Title: Once In a Blue Moon, Chapter 2: A Naked Heart
Author: Webcrowmancer (webcrowmancer at hotmail.com)
Rating: NC-17 for adult themes, language and m/m sexual content (that would be slash and smutty thoughts, as well as rampantly gay lovin' fluff 'n' stuff)
Summary: 'You're a pirate after all, lad. Stolen my heart, true enough.' Will joins the crew of the Black Pearl and learns the true meaning of the word 'Matelotage'.
Disclaimer: I wonder what The Mouse Inc. would say, considering they are among one of the corporations to award gay-couple employees with domestic partner benefits. ;-)
Feedback: Yes. :-)
Author's Notes: Matelotage - French for Seamanship.
Also the unique name applied to the bond between two 'sailors' (pirates) in the Caribbean; they shared everything, including wives, assets, plunder, and bed. Probably the closest thing to recognized gay marriage the historical world has seen beyond the Theban Band - brothers/lovers in arms.
Lucky for us slashbucklers, it's an absolute fact and historical precedent. ;)
Twelve days later, Will
was beginning to find he was actually able to
enjoy the effects of rum. Not the taste yet, but
he was also starting to trust that Jack might be
right: it was acquired.
Still, he was learning fast, and as much as a man could. Will threw himself into living the life of a pirate. He was all too aware that he had yet to prove himself in the eyes of the crew, despite the fact that his father's reputation eased his entry into the ranks of respected freemen of the Caribbean.
So far, living as a pirate consisted of sitting about listening to outrageous stories and singing a song that he discovered accidentally from Jack had been imparted to them from the generous Miss Elizabeth Swann. Will was puzzled, for he hadn't known Elizabeth was that notorious amongst the pirates of the Spanish Main. But then, Jack insisted on singing it, and hearing others sing it with him.
The only thing that bothered him more than not understanding why Jack and Gibbs were so tightlipped about what exactly Madagascar had to offer and why the rest of the company of the Pearl were so trusting about it, never speaking of it, was his awkwardly developing addiction to being Jack's trusted friend.
He could understand the rationale of lying when it was in a good cause, but he couldn't lie to himself. He understood too the necessity of honor to the proudly free company he was sailing with. Without the Code, and the Articles, it wouldn't be so much a ship as a floating madhouse. He came to realize too that no man aboard would have sailed with Captain Jack Sparrow unless they respected him. It wasn't fear that ruled, it was admiration.
And he couldn't stop himself from wondering if he was the only ignorant fool aboard who wondered who, if anyone, Jack might accept as more than a friend.
His thoughts plagued him, however, because it was unworthy of his regard for Elizabeth, and Jack as well, whatever Jack's whims might be. Which up until now consisted of rum and wild boasts which Will inevitably considered to be untrue, given the nature of the stories to unravel and grow ever more distorted with each telling.
His composure was starting to suffer, particularly when he was near Jack. Not wanting to embarrass Jack with such obvious displays of hero-worship, he attempted to cultivate a more distant expression. He only succeeded in encouraging Jack to throw his arm over his shoulders and pull him close, asking what ailed him.
It was sobering even at the most inebriated moments to glumly discover what most men at sea eventually stumble upon: unrelieved and unremitting tension. He was used to long periods of solitude, but certainly not in the company of scores of other fellows with a distinct lack of privacy and the dismal reminder, every night, that some of them didn't share his habit of denying himself relief. He considered himself lucky that he even found Jack interesting, for the thought of physical intimacy with any of the other men aboard filled him with immediate revulsion and distaste.
His reaction quieted the notion that he'd gone completely queer, but it didn't help to explain then 'why Jack Sparrow', of all people. He suspected it was because he liked the pirate; he was a familiar acquaintance and was proud to be known as his friend. It was only natural, then.
And then Jack would sidle up to him and lean a little too close, inviting him to have 'a drink' with him, which usually meant getting completely plastered and telling lewdly outrageous and clever jokes and stories until they passed out.
Finally, Will admitted it to himself, that twelfth afternoon out: Jack was pretty, as far as men went.
In fact, he was prettier than most women Will had seen. Not pretty as a woman is, surely, but pretty all the same. And he knew by now too that he wasn't the only man who held this opinion, but like himself, no one dared to approach Jack Sparrow. Captain Jack was known for his love of the Black Pearl - and no one ever dared imagine there might be another who might vie for her affections.
Will was beginning to hate the Pearl.
It was unreasonable and probably quite mad, he knew. But still. How could Jack be a man of living, breathing flesh and blood, and feel more passion for a large boat than someone whose heart beat double-time whenever Jack approached, and who would lay his life down for the Captain just as quickly?
He'd been paying attention to what one sailor was showing another in the late afternoon about the proper way to attend the clouds, to guess what might be brewing in the skies ahead come evening, when Jack had wandered out on deck to speak to some fellow not too far from where Will was, learning the ropes.
Will felt that annoying and now familiar constriction in his chest, the tightness of breath that he'd once believed he could only ever experience when Miss Elizabeth Swann would enter the room. The distinct heaviness in his groin and the shameful heat leaping to his face. The frustration of knowing far too well that it was insane to contemplate it. It would only lead to madness.
Cotton's parrot began bobbing wildly up and down, and suddenly squawked loudly, "Ahoy! Shiver me timbers."
Gibbs was standing nearby and came up behind Will's left. "E's right, you know, Will. What're you waiting for?"
Will blinked. "What? For what?"
"It's no secret, lad, least of all to Jack. And he's already laid claim to ye, in any case."
"What?" Will found his vocabulary severely limited by this extraordinarily mortifying turn of conversation.
Gibbs frowned. "Aye, why d'ye think he named you First Mate? 'Sides, yer staring like a starving man."
Will flushed. "I'm not. A starving man," he added quickly. "I'm engaged. And besides, he only did that as a favor, to save me the trouble of being the 'new man' aboard. And- and this way he can avoid the problem also."
"Of- of- solitude."
"Too much isn't healthy either way," Gibbs commented.
Finding some stability and self-respect once more, Will straightened. "Yes, but then, my heart is my own, and my body does not dictate my actions. I do."
"To be sure. Is that why you turn such interesting colors then, when he comes out on deck?" Gibbs chuckled.
"His heart's taken," Will murmured, aghast at having this conversation at all.
"Aye, it break's mother's heart, it does," Gibbs agreed. "I'll have words with 'im, if you like. See some sense into his head."
"No!" exclaimed Will, horrified that Gibbs might do anything of the kind. "I'll deal with this. In my own time, on my own terms."
Gibbs shrugged. "Aye? Might be too late. Ye've left it rather too late as it is."
"What do you mean?"
Gibbs lifted his chin, indicating in Jack's direction. "Captn', it's another fine afternoon, smooth as glass."
Jack joined them with a nod. "Making good time." His sharp eyes moved from one to the other, and Will was horrified to find himself hardening in arousal almost immediately.
Will cursed inwardly, feeling rather like a naughty urchin who'd been caught contemplating a bauble far to expensive to even dare to lift.
Cotton's parrot was still bobbing up and down in some pantomime that seemed designed to mock Will's already frayed nerves. "Ahoy, ahoy!"
Jack scowled at the parrot with slight concern. "He's not starting already, surely?"
Gibbs didn't answer.
Jack looked at Gibbs, then at Will. A slight smirk appeared on Jack's lips, and Will attempted his best helpless and witless expression.
The smirk intensified.
Gibbs cleared his throat. "Beggin' yer pardon, Jack. I've just remembered, I've got business below."
"As do we, apparently," Jack said, as Gibbs hastily retreated, moving aft.
Will felt lightheaded. "What?"
Jack came to stand beside him, regarding the view of the two sailors below them who had ceased their attentions of the clouds and had turned to the Art of Rigging instead. "Mr. Turner," Jack said, calmly.
"Aye," Will said, wondering why his voice suddenly sounded rough and his throat felt dry, and had closed up.
"Time for the Pearl's Captain and First Mate to have a little appraisal of her First Mate's duties aboard, wouldn't you agree?"
"Aye, Captain." Will wondered if Jack intended to address the rather embarrassing public display he seemed to be providing the ship and all aboard.
Cheerily, Jack said, "Step lively, lad. This is best taken care of in me cabin, not out here."
Trying to quash the shame that ran over him at guessing the disappointment in him Jack must be feeling, Will followed behind, wondering if how his legs felt currently were anything akin to possessing wooden pegs.
As Jack closed the cabin door behind him, Will turned. "I apologize, Jack. I never meant for it to become an issue. Let alone an embarrassment to you."
Confusion marked Jack's expression, and then he lifted his brows. "It's all just a matter of timing, really."
Will was nonplussed.
Jack indicated the table. "Have a seat, Will." He sat down across from him, and put his feet up. "Did you ever manage to, ah, consummate anything with your bonny lass, then?"
Will felt a renewed flare of heat rise in his face. Damn it all. "No. Well, not exactly."
Jack gave him a look of surprise. "Ever consummate with anyone, Will?"
"I- yes. Once. Well, more than once, but-" he stopped. "What has this got to do with anything?"
Jack smiled, a glint of gold reminding Will that Jack was, after all, still Jack Sparrow and as always, savvy. Will sighed. Sure enough, Jack stated casually, "Your very pretty apology. What exactly is it that you're apologizing -for-, if you don't mind me askin'?"
Will felt a flash of heat stab directly between his legs, collecting there in a pool of molten lust. This was not good. It was very bad, in fact. Because Jack was playing, and he knew damn well what his First Mate was suffering, damn him.
"Damn it, Jack," he managed, in a voice he knew was too thick. "In polite society-"
"Ah, but you're in pirate society now, aren't you?"
"I thought - I thought you made me First Mate so that I'd not be importuned by- well, accosted. Or the like."
Jack regarded this with some thought. "Firstly, the Articles clearly state, according to the Code, that there's to be no dueling or accosting of any kind. Secondly, your reputation needed some weight, which is why you're First Mate. And thirdly, the Pearl doesn't need a First Mate; she's got Gibbs, who's filling in for Anamaria. And fourthly," Jack paused. "Fourthly? Aye. Fourthly, the company's got no need for a First Mate. And fifthly, the Captain doesn't need a First Mate."
"Then what the hell am I doing here?" Will demanded, bluntly. He felt he'd been maneuvered somehow and he didn't like it. "You don't do charity, Jack."
"Need. Doesn't -need- a First Mate," Jack repeated. "Didn't say I didn't want a First Mate."
Will leaned back in his seat. "So I'm only aboard to provide you with amusement, is that it? Take Bootstrap's boy under your wing and teach him a thing or two?"
"And what is it that you want, Will?"
The quiet question stole some of the wind from his sails. Will deflated somewhat. "I don't know," he admitted.
"Well done, lad," Jack said, brightening. "We'll make an accomplished liar of you, yet."
Will was confused. Was that an insult, or a compliment, or both? Or was it a threat? "It's not a lie."
"Is it not?"
Will met Jack's gaze, wishing as he did so that Jack wasn't right. "I don't know what it means, to be a pirate. Even if I am one."
Jack tilted his head to one side and considered him carefully. "Could show you."
"Yes, I've no doubt you could. But will you, is the chief concern."
Jack grin was wolfish. "As I already said, it's a matter of timing."
Will let out a breath, exasperated. "Why do I get the feeling you're making this up as you go along?"
"Now, Will; hasty accusations aren't going to convince meself to show you anything."
Will considered the pirate. "You're bluffing," he decided.
Jack's eyes narrowed. "Are you calling me out?"
"Yes. Yes, I am. You're a flirt and a devil of a scoundrel. And you bloody well know it."
Jack got to his feet and advanced around the table to where Will sat, suddenly tensing, wondering if he'd - gone too far, offended him.
Abruptly, Jack was climbing into his lap, and locking both arms about his neck.
Will forgot to breathe. He only managed a small squeak of surprise.
"A flirt? Really?" Jack glanced upwards, momentarily, then let his eyes fall down to meet Will's. "And a devil of a scoundrel. I think you mean, 'pirate'. Don't you?"
"I- yes - well- Jack-" His entire body was nearly trembling and he suddenly realized that there was indeed danger here. Of the worst kind. Whatever he'd been imagining, it certainly hadn't included this. Not only was it completely improper, but he still couldn't breathe.
"That's -Captain- Jack," Jack reminded him, but there was a twinkle in his eye as he said it.
Will wasn't sure what to do with his hands. He decided he didn't care and to let them do what they wanted. Sure enough, they went around Jack's waist. That lean, supple waist. Will was so hard it hurt, strung as tense as a bow.
And Jack's smooth voice grated across his hearing, even as he wondered briefly if he'd embarrass himself by swooning like a girl. "D'you still think I'm bluffing, Will?"
He felt as though he were in a trance and he looked back up into Jack's smiling eyes. He swallowed. Too beautiful, and there was danger here. As dangerous and deadly as all the years he'd pined over Miss Swann all wrapped up into this moment.
And Jack was taking pity on him, he knew, for then Jack's lips were on his, warm, soft, unaccountably gentle, and the tension broke inside of Will, sagging like the broken string of a fiddle. He was melting, the heat and the desire and the taste all conspiring to break his heart and let it fly free at the same time. His hands tightened on Jack's waist and he felt Jack's hands moving over his back.
Jack was like his hair, too wild, too dark and too touchable. Like reaching out to grab his namesake; move too fast and Will was sure Jack would stop, move away. Then the tip of Jack's tongue snaked slowly against Will's lips and he parted them in surprise. Jack shifted, moving against his mouth, licking lightly, sliding between his lips to find Will's tongue. Will was rather startled at the sensation; he'd kissed Elizabeth, and had done much that was wickeder, besides. But he'd not actually gotten so far as imagining what the reality of doing anything with Jack might be like. It was far different and removed from his expectations, based on Elizabeth.
Elizabeth had been melting, cool, sweet and very pliantly excited.
But he hadn't known it would be this… possession of his mouth. This slow invasion and conquering. Jack's mouth was relentless upon his.
He wanted it to last forever.
Then, the slow shock of cold disappointment as Jack pulled back to look into his eyes again. There was enjoyment on Jack's face, and even something Will could imagine was surprise.
"Didn't think you'd take to it so quick," Jack murmured. "If you were sufferin', why'd you say nothing?"
Will tried unsuccessfully to remain calm. "I didn't think - you'd - that I was welcome."
"You're most welcome, Will," Jack said, leaning in once more to kiss him, this time with more enthusiasm, and more ownership than Will could handle.
Will flinched. Jack lifted his head again, with a hint of that smirk gracing his lips once more. "Not as welcome as all that, yet, though."
Will tightened his hold. "No, I- yes."
"Aye." Will was nearly shaking again. He needed - very badly. Needed-
"We'd best see to your edification in a more comfortable locale," Jack said.
"I can't wait that long," Will said, honestly.
"My bed might be big enough, as well as close enough," Jack grinned.
"Oh. Yes. That locale." Will realized his brain must have melted along with the rest of him and puddled somewhere in the region of his nether parts. Certainly his cock was still as hard as any fired iron that he'd ever worked in his furnace.
Somehow, he and Jack managed to get up out of the chair and remove most of their clothing, Will tearing his off almost frantically in an effort to escape their confines, and Jack removing his with a certain degree of finesse that Will couldn't help notice was almost foppish. Jack caught his eye with a glint of merriment that surpassed self-mockery and instead made Will laugh to see it.
"Pirate, indeed. You win, Jack."
"Do I, indeed. And what have I won, I'm wonderin'?"
Jack pulled Will into his arms, still standing as they were beside the bed, and said, "At which point?"
Will groaned. "From the first, I think." But the heat and smoothness of Jack's skin against his own nakedness was enticing and aggravating rather than soothing. "Please, I need - more."
Jack said in his ear, "Just how much more are you thinking you can handle? I'm curious."
"All of it."
Jack was chuckling. "Unlikely, love."
Will held him away from him at arm's length, affecting minor umbrage at this. "I'll prove it. I'll prove it to you."
Jack's hand curled strongly around Will's cock. His other hand slipped beneath to stroke Will's balls, which were drawn up sufficiently but even tighter at the subtle touch. Will lost his breath again.
"Now you," Jack suggested.
Will's hands wandered down Jack's sides, traveling over the planes of his chest, moving over the trim hips, to mirror Jack's hold of him. Jack's cock was like the rest of him; curved wickedly but not enough to mar the overall effect. Not a cutlass, nor a scimitar. Something uniquely and perversely beautiful. Will was lost momentarily in esthetic admiration.
Then Jack pulled him against himself, bringing their cocks into direct contact. Holding Will's gaze, Jack continued the motion, rubbing their cockheads together in a parody of a slow dance. The slickness of both their precum facilitated the sensation and Will was delighted with the ease and satisfaction of it.
A knowing smile touched Jack's lips, but there was no trace of mockery; either of himself or of Will. It was, in fact, purely of shared enjoyment. The natural sensuality of Jack, unleashed, revealed, as Will had always suspected and hungered for. Will stammered, "You're beautiful."
His heart tripped in his chest as a look of startled doubt arose in Jack's face. "Nay, lad. You are, though. Like this." Jack leaned forward, not breaking their contact, and seized Will's mouth again. This time, Will gave himself up to it. No quarter. No need for any.
Jack's cock was alive in his hands, and he felt himself quicken and pulse in Jack's sure touches, the handling of him more stimulation than he'd enjoyed but for his own helpless relief for far too long.
Jack's lips again, and the press of quick, heated flesh, the sound of Jack's moan reverberating into him, and it was too much, taking him over the edge with a flash of bright fire and heated plumes, smoky and beckoning. He was strung tight once more, the pleasure jetting out of him to cover their hands, and Jack's answering gasp caught in his throat as the pirate - his captain, his pirate - came also, his fluid joining Will's, christening them both.
Will's eyes fluttered closed, for several heartbeats. Then several more. When he opened them, Jack moved, reaching for a cloth with a winsome smile that for once held nothing but guileless pleasure and contentment. Will liked the expression on him. He found it suited Jack very well, and at that moment made a silent oath to himself, to see that look upon Jack as often as possible, and to be the cause of it.
It was at that moment as Jack innocuously handed him the cloth and his smile widened as he motioned to the bed with a lift of his brows, that Will realized it was indeed over. For Jack had won, and had won far more than he knew. He doubted that Jack would even recognize the momentousness of his victory, of Will's devastation. In fact, he immediately suspected Jack would not be pleased. But how was he to cover it? There was no way to stop the truth from burning a path outside of his heart.
Some niggling whisper in the back of his mind reminded him that this was -Captain- Jack Sparrow, not just a new lover, and that he'd do well to remember it throughout, even despite the glory his heart took in sacrificing itself anew over its new captor. Miss Swann had no idea. Then again, maybe she had. Maybe the minx had known all along, Will thought, suddenly. Maybe Jack had known too. He'd been the last to know, quite possibly.
Jack's expression changed. "Too much, eh?"
Will swiftly shook his head. "No, not enough."
Jack sucked a tooth and said, "I know full well it isn't easy, lad, but I'm going to ask you to trust my judgment. It's too much. Just enough."
Will tried to cover the sharp pang that went into him at this. Unsuccessfully, obviously, as Jack stepped in close once more, and drew him into his arms. Against his neck, close to his ear, Jack whispered, "Don't worry for a while. Just let what will be, be; come what may."
"For now?" Will answered, his heart breaking. It was so strange to feel this happening with this man, after believing for so long that it would be a betrayal of his own soul to consider anything other than the lofty, unreachable, untouchable Elizabeth Swann who had soared above him with grace since their childhood.
"No, this, right now and here," Jack clarified, with a kiss pressed to his neck. Jack tightened his arms about Will. "You needn't worry, Will. I wouldn't have let you on board, otherwise."
Will tightened in spite of himself. "You knew. You knew all along."
"Hoped," Jack corrected, with a hint of amusement. "Hoped, lad."
"Aye, lad indeed. You played me. Why didn't I want to realize-"
Jack pulled away, seized both his arms in suddenly strong hands. "Stop. Don't be the fool. You're much more than that and you're a fool if you don't see it."
Will nodded, abruptly feeling the initial awkward nervousness he'd felt, at standing in such close proximity to Jack with both of them so naked, fleeing completely. "A fool for love. Something that a pirate cannot afford to be, isn't that right, Jack?"
Jack did smile at this, and a look of almost smug understanding in his eyes was the last thing Will wanted to see. But Jack said, surprisingly, "Most indebted to the French, even now, young William. We're not bound for Madagascar, but Matelotage."
Confusion covered Will. "But- so not Africa then. Is that… is that a port? Doesn't it mean to have proficient seaman's skills?"
"Oh, aye. Very much so. You see, Will, I suppose I have had a bit of fun with you, but it was all in a good cause." The sincerity in Jack's voice was still belied by that little devilish smile, but Will wasn't sure yet there was real cause for alarm. "You played it well, and I've won."
"I don't understand." Will was on the verge of demanding an answer that made sense.
"Let's just say, come ten months from now, February, you'll be able to prove me wrong." Jack stepped away from him now, and began dressing.
Will stood, nude, uncaring, trying to ascertain what Jack was- Oh. The return to Port Royal. And Miss Swann. To spend the better part of a year, at least how long it took a babe to grow, in Jack's arms - there'd be no way he'd want to leave. Would there?
"She knew," Will said aloud, with quiet amazement.
Jack considered him, continuing to pull up his breeches and donning his shirt. "Most probably. She's a savvy lass, for all that fine upbringing and tutelage in your 'polite' society."
"There's just one thing, Jack," Will said, still not moving to dress. "Do you actually want me?"
A curious look of dismay entered Jack's eyes. "When have I given you reason to doubt it?"
"Yes, but do you love me as I love you?" Will didn't care if this was brazen, or hasty. After all, he already knew his heart well, having had years to grow accustomed to its helpless cries. He knew when it had flown to belong to someone else. He knew when someone else held it in his hands as surely as the matching scar that Jack bore in his left palm.
Jack moved to him now, pulling him into his embrace again, and kissed his forehead, then his cheek. "Yes, lad. I love you. So put your worries away."
"Yes, Captain," Will said, without a trace of facetiousness in his voice, and began to reach for his own clothing. It seemed a shame to waste all their lovely nakedness on the simple act they'd accomplished and not pursue anything further, but he began to see that it wasn't himself who couldn't handle more just yet, at all. If anything, Jack was growing restless with alarm at seeing just how much he had won, and it was as Will had thought: Captain Jack Sparrow had a single weakness, one thing he didn't savvy.
Will allowed himself a smile. Now he could wait. Oh, he'd wait. Even if it took ten months. Hell, he'd waited longer for Elizabeth. From the Swann to the Sparrow. A bird in the hand was better than waiting for all the chickens to hatch out of the nest egg he'd cultivated so romantically and hopelessly for years.
Jack's eyes narrowed though, at Will's sudden change in demeanour. "Feeling better?"
Jack was fishing, and Will knew they both knew it. His smile broadened. "Indeed. Thanks."
Jack wasn't happy now. Will could tell. He had to stop himself from grinning outright. "Thank you, love," Will said, knowing he was pushing it, but experienced enough in repeating the word that it didn't curl his lips with embarrassment or shame as the spoken description of their shared act of moments before might have.
And Jack did catch that one. "Love," Jack stated.
"Aye," Will repeated, innocently. "Love."
A flicker of doubt and vulnerability shone in Jack's eyes momentarily, which he managed to cover. Will felt a shaft of tenderness at seeing it. Poor Jack; he really had no idea what he'd got himself into, this time. He wondered if Jack were the last one to know, in fact.
"Semantics. But then some prefer their antics in bed," Jack said, with a tinge of his usual flair.
"I enjoy both," Will said, meaningfully.
Jack brightened. "As do I."
Will smiled and went to Jack, kissed him on the mouth. "Thank you, love." He turned and went to the door, opening it, turning before leaving, and saying, "By the way, I know what matelotage means. I just wondered if you did, Jack." He shut the door, leaving a distinctly shocked Captain Jack Sparrow alone in his cabin.
Will was the one who wore the smirk now.
TBC IN CHAPTER 3
(Aug 9, 2003)