Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Summary: Sailing under the command of a pirate.
Pairing: Jack/Will, Jack/Will/Elizabeth implied
Disclaimer: Disney owns the pirates, and the wonderful original story is penknife's
Warnings: m/m sex, some knife play and mild bondage, consensual
Original story: Salt: http://penknifewrites.org/salt.htm by penknife
Notes: The setting is post-AWE - AU in that everyone came back alive, and J/W/E have shared a bit more than we saw in the films.
The wind glides inland and retreats to the water, teasing rooftops, taunting stars, plundering fragrance from sea-grass and jasmine - the scent of a woman’s skin, of hers. Jack Sparrow leaves the harbour and his boots no longer step silent, skimming the mud of twisted streets that reek of saltfish and drudgery. He’s lost the smell of the sea, and solid ground grates harsh in his stride, spiteful as broken glass.
The shutter of the smithy is unlocked, and Jack wonders what he would do if he were to arrive and find it bolted. He pushes the thought away, as it’s his habit to steal only trouble he can touch - and he is, admittedly, a creature of habit. Small ones, the ones he can afford, like stowing his cock to the right and a stiletto in his left coat pocket. The kidnapping of pretty blacksmiths is a different thing altogether.
Jack drops to the floorboards, makes enough noise to herald his arrival, and slips into the shadows. He’s not sure what it would mean if this time, or another, the footsteps on the stairs turned out to be Elizabeth’s. He doesn’t know what that might cost him, and Jack has learned to weigh his coin before reaching for things that shine. Stealing, always his preference, is not an option here.
Will moves into the circle of banked firelight and Jack reaches for his knife, feels himself harden. Months, since he last took him - too long. He abandons darkness, lifts his blade, and clamps his palm over Will’s open mouth. Jack feels the flicker of Will’s tongue, and knows he tastes of salt.
“Here’s a nice piece of pirate loot.” He makes the words rasp hot against Will’s ear, traces his ribs with the dagger’s tip, and moves his hand to thread sleep-tousled hair.
“Will you come along nice and quiet, or are you going to make this a fight?”
“I haven’t got a weapon.” Will has a knack for stating the obvious, but Jack likes the need that colours his voice - not fear, he’s never stolen that.
“You should learn to be more prepared, mate.”
“So that when I meet a pirate I can...”
“Are you going to talk all night, or can we get on with me kidnapping you?” Jack lifts the blade to Will’s throat, guides the tip from a blue fluttering pulse to the arc of his collarbone. Will tenses, and Jack breathes him in - woodsmoke and sawdust, the warmth of a shared bed. All the earthbound things Will treasures, the things that bind him here. Jack shifts the knife, presses harder.
“That’s a persuasive argument,” Will says.
Jack tightens his hold in Will’s hair, savours the feel of it, taut silk between his fingers. He pulls him to the window and barks an order.
The blade is still at Will’s throat - Jack hopes the boy won’t carry things too far, struggle and send them both sprawling. Blood has never been required to set the stage before, and he isn’t inclined to add that flourish now, especially if it’s his own. They land in the alley without incident, Jack managing to keep the dagger more or less in place.
“All right.” Will is barely visible beneath a sliver of scrimshaw moon. “What is it you want from me, pirate?”
“That’s the question, isn’t it?”
Jack isn’t sure of the answer, doesn’t think he wants to find it, but he does know what comes next. His hands can fly like his namesake and the irons clamp Will’s wrists before he can flinch, before Jack’s fingers register their chill. A new embellishment, and Jack hadn’t much liked the feel of them, dragging heavy at his pocket.
“What are you doing?” Jack can hear the alarm in Will’s voice, isn’t sure he fancies that much, either.
“Kidnapping you, like I said. The Pearl’s in the harbour, and I’ve a mind to take you with me when I go. Keep you as my...cabin boy.”
“You can’t do that.”
Jack knows the truth of it, but for a moment he weighs the idea anyway, balanced against the solace of rum and the tangle of an empty bed.
“I have a pistol and all manner of pointy things, and you’re the one in irons. I’m not sure you’re really in a position to tell me what I can’t do.”
He pushes Will ahead of him through a muddy labyrinth of narrow streets, down to the harbour. Watching the play of muscle beneath the boy’s breeches and shirt serves as sufficient distraction, steering Jack clear of more dangerous waters. Will stumbles, and he yanks him upright.
“Do watch where you’re going.”
“It’s a little hard to keep my balance with my hands bound behind me.”
Jack grins at that, displaying his full complement of gold, making it something cold and bright - remembers Beckett’s leer, a dank hold, the glide of expectant shadows, and...no. No dancing with demons, not tonight, not with Will Turner warm and wanting and here beneath his hands.
“All sorts of things you can do in shackles, if you really try. Take it from me.”
Jack can hear the sea again, the rolling hiss of the tide. He’d come ashore in a long boat, hidden now amidst the rocks, but the Pearl waits beyond moonlight’s reach, far from the harbour’s treacherous confines. Jack can feel her, catches tatters of her fretful song as she strains against the anchor. She’s chanting his name, has no more patience than her captain - for a moment, Jack lets himself believe that Will can hear her, too.
“I would, you know,” Jack whispers, his fingers tracing the line of Will’s jaw, finding the shallow scratch where the point of the knife bit too deep. “Take you away with me on the Pearl. See the whole world, mate.”
He’s telling the truth, as he often does, and Will knows him well enough to see. He knows him well enough to pretend he’s blind, for both of them - just now, the stakes of truth seem too high.
“Jack, don’t. I could never sail under the command of such a notorious pirate.”
“Well then, mate - I think you need a lesson in obeying orders.”
He yanks Will behind a low rock wall, begins unfastening his breeches.
“On your knees.”
“You can’t make me.”
And there it is - the essence, the core, the heart of the gambit. Elizabeth’s shadow drifts voiceless between them and Will needs some kind of permission, a reason to sail with a pirate. Jack hooks a boot behind his ankle and shoves him down, off-balance.
“I beg to differ.”
Jack never enjoys this soliloquy, and knows it’s the crux of the play. He pulls the knife from his belt, draws a line across Will’s collarbone, and the blood follows, a thin red promise. Permission. “I think I can.”
It’s enough, for Will - he leans in to take Jack’s cock in his mouth, and Jack reaches for his shoulders to steady him, still clutching the blade.
“Just like that. You know.”
Will does, alternates swirls of his tongue with deep, hard strokes, makes Jack’s breath come harsh and his fingers grip hard enough to bruise. The irons make it graceless, awkward, and he misses the heat of Will’s hands.
Jack lifts his head, baring his throat to the kiss of the wind, cool and sweet - inhales the island's green perfume, laced with brine and the tang of Will’s sweat. He can’t hold much longer, not with Will’s mouth on him, hot and hungry, not with her scent on his skin. Will drinks him down when he shudders and spends, a sinful communion, a sea-storm wine.
“Now.” He drops to his knees, circles Will’s hips to unlock the shackles, and tumbles them both to the ground. This is what Jack craves, the power of it, and something more he refuses to name, some remedy for loneliness on starless nights, in empty rooms.
Will sinks backward and Jack's hands roam, unfastening his breeches and freeing his cock. The boy is sweating, shaking with desire and the need to deny it. Jack takes his time, renews acquaintance with taut muscle, smooth pale skin and the tracery of bone. Will moans when Jack lowers his head to take him, sucks hard.
Jack knows that this is the part where artifice wears thin - without the knife, the irons, Will can’t pretend that he doesn’t want it, that he doesn’t want him. He’s losing the battle, straining into Jack’s mouth, binding his hands with charmed ropes of hair for lack of anything else. Jack feels him begin to come apart, cups the heavy velvet sac between Will’s legs as he tightens - wants to make it last, but needs surrender more. When it comes, when Will falls, Jack can pretend that she’s not here.
Once upon a time, a princess and her blacksmith met a pirate... Jack knows Will is happy enough with things as they are, and he knows that it’s only a matter of time. Elizabeth will yield to her soul’s sovereign currents, and find her way back to the sea. To him - not because she doesn’t love Will, but because she does and it isn’t enough. Because she isn’t enough, because once upon a time the three of them were, on a ship at the end of the world. Jack doesn’t believe in holding on to things that matter too much, things that burn - he had let go, and they hadn’t stopped him. He does believe in fate, sometimes, and always in the laws of physics.
Best to let wind and water and earth collide, as they always have and always will, repair the damage after. Jack’s good at that - he carries the scars to prove it.
He sprawls beside Will as if the sand were a mattress, props his head on his hands. “Well, then, young William. How have you been?”
“Well enough.” Will’s eyes travel over Jack’s face, his fine woollen coat and the new gold trinket glittering against his cheek. Jack knows he makes a prettier picture than last time, when he’d staggered ashore half-starved after a hurricane run from Cartagena that nearly cost him the Pearl. A run that shouldn’t have ended here, his crew near mutinous at the delay in reaching more amenable ports. Jack refuses to dwell on the reason he’d risked it, and buries yet another uncomfortable truth. He thinks he's running short of shovels, and dirt - that it might be him that breaks first.
Will is starting to gather his clothes, piecing together his costume for a solitary exit. He fingers the cut Jack’s knife has made, his shirt damp with blood and sweat.
“Elizabeth misses you.”
“Does she? I don’t hear her saying so.” Jack flashes half a grin, and half wishes that she would.
“I don’t see you asking.”
“And what should I ask her?” Jack looks out at the harbour, hears the Pearl’s restless keening on a jasmine wind. “The devil only knows what your sweet Bess wants, but I doubt it’s to be taken away in irons.”
“More likely to take you away in irons.” Will smiles, and Jack wonders how it is for them, in that bedroom above the smithy. He suspects he already knows, that Elizabeth is master there and that Will is here, with him, because of it. He knows she’s always been part of this game.
“She’s had her chance. I’m not letting the wench chain me up again. Besides - that’s not so much to me taste. Not everyone’s got a taste for pain.” Not when the taste has gone sour, not when iron at your wrists means the gallows at dawn - or squaring debts with devils, a kiss before dying. Jack picks up the knife and wipes it clean on the knee of his breeches, watches the edge catch moonlight.
“That’s not the only game there is.” Will’s eyes hold a challenge, an offer, and Jack wants to believe - but they’re lacking a player, a third, in this round of liar’s dice.
“All kinds of games around,” Jack agrees. He stands up, glancing at Will and then out at the moonlit water. “But I like to know which one I’m playing.”
“You could come visit sometime. Through the door.”
Will, bless him, is once again stating the obvious, and tossing his heart in the ring to boot - that’s new. Jack thinks he’d like to kiss him, taste woodsmoke and wind and his own salt-spill, because it’s been so long, because he’s almost ready - but that isn’t something they do, it isn’t a part of the game. He isn’t ready - yet? never? - for open doors and discussions and Elizabeth, so he smiles at a point just over Will’s shoulder, pockets the knife.
“We’ll see, mate.”
The longboat pulls heavy as Jack rows past the headland, fighting the incoming tide. The steady thrum of fatigue wraps his spine, but sleep can wait until the Pearl wings safe, beyond the Windward Passage. Jack’s a long way from twenty, but on the charts he draws the devil owes him - a furlong or two, at least. He’ll wait for sleep, row hell-bent towards forever. The world’s a flawed and wild sprung place, and Jack knows what he can and cannot do - today. He never lays bets on tomorrow.
Six months later Jack waits in the smithy’s shadows as a gale sweeps in from the sea. A gold ducat hangs where his piece of eight once glittered, and there’s a fresh-healed scar sailing proud on his chest from the blade of an angry whore - he's forgotten her name, and she plays no part in the tale he spins. The air smells of cinders, of earth and wind and salt, and Jack hears two pairs of boots on the stairs.