"You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old."
- Much Ado About Nothing, Act I Scene 1
Jack woke up in a cell, and this was warm and reassuring in its familiarity.
He propped his chin up on one hand and considered the floor. Nice clean cell. No new bruises that he could tell from here. Oh yes, yes - he grinned - now he remembered.
He sat up in the straw (clean straw, Englishly clean, no other word for it, and one Englishman in particular) and his head twinged. Probing revealed no lump - who said this hairstyle was impractical? - and then the jailor's keys rattled against the door. Jack looked up expectantly.
"Commodore wants to see you," the lead marine said.
"Course he does," Jack beamed.
As was frequently the case, Jack's unmissable good cheer unnerved his escorting pair of marines. Anyone would think that manacled visitors to the Commodore's office (they'd learned; short chain this time, just four links) weren't usually happy about it. By the time they ushered him into said office, they were decidedly twitchy.
"Thank you, Mister Hinch, Mister Jones," Norrington said, without looking up from his desk.
Norrington looked up then, but only just, having to raise his eyebrows to get them out of the way of the glance he shot the marine. "Yes, Mister Hinch?"
"Well, it's just that he's..." Hinch gestured at Jack, who did his best impression of innocent, chained, harmless - entirely wasted because Norrington didn't so much as twitch in his direction.
"I'm sure he is," Norrington agreed, in a tone of voice that almost made the marine blush (if Jack was any judge). "If it will make you feel better, you and Jones may stand watch at either end of the corridor. If Mister Sparrow chooses to leap from the window we're well rid of him."
Jack waited, clanking nonchalantly, until the door closed behind the last of them. "I keep telling you," he said then, quite reasonably. "It's Captain."
"And I keep telling you," Norrington responded, setting down his pen and rising from his chair, stepping towards the window, still not looking at him, "that I'm not going to recognise a title you won off a Spanish Governor in an inebriated game of whist."
"I wasn't that drunk."
"Sparrow." It was accompanied by a glance with the faintest hint of long-suffering patience. "What are you doing here?"
Jack smiled. Well, that was alright, then. He took a moment to look around the room. Not bad; some people had come up in the world, it appeared. In Jack's experience it was all bobbing on the waves, a little up, a little down, but he supposed these things worked differently for naval fellows than for pirates. "You know," he said, slinking past the corner of the desk (and it looked like Norrington had hidden his penknife, was there no trust these days?), "you almost fooled me, down on the dock, playing like you didn't know me from Adam."
Norrington leaned against the window sill. "Wishful thinking."
Jack mirrored him against the desk. "First meetings do have a particular charm, don't they?"
"And I almost didn't recognise you. What on earth is that on your head?"
Jack sighed. Why was it always the hair? "I got bored."
"Why am I not surprised?" There was the faintest smile on Norrington's face, the one that wasn't even there unless you knew exactly what you were looking for. "Where?"
What sort of idiot question was that? "All over."
"No. Where were you when you got bored?"
Oh. "Shanghai. I think. It's a bit fuzzy, to tell you the truth."
"Why start doing that now? But at least that explains the pleasant absence."
Jack nodded. "Been a while, hasn't it?"
"Four years and seven months," Norrington provided promptly.
"You've been counting? I'm touched."
That flat, level look thrown his way was so familiar Jack couldn't stop the grin. From here, he thought, he knew the sea. He had been worried, for that moment, that moment of a hand held out to shake. But then came the tearing off of his mask (as it were) and the keel had evened out beneath them, every tone of voice familiar and Jack had missed this. He knew his way from here, he thought. As much as he ever cared to.
Norrington stopped him at arm's length, a hand on his shoulder that fell as soon as his momentum was sufficiently arrested. "What are you doing here, Sparrow?" The sound of patience wearing thin.
"I need your ship."
A blink. Just a blink of those clear seawater eyes. Otherwise, not a speck of movement on his face. Deadpan as he repeated: "You need my ship."
"I need a ship. I immediately thought of you."
"I'm sure I'm very flattered." Jack was less sure, but it would be rude to correct him. "So you decided to come to Port Royal... why? In the hopes that I'd give you one?"
"For old time's sake?"
"Not even in memory of Nevis?"
An eyebrow quirked upwards. "You left me tied up with my own stockings--"
Jack could have laughed, but he kept it to a grin. "I knew there was a reason it was such a pleasant memory."
"--and with the account still to settle."
Just as quickly, grin turned to frown. "Here, now, I never did. They cheated you."
"And anyway," he said, raising one manacled hand placatingly even as he took the hint, took his cue, eased forward, "anyway, turn and turn about, how many days did I spend in that bloody French prison?"
"Jack," Norrington repeated, never one to be put off, not when he was looking at Jack that directly, as though he'd never, ever be distracted. "I will not give you a ship."
Jack shrugged with a rattle. "Didn't really expect you to." He was close enough now that he could lower his voice. "But once I'd thought of you, the winds just seemed to tend in this direction."
"This is the Caribbean; the winds tend the same direction all year 'round."
"There's some variation," Jack objected.
Norrington hadn't stood up. That was a good sign, yes? "I told you," he said, gaze still level, eyes still brine and mystery, "not to come back."
"You did," Jack agreed. "I remember it distinctly. When they made you captain. Four years and... what was it?"
"Four years and seven months ago." Jack laughed, just a little huff, he couldn't help it - had it been so long? - and felt his breath come back off Norrington's face. "Never was one for doing as I was told."
"I know," Norrington said. His hand closed over the metal links between Jack's wrists, as he stood up and pulled him in.
And this Jack had missed. Four years and seven months. Some things never changed, though, and thankfully this was one of them. This, this mouth on Jack's, like the man behind it, hard and obstinate, intense and immediate. Jack slid his challenge along the seam of Norrington's lips, until he was let inside, invited in to plunder, to take what he could. If he could.
Jack reached - and came up short against Norrington's grip with a clank. Then the restraint was gone (just the hand on the chain, not the chain itself, not the manacles, just the hand, fingers digging instead under Jack's sash to tug him closer) and Jack reached, successfully this time, to lay hold of that wig. (Who, he asked, had any right to comment on his own hair arrangements while wearing this ridiculous thing?) Norrington was kissing him deep and tilting, fingers trailing up Jack's neck, and he was also standing in front of the window, beyond which, Jack remembered, was a long drop...
The wig was tugged from his grip. "Don't even think about it," Norrington muttered, and there was a slithered thump behind Jack as it landed on the desk.
Jack grinned, lips stretched against Norrington's, and framed his head with his hands, spread his fingers into James's dark, natural hair (much better, much better). Plunged back into the kiss even as he turned his hands, flexed his wrists, brought the cold links of the chain taut across Norrington's throat.
The world spun, and Jack's back hit the wall; James's hands hot around the manacles around his wrists, his knee pressed between Jack's. He laughed with all the breath he had left, spilling it all out into James's mouth. Couldn't have issued a verbal challenge even if he could think of one, even if he could think with that hot, hard pressure grinding him against stone, but he turned his whole body into one, arched against restraining grip and body until James made the faintest sound that might be a growl and pushed. Crushed the fight out of him?
Not even close.
They were rough breath and rough hands and rough teeth, lips, tongue. The time for words was past, this altercation down to the shove of a shoulder, a thigh pinned, the fumbled work of hands at waistbands. Jack got there first, more nimble more quick, and the bitten-off hiss of James's in-drawn breath tasted like victory. Jack milked his advantage, stroked hard, his other hand on James's hip and the chain heavy across his thigh between them. James rallied, a most improper counter-attack for a navy man and Jack's head knocked back against the wall, could have knocked himself out all over again save for his hair, blessed hair; and sweet bountiful Neptune that hand, James's hand, there, there, around him yes, around Jack's cock might be just right, might be just the right distraction, might be just one measure of what he's been after and yes there.
They were rough breath, gasping breath, James against Jack's forehead and Jack just below James's ear, the side of that stiff neck under his lips, his teeth. Something to hold onto (like the metallic shiver of the chain; a reminder) against the force of memory renewed, of remembering with his whole body that this had been, was, is; James in his hand and wrapped around him, slide, fevered, brush of his lips against Jack's skin as he muttered something he would never normally say. It's that, it's more, it's the shudder across his shoulders, the release, the chain clanking, the hard skew of his body and somehow it led to their mouths catching again and then Jack was gasping too.
Never change. Not this, not this.
It took a moment to regain their sea legs. A moment together, still leaning. A moment apart, each man for himself. Long moments, and when Jack squinted out the window beside him, the sun had moved. It sparkled off the water of the bay, dazzling, and it was the whole sea spread out before him. Jack stretched, largesse limning every vein, elongating his reach, and he pondered idly on what he could do, now that he's back.
Norrington's brocade was relatively unrumpled, and Jack thought he would have to try harder next time; mind not properly on the job. There were marks on his own clothes, but impossible to tell if they were new.
"Missed you too," Jack said, as the wig was resettled, its owner cutting him a sharp glance. Jack grinned, bounced on his toes, and Norrington didn't repeat himself. (A sharper game this time, Jack thought, cut and thrust, but that would be fine, just fine.) He tucked the last stray lock of hair under the wig, opened the door, called for the marines.
Hinch was wary, upset by the absolute normality of the scene, flinching when Jack-the-still-chained, Jack-the-not-escaped, grinned at him. Norrington, of course, didn't care, not gracing such ridiculousness with his attention, already turning his back; but his gaze slid hard over Jack (just Jack) on his way back to his desk as he said: "Take him back to his cell. He'll go quietly."
Jack went quietly. Apart from the whistling.
Reunion by dee
The questions: Why is Jack in Port Royal? And why does he look so happy in jail? Gloria requested "happy smut"... yeah, well, make do with what you can get. *g*