You wake up from a noise, a little noise, a tiny noise, a cat's noise.
It's probably the cat, but you're not really sure and you don't want to wake Elizabeth, so you slide out of the bed, the night almost as warm as her sleeping body. The floret is right beside your bed, and then in your hand as you creep down the steps, one at a time, by reflex avoiding the creaky ones that always wake the little one.
It's the cat alright.
And it looks like she's brought something in again.
Greeneyes is lying on the couch, well, not on the couch to be precise, but on something that slouches provocatively on it, all angles, black shadows, beads and feathers. The cat purrs and kneads her paws, her eyes are half-closed, reflecting the moonlight that falls through the open windows.
A bright bird that managed to fly away three years ago.
"Jack," you breathe, the floret's point dropping to the floor, but not touching it. Always wary. Little Jack is sleeping upstairs, after all.
"Off you go, kittykat, there's larger prey afoot," the shadow says and the cat just jumps off and wanders away, still purring softly.
Greeneyes is Liz's, the bloody cat has never even deigned to set her nails in your leg.
Jack pats the couch beside him, the moonlight turns the little moats that float up into golden dust.
"Come, Will, come sit with me. There's room aplenty on this couch."
You walk over to him, and sit down, wary; no longer weary at all.
"What brings you here, Jack? Want to have another round with Commodore Norrington?"
His eyes are black, black as the night that brought him here, and his gaze floods you like the the sea that is always in your blood, always calling you. You just forgot how to answer back again.
"Actually, no, my friend. Commodore Norrington must still be smarting from his defeat by the capable hands of a charming blacksmith, I would not want to add to his sorrow by escaping him yet another time. Savvy?"
He stares at you the way you remember all too well, and suddenly the night is even warmer than it was before.
"I have come to repay a debt that was made in blood."
"However, since I wasn't sure you wanted to be repaid in blood, having turned reputable and all I've thought of something else you might like as a settlement. What about.... a kiss?"
Your face flushes and you know Jack sees it. He leans back, lips curving slightly, fingertip resting against his lips.
"There is no debt to repay, Jack. I am a married man now, Jack. Elizabeth is sleeping upstairs. And what about the Code? What does the Code say about men kissing?"
You start to get up from the couch, but he bends forward, softly rakes a fingernail over your cheek, just below the cheekbone, cups his hand so his palm rests against the fiery line, a pirate's mark.
"The Code. The Code. I like to think of them of guidelines. And I'm sure Elizabeth won't mind. Just one little kiss. Old friends and all."
And suddenly his mouth is very close and the only course of action you can take without going insane is to put your lips against his and find out how warm wet gold feels under your tongue and how he tastes as exotic as he looks.
Jack yelps in surprise (no never really really surprised) and your own head is suddenly painfully pulled back. Elizabeth stands behind the couch, holding both of you firmly by the hair, smiling beatifically.
"You were right, Jack, never trust an honest man."
She mercifully lets go of your hair and starts to climb over the back of the couch, laughing at your shocked faces.
"Move over, boys, there's room enough for three."
Story note: I found an interesting reference here to a book by "B.R. Burg called 'Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition', published in 1982: a study admired by the late historian Christopher Hill, which suggested that homosexuality was the dominant culture of piracy in the Caribbean - a facet unaccountably overlooked in its representation in popular culture, though it could be residually detectable in the fashion sense." I think I'll pay the university library a visit tomorrow. *g*