Series: The Cupid Series
      1: Cupid's Sparrow
      2: Cupidity
      3: Quiver
      4: A Taste of Heaven
      5: Sugar Rush
      6: White Gold
      7: Gentlemen of Fortune

Pairing: Jack/Will, Jack/Norrington implied, Jack/Norrington/Groves implied.
Rating: NC-17 for m/m sex, and slashy kisses.
Archive: Yes, help yourself; include all chapters please.
Beta: FireSignWriter (still rocking my world!) and Moonsalt ("What's in yer head, boy?!")
Disclaimer: Mouse & Bruckheimer Productions owns all, except Jack Sparrow who belongs to J.Depp. ;-)
Notes: The one thing that placed the Caribbean on the map was its tropical, hot crop: sugar cane, brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus. Rum is made from fermented molasses, or sugar cane juice.
Warning: Please note further J/N action in following chapter. This one is necessary for the plot. ;)

Summary: In which Jack Sparrow and Company discover the delights of Spanish hospitality, and Will Turner discovers the delights of Jack.

The Cupid Series

White Gold

By Webcrowmancer

Will was confused. It was nothing new to be confused at something Jack Sparrow had done. He expected it, in fact. But the Sterling Hinde had been out for nigh six days and still they'd seen nothing of the Black Pearl, nor had they had any further incursions from the Spanish corsairs upon the sugar ships along the trading route.

The sugar lane appeared to be relatively quiet, and the plantations were overjoyed at the merchant ships' good fortune, so began sending off laden ships with sugar cane as they welcomed home with great relief the returning ships bearing gold. There weren't many of the latter, as there were too many that were shy of returning by the normal route, and that now sought alternate courses, attempting to trick the Spanish and the pirates in the Main.

By all accounts, Jack Sparrow and Ned Lynch - sans AnaMaria - had banded together for the hunt. Apparently, the captain of the Seashell refused to involve herself in such risky endeavors as warring with galleons.

Will had to admit he was disappointed. He'd hoped to see some authentic pirate battles. The Black Pearl was a formidable ship, and it would have been worth it, to watch her in real naval action.

The sea was choppy, and a dull gray from the clouds overhead, when Captain Rowland joined him topside. "Any sign of sail?"

"Nothing," Will murmured. "Not a thing. They're probably in Tortuga, drinking up a storm. Maybe they enticed the Spanish into the town with talk of ale and rum, and subdued them with liquor and tall tales."

Rowland gave him a funny look.

Will faced him, and asked, "Maybe the Commodore was misinformed about the location of the Spanish."

Rowland shook his head. "Nay, sir, not a chance. I've seen them myself, out here. It's their haunt. It's not only the best stretch for intercepting ships coming in or leaving via the lane, it's situated by the Caicos; easy for the buggers to drop anchor and leave their loot in a hidden cave or the like." Rowland regarded him. "Although, you do realize it's become a free-for-all? Ships sailing willy-nilly every which way, trying to get out, or back in?"

Will nodded, exhaling. "I know."

Rowland was watching him now. "You know Sparrow; is he daft enough to actually accept this charge? Or will he cut and run?"

Will wondered, himself. Jack was not a coward, but with the situation as tense and politically fraught as it had become, he wondered if it might not be prudence to leave, wait for things to settle down. Why would Jack be hanging around the Caribbee, in any case?

The answer revealed itself in what Jack had said to him aboard the Pearl, surrounded by gold. 'We'll be protecting the sweet stuff.'

He shook his head. "He's got something in his head, some sort of plan. It will mostly likely be extraordinarily dodgy, but knowing his luck, it will work. He's probably saving us face by not letting us in on it."

Rowland scowled. "How conveniently thoughtful of him."

Will chuckled quietly, eyes on the horizon. "More likely he's saving himself face amongst his kind by not being seen working with or for the Navy."

Rowland paused. "I must admit, I hadn't thought of that. You think they'd shun him, then, for working with us? It would hardly be a new development; privateers taking on the Spanish with the help of the Royal Fleet."

Will sighed and folded his arms. "True, but from what I gathered, the situation's changed somewhat. There's a lack of trust, and far fewer true pirates than in the old days. That's probably why the Pearl's gone off on her own."

Rowland looked askance at him. "He is your friend, isn't he?"

Will looked down. "I suppose. Yes." He met Rowland's eye. "Why?"

Rowland considered him for a moment, then said, "Maybe that's why he's kept us out of it altogether. Nasty business, exchanging fire with Spanish privateers. The Spanish don't treat their prisoners well, or so I've heard. Especially pirates, and British."

Will stiffened. "He sacked Port Royal on my wedding night, and kidnapped me and my bride, just for a lark. Does that sound to you like a friend who wishes to save me from harm?"

Rowland's lips twitched. "Well, that would depend on the bride. Although, I'm sure Governor Swann's daughter is a fine lass. Maybe he was saving her from you?"

Will blinked at this off-color statement from Rowland and watched him more cautiously. "One can never tell, with pirates."

"To be sure," Rowland commented. "Considering their reputation, perhaps he was saving you for himself."

Rowland's humor was completely unwanted at the moment, and Will gave him a dry look. "Not Jack. Everything he does is for appearances. Have you ever seen him?"

"Not in the flesh, no. Well, not until last week, but then, I didn't accompany you. Didn't get a very good look at him. I couldn't tell really, across the way. I've heard he's rather flamboyant."

Will gave a half-hearted shrug. "I guess he is, at that. I suspect it's mostly for show, though. He's good enough with a blade."

Rowland muttered, "His kind usually are. They live by the sword, and die by it."

Will looked down at this reminder of his own sword-fighting skills… and pirate blood. He still practiced, and had taken to attending training practice at Norrington's behest. Will wondered briefly what the possible outcome would be, should Norrington ever cross blades with Jack Sparrow. Both men were too able fighters, in their own way, for him to compare them properly. It would be a sight worth seeing. Then again, so was the engagement with the Spanish that Jack was currently denying them.

Will sighed, and glumly accepted the fact that they were unlikely to even catch a glimpse of the Pearl on this trip. They'd end up returning to Port Royal only to have to hear the story from Norrington himself.


The self-styled aristocrat Gabriel Sanchez relaxed in his villa. The defenses around San Juan, Puerto Rico, ensured that his incoming corsairs, laden with his percentage of their takings from the British sugar ships, would be able to do so unharmed.

Gabriel Sanchez III, named for his ancestor who'd been Grand Treasurer of the Crown of Aragon to King Ferdinand of Spain - and who'd arranged for Christopher Columbus's successful venture to the New World - sat down unsuspecting to eat his supper, not realizing that his villa was being surrounded by the combined forces of pirates, tumblers, gypsies and ex-slaves, along with a number of British ex-Navy scallywags.

Following in his forebear's interests in the New World, he'd arrived in San Juan as a young man, and furthered the stability of the interests of not only the Spanish nobles and Crown's interest in the Caribbean, but established too his own family's heritage in his mansion-villa above the city.

The acquisition of gold further south along the coast of Panama and Venezuela was all very well, but dominance of San Juan and other Spanish settlements in the Caribbean had been faltering. Sanchez had attempted to strengthen his nation's grasp, but to no avail. The British power remained strong in the Main.

He'd decided it was far better to further his own ambitions, and had set himself up as virtual governor of the province. As a Spanish nobleman, the town looked to him for strength and advice as well as rule. It was mostly a trading town, and as such, Spain tended to ignore it except for its use as an economic base.

The town had been abandoned lately by Spanish settlers for richer climes such as Mexico and Peru, but Sanchez had managed to convince the Royal Court that the key to disrupting the British hold in the Caribbean was via the sugar trade. They turned a blind eye to his excursions into the British traffic in return for gold.

After all, it was due to Christopher Columbus's planting of the first sugar cane plants in the Spanish New World that the flourishing sugar industry owed its success. But the British sugar industry was fast outstripping Spain's.

Glumly, Sanchez had decided the only solution was to outfit his Spanish corsairs with full galleons, each with sixty cannons aboard and a total cart-blanche to take any sugar ships they could seize along the British trading routes. It had been a successful venture, and Sanchez himself personally saw to the division of the takings: fifty-five percent of English gold was not bad profit for himself.

Over the past five months, Sanchez had amassed a considerable personal fortune, and with the gold flowing into San Juan, the Spanish city was experiencing a revitalization it had desperately needed for over half a century.

With the corsairs' galleons sailing together as a band, they were virtually unstoppable. Sanchez had heard plaintive whines from the British, via his spies, complaining that he was using pirates to decimate their stranglehold on the Caribbean. He had laughed, wondering how it was they could so easily dismiss their own historical employment of privateer fleets in the Spanish Lake, all these years gone by. Why, Spain had lost Jamaica due to those same privateers.

Pirates, indeed. The bloodthirsty French pirate L'Ollonais had created more unwarranted misery among the Spanish than all of his nation's incursions on English settlements and towns put together.

Sanchez's corsairs had been stashing their own loot in Caicos Cays, but when they did come in to San Juan, they were always bearing gold sovereigns.

Both kinds of white gold, sugar and salt, were valuable, but the British had already created so much traffic that it seemed foolish not to help themselves to the glut of rum and gold flowing along their course.

A noise behind him made him turn around. To Sanchez's dismay, his entire dining hall was abruptly filling with armed men, most of whom appeared to be scruffy yet festively dressed seamen…Pirates.

Sanchez stood in alarm, wondering if he was about to meet an untimely end.

A dangerous looking fellow dressed entirely in red and armed with a sword, came silently forward on cat-feet. "Nay, my lord, sit yerself back down, unless ye fancy having a taste of my blade in lieu of your supper."

Sanchez regarded the fellow and answered in English, "Who are you, and what is this about?"

The fellow gave him a somewhat manic grin and brought the tip of his blade to Sanchez's throat. "I believe ye want a taste of it after all, then?"

Sanchez swallowed and sat down. Eyeing the rest of the men in his hall, he asked quietly, "Where are my guards?"

"They're busy, at the moment," the Irishman said, his blade and his eyes both appearing equally sharp, despite the personable tone in his voice. "Nick," he called out, in a warning, "Could use you over here."

A well-built African armed with a cutlass, in vest and long cotton pants, came striding over. "Aye, Ned. What have we here? Looks like the Lord Sanchez himself," he boomed in an impressive voice.

Sanchez regarded the two of them, and casually asked, "What is your business with me?"

"Well, milord," the Irishman said, "We've come with a bit of an offer for you. One we can't really allow you to refuse. We've decided to take up residence in your excellent dwelling here, until you accept."

Sanchez raised his brows. "Am I permitted to know what it is I'm supposed to be accepting?"

Another pirate, with long dark hair, dressed in a long coat, a hat and possessing very dark eyes, sauntered up to the long table, and began making his way up to where Sanchez sat at the head, stopping every now and again to pick up bits of food from the dishes. With a frown, he said, "You can't possibly be expectin' to eat all this by yourself." He turned his head to the side and called over his shoulder, "Help yourself, lads. This gent's needing some help here, clearin' his table."

To Sanchez's disgruntled aggravation, the pirates began seating themselves at the chairs all around his long dining table, and digging into the fine repast with gusto.

The English pirate captain came up to stand beside the African and the Irishman. Nonchalantly, he pulled up the chair to Sanchez's left and sat down in it, his boots propped up on the edge of the table.

He smirked at Sanchez and looked up at the Irishman. "He's takin' this remarkably well, I think."

"Aye, he is," the red-clad Irish fellow said. "Now, milord, we're going to join you for supper, and I don't want to be hearin' any shoutin' from you, or we'll have to cut your throat. Is that clear enough for you?"

Sanchez replied sourly, "Very."

The African came to stand beside his chair, while the Irishman sat in the seat to Sanchez's right and began helping himself to the fowl, pouring himself a cup of wine.

Sanchez looked from one to the other of the two pirates. The smirking dark one seemed to be enjoying himself far beyond anything the situation offered. The Irishman seemed too canny to dismiss. He asked, curious, "So, am I to know your demands?"

"My name is Captain. Jack. Sparrow," said the dark-eyed fellow. "You may have heard of me." His eyes darted to the Irishman. "This ruddy gent is Red Ned Lynch. And his associate, Nick Debrett."

"Hello," the Irishman said, over his cup of wine, lifting it once.

"Glad to make your acquaintance, Lord Sanchez," the African said behind him.

"Quite a place ye have here, milord," Lynch commented.

"Very impressive," Sparrow smirked and turned to say over his shoulder, "Wouldn't you agree, mates?"

Several of the pirates feasting at his table lent their cheerful agreement to this observation. "Aye!" came the response, along with "Very, Capn," and "Delicious, sir!"

Pirates, all. And famous ones, at that. Lynch and Debrett were famed for freeing slaves and putting down corrupt Jamaican nobles. Sparrow's Black Pearl was the largest and fastest pirate terror in the Spanish Main, as swift as a sloop but carrying as much power as a man-of-war. Sanchez winced and said, peevishly, "I take it then, that I've angered the illustrious buccaneers of the Caribbean."

"Not us, my Lord," Captain Sparrow informed him with a lazy flourish of his hand. "The British, yes; their Royal Navy, most certainly. Their plantation owners and lords, to be sure. The merchants, definitely. Your galleons have created quite a little fuss lately. That's why we're here. We're going to help you."

Sanchez blinked at him, not certain what the fellow was talking about. "Help me? How? Why?"

Sparrow lifted both hands in a loose gesture towards him, pointing both fingers. "Because you're one of us, mate. You've managed to achieve a notorious reputation, stake a claim in the Main's waters and intercept more British gold than all of us combined, in less than a year. That makes you an honorary associate." Sparrow's grin flashed more gold that Sanchez wanted to see at that moment.

"Then I fail to see the problem," Sanchez answered, coolly, pouring himself some wine into his crystal goblet.

"They want us to bring you down," Lynch said.

Sanchez thought about this. "I see. What is your offer?"

"Well, there's this matter of sugar, rum and gold," Sparrow said, taking his boots down from the table and sitting up. Earnestly, he continued, "If you keep preying on the sugar ships, there's precious little left for us, and the British Navy's bringing in all sorts of warships to do battle with you. Things are likely to get very messy indeed unless we can come to some sort of arrangement. No reason why we can't all benefit from knowin' where their fleet's moving, or where they'll be. We can give you what you need to know."

Sanchez lifted his brows at him. "Why should you or I care what the British do?"

"Ah, but it's not just them, is it?" Sparrow pointed out, sharply. "What will Spain do then? You've got yourself a lovely port here. Fancy seeing it turned into a Spanish garrison? They'll start helping themselves to your situation. And then there's the sugar and the rum to consider. And the gold. It's all a matter of balance, really."

"Ever gone fishing, milord?" Lynch asked, in a seemingly totally unrelated question.

But Sanchez was hardly stupid. To overfish any area was indeed a threat to the continuance of the numbers available. He smiled grimly. "My fleet has been too great a success, then."

"You keep takin' out their sugar, England's going to war with Spain. And we'll be right in the blooming middle of it, mate." Sparrow said, expressively, and he leaned forward more intently. "Here's the offer. We'll tell you where the British are so you can avoid them, and in return, you keep to the waters between Trinidad and Puerto Rico, here. Lynch will take the coasts from Kingston to Havana. The Seashell will take what's between Barbados and Freeport, and stake out the Leeward while you keep the Antilles. Savvy?"

Sanchez nearly chuckled in spite of himself. They had carved up the Caribbean between themselves, neatly leaving enough space to allow for a certain amount of lesser pirating and unmolested merchant or even naval military ships to come and go.

"And what will you take?" he asked Sparrow.

"Ev'rything else," Sparrow grinned in reply.

Lynch raised his cup. "Amen," he said, before taking a gulp.

The African was laughing quietly behind his chair.

In an afterthought, Sparrow added, "Ah, and you can keep the Caicos. But you have to keep your galleons away for a bit, and let the worries die down." He glanced about the large hall, taking in the expensive tapestries, the candelabras and the columns. "You've got yourself a nice cozy racket going here, I'll give you that. It'd be a shame to throw it away by getting embroiled in politics."

"Very astute of you," Sanchez replied, and he leaned back in his seat more comfortably with his goblet. "But you've forgotten to take into account something important."

Sparrow's expression was unreadable, but his eyes narrowed. "And what would that be, eh?"

Sanchez smiled into his wine. "What if I want Spain to go to war with England?"

Lynch said in mock surprise, "I knew you were crazy, to be dabbling in piracy, but I didn't take ye for a fool. You start a war brewing and yer fortress here's going te get snapped up by the Spanish armada right quick."

"Not to mention the French will want to seize any and every possible undefended or undermanned settlement in the confusion," the African said, his low voice resonating through the wood of Sanchez's chair. "And I guarantee my brothers and sisters in slavery on the islands will rise up to fight for their freedom in the midst of it. It would be quite an opportunity."

Sparrow shrugged, expansively, and with a helpless gesture, said, "You see? You'll have much bigger problems to worry about than just us. Of course, you'll be dead, so I guess that's not exactly true," he added, as if in an afterthought.

Sanchez shot him a cautious glance. Was the man serious? "Are you threatening me?"

Sparrow quickly shook his head. "No. 'M promising you."

"Ye might want to think this over carefully, milord," Lynch said in his warning voice. "Ye've made yerself a tidy little empire here, but it could all too easily go up in smoke, if ye take my meaning."

Sanchez looked between Sparrow and Lynch. They both seemed deadly serious. He heaved a sigh. "You'd raid San Juan?"

"As often as possible," Lynch said, with an Irish lilt to his tone that left Sanchez no mistake that he meant it.

"And as we know where you are, I daresay it'd be all too easy for the British Navy to discover where you happen to be," Sparrow rejoined. "And then there's your lovely stash at the Caicos. My Pearl and the Seashell would be delighted at the chance of liberating all that white gold from your galleons."

"This is not an offer, it's an ultimatum," Sanchez remarked, darkly.

"Aye," Sparrow said, matter-of-factly. "Still, it's your choice. Have to say, it seems more than fair to leave you exclusive rights to the area in question, and let you keep your doubloons. You let us keep the white gold, and you can keep your Spanish. What do you say?"

Sanchez asked, curious, "I do have one question, captain. Why should you care if England's sugar trade comes to a standstill?"

"'M rather fond of the Caribbean, mate. I'd rather not see it turned into a shark pond, with viceroys an' pompous admirals sailin' around 'er, hanging pirates from every yardarm. Well, more than they already are." Sparrow grimaced and helped himself to the wine.

Sanchez had wondered if there might be developments such as this one, although there was no way he might ever have guessed that the buccaneers themselves would descend upon him en masse. But they did have a point. And his galleons already had a fearsome reputation and had played for quite some while beyond the Caicos. It was only fair, and these pirates were certain to attack him themselves if he continued to make too large a target of himself amongst them.

And if he didn't agree to it now, they'd probably kill him outright. If he went back on the agreement later, he would have not only the British, but the pirates to consider.

He thought it over, swirled his wine in the goblet and said, "Very well. I accept your offer. From San Juan to Trinidad… through the Antilles… and along the coast of Columbia and Venezuela, is mine."

"Aye," Sparrow said, lifting his glass.

"Agreed," Lynch said, leaning forward.

Their three toasts met in the middle with a clink.


Norrington came out onto their little trysting spot on the beach, only to find Jack and Groves were sharing a bottle of rum and laughing. They'd obviously started without him.

Jack caught sight of him. "Jimmie!" he exclaimed. "Glad you could join us. Have some rum. On me." He grinned. "Or from the bottle, if you'd prefer."

Norrington stood over them both, and regarded Jack without amusement. "And where, exactly, have you been? We've had no word for a week, and Will has been wandering about the Windward Isles searching for you. I told you where to find the Spanish. Why haven't you dealt with them?"

Jack and Groves exchanged a look.

"He doesn't know," Jack said.

"You should tell him," Groves said, with a smile.

"I believe I will," Jack answered, "But not until he's got some rum into him."

Norrington took the bottle Jack offered to him and sniffed at it, suspiciously. It appeared to be from one of the finer distilleries on Kitts, rather than some bootleg dregs. "Stolen, no doubt."

"Ah, well, I've found forbidden fruit always tastes better," Jack said, looking up at him with a twinkle in his eyes.

Norrington gave him a tight smile and sat down on the other side of him, by the fire. He took a swig of the rum and handed it back to Jack.

"The galleons, Jack," he reminded him.

Jack grinned, slyly, at the fire. "They're gone. Dispatched them myself. They took one look at the Pearl and Ned's Blarney Cock, and they turned tail and ran. Never quite seen the like. Didn't have to fire a shot. We fired after 'em anyway, of course."

"Of course," Norrington said, dryly. "I don't suppose you considered they might return once you left?"

"Chased 'em all the way down to Curacao. Why d'you think there's been no word? I've been sailing all the way back here the past few days." He leered at Norrington. "I didn't want to miss our little meeting, now did I?"

Norrington regarded this story with doubt. "And what did you do to them in Curacao that convinced them not to return?"

"Met with their commodore. A pleasant chap, really. He was most anxious to listen to reason, and showed some sense in taking my advice."

Norrington frowned. "How many galleons were there, after all?"

Jack gave a little shrug. "They had the makings of a nice little Spanish fleet. About seven ships."

"Seven warships?" Norrington stared at him, impassively. "Seven of them, and they ran from your one ship, and Ned Lynch's Blarney Cock?"

"Well, they weren't to know it was just the two of us, now were they? My Pearl's best at night, and with both of us firin' on 'em, they were off like scalded cats. Plus we had a couple of friends circling the area, to harry them from the sides." Jack looked him right in the eye, a gleeful expression of innocent victory in his own. "They believed it was a full armada bearing down on 'em and they turned yellow."

Norrington sucked a tooth, thinking this over. "And that's your official version, is it?"

"It's the only version, as a matter of fact," Jack said, in a drier tone, obviously catching the fact that Norrington didn't believe him for an instant. "Sides, the Pearl's famous in these waters for still having a crew that can't be shot, drowned, stabbed, or poisoned - or killed, even. Makes for an advantage sometimes, when I'm not being fired upon from sundry harbors." He gave Norrington a sulky look.

Norrington rewarded him with a half-smile. "Then I suppose thanks are in order, Jack. You realize if they return, I'll have your head."

"I'd expect nothing less, Jimmie," Jack replied, with a nudge of his elbow. And he swigged from the bottle.

Groves drew a breath. "I would have liked to see that, the entire flotilla sailing all the way down. It must have been quite a sight."

"Aye, it was, at that," Jack agreed. "Course, there was a lot of blooming smoke, what with the cannons, and at night there really wasn't much to see at all."

Norrington realized he wasn't going to get the real story tonight, if ever. "Well, Jack, I must say, you've made up for your theft of my papers, as well as the plundering of the merchants, with this act of selfless sacrifice on our behalf. And you've saved me having to send out my own men against the Spanish. I'd say that it appears as though Port Royal and the rest of Jamaica is going to have to forgo the hanging of yourself and Lynch for the service you've done us all."

"Why, thank you, Commodore," Jack grinned at him, toothily. "That's very kind of you. Clemency, then?"

Norrington looked away, out at the glow of the night sky on the horizon, beyond the waves. "Clemency. But be assured, if you or Lynch return to preying on the sugar ships, I will retract it instantly."

"So, whom exactly am I allowed to prey upon?" Jack asked, blatantly.

"The Spanish, obviously," Norrington replied, in a stern tone. "Not the British. The French are fair game, I suppose."

"So, basically, anyone 'at's not one of ours." He put on hand on Norrington's wrist at the look Norrington turned on him. "Steady on, just making sure. Want to be certain I understand the rules, is all."

Norrington frowned. "Rules?"

"Well, you're the Commodore. You make the rules, aye?" Jack smiled at him, winsomely. "I just do as I'm told."

"Rubbish," Norrington said. Groves' smile was far too expansive and Norrington realized they were both having a laugh at his expense. "I fail to see the amusement in discussing the systematic robbing of honest folk, whether on land or at sea."

Jack gave him a studious eye. "As far as I can tell, I've not sinned at all in the last seven days, and in fact have provided excellent service to both King and Commodore alike. I've saved the Caribbean from the Spanish terror, relinquished the sugar trade to flow freely back to the Bristol docks, and I've saved all our reputations from unnecessary tarnishing."

Norrington nodded. "You have, at that. You've done well, Jack. I must say, I didn't think you had it in you."

"There's just one thing," Groves spoke up, from the other side of Jack. As Jack turned to look at him, Groves continued, "Mr. Turner is back in his smithy, forging swords for us, and other weapons. Apparently, his stint as a privateer left him wanting for both adventure and resolution. He felt wasted, and refuses to be our courier. He said he'd never do it again."

"Indeed," Norrington put in. "I do believe you owe him, Jack. I daresay you could be spending your time much better to be seeking him out instead of remaining down here."

Jack watched the flames of the fire as they leapt upwards, the occasional spark flying up.

Norrington continued, "I'd even go so far as to say that the only satisfaction he received was knowing he'd made up for the distress visited upon the citizens of Port Royal on his wedding night. He's still looked down upon for his association with you, and the fact that Elizabeth has departed him."

Groves added, "He even said as much. That he felt used by you, the town, by the Commodore, by Elizabeth… Quite sad, really. He's a fine lad, and now that all the fuss has died down, he's left to his own devices."

"I might add that, as you admonished me for ignoring Teddy, here, you must now accept that you're ignoring your commitment to Will. If you're any sort of a friend of his."

Jack let out a breath. "You've got a point, there. I'll have to make things right with him." He gave Norrington a furtive glance. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to look the other way, if I can get him to join me crew?"

Norrington raised his brows and smiled in cold amusement at this. "Jack, if you can turn that boy pirate, you're welcome to him. Although, somehow, I doubt you'll be able to."

Jack grinned at this. "How much will you wager, then?"

Norrington cast his eyes skyward. "Pirates," he murmured.

Groves said, "I'll wager ten guineas he won't let you kiss him."

Jack gave him a scandalized look. "What, tonight?"

"Tonight," Groves nodded, a smug expression overtaking him.

"I'll add mine to that," Norrington said, with a raised brow.

Jack grimaced. "It's very unlikely that he's going to be in a receptive frame of mind. Or body, for that matter."

"Twenty guineas if you can pull that one off, Jack," Groves said, with a wide smile.

"I'll wager ten more that he won't kiss you," Norrington put in.

"Now, that one's hardly fair," Jack protested. "We all know he's not going to do that. A black eye, maybe. Or another clout with an oar. But no kissing."

"An oar?" Norrington asked, puzzled.

"Long story," Jack said. "Look, just…give it a rest, eh? Tonight's no good, he'll be sulking and his temper's likely to be really foul. He's probably going to demand another dueling session, and he'll get even worse when I cheat again."

"So don't cheat," Norrington glared at him.

"Are you out of your mind?" Jack exclaimed. "Boy's got a knack for the blade - he'll run me through!" He gave Norrington a suspicious eye. "Or is that what you're hoping?"

Groves started laughing.

Norrington said, shaking his head, "You are impossible." He reached out a hand to cup Jack by the back of the head, bringing him closer, and leaned in to kiss him.

He paused, his lips nearly touching Jack's, and whispered, "I missed you. I'm glad you're safe."

Jack started to smile, and pressed his mouth to Norrington's momentarily, drawing back a little to say against his lips, "I'm glad to be safe with you."

Norrington had to think that one over, even as Jack's lips met his, warm, gentle, and completely irrepressible. Entirely too seductive. But it was true; Jack was safe with him. He supposed it was still a novelty, for both of them, that despite their opposing positions, they were able to keep this arrangement on such a good footing.

All too soon, Jack was pulling back, a reluctant note creeping into his voice. "Suppose I've got a blacksmith to see to, then." He met Norrington's eyes, a hint of a question lingering in his own.

Norrington nodded. "You do."

Jack drew a breath. "Well. I'm off then. Keep the rum, lads. An' wish me luck." He got to his feet. And offered his hand to Groves, who looked up at him in surprise, and took it.

"You're a good man, Teddy. Take care of our Commodore, here. That bedroom of his is too drafty to be comfortable in all alone."

Groves grinned back at him.

Jack turned to gather his hat and coat, and froze, then faced Groves again. "Just one thing - you never did let me know. I've been meaning to ask you all week long, Teddy: am I still the best pirate you've ever seen?"

"Considering Curacao, I'd have to say the greatest," Groves said, firmly. "A living legend."

Norrington sighed through his nose. "I will discover the truth, Jack. Mark my words."

Jack leaned his head to one side and grinned down at him. "Jimmie, if you can do that, you're welcome to it. But somehow I doubt that the Spanish commodore is going to be showing his face here anytime in the foreseeable future. He's much too terrified of me to dare."

He pulled on his coat, and his belt and sword. Putting his hat on firmly, he let out a breath. "I'll see you both here in a week's time, to collect my guineas." And he pulled on his boots, muttering, "The lengths I have to go to earn a living." He picked up one of the torches, and lit it in the fire.

"Farewell, then, until next time."

"Until next time," Norrington agreed.

"Good luck," Groves called after him.

As he left them sitting by the fire, disappearing in the dark in the direction of the sea cave, Groves asked Norrington, "You don't suppose he has even a chance of getting Turner to join his crew, do you?"

"Probably not," Norrington mused. "We rescued young William when he was but twelve years old, on our voyage from England before arriving here in Port Royal, nine years ago. The boy was half-drowned, the victim of an attack by pirates on the merchant ship he was on, sailing as a cabin boy, in search of his father. I find it very unlikely he'll want to spend much time at sea. He requires real motivation to do that."

"But he was keen enough to go after Miss Swann, when the Black Pearl took her. And he accepted your charge, to serve aboard the Hinde," Groves said, with a frown.

"Yes, but he doesn't like being away from shore." Norrington glanced over at Groves. "You seem to be getting along well with Jack, yourself. I trust you're not as upset over him as you were?"

Groves looked away, out to sea, with a smile. "I suppose I'm not. After all, if it weren't for his interference, I don't think I would have been able to have you, would I?" He met Norrington's eye again. "Although, I must admit, even if he hadn't joined us that night in the garden, I would have expected a kiss as payment for the wager, if you'd lost."

Norrington gave him a wry smile. "Yes, I know. Still, I don't want you to feel as though you have to compete with him. He's a pirate, after all."

"Don't worry, Sir. No need to trouble yourself over it," Groves assured him, moving to his side. "I do admire him; that's still true, also."

Somewhat relieved, for he'd been avoiding discussing Jack Sparrow with him much at all, even after their rather scorching interlude on the beach a week previously, Norrington met his lips in the glow of the fire. Almost as if in answer, a stick of wood in the fire abruptly collapsed, sending sparks showering upwards to join the stars above.


Jack crept stealthily along the alley, until he crouched beneath Will's window, around the back of the smithy. Climbing up to look in the window, he saw no light, nor sign of Will. The window was closed from the inside and although he could try to slide a blade beneath and lift up the fixture, he wondered if he needed to bother. Considering his options, he went back around to the front, and tried the door. And grinned, as it was unlocked.

Swinging it open, he was met with the glow of the forge and the sight of Will Turner, shirtless, practicing with one of his ubiquitous swords.

Jack suppressed a sigh. He should have known. Not only was the boy working off his tense anger, he was shirtless, sweating and entirely lithe. Supple. Dancing, with that blade in hand. Well, just great. Perfect. Twice the danger, here.

Jack grimaced to himself, and entered, wondering if it was worth it. He closed the door behind him, quietly, then removed his hat and coat, laying them down by the door. He'd expected a quiet evening on the beach with rum and two pretty officers, not a swordfight with an angry, wounded young man he'd rather be bedding than befriending, with little chance of either.

Stepping forward, he called, "Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?"

Will whirled, mid-lunge, and stared at him, panting, his blade ready. He drew himself up, stiffly, and said, between breaths, "Jack. What are you doing here?"

Jack lifted his brows and gave a casual shrug. "Thought maybe I'd be welcome. I expected you might want to know what I've been up to, with the Spanish. I just checked in, reporting to Norrington like a good little pirate," he caught himself short. "Sorry. Privateer," he corrected. "He said he'd had you out looking for me." He stepped closer, wondering if Will would make him put up his sword.

But Will looked down, then away, and went to put down his own weapon, and then pulled his shirt back on, over his head, shrugging his arms into the sleeves.

Damn. Well, it was probably for the best, if the temptation was removed temporarily. Jack looked around with a frown. "Place looks exactly the same as the last time I was 'ere." At a thought, he straightened. "Where's Brown, then?"

Will gave him a sidelong glance. "In one of the taverns as usual, I expect. Why?"

Jack made a dismissive gesture. "I find it's usually best to avoid blokes who like to break bottles over me head."

Will had got his wind back and he stood before the table, his back to Jack now, calmly. A little too calmly. "What do you want?"

Jack squinted at him. "Thought you accepted my apology, last time."

Will gave him a sharp glance, then looked away again. "I did."

Jack moved closer, allowing himself to lean against the table where Will still stood facing it, regarding it. Jack peered up into his face, making a bit of a show of searching him. "You don't look very pleased to see me. If I didn't know better, I'd say you have a look about you that says you'd 'ave preferred I didn't come by at all."

Will looked up, meeting his gaze squarely. Quietly, he asked, "What do you want, Jack? Why are you here?"

Jack leaned back, thoughtfully. "You're angry."

"I'm not," Will stated.

"You are," Jack contradicted, quietly. "Else why would you be practicing? If you were mourning, you'd be at that tavern yourself."

"Why aren't you at that tavern?" Will shot back.

"If you were there, I would be," Jack replied, with a smile.

Will looked back at him, a hint of the truth, anger, creeping back into his eyes. "You haven't been to see me in a year, and suddenly you arrive on my wedding night, and have your crew kidnap me and Elizabeth, on some mad whim. With no rhyme, nor reason. You use me to arrange a bargain with your pirate friends to plunder the coast, and then Norrington uses me as a messenger boy, delivering letters he bloody well could have delivered himself. And Elizabeth decides I'm not pirate enough for her in bed, nor am I respectable enough out of it. People on the street look down their noses at me, like I'm dirt. And I'm not supposed to be angry, with you or anyone?"

Jack narrowed his eyes and said, "Got it all out, now?"

"Not even by half," Will retorted. "If it weren't for the Commodore, I would no longer be able to make ends meet here, as no one requires the work of a blacksmith who's the son of a pirate. Norrington decides I'm such an honest man, I'll make a good foil for him, his little pirate who isn't one, and has me sitting around the Caicos, worrying about whether or not you're dead or alive, for nearly a week. And then no one can be bothered to inform me as to the outcome. Why should they? I'm just a blacksmith," he said, bitterly. And pushed away from the table to stalk across the room, away from Jack.

Who followed, slowly. "This may not be what you're wanting to hear, mate, but I did actually come here with the intention of offering you a proposal of my own."

Will turned slightly, and frowned at him.

Jack came up beside him. "I didn't think I'd be welcome in Port Royal, to be honest. Ev'rytime I've come here before, I've been clapped in irons, thrown in a cell, engaged in combat, and nearly hanged. If I might offer an explanation in my defense, I figured engaging in some honest piracy would save you the trouble of having to explain you weren't throwing your lot in with pirates, yourself. Being kidnapped, and all," he added.

At Will's withering look, he shrugged apologetically. "I know, I know. It's rather thin indeed. But true, nonetheless. Look, Will, it's like this. Elizabeth made Norrington promise he'd look out for you, and now Norrington's wanting me to look out for you, and so I've come to offer you a place aboard my ship, if you're willing."

Will regarded him. And looked down at the floor, at the sawdust and the floorboards. He appeared to be thinking about it, but in the next breath he looked up again. "I'm not a pirate," he said, firmly. And turned away, moving back again, towards the back of the room.

Jack rolled his eyes. "So, you're going to stay in here, grieving over Elizabeth, dueling with shadows and feeling sorry for yourself."

His words had the desired effect. Will turned on him, eyes flashing. "Why should you care? Why should anyone care?"

"Well, I might be getting senile before my time, or maybe it's true, what they say about me having seen too much sun, but I rather thought it was because we were friends."

Will stared back him, bristling with self-righteous indignation. "Friends? I used you to rescue Elizabeth; you used me to get your ship back. We had an understanding. I saved your life because you didn't deserve to hang for it. And there it was, until you used me to plunder the coast with your pirate friends. You tell me, Jack. Are we friends? Or have you got some kind of wager with your pirates or perhaps with Norrington, to see me turn pirate?"

Will's accuracy in this regard reminded Jack that Will was more savvy than he had openly given Will credit for, and he grinned. "Actually, there was a wager, but it had nothing to do with turning you pirate, I can honestly swear."

"You? Honest? After seeing all that gold in your cabin, Jack, I find that hard to believe," Will declared.

Jack drew himself up. There were limits, here. "So you're rejecting my offer."

"I am." Will was adamant.

"And we're not friends?" Jack carefully kept his voice free of any emotion.

The sudden hurt in Will's eyes at this seemed to belie his resolute stance. But Jack hadn't been prepared for the answering shaft of pain that sank into him at seeing it. Covering it, he sauntered a little closer, invading Will's personal space.

Will's eyes were so brown, he reflected, absently. And so filled with need, or longing for something. Too long alone, Jack realized. "I told you before that I was sorry," he reminded Will, softly. "And I meant it. You accepted my apology. Are you sure you want to throw away our friendship?"

Will swallowed, but he kept his chin up, and matched his stare. "You're a pirate, and I am not. I've made my decision."

Jack tilted his head back, and said, "Very well, Mr. Turner. It would seem we've reached the end, then." And he smiled, stepping back to draw out his sword, pointing it at Will, adding, "A new offer then. A duel, until first blood. If you win, I'll leave, quietly, and I'll not bother you ever again with talk of joining me crew. If I win, you come quietly and accompany me back to the Pearl."

Will let out a breath, surprised. "Absolutely not. You don't fight fair, in any case."

Jack raised his brows. "I'm afraid you have little choice, lad. If you don't come quietly, should I win, I'll be taking you back with me anyway. But for what it's worth, I give you my word I'll fight fair."

Will stared at him. "Surely you aren't so hard up for crewmembers you have to recruit them by force."

"When said recruits are blacksmiths who also happen to be stubborn whelps who don't know what's best for them, such as yourself, I'm left with little choice," Jack said, with some humor, advancing on Will and making him take two steps backwards to avoid the point of his blade.

Angered, Will snatched up his sword once more, and met Jack's blade. "Fine," Will said, furiously. "Have it your way, Jack."

Jack grinned at the strength behind Will's sword, even as Will abruptly began engaging him with a flurry of blows that made Will slightly off-balance, yet angry enough to really stick him badly, should any of them hit home.

He backed away farther; drawing Will out into the middle of the room away from the wall.

But Will advanced on him, quickly taking the offensive with a series of thrusts that Jack recognized placed him at a decided disadvantage. "You've been practicing," he said, surprised.

Will's face hardened. "I have." And he forced Jack back even further.

Jack hadn't intended to fight unfairly at all, depending on how it went, but he began to realize that Will really was very, very good with his sword, and had actually improved enormously over the past year. Good enough to match him. Certainly in a fair fight, anyway. He grinned over their crossed blades, saying as he lunged and Will blocked him, "You've improved. I do believe you'll do well on the Pearl, after all."

Angrily, Will flung back, punctuating his reply with two hard, well-placed blows against Jack's steel, "I'm *not* a *pirate*!"

"You are," Jack said. "You're just fighting it. Which is why you're fighting me in the first place," he said, jumping to the side and turning only just in time to catch Will's blade.

"You," Will exclaimed, "are the pirate. I think you're confusing me with my father. Don't make that mistake." He lunged again, and Jack slapped it away, to the right, with an attack of his own, aiming for Will's right shoulder.

But Will's blade was already there, and moving faster than Jack had anticipated, and with another flurry of clashing with him, Jack found himself being backed up against the bellows. Not wanting a repeat of their first encounter, knowing Will's temper was already lost, he slipped to the right, and attempted to wend his way back around to the middle of the floor, but Will advanced too quickly, and Jack abruptly found himself tripping over the edge of some damn object half-hidden by sawdust beneath his right boot heel.

He was barely able to bring his blade up to meet Will's in time to block the blow, but lost his balance as he did so in favor of the move, and ended up sitting down rather hard in the sawdust, as Will fell forward in that instant, surprised by Jack's abrupt fall, following him down.

Jack was knocked back under the weight of Will toppling onto him, even as their swords both clattered to the floor.

Panting, he blinked, and realized Will was lying on top of him, staring down into his eyes with a horrified astonishment, frozen atop him.

Well, now, this couldn't have turned out more perfectly if he'd planned it himself. Jack waited, wondering when Will was going to leap up and act as if their little accident had never occurred.

Seconds slid by and Jack became painfully aware that not only was having Will on top of him deliciously wonderful, but Will wasn't moving. Jack's heart skipped a beat, and he stared back at Will.

Slowly, Will started to get up. Jack's eyes narrowed. Not this time. Jack pulled him back down and rolled quickly, ending up atop Will, who flushed with anger at this. But Jack held his arms down and said fiercely, "Stop it. Just stop. Will, you don't have to. Stop fighting me, and yourself."

Staring down into Will's too-wide eyes, Jack couldn't help himself. He leaned down, and kissed Will, taken aback at the sweetness of it, how right it felt, how perfect. How necessary. With his lips against Will's, their mouths closed, the kiss was unmistakable. Jack's eyes closed and he thought distantly, damn. Norrington had known. Had seen it. Had guessed. All along.

Will wasn't moving, probably in shock. And suddenly pushed Jack off of him, violently, enough to gather himself to pull away out from under him, to the left, in the direction of their swords. Scrabbling out from under Jack, Will was breathing hard, and he said, "No. I'm- I'm not… You're wrong." He stood up, staring down at Jack who pulled himself to his feet as Will added, "I won. I defeated you, fairly."

Jack frowned. "You didn't. First blood, remember?"

Will let out an exasperated breath. "You've lost, Jack. I beat you, just now."

In frustration, Jack leaned down and picked up both their swords. He tossed Will's back to him, and raised his own. "First blood," he insisted, and advanced again, forcing Will to reluctantly put up his blade once more.

But Will's heart wasn't in it, and he was rattled by Jack's actions a few moments before. For he defended himself with less force, and seemed wary of Jack now.

Jack quickly pressed forward, a rapid lunge, and in the next second, Will's left sleeve was torn, a red line welling to stain the white fabric.

Jack stepped back, lifted his sword in salute, and grinned at him. "That's better."

Furious, and with more fear and uncertainty than real anger, Will whipped up his sword again, and lashed at Jack. "Never!" he hissed. "Not now, and not ever!"

But he was far too off-balance this time, and Jack quickly met his blow, fended him off, forcing his blade to the floor. Jack grabbed him, pushing forcefully and sending Will to the floor, in the opposite direction of his sword. Jack quickly kicked it out of the way, and it skittered noisily across the floor away from them.

Will gaped after it, and looked up to meet Jack's eyes.

Jack's sword was too close to Will for comfort. "Face it, lad, I've won. Fair and square."

Confusion and defeat was swirling in Will's expression. Jack shifted his sword to hold it with his left, and offered Will his right hand.

Will stared at it as if it was dangerous, and then slowly took it, allowing Jack to pull him to his feet.

Jack scowled at Will's cut. "We'd better see to that. Looks nasty."

Will kept staring back at him, without responding.

Jack looked about them. "You have a room somewhere, to have a look at it?"

Will regarded him, and slowly said, "What was that for? Why did you do that?"

Jack considered him, brows furrowing. "Told you; I've recruited you. For your own good."

"Not that, not our fight," Will pressed. "Why did you…You kissed me. Why?"

Will's face was unreadable; Jack couldn't tell if he was shocked by it, repulsed, confused, or just angry about it.

"Seeing as you're standing there bleeding, I believe I'm not going to tell you until we see to that wound, Will," Jack said firmly. He sheathed his sword and looked in the direction of the room off to the side, the one he knew to be where Will slept.

"It's only a cut," Will insisted, not moving.

Jack ignored this, and went in the direction of Will's room. At the door, he glanced back at Will, turning the handle. "Unless I'm very mistaken, this is the one. Pick up, son." At Will's blank look, he repeated, more urgently, "Come on, Will."

Will reluctantly followed him into the small room. Jack saw the narrow cot, the meager furnishings and humble surrounds, and grimaced. Will could do much, much better. He saw a cold bowl of water sitting on Will's dresser, and said, "That will have to do, I think. Have you a rag?"

Not replying, and looking as though Jack was stepping beyond his bounds to be in his bedroom at all, Will retrieved a cloth from one of the drawers, handing it to him.

Jack tore a long strip out of it, and then another. Using the rest of the rag, he dampened it with the water.

Will stood there, watching. Jack gestured with the pieces of rag. "The shirt, Will. Take it off, so's I can see to it."

Will licked his lips, and looked away briefly, obviously feeling less sure about standing there unclad before Jack. His modesty was endearing but Jack was feeling a prick of conscience at having cut the boy's arm, now. As Will removed his shirt, the drops of blood were seeping downwards, leaving a dark inky trail in the dim light of the room.

Jack winced in sympathy, drawing the wet cloth beneath the cut, carefully, while having to stifle the sudden urge to kiss the droplets away. "Fairly clean, and not too deep. I daresay you'll not need stitches. But we should bind that up."

Will let out an exasperated breath. "For God's sake, Jack. It's only a superficial cut."

"Aye, but I inflicted it, and so the responsibility falls to me. 'Sides, you're one of me crew, now. I'm responsible for your welfare, in any case." Jack said this lightly, in a low voice, already winding the wrapping around the cut, and then adding another strip to it, before tying it in a neat knot. "There, that'll do."

Will's gaze flickered, as he stared into Jack's eyes. "You still haven't answered me."

Jack straightened, thinking it over. If he admitted here and now that he wanted Will, it might be too much. But it was probably too late anyhow, since the deed was done. Will would be worrying over it, even if he managed to convince him it meant nothing more than what it was.

And the scent of Will's skin, his fresh sweat, the up-close shine of his eyes still holding Jack's, and the lingering intimacy of standing with him in Will's own room, it all added up to a distinct inability to behave with any sort of decorum that the situation demanded.

He lifted a hand to Will's face, letting it drift across the pale right cheek, back down over that fine jaw. "Was it really as terrible as all that?" he inquired, gently.

Will's eyes fluttered. "I can't figure you out, Jack. First, I thought we were friends. Then you're missing for a year, and for your return, you disrupt my wedding, as part of your plotting with your pirate companions." Will's voice was equally quiet, given their proximity and the dark of the room. "And I'm supposed to accept this and not behave churlishly? I'm not to expect any kind of explanation? Then you show up here, demanding I join your crew, for my own benefit no less, and kiss me. What am I supposed to make of this?"

Jack had the grace to make a little wince at Will's words. "True," he nodded, "You're right about all of it. And I'm sorry you were hurt by it. I am sorry you lost Elizabeth."

Will exhaled and looked away from him again, a little more bitterly. "It wasn't all you. As I said, she made her choice too. We both did. I'd been living on the childhood dream of her for so long, I guess neither of us were prepared for the reality." His expression hardened as he returned to look at Jack more accusingly. "Why should I join your crew, Jack? What, I'm supposed to believe that you kissed it all better, with that one? Or is it something I should expect to put up with, once I'm aboard? I'm not a fool; I know what sailors turn to, when too long at sea. But you have other choices besides me. What am I to make of it?"

It was hard to concentrate with Will standing there so close before him, shirtless, hurting, waiting for him to… be a friend. Prove himself.

Jack adopted a mournful look. He really wasn't certain how to explain it, even to himself. The truth was difficult, as always. And this time, he couldn't hurt Will again, or risk placing yet more distance between them by not being honest with him.

"Will," he began, in a cajoling tone, with every intention of attempting to explain why he'd been jealous of the two of them, Will and his lass, for having each other.

Will brought up both hands to Jack's upper arms though, in a move that surprised Jack, and closed the distance between them. Will's lips were on his, and then Will was breathing against him, "You want me for yourself, don't you? That's what this has been about." He pulled back, waiting for Jack to respond. Watching him.

Jack's heartbeat was pounding in his ears. It wasn't anything so very shocking. There was nothing appallingly terrible about wanting to hold him, and Jack was more than taken aback to realize that it had never been just the thrill of momentary lust, or even any kind of predetermined design upon the lad. It was only this closeness, in merely being near him.

The response he felt towards Will was more like what one would feel for a best mate, a favorite hound, a beloved companion. The need to have him there, always. A comfort, and source of affection. Of care. Jack had to swallow around the sudden lump in his throat. This was bad. This was very, very bad indeed. He'd shared ribald stories and jokes, dirty limericks and outrageous drinking songs with Ned and his friend Nick Debrett, all cleverly based on innuendo and often outright lewd material, and it hadn't seemed anything but funny. Mocking love and the ideal that so many men and women, poets and dreamers placed upon a few precious moments of happiness spent in someone's company.

Jack hadn't considered even the faintest possibility of being able to sustain something permanently affixed to his Commodore…and had not even felt much jealousy over the fact that Norrington had his little officer, really. But this was different. New. He just…wanted Will. To be there. He had a horrible feeling it was precisely what all those clever poems, stories and limericks were really about.

He stared back at Will, at a complete loss for words, torn between wanting to deny it to himself as well as to Will, and yet wanting to gasp from the simple torture of only having that quick brush of their lips together.

It was humbling indeed to discover that perhaps Will knew more about romance than himself. To Jack, romance was about freely dividing and sharing the happiness around. No reason why everyone couldn't be happy, after all. The romance of freedom, and the freedom of romance. But this was very different, indeed.

Will seemed to sense his struggle, and the wide eyes narrowed as he searched Jack's face, awaiting his reply. "Am I wrong? You don't, then?"

Jack remembered to breathe, and said, reluctantly, "You were right. It's very selfish of me. I can't force you to choose this."

Will gave a quiet snort at this however. "You've done a good job of it so far, Jack. I don't have any alternative, do I? And you are the only one who's actually bothered to care, so far. I don't see anyone else beating a path to my door, offering friendship - or kisses, either."

And that swift pain jabbed at him inside at Will's suffering and loneliness, yet again. Jack whispered, "Will. Lad, never meant for you to get hurt. I swear."

"Perhaps not, but you do owe me, Jack," Will reminded him.

Jack looked down, took a breath and then lifted his chin. "Very well. Name your price. What shall I do to make it up to you?"

"Talk is cheap, Jack. A man's word is only as good as he is, and although you are a good man, you are a pirate. That's not something anyone, least of all myself, can ever expect to change." Will regarded him, letting go of Jack's arms and retreating to go sit on the edge of his bed. "I never wanted to be a pirate, or to live at sea. But you were right about me; it's in my blood. If it hadn't been for you, I never would have faced that."

Wryly, Jack considered that he'd truly left Will with very few options, but there had been precious little facing him in the first place. He sat down beside Will, companionably, and agreed. "True. And there's the matter of your fine way with words. You've a statesman in you, too. Any fool can use power; it takes a better mind to recognize when not to. Take AnaMaria, for example. For all that she's a woman, she has a wonderful career ahead of her."

Will gave a half-hearted smile. "She's savvy."

"Aye," Jack grinned. "Not all pirates are on the sea, Will. That Spanish commodore's got himself a nice little fort, with gold flowing in and out. Give him a crown and a larger piece of real estate, and you've got a nation, a whole country. Why, just look at Britain, or France. How are they any different?"

Will turned his head, to catch Jack's eye. "You're good with words, too, Jack. Too good. You're avoiding the subject again."

Jack pulled a face. "So what do you want, then?"

Will replied simply, "Trust. To be able to trust you, Jack. That's all. Is there anything else a man should expect from a friend? I rather believe that just because you can be a trusted friend, doesn't mean your reputation as a pirate would be destroyed."

A little offended, Jack said, "My word is good, Will."

Will was quiet. "I know," he said. "That's why I'm asking you: what is my friendship worth to you? Which do you value more: my friendship, or the kisses?"

Jack stumbled over this one. "Sort of saw them as one and the same, really."

Will looked curiously amused at this. "You don't kiss all your friends that way, though."

Jack let out a groan. "Will, all this talk of kisses, and with you sitting 'ere like that… Undermines a man's ability to think."

Will let out a surprised chuff of laughter. "That sounds like the more honest answer, to me."

Jack's heart gave a little lurch within him. Poised between hope and loss, he asked, "Does it bother you?"

Will shook his head. "I've never seen love as a source of shame. Despair, and longing, and dreams, but never shame."

Jack closed his eyes against this. Love. No matter who he saw, or went to, or ran from, or avoided, it kept coming back to love. What was it his pretty Commodore had said, and little Teddy also - playing Cupid… Wryly, he realized he'd paid the price for it, and just as Eros had been pricked with his own arrows, he was now discovering just how badly one could be mired in it.

But then, he considered, he'd managed to somehow arrange to have everything turn out just the way he'd wanted it to, in any case. Norrington was happy, even little Teddy was happy. The self-styled little Spanish pirate king was happy, Lynch and his men were happy. Extraordinarily, even AnaMaria was happy. The only one who wasn't was his Will.

Sitting up straighter, he turned to Will and put an arm around the lad's shoulders, mindful of his wound, and said, "Then you've never seen love as a source of happiness? Pleasure? Or even contentment?"

Will turned to regard him with a look of puzzlement creeping over him. "Is that what you're offering?"

Jack gave him a grin. "Aye. But not here, in this little room, shut away from the world." And he gave Will a little shake. "Besides, I stashed away all the gold, so there's plenty of space, now."

Will muttered, "Ah. So I'm to be your cabin boy."

Jack tutted at him. "Cabin boy, First Mate, and sword-smith. And I'll expect you to be at hand whenever there's any interesting negotiations required, on behalf of the British interests. So really, as a pirate-privateer, you've got more than enough to keep you busy, when you're not learning first-hand what it means to be happy, rather than miserable."

Will seemed to lift a little inside, at this. "Then what are we waiting for?"

Jack grinned at him. "For as long as it takes for you to pack."

Will surprised him by leaning into him, catching his mouth in a kiss again, and this time parting his lips beneath Jack's, flicking fire against Jack's tongue.

Unexpectedly drowning in heat and feeling it lick up along his skin, to have him here, in the dark... And he bemoaned the loss as Will pulled away, standing to begin gathering up his belongings.

"Light that lamp, will you?" Will said, hurriedly dragging out a satchel and stuffing clothes into it.

Jack remembered to take a breath, and counted to ten, willing his abrupt arousal to go away at least enough to allow him to move without pushing Will onto the cot and writhing against him.


Norrington sat on the sand near the fire, watching as Teddy swam farther out from the beach. It was a beautifully clear night, and the moon was out, casting a silvery glitter across the waves.

He considered the possibility that Jack had actually told the truth for once, and had managed to drive the Spanish ships so far south. But his instincts warned him against believing it. Jack had very cleverly embellished and then downplayed his own story, and Norrington had every reason to suspect that Jack would seek to compromise or offer the best deal for all considered, rather than leap into a fire-fight with the galleons.

A noise behind him made him sit up, uneasily. Footsteps in the sand, approaching him and the fire from the darkness. It was probably Jack, returning after failing to convince Will Turner to let him stay the night.

To his astonishment, Will was approaching just behind Jack, and the two men came to stand before him. Norrington gaped up at both of them.

"You owe me twenty guineas," Jack informed him with a grin. "I'll be back to collect them." He glanced about. "Where's Teddy?"

Will looked nonplussed. "Teddy?"

"Aye, Lieutenant Groves - he's not left, has he?" Jack asked Norrington. "He owes me ten."

Norrington wasn't sure whether to congratulate him, be offended, or laugh. He satisfied himself with a reproachful warning glance at Jack. "Where are you bound?"

"M'Pearl, where else?" Jack leered down at him. He looked back up at Will. "Our Commodore looks better without the wig and the regimentals, wouldn't you say?"

Will coughed, obviously trying not to look too amused, himself. "Much better, yes."

The query behind Mr. Turner's eyes, however, was enough to make Norrington heave a sigh. "Well, at least we've settled on the going rate for kisses," he muttered.

Will's brows lifted. And Jack frowned down at Norrington. "Powers - you're right. I'd forgotten 'at one. Ten guineas, it is. Sounds reasonable enough, to me; so I believe you probably owe me…" Jack paused, looking up blankly, silently counting. His gaze swiftly dropped to Norrington with a smirk. "Seventy guineas, so far."

"As many as that?" Norrington inquired, mildly. "You'll receive your payment when you return all the white gold you looted from the sugar ships."

Jack's eyes narrowed. "I'll pay you back in kind, instead."

"Seven, then," Norrington mused. "As many ships as you claim the galleons numbered."

Will was looking between them both with a look of utter bewilderment.

Jack gave a little flinch and said, "I'd stay to collect, but as you can see, I'm otherwise engaged at present."

Norrington gave him a little knowing smile. "Until next week, then."

Jack returned with a sickly one. "We may be delayed a short while." Obviously eager to depart and avoid any of Norrington's questions regarding both the situation with Will and the Spanish, Jack quickly grinned at him and said, "Until next time then, Jim." At Norrington's dark frown, his grin slipped and he said, "James? Jamie. Norrie? Jimmie."

Norrington began to get to his feet.

Jack backed away. "Let's leave the Commodore in peace, Will. Good night, sir," Jack added, quickly turning to grab Will's arm and head down to the surf, by the rocks over to their right where he'd stowed the dinghy.

Norrington watched them depart, shaking his head at the pirate's ability to convince anyone to sin, regardless of their previous moral fiber and best intentions. It didn't help, of course, that Will Turner had always looked up to Captain Jack Sparrow.

Norrington wondered how Jack had managed to pull it off. Somehow, he rather thought Jack would have his hands full with this one, though. Will didn't seem to be the type of man to look as kindly on Jack's rather promiscuous nature.

Then it dawned on him that Will had been the reason for Jack's planned raids upon Port Royal in the first place. He had to smile to himself at that. And congratulated himself at allowing Teddy to go for a moonlight swim just before Jack and his blacksmith pirate arrived from the Fort's tunnels.

As he watched Groves emerge from the sea like a naked sea-god and walk up the beach to where he still lay by the fire, Norrington contemplated the decidedly satisfying turn everything had taken, all things considered.

He sighed a little to himself, though, realizing he'd actually encouraged Jack Sparrow, notorious pirate and outlaw, to recruit yet another honest citizen to piracy.


Will experienced a sense of deja vu as he followed Jack aboard the Black Pearl, and into the cabin behind him. Jack said, "Make yourself at home, Will. I've got a few things to see to first, so I might be a little while." He stepped into Will's space once more, in that way he had, and smiled a little. "Alright?" And with a kiss, Jack was turned around and out the door before Will could respond.

He sighed, and sat his bag down to one side. Jack had indeed been busy, for not a single gold coin was in sight. Eyeing the interior, he realized Jack had a tasteful eye for sumptuousness while retaining a measure of practicality, without giving in to outright ostentatious hoarding. It in fact resembled everything he'd come to expect from Jack; curious objects he couldn't really define, unsure if they were mementos, pieces of art, or odd tools or artifacts Jack had picked up from somewhere, along with a utilitarian collection of essentials, while the bed -

Will gulped, as his thoughts caught up with his eyes at the sight of the dark blue material. He felt as nervous now as he had that first night with Elizabeth, in this very cabin. He'd been so anxious then, he'd not really allowed himself to focus on anything but her, only distantly aware of the loud singing and fiddle-playing of the crew on deck, while he had touched her in that bed.

The self-conscious reality of his flesh on hers, the pulsing of his heartbeat in his ears, and the abrupt realization that her body was such a foreign thing to him… It had all added up to ensure he remained as nervous as ever, even after they'd completed the act and he'd taken her maidenhood.

It had felt like lying with a sister. A little wrong, with a sense of profound relief that she was willing to overlook his nervousness because she cared for him, and the awkward feeling in knowing it hadn't met either of their expectations.

He went to the bed, and laid a hand on the cover, sat down momentarily, and discovered to his surprise that one of the things that he'd taken comfort in that night with her, as well as a measure of confidence, had been the presence and lingering scent of Jack, in Jack's bed.

Will stood up with a jolt, realizing that even then, he'd been borrowing his inspiration from Jack's maturity and experience, his manhood even. It lent his current predicament a little more sense, considering. But still, it was making him uncomfortable to know that in a way, he was now in Elizabeth's position. Because the situation, after all, made him the bride instead of the groom.

He wondered if Jack felt any of the nervousness now that he'd had to endure during the wedding and on the night, here in that bed.

Will sat down in one of the chairs at the long, oval table. Considering the astounding level of vulnerability Jack had almost unwittingly displayed towards him back at the smithy, Will suspected Jack was feeling some nerves, indeed.

What had he allowed Jack to involve him in this time?

Before he could muse upon it, the doors swung open widely and crewmen with curious expressions and some glee began carrying platters of food inside, to place them on the table.

Will watched in growing discomfiture as the food kept arriving.

"Good to see ye again, Mr. Turner," winked one.

"Aye, lovely havin' ye aboard," said another gap-toothed pirate. "Your missus not with us this time? 'At's a shame." With an elbow in another man's side, they both began chortling.

Will's face was starting to burn. "Thank you, gentlemen. It's good to be back."

"Och, aye, nice to be havin' ye here, laddie," drawled a Scot at him, in full kilt and even wearing a sporran.

"Now, now, leave 'im be, mates," Jack admonished them gruffly as he entered, leveling his mischievous leer upon Will despite his words.

With a few more inaudible comments and guffaws, the men left the cabin and shut the doors, while Jack set about gathering up two glasses and a bottle of wine.

The candles caused the food to gleam, as well as the utensils. The wine was in a crystal decanter, and looked very expensive, as did the glasses.

"Jack, what in God's name is all this?" Will asked, truly confused at the amount of food. It looked like a banquet. It was making his mouth water and he couldn't even identify half the dishes before him.

Jack took the seat on the other side of the table, at an angle from him along the oval surface, and poured out a glass for Will, then himself. "I'm trusting you with my very reputation here, Will. You realize nothing I'm about to tell you can ever leave this room, let alone this ship."

Will nodded. "Naturally. You have my word."

Jack lifted his glass. "To friendship, then," he said, and Will raised his brows along with his glass, allowing it to meet Jack's with a crystalline tinkle.

"To friendship," Will agreed, and sipped. He didn't know wines, but it appeared to be rich, red, full and very warm indeed. Full, like blood, like his heart was beginning to feel once more.

"We're currently dining courtesy of the renowned chef of one Lord Gabriel Sanchez, Governor of San Juan," Jack explained. "He had far too much food to finish himself, so he kindly lent me his chef's services for a time. My crew's not eaten this well in most of their lives, I expect. Terribly wonderful for morale, I can tell you."

"San Juan?" Will asked, wondering why Puerto Rico was suddenly lending their culinary abilities towards the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow.

"Well, unofficial Governor, really," Jack added. "He's the owner of those little galleons, eh?"

"Ah," Will said, comprehending why Jack didn't want him spreading this around. Then he frowned. "But you and Norrington appear to have an understanding."

"To an extent," Jack said, furtively. "Try the fish, Will. Can't have all this going to waste."

Will was curious as to the dishes, but he could see figs, mangos, rice, marinated fish, fowl and olives. "Gourmet, indeed," Will commented, a little daunted. "Where's his chef from, I wonder?"

"Galicia, apparently," Jack said, helping himself to the platter of fish nearest him.

A bright-yellow spicy tang laced all the meats, and Will couldn't help but wonder if it might be an acquired taste. But once he'd had a few mouthfuls of the game, he realized the effect was immediate. He was starting to feel more than overwhelmed; he felt out of place. Humble fare was all he'd had before, until Elizabeth had begun insisting on inviting him over for supper at the Swanns' residence towards the end. But even Port Royal cuisine was not as exotic as this.

Wryly, he offered, "It would seem the Spanish have a broader view of good eating."

"Aye," Jack agreed, fervently. "If anything untoward should happen to his Excellency, Sanchez, I'm going to relieve his fortress of a number of things; on the top of that list will be his chef."

Green plantains in sweet red sauce garnished the pork, and Will said, wonderingly, "The man might be worth his weight in gold."

Jack chuckled into his food. "That's what Sanchez told me, when I offered to buy the man's services." He gave Will a grin. "When I saw the bloke in question, I changed me mind. Huge fellow; at least ten times your girth, if not more."

Getting up now, Will perused the rest of the platters. Coconut-battered shrimp, and guava cakes. "When did you bring all this aboard? Won't it start to spoil?"

"It's all leftovers," Jack waved a hand at him, towards the expanse of the full table. "We only left San Juan a few days ago."

Will sat back down, his head whirling. He hastily grabbed up his wine, and tried to find a measure of stability in it. Feasting here with Jack, after having just spent the afternoon despondently reacclimatizing himself to the utter futility of his mundane existence, was undoing him.

"Fattening me for the slaughter?" Will directed at Jack.

Jack gave him a sardonic smile. "Prefer to think of it as getting to your heart through your stomach. But I wouldn't recommend trying that with any of the natives where we're headed - they might take you literally."

"What, take my heart? Or my stomach?" Will asked.

"Both," Jack said. "Cannibals. We're off to the Caicos."

Will frowned. "Why? I thought the Spanish were gone. Or do you have some sort of clandestine arrangement with him?"

"Have a little faith, son," Jack said, shaking a finger at him. "He's agreed to stay out of my territory, and keep to 'is own. But I've got to make sure, savvy? So we're staking out the Caicos, for when the galleons try to creep back in to collect their gold. We'll help them, if needs must." He gave Will a shrug. "No use worrying your head over it. Sanchez has the sense to know when he's licked. He's backed off. Apparently he fears pirates more than the British."

"I'm sure he does now, at any rate," Will commented, wishing he could have seen the no-doubt interesting confrontation that must have occurred.

Jack just gave him an enigmatic grin.

From somewhere, Will abruptly noticed a part of him was quite enjoying being aboard the Pearl, with Jack. Alone. In his cabin, no less.

Something in his expression as he met Jack's gaze must have revealed the sudden new course of his thoughts, for Jack's grin was replaced with a somewhat thoughtful smile. His eyes seemed a little too dark and penetrating.

Will looked down, his throat suddenly closing up. He had to remind himself that he was here as Jack's friend, regardless of everything else, including the kisses.

Jack's dry remark did nothing to reassure him, either. "I take it from your high color that you've remembered where you are?"

Will flushed and glanced in the direction of the bed before he could catch himself, quickly looking down at his plate. He steeled himself and looked up to meet Jack's eyes. "Last time I was here, this place was filled with gold. There wasn't room to sit or stand for gold. And before that, I was with Elizabeth."

A repentantly sympathetic expression replaced the predatory one Jack had worn, as he sat up. "The gold is gone, and so is she."

"Yes," Will said, taking a breath. "I guess it's just down to you and me, now."

Jack appeared to carry a hint of his earlier susceptibility. Will found it gratifying, especially as he'd grown so accustomed to seeing nothing but assurance and devious self-confidence on Jack. He'd always wondered, with a flash of self-insight, what Jack would look like when he wasn't playing the carefree jester, or the dangerous adversary, but just…feeling.

But Jack recovered, saying, "Suppose it is, aye. You can stop looking terrified, Will. I'm not going to do anything you don't want me to do."

Will's brow wrinkled slightly at this. "I'm not terrified of you."

Jack just grinned at him over his glass.

"I'm not," Will insisted.

"Prove it," Jack said, quietly, his humor giving way to a certain amount of intensity…almost expectancy.

Will had to swallow at the sudden bolt of excitement that gripped his belly. He didn't think he could bear to eat anymore. The wine had caused a tiny warm glow to cover everything, and looking at Jack's smile and errant dark eyes, Jack didn't seem dangerous at all.

He stood, slowly moving the chair back and walked around the curve of the table to look down at Jack who didn't move, still holding the glass. "I will," he promised. And leaned down to press his lips to Jack's.

Time slowed down to a crawl as he felt Jack's full, warm mouth under his. Always too lush, Jack's lips. Expressive, misleading, seeming wicked most of the time but right now not holding anything back at all.

Jack's other arm crept around Will to pull him closer, against his upper thighs, and abruptly Will had to consider the folly of remaining upright. His head was spinning, and the kiss he was sharing with Jack was too good to stop anytime soon. If ever.

He tasted the gold in Jack's mouth and almost smiled into their kiss, because it seemed so appropriately part of Jack, to still have the ever-present reminder of what he was, even in this new turn in their relationship.

But it was true, he wasn't afraid of Jack. He knew he probably ought to be, but seeing the fleeting glimpses of Jack's heart as it peeked through the pirate's customary sly japing, Will could only find an affectionately empathetic response. And he realized that as painful as it had been, he did in fact forgive Jack for the role he'd played in Will's losses of late.

Love, after all, was a most noble motivation, however selfishly Jack had pursued it.

Will rather suspected that Jack wasn't entirely aware of the extent to which he was already acting from it, as opposed to his usual motives.

He could feel Jack's hold on self-control slipping away as he deepened the kiss, and abruptly lifted his head, pulling back to look at Jack.

He wasn't disappointed in what he saw. Jack's eyes were closed and he had a look of abandon on his face. In the next moment, Jack opened his eyes, looking back up at him, obviously wondering why he'd stopped. Will decided he liked this. Immensely. He smiled down at Jack and said, "Well, Captain?"

Jack blinked up at him. "Mm?"

Will lifted his brows. "Have I proven it?"

A sneaky look stole over Jack's face. "No, not yet. Expect you'll have to try a bit harder, eh?"

"How much harder?" Will asked.

Jack's hold around his legs tightened, and he brought up his left hand to begin undoing the buttons of Will's vest. With a casual note, Jack replied, "'Bout as hard as you were fightin' me earlier."

"You're precocious, irrepressible and completely opportunistic. You knew exactly what you were doing, didn't you?" Will accused him.

Jack seemed far too unable to concentrate properly though, and merely said, "I did. Well, had a general idea, but…" He trailed off and leaned his face against Will's lower belly, entirely too close to Will's groin for Will to ignore the sensation. He found his hands going to Jack's head before he meant to do it. His knees were growing weaker.

He wondered absently where the nervousness had fled to, and couldn't blame it on the wine, as he'd only had the one glass. It seemed the heat was responsible, or maybe the way Jack was pushing his face against him.

"Will," Jack said in a muffled, helpless voice into his clothes.

A warm shiver ran up and down Will's back. He felt a drop of sweat run down the inside of his shirt, traveling all the way to his waist where Jack's arm was holding him tightly.

Will's mind finally ascertained the curious appeal of Jack Sparrow; it was in the pirate's manner. He wanted Jack to be a friend, a mentor, even a lover…but Jack also had the allure of a woman - that delicacy that Elizabeth had possessed, only as an elegant attribute like a gentleman carries, rather than an affectation. Wonderingly, he asked, "Why me, Jack?"

But Jack withdrew at this, although he didn't release his hold on Will, and seemed to take it as a need for him to prove himself now. In what appeared to be a growing habit between them, Will recognized Jack's glimpse of honesty with him. "Because it's *you*," Jack said.

Not flattering, or seductive, but somehow exactly what Will needed to hear. And he smiled at Jack. "I think I prefer your bed with you in it," he remarked.

He stepped back, noting how Jack seemed to be pulled in his wake, and began removing his clothing. After a moment's pause, Jack immediately followed suit. They ended up in the vicinity of Jack's bed, but Jack's mouth was on his again, and somehow they were upon it, with Jack on top of him, in an interesting reflection of when Jack had held him down earlier, on the floor.

The memory of that first kiss, and in the fire of this one as Jack continued to plunder his mouth relentlessly, Will found himself moving in a familiar motion beneath Jack. Almost as if making Jack ride him…and the thought of being the bride in Jack's bed this time was almost enough to bring him to a finish right then and there.

This was what had been missing, before. Oddly, he decided that maybe if they'd invited Jack to share in the festivities that first time, things might have had a better chance. He put it down to the fact that Jack simply carried less inhibitions, and others' nerves were soothed in the presence of -

"A pirate," Will said, as Jack's mouth left his, wandering over his neck, down to his chest.

Jack frowned at him, and corrected, "Two, actually," before returning to attend to both Will's nipples in turn.

Will squirmed absently under the attention, and said, "What?"

"Two pirates," Jack repeated, looking up at him. "I count two pirates in my bed, not one. I've become very good at counting over the last fortnight, Will. You'll have to trust my judgment on this occasion." And he bent to follow the inevitable path down Will's belly to his cock.

The ability to think, speak or express, let alone count, was stolen from Will as Jack's mouth closed over the head of his member without any preamble whatsoever. The hungry sucking as Jack explored him with an excess of enthusiasm was in danger of bringing him to the peak again, too closely.

When Jack lifted off of him, Will actually gasped, "No! Don't-"

"I want to have you, Will," Jack stated, his velvet voice stoking Will's already over-stimulated senses.

"Yes," Will managed, not entirely sure what he was agreeing to, but not caring so long as Jack kept doing…things to him, doing everything.

Jack gave him a little grin that didn't seem sly at all, but very pleased with himself, and with Will at the same time. And he rose up to lean over Will, taking hold of Will's cock in his hand more firmly, and catching Will's mouth again.

"Do you want this?" Jack murmured against his lips, kissing him before he could reply. When he tried to, Jack asked, "Well? Tell me you want it."

"Yes, just do it," Will said, into him. "All of it."

And then there was nothing but Jack's tongue on his, drawing it out of him, their bodies pressed tightly together, and Jack's hand busy upon him, stroking, pulling, kneading him, and Will was shaking under him, spilling his seed in spasms against Jack. The aftertracings of liquid fire, fire, fire, like the steel tips of sharp blades piercing with pleasure inside his head, with the plunging of them into hissing steam along with Jack's sweat-damp skin against his. Better than the wine, than the kisses, than the sword-practice and their duel.

The sway and roll of the ship under them and around them, holding them like a cradle in the water, served to keep him in the undulating grasp of the waves of pleasure, and he moaned at it, disbelieving that such a thing could contribute so sweetly to the act.

Jack chuckled silently against him, recognizing his discovery. "Aye, it's good."

"Very," Will gasped. And then became aware that Jack's hand had left his cock and was pulling him to the side.

"Turn over," Jack said, a dark, pleased promise in his words.

A tiny dart of misgiving went through Will, but he knew Jack had to know what he was doing. It was probably more than he'd been able to give his bride on their wedding night, he thought. And then had to wonder at the wisdom of a society that frowned upon lovers having any knowledge or experience before the day, leaving it to complete chance and blind luck as to whether the bride and groom might actually enjoy it.

The care and attention that Jack was lavishing upon his back right now more than made up for the self-doubt and recrimination he'd ladled with equal amount upon himself for his inability to please Elizabeth…

But he wasn't prepared for the feel of Jack's tongue moving in slow licks across his buttocks, nor the way that Jack's hands were slowly sliding up and down between. He stiffened in spite of himself.

"Relax, Will, and trust me on this one," Jack said, a hint of amused care offsetting the intent in his voice.

And then the disturbingly different sensation of Jack's tongue wandering along his crevice and those hands parting him wider made his eyes fly open in shock. It wasn't something he'd ever considered.

And it didn't stop there, for the warm, wet sensation of Jack's tongue continued boldly against him, invading him with such concentration and obvious delight in doing so, it brought a blush rising to his already flaming face. He pressed forward into the cover to cool himself, but the forbidden pleasure of it caught him up in a trickle of wanton arousal, renewing the stiffness of his own shaft.

He groaned aloud, in mingled satisfaction and wonder.

It went on and on, and on, and Jack still didn't stop, and Will was beginning to consider the possibility that it might bring him to completion, just from Jack doing this one thing alone to him.

When Jack halted, Will held his breath, on the verge of begging him not to.

As Jack's slick finger replaced the movement, however, realization dawned. It wasn't going to end here, either, with this… Will let out a moan at this, which Jack mistook for uncertainty.

Jack's other hand was abruptly smoothing up and down his back, as he murmured, "Give it a moment, Will. Won't be long."

"Please, on your life, Jack - " he managed, "do not stop."

"Not sure I could even if you wanted me to, at this point," Jack muttered, even as his finger remained steady, slow, sliding in and out.

Will wasn't prepared for the stars that exploded behind his lids however, as Jack's finger quested further and pressed - something… Fireworks - like the ones on his wedding night, and a wickedly delicious desire had hold of him, and he found himself working his hips on Jack's finger, just in an attempt to have more.

Slowly, Jack added another finger, and Will bit his lip at the burn of it.

But it gave him a better idea of what he might expect, and he knew Jack was preparing him for himself.

He should have found it vulgar, distressing or even unwanted, but to his gratification, there was an absence of any kind of regret. All he could find was a growing curiosity as to what it would be like when Jack finally took him.

And the thought of claiming Jack in the same way was assailing him suddenly, forcing his eyes closed against the surge of pure heat at the notion.

Jack removed his fingers, and stretched out to cover him, with animal grace.

"Easy, love," Jack whispered in his ear, and Will only moaned in response. He felt the tip of Jack's organ against him, and the simple slide of him into his body. All the way in, he felt it filling him with a completeness he'd never imagined, and Jack's unbidden, hoarse groan in his ear at it was a satisfaction in and of itself.

"Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph," Jack whispered, distinctly.

Will couldn't help a snicker at this. "Jack," he murmured in warning, "if you lose it now…"

"Will, 'm not going to lose it, or you," Jack growled in his ear, with a possessive thrust of his hips against Will, causing his cock to surge deeper into Will's body.

Deeper even than Will had expected, and he felt it sinking into him to reach up along his limbs, weakening him. He found the need to have Jack do it again was building into a desperation that loosened his tongue. "Please," he said, aware that he sounded like he was begging. Well, he was begging, really.

"Steady on; don't want to hurt you," Jack said, a curious note of solicitude and what sounded like smug enjoyment at hearing him beg.

"Please, Jack, please," Will said, a tiny shaft of anger creeping along him. If Jack kept him waiting now, he was going to make Jack pay. Yes, indeed. In fact, the thought of making Jack pay anyway, even if he took mercy on Will now, was too inspiring and interesting not to consider.

But as Jack began to move in and out of him in a sure and steady pace, Will's thoughts of begging and shafting Jack were obliterated in the pleasure that wafted along every nerve.

The way Jack was clutching him, and biting at his neck, served to stir even more possibilities swimming through him. He'd been so bloody *careful* with Elizabeth. Understanding dawned now, and he almost groaned more at it than Jack's claiming of his body… She hadn't wanted careful. She'd wanted this. But knowing she could have told him soothed the sting somewhat. She'd never been anything less than outspoken.

It still wasn't enough. "Jack," he said, carefully, keeping his voice as clear as possible, "please do it harder. Please."

With something of a chuckle, Jack said, "So, my little pirate wants to be ravished, does he?" And he increased the time between his thrusts, even as Will lifted slightly to meet them, shamelessly.

The sensation of being pressed down into the bed under Jack's weight, as the slender cock continued to at long last give him what Jack's eyes had always seemed to promise him, finally culminated in his climax building again. He could feel it lifting up from his toes, flooding through him to reach his balls, which drew up tight.

"Ohhhh, God, Jack, please," Will begged, wanting it so much, so badly.

Jack stopped momentarily, which nearly brought tears to Will's eyes at the desperation it caused him. But it was only to bring them both up onto their knees, and Will managed to acquire a sort of kneeling position even as his head stayed down. Jack's hand crept up to grab hold of his cock again, and moved rapidly on him, while regaining the momentum they'd been building before.

Will wondered briefly what he must look like to be doing this, and then wished he could see Jack properly.

And Will was completely unprepared for Jack suddenly increasing the speed and strength of his plunging into his already desperately craving hole, and he cried out - wondering what he had done to deserve finally getting exactly what he'd been wanting Jack to do since the idea had solidified in his mind.

"Will," Jack moaned against him, and the longing and care he'd glimpsed all throughout the evening since Jack had come for him in the smithy earlier was abruptly present, shining through Jack's voice in a perfect expression just in the way Jack said Will's name.

It was this that brought Will over the edge, touching that height, washed over the side by it, caught with Jack inside him, deep, while around him, covering him, surrounding him, and the rocking of the ship and the pleasure flashing through his body all combined in a glorious release of finally, finally touching it.

Some distant part of him grew aware that they were probably entertaining the entire crew, and another part of him instantly answered in amazingly smug whispers that he was glad, very glad, for it said Jack was his, and he was Jack's, and there wasn't a damned thing they could do about it.

Jack's cries mingled with his, and Will could feel Jack achieve his own release inside of him, shuddering atop him, into him, with a helplessness that touched at his heart. The purity of this experience with Jack was rather humbling. He hadn't expected it to be so engulfing, liberating, or even so revealing.

He felt Jack breathing hard against him, going still, and then Jack let go his grasp on his organ, to steal both arms about him, resting atop him there.

Will's knees began to give out though, and his thighs trembled from being farther apart than he was used to. Jack allowed him the few inches to collapse to the covers, then shifted into something more comfortable on him, still not withdrawing.

Will felt covered, protected, wanted. It was a very new discovery to find someone giving this to him. He was actually gratified that it was Jack, and taken aback that Jack would want to. He didn't dare say anything, however, for fear of ruining the moment.

Jack's lips pressed to his right cheek however, where his face was turned to the side, and he whispered, "Alright, love?"

Will nodded a little, and repeated, slowly, quietly, "Love."

Jack went quite still, then said with a sigh, almost of resignation, "Aye. Love."

Will grinned in spite of himself. "So it's to be like this, then?"

"Seems that way," Jack replied. "You're not thinking of running back to the smithy? I'd hate to have to drag you back. Would be quite a scene."

"I hate to have to tell you this, but I'm afraid I shall be denying you the opportunity of creating a scene like that," Will said, amusedly.

At Jack's silence, Will asked, on a chance, "How long have you loved me, Jack?"

Jack tensed on him, then said dryly, "A gentleman never tells."

"Well, but you're a pirate. You can be forgiven, if you do."

"Fishing, Will?"


Jack gave a little sigh against him, and said, "I've always liked you. You showed a lot of promise, and you keep showing more and more of it."

Will realized Jack was getting touchy, and decided instead to pursue something else that had been worrying at him, in the back of his mind. "Why was Norrington waiting down under the Fort like that? Was he there to meet you?"

Jack stiffened above him and then began to laugh, unaccountably. "Will, how much would you say a kiss is worth?"

Will was confused. "I'm- I don't know. Why?"

"Ten guineas, pr'haps?"

"Ah," Will said. "So that's what Norrington was referring to."

"We had ourselves a little wager," Jack explained, shifting in place on him and causing Will's breath to catch in his throat at the sensations it caused in several sensitive parts of his body.

"A wager? I knew it," Will accused.

"That you wouldn't let me kiss you, nor would you kiss me. But really it started a while back, on the night of your wedding, with a bowl of rum-punch that our fine, noble and audacious Commodore decided to commandeer from the hall."

Will blinked. "What happened?"

"That," Jack said, "is a very, very long tale indeed, and I'm not entirely sure you're old enough to hear it."

That settled it. Will was going to make Jack beg most piteously later.

But Jack's mouth was suddenly against his face again, and he was beginning to make slight rocking motions against him, and thoughts of tormenting Jack were again fleeing in the very interesting possibility of repeating what they'd just done.


Absently, Jack murmured, "Will."

"Why would Norrington be wagering with you over whether or not I would kiss you? Or let you kiss me?"

"Because the bugger knows I've been desirous of buggering you, dear Will, and any more will have to wait until later, because you're behaving very badly. Breaking my concentration."

"Aye, Captain," Will said, meekly, knowing his apparent surrender which wasn't one would not go unnoticed.

He waited for it.

"Must say, I didn't think you were wanting to be plundered so desperately, my Will. If I'd known, I would've obliged you before now," Jack murmured lazily in his ear.

With a grin, Will said, "You can make it up to me."

And Jack didn't reply, but let his actions speak for him, letting his reawakened interest come to hardness within Will, and slide slickly out a little, and then back into him.

Will gasped at it, wondering how he could possibly have forgotten in so short a span of time just how debilitating and excruciatingly pleasurable it was.

As he lost himself to Jack's wanton prowess yet again, he realized that in some twist of fate, he'd ended up exactly where he'd hoped he would be.

Once more in the captain's cabin, in the captain's bed.

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