Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Archive: Yes. Help yourself. Just make sure you include the first chapter too. (They're mates, you see.)

Series: Yes, this is Chapter 2. Chapter 1 is 'A Most Accommodating Commodore'.

Disclaimer: The Mouse is very big and can squish me as I be only a penniless fan. Don't hurt me? No money, no money!

Rating: NC-17 for non-con/bondage elements, graphic sexual m/m (slash) content and language

Pairing: J/N (Captain Jack Sparrow/Commodore Norrington)

Beta: Moonsalt

Cover Art: By Moi

Summary: This time, it is Norrington who is bound, but this time for a destination that he is sure will result in Jack's death as well as his own. Norrington mourns the loss of a proud lady; Jack Sparrow comforts him, in his own inimitable fashion.

Notes: Word Master - the fine Caribbean tradition of Word Play, as performed by a master, is considered singularly important, even if the recipients don't understand. In fact, if the listener doesn't understand the meaning of the joke, it's considered an even greater success than if he doesn't!

Some information on Piri Reis is here:

Also, '--//--' - indicates point-of-view switch, and sometimes scene change.

Warning: May contain anachronisms. Not a deathfic. Also, this is very long, because Jack Sparrow just would not shut UP!

A Very Captivating Captain

By Webcrowmancer

"I have a matter to settle with you, Sparrow." Commodore Norrington's tone was implacable, despite the fact that he was sitting on the deck of the Black Pearl with his hands tied before him and his men captured and bound likewise, surrounded by the crew of the Black Pearl. With Jack Sparrow leering over him.

"The rope was a nice touch, weren't it? Thought you'd appreciate the irony." Jack smiled at him.

"You stole my brandy," Norrington accused, as if they weren't speaking before his own men and the Pearl's crew as well.

"I did, at that. Tell you what," Jack proposed, as if thinking it over. "I'll make it up to you. We liberated some rather fine port on our last run. You can have as much of it as you can hold down. I'll be liberating your coat and hat now, too." Jack had the coat and Norrington's hat in his left hand, his right still using the sword to punctuate his speech.

"How the Devil did you get past the guards? On the dock, on the Admiral's ship, and in the fort?" Norrington couldn't help wondering.

"There's something about an officer in uniform that always makes me want to impersonate him, on principle. In fact, it was such a nice fit, I considered holding onto it. The uniform," Jack explained, gesturing with his sword as if illustrating a point. "But the underwear was frightful," Jack continued, commenting almost as if to himself. "Navy issue's still skimping on the drawers, I couldn't 'elp but notice. Poor blighter."

"So you helped yourself to the Admiral's ship, instead," Norrington pointed out accusingly.

Jack was taken aback. "Of course. She was the best thing floating in the water. The perfect choice - the only choice, as a matter of fact. The dolphins were absent from the docks, and the whales were otherwise engaged. Mating season, you know. There was a distinct lack of merchant vessels in the vicinity. Which left just the ship."

Jack's grin glinted, an annoying reminder to Norrington, who couldn't help dropping his gaze momentarily to regard the flash of gold… and the sensual mouth, those lips. Those same lips he'd feasted upon, savored, loved -

The grin widened as Jack continued looking down at him, a knowing expression reaching those dark eyes as he considered Norrington's plight.

Norrington flushed and snapped, "Well, since your escape, Admiral Sinnott has given orders that the entire fleet is to be on the look-out for you. He practically had a stroke. I have his personal command to retrieve his ship myself."

"'Sinnott'?" Jack repeated, in a scandalized tone. He pointed at Norrington, waving the sword tip casually before him to demonstrate his frustration. "See, that's precisely what I've been trying to tell you, aye? 'Sin' 'not'? You see the problem? If you lot spent more time shagging, there'd be less call for hanging the likes of meself."

Gibbs came up behind Jack and said, "Sir, this won't be going down well with the crew and all. He's a British officer. It'll be bad luck to keep 'im. Worse; it'll have the Navy running us down te get him back."

Jack swung to regard him, one brow lifted. "That," Jack shook a finger under Gibbs' nose, "Is a very good point, mate."

Gibbs continued, "Best be sending 'im back with his men, sir."

Jack shook his head. "The others can go. We're keeping this one."

"What for?" Gibbs was apparently not happy with Jack's decision.

Norrington almost smiled at this. "You'll have twice the number of ships out looking for this vessel if you do."

Gibbs looked worried. ""E's right, Jack. Best not to tempt fate. You know how fickle she is."

Jack straightened with a frown. "She can duke it out with Lady Luck, then, who's a more pleasing mistress. That one's never played me false. This is one captive who's bound to be our guest aboard the 'Pearl 'til I says otherwise. 'Sides, one Commodore in return for the Admiral's ship ought to tide them over. Don't worry, Gibbs. This man here is worth his weight in gold. Trust me." He gave Gibbs a knowing glance. "We'll be needing him for that other matter."

"Aye, sir," Gibbs muttered, moving off to order the crew to push Norrington's men off the railing and let them see themselves as best they could to the Admiral's ship, which Sparrow had abandoned.

"And Gibbs," Jack called after him, "Strip them first."

There was a general outcry from Norrington's soldiers. "But I can't swim!" protested one. "Neither can I!" cried another.

Sparrow turned in disbelief and called back, "Well, then those of you that don't know how to swim, ask those who do know how to swim to teach those that don't."

Norrington sighed. Three of his men fell overboard, pushed at the same time, their undergarments not lending them any agility or buoyancy and they floundered in the water, spluttering. Sparrow's crew laughed, gathering up discarded uniforms and weapons.

Norrington ground his teeth with exasperation. He looked over at Sparrow. "If you have such an aversion to British officers, why keep me aboard? Why not kill me and be done with it?"

Jack beamed at him. "You're the exception to the rule, matey. Same's meself. And you'd best keep quiet about why you're aboard, or everyone else's going to want to have a turn as well."

"You're no exception at all," Norrington accused. "You're always insisting you're a captain… and you're as British as I am."

"Now, now," Jack chided, as if offended. "There's no call to be insulting. That was a long time ago, that was. And just ask any of me crew if I'm captain of the Pearl. They'll set you straight."

Norrington was curious. "You forgo your own ancestry to wear the brand of pirate, then?"

"With pride," Jack smiled at him. "You'll have to have a look from my perspective. Although, let's do this somewhere more private-like." He motioned a couple of the crew over, and ordered Norrington taken to his cabin.

Norrington would have struggled more than he did, but it might have given the game away. He knew he was outnumbered, beaten and had lost for now. And he knew Sparrow hadn't the slightest intention of actually harming him. Not since their last encounter. It had been two months since Jack Sparrow's now-famous escape from Bermuda and the Yard, on Sinnott's ship.

The Admiral had finally seen things Norrington's way after that loss. Sparrow was a menace, the Admiral had stated with apoplectic gestures. Norrington had half-expected the man to keel over where he stood, the hues of red in the man's face had been so violent.

Apparently the Admiral was quite attached to his ship. Apparently the Admiral now saw it as an imperative that Sparrow hang from the nearest gallows. Apparently it was the Commodore's duty to apprehend Jack Sparrow, which he'd of course been telling the Admiral all along.

The two crewmen left him in Sparrow's cabin, not even bothering to lock the door or secure him, and he sat down on the edge of the bed, noting the surrounds.

He looked down at the bed. Jack Sparrow slept here. Norrington wondered if Sparrow's head was as filled with thoughts of him when he lay his head on that pillow, as his own was when he slept aboard his ship.

His ship! Norrington scowled, his mood darkening.

Damn Sparrow, anyway! The Dauntless was slipping even now to a watery grave below the waves. He couldn't stop the pang of loss. He'd even been denied the last sight of her, as it was night and she'd taken a few well-placed shots from the Black Pearl on Sparrow's orders, after Norrington's men had overenthusiastically stormed the Pearl momentarily.

They had chanced upon the Black Pearl and the Admiral's ship, the H.M.S. Endurance, after sunset, tucked away in the bay of a little island a small ways off Exuma, and now Norrington knew Sparrow had allowed it to happen. He must have recognized the Dauntless and let his ship sit awaiting the Dauntless' arrival, right in the bay.

Sparrow's crew had sent up a white flag of surrender after several minutes of cannon fire, visible clearly in the darkness of the gathering night. His men had been overjoyed, and began boarding her before Norrington had given word. He'd feared exactly what transpired: the crew waited until they were aboard and then simply began to cut them down where they were outnumbered in the dark.

The Pearl's crew had overpowered them too easily. He'd guessed Sparrow's crew would be larger, but no one could have expected so many pirates at once. He should have expected Sparrow to account for more men needed to crew the Endurance as well. Still, he'd thought the element of surprise with them, rather than against.

The Black Pearl was a large ship. He was paying the price for his overzealous attempt to capture her now. Sighing, he considered the folly of rushing her, rather than blowing them out of the bay from a distance like he should have done. But he hadn't wanted Jack killed. That was the problem. As it had been for a time, now.

And things didn't appear as if they were likely to ever proceed beyond that point either, at least where his heart was concerned. His career was over, he decided. He was compromised by the existence of this…this pirate, he thought, in aggravated anger towards Sparrow and himself.

He simply couldn't kill him. Times he'd tried before had ended with Sparrow eluding death somehow, usually because of that Turner lad, Norrington remembered. But the man had a reputation for narrow escapes. Now he'd aided Sparrow himself, in their last meeting. And he knew he couldn't hang the man. He couldn't just…kill him. Be done with it.

Why Sparrow?! Why him, for God's sake? Never had anyone ever inflamed his blood this way. The former Miss Swann had been everything a man could dream of, should dream of. Sparrow was simply a vagabond and a thief. Hardly worthy of the dreams of a ranking officer of His Majesty's fleet.

Sparrow had grown on him, he mused. It had to be. Couldn't be anything else. The initial disdain and revulsion he'd expressed along with his ridicule had eventually given way to grudging respect, and appreciation of the man's unsinkable zest for life and his slippery, clever wits. Now it was flying somewhere in between helpless lust and possessive admiration.

The fascination he'd hoped to burn out of his system in their last encounter had only gained him sleepless nights of solitary fantasy followed by empty dreams. Slaking his lust on a few corruptible, eager young soldiers on occasion had done nothing to keep at bay the need to have Sparrow again.

One single night was hardly enough.

It was the man's eyes, he decided. They were far too changeable, and seemed to reveal too much while giving away nothing; taunting without ever delivering, and belying the devilishness of his behavior and his dishonest prattling while promising so much more.

As the door crashed open, Norrington sat up with a jolt, stiffly. He hated being off-guard like this, particularly with this man, who knew far too much about him for Norrington ever to be comfortable in his presence again. As if he'd ever been. Damn him. Sparrow knew as well as he did that they both wanted to bring this to the only conclusion either of them desired, and as quickly as possible.

But Jack instead went to the table and poured himself a measure of rum, which he lifted in Norrington's direction. "Cheers."

"Is there any of my brandy left?" Norrington asked, casually.

"Aye. Enough for one glass, which is all you offered me before." Jack was looking rather smug and satisfied with himself.

As well he might, Norrington thought. Then a horrible glimmer of realization came to him. "No food either, then, I suppose?"

"Not until tomorrow," Sparrow said. "It's for the best, really."

"So you'll only give me as good as you got."

"Wouldn't want your reputation tarnished by having one of me crew come upon us in some of the positions I have in mind, now would we?"

Norrington returned his level gaze and held it. "Be concerned for your own, Sparrow. You're the one keeping me here in your cabin for the night. What will your crew think of that?"

"They're completely happy for us, mate. Delighted. See, this is the next best thing to a night in the taverns for them, seeing as I'm occupied with your lovely self for the evenin'."

Norrington allowed himself a yawn. "I suppose regarding things from your perspective entails lying on my back considering the ceiling for a few hours. Hardly the way to treat a captive officer of the Royal Navy. Or a guest, for that matter."

"Ah, I did forget. Sorry, matey, I was distracted by the fact you're sitting there without your coat and all disheveled, with your hands all…tied up. It suits you, really it does," Jack said, as if bestowing a compliment. "I promised to show you what things look like from my angle, and so I shall."

He put down the tankard of rum and swayed dangerously over to where Norrington sat, still bound. He sat down beside him, and placed a friendly arm around Norrington's shoulders. Extending his arm, Jack flipped up the cuff to reveal his wrist. "See for yourself, Commodore."

Sure enough, there was the brand. The 'P' stood out from Sparrow's tanned, bronze skin. He'd seen it before, even upon their first meeting. He wondered what point Sparrow was trying to make.

"Pirate, indeed." Norrington glanced over at him, trying to remain unmoved by Jack's body pressed all along his right side, and failing. Jack's eyes were mesmerizing.

"Look again," Jack urged. "Real close."

With a sigh, Norrington regarded the brand, trying to ignore the rum on Sparrow's breath. Laced with the scent of the man himself, it was nearly intoxicating, seducing him without Sparrow having to lift a finger. The hand warmly clutching his left shoulder was equally distracting however. He tried to focus on the man's arm - the tattoo of the sparrow over the water… and the brand.

Abruptly, he realized Sparrow always saw it upside-down.

"Could stand for many things, really," Jack mused. "Dark, dangerous, deadly… Daring, darling, dashing, ducky. Hm, best forget the last. Doesn't have a nice ring to it."

"Deluded? Delirious? Dead?" Norrington continued, scathingly.

"Now you're catching on," Jack said, beaming at him. He hugged him tighter, placed a rummy kiss on Norrington's cheek and stood up, walking to the cabinet where he began rifling through papers within.

"According to our little game last time, I'm supposed to let you go after having my way with you, aren't I?" Jack was still rummaging about looking for something. He turned from the cabinet and went to his desk, pulling open the drawers.

It became abundantly clear in that instant that Sparrow had no intention of releasing him at any point. Norrington swallowed. "So I'm to be a permanent guest aboard the Black Pearl."

Jack turned and gave him a wink. "Better incentive for the crew to keep sharp, seeing as you and Gibbs were right. I've got meself a Commodore; quite the prize. You'll be giving me all manner of aid. Ah, here she is," he added, withdrawing a large map from the bowels of the desk. Unfurling it over the desktop, he motioned to Norrington.

Curious, Norrington stood and made his way to stand over the desk. He frowned. "That's not a proper map."

Jack leaned down to peer at it. "Yes, it is."

"Not only is it disproportionate, it has additional features that don't exist," Norrington stated. "You really are mad, aren't you? Sailing around with this to guide you? Absurd."

Jack leaned down, stroking his chin, his eyes falling to the map, then back up to Norrington. "I paid a fortune for this thing. Are you saying I was robbed?"

"Robbed," Norrington repeated. "You could say that. Swindled you blind."


"You were cheated."

"No one cheats Captain Jack Sparrow." It was a statement of fact.

"Well, this time they did. None of those lands exist. And this cluster of islands along here, and up along the Pacific, it's a fabrication."

"Says you," Jack smiled, indulgently. "Check the year."

Norrington regarded it. "It's a forgery," he concluded.

"I don't show this to just anyone," Jack said in a wounded tone.

"Hm. Next you'll be telling me that if we sail too far, we'll fall off the edge. Really, Sparrow; I'd accredited you with less gullibility than this."

Jack tapped the map with a ringed finger. "This is one of the original portolani that the Turkish Admiral Piri Reis used to draw his famous little map of the New World. Savvy?"

Norrington stretched and said, in a bored voice, "Are you planning some ill begotten voyage into unexplored territory? Fancy yourself another Magellan then, I take it?"

Jack shifted, and perched on the edge of the desk. "I'm not Christian," he pointed out. "Not a proper one, anyway." At Norrington's blank look, Jack explained, "Poor bloke died trying to convince the natives they should renounce their idols and turn Christian. They weren't real pleased with his attempts, in true Spanish fashion, to convince them they should hand over all their valuables and possessions in the name of the Church and the Spanish court."

Norrington raised a brow. "As I heard it, he was slain in shallow water, attempting to escape during a bloody civil war between the savages - who took his head."

"Aye, the stories do change, depending on the nationality of the man telling, don't they now?"

"Sparrow, what is this about? What do you need me for?"

Jack brightened, waving his hands over the map. "Well, there's this here little map, and you're going to help me fill in where all the British are on it. And anyone else you know of."

Norrington blinked. "Out of the question."

"Not even to save your life?" Jack queried, with a sidelong glance at him.

"No, not on my honor or my life." Norrington was resolute. It was one thing to dally with a man, pirate or not. It was another to babble every last current position of the British Royal Navy.

Norrington grew uncomfortable, as he did indeed know many of the routes, destinations and current positions of most of the fleet. He began to realize that far more was at stake than he'd suspected. Maybe he should have listened to Admiral Sinnott previously, when the man had warned him there was more to be gained from laying traps than facing a man like Sparrow in his element.

Jack's shrewd eyes raked over him as Norrington bit his lip. "Is it starting to sink in, Commodore?"

Slowly, Norrington said, "You've stolen and pillaged the Endurance, gutted and sunk the Dauntless, captured an officer of the British Navy and you're using this…mockery to navigate your way around the Spanish Main. Yes, it is beginning to sink in, now that you mention it." Norrington went to the cabinet and threw it open, looking for his brandy bottle.

Though his hands were still tied, he managed to open the bottle and take a swig. Jack had left a healthy remainder for him, more generous than Jack had let on, in fact.

He turned and commented, "You're mad, Sparrow."

"You can take your pick of new ships in Nelson's Dockyard, mate. I have to get mine where I can," Jack pointed out, sitting down and putting his boots up on the desk, crossing one leg over the other.

"You sank her," Norrington said, enunciating every word with the sorrow and anger he felt at the loss of the Dauntless again.

A twist of sympathy and regret danced over Jack's face and he sat up, removed his boots from the desk and said, "You didn't have to attack tonight, mate. Bloody stupid thing to do, really. I was rather shocked, to be honest with you. I thought you had more sense." Jack spoke gently; somehow it wasn't very comforting.

Instead, Norrington found it was almost insulting. He could tell Jack didn't mean it to be. But it didn't help that he concurred: he'd been a complete fool. Not to mention his men - who'd all somehow been seized with the idea that they were to storm immediately upon seeing the white flag. Unheard of. If he survived this, he intended to discover the reason for it. Perhaps his idiocy had been contagious, however.

Stiffly, Norrington said, "It wasn't the cover of dark; it was your crew complement which outnumbered mine."

"Aye, that's what I'm referring to."

The sympathy in Jack's voice was beginning to sound more like pity, and Norrington found that it was indeed starting to sink in: he was defeated this time.

Most buccaneers feared and hated him more than any other officer in the Navy, and with good reason. If the Black Pearl were to meet a victorious enemy en route to whatever insane destination her mad captain chose, Norrington was unlikely to be taken prisoner. At least, not for very long.

Norrington drew himself up however. The excitement of coming upon the Black Pearl and the Admiral's Endurance together in the bay, along with the thrill of combat and having cornered Sparrow's ship, only to be so quickly followed on its heels by defeat, his men's strange idiocy and the pain of losing the Dauntless…

It was enough to take its toll on his nerve, and weigh as heavily on his shoulders as anything ever had. But he wouldn't back down. He still had his pride, even if it had taken a battering tonight.

Jack asked, "How old are you, mate?"

Norrington scowled. The question threw him. In all his years moving up the ranks to the coveted position of Commodore, with the title of 'Admiral' beckoning, no one had ever questioned his age or experience. No one would have dared. "Why?"

Jack shrugged. "Thirty - thirty-five?" he guessed.

Norrington made a noise of exasperation. "I fail to see the relevance."

"I've ten years on you, maybe."

"Ten years of stealing, looting and lawlessness, yes."

"Sailing," Jack gesticulated. "Nautical proficiency in knotty situations."

In a bored tone, Norrington said, "If there's a point to this, feel free to come to it."

"I'm asking you to trust my judgment. Look, I know it's not easy for you, being an officer and the King's man and all. I respect the Crown; I do. I've always shown leniency towards English boats. Ships. Well, both, really. Mind you, the ships' almost always spoiling for a fight and they give me no choice but to plunder them. But you get my meaning."

Norrington sighed and cast his eyes upwards. "Mr. Sparrow, this is all beside the point. You are asking me to betray my country, to commit treason. You know very well that I cannot and will not provide you with the information you want."

Jack nodded, sympathetically. "Not easy to stand with your neck in a noose, is it, sir?"

"It's called kidnapping, blackmail, intimidation and harassment."

Jack waved a finger at him. "Ah-ah. I'm not asking you to help me, Commodore. I'm telling you. There's a difference." Jack grinned at him, unperturbed with Norrington's description of his circumstances. "It would appear we have a stalemate, don't we, mate?"

It did appear that way, indeed, Norrington thought. Still, he knew Jack Sparrow's predilections did not sway towards outright murder for no purpose, and in fact as long as he had the information he refused to give the pirate, he was valuable as a hostage… as well as personally, if Sparrow's performance that night in his bedroom was anything to go by. Norrington allowed a cold smile.

"As I'm your guest, Sparrow, the least you could do is offer me a decent meal." He turned, dismissively, and went to the chair in front of Jack's desk, and put his feet up on the edge of the desk, knowing the move would not go unnoticed by the Captain of the Pearl.


"As a privateer-" Jack began, refusing to rise to the bait as the Commodore relaxed with his boots on Jack's desk.

Norrington interrupted, "You bear no Letter of Marque, therefore you can't claim that honor, Sparrow."

"Buccaneer, then," Jack corrected, with ill grace. "By the time we're through, I'll have your Marque and full support for this little venture-"

"What is a buccaneer, after all? A pirate. Nothing more," Norrington said.

"If I might finish," he growled. Jack was getting irked by Norrington's interruptions. "That was the French, again. Boucaniers, the lot of them. If you're wanting us to be pedantic, I'll oblige you. And since I do tend to make my living catching swine, I suppose I really am a bacon-eer after all, eh?" Jack was delighted at this thought. "The secret to cooking bacon is in the timing. You have to make sure it's well-done, and real slow-like."

"Are you insinuating that I am a pig?" Norrington asked, his voice deceptively amused.

Jack grinned at him. "Now, lovey, I do prefer my pork well-salted. That's what I was tryin' to tell you earlier, wasn't it?"

Norrington let out a breath that seemed he was bored with the entire conversation. "Are you a marooner, then?"

"You're fishing, Commodore." Jack returned to the desk and rolled up the map. "You're presence here is non-negotiable, see. I ask the questions…" he trailed off, unable to resist answering his captive guest. "I'm not Spanish, and I'm not a deserter. I'm a pirate. As I said. So I can't be a marooner. And I'm not French. Savvy?"

"Hm. Far be it from me to deny you the pleasure of hearing your own voice. You talk too much, Sparrow. I noticed that from the very beginning."

"We'll 'ave to come to some sort of understanding, first. I'm a pirate," Jack stated, as if to a small child. "You're an officer of the Royal Navy, and my hostage - guest," he corrected, quickly.

"And I'd always thought you were a ham," Norrington put in, lightly.

Jack grimaced and locked the map carefully away in the desk drawer. "Seems there was a night not too long ago that belies your assertion, mate. Time was you fancied me worth more than a plate of ham, and preferred me dancing in your sheets rather than in the air."

Norrington didn't twitch a hair at this reminder of their last night together.

Blast. Jack was hoping to get some sort of rise out of Norrington. But the Commodore only replied, "I think you overrate your appeal."

"Still, you can't kill me, can you? Although, methinks you've thought it over since and are no longer of the mind to repeat our little dalliance."

"If that was the case," parried Norrington, "I wouldn't have bothered to send my men over to board your ship, instead of blowing you out of the water."

Jack chuckled at him. "You never sent your men over, matey, and we both know it, eh?"

Norrington paused, his hesitancy causing his stoicism to slip. Jack was starting to find vulnerability on the upright Commodore rather fetching. He decided Norrington would keep the rope for a while yet. He looked so pretty in disarray with his shirt all undone and his hands bound before him.

Jack sank bonelessly into his chair behind the desk and put his boots up on the desk also, in an imitation of Norrington's pose. "Would you like to know why your men rashly ignored rank and command and hurled themselves at my crew? I'll warrant that's been eating at you since it 'appened."

Norrington lifted his chin. "The white flag was a ruse."

Jack couldn't help laughing. "It weren't no flag, love. Them's were a pair of Navy-issue britches. No one in my crew would be caught dead in 'em. So we used 'em as a taunt. I guess it worked, didn't it?"

The look on Norrington's face as this sank into his mind was priceless. Chortling, Jack said, "Figured no Navy man could ignore an insult like that. White linen flying from the mast is something of an irresistible invitation. 'Twas good enough for the Jacobites." He winked at Norrington who scowled darkly at him, at the reminder of Highlanders fighting in underclothes against Parliament soldiers in the Civil War in the 1640s - and winning.

There was a knock on the cabin door. Gibbs poked his head in. "Beggin' yer pardon, Captn', here's the Commodore's coat. Clean, like you wanted."

Jack got to his feet and went to the door. "Excellent. One more thing - send us in a rasher? Is there any going?"

"Aye, sure there is, sir. Will you be wanting two plates or just the one?" Gibbs glanced meaningfully over at the Commodore behind him.

Jack considered it. "Alright, alright. I won't starve 'im. Even though he deserves it."

Gibbs left, and Jack started trying on the coat.

Norrington looked coldly angry, as though trying to stifle his reaction to Jack helping himself to his clothing.

Jack drew up in it proudly, saying, "A bit loose in the shoulders, but it'll do. How do I look?"

"Like a pirate in fancy dress," Norrington said, noncommittal.

"I've got your hat, too. Put that on later, for effect."

A look of realization darted over Norrington's face. "That's why you wanted the uniforms. I suppose you took the Endurance's colors too."

"Of course. They'll be terribly useful for confusing your fleet when they get too close."

"You know very well I'm not going to cooperate. Why bother keeping me aboard? It only serves to engage them further. They'll have more incentive than ever for hunting you down."

"Security," Jack explained, flashing him a grin. "They'll keep their distance to keep you alive."

"Mrs. Turner was right," mused Norrington. "You are, in a word, despicable."

"I saved her life, and you wanted me to swing for it. Eye for an eye, I guess. I may be despicable, but you're dishonest."

Norrington's brows rose dangerously high. "And you aren't?"

"Ah, but I'm honest about it. I never claimed to be honest. But you, you're dishonestly honest, and so it isn't really honesty, is it? There's a word for that," Jack said.

"You're a poor judge of character and, candidly, a pirate. I'm liable to regard your opinions as flawed and take anything you say with a grain of salt."

"And any man worth his salt, even just a grain, would know the odor of hypocrisy when he encounters it, which is probably why you'll never get the rank of Admiral and will always be passed over." Jack watched the good Commodore struggle with that one, wondering when the man would crack.

He didn't as a rule molest prisoners unless they were very pretty, but there was something pretty still about Norrington's distress at being captured by the very man he was so taken with. Jack felt the anticipation of the days ahead filling him in all the right places.

Crossing words with the Commodore was even more enjoyable than crossing blades with him would be, but the balance between the need to bring it to a conclusion and into his own bed, and the continued fun of endlessly poking fun at him, was shifting towards the former.

He removed the coat and laid it carefully over the back of the chair, went to retrieve the bottle of rum and took a swig to clear his thoughts. Things always seemed to make more sense when looked at through an amber haze. More cheery, certainly.

He glanced back at Norrington. The poor fellow was sulking. A daft little urge to comfort him ran through Jack's insides. Taking another gulp of rum, he returned to the desk and put his feet up on it. Norrington was sitting up straight in his seat now. He looked thoughtful. Worried, even.

The knock on the door was followed by Gibbs entering with two steaming plates of food. Jack jumped up. "Ah, thankee kindly."

"We stowed the goods and the bayonets, and the ammunition, Jack. But the crew's wonderin' when we'll be puttin' the Commodore here ashore."

Jack was bewildered. "Eh?"

"Aye; they seem to have got it into their heads that the only use for 'im is marooned here off Exuma. The British will pick 'im up right quick enough. They're saying we should kill 'im rather than leave 'im here, though. They say you've got a soft spot for 'im. It's affectin' yer judgment," Gibbs declared.

Jack nodded, sagely. "True enough. We'll let the Commodore decide." He looked askance over at Norrington. "What do you say, mate?"

Norrington regarded Gibbs, looking down his nose with the condescending air a nobleman would give a plate of pork. Oh, of course. Jack gestured at Gibbs. "Give him 'is dinner, then."

As Gibbs set the plates before them, Norrington commented, "I'm not helping you with this one, Sparrow. I made my choice, which you denied me when you kept me aboard and sent the Endurance on her way."

"She's still 'ere," Gibbs said.

Norrington sat up, looking between Jack and Gibbs. "What?!"

"Dead in the water," Jack drawled, getting out two forks and stabbing a bite of bacon. He pushed the other fork across the desk to Norrington who was staring at him. "We'll be making way in the morning - didn't want to have to worry about getting chased all over again, now did I?"

"Then my choice is obvious. I wish to be returned to my men, aboard the Endurance."

"That weren't one of the options, love. Sorry. Marooned, killed, or stay aboard the Pearl, as my imprisoned guest."

Gibbs shook his head. "Can't exactly be letting you back over there to start another fight, can we?"

"Not to mention you've lost the Dauntless," Jack pointed out. "You'll have twice the fire in your blood this time."

If looks could kill, Norrington's eyes were daggers that would have slain them both where they sat. And stood. Jack gave him a cheerful smile. "Don't worry, I'll not have you scuppered unnecessarily. Far too valuable. As I already explained." He looked up at Gibbs.

Gibbs sighed. "Aye, yer right. But I 'ave to say, yer takin' a chance this time, Captain." He left, and Jack waited until Gibbs got to the door.

"Be sure to spread the word, Gibbs. He's not to be harmed."

"No marooning, then?"

"No marooning."

"Aye." Gibbs shut the door behind himself.

Norrington was finally angry. Jack was delighted. At last! Some real action could begin.

Sure enough, the Commodore said, "I demand that you put me aboard the Endurance. You have no reason to keep me aboard and will only incur the mistrust of your own crew. As you said, the ship's disabled; you can sail away and we'll have to limp into the nearest port as best we can."

"I can't," Jack said simply.

"You can. And you will," Norrington insisted.

"But I've already got me heart set on having you aboard. It won't do," Jack explained, before spearing another mouthful of bacon. He gestured with his fork. "Eat up."

Livid, Norrington snapped, "So this is some sort of twisted revenge, is it?"

"Saved your life, mate," Jack pointed out, mildly. "You saved mine. You could have left me there to rot on Devil's Island, named after their own wild swine, funny enough. Although all the pigs are in regimentals, now. You got me out, so I'm just returning the favor." He watched Norrington sharply at this. "After all, you didn't exactly let me go, did you?" He smiled benevolently.

Norrington sat back in his seat, looking so distraught and tense that Jack was very nearly ready to offer to go down on him then and there. A little solace. It wasn't like he wanted to torture the man. Much. Besides, it was true that his Commodore had a severe Achilles Heel where he was concerned. It was rather touching.

And it was rather interesting that Norrington was trying so hard to not show the awkward embarrassment of knowing that they were both very well aware of his regard for Jack. Jack grinned to himself, basking in the appreciation of Norrington's predicament.

"You can't just keep me here," Norrington declared, helplessly.

"I can. I am," Jack replied. "I thought you were hungry?"


Norrington impatiently commented, "You are mad, then."

"Between the two of us, I think you're madder than meself at the moment." Jack stopped, a look of chagrin coming over him. "Port! I've been most remiss as a host. Why didn't you say anythin'?!" He got up and left the cabin, leaving Norrington sitting at the table with his hands tied and a plate of food cooling in front of him.

Having no real course but to go ahead and play along with whatever Sparrow had in mind, Norrington picked up the fork and helped himself.

Jack wasn't long, however, and it was only a few minutes later that he staggered back into the cabin and slammed the door behind him, laden with a crate that he set gingerly on the floor. Prizing it open, Jack muttered, "The wine of adversity. Suitably so."

The port, Norrington realized. "From whom did you liberate that small fortune?"

"'T'was a Ferreira," Jack claimed, proudly, brandishing a bottle and bringing it to the table. He went to the cabinet and got a glass and his own tankard.

Peering into it, he made a face, drained it of the remainder of rum, and poured overly generous amounts into both vessels.

Offering the glass to Norrington, Jack said, "Drink up, me 'eartie."

"I'm not one of your hearties," Norrington retorted, even as he took the glass with his bound hands.

"You are for now," Jack replied, undaunted; then paused, watching Norrington's face as he sipped the port.

"This is the original 1751," Norrington said, taken aback. A dark glower settled over him. "So you've pilfered Sinnott's personal store." Wonderful. The Admiral was going to see him hung beside Sparrow.

"Every last drop," Jack declared, happily. "It's a tidy fortune."

"Tidy, indeed. But then, you had no way of knowing it would be so valuable. You might be forgiven, seeing as you're so generous with it."

"Any port in a storm," Jack flung at him, with a gilt grin. His eyes held Norrington's and positively twinkled at him.

Again with the man's damnable good humor and mischievous wickedness and flirtation. Norrington sighed into his glass as he sipped.

He felt the warmth trickling down into his insides, suffusing him with a warming glow that only really good port could achieve. Sinnott's loss was his gain, and he might as well enjoy his circumstances, seeing as he couldn't affect them. Alter them perhaps, as Sparrow was undoubtedly amenable to negotiating, even as the pirate declaimed it. The man's eyes told otherwise, in any case.

Jack licked his lips, dark-rimmed eyes narrowing, as he noticed Norrington's change in mien.

Norrington felt an arrow of heat stab in his lower belly at the sight of that tongue flicking over those full lips. He chased it down with another draught of the dark wine. Dark, sweet, hot and seductive, just like Jack Sparrow. Damn him.

Once really hadn't been enough.

Jack grinned wider now and raised his tankard. "Aye, Commodore. Welcome aboard."

With a wry smile, Norrington raised his own glass. "To generosity, then."

Sparrow's grin turned feral and strange. "To freedom." He gulped back an unwise amount, his slender throat moving hypnotically in a very accustomed rhythm.

"Freedom has its price. Generosity is truly free."

"But more free than all these, is the port," Jack slurred, "and there's an unended- an anon - undead - unleaden-"

"Unending," Norrington pitched in.

"Yes…supply of it."


The port flowed a little too freely and Norrington couldn't remember much of what transpired afterwards.

All he retained of the remainder of the evening was singing some strange and very lewd songs that were unaccountably hilarious at the time, and the unavoidable knowledge that the port had been far stronger than he'd suspected.

Sparrow, being the capital fellow he was, had patiently gone over them word by word until Norrington had them down by heart, so they could sing them together. Apparently, Elizabeth Swann-turned-Turner was to blame for teaching it to Jack.

Somewhere along the course of the night, not to mention the past year, he'd got lost in a pair of Sparrow's knowing dark eyes that had weakened him… In fact, they'd always weakened him. His resolve, his self-control and his honor, as well as his loathing of Sparrow.

For he did loathe him, he did. The man was a pirate. Beneath contempt. He didn't hate him though. That was too strong a word, like the port. Too strong. Not as strong as rum, at which Sparrow had enlightened him with libations for sampling in comparison.

And it had been most uproariously funny to share these observations with Sparrow, who, being the gentleman he was, kindly let Norrington collapse on his bed when the room eventually began spinning too hard for his condition to be compared even to seasickness.


Commodore Norrington gripped the rail with white knuckles, his hands still bound before him.

In the cold light of mid-morning, only the crow's nest and sagging remainder of the Dauntless' colors were sticking obscenely out of the water of the bay. She'd sunk close enough to shore to lie bellied and broken in the sand like a drowned horse mired in mud.

Inaudible mutters reached his ears downwind and he glanced to his left with a sour taste in the back of his throat. A nod and a pitying look in his direction assured him that the sight equally disturbed the Black Pearl's crew.

It was not a pretty death, to be sure. Norrington wasn't certain if grief or anger were more in control of him at this moment.

He felt physically sick to his stomach, although he hoped he wouldn't vomit over the side and thus cause all manner of rumors to circulate that he couldn't hold his drink. Seeing her sticking out of the water in this way was making him feel more and more queasy though, and finally he turned away.

"It's a terrible sight for a sober man," came a voice belonging to a bulky shadow that blocked the sun momentarily.

"Gibbs, is it?" He considered the man for a moment, then dismissively went back to staring hard at the coastline of the island beyond, with its high rugged cliffs and forested hills.

"Aye. Hair of the dog?" Gibbs offered.

"I think not," Norrington replied, stiffly.

"Suit yerself," Gibbs replied, taking a swig of his whiskey.

The Endurance still sat in the waters beyond, the barely-discernable figures of his men, sans their coats and hats, milling about on the deck, while others attempted to redress the damage done to her at Sparrow's orders so they could set sail. She was too far out for them to attempt anything in broad daylight; the Pearl's cannons would take them first.

"Jack said you weren't allowed to come up. Said you'd be better off not to see. I told him that were cruel, to deny you last sight of her."

Norrington exhaled, sadly. "My thanks."

He went back to contemplating the beach beyond. It rankled that the Black Pearl's sails were new, the rigging in fine condition, and everything topside was gleaming and beautiful. The plunder from Isla de Muerta had enabled Sparrow to refit her.

It rankled too that he'd been captured in the first place. He glanced upwards; true enough, the white britches still flapped as sordidly in the sea breeze as the downed flag of the Dauntless nearby, trailing in the seawater.

It wasn't just the loss of the Dauntless; it was the fact that it was due to his own negligence and lack of foresight, his own rash irresponsibility, that she was gone. He eyed Gibbs' whiskey.

Gibbs noticed and handed it to him.

Taking a swig, he welcomed the burning drink. Thoughtfully, he took another. The heat chased out the pain and abruptly, he realized it would be bad indeed to face Jack Sparrow this morning with a sober head. He'd wring the man's neck. No one would be able to get his hands from around Sparrow's neck and he'd probably be shot and dumped overboard for his trouble. He handed it back to Gibbs. "Thank you."

"Ye'll be needing something stronger. Or at least more of it."

Norrington raised a brow at him. "Oh?"

"Jack said ye were to be taken below until we get out into the open again." Gibbs shrugged apologetically. "Doesn't want you knowing where we're goin'. Can't say's I blame 'im, either. Come along, Commodore."

Bitterly, Norrington allowed Gibbs and two men to lead him down below deck, taking a last mournful look over his shoulder to where she sat, brokenly engulfed. He wished she could have had a decent burial, all the way down to the bottom of the sea, in a proper bed for her final resting place.

It wasn't until he was secured in the brig below that it occurred to him, the irony of his mourning more over the loss of the Dauntless than of the Governor's daughter. But then, Elizabeth was still alive.


It was several hours later, as Norrington sat in the brig and mulled over various schemes and suggestions to offer Sparrow in return for his freedom without having to compromise his career or Naval knowledge, when Gibbs returned for him.

"Wants you back up in his cabin, he does."

"What a surprise," he stated, sarcastically. "You were with us on the crossing from England. Why have you thrown your lot in with this pirate?"

Gibbs shrugged. "E's a better man than most."

Which gave Norrington something to mull over as he accompanied them out of the brig. After all, what else could tempt a man from the Navy but greed? Norrington considered that he had gravely underestimated the men he hunted.

There was nothing but flat, ocean horizon to meet the eye as he was escorted back to Sparrow. He couldn't ascertain the direction they were headed, for the sun was still mostly overhead.

Upon entering the cabin, however, Norrington was treated to the rather startling sight of Jack Sparrow engaged in sword practice, clad in his breeches, white shirt, boots and nothing more. The coin that dangled over his headband jerked along with his head, as Jack whipped to face them standing in the open doorway.

Upon seeing them, Jack nodded once, and said, "Give him a blade," in a voice almost out of breath. "His own."

Gibbs shook his head and began muttering about it being a very bad idea to give a weapon to a man in the Commodore's current frame of mind. Jack didn't reply, just waited for Gibbs to leave.

Norrington clumsily held the sword Gibbs had returned to him, his own sword, and watched as Jack approached.

"Your hands, if you please, sir." Jack's expression was serious, and his eyes were alive.

Norrington held out his bound wrists, and Jack's sword sundered the rope.

With a salute of his blade, Jack said, "I thought some time below would match your mood. Seeing as you needed time to sulk and all. 'Sides, couldn't very well have you seein' which way we were headed, now could we?"

"What is this about?" Norrington was suspicious.

"Indulge me," Jack said, with a little bow. "We've not crossed blades before, and I find me curiosity is plaguing something fierce. En guard." He advanced swiftly, and Norrington was forced to put up his own, a quick and automatic reaction.

Lightning moves, heartbeats' pace and silver swift, and they were dancing to a different song now. With each counter-thrust and parry, Jack's face deepened in concentration and intensity.

Soon, both men's breathing came shallow, and abruptly, Norrington realized Jack was doing him a favor, allowing him to leach the fury and grief and humiliation he suffered from, all at once.

Jack's eyes glowed rather too brightly, and Norrington was angry afresh at the knowledge that he was providing the pirate with entertainment.

A practiced swordsman, however, Norrington allowed the anger to course through him and direct the flow of his motion rather than dull his attention. It came as a surprise to him when he outmaneuvered Jack's next series of play and struck lightly home, the edge of his sword grazing Jack's right arm and disappearing into the folds of the white shirt.

A line of red appeared, staining the sleeve. They were both frozen, and Norrington backed off slightly. Jack glanced down with a grin at his arm and then saluted Norrington again. "First blood. Well done."

And Jack promptly renewed the struggle, whipping his blade back up and once more forcing Norrington to counter. Norrington was backed up against the large wooden cabinet as the contents rattled within.

Jack's blade was dangerously close to his throat, although he'd blocked it, and he tried to fling both the blade and the man away from him. Jack pressed closer, anticipating this. Jack's body came crashing against his, the heat and supple power of him sending a jolt of desire through Norrington's already tense form. This kind of distraction he did not need. It was far too successful.

With a shove, Norrington forced him back, and Jack danced away again, this time with a grin. The confines of the cabin were beginning to annoy Norrington now, and he considered taking it outside where they could both let loose the reins and really go for it.

He realized in that moment however, that they were both enjoying it far too much and it wasn't so much a duel as foreplay. Damn Sparrow, anyway!

Although Jack's shorter stature and lesser strength told against him, Jack's sword-skill was by no means lacking and Norrington found himself distracted by the slim, almost boyish hips, and the grace of Jack's footwork. Compared to the usually staggering, sashaying pirate's walk, the steps currently made him feel wooden and militaristic in comparison. He ignored it, however, as neither wanted to bring this to a conclusion.

"Still delaying the inevitable, Sparrow?" he managed.

With another clash of their steel, Jack gasped, "Word Master or sword master, 'tis all the same. You're in the Caribbean, mate. Don't forget that."

"And you'd do well not to forget I'm an officer of the Royal Navy." Norrington cornered Jack against the foot of the bed and the wall with a blinding series of thrusts.

Jack leaped nimbly sideways however, up and then over the edge of the bed and backed into the middle of the cabin once more, saying with a maniacal glint in his eyes that matched his gold grin, "Haven't forgotten for an instant, matey. Not bad form, I must say."

Contentedly, Norrington pressed his advantage. He knew Jack was toying still, allowing him enough room to prove his skill as well as give too much away. There was also the decidedly suspect motive of allowing him to release his emotions rather than actually allow him a chance to escape. Where would he go, after all? Even if he beat Jack, it was unlikely the crew would comply with his wishes, even if he threatened to skewer him.

Jack must have already thought of it, however, for in the next moment they were circling around each other rather quickly, with Jack backing away towards the bed again, and abruptly falling backwards onto it in a somewhat rash move to break his fall. Norrington would have considered it near suicidal if he hadn't been the one to surprise the pirate with a counter-move he hadn't used yet in their sparring.

Standing over Jack as he lay panting, Norrington held the tip of his sword to his throat. "That was rather obvious and very stupid."

"Probably," Jack managed, "But then, so was attacking the Pearl at night without any of your precious Admiral's pretty ships to back you up." The reminder was a taunt and very successful. The total lack of concern Jack was showing at having Norrington's blade at his neck was both insulting and appealing.

Norrington did not lower his sword but considered thoughtfully, "You let me win. By rights, I should challenge you to a rematch." He pressed the tip home, denting the skin in the hollow of Jack's throat, enjoying the way Jack's eyes widened at it. "Or run you through, for capturing me, sinking my ship and kidnapping me on some insane, rum-influenced fancy for Naval fleet movements."

Jack waggled his brows at him and said, "Aye, but if you do, you won't have anything left to satisfy any future Mrs. Commodore, even the current Mrs. Turner, once she's tired of him and come looking for you. Or me? Both of us, perhaps. Either way, you'll be needing it." Jack was grinning at him salaciously. "Now, unless you fancy becoming a eunuch, I suggest you put up your sword."

Norrington looked down swiftly. Jack's sword was currently threatening his one anatomical area Norrington knew could be put to better use. He backed off, withdrawing the blade from Jack's neck, and watched in amazement as Jack merely tossed his sword onto the bed and pulled off his boots.

"This isn't over," Norrington stated.

"I should hope not," Jack said in a hurt tone, managing to sound like a jilted courtesan.

Norrington was not in the mood though. And decided to say so. "I won't be your sport for the afternoon, Sparrow. Find yourself another amusement." Not relinquishing his sword, he began edging to the door of the cabin.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Jack suggested calmly, removing his shirt and examining the still-bleeding cut on his arm that Norrington's sword-edge had inflicted. He went over to the dish of water in the corner of the room and began rinsing the blood from the sleeve.

The cabin was too confining. Norrington felt himself ready to bolt. The air was too thick to breathe. It smelled of both their fresh sweat and his own arousal, and a little bit of fear, if he were honest with himself. And rum. The permeating, eternal scent of rum that clung to Jack Sparrow for the very good reason that he always seemed to be drinking it.

"Give me one reason why not." Norrington saw no reason why he shouldn't try to make a break for it. His situation might be hopeless, but he was sure the pirate understood the sentiment: better to die with sword in hand than betray one's principles, honor, one's country…

"They'll shoot you, and not on my orders." Jack said bluntly, tying a wrap of cloth around his arm to cover the sword-cut. He pulled back on the shirt; having decided his cut wouldn't need stitches.

Norrington gave him a tight-lipped smile. "I have no choice. Unlike you, when you handed me my sword."

"Nice work, that one," Jack commented sunnily, as if Norrington wasn't standing by the door. "I recognized the grip, as well as the blade. Had ample opportunity to study Will's craft up close, on our first meeting." Jack got to his feet, and slid his sword back into the scabbard.

Jack was playing with him still, and Norrington wasn't happy about it. "You sank her," he said. "That was unforgivable of you."

"Aye, that it was," Jack agreed, with a sorrowful face. Then he ruined any semblance of sincerity by adding, "But then, if I hadn't, it would also have been unforgivable of me." He turned to his desk.

Norrington advanced on him, sword ready. And froze as Jack turned to face him, flintlock pistol in hand.

Jack shrugged. "Sorry. Admittedly, it was fun while it lasted." He motioned with the pistol. "Put it back. Over there."

Oh well. He hadn't really expected to gain the edge for long, anyway. Wryly, he slid it home into his scabbard with a sigh. He wasn't fool enough to rush a loaded pistol, and he didn't need a shoulder full of shot right now.

Turning, he beheld Jack sitting on the bed, this time with an interested smile wreathing his lips and yet holding the pistol in Norrington's direction.

"You don't need that," Norrington said unconcernedly

"Allow me to disagree, Commodore," Jack cheerfully replied. "See, m'crew are terribly upset to be having you aboard, and the only way you can stay is if you're bound. So if you'd be so kind, I'll be tying your hands again. I'm terribly sorry."

"Rot," Norrington said. "You're enjoying this far too much to be sorry."

"Or is it that I'm sorry I'm enjoying it so much?" Jack countered. "On second thought, or third, it's that I'm sorry you're not enjoying it -more-. We'll 'ave to remedy that." Rising, he went to the door and opened it, calling out, "Ah, Pete. Aye, you. Bring us a length of rope."

It took a few moments. As the swarthy crewman entered the room with a rope, Jack motioned with the pistol. "Bind his hands. Be quick about it."

Norrington stood, bored, and waited until the pirate left them alone once more, then went and sat in the chair before Jack's desk. "This is going to become old, very rapidly."

"I'm counting on it," Jack said. "Have some breakfast. Luncheon. Noonday snack. Whatever."

Norrington considered the apples in the basket before them. They hadn't been there the previous night. He selected one and bit into it. "You can't keep me here forever, you know."

"Can I not?" Jack took up an apple, himself. He scrutinized it and chuckled enigmatically before biting into it.

Norrington began wondering if Jack had any intention whatsoever of having his way with him. It dawned on him that, despite being a slut and a pirate and a man with no principles or morals in any way, shape or form, he wasn't interested in repeating their performance that night on Bermuda.

In which case, he'd been thrice the fool, as he'd counted on that being his bargaining chip, the persuasion for negotiable terms. Not only had he pursued rashly into the fray, he'd allowed Sparrow to go free before, and now he'd compromised himself completely by allowing the bloody pirate to get inside his head. And heart. Sparrow knew himself to be his weakness, as he'd feared.

Bitterly, Norrington chewed on his apple.


Jack was enjoying himself, just as the Commodore had accused. So much so, in fact, that he couldn't bring himself to end their tete-a-tete just yet.

Things were going his way at last. The Pearl was his, refitted and glowing like a new bride. The ocean was his once more too, and to have both at once was sheer luxury. He was willing to bet his honeymoon was lasting longer than the cozy Turners'.

He had the tormented Commodore trussed before him, and the poor bloke had absolutely no idea that Jack had no intention of giving him what he wanted until Norrington gave him something first. Namely, the temporary filling in of a few blanks on his little map.

That very precious and valuable map. It was often the way with really valuable things, Jack had noticed, that most folks simply couldn't recognize their worth until it was too late, if at all.

He had the entire pile of the treasure of Isle de Muerta, painstakingly transported these past ten months to a new, secret location. And of course he had his freedom. Taking another bite of his apple, he relished it simply because Barbossa couldn't.

The Commodore didn't know it yet, but he had his freedom too. Jack was looking forward to introducing him to it. He wondered offhandedly how much it would actually take to turn Norrington pirate.

He'd be loved for it, if he could pull it off. The man was a terror and a nuisance to all self-respecting pirates in the Spanish Main. Not to mention everywhere else.

There had been a distinct lack of business with merchant vessels of late, as Norrington had taken his new title and used it to establish an even harsher grip of the 'civilized' islands. Unlike other officers in Norrington's position, who would have used the opportunity to garner an admiralship, Norrington would earn one simply by outdoing himself and achieving one by default, pursuing the bloody business of putting pirates out of theirs.

He watched Norrington glumly chewing and decided to put him out of his misery. A teensy bit, anyway. Clearing his throat, he said, "I've a proposition for you, mate."

"I told you before, I don't make deals with pirates. I'm your captive, not your ally."

Jack smiled fondly at him. "Very good of you to remind me, too. Captive. Wasn't flattering you, when I said the rope suits you. I meant it. Truly."

Norrington took that in, and appeared to digest it. Was it just Jack's hopeful imagination, or did the good Commodore's spirits actually lift a little at the crumb he'd tossed in his direction?

"Of course, I'm sure the rest of the crew will agree, once you're back in the brig."

Norrington paused, finished his mouthful and swallowed. "You kept me here last night. They'll probably kill me if you keep me there."

"If. If they kill you, or they might find the rope as flattering as meself." Jack shrugged. "You help me, I'll help you. You really should stay away from the port. You passed out in disgraceful time. Was expectin' more from you, I have to say."

"I wouldn't have, if you hadn't had the bright idea of mixing it with rum. So your idea of pleasantly passing the time during my incarceration aboard your vessel is to ply me with alcohol until I pass you information, or pass out? That would be the more disgraceful of both our actions, I think. Shocking conduct, using liquor on your prisoners."

"You have your own Navy to blame for that. Bottles of rum weren't growing on the trees when we started sailing round these little islands. Any sailor will agree if you care to ask around. Rum is miraculous stuff. Much better than port. I'll prove it to you, if you like. Later."

Give it up, man, Jack thought silently, you're no match for ole Jack.

He could talk the Commodore under the table, drunk or not. Admittedly, Norrington was better with a blade than he'd supposed, but there was method to his madness in this circumstance. Multiple methods, if he were honest. Which he wasn't. He finished the apple and licked his fingers, noting the way Norrington tried not to notice.

Lovely. It really was, the way the blighter couldn't help himself. He'd have him begging before long.

The word 'mercy' had always had a lovely ring to it, but only when he was the one asking for it. When others used it, he always heard the French expression of gratitude, probably because most people tended to use it when they were in bed with him, regardless of their nationality.

"Every time our paths cross, I lose a ship," Norrington commented.

Jack squinted and counted on his hand, slowly. "Powers, you're right." Then he shrugged and picked out a banana. "And I seem to gain one." He put his bare feet up on the desk and crossed them. "I'm of the mind that I'm being the soul of generosity itself to offer you any kind of deal, seeing as you're the one bound and captive. Hear me out."

Norrington's eyes fell to the desk. He looked away and said, "Get on with it."

"We're bound for one of those islands you claim don't exist. The ones on that map that so offends you. Now, I've got me an officer of the British Navy, and the moneys and ship and the time to get me there. All I lack is the fleet positions, and Aunt Fannie's my uncle. Or is my uncle Aunt Fannie? Hm." Jack considered this poser.

Norrington's eyes flickered and he turned to Jack. "What on earth do you need them for?"

"To avoid them, love," Jack stated, as if to a simpleton.

Norrington's eyes narrowed. "You have the fastest ship in the Caribbean, and you expect me to believe that you're concerned about avoiding the Navy?"

"Upon our return from the island," Jack said, impatient now. "With the treasure."

Norrington frowned. "What the bloody hell are you talking about? What treasure?"

Jack stood up and stabbed the air aimlessly with the banana in his frustration. "My treasure, from the Isla de Muerta. You saw it yourself. Remember?" He gestured helplessly. "The- the crown? The gold? The piles of gold?"

Norrington sat back in his seat in disbelief. "That is the poorest excuse for my kidnapping that you could possibly offer. You are truly mad. I'm supposed to believe this is about treasure? You've kidnapped an officer of the fleet and sunk my ship…for treasure?" Norrington's blood was up, now.

Jack stopped. "Is there a better reason? Ever?"

Norrington leaned forward on the desk and put his head in his hands. "Bloody pirates," he cursed.

Jack leaned forward, and confided, "Now, it was fairly difficult getting back. Too many ships. I really want to avoid what happened last time."

"And what was that?" Norrington groaned, as if his head hurt too much to ask.

"Well, the Yard," Jack explained, leaning back in his chair, for once forgoing the opportunity for a good tale. Because it was self-explanatory, and for once, not a very nice tale at all. Awkward, embarrassing and horribly inconvenient.

"The Pearl's fast, but she's only one ship, savvy?" That was the only explanation Norrington was going to get.

The Black Pearl's subsequent outrunning of the British ships stationed just beside the island they'd passed on their return to the vicinity of Bermuda had been the ones Jack had ended up attempting to elude in port, on foot, while trying to conclude too many schemes at once while on land. The crew of the Black Pearl had left without him, complete with the treasure they'd retained from their visit to the new island stash, through no fault of their own.

Of course, Tortuga was the best, first place to weigh anchor to wait to see if Jack could get himself out of his latest scrape and so the Admiral's admittedly pretty Endurance had frightened the living daylights out of most of the pirate vessels already docked at Tortuga when he arrived.

He laughed to himself at the memory, ignoring the look of puzzlement Norrington shot at him.

It appeased Jack's sense of justice to have the same Commodore who liberated him from the Devil's Island see him safely through the identical procedure again, this time avoiding contact with any Naval vessels and as leverage as his hostage, should any try to stop him.

It made no sense to make the same mistake twice. And this way was more fun; he got to have Norrington along to fill the dreary days through the journey there and back.

Norrington sat up, only to sit back in his chair, slumped slightly. "You can't afford to leave me alive after you've revisited your island."

"Never fear, sir. I've no intention of allowing you near my charts once we reach a certain point of no return."

Norrington looked up. "Out of curiosity, just what did you do with that Aztec chest of gold, in the end?"

"Buried it. Davy Jones' locker were the safest place, we figured."

"And you still haven't explained how you managed to take the Admiral's ship. How'd you get the Endurance off, yourself?"

"It was difficult, to be sure," Jack admitted. "Nigh impossible to manage all on my ownsie, but as I told you, albatrosses can be useful."

Norrington frowned in confusion. Then light dawned. "You managed to convince someone to go with you before you left."

Jack glared at him. "Has that lass been talking to you as well, then?"


Jack shook his head irritably. It was harder to get anyone to take him seriously anymore, the Black Pearl's notoriety garnered over the past decade notwithstanding.

Ever since the revelation of how he'd actually escaped his marooning on that island by bloody Barbossa, Mrs. Turner had single-handedly ruined years' worth of reputation for him, both with his own crew and at large. It couldn't really be helped, seeing as they'd been marooned there together… and she had taught him that lovely song, after all, so he'd forgive her.

Then he realized his second escape from that hellish little piece of nowhere was all thanks to his officer, here.

He turned a nostalgic smile upon Norrington, who stared back in complete bewilderment.

He could tell from Norrington's expression and behavior however, that the man believed he was quite safe now from his advances. Jack mused upon this, regarding the banana. He'd have to take care of that belief immediately and set Norrington's notion to rest.

With a suggestive glance, he said, "I could pay you for your trouble. You could have, say, five percent of what we bring back on board?"


The man was mad. Completely and utterly stark-raving mad.

Norrington felt like he was in some sort of rum-inspired nightmare. In fact, that was the best summation of his situation that he could find.

"You can't buy me, Sparrow."

Jack nodded. "Every man has his price, Commodore. What would you say the inconvenience is worth?"

Norrington shot him a sorrowful glare. "The loss of the Dauntless was not a mere inconvenience and I resent you saying so."

"Not the ship, certainly, nor the rope and all. I'm talking about the time out from your commodoring."

"That would depend. How long is the voyage?"

Jack looked up at the ceiling, considering this. "Shall we say, oh, two weeks?"

Norrington's brain began to recover from the stinging insult that he'd been apprehended simply for treasure. "Hold on. You've already got the treasure, and you've already successfully moved it. Why take the chance of compromising its location while I'm on board, when you've already got it? What do you need it for? It was a king's ransom, enough to set you up as Governor of your own fleet and territory… or buy some throne somewhere."

"Retire?" Jack squawked, as if the idea were abhorrent to him. "Now where would be the point in that?!"

"To avoid the noose and the Navy's fleet," Norrington rejoined acidly.

"And -I'm- mad?" Jack mouthed to himself, clutching his banana to his chest. To Norrington, he said, brandishing it, "Now see here, Commodore; I don't do charity, and neither do you. I can hardly hand meself over to you along with me treasure and just give everything up. I won't retire until I'm dead. I'm afraid I shall have to reject your offer."

The man was insufferable. Norrington turned a cynical eye upon him. "It was no offer. It is, in fact, the only way you're going to avoid meeting an early death."

Jack grinned at him. "Is that a threat?"

"It's a fact."

Still amused, Jack murmured, "You haven't been able to kill me thus far."

Exasperated, Norrington said, "Not me! The gallows. You'll swing yet, mark my words."

Jack got to his feet, saying, "Rather warrant that's not something you're looking forward to, mate."

Making his way around to stand behind Norrington's chair, he placed both hands on his shoulders, and leaned down to say in his ear, "Mark my word, love, though we both know you'd die rather than admit it. I've done you a favor, have I not? Whisked out of doldrums and Sinnott's stuffy pomposity…for a teensy bit of adventure? And maybe something more?"

Norrington tried not to gulp at the smooth, honey and velvet voice so close beside him, breath warming his ear with the speaking of it, and the damnable accompanying warmth of Jack's hands. They were burning through his shirt where they lay, and he was barely able to suppress the tremor that tried to move over him.

Gathering his wits, he replied, "You're right; I'd rather die." And blast if the man wasn't right; he couldn't admit it. Sinnott had been a bore. A swine. Not nearly Navy enough for Norrington's liking.

Jack chuckled delightedly in his ear. "So you -are- enjoying yerself then. Good." He stepped away, and Norrington cursed him silently for the cold that suddenly replaced his touch.

Then he saw where Jack was headed and he groaned aloud.

Jack picked up the rum bottle and sloshed it gently. Pulling out the cork, he took a swallow. "Turnabout is fair play."

Norrington sighed. It was going to be a long day. A long voyage. In fact, it was going to be a long, long time before he was going to be able to live this down. Admiral Sinnott would probably see him court-martialed before this was over. "I'm ruined."

Jack turned with a frown and a grimace. "Nonsense. You're a blighted hero. They'll be singing your praises. You'll probably get a medal. And a new ship. You'll have all the lasses hanging on your arm, and your every word."

"You take such a positive view of my future. I'll be court-martialed. I may swing before you do."

Jack stepped close to lean against the edge of the desk in front of Norrington and thoughtfully swigged from the bottle again. "Your own men saw the Dauntless go down; and yourself captured by the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, aboard the equally infamous Black Pearl - feared throughout the Caribbean as the most terrifying terror of the past ten years. With a crew still known as cruel, demented, vicious pirates, and until of late, undead pirates what couldn't be killed and took no survivors. And with you being the most notorious pirate-hater in the Spanish Main. Love," Jack looked down at him, askance, and pointed the bottle at him. "Love, you get through this in one piece, with your sword and your honor intact, and they'll give you a bloody knighthood."

"But I will know the truth, and so in all honesty, upon my honor, I will be unable to accept it," Norrington pointed out.

Cryptically, Jack rebutted, "Wouldn't be the first time you've lied. Why stand on ceremony now?" He took a long drink. "You look dry. Rum?" Jack offered the bottle.

Norrington took it, his sensibilities beginning to suffer.

He was starting to see the sense in what Jack Sparrow was so elegantly articulating. After all, it would be incredibly easy simply to enjoy the trip to the island, avoiding of course any unpleasantness with the Pearl's crew… And avoid all the British ships and others en route, to be returned - where?

He swallowed the rum and asked, "What about when we return?"

Jack took the bottle from him with a smile. "Knew you'd see things my way. You tell me where, and I'll drop you there. Nothing easier."

"And I have your word on it?"

Jack raised his brows at him. "You're going to trust the word of a pirate?"

"Do I have any choice?"

"Good point. Very well. You have my word."

Norrington regarded him, and then realized with some discomfiture that Jack wasn't looking away. He wasn't prepared for the wall of heat that rushed over him, head to toe, in response. Damn him. He looked away first, wondering why, why WHY the man had to be so unnervingly, uncomfortably, damnably pretty.

The memories from the night in Bermuda roiled in his mind's eye and he swallowed, carefully. The way Sparrow had moved under him, and the breathy cries as he'd lost control, and how he'd found his release with the man he'd caught and bound…How Sparrow had lost it under him. He hadn't been imagining -that-.

Unfortunately, it did appear that Jack no longer felt it, nor did he consider it worth anything more than a convenient tool to use against him, to rattle his composure.

Jack set the bottle down on the desk and stepped in front of Norrington, waiting until Norrington looked up at him with a frown.

Norrington was taken aback to find warm lips against his, that opened quickly and invitingly, and then there was only the darkly-sweet heat of rum and Jack's tongue upon his own. His heart was pounding in his ears but he could hear Jack's as well.

God, he'd needed this so badly. So hungry for it. Had waited so long to taste him again. Wanted it. Golden moments. Stolen. Desired.

When Jack pulled back, he actually gasped - then realized his eyes had drifted shut and he was breathless. The shame at his helplessness in his own desire quickly replaced the pleasure of the few moments' kiss and he opened his eyes, looking down - not wanting to see the man's victory over him.

Damn Sparrow, anyway. Somehow, the silent words rang not with conviction this time but mournful loss.

But the bare feet in his field of vision stayed in place and Jack leaned down once more, this time placing both hands on either side of Norrington's neck, and he murmured, "It's hardly treason if you're saving your own life, and we refuse to kill you into the bargain. You can tell them we threatened you with a fate worse than death. Their dirty little minds will supply all the details - you'll probably not have to say 'nother word."

Wryly, Norrington met his gaze. "A fate worse than death?"

Jack shrugged. "No need to tell them it was worth it; that you were begging for it rather than against."

This was familiar territory once more…and Norrington was again assailed with the sinking sensation that Jack Sparrow knew something he didn't, even as they appeared to have an accord of some kind.

"Home, then. Upon our return."

"Port Royal, it is," Jack grinned. And this time, it was Jack who held out his hand. Norrington could not help a dry smile at the irony: he shook Sparrow's hand with both his tied before him.

As Jack made to pull away however, Norrington gripped Jack's hand between his. "Begging for it?" he repeated.

Jack made a little moue. "Figure of speech."

Norrington sniffed. "Help me up, then." And waited.

Jack looked down at their hands, then back up to meet his eyes, and pulled Norrington to his feet.

The Commodore, having had his fill of Jack's unspoken jibes and dark, meaningful stares, continued slowly forward, and maneuvered Jack against the desk, trapping him between the edge of the desk and himself, and looped his bound hands over Jack's head, trapping him neatly.

Looking down into Jack's eyes, which had gone very dark with concern at his actions, he said, "I still say you talk too much."

He waited for Jack to open his mouth to reply before bringing his lips down upon Jack's to silence him.

God, too much, this fire. It ravaged him from the inside out, burning out of control. He could barely move, for fear he'd move too quickly. The world disappeared very rapidly and was nothing but the thudding of his pulse and Jack's devilish mouth, still saying too much even though the pirate couldn't speak. The quickening of breath was also probably more eloquent than Jack would have preferred Norrington to know.

Slow, leisurely devouring, this taste… Jack sighed against him and the tension went out of him as he relaxed against Norrington's embrace.

Norrington was surprised by it, although he supposed he shouldn't have been. Nor by the pirate's hands as they stole around his waist to pull their bodies even closer.

And the kiss still went on; he was chagrined at how quickly time was still passing as it did, and it marred the contentment of being allowed these moments to explore the other man's mouth, to enjoy the dance of their tongues in a parody of their sparring earlier. It was almost enough. Almost.

Finally Jack dragged his mouth away, to catch his breath.

Norrington stared down at him, licking his lips and muttering, "I want you. Now, like this."

Jack gave a little smile and his eyes were half-lidded. "Like this?" He scooted up so that he was sitting on the desk. "Or like this?" Jack pulled him towards the edge so that his legs were pressed against it. Jack's knees came around to entrap him further, and Norrington groaned, unable to resist his need any longer. He brought their mouths together abruptly, forcing Jack's head back with the fervor of the kiss.

With sweet, liquid heat racing along his veins and savaging what shreds of his self-control remained, he wondered why they still hadn't moved to the bed. It would be more comfortable, not to mention practical.

Jack pulled his face to the side and gasped, "The bed."

"My thoughts exactly," Norrington muttered, relinquishing his grasp and bringing his hands up, stepping back as Jack darted out from under him.

Norrington paused, swept up the rum and took another few swallows.

Jack was laughing silently as he stood by the bed, pulling off his shirt. "I'll see you turn pirate, yet."

"Have you ever met anyone you couldn't?" Norrington was genuinely curious. "I mean, when you were actively trying to turn them, not simply by association?"

"If they are my associates, then they'd have to be pirates just for me to associate with 'em, now wouldn't they?" Jack explained, stripping, and turned to face Norrington who had moved to join him by the side of the bed. He regarded the rope with disgust now. "Hands over your head, sir." As Norrington complied, Jack undid the buttons and lifted the shirt over his head, leaving it swathed around his forearms. "Much better. So what does that make you, I wonder?"

Grudgingly, Norrington scowled, "A privateer."

"A very proper British privateer," Jack grinned.

"And your conquest, apparently." He stared down at Jack.

"Not yet," Jack promised, with a leer that somehow lacked the mistrust that Jack himself had always retained where Norrington was concerned.

Norrington grew thoughtful. "You were right, I think." At Jack's look of non-understanding, he added, "You said that I didn't own you, that I was the one who was owned."

Jack tilted his head and regarded him. "A man cannot hope to own even his own self, let alone anyone else. Anything else is simply self-delusion."

Jack raised both hands and placed them on Norrington's arms.

Who replied, "Only a free man who's tasted slavery would say such a thing."

Jack raised his brows at him. "Speak for yourself, Commodore. You are more the slave than me ownsie. Your fancy regimentals bind you a little too tightly to ever really enjoy them, eh?"

Norrington smiled. "You win. I won't deny that."

Jack paused, considering Norrington's laces on his breeches with a grimace. "Too tight, indeed. Methinks your blade needs freeing more than you do." Gallantly, he attempted to undo them.

Norrington had to suck in a breath, for Jack's fingers against his groin were causing havoc.

At last the blasted laces came undone, Norrington nearly coming undone along with them. The need to lay full-length against Jack was becoming painful. He had to feel skin against skin.

Finally, Jack pulled him down on the bed, and deftly turned them so that Jack was lying atop him. At Norrington's look of surprise and nervousness at this, Jack swiftly said, "My turn, love, after all."

The way Jack's eyes glittered was more than enough to make him nod his head like a puppet. "Need…your mouth."

Jack let out a single laugh under his breath. "Bet you do, after these past months." Jack bent and began a protracted assault on his lips, accompanied with cat-like writhings atop him that had him whimpering before long.

As Jack released him, he gasped with ragged breaths, "Damn it all, Sparrow, get to it, can't you?"

"All in good time, love; got to make sure you're ready." Jack lifted off him to scrabble about above their heads.

Norrington almost laughed at the familiar sight of his own vial of oil. "I wondered where that had got to."

"A memento," Jack said by way of explanation, uncorking it. "Give me your hands."

Norrington did so, and was relieved when Jack removed the shirt altogether. He was then scintillated to find Jack anointing his fingers. "Get me ready," Jack ordered.

Happy to finally oblige, he took Jack's cock between his slicked hands, careful to avoid rubbing it with the rope edges, and marveled at the way Jack tensed in his grasp, and sucked a breath from between clenched teeth.

Damn their earlier words; to handle him this way was too intimate for it to be anything other than ownership, however temporary. Jack was his. And they both knew it, in the way he could coax the pleasure from him.

Sure enough, Jack finally had to pull back, saying, "Enough, enough. Don't want this over before it began."

Jack leaned down to use his talented mouth on Norrington's skin, the twin beaded braids of that dark beard providing interesting secondary sensations as those lush, full lips marched a deliciously complete and wet trail downwards over his belly, to his thighs.

At this point, Norrington was indeed ready to beg. But Jack didn't appear to want to make him plead, for he licked a path up the weeping shaft and took him into his mouth.

The shock of pleasure of being engulfed in that hot, wet, silky heat was too much and he spasmed, feeling the shooting begin deep in his balls. He'd had to wait too long, with too much anticipation without promise of release, and the tantalizing sparring match earlier followed by the kisses was too much. He was unable to stem the tide as it raced from his toes all the way up to his head.

His body lifted off the bed as he came, pulsing into that demonically delicious mouth, Jack's eyes flicking upwards to meet his in that instant. Holding him down, Jack sucked, catching it all, wrenching it from him. Every last drop. Each lingering tremor. Black fog covered him with spots of light and his moans sounded hollow in his ears as the ecstasy captured him and won him over. And over and over.

The pleasure was keen enough to be almost painful and still that warm, lapping tongue lashed against the head of his cock, drawing it out again and again.

Finally, he had to beg him to stop. Jack lifted off him with a final lick, and regarded him with an expression reminiscent of a cat that'd got the cream. Which he was, really, Norrington supposed. Expectant, fond, even smug.

"Was that worth waiting for, then?"

Norrington tried to get his breathing back to something regular. Far too smug, by half. "So it would seem. Bit early to tell, really."

He glanced back down and nearly laughed at Jack's dismay.

In a slightly ruffled tone, Jack complained, "I've had no complaints yet."

"And you won't," Norrington assured him.

"Then it's time for the piece de resistance," Jack said, gleefully.

"What -is- it with you and French?" Norrington wondered, not even trying to edit his thoughts.

Jack paused at this, and looked puzzled. "Can't say for sure. It's not my fault the English borrow so much from them. Phrases, statues, colonies…fashion." He looked back down at Norrington with an evil smile. "Positions."

Norrington hadn't heard that before. "I don't buy that one."

"Lie back and think of England," Jack replied. "You're about to have a demonstration."

At Norrington's quickly stifled expression of nervousness, Jack undulated a little and said, "Trust me. I know what I'm doing."

"Yes, that's what bothers me," Norrington muttered.

Jack merely laughed under his breath and dived down once more to take Norrington's cock into his mouth again. Nibbling gently, Jack coaxed his organ into life, humming a little against him, causing the most wonderful vibrations in doing so.

Norrington's breath caught in his throat. "That- that song. What is that?"

Jack didn't answer him, merely continued to lave at his cock, pulling at him with long strokes and going up and down on him with such practiced skill that Norrington realized there was no way Jack was mimicking moves done to him by some past whore - this was from previous personal experience.

The lilting, off-kilter tune was a little haunting, inexplicably, and to have Jack humming it continuously was curiously disturbing, as well as exciting. Then he remembered. He'd been singing it last night, along with the other chanteys Jack had taught him. But it was one he'd known and for some reason had known the tune even before Jack had begun singing it.

Getting him fully erect once more, Jack pulled off of him and looked down, proud at his achievement. "Not bad, if I do say so meself."

"Elizabeth!" Norrington bit out, the answer finally reaching his lust-addled brain. "That's who it was. My God, that was years ago."

Jack gave him a look that bespoke volumes. "You'd be best not to go around calling other men mad, mate. And I have to say, it's bad manners to go shouting about your lost fiance when I've done such a fine job."

"My apologies, it was just that song you were humming."

"Ah yes, darling Elizabeth," Jack said, understanding him now. "A pretty partridge if ever there was one. Tell me, Commodore, have you ever shared a bed with a couple before?"

"A couple of what?"

"Oh, now that begs the question," Jack smiled.

"Lasses, plural: yes. Lads, singular. I'm afraid I've not had the pleasure of having them together."

Jack urged him to turn over. "You've not had enough spice in your life."

"Hm. I'm of the mind you are more than enough spice for anyone's life," Norrington replied as he complied.

The warm hands that trailed thoughtfully down his back and palmed his ass stilled his voice and his thoughts.

Those fingers were parting him, slickly, and the body heat radiating off Jack's nearness caused an answering rush of the so-recently attained pleasure to flood his already-sensitized nerves. Questing fingers encircled his opening and slid within him, showing the same care than he'd shown Jack that night, before. Now he was glad of it, and was even gladder that he'd not been cruel. Or he might never have this, as much of him as he had.

Then Jack was finally, at long last, laying full-length against him, those lovely lips coming to rest against the back of his neck.

"It's occurred to me that you -are- cabin fever," Norrington commented, slightly muffled against the bed.

"I'm a lot more than that," Jack suggested in a low voice. "And now, if you please, prepare to be boarded."

Norrington twitched and tried not to laugh. "Boarded?"

"Nautical term," Jack mumbled, as he began the long, slow slide within.

Norrington cried out against the bed, not sure if it was from pleasure or pain or both and something more altogether. Taken. Owned.

Wasn't that the point, he wondered? To own each other for a short while, and take everything the other had to give. To give it all until satiated.

Every inch of Jack's hardness that glided deeper into his body, pressing farther with each slow stroke, even and gentle, yet merciless, answered with an assent.

Jack's guttural moan, accompanied by the teeth biting into his neck, was an additional incentive to take it all. He reared back, impaling himself more fully on Jack's cock, wringing a surprised hiss from the man who rode him.

Then teeth nipped at his ear, catching the lobe and stinging, followed by the hot swipe of tongue and an ardent whisper. "Very accommodating, even now."

The pirate began that wonderful, slow wriggling motion that Norrington remembered from before… It was novel to be on the receiving end this time. He finally had a better idea just what it could inspire, let alone accomplish.

"Do it," he gritted out.

"Ask for it, and you might get it," Jack murmured.

Shit, Norrington thought, the penny dropping now. So this was where Jack used that charm of his to take what he wanted. "Please, harder," he managed.

"Can't hear you properly, mate; you'll 'ave to speak up," Jack said, a note of amusement creeping into his voice. He kept the pace slow and stoking, only enough to keep his partner on the edge.

"Please!" Norrington exclaimed. "Damn you! Stop teasing and just get on with it, please!"

"Music to me ears, at last. Was that really so difficult?" Jack's grin colored his reply, but he did increase the tempo.

"Oh, fuck," Norrington gasped, as Jack's length moved in and out of him, removing every remaining scrap of doubt from his consciousness: the man was a devil.

A true devil of a pirate. No one else could fuck with all the abandon of a common whore, all the passion of a lusty wench, and the surety and strength of a hard-bodied soldier all at once - and still deliver just the right combination of measured care to a bed-fellow who was virgin to the experience.

Hammered into him, driven into his core, taken and used like any lass who'd ever begged him for it, he finally found his release. It boiled up with sizzling slowness of a damp fire, the edge pounded away from his earlier completion, and his body yet hungry for it once more. Jack had tuned him like a fine instrument. And straining for the edge, he reached it at long last and tumbled over.

As the waterfall rushed over him and pulled him down, he hadn't expected it to be so complete. The white, rushing roar of desire attained, only to discover that it still was not enough and never could be, even as he was lost in it.

When he regained his sense of who and where he was, he grew aware of Jack's arms holding him close about his body, and Jack's rhythmic breathing against him. They were still. Unaccountably, the pillow beneath his face was slightly sodden.

He didn't want to break the silence. He hoped Jack would not either.

It was over too soon.


Jack sighed against the lust-sheened skin his cheek was pressed into. The recently educated Commodore was very quiet. Jack hoped there wouldn't be histrionics. Couldn't abide those; terribly unnecessarily, really. He was a sure thing, after all. And he was relatively certain that he hadn't hurt him.

It had been far better than he'd expected, and the whole thing had gone down far better than he'd hoped.

Which was good, because they'd only just got started. He was committed to educating his Commodore Norrington on several other interesting positions.

Norrington's sated comment was enough to assure him there wouldn't be any histrionics after all. "I'm glad to know you give as good as you get."

Jack idly traced his fingers over the unmarked, pale shoulder in front of him. "That's because I'm as good as it gets."

Norrington replied thoughtfully, "I suppose you are, at that. I never would have guessed."

Jack wasn't sure he wanted his Commodore to enlighten him about what he was referring to.

"With some men, and women also, the swagger and swank hides a neophyte."

Jack couldn't agree more, but he didn't respond, mostly because he was a little taken aback at the perceptivity his Commodore was suddenly showing, about his own little self. All right, a lot; a lot taken aback. It was unnerving.

At that point, he looked up and saw the telltale trail that still marked his Commodore's face and Jack frowned. That was even more unnerving. Suddenly, the idea of tormenting and leading the man on was about as unnecessary as trying to excite his own self to commit acts of piracy. He could afford to be lenient.

Gathering himself up, he drew a breath and leaned close, pressing a kiss to the wet cheek, and whispered, "You're right, love. But you know, you did save me life. You've come a long way, so you have."

Norrington blinked several times. Wryly, he replied, "I guess I have, haven't I? I'd hardened my heart to the point of letting go of the woman I loved."

"Aye, you loved her, but did you really -love- her," Jack asked. "The things you love are different from the things you -really- love."

Norrington's reply was troubled however. "I'm not sure I understand your distinction."

Jack smiled, slowly. He was never one to ignore an opening when someone kindly offered one. Or to take one when he saw it, even if it might upset others. "Take the idea of a ship, for example. We both love ships, we do. But now take the Pearl," Jack continued, pausing for effect. "I -really- love the Pearl."

"Then I loved Elizabeth, but I -really- loved the idea of her more than anything else."

"Lot easier to love an idea," Jack agreed. He sank his head down and sighed, contentedly. "The idea of freedom. Or love."

Norrington tensed under him. Jack winced. He hoped this wasn't a prelude to those histrionics.

But his Commodore surprised him again, saying only, "You don't fit my idea of a pirate, and yet you complete it. You're a conundrum."

Jack considered this, his brow wrinkling slightly. It didn't exactly sound flattering. "I assure you, I was a pirate before you were born."

"I don't doubt it," Norrington said, amusedly. "I suppose because of you, I'm having to reassess my definition."

There was something distinctly different about Norrington's attitude towards life. There'd always been the potential, of course. To be a free man. Not bound by the rules that governed those who preferred to be governed.

Jack kissed the smooth back under him and ran his hand back up to his Commodore's shoulder, enjoying the contrast of the colors of their skin. "Saw it in your eyes, you know. When we met."

Norrington seemed to understand his cryptic comment perfectly. "I know." Then, he revealed the first hint of awkward vulnerability. "I may have come to need this too much."

Jack grinned behind him and squeezed slightly. "Not all treasure's silver and gold."

"Then I'm as much a pirate as you are, and I'm living by double-standards."

"Don't start beating yourself up, love. Life will do that just as well."

"Was it for treasure, then, that you were waiting off Exuma in that bay where my ship is sunk?" Norrington hesitated. "Don't patronize me, Sparrow, and just tell me the truth."

Jack lifted his head, a little scandalized. "Patronize? Me? You're patronizing enough for a fleet of British all on your ownsie, Commodore."

"Don't mince words with me," Norrington said, mildly. "You can tell me the truth for once."

"And where's the fun in that?" Jack was sincere. After all, if they didn't have anything to discuss, the voyage would get boring very quickly. In between shagging, and duels, and drinking rum and singing, that is.

And attempting to ascertain the Naval ships' courses, and headings and positions.

Jack chuckled atop his Commodore, who sighed, guessing at that moment that Jack's thoughts were turning once more towards ever-more complicated intricacies of manipulation and revelry; and he wasn't wrong.

- fini -

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