was hard pressed not to run his fingers through the scruff hiding the perfect face. "Suppose we mated, Jamie, and then you went home. Got yourself another commission. A ship of your own. Suppose you went free and thought back on this moment. Could you forgive me? Or would you turn it into something it is not and find yourself needing to seek vengeance?"
"I." He stopped and swallowed. Took Jack's rum and wet his throat. Licked his lips. "I would not."
Jack snorted and took the bottle back. After a swig of his own, he stepped away. "Don't quite believe you, luv." He turned and walked back to his desk. "You should never have come after me, Jamie."
"I told you I would."
"Aye, that you did." He sat, picked up his quill again, and looked up at James. "Not through the storm. You let ambition overtake sense and that has left you with the vengeance you seek now. I'll not let you."
"What else could I do?" James asked vehemently. "I was court-martialed over the loss of the Interceptor. They took away my rank, demoted me to captain. They'd've done worse if I let you go." His face twisted. "I had no choice but to pursue you. I let you go. Why couldn't you stay hidden?"
"Because I'm a pirate! I needed money. I needed to pay the crew. I couldn't..." He stopped and shook his head. "This is what I do. Don't blame me."
"And don't blame me for going after you. That was what I did."
"Aye, but you don't do it anymore, do you?" Jack asked. "No. You lost your ship, lost your crew, and, in a fit of self-pity, gave over your life. Now you what? Want to be a pirate? What happened to honor, James Norrington?"
James drew himself up tightly, eyes blazing brightly. "I did what I deemed best. My hubris lost the lives of good men."
"So you chose to sully your own name to honor that?"
James's mouth fell open. He stood, gaping at Jack for a moment. When he tried to speak, nothing came out.
It was almost comical. It would be, if it didn't feel as if Jack were being stabbed with every word he said to James that weren't encouraging him into bed.
"Forgive me, Captain," James finally said, his voice colder than when they'd first met. "I should not be infringing on your time."
"No. Nor comin' in unwelcome either," Jack said gruffly. He looked back at his drawing. "Knock from now on, or your rum ration will be docked."
"I understand." He moved to salute, but stopped hand halfway to his head. A look of frustrated confusion washed over him, then he turned and left the cabin.
Jack sighed and put his head on the desk. "No, Jamie, you don't," he whispered. "And I only now begin to." With another sigh, he pushed himself up. Picked up the run. Drained it. "Now," he said. "Maybe now the damn compass will work."
But, since he still didn't have what he wanted, Jack knew it would still only point to one place.
James Bloody Norrington.