At my Command - 3/6
Fandom: PotC: Pirates of the Caribbean
Category: Angst, Romance
Series/Sequel: 1. Sequel to ´Stranded´
Summary: Jack is Norrington´s prisoner
Warning: M/M, Slash
Disclaimer: I don´t own them. Nobody is capable of owning them.
Feedback: Yes, please. It´s my treasure.
Beta: Ysolde, Monika
Released: July 2004
Word Count: 3.239
Two days after Jack and James had been rescued from the island; the "Dauntless" arrived at Port Royal. The "Invincible" was already anchoring in the bay. While the crew were preparing the ship for berth James continued pacing up and down the length of the bridge. He felt awfully tired, because he had spent the second night in a row without getting much sleep. Sadly for a less pleasing reason than in the first night.
A lot of people were gathered at the quay, making cheery noises to welcome the "Dauntless".
James´ mood darkened even further. He didn´t want to see them, any of them. His hands clenched the rail. He didn´t want to answer their questions, or the Admiral´s.
"What happened on the island?"
"Had you enough water and food?"
"How long were you there?"
"How was the pirate injured?"
"Why didn´t you clap him in irons?"
"What is wrong with you?"
The Admiral´s last question had made him furious. "What do you mean? Nothing is wrong with me, because nothing happened. Can we please stop talking about it?"
The Admiral had raised his eyebrows. "James, my dear boy, with all due respect, I still think...."
"Please, Thomas. There is nothing to tell."
Eventually, Thomas had stopped and left him alone. Still, Thomas´ questions had tormented him the entire night. James knew how unsatisfied and angry Thomas was with him. But Thomas didn´t understand what had happened, what it was about Sparrow that had James so unsettled.
I am having to lie to Thomas. Since the death of my parents, he has taken care of me. He always treated me like his own son, Tommy. With love and respect. Tommy showed me what it means to be loved in a quite different way. He made me happy and unhappy at the same time. The Admiral never suspected us of being more than friends, or did he? Well, I never knew for sure. Tommy´s cruel death broke his heart, and mine as well. Since that day, happiness had only meant serving in the Royal Navy, a good meal and nice company helped the loneliness, James mused. However, meeting Jack changed that. Now, I´m beginning to find my happiness in the mysterious black eyes of a pirate.
A painful sting in his heart made James sigh.
Just thinking about him makes me...No. It can never be. And I can never tell Thomas, he would never understand why I fucked a pirate. Why I got involved with the enemy. Not after what happened to Tommy. His death was so gruesome. Not a day goes by that I don´t think about it. But he is dead, has been for a long time now. And Jack didn´t kill him. All these years, I hated pirates. Every pirate. But not Jack. Yes, he confuses and infuriates me. But I don´t hate him. Oh, I thought I did. I fought him and hunted him down. Only on the island, did I realize for the first time my anger originated from a very different source, a different feeling.
Jack is the first man I wanted since Tommy died. A pirate.
James laughed bitterly at the irony.
The plank had been laid out; the first soldiers were leaving the ship. James spied Elizabeth, who was waving wildly. She was standing between her father and her new husband, Turner. Since their marriage, they had become inseparable. James´ muscles clenched. A welcoming party by the happy couple was the last thing he wanted. Well, he considered, what has to be done, has to be done. After he had handed the command over to Gillette, he walked down the plank, preparing himself for all the well-meant greetings.
Elizabeth was the first. Not minding the other people, she ran to him and hugged him cavalierly. "James, thank God, you´re alive and well. We were so worried."
Gently, he released her arms from his neck. "How did you know I was coming?"
She smiled happily. "From Admiral Mallory. The "Invincible" arrived a few hours ago."
The Governor joined their side. "Commodore Norrington, you must excuse the behaviour of my daughter. The message of your safe homecoming was quite marvellous. It is good to have you back."
Next in line was Turner, who shook his hand forcefully. "Good to see you back safe and sound, Norrington."
James hadn´t been able to give an answer to one of them, when Will already blurted out: "Is it true, Jack Sparrow is held prisoner by you?"
Typical Will, always coming straight to the point, James noticed tartishly. Once again he wasn´t able to answer the question.
"Will! Elizabeth! What a delight to see ye," Jack shouted cheerfully.
They whirled around.
Clapped in irons and escorted by two soldiers, Jack was coming down the plank but he wasn´t walking.
James´ lips curled up.
Jack was limping fiercely. Besides that, everyone could see the purple marks on his face.
Immediately, Will rushed to him and patted his shoulder. "Jack, how are you, mate?"
Elizabeth stayed and turned to James, accusing him angrily: "You beat him?"
"Look at his face."
"It wasn´t the Commodore, darling," Jack interfered quickly. "He couldn´t have been nicer to me."
Tensing, James glared at him.
The pirate cocked his head, holding his glare with teasing eyes. A look, which was also dark, deep and consuming.
How long can I bear that look? James thought. Not long. Not long at all. A small tickling started in his groin, a sweetness....
Will´s demanding voice interrupted the tension. "What will happen to Jack?"
Relieved he could tear his eyes away from the burning gaze of the pirate, James answered: "You know what."
"How can you do that, after everything he did for you?"
"What?" James was alarmed. "How do you...."
"He killed Barbossa and helped us capturing that damned crew."
Calming down and well aware of Elizabeth´s suspicious looks and Jack´s amusement, James stated once more: "The law. We have to obey the law." Quickly, he gave a signal to the soldiers. "Take him away."
Jack smiled sadly. "See ye at the hanging, luv."
James flinched and followed him with his eyes, before he felt Elizabeth pulling at his sleeve.
"You can´t let him die. It´s not fair."
"My dear child," the Governor said, "it´s not the Commodore´s decision."
"But..." Elizabeth started to disagree.
"I will not discuss this anymore." James was feeling cold. "I want to go home." Worse, his heart lay in his chest like a small shard of ice. "I haven´t slept much in days, because..." Noticing their interested looks, he didn´t finish. "Excuse me, please." Before anyone could stop him, he rushed off, leaving them to come to their own conclusions.
In his prison cell, Jack barely had found time to make himself as comfortable as possible, when Elizabeth hurried in, looking furious and utterly beautiful, to Jack she looked like stormy unchartered waters. Smiling at her excitement, Jack joined her at the bars. "Quite a surprise, darling."
"Be quiet, Jack. How could you let this happen? Why did you come back here?"
"Sorry luv, but I had to save yer Commodore´s life. Do ye wish I let him drown?"
"No, of course not. But..." She stopped, sighing, then she said: "Here take this." She handed him a clean shirt through the bars.
"No rum?" he asked teasingly, and got a glare. He chuckled, while he got rid of his sweaty shirt. "Will ye clean me own for me?"
She nodded, and then she froze in motion. "What´s that?" She pointed at his right shoulder.
Jack´s eyes were gleaming. "This here?" Gently, he touched the healing wound with his fingertips. "Only a monkey bite from me dearest enemy."
She gasped in shock. "He bit you! No, I don´t believe you. You´re joking...." Seeing Jack´s broad smile, she broke off - stunned.
"It didn´t hurt that much, luv. Savvy?"
Her eyes grew bigger and bigger and by her violent blushing, he could tell, she had understood.
Jack laughed heartily.
"But...how...why...you were always...fighting," Elizabeth stammered.
"Call it an intimate fight, darling."
"Jack!" she burst out. "This can´t be true. James would never..."
"...touch me? He told me so a dozen times. Plus, he would never call me Jack. Couldn´t keep that promise either." He noticed Elizabeth had nothing to say, and took the opportune moment to ask her: "Did ye know Thomas Mallory?"
She frowned. "Do you mean the Admiral?"
"No. His beloved son."
"No, I didn´t. He died before I came to the Caribbean. I only know, what I´ve been told."
"Well, he was James´ best friend. They served together in the navy. Though, Tommy wasn´t like James, not at all. Rather wild and reckless."
Jack smiled. "Ye don´t say. How did James met him?"
"James lived with the Mallorys since his mother died of consumption. At that time, he was ten. His father died two years later, while commanding a ship. Tommy was Mallory´s eldest child."
Jack felt truly amazed. "I never thought, they grew up together."
"Are you saying, they weren´t only best friends, but also...," her voice rose up.
"No, darling. I´m not saying anything," Jack calmed her.
Only becoming more curious, she didn´t stop questioning him. "What is it with you and James?"
Jack´s smile deepened. "Darling, I..."
"Do you...do you...like him?"
"Let´s put it this way: I´ve fancied him since the first day we met. It doesn´t matter, though. I´m only a filthy pirate to him. One of the people who killed Tommy. Me only purpose is to hang, like me dear Commodore told me - again and again."
"But now, he can´t want you dead. After what happened...."
"Aye? Ye think? Ye don´t even know what happened."
"Well, you...you...and him...." She blushed again.
He shrugged. "It was quite an adventure, but nevertheless, I´m nothing he´d lament being rid of."
Elizabeth´s abashed expression changed to determination. "That isn´t true. He´s a fine man, a decent man. I´ll go and talk to him," and before Jack could disagree she hurried up the stairs.
Disbelieving, Jack shook his head. So young, so naive, so kind, this girl. It´s a pity she´ll be disappointed. He put on the clean shirt and sank back down to the filthy ground of the cell. Filthy like me. The proper place for me.
Certainly, Elizabeth won´t be able to change me situation. James isn´t a man, who will discuss his intimate matters with anyone, least of all with the woman he once wanted to marry.
Feeling bored, Jack started humming, but to his own surprise, he didn´t keep it up for long. He wasn´t in the mood for cheery songs. Honestly, I´m not that bothered, because I´m going to the gallows in a few hours, and James won´t do anything to prevent it. Obviously, he´s absolutely capable of watching me die.
So? It won´t be the first time he has attended me anticipated execution. Afflicted, he closed his eyes. At once he was haunted by the clear image of a woman with tears in her eyes, hearing a choked voice calling her name. He tore his eyes open again and sighed sadly. Ah, the past. Never completely buried, oh no. Remembering it makes even a grown-up, hardboiled pirate like meself weak and soppy like a girl. Bloody Hell, Jem, damn ye.
In the meantime, at Commodore Norrington´s home. James was still struggling with his feelings, he couldn´t rest, he was unable to find some peace. A loud knock at the door made him stop in his tracks.
One of the servants, Cedric, entered the room. "Excuse me, Sir, you have a visitor."
The next second, Elizabeth burst in, looking flushed and excited. "I have to talk to you."
Alarmed, James sent the servant quickly out, while he threw an astonished glance at the filthy shirt, she was holding in her hand. "Well, what is it?"
"You can´t let him die."
"Why did you beat him?"
"I already told you, I didn´t."
"True, you prefer to bite him."
"What! Are you out of your mind?"
"I saw the mark on his shoulder, while he changed into a clean shirt."
James´ colour became crimson.
"Do you really want him dead?" Elizabeth demanded to know.
"No. But he´s a pirate and...."
"James, I noticed the way you were looking at him, coming back from your adventure."
"It´s not my decision. Sparrow has to die," he insisted stubbornly.
"Really? Do you imagine what that means? Slowly choked to death by the rope around his neck. Cold. Lifeless. Dead."
"Stop it," James groaned, feeling sick to the stomach.
Gently, Elizabeth took his arm, leading him to the sofa, where they sat down. "James, you´re a good man, you have a good heart. Without Will, I would have married you. But now, I understand, it would have been a big mistake, because you´re longing for someone quite different."
The colour of James´ face changed again. "He´s not worth a damn, he´s good for nothing."
"You know, that´s not true."
"Yes, maybe. Still, he´s not for me."
"For God´s Sake, he´s my enemy."
"Is it because Tommy was killed by a pirate?"
"No, of course not. It wasn´t Jack who killed him. What do you know about Tommy, anyway?"
"Not much. He was your best friend, wasn´t he?"
Uncomfortable, he avoided her inquiring eyes.
She took his hand in hers. "James, what happened on that island?" she asked in her softest voice.
Not responding, he tried to withdraw his hand from her grip.
"Did you kiss him?"
"How could you ask me something like that? He´s so dirty and filthy, I would never...." Noticing, he had talked himself into rage and was making a fool of himself, he broke off, breathing heavily.
Soothingly, she pressed his hand. "Anyway - you kissed him."
Cornered, he met her friendly, understanding look. "Elizabeth, I don´t think I want to discuss that matter with...."
Just then, the door opened, and Will was coming in. Seeing his wife and her former fiancé sitting together closely, he asked in a pointed voice: "What´s going on here?"
Later in the evening, in his rotten cell, Jack was still lying on the ground, doing nothing to improve his situation. Obviously, he was only waiting for death to take him. Snoozing, he didn´t notice the shadow, coming down the stairs until his name was floating to his ears. "Sparrow."
Lazily, he turned his head and wasn´t surprised at all by the Commodore´s presence. "Look, who´s paying the filthy pirate a visit."
James didn´t comment on this. Properly dressed in his uniform, he stood behind the bars, observing Jack.
"I don´t like that wig," Jack provoked him. For a second Jack thought, James was tempted to smile, but, in the end, he didn´t.
"Why did you drag Elizabeth into this?"
"Eh? I didn´t. She figured it out herself, considering all the marks ye left me with. Why did ye come here?"
"I wanted to see you."
"Aye? Why´s that Commodore Norrington?"
"I don´t know."
"Ye don´t, eh? Stop lying to yerself, luv."
James clutched the bars. "Jack, this isn´t easy for me."
"What, sending me to the gallows? Feeling something for me, yer enemy?"
"What do you expect from me? If the Admiral ever finds out,
Finally, Jack felt like getting up. Stepping close to the bars, he spoke the words, James couldn´t. "...we fucked. That ye fucked a bloody pirate. No more, no less."
James winced. "Be quiet. The walls have ears."
"Most likely, but I don´t care, savvy?"
They gazed at each other. Jack broke the growing tension first. "Why ye´re so worried?"
"I´m not worried," James snapped.
"Tell that to yer face, luv."
"You should be worried. In a few hours...."
"Aye. Stop bothering yerself." Abruptly, he changed the subject. "Can I have some rum?"
"I have none."
"Pity. Don´t I have a last request?"
James´ eyes narrowed. "Yes, but no rum."
Jack rolled his eyes. "All right. Then - maybe," he licked his lips, "a kiss."
"No," James breathed, clutching the bars tighter.
Jack pouted. "Aye, as expected. But why not? Only one small kiss to make me happy." He licked his lips again, slowly.
"Jack! Don´t look at me like that."
"Please, dear Commodore." Jack´s voice dropped to the softest whisper. "I´m doomed. At sunrise, I´m going to die." He pressed himself against the bars, looking at James like a beaten child.
James´ face fell. "All right." He lowered his head down, brushing his lips against Jack´s.
Sensing his intention to make it quick, Jack didn´t return the kiss, nor did he refuse it. He opened his mouth only slightly, waiting for James to go further. For a few seconds nothing happened, then he felt James´ body meeting his, only the bars breaking their closeness.
James increased the pressure, kissing Jack with growing passion.
Bitterness swept into Jack´s mouth, a bitterness which told of regret and - sacrifice. It marked their intimate kiss with insufferable despair and Jack felt more than ever for his enemy. Drawn, he slipped his arms pass the bars, and captured the base of James´ neck. Pulling him resolutely closer, he took control, while pure yearning filled his groin.
Moaning softly, James gave in, they were clutching and clawing at each other like drowning men, close to losing themselves completely. But then James jerked back. "No!"
"Ye started it," Jack murmured, hiding his disappointment.
Not defending himself, the Commodore staggered backwards.
"Will ye be there to watch me die?" Jack asked reproachful, while he was savouring the sweet bitterness in his mouth. The kiss, aye, what a kiss, pity it had to end here and now.
James stiffened, and the green fire in his eyes died. "Jack, I have to...."
Hasty footsteps were coming down the stairs, someone shouted: "Commodore, are you all right?"
Startled, James whirled around and replied with forced calmness. "Yes, I´m coming up right now." Not minding Jack, he left at once.
Angry with James and himself, Jack pushed back from the bars, and strolled to the small hole in the wall to look at the sea.
What was it he wanted to say? Jack wondered, watching the sun set into the bay of Port Royal. Is it me last sunset? Can it be? Will me affection for me enemy end me life? And if it does? Do I regret saving him?
Remembering all the precious moments they had shared in the last days, made Jack smile in pure delight. No. I don´t. Ain´t it funny? Even if I lose me life in a few hours, I don´t regret any of it.
The water of the bay beamed in the last sunlight like green fire.
Green, the colour of hope, green, the colour of James´ eyes.
A minute later, the sun had vanished behind the horizon and it got dark. No moon was shining tonight.
When the darkness had consumed everything in the small cell, Jack drifted into a dreamless, slight slumber. A soft noise was enough to waken him. Alarmed, he pricked his ears to locate the source. There it was again. Shuffling sounds on the stairs. Footsteps. Eagerly, he jumped to his feet. "James?" he whispered rashly. He´s coming back, he doesn´t want me dead. He does care for me.
Recognizing the visitor by his figure, his joy ebbed away and he dropped back to the ground. "Oh, it´s ye."