Word Count: 1246
Rating: PG-13, I guess
Summary: Direct sequel to Something to Lose. Jack decides that he needs to make some rules for James.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Never was. Wish it would be.
Spoilers: Yes. (Minor DMC)
Warnings: Includes the word "blearily". Men sleeping together. The men sleeping together aren't having sex. Blatant claiming of Norrington's person by Jack. Norrington being oblivious to said claiming. Alcohol use. Mentions of fire. Extremely vaguely implied instances of men having sex. The men having sex aren't Jack and James.
Notes: This fic owes a great deal to The Buccaneer, by M. S. Hunter. Also I feel silly tonight. SCHOOL TOMORROW OH NOES!
Special Thanks: Thanks to my betas, witchbabyweetz and greenmtnboy18.
James looked blearily around, at first not knowing where he was. As his vision and mind cleared, he remembered the previous night.
"Damn," he swore softly. Fortunately, he was alone; unfortunately, he had spent the night in Jack Sparrow's bed – not alone, either; the sheets next to him were rumpled and faintly warm.
"In bed with a pirate." He shook his head wearily, laughing a little. "Can I possibly sink any lower?" Remembering how Jack's hot hands had felt (twice now!) soothing his bruised muscles with cool salve, he decided that he already had.
Moving around experimentally, James realised with a shock that his bruises had healed to an extent that normally took several days. He stood up gently. Shaking his head to clear the fog of sleep, he warily left the cabin.
He saw Jack standing at the helm. None of the crew stood between them, so he wandered over, thinking to speak with Jack.
"Hullo then. I see you're finally awake," Jack said as James reached him.
"Obviously." He tried to think of something to say.
"I was thinking last night, and it seems to me we need some rules around here, eh?" Jack said, interrupting James's train of thought. "First rule: never disturb me while I'm at the wheel, unless I say so." James nodded dumbly, starting to retreat.
"Second rule," Jack continued, holding up a hand. "You'll sleep in my cabin, in my bed, not tied up to anything; or you'll sleep on the floor in the brig, bound like you was when this whole problem started, guarded by two men who don't have any great desire for your further health and wellbeing." James began to protest, but Jack cut him off.
"Third rule: you are not permitted under any circumstances to have sexual relations with any member of my crew. If any of them attempts to break this rule, you are to inform me immediately, wherever I may be, whatever I may be doing. If you yourself break this rule, I shall punish you in whatever manner I see fit." James blushed at this, but saw the necessity of such a rule, relationships of that nature being not unknown in the Navy and the fact that it was not a crime on a pirate ship.
"Do you understand all this, James?" Jack asked, grinning.
"I'm no fool, Sparrow, however determined you are to make me one," James growled.
"I'm not trying to make a fool of you! I'm only being certain that you'll assure your own wellbeing," Jack retorted innocently. "Rule number four: there is no rule number four.
"Fifth rule: You may participate in any shipboard battle unless it's against your precious Navy, in which case you will have two options: keeping yourself in my cabin under your own power of restraint; or locked, tied, and guarded in the brig by two gents who will probably want to get to the fighting, and as such will have no vested interest in your continued livelihood." James wondered briefly at the need for such tangled sentences.
"Furthermore, you may choose to go ashore at any time with the rest of the crew, provided you are accompanied by a minimally sober Gibbs or myself. And the final rule is that these are under no circumstances to be considered guidelines rather than rules. Savvy?"
"Why do you need to say that last one?" James asked.
"Ah, so Elizabeth didn't infect you with that nasty piece of work from Barbossa. Good. Now, I assume you're looking for something to do."
"Frankly, yes." James shrugged.
"Ah. Mr Gibbs!" Jack called.
Gibbs came over to Jack. "Aye, Cap'n?"
"Find some way for our friend here to make himself useful, eh?"
"Aye, sir. Come with me, Mr. Norrington."
Several days passed, one much the same as the other: James would wake alone, sometimes with a small breakfast set on the table. He would find Gibbs, who would set him to work. The day would end with a quiet supper in Jack's cabin. Inevitably exhausted from the unaccustomed work, he would fall into an oblivious sleep before Jack came inside, but the bed always held signs of Jack having slept there. Sometimes James would wake with an odd sense of loss, as if someone had been holding him and then had left. He supposed that Jack had cuddled up to him in his sleep, but decided that since Jack hadn't done anything further than that, it didn't really matter.
Sometime in the afternoon of one such day, the lookout cried "Land ho!" Everyone rushed to look at it, and Jack proclaimed with glee, "We'll stop there! Lovely island."
James recognised the island as one used by rum-runners, though the Navy had never found a cache there (admittedly not trying very hard).
"So, Sparrow, what are we to do at this island?" he asked, sauntering over to where Jack leaned against the railing. "Lie on a beach and drink rum?"
"Yes," Jack said, whipping around. "We are going to lie on a beach and drink rum." He looked very serious, as though he spoke of life-and-death matters. "But we are also going to give my poor ship a very thorough going-over for encrusted sea life and other various threats to her health."
"Oh. I'm sorry; I should have realised she'd have taken a beating from the Kraken." James was genuinely apologetic.
Jack grinned. "Not too badly. She's a tough thing, very fine." He stroked the dark wood of the railing, a gentle smile on his face.
Suddenly James remembered his words to Elizabeth: It's a curious thing. There was a time I would've given anything for you to look like that while thinking about me. "Why am I thinking such nonsense?" he muttered to himself. But he couldn't deny that the look on Elizabeth's face then was similar, though by no means identical to Jack's expression now. Where her face had shown considerable infatuation, Jack's betrayed something much stronger: pure, unfettered love. He had considerably less difficulty denying that the emotion gnawing at the edge of his mind was jealousy towards the object of that love.
When the Pearl had been dragged up onto the beach and the sun had set, her crew had already made good headway towards scraping all the barnacles off one side of her. Shortly before sundown, Jack had gone off with a couple of men and returned bearing rum. So once it had grown too dark to work, fires sprang up on the beach and bottles were passed around.
To James's surprise, members of the crew appeared to be pairing off, arms around each other – for what purpose he could easily guess. Every now and then another pair would slip off into darkness. James ignored them easily.
It was with some great measure of shock that he felt Jack's arm slipping about his own waist.
"What?" He tried to squirm away, but Jack held him tightly.
"Relax, James. Remember rule three? I'm only enforcing it," Jack murmured in his ear. "All I'm going to do is sit on a beach drinking rum with you. No one will bother you, I promise."
"Very well." With that dubious reassurance, James ceased struggling and simply drank.
After a while, when the rum had fogged his mind a bit, he put his arm around Jack's waist and leaned against Jack's shoulder. Jack only smiled and said, "I knew you'd warm up to me."