Disclaimer: Disney's. No money. Don't sue.
Rating: NC-17!!! My first ever!
Warnings: Nookie! Graphic nookie! Nookie with the F-word!
Pairing: Jack/Groves
Beta: Webcrowmancer ::mwah!::
Notes: To properly understand this, you should read Fortune and Favor. But, as that's a long story, and contains no nookie, I'll understand if you're not so inclined. In which case you'll either need to surmise a bit about the backstory or just decide I write Jack woefully OOC. Whatever. :)
Summary: Norrington wants Jack "unrecognizable"; Groves carries out his orders. And lo, there is nookie.
Archiving: You like it? I give it to you.
Comments: Welcomed in all forms. I'm a spastic answerer: sometimes I'm Rabbit, sometimes I'm Turtle. But I do read every one.

For Webcrow, who rocks my world with awesome fic. And is a thousand times cleverer at titles than I am.


By firesignwriter

He didn't have any spare strength in his legs, nor energy hiding in some untapped reserve in his body, but that didn't really much matter. When they came for him, Jack resolved to fight. Or run. Whichever. Just not be taken.

He plunked the now empty glass to the table with all the emphasis he could muster. Stood, sprang back, watching the thickset tars for their next move. Except when he sprang back he didn't quite manage to get clear of the chair, which tangled his legs and sent him down in an inelegant crash.

So much for running. He scrabbled instead. Backwards, still watching them, his heart doing angry thumpy things, and then he made acquaintance with the wall and found his room for maneuvering abruptly diminished.

Sideways, along the wall. Feet working beneath him. Standing again, staggering a little. He hit a sturdy dresser and wasted no time in clambering atop and pressing into the corner.

"Gen'l'men," he said, very sensibly, "I see no reason we can't negotiate."

Offside, Lieutenant Ellis Groves followed the tableau, unmoving. "This part isn't open to negotiation, Jack."

Jack held up an admonishing finger. "Everything's open to negotiation. It just doesn't always know that it is."

"I daresay we've found the exception." And his voice was surprisingly cold. "Do you even begin to comprehend what we're risking for this?"

Not really. Nor, at the moment, did he care. "If there were to be 'terms,' Commodore Norrington really should have had the decency to explain them before tossing me off the bloody ship, should he not?"

The two sailors stood before the dresser now, awaiting an order from the lieutenant. Geoff, formerly his rescuer, a bald warhorse of a man who wouldn't have looked too out of place with Barbossa's undead crew, appeared to be enjoying this far too much. Nameless, less a warhorse than an ox, wore only grim purposefulness on his heavily lined face. Jack already knew how strong Geoff's grip was; Nameless looked similarly gifted.

"Given the choice, would you have chosen the sword?"

"The point I'm trying to make here is, it would've been nice to have that choice."

"You have it," Ellis reminded him. "My orders, sir."

Ah yes. Those orders.

Could the lieutenant really do it? Run him through, toss his carcass into the sea and make fact of Norrington's fiction? Jack risked taking his eyes from the jack-tars long enough to look at the man, evaluate his sincerity.

Oh, hell. He'd gone all Navy-faced.

Jack licked his lips. Studied the sailors, considering options.

"Jack." More quietly now. "We're putting our careers on the line, at the very least. All of us. For you."

Geoff and Nameless both looked quite serious at that, and he was forced to acknowledge that Ellis spoke truth. From commodore to common tar, these men, some of whom knew him not at all, were taking a very big chance on him, gambling on some streak of honor -- or at least trustworthiness -- he wasn't entirely sure he had.

He took a steadying breath. Slid slowly down the wall 'til his butt rested on the dresser up against his close-nestled feet. He propped his left elbow on an upraised knee, leaving his right arm to dangle in pained stillness at his side. His eyes stayed warily on the tars but his words, defeated, were for Ellis. "You don't need the muscle."

Hesitation. "You understand...this must be done..."

"I won't fight," he said dully. "My word on it."

More silence. He looked over. Met the officer's very dark, suddenly sorrowful eyes. Ellis smiled slightly, tightly, and nodded once.

"It's all right," he told the men. "You can go."

"Sir," Geoff began, eyes filled with the chariness of a sturdy veteran sailor who'd resisted the lure of piracy.

Ellis slid him a glance. "If it comes to it, Geoff, I think I can manage to put down one half-starved, half-drowned pirate. Even if he is Captain Jack Sparrow."

Clearly the tar wasn't happy about it, but he knew when to follow orders. He muttered beneath his breath, and Jack didn't miss the severe look of warning delivered his way, but in a moment they were gone, the door shutting firmly behind them.

Ellis righted the chair. Turned himself to filling the bowl with water, whipping the shaving soap into a creamy lather, bringing a lantern to the table, and variously occupying himself while very obviously waiting, patiently, for Jack to keep his word.

The Encounter rolled only gently beneath them now, the storm having passed on and away into the stuff of memory, where he knew he'd meet it again. It would blend with the other incomprehensible events that found him here: the excruciating death of the Black Pearl, the endless days of waiting for Anamaria to succumb to injuries and exposure in the longboat, the strangeness of his incarceration on the Dauntless and the instant he'd realized with diamond-edged certainty that a Turner blade would be the one to spill his heart's blood into a furious ocean. It would blend, and he'd relive all of it in confused dreams and nightmares in which some things changed, others didn't, and the sword would sometimes pierce him through after all.

Ellis said nothing. Continued to busy himself, idly testing the edge of a scissor-blade against his thumb. Jack eased down, slowly, appreciating at least the semblance of choice the officer tried to provide.

He slid into the chair. Stared at the corner of the table.

"More rum?"

"Aye," he said hoarsely. "Hell yes."

The glass was refilled, the bottle left nearby. Jack downed an unhealthily large swallow.

Then Ellis was behind him with a hand slipping beneath the weight of wet elflocks and drying hair, chiming beads and jewelry and charms no one else knew the importance of. A shiver took Jack, head to toe, but faded with another overlarge swig of liquor. He closed his eyes.


"Tell me about it."

It took a few heartbeats for the words to process. "What?"

"Your hair," Ellis clarified. Snip. "Explain it to me."


Snip. "Talking helps."

"Helps what?"

"Helps ease hurt. Helps time pass." Snip. "Helps."

"Maybe in your world," Jack said in a dispirited growl, not opening his eyes. Swallowed rum blindly.

"And besides..." Snip. Snip. "If I must do this thing -- and I must -- I want to know what it is I'm doing to you, Jack." Snip. "It's nothing like a military man and his uniform, is it? That kind of instant identification...? No? I don't think it's as simple as vanity..."

"Vanity's not such a simple thing as that," Jack muttered.

"Is that it, then?"

Against the inset of closed eyelids, he saw thick brown fingers twining through his hair. Old laughter trickled from an ancient wellspring in the depths of his thoughts, rumbling warm thunder, and a distant echo of himself felt young and cheeky and full of spit.

His eyes blinked open, but didn't see. "Moments."

"Moments?" Snip.

"People." Entangled limbs -- she, a wild, pale Amazon, born and blooded for frigid northern climes, and he, weaned on bronzing Caribbean sunshine. A gaudy button from her gaudy blouse had found its way to his keeping, to his hair. He could find it with a touch. Find her. "Places." Trees rearing skyward farther than his mind could follow, whole worlds living up in their canopies. A storm-felled branch, still moist inside, and days of lost, hungry wandering during which he'd whittled and shaped and made dice, lucky dice, to roll and divine with and find his way home. "How do you remember anything?"

"Not as vividly as you, I imagine." Snip. "I can tell a mean story about a scar on my thigh."



Jack sipped his diminishing drink. "And you still have a leg?"

"Very tiny shark. A sailor was fishing off the first ship I had operational command of. He should have been working, so when he hooked something at the same moment I walked by, he thrust the rod into my hands and said, 'A gift, sir!'"

"The shark."

"I was just trying to let the damn thing go."

Jack smiled faintly. Closed his eyes again. The implications were terrible but, taken by itself -- or maybe taken with the rum -- the feel of Ellis's hands through his hair, lifting and smoothing, almost caressing, was actually...pleasurable. To an exhausted, thoroughly worn pirate, whose life of late had consisted of one crisis after another, this gentle contact had a soothing quality. Every harsh whisper of scissor-blades felt like a stab; but then fingers would brush his neck, rub lightly at his scalp, drawing some small but important fragment of the pain away.

He couldn't help wincing as each elflock was cut free. Ellis did this with the same care as the rest, laying the soggy locks with their weight of clinking mementos almost reverently on the table. He seemed bemused by the stingray spine, fondling it a moment before cutting through the pertinent bindings and adding it to the collection. Jack's eyes crinkled with remembrance. He reached to touch the slender spear. Stroked a finger along its length.

The hands stilled briefly in their work. Distractedly, he thought he noticed Ellis catching a breath.

There wasn't much more talking for the rest of the hair, but Jack supposed the lieutenant had been at least a little bit right: it had helped ease the hurt as well as pass the time. After a last few snips, suddenly a hand scrubbed vigorously through his hair, sending scattered clippings all about, and then Ellis clapped him on the back and came around to look from the front. He made a show of frowning seriously, leaning around to examine the cut from left and right. Reached out -- snip snip. Stood back and put a hand to his chin. "Hm."

Jack quirked an eyebrow in reluctant question.

Ellis smiled a bit smugly. "I'm rather good at this, I think." Then he was all business again. "All right. The face."

"Y'know, I could probably--"

"Nup-up!" A sharply waving finger. "I'll not risk my life with an armed Captain Jack Sparrow, thank you kindly. Keep your hands away from that blade, pirate."

Jack looked significantly at the razor, lying openly on the table and well within reach. This time his arched brow carried a different significance. "You're quite enjoying yourself, aren't you?"

Cockeyed smile. "How many men can say that they personally gave you what may well be your single haircut in a lifetime?"

"None," Jack supplied. "I'm dead. Or had you forgotten?"

Ellis's amusement seemed undiminished. "I'll know."

He grabbed another chair and settled himself before Jack, taking up the scissors again. From this angle, sharp implements nearing his neck, Jack's confidence slipped a bit. He leaned back unconsciously.

Ellis met his eyes. "What...?"

A grimace. "Oh, nothing. I let officers of the King's Navy put sharp metal things to my throat all the time."

"I've no desire to see you harmed, Jack."

"You said you'd run me through if I didn't cave to this."

"Well, yes..." His brow lined. "But I wouldn't enjoy it."

Jack smiled insincerely. "That's very reassuring."

Ellis blinked at him a moment, then deliberately put the scissors on the table. Faced him empty-handed. "More rum?"

"More rum," Jack agreed fervently, raising his empty glass. "A great bloody lot more rum."

In moments he had his wish, and he imbibed with gusto, trying very hard not to look at the forlorn pile of severed hair adorned with more memories than he remembered making. Where'd that tiny golden leaf come from? It escaped him now. Was it gifted? Pilfered? Won?

"Don't move."

A snip. Another. Two thinner, neater braids joined the matty rolls of the elflocks.

Jack pulled away to take another swallow, keeping the glass protectively against his face far longer than a single drink could excuse.

Ellis, hardnosed, scooted closer still, bowl of shaving lather in one hand, application brush in the other. "Lean in."

"What say you to a few more glasses first?"

"I say I've got work to do first."

Jack tried his best imploring smile. Faltered, wondering suddenly if it looked anything resembling right with his newly altered appearance. He really needed a mirror, damn it all. "What do I look like?"

Dark eyes took him in. There was intensity there, an undisguised heat. But nothing, yet, overt enough to respond to. "Let's finish, all right? Then we'll see."

Jack tightened his jaw. Nodded unhappily, setting the glass down. Closed his eyes again and steeled himself for the unavoidable.

The brush with its layer of soapy foam tickled a little as it lathered him up. The scent did tingly things to his nose, nearly invoking a sneeze. He suppressed it with great effort. Beneath them, peaceful now, the Encounter rocked a lullaby, her motion whispering to him of her nature, her potential, the life she wanted to live on the sea.

The razor swept slowly over his throat. Jack held very still and listened to the ship.

"Chin up a little...? There." Along the underside of his jaw, small motions, lethal edge as gentle on his skin as a lover's first caress. Jack's eyes slitted and he gazed at the man whose face showed so much concentration, then those unconcealed flashes of appreciation and something very similar to tenderness. His suspicions about Ellis had a dreamy, detached air. Like this whole event -- from Norrington's incomprehensible act of mercy to the loss of these last vestiges of Self -- hadn't happened in any real world. Right now he was likely lying on that narrow berth in the crew quarters aboard the Dauntless, escaping his fate in dreams if nowhere else.

Ellis touched a finger to his jaw, tipping his face slightly aside. Met his half-lidded stare briefly. The officer's eyes smiled back at him before returning to their focus on stripping him down. The hand he'd used to nudge Jack's jaw trailed down casually enough to linger at his collarbone, thumb just brushing the hollow of his throat, rubbing little half-circles back and forth.

Jack's eyes closed. He moved his head as guided, giving up on thought. Paid attention to small feelings, sensations, neither encouraging nor rejecting anything. Yet.

A tiny scar along his jawline, all but invisible, caught the blade and bled. The sting startled him into a flinch, though it didn't particularly hurt. Eyelids fluttered to reveal Ellis's contrite face.

"I'm sorry."

"'snothin', mate," Jack murmured, lids closing off the world.

"Here, let me..." A pause. No thoughts. Just patience, silence and waiting. Then soft pressure, moist, very flexible and warm, touching at the little cut with infinite care.

Jack cracked an eye. Ellis drew back, his smile calm, his eyes not. "All right?"

A faint nod. Jack closed his eyes once more.

The shaving was finished shortly, Ellis dampening a cloth to wipe the last of the soapy mix from his skin. Now Jack watched him, evaluating his response, trying to gauge what it meant for his piratical future.

A truly pleased smile. "Jack," he said, "I wouldn't have thought it. You're really very fetching."

Jack touched a hand to his face. Felt along its contours slowly, scouting the unfamiliarity of the terrain. His upper lip, smooth, bare as a boy's. How long since that had been the case?

He watched Ellis, watching him. Experimentally, he fingered that minimal cut, then looked at the tip. Red. He showed Ellis wordlessly.

The officer took his hand, frowning very seriously at the smear of blood. "So careless of me." He touched lips to Jack's finger almost chastely, then dispelled that illusion by sucking the tip into his mouth, tight-hot-wet, and dancing his tongue across. His eyes slid to Jack's. Down to his jaw. He leaned in and very carefully kissed the offending nick, devoting considerable attention to the spot.

Jack's next breath was a shaky sigh, tension released, a new thrumming in his blood. He'd moved beyond physical and emotional exhaustion into a state of floating euphoria. A nice place. One he thought he might like to visit again.

Ellis was working on his throat now, tongue tasting, lips tracing, teeth very close to a nibble. Jack's head tipped back, offering access. The pounding in his veins strengthened as the officer's hand wandered down his chest and curved around his ribs, fingers digging lightly in the indentations, his other hand stealing now over Jack's damaged right shoulder to run up into newly shorn hair, clasping the back of his head.

And oh yes, it did feel very. Very. Nice. Unreal nice. Like it was happening to someone else altogether, and he just somehow got to ride along and enjoy.

Ellis followed his throat up, beneath his jaw, lingering at his naked chin. Warm breath against his face, tickling the bareness of his upper lip. "Jack?"


"May I kiss you?"

His mouth twitched. "What've you been doin', mate?"

"May I kiss you..." A brush of lips to lips. "...here?"

Now he looked, eyes opening to meet dilated brown very, very close. He remembered suddenly that he was a notorious pirate, almost a living legend, and this man was perhaps more than a touch in awe of him.

Jack closed that fingerwidth between them and took his first sampling of Royal Navy lips. No callow youth, this. Ellis's mouth spoke of experience in life and games of loving, his tongue a surprisingly devilish suitor that stroked, teased, taunted and begged. He explored Jack's teeth, testing the unfamiliarity of the metal. Smiled, the expression a sensation against Jack's mouth.

Powder-lines of fire were spreading through the pirate's limbs, waking anything that thought to be numb, enervating and sensitizing skin. Aroused, not yet aching. It was pleasant. It felt like it could continue a long while and only get more so.

Ellis pulled away slightly. Skin was flushed, eyes quite dark. "I've been wanting that."

"Been wanting a lot more than that, I wager," Jack said calmly despite the heat in his blood. "Am I buying me life here, Ellis?"


"Just wonderin' if that's what this is. Payment."

Ellis appeared truly taken aback. "Your life is your own, Jack."

"Aye?" He assessed the other through narrowed eyes. "An' if I told you t' go sate yourself with your man Geoff instead?"

The officer flushed a deeper color, embarrassment and anger mingling. He looked at the lamp, flickering, dancing. "You're under no obligation."


Abruptly Ellis scooted his chair back and stood. "None," he said shortly, grabbing the bowl of foamy water, giving himself an all too obvious Mission to take it outside and get away for a moment.

Jack watched him go without comment, then turned his attention to the table. More specifically to the razor lying there -- an invitation and a taunt. Really, even a half-dead Jack Sparrow should be granted a little more respectful caution than that...

By the time Ellis returned, stiff-spined and mask-faced, empty bowl in hand, Jack had shifted around 'til he'd gotten his feet propped on the abandoned chair. "Well, you weren't hardly gone long enough for Geoff."

Tight lips. But that still wasn't anywhere near a Norrington-level mask; it failed utterly to hide the injury in the officer's eyes. "Jack, just - don't."

"What? He fancies you. 's plain as day. All that fierce protectiveness, dire threats tossed at yours truly..."

Ellis strode to the cabinet. Shoved the bowl in, saying nothing.

When he started for the table to gather the rest of it, Jack dredged up some energy and kicked out the chair, blocking him and issuing an invite at once. "Ease up, mate. I's just feelin' out where the walls are, aye?"

Ellis stared at the chair. Spoke flatly. "I don't understand."


The way he kept watching that thing, it seemed he thought the chair might take hostile action. "Look, I...I offer my apologies, Jack. It was...inappropriate of me. If you'll just--"

Jack rolled his eyes. Tried the honest man's sometimes-magic word. "Please sit?"

Yep, that did it. A sharp look at him, guardedly hopeful again, and Ellis carefully seated himself, his posture one of habitual correctness. As if he hadn't been wantonly suckling a pirate's tongue only minutes ago.

Jack regarded him, smiling faintly. No wig, not after being out in that storm, but his dark hair (much longer now than his own, Jack couldn't help noting dismally) was neatly tied back, begging to be released and played with. The uniform coat hung drying on the wall. For an officer, he supposed this was laid back. Though the man did appear particularly uncomfortable at the moment.

Dragging forth yet more energy from some reserve that hadn't quite run dry, he rose to his feet, took the requisite step, and unceremoniously straddled Ellis's thighs, left arm going over his shoulder to loop around his neck. Surprise on that face now, and considerable pleasure. Only the slightest hint of lingering suspicion.

"I like you, mate," Jack said plainly, near enough the man's lips that they parted in expectation. "Figure you for a good man, an' the Royal Navy could certainly use more a your sort." At least, he amended to himself, I could certainly use more of your sort in the Royal Navy. "So take this in the spirit it's meant, eh?"


Lightly, he pressed the razor blade up beneath the corner of Ellis's jaw. Earthy brown eyes flew wide. He tried to look, turn his face, confirm the weapon, but Jack shook his head warningly, expression very serious. "Nuh-uh. Be still."

Ellis obeyed, throat bobbing once in a convulsive swallow.

"Never, ever, and I mean never ever, assume that a li'l drownin' an' a li'l starvin' an' a li'l bein' almost blown up is gonna make a pirate safe to be around. Nothin' makes a pirate safe, save makin' sure you're his good mate or he's good 'n' dead. And even then you should exercise a little caution. Savvy that?"

Minuscule, strained smile. Admirable grace under pressure, really. "I savvy."

With a grin, Jack sat back a little, deliberately nudging his pelvis forward at the same time. "Good. Because I do..." And he wriggled his hips just so. "...like you, m'boy. An' I'd hate t' see you get hurt."

Ellis hissed an exhalation. Didn't move. "As...would I. Your point is well taken. Would you...?"

Jack kissed him, a rough-silk glide of lips over lips. "Hmm?"

"Jack, the..." Another kiss, no deeper than the last. "Jack..." Stealthy pirate tongue taking advantage of that open mouth, thrusting suddenly, finding the lieutenant's and coaxing it to dance. It proved a most willing partner. Jack breathed a moan against him that was nearly a purr. Rocked his hips in slow counterpoint to the Encounter's easy roll, drawing an audible whimper from the man. Ellis closed his eyes.

Jack let go those lips, but didn't pull back. His breath came raggedly. He watched Ellis until his eyes opened, unfocused, then waited 'til they cleared.

Ellis caught his breath and said, with a great measure of dignity, "Jack, would you -- please -- discard the razor?"

Oh, right. "I s'pose I don't need it to keep you here..." He tossed the blade away and had Ellis's mouth again before it clanked to the floor.

Freed from imminent threat, the good Lieutenant Groves wasted not this opportunity. His hands were on Jack beneath his borrowed shirt, grazing up over ribs that'd grown too prominent, one arm sliding around the pirate's back to pull him snugly against his chest. Jack indulged his whim to see that hair unconfined, freeing it, tangling fingers in loosened strands, gripping, guiding.

Ellis stood. All in one motion, Jack clinging to him in surprise. Held him there with that arm at his back and the other gripping his left thigh to keep him in place.

"Where we goin', mate?"

Mouth nestled into the crook of his neck, Ellis murmured, "Away from the scissors."

"Oh," Jack said distantly, "all right then."

And then the bed in a tumble. Jack's shoulder issued its expected protest when he rolled over it, but he cursed only absently, and Ellis took his oaths to mean something else entirely. The officer peeled off his shirt with Jack's ineffectively one-armed assistance. Went for Jack's next, pulling and tugging with only passing regard for the buttons. Jack writhed every which way he could, trying to slip out of everything at once without jostling injuries too severely, but abruptly he found his motion stilled, forcibly, as Ellis put a hand firmly to his left shoulder and held him there, gazing at the right.

Still panting, the lieutenant said, "That needs bandaging."

Jack craned his neck to see. "'m I bleedin' all over the sheets?"

"A bit, actually, yes." A tentative touch to freshly bruised flesh around the admittedly ugly wound. His voice went low, almost reverent. "How in God's name did you manage that swim?"

There were times for basking in the appreciation of admirers, Jack believed, and there were times for fucking, and while often they coincided, this appeared to most definitely not be the former. "Same way you would've: just didn't stop to think about it." He tried to push up; that hand held him too securely. Settled instead for reaching down, his fingers walking over a lean, taut belly to slyly slip beneath breeches, wriggling.

Ellis arched over him, spreading weight between knees and a hastily propped shoulder in order to more rapidly unfasten his breeches. Jack laughed soundlessly at his haste. Settled back on his left elbow and then, gingerly, the right, counting the complaints from his shoulder worth enduring for sake of the view. The man took care of himself, lean and firm and sleek all over, and even in his hurry there was a litheness to him.

Kicking free of leggings, Ellis stretched over him again, claiming his mouth, unbound hair falling to tickle his face. So much energy, this one! He practically crackled with it, burning now, head to toe a constantly moving wave of aroused, arousing man-heat.

But then, Jack consoled himself, Lieutenant Ellis Groves hadn't had anywhere near as rough a night -- week -- twenty-four days -- hell, life as Captain Jack Sparrow had. And he was younger. Better fed. Quite thoroughly uninjured. On a normal night, Jack figured he could give the fellow a run for his money in the ravishment department. And on this night?

There was something to be said for relaxing into a little ravishing.

"Oh," he said suddenly, "lookit that."

Ellis, lightly gnawing his ear, said only, "Mm?"

"You do have a sharkbite on your thigh." And he did: arches of pale, silvery gashes against darker skin -- two jagged half-moons coming together. Not such a tiny shark at that.

The steam of hot breath moistening an earlobe. "Told you." A palm settled heavily over his erection, straining now against its unwelcome restriction. Jack lost words, growled a little instead, bucking up involuntarily at the too-much-not-enough touch.

Ellis chuckled, nuzzling behind his ear. "Ready to be rid of these?"

"Get 'em off," Jack gasped. "Get 'em off get 'em off get 'em off..." He rocked back to his shoulders, trying with left hand and fumbling right to accomplish the deed himself.

But the good lieutenant sat up, now straddling Jack's thighs, and unlaced his borrowed trews. Jack's cock bounced gratefully free and he sighed deeply in relief.

With a last tug from Ellis and a kick from Jack, his pants sailed off into the unimportant space that wasn't the bed. Jack scooted back 'til he could sit against the wall, reaching for Ellis, who...who...

Ooooooooooooooh, Jack thought, rather incoherently. Times like this, it helped -- so much -- to be sharing a bed with a fellow who'd clearly had enough experience with men to have shed any inhibitions about going right for the goods...

He slipped both hands into Ellis's hair, dismissing the ache from his shoulder. Watched, heavy-lidded, the dark head rising and falling, bobbing and dipping. Felt the swaying ocean-motion of the head beneath his hands, and at the same time could barely breathe for the firm stroke, glide, stroke of that talented tongue, the unpredictable envelopment by that sucking furnace of a mouth. He spread his legs wider as Ellis nuzzled lower, laving his sac with that same infinite care he'd shown earlier for a negligible shaving nick.

Jack sighed a shivering sigh, tipping his head back, closing his eyes. His hands told him every nod and turn of that busy busy head. Thrilling jolts from his groin conveyed each lick, nudge, touch with impossible detail. He caught his lower lip between his teeth, groaning. Curved a leg around, then the other, to snug over Ellis's back, just to have more skin in contact.

Ellis lifted slightly. Wrapped arms around Jack's thighs. Breath breezed across his cock, making it jump beckoningly, and then the lieutenant's talented mouth stopped teasing and in one slow, steady, astonishing motion, swallowed him down.

A hoarse cry was torn from his throat. Jack lunged, pelvis held steady by wiry arms, the rest of his body wrenching, squirming, wriggling. He breathed curse-prayers, one after another in endless succession though his lungs ran out of air at some point, leaving him speaking voicelessly, black stars shooting across his vision. The rippling play of constricting muscles around his straining cock, the taut working of one supremely flexible tongue near the very base of his shaft, the inability to move in or out, towards or away, just swept into the other man's tempo and forced to endure this too much too much too much...

Breathless, the only sound he made when he came was a tiny, strangled choke. His hips fought to buck while the rest of him went stiff. Ellis worked his cock as determinedly as ever, his mouth and throat drawing, demanding full release, and getting it. Fingers were denting Jack's thighs from the effort of holding him there, though gradually the pirate's shuddering body relaxed into languid satiation, lying in a limp and awkward sprawl half against the wall, half pooling over the bed.

Ellis eased off his cock with an exaggerated pop as caved cheeks released the spent organ. Gazed up Jack's gasping length with eyes that hungered.

"Christ, man," Jack managed, barely in a mumble, "if y'ever get tired a the Navy...you could sell that mouth for a bleedin' fortune..."

"I belong in the Navy." Unsmiling. Too intent now for a smile. "I want you, Jack."

The lamp on the table was burning low, obscuring the refinement of the officer's face until only those eyes made an impression. But it was quite a one at that. "Aye," Jack told him, grinning indolently. "I know that much." He considered rearranging himself into a more accommodating and hopefully more comfortable position. Those reserves had been tapped too often tonight, however; it took monumental effort simply to raise his left hand, summoning Ellis upward. "C'mon already. I'm not movin'."

In a rush, Ellis swept up his body and dove for his mouth. Jack fancied he could taste himself in the hot clash of their tongues. Ellis was fervid, animalistic, thrusting his erection helplessly against Jack's inner thigh as his kiss sought to drown him anew. His hand was fumbling around the side of the bed, and after a moment Jack realized he was reaching just beneath the mattress, retrieving what looked to be a flask.

Ah-hah. Oil. The man was prepared.

Of course he was prepared. He had a burly brute of a sailor on hand, and no doubt lots of practice.

He snorted at the thought. The lieutenant drew back an inch, looking a question. Jack bared teeth lazily. "Who fucks who? You or Geoff?"

Ellis set the flask aside, rubbing slicked fingers lightly up an inner thigh, then reaching Jack's entrance and beginning to nudge and stroke. "What is your interest in our relationship?"

"I like to be right." He drew his right leg up and out to permit freer access. "So?"

A finger slipped within, slowly wriggling. Ellis's eyes closed and he caught a breath as Jack concentrated on relaxing, relaxing, easing the welcome for that probing digit. Ellis sounded no little bit strained. "Mostly...he does the fucking. If you must know."

"Ahhh..." A little verve came from somewhere, letting him gather himself into better order, pushing down from the wall and, in pleasant coincidence, harder onto that thrusting finger. Ellis began working a second in carefully, with gentleness that had ceased to surprise him. "So the good...Lieutenant Groves...gets on 'is knees for...a common gob."

"Sometimes." Ellis nipped at his chest, fingers plunging with more insistence, hitting the sweet spot, making Jack whine deep in his throat. "Which is probably why he's fanatically loyal, and why he got the job of saving you from drowning. Which you might think to thank him for sometime."

Nearly beyond words, Jack just managed to offer, "Howsabout I thank you...then you...thank 'im for me...eh?"

Fingers withdrew. In less than a heartbeat, a very engorged erection replaced them, slowly and inexorably pushing within. "Agreed," Ellis groaned. "Oh god, Jack..."

Jack echoed with a guttural sound. His own cock had most assuredly renewed its interest in the good lieutenant and now throbbed against the man's tight stomach. Sweating, gleaming in the failing light, Ellis caught Jack's legs in the crooks of his elbows, leaned forward heavily on his hands and reached for the pirate's lips. Jack sent his left hand questing into soaked hair, catching Ellis to him and keeping him there as he was filled and stretched. One of them groaned; the other inhaled the sound on a stuttering gasp.

Ellis dropped his forehead to Jack's chest, quivering, holding. "Can I...?"

It took Jack a few eternal heartbeats to understand the man was waiting for permission. "Go," he growled. "Go go go go go."

Partial withdrawal, and Jack felt the emptiness like pain. Then Ellis rocked back into him, smooth and deep, murmuring something indecipherable against his chest. It had the sound of a story, some grand mythic tale shared around when the rum ran freely and every sailor worth his salt became a bard. Jack rolled his head back and closed his eyes and decided to call it the Ballad of the Black Pearl. It wouldn't be like those nightmarish adventures already circulating into myth and legend, but a quieter, truer telling: one of freedom and mortality and the inevitable convergence of the two.

Ellis hissed and grunted into him. Jack couldn't even hear his own utterances, his moans and pleas and demands. Lust coiled in his groin like anger, like desperation and starvation and a great, wanting thirst. He arched up, using his maimed shoulder anyway, snarling and crying out at the pain there and the thrilling pleasure everywhere. His fingers clawed, dug, pulled at Ellis's lunging back. He felt more than half-mad. It washed over him now: the hurting, the grief and exhaustion...the stink of fear still in the back of his nose, like a taste dripping down his throat... Half-mad, yes, and overwhelmed, hungering for something to draw him out of the insanity for a breath of air, gasped in before the waters crashed over him again.

His eyes rolled up. Ellis had the angle perfect -- the cock in his ass struck gold with every plunging thrust, driving him wildly towards le petite mort.

Fuck it all, time to die a little death and be reborn...

Nearing his own end, Ellis grabbed between them and took Jack in hand, pumping furiously. Three, four strokes, and Jack was done, exploding into a clutching, thrashing climax that ripped through him so roughly he could only think for a frozen heartbeat that the little death had certainly gotten an awfully lot bigger.

Ellis was ripped along into his whirlpool of finalization. The officer's cry came as a raw, wordless thing, short and bitten off, his body spasming violently in those finishing thrusts. He seemed not to have the strength to hold himself. His body collapsed heavily on Jack's, covering him in satiated, sweaty warmth, while his hips still twitched their last hurrah, grinding his spent cock in 'til it had no rigidity left.

Jack couldn't move. Didn't want to, but also actually couldn't, pinned and sore and exhausted and blissful and just absolutely incapable of even considering motion. He did manage to unclaw his hands, spreading them flat over Ellis's slightly mauled back. Wearily congratulated himself on the accomplishment. He'd defy anyone else who'd been through the night he'd just gone through to do more.

The lamp guttered lower, dimmer, nearly spent itself. In its failing light he saw the dark mass of hair on the table, sparkling here and there with embedded shine. He couldn't think how to feel about that just now. Supposed that, ultimately, how he felt mattered little. Done was done. Life continued and hair grew. And at the moment that thought struck him as very profound -- an epiphany, even. The hair would grow.

"Mmmph," Ellis said eventually, into the hollow of his neck.

Jack smiled with sudden, spontaneous affection, and mustered the strength to languorously stroke the man's head. "I concur."

Groaning a little, Ellis worked himself up to his elbows, gazing down with dreamy satisfaction. "You're phenomenal."

A twist of amusement to his smile now. He put a finger to the officer's lips, tracing them, appreciating their relaxed sensuality. "Tell Geoff he might think of switching places sometime."

Ellis bent for a kiss. Savoring, unhurried. Broke it and murmured, "Thank you, Jack." Then drew back and rolled to lie beside him, exhaling at length.

Sputtering, the lamp gasped its final breaths. The room flickered wholly into shadow.

Eyes drifted shut. He inhaled deeply, drinking air tinged with musky sex, wet hair, burned oil and the vaguely spicy scent of the lubricant. Once, this whole experience would've warranted a bead or a bangle, a souvenir of some nature, carefully threaded into a braid in the solitude of wee hours of morn. Now he'd have only the memory.

It would have to be enough.

Sleep, his neglected suitor, rose up with heavy arms to embrace him, but he fended the advances off for just a moment. Touched his upper lip, his chin, wondering at the novelty. Worrying at it.

"Everything all right?" Ellis asked, voice already fading towards oblivion.

"'Fetching'?" Jack asked doubtfully.

A tired snort. "I'll show you a mirror in the morning."

Jack frowned. Pirates weren't supposed to be fetching. Dangerous, alluring, at times predatorily entrancing, yes. Fetching? He'd be eaten alive. "Fetching like a lad or fetching like a lass?"

Turnover movement beside him. Ellis ran a hand over his chest and across, draping, holding. "Fetching in an entirely indescribable way."

Unhelpful. Jack sighed silently, putting the problem off 'til later. There were always disguises. More versatility for disguises now, he had to admit, than previously. An unhappy solution, but it'd hold while it had to. Only for a short time, really.

The hair would grow.

It struck him that the thought really seemed just as deep now, and he let the profundity take him down, down, down into the arms of sleep, and further still, to dreams.

This night the sword missed him cleanly.


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