Bury my Soul at Sea

Author: Daniela
Fandom: Taboo
Pairing: James/Zilpha
Rating: R
Category: Adventure, Angst, Romance
Series/Sequel: No
Summary: They won't be dead. They won't be happy.
Warning: Adult fiction, Sibling incest
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Tom Hardy, though.
Feedback: Sing to me
Email: daniforblue@yahoo.de
Released: October 2023
Word Count: 7903
Beta: None


The first sound James learned to love was the soft murmur of the deep river, the second one the laughter of his sister, the sweetest and purest creature in the jungle, echoing of the mighty trees in celestial ripples that made him tingle to the core. He was too ignorant to grasp he felt sensations he shouldn't have.


The first touch Zilpha learned to love was the brisk coolness of clean water, the second one the touch of James, the bravest and kindest brother in the world, a touch that made her feel complete and she loved being with him more than with anyone else. She was too pure at heart to know she felt sensations she shouldn't have.


Zilpha entered the room and walked towards him. "Do you know who blew up your ship?"

James didn't reply. His skin prickled undesirably. No. Not now.

She came down the steps, looking puzzled.

He offered her a cup of coffee, while keeping his fingers from trembling.

She shook her head, smiling, and sat down.

James sat down opposite to her. He sipped from the cup of coffee.

"I've been thinking a lot about what happened and... and I think we were right."

He didn't look at her, swallowing, and clenched his jaw. Don't even. I can't. Though there's so much I need to tell you...

"There wasn't the time for such..." She paused. "And we have plenty of time."

"No. No, we don't," he said, and now he looked at her. The affection in her eyes upset him highly.

"When you first came back, you told me you loved me. I would never have thought..."

"But you don't think... Do you?!" James interrupted her. Get rid of her. You must. Or all is lost.

"I know you. I know your nature. I know you."

"No," he denied harshly. "I believed once that we were the same person." He ground down every feeling that could ruin his strategy. Tomorrow. Not now.

"We are," she disagreed just as fierce.

"We are not."

"We are."

"Not anymore." He blinked. "Perhaps you should thank your God for that." A low blow but he was desperate.

"No." She was on the brink of tears. "No, James. No. No, you can't do this. Not now."

He stared at her. Go. I can't deal with you. I won't.

She cast her eyes down.

"It is done." He stood up. Keep her away. Don't let her touch you.


No. Not listening. He walked to the back of the room to get a diamond. He came back and put the precious thing on the table. "For your widowhood."

Zilpha gasped, whimpered, blinking drops of sorrow from her eyes.

Bloody hell! "Now... I have work to do so please, excuse me." James turned his back on her. He couldn't look at her crying. He would give in and sweep her into his arms. He would pull her into his mess of life and put her up for damnation. He couldn't let that happen. He wanted her safe in a cosy home. She could have a decent life with him leaving and that husband of her dead and buried. A better life. He heard the door click shut. She was gone. Good. He had things to do she wasn't a part of, and he would never burden her with those. He would go and deal with her later when everything else was settled. When he had the time to tell her why he'd to leave that day she let him take her in the bed of her murdered husband and why he couldn't take care of her now. He would tell her as soon as he was done scheming. Ah. The hurt though. A struggle with the forces of nature.


Zilpha opened the door to her empty home. She wasn't crying anymore. It was no use. James wouldn't give in no matter how many tears she shed. He had always been this way. Or not? Couldn't she just remember those times before everything changed for the worse? The happy days when she and James were close in the most innocent and joyful ways. Content with what they had, not wanting more. Those blissful yet irrecoverable times.

Though as soon as she heard the rumours of James being brought to the tower she started thinking. Did he break up with her because he was in trouble? Had he protected her? What if he was going to die? What then? Could she bear the knowledge of his death once again?

She dressed and hurried to the home of her childhood, but Brace didn't let her in. He was as unforgiving as if he were back then before James had left. She remained close by hiding from all the people passing by, waiting. She couldn't let go of James. He was life. He was death. He was everything. Yet the sight of Lorna rushing out of the house infuriated her beyond reason. That one wouldn't have him. Not if she could make things go her way. Not as long as she had power over him. She hurried home again and wrote a letter.

Dear James,

You will be reading this letter after hearing of my death. I would no longer live with the shame that has been forced upon me. Although something inside of me rejoiced upon your return, I wish you had stayed away - our union is ungodly and is something I can no longer live with.
We were cursed from birth, I hope to take the curse with me when I am gone. There is nothing left for me here on this earth. Perhaps we will meet again in the next.

Your Sister,

She looked at her reflection in the mirror. This is your doing, James. Now, you know how I suffered. Now you pay in blood and tears not diamonds. And then she gave herself a crooked smile.


James took his sister to all the tremendous places he liked and where he felt free of the stiffness of their home. He and Zilpha strolled through the woods and climbed its trees in playful races. They bathed and washed in the river and dried their upper garments in the sun. They chased rabbits out of their burrows and ate fruit plucked fresh from nature. They were happy. One in their very own jungle. Unfortunately, he was the one who knocked them out of that peace lying in the grass one glorious early morning, lazily masturbating, imagining the face and body of his sister. Though it was disturbingly wrong he couldn't stop the evil lust affecting him. He came in a painful splash still pleasant enough to want to do it again. Torn between longing and guilt he aimed those sensations at her, treating her like an impure creature, even though he was the one rotten in heart and soul. He avoided her and still she haunted his dreams every night and made him do the unspeakable again. The pressure of his sin turned unbearable, and his struggle made him insufferable as a companion for her or anyone else. The poison of a despicable sin took its destructive and unstoppable course.


The evil in Zilpha's body ignited the day she was a witness to girls coming on to James. Zilpha hated those giggling fools. None of them were good enough for her brother least of all strong enough for his likings. None of those creatures would run through the wilderness with him, climb on trees, or swim in the river, stripped down to their underwear. Forbidden pleasures she and James indulged in whenever possible. She loved watching his strong body dripping wet or his muscles flexing showing off for her. Sometimes he caught her staring and looked like a tomcat chasing a mouse. The lightness of those days was snuffed out by the time she caught him laying hand on himself panting her name. Yet she couldn't look away seeing his pleasure and his beauty, was mesmerized by the strange treat, and surprised by the sudden tickle between her legs. She gasped and ran home but didn't dare to imitate his actions by touching herself down there. She couldn't confront her strangely flushed face in the mirror and put a black scarf over it. She couldn't forget though how satisfied he had looked and sounded, and at that because of her, and not any of the plenty girls drooling over him. Wasn't she mad to feel so darned happy about it? As mad as a Delaney.


The fighting was done. The battle was over. They sailed away to a new life. There were victims, of course, several gravely wounded. One of them was Lorna. Much to his chagrin James cared more than he liked about her survival as well as about his spared allies on this journey. Yet he couldn't stop thinking about his sister taking her life. The love forever lost to him. And this was his fault alone.

His suffering increased when he read a letter from Brace, which Lorna had slipped to him after their departure. Brace was writing horrible things about Thorne; James couldn't have known. Brace didn't tell him before because the feelings between him and Zilpha were not natural, and he hadn't wanted to add fuel to the fire.

Thorne had been an evil creature. He had married Zilpha for her money. He had beaten her regularly, even forced himself on her. Brace had overheard Zilpha entrusting all those wrongdoings to her father, yet he did nothing to help her. She was Thorne's wife now and that was that. She had no right to complain but must be a better wife to stop Thorne's abuse. That was a wife's duty.

Bastard. James would have killed Brace if he had been on this very ship right now. He should be glad he had been left behind. With deadly cold hands James folded the letter. How desperate his sister must have been? How unhappy. Now he knew why she had killed Thorne and then herself. She had needed his love and support and he had pushed her away. Wouldn't suicide be a better choice than this constant agony of missing a part of his heart and soul? Betraying the one in the worst way? Driving her to jump into the river. Shouldn't he follow her by melting into the depths of the sea? Being one with her forever? Redeemed in the purity of water at last? Would he dare to accept this fate as soon as his journey was finished?


Zilpha ached at the sight of him limping across the deck, looking at the sea as if he were searching for a sign of her spirit. That alone tempted her to cry out his name. Yet then she remembered how he had spoken to her the last time they had seen each other. He didn't deserve her pity or comfort. He made certain he didn't need or love her. He already found a better companion, as well, didn't he? She scowled at the woman in question. How dare her taking an interest in him? How dare her pretending to be her friend standing up to Thorne? She was not fit to satisfy James' likings. Nobody was. She pulled her hat down and went back to do her duties with her fellow sailors. One of them was the man she had paid generously with the diamond to spy on James in all those weeks he had prepared the ship for leaving. She had been well informed about what James had done or how he had struggled and failed. That spy had smuggled her on board right before the enforced getaway. And now she was right in grasp of James, taunting him and fate without batting an eye. A punishment he had well deserved, and she would enjoy sipping at his pain until the last drop was drained and her anger quite quenched.


One night James drank himself senseless to drown the pain of his sinful desires. He then lured Zilpha into the forest and told her explicit details about his adventures with various girls. Things a girl of Zilpha's age shouldn't know or think about. Zilpha stared at him coldly. That look egged him on to rip her dress open, exposing her breasts. She shrieked. He didn't care but pushed her down and robbed onto her, searching for the delicious spot between her legs. She wriggled under him, but he was relentless, fingered her until she came on his hand, damp and sweet, gasping for air. He smirked and let go of her then, turning on his back rubbing himself off in the aftermath of his victory. In the meantime, she was getting up, not saying a word. After straightening her underskirts, she walked away briskly. The subtle swinging of her hips in sight he came so hard he almost blacked out. Bloody glorious! He whistled at the leavy trees above and around, certain he wanted to commit this very sin every day from now on.


When James appeared around midnight dragging her to the forest, Zilpha couldn't say no. For weeks she had suffered his absence and cruel disregard and was desperate to relive the intimacy they once had. She listened gladly to his boastful stories about the girls he had fucked, delighted by his trust in her, not in the least fearful or disgusted. When he came on to her, she put up a struggle to keep her dignity, but his touch was enough to make her gasp with delight and rapture. His fingers down there stirred up the most wicked yet lewd sensations, and in awe she couldn't stop him or herself from floating in those cravings piercing through her. Oh my. A past mystery unravelled as soon as she reached the highest point listening to him panting his lust and her name into the spicy night. The power over him was exhilarating and her heart sang though she put her skirt in order and walked away shortly after he had finished. He couldn't know how much he owned her. Not now or ever. Not for not wanting to do the thing they had done though. Good heavens! No. But for tasting the most sinful fruit and still wanting more. In that moment she knew she would burn in hell for eternity.


The sea was pitch black, no light was shining out there in the dark or on the ship moving towards its destiny. James didn't care if it was either day or night, or that he needed sleep like everyone else, though nobody dared to tell him to lay down already. James wouldn't take advice from anyone because he was a soulless creature with a short temper, quick with a knife, and tough as a nail. Not invincible, though. He didn't cry for his tremendous loss anymore, but tears were itching in the corners of his eyes constantly and his injuries were torturing him just as much as the death of his sister was haunting him. He barely noticed the crew working the ship except for Robert who was watching him. His boy. His flesh and blood. Hers too. His existence was haunting James just as merciless as the shape of a phantom walking the planks by moonlight lighting up his cabin. A shape of fragility and sorrow. A remembrance of what he had done and his coming eternal damnation. Oh James. I'll dive deep into your soul and feed at the last spark keeping you alive until we are one in death. Do you hear me, dear? Do you hear me sing of your doom?


At night Zilpha slipped below deck nursing the wounded while being watched by a boy hiding in the dark corners. She was the angel coming up from the depths of the sea doing everything possible to make the sufferers more at ease. At sunrise she vanished to do her daily work on deck merging with the sailors. Did she regret hiding in the shadows and not having any contact with anyone still human? Or him? Well, no. Not at all. This was still better than being raped and tortured by light. Better than being abused by the man who swore to love and protect her in the face of God and the Holy Spirit. Dear Lord! So much for men and their promises. So much for a beloved creature taking everything from her and giving nothing back but a hole in her heart. So much for the depths of their love. Hence with them! Kill and bury them! Haunt them until they perish into madness.


James was done waiting. He lured Zilpha to the river once more, swimming and splashing around with her, making her laugh and wet to get him hard and ready. Today he didn't let her rest and dry under the trees but pulled her soaked undergarments down and fingered her into bliss. He didn't let her finish though but entered her in a sweeping push to slip into her hot-blooded centre. Naturally, she bent and screamed. He put a hand on her rebellious lips and drove his cock in deeper. She clawed his shoulders, wriggling like a leaf in a thunderstorm, bucking her hips like a wild horse. He pushed on, thrust into her with long and slow strokes, behaving like another kind of animal. Zilpha screamed into his relentless hand; a desperate panicky sound of a bird trapped by a crushing enemy. James didn't care. When she clenched around him, he squirted off and filled his sister's womb with his seed, digging his nails into her ass, grunting. "That will teach you to mock me in front of girls visiting our house." She looked at him breathing hard as well as unsatisfied yet silent in her wishes. "But for being a good girl here and now you shall be rewarded." He put his head between her legs and licked at her dripping fanny. She twitched against his tongue, moaning, and then, at last, she was screaming her needs loud and clear within their sultry jungle. Ah. I hear you now. I feel you in me.


Zilpha hadn't guessed he wanted to make her surrender this very day. At first it hurt plenty, yet she plunged into the flow of his utter delicious movements, drinking the scents and flavours of James, and the forest around them, her screams echoing of the shadowy and muffling trees. Torn between her neediness and the fear of being caught and the exhilarating pressure of his hand against her lips she struggled only to make him do her right and in the way she wanted him to take her all along. She couldn't say so, could she? Only hope he would sense her wishes and do what was improper for any woman to tell. His splash of seed made her tingle though she didn't feel sated. He didn't give her a change to be upset long though. Him going down on her licking his way into her secret passage caught her by surprise but was neither dreaded nor unwanted. She squeezed her legs shut, made him hers, even though he was on top and wouldn't have agreed with her feeling superior. Yet she awarded him with vivid sounds of pleasure. Oh. I see you now. I feel you in me.


James turned sick with a curious fever, and suffering for days in his bunk, he was mumbling of once dearest times in the jungle that he couldn't have back. Ah. His fault. And begging for forgiveness he spoke of his love for her, his want to make her his wife someday far away. Deep-rooted longings forever linked to the currents of their childhood river, the water as blissful and vibrant as when their bodies were united and completed each other. Those glorious days branded in his flesh and mind were regularly rising to the surface. Ah. He didn't notice the figure keeping around his bunk. That Lorna was a witness to his lament yearning. Well. He wouldn't have cared anyway.

"How is he?" Atticus asked Lorna after days passing by without seeing his friend on deck.

"I can't say. He suffers due to a broken heart rather than an actual decease."

"Zilpha," Atticus said, looking up to the sails flapping in the wind.

"Did you know them when they were young?"

"Not well. I met Zilpha once or twice, though I've heard about her."

"You can tell me. I won't say a thing to James."

Atticus snorted. "There's only one creature able to hurt him."

"I figured." She sighed. "Well, there is nothing we can do. He needs to grieve."

"Since he failed to take her with us it might be he won't get better at any time and had lost the last bit of his sanity."

"We'll see." She didn't tell Atticus about the suicide. That was a secret only James was allowed to share. The boy Robert was walking by with eyes asking questions he didn't dare to speak of. Sadly, his confident Mr. Cholmondeley was still lying severely injured in a bunk below deck, not caring much for restless souls or anything else, while Godfrey was sitting next to him, either holding his hand or listening to his incoherent confessions. Blimey! This ship was full of damaged humans holding on to hope alone. The crew of the damned indeed. And she was one of them, wasn't she?


Hearing about James' sickness through the gossip passed on by the crew Zilpha dared to go under deck at night paying him a visit. He was lost in fever dreams, talking about guilt and regret, and the loss of her. Good. She stirred up his guilt by whispering naughty nothings about the past into his ear while wallowing in the pleasure of touching him here and there leaving her saliva like a deviant mark on his skin. "You need to get better so I can have my vengeance, James. I don't need you beaten. I need you strong and feisty so I can wreck your soul like you wrecked mine."

He grunted and opened his eyes.

Well then! She smiled at him.

He gaped at her. "Are you one of them now? Will you sing to me? Will you pardon my misconduct?"

"Not yet." She floated away hearing him whine. An unfamiliar sound she liked to hear very much and could get used to.


Everything was going to hell when his father brought suitors for Zilpha into their house. Wealthy men of old age drooling over his sister like ugly dogs in heat. James hated every one of those slimy buggers and he hated her for making him feel like he was one of her suitors. As punishment he chased her down at sunset fucking her no matter if she wanted him to or not. There wasn't any love present in the consummation only lust and the deviant desire to possess her solely. He was lucky no one ever had caught them so far for dishonouring the peace in the forest or wash off their sin in the river afterwards. He was cunning though to make them wear masks in those erring hours. Bloody hell! Cunning indeed. One fateful dark and crazy night a gang of drunken thugs scared them up during making out and drove them running for their lives and honour. The pack of incited men chased them like frenzy wolves and he and Zilpha bumped through the scrub like doomed prey. And then Zilpha barged into the shrubbery and they both had to hide and pray for mercy. Aghast and in fear for Zilpha's sake he took an oath to never use her given name again if God let them get away while he put a hand over her quivering lips. Finally, the mocking gang was tired of searching and went their way lamenting their loss.

"Hm. We were lucky," he grunted, letting go of her, stretching his muscles. "We could have been raped. We could have been ruined for life."

"We already are," she murmured, and then she wept, the face buried against his bare chest.

"Sister," he rasped, fidgeting as helpless as a rabbit in a trap. "Be still."


Strangely the angry fucking didn't bother Zilpha in the least. The power of making him jealous about men she would never consider marrying anyway made her want him more than ever. She took his abusive love and his cock without any complaint and walked away afterwards straightening her skirt like nothing exceptional had happened. She didn't feel any pain but exhilarating desire. The power of driving James to lose all control gave her the most wicked satisfaction and she couldn't wait for him to fuck her again. Oh Lord! Take pity on me. Soon after a gang of men staring at her exposed body, howling alarming joy, scared her to death. She kept hold of her mask running like a weasel. She already knew enough about men to know what would happen if they would catch her and the everlasting mark of shame and violation such an attack would leave behind. She promised herself to put a stop to her improper behaviour if she and James could escape such cruel fate. And the Lord was merciful. Hence, she felt humbled and didn't tell James about her decision just withdrew into silence and avoided meeting up with him to honour God's generosity. And as she fought her inability to resist his pull, she did the unforgivable to get rid of his seductive presence. A desperate act of defiance that broke them apart.


The day James was strong enough to enter the deck again Lorna took the chance to speak her mind.

He flinched at the sight of her, but his expression lacked any emotion. He was barely hanging on by a thread.

"I wanted to say thank you for the success of our departure."

"I don't deserve it." He nodded at Robert standing at the railing presenting his face to the wind. "I stole his chance to ever meet his mother."

"You couldn't know what she wanted to do."

"That obvious, huh?" James scoffed.

"I considered it a possibility, but you can never be sure, can you?"

"Ah, but I can." He snorted. "Because once we took any risk to be together and lived in constant terror to get caught by our family or by people of the so-called society. Still, we couldn't stop." I needed to be with her. I needed to be inside her. There was no other I needed more. "I loved her beyond reason." He took a sharp breath. "Of course, the danger of getting caught was part of the attraction."


"Any other man with a bit of sense would have stopped our madness. Hm. Not me. I didn't know she got pregnant though. I didn't know she gave birth to a child. I only figured the truth meeting Robert being a perfect likeness of her in the time before I lost my way and ruined us for life. Ignorant about her situation I was forced to leave the country to keep away from her and bury our secret to give both of us some sort of future. I only sent her a brief note the very day I boarded the ship my father chose for me. That is how I handled our affair in the end."

"You didn't even bid her farewell?" Lorna looked horrified.

"Indeed." He turned his face away. "And I never told her about Robert." He clenched his jaw until the bones cracked. "That he is with me. That I kept him safe since the day I learned about Winter's death."

"Punishing yourself didn't change what had happened."

"Ah, but I deserve every punishment. I chased her. I fucked her. I abandoned her. That is why she planned her journey to heaven hoping God will accept her despite her feelings for me. Feelings neither I nor she could shed back then no matter we thought to be bound for damnation. Yet I will keep some part of her soul inside my own." He choked at the words.

"Neither I nor anyone can bar you from having these consoling thoughts."

"Yet that is why I deserve to suffer." He breathed in, blinking rapidly. The tears didn't fall, though, not in front of all those men working on deck. "I've seen her last night. And the night before."

"Oh, James..."

"She's one of them now, though she's not singing to me yet."

"I'm sorry."

He shrugged. "Why? I'm used to see them, my mother, my father, now her. If I'm going insane that's just what I deserve for the sin called my life." His eyes went blank and dark. "Yet her presence gives me comfort, a reason to go on living, because I need to finish what I started." He gripped the railing hard. "And with the devil's help I will."


The day came that forced an involuntary course on them because Zilpha lost her gripping climbing the rigging too fast when James looked at her too closely. Robert was witness to her falling into the sea crying out in fear. "The angel!" James fetched a rope and jumped in after her dragging her back to the ship. Salt in her eyes and on her lips, she clung to his body frightened of the spirits taking her down to the bottom of the sea. And then she was fidgeting like a caught mermaid on the planks with the male wet clothes not hiding the distinct curves of her body anymore. Oh well! Her cover was blown. But incredibly she was glad about being alive and seen by everyone. How about that?

James stared like a wild beast at her. "How for fuck's sake?"

She scowled at him. Do you consider me a sheep that can't do the simplest things? Do you consider me a fool, or worse a victim in a men's world? Don't you know me?

He marched off, though, not saying more. The crew stood frozen and silent. The wind howled around them.

It was Lorna, damn it, who moved first and took her below deck to James' cabin. She helped her undress and gave her food and water.

Zilpha submitted to her care mute, too numb to put up a struggle. She needed to save her strength for later to have a go at James.

James didn't deny Zilpha taking rest in his bunk. He came visiting her every day, but never stayed long enough to disturb her smouldering in fury. He couldn't touch her, could he? No, not ever again. She snorted. Sure. Tell yourself that. Lie! That flaw runs in your family. Always denying what is true until you break or be buried with it. Crying bloody tears from an empty soul. Indeed. She wept without making a sound in his bunk, breathing his lingering scent. Oh Lord! Not speaking to each other they went on for days, two weeks even, while the ship sailed across the big blue sea, a beauty of nature she couldn't care less about.

On the thirteenth day he finally broke and approached her on her daily walk on deck. "How are you?"

She ignored him and turned her face to confront the steady wind instead. The fresh breeze sipped at her fury to simmer down.


Her lips curled. He had never addressed her by her given name since that mad night in the jungle. He strictly kept to calling her sister as if that would change the fact that they had fucked more than once. Well, what about that?

"Why did you do it? Why did you write that letter? Was it punishment for my wrong doings?" James grunted, and waited, waited in vain. So, he spoke again. "I didn't mean to hurt you. I only wanted to protect you."

"Indeed?" Her voice was dripping with contempt. "I didn't feel protected, though, only humiliated."

"There was no need. I was the one who was wrong about many things."

"I got that the day you fucked me at my home."

His eyes narrowed; his shoulders flexed.

"It's fine. I'm used to be taken, abused, and treated like a whore. Don't bother to apologize."

"You're no whore."

She snorted. "Your opinion doesn't count. In the eyes of the church and God I am."

He silenced.

"Leave. I don't want to look at you anymore." She closed her eyes, breathing in.

Well. He did leave. Once again, he took the easy way.

She clawed the railing. For God's sake! Don't turn around. Don't even bat an eye.


James kept his promise. He didn't touch his sister anymore though he suffered as much as he had foreseen by giving her up. He put his pain elsewhere, acted out at school, got into fights with other boys, talked back to superiors, let his grades slip and didn't care about any of those matters. His father raged but for once didn't lay a hand on him. The look in James' eyes told him this would be a bad idea. Indeed. Yet he snapped when Zilpha revealed the reason for James' despicable behaviour. He was livid now, whining about the bad blood of his mum, and put him on a slave ship, telling the captain about his nature. James didn't put up a fight because he couldn't bear to be around Zilpha anymore. He couldn't bear to be around himself anymore. It must be. Wherever I sail. Take me far away!


Zilpha never complained about James brushing her off even if that was what she had wanted. She suffered in silence touching herself by night thinking of him on his knees begging for forgiveness. If he treated her like a whore and ignored her, why shouldn't she banish him from her life for good? She was tougher than he thought. She could go on without having his attentions even though she was incessantly desperate for his touch. She could make his life a living hell by letting the truth slip. She wasn't sure though if she wanted to break with him forever but then the Lord gave her a reason to do just that. She wasn't bleeding like every month, and she knew she was pregnant. For days she could barely breathe nor put her mind at rest. The very idea of bearing his child was making her numb with fear and the only solution she could come up with was to get rid of James and the bloody creature growing inside of her. She must make way for a proper life with a proper man or die in shame.


James was pacing the deck for days, grunting and fuming. That she'd played him like this was well deserved and he had it coming, sure, but still. The crew and his companions in misfortune wisely didn't disturb him in his dangerous mood. He would have struck anyone down trying.

Only Lorna dared to approach him at last. "Give it a rest, James. You scare everyone and they have suffered enough."

He snorted and gripped the railing. "For ten years I hated her for giving away our secret to our father and loathed myself for not getting her out of my heart and soul. I put the blame on her even though I was the one to blame. Yet I continued to punish her for making me feel that much as soon as I saw her again, treated her like a traitor, worse even than my enemies, for seducing me in her wicked ways even though I wanted her to. That she hates me is no surprise."

"That wasn't my impression."

"Hm." He blinked. "Well. Once we were talking to each other without using words. Living as free spirits in the jungle."

"And you're wrong. She loves you very much."

He winced.

"Come on. You were gone for over ten years, and yet she is all about you."

"You have only seen us together once."

"At the ball. Though I never told you that I met her in the powder room."

"Ah." He blinked, waiting for a blow.

"I didn't know who she was then. I believed her to be some woman having her eye on you. I implied to have intentions regarding you myself, and well, she turned all spiteful and defensive. If I ever saw a woman jealous..."

James shook at the memory of her fierce nature. I will never stop missing that part of her.

"Your ugly dispute with her husband later that night made everything clear."

"That doesn't change things."

"I think it does. What about Robert? Did you tell him about her?"

"I should, but I don't want to burden him."

"Don't tell him everything then. Only half of the truth. An uncle is not a lesser guardian than a father."

"I am neither," James grunted. She doesn't have to know yet.

"Sure, you are. Otherwise, you would have left him behind, letting fate take care of him."


Shortly after they anchored at a harbour too small to be on any map, James told Zilpha to leave the ship to take a walk with Lorna.

She glared at him. "Where to, doing what?"

"Stretching your legs. Buying clothes. Feeling solid ground under your feet."

"I could cry I was bloody kidnapped and got raped."

"Ah. Is that what troubles you?"

She rolled her eyes.


"Knowing your nature it's always a possibility, isn't it?"

"Do as you wish." He huffed. "I need to go and stock up on our supplies."

"Indeed. Your business always comes first."

"I have no time to discuss this now."

"Well, don't then."

James sighed, rubbing his watch. "Haven't we done enough to each other? Can we set a better course at last? Sailing in uncharted waters?"

"Well, we should, shouldn't we?" She cast her eyes down. "You once asked me why I did it. Simply because this was my way out of the cage in which I have been living for so long. At last, I could leave society, leave London, leave England behind, travel to a place where I will be free. A place where, someday, I hoped we will be happy." She whirled around and walked over to Lorna, blinking away a tear. She didn't fear he would leave without her. He wouldn't sail away without Lorna, would he? He wouldn't dare to inform the authorities and been pursued what would ruin whatever plans he had. Though she feared to betray her principles by having him this close and giving her pleasant things like nice prospects and clothes. Oh no. She couldn't make it that easy for him, could she? Mm. At least she shouldn't.


On a glorious sunny day Zilpha was swimming in the river though she was crying. James chased after her and reeled her in. She struggled. He tightened his grip, yet he kissed her tenderly. She moaned. He carried her to the bank and made love to her. She gripped his shoulders. "Oh, James. I missed you." He felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth but lost the endearing sensation jerking awake in a blast. Horrible scents attacked his nose at once. He was in a soaked and jolting place penned up with hundreds of slaves sailing to a cruel destiny. Idiot. The past is over. Zilpha is no part of your life anymore. The guilt about leaving her without saying goodbye gripped him hard no matter she had sold him out to their father. He had that coming. Yet he had hidden a brief note in one of their secret places. Did she read it? Did she burn it? Did she even care he was gone? That he had to deal with this mess and keep up to survive or perish on this vessel of damnation? So, that one day he can come back and beg her forgiveness. Not that he should. Not that he believed he could. Yet he must.


Zilpha couldn't believe James had left without a goodbye or a letter even. She couldn't grasp she was alone and pregnant at that. In her desperation for advice, she confessed her sins to a priest. He couldn't help her in her moral dilemma though. Hence, she did everything to get rid of the baby but didn't succeed. When her condition grew visible, she confided in her father. He didn't rage or threw her on the streets but his cold demeanour towards her was equally hurtful. He kept her hidden in the house for months and told people of a strange sickness. He paid a woman to help her with the birth in secret and the baby boy was snatched from her the second he slipped out of her womb. She never saw his face or heard his voice. James' child. The bastard made in sin. As gone as his bloody father. The traitor who abandoned her. Right. On her own she got back on her feet and was introduced to Thorne a brief time later. The chance for a proper life as a modest wife. Proper indeed. If she had known what was lying ahead, she would have jumped off the bridge that very day giving her consent to the engagement. When the message that the ship with James on board went down to the bottom of the sea and he had drowned, she grieved like a widow even though they were never married. She came to the verge of committing suicide several times and only her faith kept her from performing the ultimate sin. And then something happened that kept her in line for the next ten years. James' spirit appeared to her and the sensation of him being alive against better judgement swept over her like a wave of fortitude. And this force stayed with her keeping her company in most desperate times. Until the day she was stupefied by a blessing in disguise.


A couple of days after anchoring and sailing on, James took his cabin back. He had enough and slipped into the bunk right next to her like this was the most usual thing to do. She didn't say a word nor moved away from him. Idly minutes trickled away. The air was impregnated with sorrow and longing. The rolling of the waves rocked the pair into softness yet not to sleep.

"Did you see him? Have you realized?" James murmured at last.

"About our boy?" Zilpha breathed without pause. "Certainly, at once. He looks like you at that age."

James swallowed. "He doesn't."

"He does."


"That he is here you shall be forgiven for your blunders - someday." She put a hand on his chest.

A rare smile crept over James' lips, tingling straight to the core of his heart. Ah. He put his hand on hers and felt her quivering but warm skin. "I wrote you a note leaving for Africa."

"I didn't receive any note."

"I see." He felt her turn towards him. "Yet you believe me?"

"I do, because lying was never your vice."

"Why don't you move closer then?"

She did in the most subtle way, and he sighed, touched by her grace. In no time he was falling into a dreamless sleep, breathing hope.


Zilpha hadn't locked the door to the cabin taking a bath. This was James, not Thorne. She never hid her nakedness from him. Her soul maybe. Never her body nor her desire. He relented for a fleeting time and then surrendered getting into the bathtub with her. She fetched the soap and washed his back. He grunted his consent. She smiled and nuzzled her nipples to his skin, savouring his heat, before gifting a trail of kisses to his neck and spine.

He quivered. "More."

She dug her nails into his arms.

He didn't even wince. "It's done. You had me cry. You had me mourn."

"Good." She put her arms around his hips and touched his privates. That he was already hard satisfied her. "We are one, brother."

"Yes, we are, Zilpha."

"Don't you forget again." She dug her nails into his thighs.

He flexed his muscles. "This does not pain me."

"Good." She softened her grip and fondled his balls.

"Hm." He bucked his hips.

Her need to have him inside her was troubling. "James, having you this close..."

"Ah." He spun around and pinned her under him. "Kiss me then."

His tongue and the warm water lapped splendidly at her skin. "Insatiable beast."

"I am. So, make use of it."

She licked her lips and sprawled to let him break in. Dear Lord! And he took her by surprise going slow and tender, giving her a treat to remember. Not fucking her but making love. And she was satisfied to the depths of her heart.


He couldn't look away. His sister. His blood. The woman he couldn't forget in ten years. "The one thing Africa did not cure is that I still love you," he confessed despite of everything." She deserved to hear that at least. She deserved to be happy. She deserved to leave with him. In the darkest corners of his rotten home, he jerked into his hand. "My love, I can't wait to take you away." He spilled his seed. "I can't wait to make you mine again and show you the world."


She couldn't breathe. James. Her lover. The man she couldn't forget in ten years. Told her he still loved her. Oh, she believed him. He was a Delaney. Mad in the head. Yet she would play along. She would get rid of Thorne. She needed to kill her darn husband to be free for happiness. "James," she moaned, giving herself her treat. "I can't wait to be taken away by you." She bucked her hips. "I can't wait to be yours again and for our life to begin."


James was swimming above the surface rejoicing in the sun shedding light on his face. Zilpha was swimming next to him. And the boy. Unburdened by a false truth. Yet better to keep this secret for now. Wait and see what the fateful future might deliver. Someday maybe. Just now James splashed water on his beloved and chuckled. At the sound, his mother appeared from the thickness of the jungle around and smiled at them. James knew what she wanted him to do. Show Zilpha the letter you found in your father's trunk. Tell her the truth. That all is good and one day you and her will go to heaven.


Zilpha was bathing in a sea of happiness. James loved her no matter what. One day she would tell him that his father had confessed in his last hour that she wasn't his daughter, that her mother was already pregnant when he met her, and she was a bastard child only protected by his mercy lie and not related to James by blood only by heart and soul. This was a secret she would keep to herself daring the mysterious future lying ahead. Daring fate and the man she was decided to follow to heaven or hell. Someday maybe. Though not yet.

Tom Hardy Fanfiction