Trust and Honour, part 5 of 5
by The Stowaway
Fandom: PoTC Rating: NC-17 Pairing: Jack/Will/Elizabeth/James Full Header
When the four of them met again at dinner, the tempest had not abated. Wind roared in the chimney and rattled the windows, flinging rain against the glass with a sound like thrown pebbles. Dark had fallen early and the dining room was aglow with candles, curtains drawn close against drafts, a cozy haven from the storm.
As they took their place at table, all were smiling. Conversation was light-hearted; they laughed as much as they talked. The wine circulated freely and, before long, everyone was slightly flown with it. There was an almost giddy atmosphere about them.
“That’s a fine necklace, Elizabeth,” Jack said, admiring the large ruby, set in gold, that flashed and glittered on a slender chain around her neck. “I’ve not seen it before, I don’t think.”
“And with reason,” she replied. “I have been careful to keep it out of your sight, lest your magpie tendencies get the better of you.”
Jack placed his hand over his heart. “Lass, you wound me. You can’t mean to imply that you think I would steal it?”
“In a heartbeat, you rogue,” she laughed, “were I so foolish as to leave it unguarded.” Will and James joined in the laughter; Jack maintained his air of injured innocence. “And I would not wish to lose this, for it is precious to me.” She smiled at her husband. “Will gave this to me when we were courting.”
“Traded two of my best swords for it,” Will said. “And cheap at the price, don’t you agree?”
“Aye, it’s a fine, clear stone and a perfect color.” Jack leant back in his chair, toyed with his wine glass and looked thoughtful. “This custom of giving jewelry during courtship is a charming one, don’t you agree, James?” His eyes danced wickedly. “But such a delicate business.”
James tried to look haughty and failed. “Sparrow,” he said, “do not.”
Elizabeth, sensing a story, clapped her hands. “Tell!” she cried.
“It’s like this,” Jack said, with a look of candor, “if one gives a lovely jewel to the object of one’s affections….”
“Sparrow,” James interrupted him, scowling, his tone minatory.
“I was merely going to ask Elizabeth’s advice on a general point of etiquette, love.” Jack grinned. “Now, as I was saying; if one gives a jewel, is it not an insult and sign of rejection if the recipient of said jewel does not wear the gift?”
Elizabeth was solemn. “Yes, indeed, Jack. A suitor would be bound to consider himself dismissed in that case. Unless, of course, he were dead to all proper delicacy of feeling and chose to persist in his unwelcome suit.” She stole a glance at James and her mock-gravity collapsed into giggles, for he was blushing and glaring at Jack in exasperation.
“Have you no sense of decency?” he asked Jack despairingly.
“None,” came the cheerful answer, “nor ‘proper delicacy of feeling’ apparently, although I never felt the lack of it ‘til now.”
“You two are better than a play,” Will laughed. Elizabeth nodded in agreement, wiping her eyes. “Now, don’t be cruel; having gone so far, you must tell us what this is about.”
“Only that, over the years, I have given James any number of rather fine black pearls…”
“Four,” James growled and Elizabeth giggled again.
“Four, then. The number is unimportant,” Jack said grandly, “The point is this: you have categorically refused to wear them. I am rejected.”
“What you fail to mention, you unconscionable villain,” James replied, goaded, “is that two are unset and one is a small and rather dainty lady’s ring. How the devil can you expect me to wear them? Tell me that.”
“It’s a fair question,” Will said, judicially. “What say you, Jack?”
Jack waved a hand. “Stones can be set and rings remade,” he said, carelessly. “Ask him about the fourth pearl; the pin. The one meant for a gentleman’s neckcloth.”
Three pairs of eyes turned expectantly towards James, who flushed a dull red. He undid the top buttons of his waistcoat and, with his right hand, drew something from a small pocket concealed within the left side. He held it out on his open palm and looked Jack straight in the eye. “Well, pirate?” Very slowly, Jack smiled.
Will rather hastily busied himself with the wine and Elizabeth developed a sudden interest in her plate.
“Do you mean to tell me, love,” Jack said, “that you carry it with you always?”
“Why you damned,” Jack’s tone became aggrieved, “tricky, unpredictable,” and louder, “sneaky… miser!”
“I beg your pardon?” James sounded stunned. Will choked on his wine.
“Here am I, searching high and low for that pin. Your desk, your sea chest, even the Gull. And you have it in your pocket, of all places.”
“You have been searching for it?” James asked. “Searching my quarters and my boat, you knave? Why?”
“Because I wanted it, of course.” Jack said, disgustedly. “You won’t wear it and I didn’t think you’d miss it.”
“But why do you want it?”
“Well, there’s a lady of my acquaintance, see, in Tortuga…”
“Giselle?” Will asked, grinning.
James took a deep breath. “You have been trying to steal my pin in order to give it to a harlot in Tortuga.”
“All a misunderstanding, mate,” Jack waved his hands, “think no more about it. That’s all off, now that I know you’re attached to it.”
Elizabeth clapped both hands to her mouth, trying to muffle her giggles, but with a notable lack of success. Will was chuckling openly.
James’s lips twitched even as his scowl grew more ferocious. Jack watched him, eyes mocking. Suddenly he gave up the effort and burst out laughing. “Jack Sparrow, you are undoubtedly the most unprincipled rascal it has ever been my misfortune to meet.” He restored the pin to his pocket, still laughing. “And I shall have a new hiding place for this before the week is out, just to be safe.”
Jack protested that the pin was now sacrosanct but the others only laughed the harder.
Once everyone was done eating, Elizabeth stood, and the men rose with her. “The wine is in the library. Shall we sit in there?” she said, with a smile.
James moved to hold the door for her. She, ignoring the arm Will held out, took James’s instead - casting, as she did so, a mischievous glance over her shoulder at Jack. He grinned as he and Will followed them across the hall and into the library. “Challenge accepted, darling,” he murmured.
Will looked at him suspiciously. “Jack, what are you up to now?”
“You’ll see, boy, soon enough.”
Elizabeth and James had passed into the library and Will stood aside to let Jack precede him, before closing the door. He turned round and was driven back against the panels; his breath going out in a startled ‘oof’ as Jack’s body slammed into his. “Jack! What…” His question cut off abruptly as Jack seized his head in both hands and kissed him.
When she heard the thud, Elizabeth knew what she would see, even before she turned around. James, turning with her, started to speak, but she caught his eye and shushed him, finger to her lips and eyes alight. He gaped in astonishment as she stepped closer to the other pair, drawing him with her.
Jack took his time, turning this way and that to fully explore Will’s mouth; his tongue reacquainting itself with old haunts, teeth nibbling on the fine-drawn lips. Between surprise and a growing distraction as the spell began to reassert itself, Will’s struggles to get free were half-hearted at best.
Elizabeth watched the pirate kissing her husband with interest; her breathing a little fast. Unconsciously, her arm tightened on James’s - and he, likewise fascinated and aroused by the sight before them, looked down at her bemusedly. She was, he thought, as much an outlaw as Jack, in her own way.
Jack released Will’s mouth, still holding him pinned to the door, and smirked at her. Reckless excitement pulsed through Elizabeth, making her giddy again. She faced James, hands on his shoulders, and grinned impishly at him. “That was a dare, I think” she whispered. “What shall we do about it?” Her fingers brushed the short hair at the nape of his neck and he shivered.
“To ignore it would be wise,” James said, warily, even as his arms, almost of their own accord, pulled her close. He heard Jack chuckle and her smile widened. She stood on tiptoe and tilted her face up.
“Bugger wisdom,” she said, as her mouth touched his. When he would have drawn, back she tugged sharply on his coat with one hand as the other closed on his nape, and he surrendered. Her mouth opened hot beneath his, tasting of wine and spices, her flickering tongue invading and retreating, inviting. His followed and she sucked gently; when she hummed, the room lurched around him.
The clink of glasses brought him back to a sense of his surroundings, and this time when he pulled away she let him go. He looked up to find Jack watching them, glass in hand, with an expression he had come to know well over the years. The imp of mischief was dancing again in those glittering eyes; mouth quirked and head tilted in a way that told James that here was Jack at his most ungovernable. To his surprise, he felt none of the trepidation that the sight usually caused; no urge to try to curb the wildness. For the first time, he acknowledged something in himself; an echo or an answer – he couldn’t tell which – that made him feel he could meet Jack on his own terms. Some of this must have shown in his face – Jack had always read him far too easily – for the pirate raised his glass and nodded to him before looking at Elizabeth.
“Prettily done, child,” he said, “but a bit foolhardy, don’t you think?”
Her chin came up. “And that, too, is a sword that cuts both ways.”
“More than a bit foolhardy, then.” Jack chuckled. “Pot-valiant, darling?”
“What do you think?”
James glanced down at Elizabeth as she preceded him to the table and found her smiling back at Jack in way that should have unnerved him, for the same reckless spirit glinted in her eye, challenge clear in every line of her.
Will poured wine with a hand that was not quite steady and handed her the glass, which she took with a soft word of thanks; silently toasting Jack with a saucy wink. She stood at an angle to her husband, her shoulder just touching his chest. Will, looking past her, met James’s eye. James felt a shock of recognition as he realized that here was another who knew what it was to ride the whirlwind. He wondered how it must be, putting that knowledge into practice every day. As if he had heard the question, Will shrugged and gave him an amused and slightly rueful smile.
Jack poured wine and gave it to him with a tiny grin. They sipped in a silence that was the very antithesis of peace. As if in sympathy with the crackling excitement in the room, the wind roared in the chimney and rattled the shutters.
James sat down at one end of the sofa. Will chose the wing chair and Elizabeth perched on the arm of it; while Jack leaned against the table, arms folded.
During a pause in the storm, an almost tuneless humming was heard. It resolved itself gradually into words: “We’re devils and black sheep and really bad eggs. Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.” They turned as one to look at Jack.
Elizabeth giggled and Will groaned in dismay. “Oh, not you too, Jack!” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“Only that the Pirate Song means mischief,” Will put an arm around Elizabeth’s waist, “as I know but too well.”
“Not at all, lad,” Jack replied. His eyes were steady on Elizabeth. “Merely, I was recalling the day, or, rather, the night you taught it to me. The night you and I spent on the smuggler’s island. D’you remember, love? ”
Her eyes widened slightly and his eyebrow shot up, mockingly. He wouldn’t dare, she thought.
“I thought you might,” was all he said and Elizabeth breathed again. “Now then, as for your little naughtiness of a moment ago; it was very pretty, to be sure, but not, perhaps, all it could have been.” He emptied his glass and set it down. “Let me show you how it’s done.”
James choked on a sip of wine and looked up at the pirate in laughing alarm. “Jack, you madman, you wouldn’t dare.”
“Wouldn’t I just?” And with that, Jack was on the sofa, straddling James’s lap. He shot a glance at Elizabeth and she blushed; remembering, as he no doubt intended, the night before. “Drink up, love, or it’s liable to get spilled.”
James sighed. “I don’t suppose you will get off me if I ask?”
“Not a chance. Drink your wine.”
“An appeal to your better nature, perhaps?” James drank half the glass.
“This is my better nature, mate. You should know that by now.” Jack made a move to take the glass from James, who held it out of his reach.
“No, let me finish; I shall need the fortification, I daresay,” James said, drinking off the rest of the wine. He set the glass down on the end table.
“Finally.” Jack cupped the other’s face. “Just relax,” he grinned, wriggling to settle himself more firmly in James’s lap. He brought their mouths together and bit down, teeth catching and tugging on a full lower lip. James groaned and his eyes closed. “That’s it, love.”
Will glanced at his wife. Elizabeth’s lips were parted; cheeks flushed. Will smiled and pulled her into his lap. She snuggled into his arms, never taking her eyes off the sight before her. He pressed his lips to the pulse that beat beneath her jaw.
James was lost. His world had shrunk, as it always did when kissing Jack, to the essentials: the lithe body moving against him; the hands, strong and clever, stroking, gripping; and the hot and wicked mouth – sharp, sweet, and altogether maddening – that claimed his. He buried his hands in Jack’s hair and pulled him closer still, biting. When Jack gently disengaged, he sighed and opened his eyes.
Jack was looking at Elizabeth with a smug grin. “See the difference, lass?”
Elizabeth tapped a thoughtful finger against her lips. “Not entirely,” she said, at last. “Some of the subtleties escaped me, I think.” She dimpled. “Perhaps a demonstration…” She felt Will chuckle.
Jack laughed. “You rogue. Nothing simpler, really.” He got to his feet and took her hand, pulling her up into his arms. “Just borrowing your wife for a minute, lad,” he said to Will, who grinned and waved him on.
“Now then,” Jack tipped her chin up, “pay attention.” He kissed her softly, teasing, and she sighed. Her arms went around his neck and she ran her tongue along his teeth. She bit his tongue and he chuckled. “Foolhardy,” he whispered, and kissed her in earnest until she whimpered and clung to him.
Will stood and edged round them to place his empty glass on the table. He then moved behind the sofa, leaning his elbows on the back of it next to James. For a space they watched the other couple, then James leant his head back to look up at the younger man’s profile. Will looked down. Slowly, to give James the time to avoid it, he bent his head until their lips touched. They sighed in unison, mouths opening to let their tongues glide and tangle. Will raised his head again and smiled.
“We have all run mad tonight, I think,” James said.
Will nodded. “We have, indeed.” He walked round to stand behind Elizabeth, placing his hands on her waist. She let go of Jack and leaned back against him, laughing breathlessly.
Jack’s eyes glinted as James came to stand at his shoulder. “Well, darlings, I’ve always held that the only true sin is wasting an opportunity,” he said, looking at each of them in turn. “Shall we continue as we have begun?”
“It is for Elizabeth to say, I believe,” said James, taking her hand and kissing it.
“Oh aye,” Jack nodded, “that it is.”
Elizabeth, eyes wide and heart pounding, looked from Jack to James and hesitated. Will’s arms were around her waist – a solid, comforting presence; his cheek against her hair. He bent his head to kiss her neck and she caught a whisper, the merest thread of sound, as his mouth touched her ear. “Yes,” he said.
Her grip on James’s hand firmed and she held out her other hand to Jack, who took it and kissed her palm. She smiled.
“Yes,” she said.
As on the night before, Elizabeth had sent the servants to bed, so there was no one to see them as they climbed the stairs, a single candle held aloft in Will’s hand. Jack carried a decanter of wine in each hand, and James four glasses.
In the Turners’ room, James set the glasses down on the desk and Jack poured. Will and Elizabeth busied themselves with lighting all the candles – the five-branched candelabra on the mantel-piece and bedside table, as well as the wall-sconces – until the room glowed golden.
They gathered in the center of the room and Jack handed them their glasses. He was about to propose a toast when Elizabeth burst into giggles. She put her wine down hastily and covered her mouth with both hands, her eyes wide and surprised above them.
“Elizabeth?” Will put his hand on her back and she turned and buried her face in his neck, still laughing. “Darling, what is it?” James took his wine so that he could wrap both arms around her.
“I cannot believe that I am going to do this,” she gasped between giggles, her voice muffled.
Will’s arms tightened. “You need not, darling,” he said, his tone worried. “No one will force you to do anything you don’t wish to do.”
James set down his glass and made to leave but was halted by Jack’s hand on his arm. “Not yet, love. Wait a moment,” he murmured, eyes bird-bright.
She drew a deep breath and stopped herself from giggling with a visible effort. “No, no! I wish to – it’s just that suddenly I felt dreadfully shy.” She wiped her streaming eyes on Will’s collar and turned to face them again, saying “I was being absurd. It was an attack of silly nerves; pay it no…” She cut off abruptly and began to laugh again. “Oh,” she cried, “you should see your faces! Come, admit it, you are as nervous as I.”
Her merriment and the unshadowed glee in her eyes reassured Will and James and their gravity collapsed, swept away on gales of mirth. Jack watched them with tolerant amusement, chuckling and sipping his wine as their laughter ran down.
James pulled himself together and took her hand. “Elizabeth,” he said, earnestly, “If you would rather not…” She put a hand over his mouth.
“Oh, hush,” she begged, “or you will set me off again.” She pulled her face straight, although her eyes still danced. “I do solemnly assure you that I am entirely willing to do this thing.”
“Prove it.” Jack’s voice brought her chin up.
“Jack, for heaven’s sake,” Will began, but Elizabeth smiled and kissed him.
“It’s alright, Will,” she said. Turning back to the pirate, her eyes narrowed. “Prove it.” He nodded. “How?” she asked.
Jack smiled. He shrugged out of his coat and tossed it aside; his waistcoat followed. “Take your clothes off,” he said, “and I’ll show you.” He began untying his sash.
Elizabeth caught her breath. Leave it to Jack, she thought; a bubble of nervous laughter growing in her again. To cover, she picked up her wine and emptied the glass in one long swallow. It steadied her. She grinned; an echo – unconscious this time – of Jack’s own smile, and put down the empty glass. Suddenly giddy with anticipation, she untied the laces of her gown, loosening the bodice and slipping it off her shoulders.
Glancing up, she saw that Will and James were standing stock still, looking doubtful. Her unruly laughter threatened to break out and she wrestled it down. Her brows rose as her dress slipped lower. “Well?” she murmured, “ you heard the man. What are you waiting for?”
“Oh! Ah, yes, of course.” Their sudden bustle to comply nearly upset her composure yet again. She saw that Jack shared her amusement. She winked at him and he chuckled. Her dress fell to the floor, and she stepped out of it and her shoes. She pulled up her shift and bent to untie her garters. When she noticed James watching her, his hands frozen in the process of unbuttoning his waistcoat, she drew her shift, inch by inch, up her thigh and watched his eyes darken. A slap on her rump made her yelp and turn about to see Will, dressed only in his breeches, laughing at her.
“Now who’s dawdling, you shameless flirt?” he asked.
“No such thing,” she replied with dignity, “it is just that my… my garter has a knot in it and I cannot get it undone.”
“I see,” Will said, sitting down in a nearby armchair, “Then perhaps I can be of assistance. Show me this uncooperative garter.”
She raised her skirt again and daintily placed her foot on his leg, far up his thigh. “If you would be so kind, sir,” she said, demurely.
Will put his hands on either side of her ankle and stroked upward until he reached the garter tied just below her knee. “Let’s see, now. Ah, here’s the trouble.” And he leant forward and took the ends of the bow in his teeth. She shivered as his breath blew hot against the silk covering her leg. A gentle tug and the garter was undone. He slid the stocking down and drew it off her foot. “Not so very difficult when you know the trick of it, eh?” he said as he released her, and she put her foot back on the floor.
“Oh,” she said, “perhaps I was mistaken. Yes, I think it is this one has the knot.” And she put her other foot down squarely on his crotch.
“Elizabeth!” She flexed her toes and he groaned. “Stop that.” He took her foot and placed it firmly on the arm of the chair, untying the garter as he did so. She laughed at him and took the stocking off herself.
She turned toward the others as Will stood and slipped his arms around her. James, looking decidedly mussed and just-kissed, was down to his breeches. Jack was tugging off his boots and smirking. Taking Will by the hand, she scooped a full glass from the table. Walking over to James, she offered him the wine. “Here,” she said, “this helps.”
He accepted it with a nod of thanks and tossed it back. Will took the empty glass and set it aside. Elizabeth put her hand on James’s shoulder and stood on tiptoe to kiss him, licking the last droplets of wine from his lips. This time he did not hesitate, drawing her to him and kissing her hard. Through a roaring in her ears, she heard Will’s voice, “Don’t be greedy, you two. Save some for me.” He put an arm around each and snugged them all together. James raised his head and Will neatly captured his mouth. Elizabeth rested her cheek against James’s shoulder and watched them devour each other. When they drew back at last, she was breathing as fast as they.
“Bravo,” Jack said, applauding. Will and James let go of each other and turned to look at him, keeping their arms around Elizabeth. He, too, wore only breeches; his golden skin gleaming in the steady light of the candles as he cast an appreciative eye over the tableau before him. “There are but two imperfections that I can see,” he said, “and both easily corrected.”
“Indeed,” James replied, dryly, “and those would be… ?” Will chuckled, and Elizabeth put her hand on her husband’s shoulder and smiled.
“One,” said Jack, “everyone is still a bit overdressed for this party, wouldn’t you say?” His hands went to his breeches buttons as he spoke. Will and James followed suit and soon all three men stood naked. Elizabeth did not move; a hand on James’s shoulder and one on Will’s, her head high; eyes steady on Jack. “Now you, darling,” he said.
She smiled, lips barely moving, and flicked a look at the men beside her and then back to Jack. Will and James, taking the hint, grasped the skirt of her shift and lifted it. She raised her arms and they drew it over her head, dislodging her hairpins in the process, so that she emerged with her hair tumbled about her. Laying her hands again on their shoulders, she raised one eyebrow at Jack. “And the other imperfection?” she asked.
Jack sauntered toward them, grinning, “Why, only that I am not a part of the picture, of course.” He stopped a pace from her and held out his hand. She took it and stepped into his arms. As his mouth closed on hers, she felt the others close in around her. Pressed tightly between them, enveloped, she surrendered the last of her hesitation. This was how it should be.
At last Jack let her go, kissing her throat as her hands worked on his arms. When he reached to his left, twisting his hand in Will’s hair; she moved in the opposite direction, eyes closed, searching blindly. James’s arms enfolded her as her mouth found his nipple; she bit gently and felt his breath go out in a shuddering sigh. He backed out of her arms and took her hands, pulling gently. She took one step, another; and felt him sit down. She opened her eyes and he smiled up at her.
“Come here,” he whispered. She sat down astride his lap and leaned forward to kiss him. As their tongues played one against the other, she slipped her hand between their bodies and stroked him lightly. He groaned and bit her lips. Bending her back, he kissed her breasts, circling her nipples with his tongue; she arched into his touch and shivered.
Behind her she heard Will gasp and Jack’s voice, “Like that, do you, boy?,” but she did not turn to look, for at that moment James put his hand between her legs and entered her with two fingers. She sighed; a long ‘ahhhh’ of pleasure. He leaned back to watch her face as he brought them forward again, circling delicately: her hips bucked. Once more he dipped into her wetness; this time moving his hand back and pressing against the rear opening. Her eyes snapped open as he entered with the tip of his finger; her mouth a perfect O of surprise.
“Feel good?” he asked. She nodded, too distracted to speak. He withdrew his finger and she whimpered; her hand clenching involuntarily around him, making him gasp. She looked down and smiled.
She kissed him quickly and slid off his lap to kneel between his knees. Still smiling, she licked him; long, sweeping strokes from root to tip and his hands gripped the arms of the chair as his eyes slipped closed. When her mouth closed around him, taking him in and stroking firmly upward, his head fell back with a breathless moan. She took him again, deeper; and deeper still, until she had all of him. She sucked slowly, her tongue swirling and lapping, tracing patterns with the tip. Gradually, she sped up, keeping unconscious time with Will’s whimpers as Jack stroked him with clever fingers. When Will cried out, she hummed in sympathy. James’s eyes opened; he looked down at her and said clearly, “Oh, my god.”
And then Jack was there, leaning over the chair back, kissing James’s throat and chuckling. “Having fun, are you, mate?” he growled.
Elizabeth closed her eyes and concentrated on what she was doing; maintaining a steady rhythm, neither too fast nor too slow. James was sighing at every stroke, when she felt Will kneel behind her and press his sweaty chest against her back. He kissed the back of her neck and ran his hands up the inside of her thighs. One hand moved between her legs, stroking her deftly, and the other clasped her about the waist, holding her firmly as she squirmed and whimpered. In seconds, she climaxed, and the vibration of her moans around him brought James to completion as well; crying out as Jack bit his mouth.
She let the softening flesh slip from her and leant back against Will, panting. “One of these days, Will Turner,” she murmured, “ you will do that once too often and I shall fly apart in a thousand pieces.”
He nuzzled her neck. “Oh, I doubt that, sweetheart. And anyway, I’ll never stop. If only you could see how gorgeous you are in that state, you would understand.”
He helped her to her feet and led her to the other chair, setting her on his knee. Jack brought a glass of wine to James, where he sprawled bonelessly; head back and eyes closed. “Drink up, love,” he grinned and James took the glass with a word of thanks.
Jack strolled over to them, looked around for more glasses and, seeing none, shrugged and took a swig from the decanter. He passed it to Will, who did the same. Will looked at Elizabeth and grinned. “Open your mouth,” he said. She giggled and complied, tipping her head back as Will raised the decanter high and poured a slender stream of wine into her mouth. Some of it spilled, splashing on her chin to run down her neck and across her breasts.
“Tsk, tsk, lad,” said Jack, “Wasteful.” He seated himself on the arm of the chair and bent to lick her breast. Will joined the clean up with enthusiasm as Elizabeth gasped and clung to him; their tongues tickling and teasing, lips sucking, until every trace of the wine was gone.
Jack crossed his arm over Will’s and urged her to lean back against them. When she did so, he took the decanter and trickled more wine onto her skin. It ran over her breasts and pooled in her navel; overflowing to wind in little rivulets across her belly and into the soft curls below. “Oh!,” she cried, “It stings!” wriggling uncomfortably.
“Sorry, love,” Jack said. He looked over at James and jerked his head. “C’mon, mate, we could use a little help here.”
James padded over and went down on one knee to stick his tongue in her navel. She writhed. “That tickles!” she laughed and caught her breath as he followed the sticky trail downward. He nudged her legs apart as he moved lower, licking gently. She moaned as the burn of the wine was soothed away, his tongue searching every fold with tender attention.
Jack’s mouth fastened itself to her right breast and she let her head fall back with a sighing moan; Will lapped at the hollow of her throat, biting softly. James’s tongue was almost too much to bear against her sensitized flesh and she began to struggle; unsure if she was trying to escape or to press herself closer to the delicious torment. “Please,” she whimpered, “ oh, please…”
“Beautiful,” Will breathed against her mouth, and kissed her, muffling her cry as she came. She turned toward him, and Jack and James released her. He held her tightly as she trembled. “Beautiful,” he whispered again. He smiled over her shoulder at the others and kissed her hair.
Jack grinned back at him, took a swig of wine, and passed it to James, who drank and handed it to Will. “Elizabeth,” he said, winking at Jack, “would you like some wine?”
“Oh no,” she laughed, “I am not falling for that trick again.” She sat up and slid off his knee to sit on the floor at his feet, facing James, who leaned back on his elbows and grinned at her. “Lovely as it was,” she smiled at him, “once is quite enough, I thank you.”
James’s eyes flicked past her and she tilted her head back to see what had caught his attention. Jack had pinned Will’s shoulders to the chair and appeared to be trying to climb bodily into his mouth. “Now that,” she said, bringing her gaze back down, “looks like a good idea.” She rose onto all fours and slunk forward, cat-like, until her mouth was level with James’s. She licked her lips. “Doesn’t it?” she whispered.
“Very good,” he replied. His arms went round her and they rolled together on the floor, amongst their discarded clothes.
“It’s just a thought, mind you,” Jack’s voice came from somewhere above them. “But you might be a bit more comfortable on something softer, eh?”
James raised his head to smile down at her. “He has a point,” he said and she nodded. They got to their feet to join the others at the side of the bed. Once there, Will, James and Elizabeth looked at each other and hesitated; the beginnings of an almost comical dismay on their faces.
“Erm… how, exactly…” James began, then stopped. Elizabeth clapped a hand over her mouth. “I mean, where shall we…” He stopped again and Will sniggered nervously.
With a smug look that said he had been waiting for this moment, Jack took one more sip of wine, put the decanter down and rubbed his hands together briskly. “Just you leave this to me, loves,” he said, “Let Ol’ Jack show you ‘how, exactly’ we mange this.”
Grinning wickedly, he stripped back the covers and heaped the pillows into a pile against the headboard. Turning, he bowed. “James, mate.” With an eloquent lift of his eyebrows James stepped forward. Jack took him by the hips and drew them together. “First,” he purred, “there’s the little matter of my fee.”
“Pirate,” James murmured, and kissed him. “Satisfied?” Jack smirked and pushed him toward the bed. James climbed into it and sat down with his back to the pillows, half-reclining as Jack looked at Elizabeth.
“Well, lass,” he put his arms around her. “Seeing as you’re so fond of riding…” she snickered and he kissed her. “See anything over there,” a jerk of his head, “ worth your attention?” She nodded, wide-eyed. He slapped her on the hip as she scrambled onto the bed. “On you go, then.”
Smiling, she knelt astride James’s knees and stroked him once, hard, as she leant forward and licked the head. James gasped and seized her by the arms, pulling her up to face him, “Not this time,” he whispered, “I’ve a better idea.” He tangled one hand in her hair, driving his tongue down her throat while with the other hand he guided her down onto him. She moaned and braced her hands on his shoulders. They didn’t move at first, but sat, foreheads touching, breathing deeply. Then, slowly, so slowly, she raised up, paused, sank back down, and fell still again. They sighed as she rose again, paused, and sank.
Jack, meanwhile, had backed Will up against the bedpost. Between kisses, he murmured, “You’re next, boy.” Will looked a question. Jack chuckled. “Get over there and spoon up against your wife and see what happens.”
Will shrugged and grinned. “You’re the Captain.”
“And don’t you forget it,” Jack smirked. “Now, go on.”
Will clambered onto the bed and straddled James’s legs, his thighs alongside Elizabeth’s. He slid forward until they were pressed tightly together, hips to shoulders, and nipped at her ear. He laid his hands along her thighs. She leaned back against him and began another stroke; he rose with her and she gasped. He fell into their leisurely rhythm, rising and sinking fluidly. James cupped Elizabeth’s breasts, rolling the nipples between thumb and forefinger. She whimpered and let her head fall back on Will’s shoulder.
The mattress dipped as Jack climbed onto the bed. Soon, Will felt an oil-slicked finger enter him, and then another. He groaned. Elizabeth reached back and closed her hand around his erection and he groaned again. They rose and fell once more. She turned her head to whisper in his ear.
“I want you to take me,” she breathed, “like a pirate.”
He gasped. “Elizabeth… are you sure?”
“Very,” she nodded, “I want you.”
Jack’s amused whisper was in his other ear. “What did I tell you, boy? Here,” he pressed the flask of oil into Will’s hand, “give your girl what she wants.”
Will poured oil into the palm of his hand and carefully slicked it over himself. He handed the flask back. As Elizabeth raised herself again, he pressed his slippery finger against her opening, so that, as she lowered herself, she was impaled upon it. “Yesssss.” Her hips snapped back convulsively and James groaned and bucked. She rose again quickly and Will added a second finger as she descended. She wailed softly.
“Am I hurting you?”
“Yes… no! It’s good,” she gasped, “so good. Don’t stop.”
He added a third finger and she hissed. “Elizabeth…”
“Do it,” she said, thrusting herself onto his hand, “please. Do it.”
He withdrew his fingers and positioned himself as she rose. As he did so, he felt Jack pressing against him so that, as Elizabeth began to sink, Jack drove into him, thrusting him forward and into her body. She threw back her head with a fluttering cry and Will groaned.
Jack pulled back and Will did the same, wringing another cry from Elizabeth as she settled down onto James. She leant forward and kissed him fiercely, just as Jack drove Will into her again, raising them all. Her head snapped back, spine arched, hands fluttering helplessly, and wailed. James took her hands in his, palm to palm with fingers interlaced, and steadied her as they began their downward stroke. Helpless to stop himself, he bucked up to meet her.
Jack set a brisk pace. Soon Will was moaning with every thrust. Jack pulled his head back and bit his throat. “Time to end it, lad,” he growled, and released him. Will’s hands left Elizabeth’s hips; one gliding up to her breasts, the other moving downward. She was so keyed up that, the instant his fingers began to stroke her, she shattered; body convulsing wildly. She gave a frenzied cry and slumped back against him just as James spilled himself into her with a groan, with Will following a moment later. Jack thrust once more and cried out in his turn, collapsing forward with his head on Will’s shoulder.
For a time, there was silence, but for their panting breaths. Some time in the past hour, the tempest had blown itself out and the night was calm.
Slowly Jack withdrew and the loss made Will gasp and stir. Elizabeth mumbled a protest, and Will smiled. He brushed the tangled hair back from her forehead and kissed her temple. “Darling, we need to lie down.”
“No we don’t,” she mumbled, “m’fine right here.” And she sighed.
Will looked over her shoulder at James, who grinned and murmured, “Very like you, as I recall.”
Jack’s grumbled from the foot of the bed, “Shift yourselves, you lot; I want to sleep.”
James and Will chuckled. James slid from beneath them, toward the side of the bed, and helped Will lay her down. She whimpered as they withdrew from her, but did not open her eyes. When Will lay down next to her she cuddled against him with a sigh and was instantly asleep. James lay on his side snug against her back and Jack crawled up to spoon Will. There was just room for all of them. Will had barely time to kiss his wife before sleep took him, too. As he drifted off, he felt Jack’s hand come to rest on his hip, and he smiled.
Epilogue – Saturday morning:
Jack woke first, shortly before sunrise. Disentangling himself carefully, he slipped out of bed without waking the others. He set about sorting through the garments scattered everywhere, searching for his own. He laughed silently at the disarray revealed by the growing daylight. He found his oil flask in the tumbled sheets at the foot of the bed and pocketed it.
He was almost fully dressed when he saw that James was awake and watching him. Jack winked and began hunting through the clothing again. By the time James was out of the bed, his breeches and shirt, at least, had been located for him. “Thank you, Jack,” he mumbled, running ineffective hands through sleep-mussed hair and pulling on his breeches. Jack kissed him good morning and he forgot about his shirt – pulling the pirate close. They stood thus a few moments, until James started to doze and Jack nipped his ear.
“No time, love,” he whispered. “Must get back to the Pearl.” James sighed and let him go.
“I’ll come down to the stables to see you off, then,” he said, looking about for his shoes.
A sleepy voice from the bed, “Jack? James?” made them both turn.
Jack grinned. “Now see what you’ve done? You woke the children.”
“Jack?” Elizabeth yawned and stretched, smiling up at him sleepily as he came to the head of the bed. “You’re not leaving, are you?”
“I must, lass,” Jack said, “if I am to make my rendezvous with the Pearl.”
“Oh,” she held up her arms to him. “In that case…”
“In that case, what?” He sat on the edge of the bed and smiled at her.
“Where’s my kiss?”
“Greedy child.” Jack laughed with her. “Here, then.” He leant down and ran his tongue along her lips before kissing her deeply. She purred.
“Don’t I get one, too?” Will, leaning on one elbow, watched them with a sleepy smile.
“When have I ever neglected you, boy?” Jack chuckled, reaching across Elizabeth to pull Will in reach.
Elizabeth looked on for a few moments, as they kissed above her, and then leaned up to join her mouth to theirs. Jack groaned and stood up.
“Too tempting, darlings. I will leave you two to carry on with that thought. I must be on my way. No, don’t get up.” He picked up his coat and hat. “James will see me off.” He bowed. “And so I take my leave.”
“Fair winds, Jack,” Will said, “and a following sea.”
“Farewell, Jack,” Elizabeth blew him a kiss.
He bowed again, held the door for James, and left them with a wink.
Jack and James reached the stable to find the stable boys already astir. Jack’s request for his horse appeared to amuse the groom who received his order and James soon saw why. Rocinante; for so Jack persisted in calling him, finding Will’s comparison most apt, looked markedly better for his days of rest and extra feed. But no amount of time or care could make him anything but unprepossessing.
“Jack, wherever did you find that creature?” he asked in astonishment. Jack rolled his eyes.
“Not you, too, mate. I’ve had to hear enough on that score from young Will. Best you not know – let’s leave it at that, shall we? Oh, and do me a favour love.”
“Certainly, what is it?”
Jack held out something that glittered red and gold. “Give this back to Elizabeth, and tell her to guard her trinkets more carefully. You never know when a thief might come to visit.”
“Sparrow,” James chuckled, “you are outrageous.”
“So you tell me.”
The groom had gone back inside and Jack was preparing to mount when James cleared his throat. “Jack, a moment.”
Jack hid a grin. “Yes, love?”
“If in, say, three months’ time, one were wishing to set sail for the Antipodes, where might one find a ship bound thence?”
“Funny you should ask,” Jack smiled, “Not that many ships headed to those parts from here, but make it six weeks and I might just know of one that would fill the bill. Bound for India, she is, and Madagascar.”
James smiled back at him. “That sounds perfect to me. Where might one find this ship?”
Jack told him and clambered onto his horse. “In six weeks, then.”
“Six weeks. Fair winds, Jack.”
Some time later the Turners came downstairs, arm in arm, to find James sitting on the verandah, gazing thoughtfully out to sea. He smiled when he saw them, standing to kiss Elizabeth’s hand and then her cheek.
“Jack is on his way?” she asked.
“He is,” James replied, “mounted on that astonishing steed of his. He called it Rocinante and well-named.”
“Did he?” Will laughed. “It was I who gave that name to the poor creature. Did he tell you where he stole it from? A knacker’s!”
James laughed with them. “How very like Jack.”
“Isn’t it?” Elizabeth agreed. “Now, come inside to breakfast.”
They served themselves and sat down to eat with a good appetite.
Elizabeth sipped her coffee. “What are your plans, James?” she asked.
“What?” He looked up, startled.
“For today, I mean. Are you still intending to return to town?”
“Ah! Yes,” he said, “I must; this morning, in fact. There is a good deal of business awaiting me. Much to do.”
Will caught her eye and winked.
“Oh, and before I forget,” James said, fishing in his coat pocket, “Jack asked me to give you this.” He held out her ruby necklace. “And to tell you to guard your trinkets more carefully.”
Elizabeth took it from him and stared at it. “How on earth did he do that?” She burst out laughing, Will and James joining her. “What a consummate rogue he is, to be sure.”
Shortly after breakfast, James was ready to set out. His horse had been brought round, and he stood with Will and Elizabeth on the verandah. He took both Elizabeth’s hands in his and kissed them. “Thank you, my dear, for everything. I shall see you in town soon, I hope. When do you return?”
“Tomorrow,” Will said, “or Monday.”
James shook his hand. “Until then.” And he mounted and rode briskly down the drive toward Port Royal.
Will put his arms around his wife, and she leaned back against him as they watched James’s receding form.
“Tell me I didn’t imagine it.”
“Oh no, it was real, Will. All of it.”
“Your plan worked?”
“Yes, I believe it did.”
“I am glad of it.” He slid one hand down across her belly. “Elizabeth…” He hesitated. “I wish to tell you something, so that there will be no doubts or misunderstandings. If there should be a child, I will cherish it as my own. And if they are indeed going away, we would have something to remember them by.”
She turned to look up at him. “You are a good man, Will Turner.”
Six weeks later, James Norrington dined with the Turners, as was their weekly custom.
Since his visit to Somerset, to which he never referred, his spirits had been much improved. The outward change was subtle and masked from the casual observer by his customary brisk and correct military demeanor. But to Will and Elizabeth, it was clear that Commodore Norrington was a far happier man than he had been. On this night, however, he was somewhat quiet and thoughtful, albeit perfectly cheerful.
When their meal was done and the servant had withdrawn, he looked from one to the other and smiled. “Well, my dear friends, I have some news for you that may not come as all that much of a shock. Effective today, I have resigned my commission. Commodore Norrington is no more.”
Elizabeth exclaimed. “James!”
“Indeed,” he nodded. “It was time.”
“Oh, well done, man,” Will cried.
James bowed. “I have left Captain Groves in charge until Admiralty can act regarding my replacement. A copy of my resignation has been sent to your father, Elizabeth.”
Her eyes were shining. “When do you leave?”
“Tomorrow morning before dawn, to catch the tide. I sleep aboard the Gull tonight. But first,” he reached in his pocket and drew out a small felt bag. “I have something for you. Hold out your hand.”
Elizabeth did so. Loosening the strings, he opened the mouth of the bag and upended the contents into her palm. She gasped, for lying in her hand, glowing softly in the candlelight, lay two unset black pearls and a dainty ring containing a third.
Will stared. “Aren’t they…” he asked.
“Yes,” James replied. He slipped the ring on Elizabeth’s finger. “Have the others set for the girls. For remembrance.”
Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. She nodded. “The pin?” she whispered.
He smiled and patted the left breast of his coat. “Safe where it belongs, my dear.”
They sipped their wine in silence for a time, and chatted quietly of inconsequential things; treasuring up these everyday small moments and committing them to memory.
At last, James put down his glass. “It grows late,” he said, “And I have several things yet to do before I sleep.”
Will and Elizabeth accompanied him to the door.
James turned to Elizabeth and offered his hand, but she brushed it aside and threw her arms around him. He returned her embrace warmly and she drew his head down and kissed him. “Godspeed, my dear. Give Jack our love.”
Will picked up a long, narrow box of polished wood from the table. “Good thing I’ve had this ready. You will see it delivered, won’t you?” he said. James nodded. “Tell him: no charge.” Then Will, too, threw his arms around him. “God bless you, my friend.”
A moment more they stood in silence. Then James picked up his hat and opened the door. “Goodbye,” he said, “and thank you.” He let himself out into the night.
Next morning, early.
“Will, are you awake?”
“Barely. Did you sleep?”
“Eventually.” A sigh. “I can’t believe they are really gone.”
“Why so sad? Isn’t this what you wanted to happen?”
“Of course it is. It was their only chance. But…”
“But what, love?”
“But the thought that we will never see either of them again makes me weep. And don’t tell me I am being nonsensical, because I don’t care if I am.”
“Hush, love, hush now. I will miss them, too. ‘Never’ is a long time. Who knows what the future will bring? And, for now, we have our memories and, perhaps, something more.”
“Come now, dry your eyes. You don’t want the children to ask why Mama has been crying. And I have an early appointment before I go to the smithy – it’s time we got up.”
“An early appointment? With whom?”
“Your father. I’ve been thinking things over. I mean to ask him if he wishes my help in his business affairs. Times change, you know; only a fool fails to change with them.” He chuckled. “Speechless, my dear?”
“I love you, Will Turner.”
“As well you should.”
This item appeared in the Port Royal Gazette, nine months after the Turners returned from their week at Somerset Plantation:
“On the fifteenth inst. the wife of William Turner, Esq., blacksmith and sword-maker, of this community, was safely delivered of a healthy girl child; his third daughter.”
The Governor was ecstatic. “She has my eyes,” he told anyone who would listen, “Green eyes run in my family, you know. And she is the sweetest child; I dote upon her already.”
Elizabeth and Will smiled and let him talk.
her Margaret, but they called her Pearl.
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