The Ace of Cups, Reversed
Feeling an Attraction Grow, Gut Reactions, Intimacy Stymied or Not Yet
When the Spanish sailor returned Jack to the brig, he brought two flagons of
thin, sour wine, and some biscuits. Poor fare, but manna after nearly two
days without food.
To Elizabeth's eye, Jack looked exhausted. The effort of maintaining his
nonchalant façade with de la Cruz had clearly taken something from him, and
his limp was worse than it had been earlier.
Jack dropped down heavily, and tossed back quite a bit of the wine. The
biscuit he simply shoved into his coat pocket.
"You should eat."
"You should worry about yourself!" he snapped. At Elizabeth's shocked look,
he went on, in a gentler tone, "I'm not hungry. I'll eat it later."
Will caught her eye and gave his head a small shake, and she pressed her
lips tightly together to keep herself from nagging.
Norrington broke the awkward silence that followed, saying, "De la Cruz is
Will laughed bitterly. "Or off his head!"
"He does seem to have an idée fixe," Elizabeth admitted. She tapped
her biscuit against the bars, evicting four fat weevils. "Is there some way
we can use that against him?"
Jack shook his head impatiently. "He's not a fool, you know, just
single-minded. He wants that damned gold -- Cortez's treasure."
Elizabeth felt a frisson of terror as she understood de la Cruz's plan.
Eight hundred and eighty-two undead Spanish soldiers. . .Spain would rule
the Caribbean. Will and Norrington wore matching looks of dismay as they too
made the connection.
"It's more important than ever that we escape. He must be stopped -- more is
at stake than our own lives."
"A noble sentiment, Benton, but let's save our own skins first, aye?
Then we can worry about the bigger picture."
Norrington ignored this dig. "It appears that de la Cruz has only a small
crew aboard. If somehow we could get free, we could release the crew from
the hold and retake the ship."
"The Princessa would still outgun us," Will objected.
"Yes," James replied, "But if de la Cruz was on board, we could force him to
bargain with us. If nothing else, we could take the swivel guns. We could
hold de la Cruz and his men with those."
"You aren't going to shoot holes in my ship!"
"I suppose you have a superior plan, Sparrow? What do you suggest?"
"That's for me to know and you to find out. Besides it's all so much
folderol for the time being, seeing as how we don't have a way to free
It must have been close to midnight, but Will could not sleep. As he tossed
and turned, trying to get comfortable, he heard clothes rustling and Jack
and Elizabeth whispering. Will sighed. He didn't begrudge them their
comfort, but it was hard to hear them, and not be able to join in. It wasn't
their fault that he was excluded, but nonetheless he felt lonely and bereft.
It didn't help matters that his clothes were damp and scratchy, and his
shoulder was sore. He caught himself before he sighed again, and resolved to
stop feeling so sorry for himself.
Elizabeth moaned quietly, and Norrington rolled over, murmuring something
urgent in his sleep.
Will closed his eyes and pictured Jack's hand slipping into Elizabeth's
breeches. Another stifled sound, and Will imagined her head thrown back, her
bottom lip caught between her white teeth. His prick was aching for relief
but he didn't like to touch himself with Norrington sleeping only a few feet
away. Will remembered Norrington behind him that morning, large hands
gripping Will's shoulders and hot breath on Will's neck; Will's cock
twitched within the confines of his breeches, and a hot wave of shame and
guilt washed over him.
Jack was breathing hard. The boards squeaked rhythmically, faster and
faster, and then stopped abruptly as Jack hissed Elizabeth's name. Presently
this was followed by more whispers and sighs and the soft sleepy sounds of
When they were entirely still and silent, Will exhaled the breath he'd been
He'd thought them both asleep, but Jack whispered, "You still awake? I
thought you were out hours ago."
"With that racket?"
Jack chuckled. "You sly dog, never letting us know you were listening! And
if I know you, you're stiffer than a dead man's leg."
Will grinned to himself and made a noncommittal sound.
"Your mate's snoring away; if you're quiet, he'll be none the wiser." Jack's
voice took on a husky quality that made Will's stomach tighten. "You can be
quiet, can't you, love?"
A desperate yearning overrode Will's earlier compunctions, and he nodded,
although Jack would never see it. Jack continued, "Unbutton your breeches."
Will obeyed, searching the dark cell for any sign that Norrington was awake.
His breathing continued steady and deep, and Will relaxed back against the
"Lick your hand and give yourself a good long pull."
Will spread his legs a bit and did as Jack directed him, tasting salt and
metal on his skin. Then his hand was moving almost of its own volition,
following the pace Jack set, at first slow and then faster and rougher. As
the tension built, his other hand scrabbled at the decking, his fingers
digging into the small gap where a board had recently been replaced.
Jack's voice was quiet and intense, weaving its spell in the dark. "Wish it
were my hand on you, love, while my cock was deep in your arse. You'd like
that, wouldn't you? Or me fucking you and Elizabeth on her knees sucking you
off. . ."
There was a slight movement beside Will, something deliberate, like someone
trying to be still. With a stab of panic, Will realized that Norrington was
awake. He knew he should stop, but it was too late, he was too close, and
his hand kept moving. The crescent moon slipped from behind the clouds, and
in the dim light, Will could see Norrington's eyes, wide and shining,
watching him, and Will choked back a groan and spent himself all over
Was there no embarrassment that James would not have to endure in this
company? Bad enough that he'd been forced to listen to them on the island,
but to be caught watching Will! They had no shame, this was obvious, but
James could no longer pretend that he was any better. He'd had long practice
in willfully ignoring what was happening in the next hammock, but
deprivation and solitude had worn down his resistance. He'd have responded
the same way to any warm body, he assured himself, to any reminder of the
physical pleasures he'd been denied.
When he'd awakened and realized what Sparrow and Elizabeth were doing, he'd
tried not to listen, but then Sparrow had launched into that recitation
-- James defied any man to hear to such a lascivious litany and not be moved
to lust. Too distracted for propriety, he'd deliberately eavesdropped,
waiting for the moment when Will's control broke and he cried out.
James had squeezed his eyes shut as soon as Will turned his head towards
him, but it was too late. Certainly Will knew that he'd been seen. There'd
been a muffled groan when he came, and then he'd turned away sharply,
fumbling with his breeches. Did he think James had been disgusted? Or did
Will guess what James had been thinking?
Following Will's lead, James turned away, and feigned sleep, though his
heart was racing and his cock was hard and ready. The air was thick with the
cloying musk of Will's release. James remembered cleaning Will's wound: the
architecture of Will's back, lean and muscular, the taut smoothness of his
skin, and the way the sea serpent tattoo on his arm had seemed to writhe
under James' hand every time Will had jerked and tensed. This was not as it
had been before, when he'd imagined Will and Sparrow and Elizabeth together.
Now James pictured himself licking the seed that was drying on Will's hand,
and grinding his cock against Will's, and Will's mouth on him, hot and
willing. James could not, he would not relieve himself. That would be
as good as admitting his shame. But neither could he stop the lewd images
that crowded his mind.
It was going to be a long night.
Will was too mortified to sleep. He held himself still and breathed in and
out slowly, but it was no use; the oblivion of sleep would not come.
Waves slapped against the hull. Somewhere above, someone shouted a command
in Spanish. A rat skittered across the cell, its scaly tail brushing against
Will's foot. Then, just as Will was beginning to doze off, he heard the
creak of a hatch and a soft tread. He sat up, and squinted to see who was
there. A small, slight figure, too short to be a grown man.
A voice called softly, "Cap'n? Mr. Turner?"
Jack woke with a muffled, "Huh?" followed by a pained "Bloody hell!"
His cry roused Elizabeth, who said, "Jack! Is something wrong?"
At the same moment, Will heard Norrington sit up. "What's going on?"
"Just my damned leg." Then, suspiciously, Jack said, "Who's there?"
"It's me, Cap'n; Tommy."
There was a hectic confusion of questions, ending with Norrington's "How did
you escape from the hold?"
Tommy answered, "I was never in the hold, was I? I slipped away to my
special bolthole afore they counted me, and when they hauled the rest of you
off, I was left behind. I was scared to come out last night -- I figured on
stayin' hid a couple of days, 'til they got lax, but I got mighty hungry."
Will had been saving half his biscuit, in case there was no food in the
morning. He dug around until he located it, and he passed it through the
bars to Tommy. He could hear Tommy gnawing on it as he continued to tell his
When Tommy had finished, Jack asked, "Where'd you find to hide, son?"
Obviously pleased with himself, Tommy answered, "There's a little hidden
room aft of the powder magazine. . .I found it a while back, and kept it
"I figured as much. Every cabin boy finds that spot eventually. It's a good
place to go if you're shirking your duties, eh?"
Sheepishly, Tommy said, "Aye."
Norrington asked, "What's the situation above decks? Has de la Cruz posted
Tommy hesitated, as if unsure how much authority he should accord to
Norrington. "Not that I saw. Uh, sir. Only a few men on watch, and two of 'em
"Dawn's coming soon. You'd best hightail it back to your hideyhole for the
time being. But tonight, you come here just as soon as you can. Our luck's
turning now. We just have to know when to jump."