Rating: NC-17, m/m slash. Casual mention of OFCs.
Disclaimer: The Mouse/Bruckheimer Productions owns them, except for Jack Sparrow who belongs to J.Depp. ;-) I wants them, precioussss….
Beta: Moonsalt, 1_and_the_same
Warning: Not all pirates are 'good men'.
Author's Note: Setting is pre-PotC, backstory.
Dedication: This is for you, Gloria Mundi. Guiltfic as a belated offering to tide you over until 'the real thing' (Eclipse). ;)
Summary: Barbossa's fancy becomes an obsession, consuming him until greed pushes him to grasp too quickly at the object of his desire.
Upon first glance, he was nothing more than a fellow brigand.
A jaunty fellow with equal measure of pretensions to grandeur and fine style. In truth, before making his acquaintance, Barbossa found Jack Sparrow to be an inexperienced, callow youth. And annoyingly youthful, at that; much in the way young men are wont to be when they believe themselves to be the cock-of-the-walk, and carry themselves thus.
Jack Sparrow was a gypsy thief, an Irish/English bastard with Indian blood somewhere along the lineage, who carried himself like an arrogant rooster, dandified and possessing far too much impudence and poise a man of his years should carry. Barbossa found him brash, intense and overconfident, and this dark young man who spoke too loudly in the tavern in the harbor was easy pickings for an older gentleman of fortune such as himself, to seduce and beguile and perhaps even simply lead astray. It would be easy to part him from his ship, for example, let alone any venture, fortune or captaincy he held. Barbossa found Jack Sparrow irritating.
Or so it was until Barbossa learned that Captain Jack Sparrow of the Black Pearl (and what was such a young, untried man doing with a ship as grand as that, anyway?) was far older than he looked.
Of course there'd never been any question of his inveigling his way aboard the Black Pearl (far too fine a ship for such an inexperienced fellow to captain, or to keep, surely?) and into Jack Sparrow's trust.
With bright, dark eyes that gave away far too much boyish enthusiasm, and a keen, secretive, husky voice that was far too eager to take an older gent such as himself into his confidence, Jack revealed his life's calling, and before long, he was falling victim too easily to Barbossa's friendly encouragement to ever find him worthy of anything but scorn. As if a man of his years and experience would truly be so enraptured in what such a fool, a stripling and a dreamer such as Jack thought he knew about anything.
The Caribbee beckoned, said Jack, an easy harvest with rich pickings for any man bold enough to reach out and help himself. Barbossa knew better. It was a sea of sharks with many national flags flying from their masts that lurked in those waters. Rich, to be sure, but not without a price. With three navies having already subdued most of the old Brethren by outright force or subtle infiltration via employment in their own national cause, privateering had long since driven the true pirates out of the Caribbean.
Shrewdly, he'd played along, wondering when his youngish-seeming Captain would blunder. Sure enough, there were other tales, as Jack told his First Mate over rapidly-dwindling drink. Tales of gold and plunder beyond most men's wildest dreams. It was only a matter of finding it. Or of finding one specific island, rather.
Barbossa took note that, when pressed about it, Jack would only grin and change the subject. Leading him on. Playing him for the fool, and stringing him along like a child with the hope for further stories. That rankled, it did. Deep inside. That a man of his stature and years would be treated thus by Jack Sparrow. To be humored.
He carefully covered it with an indulgent smile, careful to always stand by him, and careful to always be seen at his right hand. First Mate, to be sure, and it wasn't something to be taken lightly. He wasn't putting up with all of these wounds to his pride just to see it go to some other hungry bastard who thought to try for himself.
Well, it was only a matter of time before they'd left the Old World behind and departed for the West Indies, there to help themselves to the stout ships toing and froing from the colonies, and the sugar ships laden with rum and gold. Not to mention the Spanish traders bearing gold and heathen slaves. The Caribbean was indeed fertile ground for any pirate to quickly make his name and fortune, if he didn't mind the risk of dancing on the gallows if he were caught.
Six weeks to cross the Atlantic was by far the most optimistic estimate any sailor could hope for, yet the Black Pearl surpassed all expectations, bringing them into the Caribbean Blue in less than that time. The only man unsurprised was Jack Sparrow, who cast knowing sneers and loving glances up at the black sails, as well as the Rackham colors that Sparrow had adopted.
Flying the flag of Captain Death? Barbossa had sneered privately himself; Jack Sparrow was craven. He'd seen his sort before, in ports the world over; men quick to talk big yet unable to actually prove the stories were anything but. It was fitting, Barbossa had mused, that Sparrow would take Rackham's colors, for his liver shared Rackham's hue to a shade.
Jack spoke of taking gold the easy way, forcing ships to yield and not shedding any blood to take what they wanted. Life was easy to squander, but not to Jack Sparrow. Barbossa was glad to see that the Captain's rather un-piratical, pacifist nature caused some distress amongst the rest of the crew, as well as some disgust. Gleefully, he assured Jack that the crew would be just as pleased to have gold as opposed to bloodshed, and meanwhile noted that it would be far easier to part the Black Pearl and her Captain than he'd hoped.
It would be easy. Nothing could be simpler. The Black Pearl would be his. It was only a matter of time. He could afford to bide his time and allow Jack Sparrow to lower his guard yet further, so that when the moment came, the ship would be his for the taking, and the title of captain, too.
After their first raid, a brig weighed down with supplies and gold bound for one of the French settlements on Hispaniola, Barbossa was illumined to discover his Captain was made of sterner stuff. Brandishing pistol and cutlass, Jack was as fierce a sight as any eager member of their crew when they boarded the surrendered vessel.
Grinning wildly, with his unkempt dark hair tossing about his sharp face, Jack seemed a true devil, one of the old Brethren, and the crew had been more than happy to follow his lead.
And in truth, Barbossa had been glad to ignore the slight he might have been caused as First Mate to have the Captain leading the boarding party and to even be the first to land on the other deck, taking charge of the other ship as though he'd done it a hundred times before. For it had been worth it to see the sight. It was true: Jack Sparrow cut a fine figure. The previously muttered fears on their crossing of the Atlantic, that their Captain had yet to prove himself worthy of the name, were put to rest.
Another raid soon followed, and again Captain Sparrow seemed to set the example.
Later, in the stews and dens of various ports they drunkenly and wealthily staggered into, the whole crew was happy to find the gold made them very popular indeed.
Too popular, one could say, and Barbossa had to wonder at the as-yet-undisclosed origins of Jack Sparrow who refused to divulge any tidbits of his past, as the young-looking Captain swilled about the streets with the best of them, always with at least one wench on his arm - if not two.
A perfect sea-rat, taking to leading raid after raid as if he'd been born to it. Always with very little threatening needed, and never much bloodshed. To be sure, some blood was spilled, but always the fools'. There were always those men that could not yield even under threat of death. And the Rackham flag was never flown as a jest. But Barbossa could smell something rotten about the swiftly growing legend of Jack Sparrow, even then. Something decidedly not born and bred quayside.
Something a little too charming, and too endearing. Too friendly.
There was a careful distance, Barbossa began to notice. Jack was happy to burble through rum and ale and feasting in any tavern, about the future and his hopes and dreams. But never the past. Where he'd been. What sights he'd seen. He played the part of a pirate a little too well for Barbossa's liking, and that was what rankled. Did Jack Sparrow think it was all a game? Perhaps it was, and they were winning it thus far. But when it came down to it, the real prize would be the Black Pearl, and he fancied Jack Sparrow had no idea.
Which was perfect, of course. Except for one little problem.
Barbossa found he was beginning to like Jack.
Jack was carefree, and easy, and altogether merry most of the time; often brimming over with zealous enthusiasm and almost garish, foppish displays of good-humored, good-natured complacency. And, without fail, never losing his dignity or balance. He carried himself as a captain, and Barbossa began to look forward to each private moment in the greatcabin alone with Captain Jack Sparrow as he would share a drink with his First Mate after a successful raid, and Jack would occasionally take up a single coin from their takings to weave into a lock of his wild hair.
Dark, long tufts of swiftly growing hair Jack had refused to cut but instead began to tame into braids, that made him look more savage than he was in truth, but suited him well. And in the five or more weeks it had taken to cross the ocean to this warmer clime, Jack's appearance had altered a little, but not so much as it did now, as he quickly adopted the interesting barbaric attributes of some of the Cimarron free-slaves from African tribes.
The careful, thin dark lines applied beneath his lids, Jack explained, were only practical, to cut the light off the shining Caribbean waves in the bright sun. But the effect was an unpleasant heat that twisted in Barbossa's gut.
Never mind that the Cimarrons who'd brought the custom over the sea with them hardly applied it so carefully themselves, or that against Jack's face such outlined eyes made him resemble less a slave or Afrikaner and more like a whore. It was effete; hardly becoming a man - let alone the captain of a buccaneer crew. Yet Jack made it look as though he were the true pirate, to wear it. He wore it with aplomb and grace, bearing himself as though naught was out of place.
It quickly became a part of Jack, and no one cared to notice, except for Barbossa himself, who began to question that he'd ever found it repugnant. It suited Jack so well, after all. Another of their idiosyncratic Captain's eccentricities.
Barbossa's confusion and ire grew when, not only was it revealed that Jack had never had his ear pierced, but that Jack refused outright to have his earlobe stuck through with the needle. Many a sailor, whether 'on account' or not, or having come to the Caribbean through piracy or even the British or French Navy, pierced their ears for good luck and sure safety against drowning. Yet Jack swam like a fish, laughing at such fears, and adamantly refused the needle, claiming his hair already had enough charms in it without needing more.
As if Barbossa's simple gold hoop he wore strung through his ear was somehow less than true pirate style, and merely a simple sailor's affectation - and superstitious to boot. Though Jack never said, naturally. He didn't have to. His glances were dismissive enough. Barbossa wondered at his feelings upon the matter and could not decide if Jack were truly adopting a superior attitude, or if he were seeing things that were not there in truth, but illusions of his own creation. The possibility that he might be seeing either one in Jack, or in himself, caused him confusion and ire, to the extent that he feared to even try to investigate deeper. For in either case, he ran the risk of playing the fool, and revealing too much. And it simply would not do, to be hungering at the heels of his Captain like a common cur eager for whatever scrap of attention the younger man might toss offhandedly to him.
Barbossa wondered at the angry desire he felt, to be the one to take up the needle and shove it through that pale bit of flesh, to make the bright bit of blood appear and lick it away with rum and his tongue. He wondered why it always came back to settle in his mind like a buzzing pest of a fly that he couldn't shake, whenever he drank.
Like quicksilver, Jack Sparrow's moods darted as aberrantly as his namesake on swift wings. And luckily, his smiles were always just as quickly bestowed upon his First Mate as anything or anyone else.
So Barbossa was often left to wonder at the needless jealousy and darkness he felt cover him when those smiles and easy gestures were turned towards another.
Five months in the Caribbean, Barbossa began to wonder if perhaps he wanted to even bother wresting the Black Pearl from Jack (for all that she was still a grand ship, far too fine for a man such as Jack), for life was good; time passed quickly, the sun shone down and the waters gave up fat ships whenever they needed them.
And the Black Pearl's reputation swelled, flying through ports and towns like wildfire. She was still twice as fast as any Navy ship, and easily bore them to freedom and safety when pursued by enraged military vessels.
It seemed nothing could go wrong. The New World truly was their oyster, and their ship was the biggest, the best, the most beautiful Pearl in it.
It was then that Barbossa realized he'd been following in Jack's footsteps, walking in his Captain's shadow, and liking it… Liking it! Without thought for his own fortune or destiny.
It was then that he realized he wasn't even angry to find it was so.
It was then that Barbossa found he'd grown to see the Black Pearl as his home, along with the others that settled into the easy life of a buccaneer in relatively under-defended, unsuspecting ports that'd long since thought themselves safe from the deprivations of pirates. The pirate hunters of the various Navies had done their work well, but had left it open for such as them.
And it was then that Barbossa knew he'd come to be more than fond of Jack Sparrow than was advisable, considering his plan to eventually take the man's ship and rank.
Jack Sparrow was weak.
Barbossa wondered if the game would be more interesting if he upped the stakes, and made it a little more personal.
After all, Jack was friendly, but overly so. He was a rake and very popular with all the wenches everywhere he went, but in the manner of a flirt rather than a true debaucher. And Jack Sparrow, Barbossa began to see, was not simply a youthful, handsome man.
Jack was beautiful.
To be sure, it was not bells and whistles and fireworks from the Orient when Barbossa realized he'd come to regard Jack with the brand of affection one held only towards a trusted shipmate in the dark, when a knowing hand might be offered for another mate too long at sea to find proper relief. And to be sure, Barbossa was not such a fool that he imagined Jack would ever bother to do such a thing with any of his crew. Let alone his First Mate.
No, Jack was not such a fool himself to ever take the chance of letting down his guard in that fashion. He was the captain, after all, and he knew full well the dangers of allowing any of his crew to grow too close or enjoy favors that might endanger his own position.
Barbossa also began to see the necessity for all the ladies draped on either arm, as Jack helped himself to the female population that, it must be said, seemed eager for his attention as well as his coin. Barbossa began to quickly see the need to always have a lady or two draped on his own arms, himself, lest his observations be noticed in the wrong light.
For it began to pain him, as time passed and the autumn rolled by, to see the endless faceless procession of women enjoying Captain Jack Sparrow's company.
Barbossa knew it wasn't only the comradeship he wanted, for they were mates, even beyond the need for such things as declarations of 'trust' and 'honor'. They'd fought and bled together more than once as the months passed, and had helped themselves to what the Caribbean Islands had to offer, standing side by side.
No, it wasn't the thoughtless, warm gesture of a hand on a shoulder, or the offer of someone to lean on to get from one end of the room to the other, when the drink became the master, and one's senses roiled like a storm-tossed ship.
Nor was it the obvious rutting pleasure he found in wenches and whores in all the ports they stayed in week after week, often on Jamaica itself in coastal towns under the very nose of the British Navy.
Endless women who all seemed to share the same names after a while. Women who, in the dark, were nothing more than a span of warm flesh and an appropriate hole in the darkness of his own private thoughts that he could turn into anything, anyone, even in his most drunken carousing.
Even if it were Jack that he turned them into, the muffled squeaks and lusty, hoarse, whispered moans easy to imagine belonging to a dark-eyed, dark-haired man who was too pretty to bear the sight of anymore without first taking a swig of fortification.
It was a glut; of gold and blood and rum and swords and shot, and cannon-fire and ships, and endless days of vibrant freedom, and nights that tasted of gritty desire never assuaged but always slaked, and rouged cheeks and powdered faces, plump lips that never quite satisfied, sweetness that was always too soft and never salt-weathered.
Eyes that weren't dark enough, skin that wasn't bronzed enough, bodies after a while that simply were not male enough. Although Barbossa's lip curled at the thought of bothering to take another man the way he desired to take Captain Jack Sparrow. One or two experiments with willing lads had quickly proven disappointing enough.
It had become a desperation, an obsession, and Barbossa knew it would never be fulfilled without tasting that final, forbidden friendship that was so much more than any man had any right to…without going mad from the lunacy such a course offered. The horror of knowing that he had found the one man in the world that he wanted more than any other, let alone any other thing - it wasn't to be borne. The one thing he feared more than all else was Jack's ridicule. Jack's rejection.
Far easier to ignore it and pretend the envy didn't bite deep, when wantons pressed their greedy mouths to his Captain's in plain sight in every inn and tavern.
But Fate is a harsh and beguiling mistress, with whims of her own, and Barbossa wondered if he might conspire with her to see to it that even the slightest ease of his urgent longing might be appeased.
If he could have Jack but the one time, he reasoned, he could slake the desire and be free of its cruel sweetness, the terrible chains that bound him to Jack without ever allowing him any respite from the absence of Jack's body. Just once. Only one night. It would no longer rule him, making him the unwitting Captain's slave.
And he began to lay his plan, taking some measure of comfort from the thought of what lay ahead should his scheme prove successful.
Eventually, and in very little time at all, Barbossa found his plan hatching to his advantage.
Venturing further inland, past the mangroves and tidal beaches, the Pearl's crew stopped off along the northern coast of Tobago for the gathering of fresh water, food and fish.
No one had any warning that the jungle cat was lurking in the dense undergrowth, and it was uncertain, in the rush of danger and exhilaration as the beast pounced, just who it had targeted.
The jaguar screamed, skewered on Barbossa's cutlass and shot through the neck by Jack Sparrow's pistol shot, followed soon after by Koehler's, who stood between the both of them, ensuring the cat was dead for certain.
Koehler and Jack both looked up at him and he realized it was in tacit acknowledgment of his kill, for his blade had pierced the cat first.
Jack's eyes were thoughtful as they watched Barbossa.
That night, aboard the Pearl, as Barbossa toyed with the fangs and claws that had been stripped from the beast, after having them cleaned, casting them upon the dark, polished surface of the table, Jack sat opposite him, both finishing a bottle of rum between them. The rest of the crew were out on deck, sawing at a fiddle in demented, drunken carouse with full bellies and fuller spirits, for the foraging along the coast of Tobago had been fruitful indeed.
"T'was a big one," Jack commented.
"Aye," Barbossa grinned. "Very big. An' will probably grow in the telling, too."
Jack gave a little lift of his chin, almost tossing his head but not quite. "Hard to tell, really, which of us was its intended prey."
It was one of Jack's mannerisms that Barbossa had learned to ignore, however coquettish it might seem. Barbossa continued to grin, tossing the teeth and claws once more as though they were runes to be cast. "T'would have killed us all, methinks, for disturbing its slumber."
"Although perhaps it was hungry, as we were," Jack commented evenly.
Barbossa threw a sharp glance at the Captain. "I take it ye've no stomach for killing any but yer fellow man?"
Jack grinned back him, just as sharply. "Was thinking more that the beast had sprung towards me, ey?"
Barbossa sat back, thinking this over. He gave a shrug, noncommittal, yet suddenly and acutely aware of where this was leading. "Aye, perchance. Which sets me to wonderin', Jack Sparrow, what a man might ask for, should he save the life of his Captain?"
Jack looked away, and down, even as the candles guttered slightly, flickering around them as if pulled by the same current of wind that breezed through Barbossa's blood at the turn the conversation had taken. An opportunity not to be missed, nor treated lightly.
Jack stood and went to one of the cabinets, removing an awl and a piece of string, of the kind that he used for threading mementoes through his hair. Sitting back down with the tool, he gave a significant glance at Barbossa, meaningfully. "Which will ye be wearin' then?"
Barbossa considered the teeth and claws he had cast upon the polished surface of the tabletop. "The claws may dig deep, even in the beast's death." And it was true, for they were sharp still, and to wear one from his ear would possibly threaten his neck even in the wake of the cat's demise. He picked up one of the large fangs and held it close, for scrutiny. "This one seems fine enough, don't it now?" And he sent it skating across the table towards Jack, who caught it up and regarded it against the light.
Jack began to whittle a hole through the top of the large tooth for stringing.
To see Jack's delicate fingers engaged in lighter, careful work, and upon an object intended for Barbossa himself as opposed to stringing through his own hair, sent a shaft of heat through Barbossa's veins, chasing away the earlier thrill and replacing it with a glow that he could not this time put down to merely the rum, no matter how hard he tried.
"Still," Jack remarked, not taking his eyes from the hole he was drilling through the top of the tooth, frowning a little at how the tooth seemed to resist the sharp point of the awl, "hard to tell, really, whether it were Koehler or myself it were pouncing, ey?"
Barbossa narrowed his eyes. "He's got the beast's skin," he pointed out. "But I did notice ye've yet to claim yer share of the prize. The second kill-shot was yers. Which of these will ye take, for yer hair perhaps?"
Jack didn't reply, merely smiled. And made a noise of satisfaction as he managed to send the awl through the tooth at last. "I've another idea," he said at length, blowing upon the tooth and smoothing it with his finger. He threaded the small length of string through it and tied the two ends to a smaller gold ring. He got to his feet and walked around the table to stand before Barbossa.
Barbossa looked up at him with a slight frown, wondering what Jack was up to.
With that little smirk of his, Jack said, "I'll trade you for the honor. You can keep the tooth and everything else, for the ring you wear now. Savvy?"
Surprised, Barbossa regarded him. So he had been wrong, after all, about Jack's opinion of the same. Finally, he found his tongue. "As ye've pierced this tooth, ye'll be havin' te have the same done te yer ear, mate."
"Naturally," Jack smiled down at him.
Barbossa wasn't sure in that moment which sent the flame leaping hopefully through him more: the smile or Jack's acquiescence to having his ear pierced by himself.
Leaning back, he brushed his hair out of the way and removed the earring, the gold hoop that he'd worn for now many a year. He held it out to Jack, who took it and then leaned down to fit the smaller circlet through Barbossa's right lobe.
Barbossa almost had to close his eyes against the bolt of lust that washed through him at having Jack so near, with those too-delicate fingers against his own ear, in his hair. It lasted only for a few moments, however, before Jack was straightening and said to him, "S'truth, it does become you. Far better even than the gold."
Barbossa smiled back at him, feeling like he had won…something. And in truth he had. "It be yer turn now, Captain. Ye've a needle to do the job properly?"
"Oh, aye," Jack agreed, turning on his heel (and with far too quick and fancy a turn to find becoming a pirate or a captain, still, it must be said) and went to another drawer, this time to withdraw a sharp needle, smaller than the like for heavier stitches, but sharp enough to pierce a man's flesh.
Barbossa stood and went to him, even as Jack sat back down in his own chair and grabbed up the rum, obviously in readiness for the procedure. He took the needle from Jack and asked, "Right or left, then?"
Jack gave him a winsome smile. "Which would ye suggest, mate?"
Barbossa made a show of thinking it over, looking on either side of Jack's face, enjoying standing so close to this one at last, and enjoying too the drawing out of this act, turning each passing moment into a slower one. For he was all too aware that here was his advantage, and it had to be played most carefully lest he frighten off his prey.
"The right, I think," he murmured, even as he realized he'd slain the cat earlier that day in pure possessive defense of what he considered his. For the jaguar had indeed been leaping towards Jack. Barbossa had thrust his blade through the beast's middle, entering its back to pierce its heart, and Koehler had nearly lost his nose in the act.
Jack pulled his hair back from his right ear, baring it to Barbossa's needle and took up the rum, handing it to Barbossa without a word, yet with an unreadable expression in those dark, outlined eyes of his.
Barbossa took the rum and spilt some on the needle, then handed the bottle back to Jack who swigged heftily from it as Barbossa leaned down.
Raven-dark hair against his fingers, strands that seemed too soft suddenly, even for such a man, distracted Barbossa, and he had to take a breath to remember he must keep a close eye upon where he pierced that exposed bit of flesh, even as he took Jack's earlobe between finger and thumb and placed the sharp tip of the needle's point against him.
Jack felt the sharp prick of it and tensed, obviously preparing for the sting.
Barbossa swallowed, his throat parched, and skewered the dainty bit of Jack's ear, watching helplessly as the bright drop of blood appeared against the needle, as the needle was thick enough to create a large hole indeed, large enough for the gold ring of Barbossa's that Jack would wear.
The flinch Jack gave was silent, but Barbossa was close enough to hear his sudden, swift intake of breath at the needle's invasion.
The sight of the blood and Jack's wince combined with the fire turning in Barbossa's body and the nerves stretched tense as the strings of the wailing, debauched violin outside on deck.
Pulling the needle out now, he tossed it upon the table and took the bottle of rum from Jack, taking a draught himself, only to lean down and lick away at the blood welling from the small hole, running onto his fingers. Copper filled his mouth and he heard Jack's gasp as he mouthed Jack's freshly-bleeding, pierced earlobe between his lips, covering it with rum. To his credit, Jack pulled away neither at the piercing nor at the sensation of Barbossa's mouth against him.
Calmly as he could muster under the circumstances, Barbossa straightened and said, "A clean hole, Jack, and neatly done, if I dare say so meself. The gold?" And he held out his hand.
Jack placed the gold hoop in his palm and Barbossa spilt rum upon it for good measure, and then leaned down once more to thread it through the fresh hole in Jack's ear. "There now, Captain Sparrow," Barbossa murmured. "Ye be a proper sailor now, aye?" And he grinned, standing up to look down at him.
There was a confusion in Jack's dark eyes, even as they regarded his First Mate, slightly widened like that of a big cat's prey. "My thanks," Jack said, simply, at the last, yet his voice held the same question as his eyes, and Barbossa had to move away - lest he lean down to treat Jack's mouth to the same, rum or no.
That night, alone in his own cabin, which lay situated across the greatcabin from his Captain's, Barbossa found release with the taste of Jack's blood upon his lips still, and the smell of Jack's skin in his nose, and the sound of Jack's gasps in his ears, over and over and over, spilling finally into his own fisted palm as tightly grasping as he imagined Jack's bum might be upon his prick.
Hope and promise remained too, even in the wake of such a tiny thing, for Barbossa knew it had not been mere passing, to save his Captain's life, nor Jack's recognition of the same. Jack believed it an instant, reflexive act of protection on his part, to save his life in such a way. All to the better, then; far be it from Barbossa to enlighten him further, or worse yet, correct him. Sleep and darkness came contentedly that night, and Barbossa fell asleep soundly as a babe.
The French island of Hispaniola tolerated pirates for the gold they brought in abundance, and the smaller islet of Tortuga was a nest well lined with doubloons and sovereigns, ducats and silver.
Here it was that the Black Pearl made anchor not a week later, and here too the Black Pearl's captain and crew enjoyed the hospitality of taverns and whores, rum-shops and inns.
Here it was too that famous buccaneers had long since made Tortuga a known haven for such as themselves, and Barbossa wondered if Captain Jack Sparrow hoped to make his own name as famously. Not an easy thing to accomplish by any means, and Barbossa wondered yet again at Jack's past, at the naiveté his Captain displayed by such boyish dreams…for all that they might be just Barbossa's own speculation yet.
Finally one night over a shared table where Jack sat, seemingly bewitching and entrancing the resident wenches in attendance with his youthful features, Barbossa was able to ignore them for once, and openly declared himself without even a drink to embolden him.
"Ye may as well be plain with me, and out with it, Captain," Barbossa stated, dryly, watching as Jack's eyes flickered towards his. Barbossa continued, knowing his voice reached Jack's ears even through the hubbub surrounding them, "Ye must have a plan, te be sittin' here allowin' Time to go marchin' away from us, aye? What venture do you have in yer head, that ye be spendin' so many hours lookin' about ye as if searching for new crewmen? An' how many more days must we be wastin' away in the kill-devil as though we've an endless supply of gold for it, Captain?"
Jack gave him a small smile and nodded once. "We'll be needing new men, in any case. But in truth, there's treasure awaiting us that outshines any ship we might take between now and the New Year, ey? T'is only a matter of finding it, an' I've the means as well as the will. Question is, do you, Barbossa?"
Barbossa gave a simple shrug, although Jack's talk of treasure fair piqued his interest, not to mention his desire. For treasure of any kind was not to be spoken of lightly, nor did he think Jack fool enough to do so, therefore it must be worthy indeed. "As ye will, Captain Sparrow, though the details do seem to be missin'. I'll thank ye te explain to these humble ears just what ye've been cookin' in that head of yers, that ye'd be tarryin' here. An' see that ye do not make a mockery in the tellin' either."
"Very well." Jack leaned across the table and lowered his voice. "I've heard tell back in Old England of a treasure chest of gold, greater than most men dare dream about in their wildest fancies."
Barbossa allowed himself a derisive snort at this. "Aye," he chuckled, "an' such tales are cheap an' plentiful besides."
Jack's smirk played about those pretty lips now, and his own eyes narrowed to feral slits. "No tale, but a Codex of heathen origin I've seen with me own eyes, as well as a parchment upon which: a story; writ by a Spaniard under Cortez back in the day, mate."
After delivering this little piece of news, Jack sat back in his seat. Barbossa found himself staring back at Jack with renewed interest, with no trace of amusement left in him at this revelation.
Calmly, Jack continued, "From what the story says, there'd be enough gold for every man on such a venture to retire rich as kings. No ordinary gold, though, it must be said."
Barbossa found his blood stirring with an excitement he'd not felt in a good while, for seizing ships was always problematic and the thought of gold sitting about in some heathen temple was more than enough to take serious notice. "An' what sort of gold would this be then?"
Jack made a face. "Cursed gold, Aztec gold, as given to the Spanish in exchange for mercy from Cortez, who apparently didn't see fit to give it. The bugger kept the gold and continued to massacre the poor bastards, so they cursed it. Or so says the Codex. Any man that removes any gold from the chest will be damned forever."
"Ghost stories," Barbossa scoffed, although the tale was taking on both a sinister and even more exciting edge, it had to be admitted.
"Aye, to be sure," Jack agreed, and held up a hand, his finger outstretched as if to make a point, "but t'is not the ghosts that matter, but the gold, ey? I've the bearings, and the tale writ in Spanish, as well as the Codex itself. Also a few assorted, sundry pieces; enough to promise you upon me own honor that the tale be true, savvy? All we need is the crew willing to risk all on such a venture."
Barbossa folded one arm across his chest, and fingered his chin with one hand, thoughtfully. "There'd be no blood to shed, nor Navies to avoid, nor even any foes to risk ourselves against."
"Precisely," Jack said, expansively, "and what's a few ghosts, really? A few wandering shades on a cursed island of dead in the middle of the ocean where no one's set foot in several hundred years - they'll all have withered away to wisps of sea-fog by now, I reckon."
Barbossa gave him a sharp look. "A cursed island?"
"Aye, well," Jack nodded, then looked shifty. "Apparently no one can find it without already knowing where it be, possessing the bearings beforehand, but we've already got those. It's simply a matter of going to collect it."
It sounded far too easy. And Barbossa smiled widely, amiably. "Gold," he mused.
"Gold," Jack agreed.
"Yer a wily man, and a cunning thief, indeed, te steal this idea 'neath our very noses for this long, Captain," Barbossa said, easily. "How long were ye plannin' on keepin' me in the dark about this one then?"
Jack threw him a sharp look. A little stiffly, as if slightly wounded and taking umbrage, Jack asked, "I had to earn your trust, did I not? And have I not proved meself to you, ey? In all these months, and after all our string of victories and battles, you'd follow me as Captain on such a venture, surely?"
Clever, Barbossa thought. Wily and clever indeed, for Jack Sparrow to turn his question around in such a manner, and make as though it were not Barbossa's trust that had to be earned at all. "Surely," Barbossa said, in a note of finality as if he'd weighed the decision and come to accept it. "So we've an accord then, on this, our new venture."
"An accord. A drink on it, even," Jack grinned back at him, lifting his rum to clink against Barbossa's tankard of lighter, watered ale, (and it must be said, Jack had grown a bit too fond of the rum since arriving in the Caribbean these months past, having acquired quite the taste for it) before downing quite a mouthful while Barbossa watched the Captain's arm snake out about the waist of the wench standing near him, to pull her onto his lap; her squealing all the while at the sudden attention.
Barbossa caught the eye of the girl against the wall and she came forward with an eager smile, even as he flashed two doubloons between his fingers at her.
"A drink indeed, an' even celebration," Barbossa said with satisfaction, as the girl took up beside him, leaning upon his shoulder with a practiced tilt into him.
Jack was laughing lowly, and the whore in Jack's lap was shifting about lewdly and expectantly, and Barbossa suggested, "They've rooms above for this; we'd do better to move our little party upstairs, aye? Two, for the price of one?" And he allowed himself a leer at both Jack and his woman, before glancing up at the girl who stood beside him. She began to giggle.
The noise seemed to swirl about them yet never touching them, nor quite coming between them, and Barbossa heard Jack's voice, "Certainly, mate, only there's jus' one obstacle, ey? I don't share my women with a man whose name I don't know."
Barbossa frowned at him in sudden confusion. He wondered if he should take offense.
"Your first name?" Jack asked, with a slight lift of his brows and a quirk to his mouth that abruptly had Barbossa swallowing, unsure whether it was interest or unease that he felt at Jack's question.
Barbossa suddenly realized it was trust for trust; revelation for revelation, for he'd never revealed his first name to Jack at all, for fear of…well, ridicule. "I'll tell ye upstairs, for the walls have ears an' so do sober men, though they both be in short supply tonight," he answered at last.
Jack gave him a look of assent and a slight nod that would have served far better from either of the wenches they both held, and Barbossa smiled mildly back at him, uncertain yet again whether it were anger or desire he felt at it, for Jack to bestow such a flirtatious look so unthinkingly, so easily.
Getting up from the table, Jack took his rum bottle and his wench, and Barbossa let his Captain lead the way towards the stairs, and up them, the banister and steps festooned with drunken sailors and scallywags, feeling the heat flush his face faster than any drink could cause, at the way Jack's hips moved before him, climbing each step.
By the time they'd reached the landing, he wasn't sure if it were the sway of the whores' hips in their skirts or if it were Jack's that was the more incendiary. The promise of the shared lewdness to come was strongly enhanced by the fact that they would be sharing both the women together, even as they'd shared a drink and such trust at the table below, between them.
And Barbossa knew his opportunity had arrived. Fate had taken mercy upon him and delivered his prey into his hands, at last. For who knew what hands belonging to whom might be felt in the dark upon whoever's flesh were there within reach, and who knew what pleasures might be stolen thus?
In the dark, the silence was thankfully broken by the muffled giggles and shrieks and revelry from nearby rooms, as well as the laughter and suggestions of the two wenches, one blonde and the other red-haired, that accompanied them into one of the upstairs rooms.
Jack turned to him and said, with a bit of a grin, "So then, Barbossa, mate, it's your turn, ey?"
"Mm. Well, an accord is an accord." With an easy smile, Barbossa leaned in to whisper to Jack, "Hector is me name, and ye be tellin' as such te anyone else, I'll have yer bollocks, mate."
Jack pulled back sharply at this, giving him a look of slight surprise, and Barbossa continued to smile at him mildly as if naught were amiss in the least. Jack nodded, then stumbled as the woman with him pulled him toward the bed.
The candle was lit, and Jack, the most drunkenly inebriated of them all, was borne down to the bed by the wench who cackled in delight at sitting astride him, and Barbossa smiled indulgently at the pair as he took his own mistress over to the other side of the bed, there to slip his hands about her waist and run them down her covered thighs, only to dip beneath the ample skirts of her dress, to her bare flesh beneath.
She gasped a little and giggled, and her blonde hair came loose from the pin, tumbling over her creamy breast. Sitting down, he took the girl upon his lap and from behind him he could hear Jack and the redhead moaning into each other.
His prick was hard from the sound of their voices, and the knowledge that it was Jack on the bed behind him, not a scant two feet away. The desire muddied his thoughts and caused his mind to swirl with foggy lust as if he were as drunken as his Captain.
The doubloons he'd handed the wench who writhed in his lap upon him now, her bare thighs and arse rubbing against his breeches in a wanton attempt to arouse him further, had long since disappeared and he knew she'd rifle through his pockets later for more. If she'd aid him in his plan, his quickly developing scheme, she'd be welcome to them, to be certain.
A whispered suggestion in her ear made her gasp and then begin to chuckle wickedly in her throat, and she whispered, "Ooh, aye, an' ye are a naughty one, aren't ye, sir?"
Barbossa grinned, glad for her cooperation. Indeed, she seemed most eager to comply with him, for she slipped from his lap and crawled upon the bed over to her partner and fellow whore, and whispered in her ear, eliciting a similar indrawn breath and then a low murmur of interest, even over Jack who lay there under them upon his back, his head back and Jack's slender throat bared in an arch as the red-head moved upon him, covering him with her skirt.
Barbossa caught their eyes and began to remove his clothing, leaving his shirt on but unbuttoned, and taking down his breeches.
The two women began to divest Jack of his clothes, stripping him with little sighs and happy murmurs of surprise as more of his golden skin was revealed. Jack, for his part, seemed blissfully unaware of his impending fate and apparently reveled in the twin attention he was receiving.
Soon, Jack lay naked; his flesh burnished by the single candlelight and even more fetching with the four hands that caressed him with feminine intent. Barbossa leaned close to the blonde lass to kiss her, nuzzling at her neck, and clutching her arm, even as she pulled upon Jack's slender, full cock with her lady's hand, the sight accentuating the maleness of him and sending a new wave of desire pounding through Barbossa's body.
Both women now leaned down on either side of Jack, and the redhead pulled Jack towards her, moaning softly and encouragingly as Jack complied, moving atop her on the bed to settle between her parted legs.
Barbossa was careful to lay the blonde woman down beside her friend close enough that his own body might brush against Jack's, and the inadvertent yet awaited-for contact as the side of his hip and his own arm briefly moved against Jack's warm skin was enough to cause a firestorm of wet, hot need thrumming through him. He had to have this man. Now, tonight; before another hour had passed.
And soon enough, their four writhing, squirming bodies, all seeking union and the same pleasure, twisted into shapes not so easily defined or disentangled, and so it was that eventually Jack was surrounded by the two women flanking him, their hands busy upon him and Barbossa's own hands joining theirs upon Jack's body.
Wet from the blonde whore's quim, and with Jack still needing release himself, Barbossa slid atop Jack - and quailed to find himself there so easily. Without Jack saying anything at all. Though it was true that Jack's eyes were closed and probably didn't realize at this moment that he'd been stalked and captured at long last. Or perhaps he did, and chose not to open his eyes in acknowledgement of it, which Barbossa could even take as silent admission…or agreement to it.
No matter, for he was taking him in any case now, for he'd already waited too long and suffered this unwanted desire for long enough to cause pain, and risk any regret upon the morning's arrival.
Still flanked by the two women and held down by all three, Jack undulated with a groan, his eyes closed still, and Barbossa captured one nipple between his lips, his tongue working the nub which hardened beneath his attentions, and began to part Jack's legs with his knees, widening them.
The redhead pressed her mouth to Jack's, and the blonde worked Jack even more with her hand now, with a saucy grin flashed at Barbossa who nodded and narrowed his eyes at her meaningfully with an answering grin in their sinful accord.
But when Barbossa began to lift one of Jack's legs higher, Jack's eyes flew open and stared back into Barbossa's with an expression that was not that of prey, or submissive lover, but almost an accusation at the liberty he'd dared to presume.
Barbossa did not pause, merely continued, slowly, with an easy smile as if all were well and this was all one big jest, a game, a bit of daring fun to be had between them… and the redhead giggled low in her throat happily and began to kiss Jack again, all four of their bodies still slowly in motion.
Barbossa's hand on the inside of Jack's thigh brought his knee up farther even, and still Jack didn't resist. Barbossa's eyes narrowed, wondering then if Jack had given it thought then, after all, at some time in the past. Perhaps even from that night when, in the wake of saving his Captain's life, he'd pierced Jack's ear and given him his own golden hoop as a bond between them.
In truth, it did go beyond the bounds of either mates or the friendship between the Captain and his First Mate, and Jack had to be aware of that, hence perhaps his acquiescence to this now, even as Barbossa held his breath as he pressed his iron-hard length against Jack's arse and easily rubbed upon him. For it was a chance to have what both might have wanted from a distance, in secret, and no one ever need be the wiser.
The two women were fondling each other's breasts across Jack's chest and the blonde did not let go Jack's cock, as Barbossa had bade her, even as he slid into the tightness of Jack's body, feeling the heat and slickness burning his prick and what was left of his senses, to have this man at last.
For surely now he could ride him hard and long, and partake of the younger man's beauty and charms, and in the dawn, be able to set this desire aside.
Jack's strangled yelp as Barbossa slid deeper into him only served to give Barbossa more urgency and as slow as he was trying to be, so as not to lose this precious opportunity, he growled and moved harder.
The pace increased and he felt his balls draw up tighter, and the sexual, libidinous thrill of all three of them taking Jack Sparrow in this fashion only served to stoke the fire in his groin, and he began to shaft Jack with more fervor.
The blonde's hand upon Jack moved quicker, expertly, and Barbossa's organ had pierced him as surely as the needle through that lovely bit of paler flesh but a week or so ago, and Barbossa could even believe he still tasted sweat and blood upon his tongue, as Jack writhed against him and suddenly cried out, his own seed spilling warm and wet against the blonde's fingers and flecks of it flying up to spatter Barbossa's skin, and the loveliness of seeing Jack lose himself, giving himself up to this- this claiming by himself, with his two accomplices, caused Barbossa to surge forward.
The heat and clutching depth of being buried in Jack's body was a glimpse of purest bliss, and Barbossa found himself overcome with the ecstasy as it shot through him, rising from his feet to his legs to his belly, up to his face and head, mixing with the ale and the blood and the heat and the fever of feeling Jack, Jack Sparrow, a most unfairly attractive Captain and too much younger not to hate and yet desire, and he was spending, helplessly, into the other man beneath him.
Jack was jerking aberrantly under him, against him, skewered still, even as Barbossa spilled deep inside of him, wracked with groans of release and finding voice at last to the desire that had tormented him for months.
The candlelight danced wildly in the room, casting hellish shapes against the walls, and Barbossa abruptly chilled, in the wake of his panting breaths and the sight of Jack's open mouth as his head was still thrown back, and the redhead's mouth was moving over his chest, her hands cleverly working his nipples.
What would be the cost, indeed, of tonight's forbidden theft? But he had no time to worry, for Jack seemed nearly lost to them, from the combination of the rum and his own brief taste of Heaven.
And Barbossa grinned, even as a tiny voice whimpered in the back of his mind, (or if he were honest, truly honest, perhaps even his heart as well) that it could only ever be this once, and now he knew that even the once was not enough. Could never be enough. And he mourned the passing of these moments, golden stolen moments, and ached.
The coldness of the day was an illusion, as the heat lifted and rose above the fog that dissipated in the bright sun in the morning, and Barbossa awoke to find himself alone in the inn's room.
He caught up with Captain Sparrow in a seedy establishment right on the docks, where the smell of fish was all-pervasive, and Jack was busy recruiting men for this new venture for the Aztec gold.
As superstitious as most pirates were, even Barbossa had to acknowledge that the way Jack told the tale, it was as easy to dismiss the curse and tale of blood and Spanish armies and frightening Aztec gods as ghost stories in the daylight, particularly with the fact that the gold were merely sitting on some island in some cave, awaiting collection by any bold enough to attempt to find it.
Jack would not meet his eyes, however, and Barbossa began to feel anger (and it must also be said, a great deal of injury) to be dismissed so offhandedly.
Into the night and in taverns all throughout Tortuga over the next two nights, Jack was busy doing the recruiting himself. He seemed content to allow Barbossa to accompany him, along with several of the other crewmen, to give weight to the validity and reality of their venture. But he refused to speak to Barbossa alone. And Barbossa's anger began to turn dark.
It darkened with fear, at first, that he'd taken too much, too quickly. But then it turned to pain, in the wake of knowing he'd not be allowed such an opportunity again, and certainly never voluntarily, and he wondered if he was making a larger grievance out of it than actually existed, for he'd not even yet spoken to Jack, who seemed… preoccupied.
Finally, they had the crew and the supplies and the means. The dreaded Isla de Muerta with its chest of gold awaited them, and the Black Pearl left Tortuga with a bevy of stories buzzing wildly in its wake.
Barbossa wondered if Captain Jack Sparrow had all but dismissed their little encounter from his mind, and was indeed so besotted with the idea of all the gold that he had even forgotten about it entirely. He'd certainly had enough rum to have done so, even for all that his arse must still be feeling the aftereffects - the notion of which brought a sharp grin to Barbossa's face even upon considering it, for the fact that he'd buggered him after such a long while of desiring to.
Never mind that the one taste had only left him wanting more.
That evening, in the greatcabin, after the others had gone, Barbossa sat on the other side of the table as was his wont while they were at sea, and Jack sat in the other chair.
"So, Hector," Jack began, and Barbossa started angrily, brought up short at Jack's cavalier tone and the use of his given name. "We've only to make for the open sea and then I'll be steering the Pearl to the Isle of Dead. Which means we've one more night to settle our differences." His dark eyes settled upon Barbossa with a strange mix of curiosity and challenge.
Barbossa gave him a sour smile. "An' what differences might these be, Jack?"
"Well, I'll tell ye," Jack said, in a gracious and altogether irritatingly conversational voice. "I'd rather thought it was the thought of gold rather than your Captain that ye were following, ey? Now I'm thinking that it's more a question of your following your Captain and his thoughts of gold." He swiftly held up a hand. "Which, I must say, serves you well, seein' as loyalty is a most becoming virtue to find in one's First Mate, or indeed any crewman, and especially on a venture as interesting as this one." Jack cast a more knowing gaze at Barbossa now, however. "Still, it does leave a man to wonderin' if you're willing to give as good as you take, if you take my meaning."
Barbossa frowned a little, wondering if Jack wanted the same as he had taken from him without his leave that night, or if he wanted recompense in some other form.
Jack illuminated him quickly though. "I'll have your word, Hector, that you'll not breathe a single word to any other about our little accord two nights ago, and the consequences, and I'll not breathe your name to any other, savvy?"
Barbossa let out a breath. With a genial smile, he said, "Of course."
Jack grinned back at him. Then added as if in a surprised after-thought, "Oh, and of course I'll also have your word that you'll not be helping yourself to such liberties again, or I'll have your bollocks." And he smiled back at Barbossa with the same measure of amiability as Barbossa had shown him.
But of course, Barbossa had already had him the once, and Barbossa sneered, "Of course, Captain."
"Good," Jack said. "I'm glad we understand each other." He stood and said, "Pleasant dreams, mate." And he lifted his glass to Barbossa, draining it before he departed for the privacy of the Captain's cabin, leaving Barbossa sitting in the greatcabin alone.
Barbossa sat for some time before the table, not seeing the array of candles that mocked him cheerily as the glint in Jack's dark eyes previously, wondering why he felt all his pride slipping away from him as easily as his seed had spilled into him before.
The wound inside grew, and he knew he'd overplayed his hand and shown too much, had dared too much and grasped too much, and had ended up losing it all. But still, there was the gold to be had, and the ship, and even if the gold turned out to be of no more substance than the ghosts in the story of the cursed treasure of the Aztecs, Barbossa could still take this ship from him, Captain or no.
He went to bed himself, to nurse his broken spirits and faded cheer, and a great deal of anger.
Three days and three nights later found Jack Sparrow facing mutiny, for he'd refused to speak to Barbossa of it since, and Barbossa had decided his fate with much more than piqued and hurt feelings or injured heart, but a steadily growing desire to have done with this young, still far too untried Captain and his fey demeanor (although, in truth the ship itself yet held the greatest allure, being such a grand and magnificent ship, too grand for a man so young and untried,) and it was with a great sense of contentment that Barbossa faced him.
The despair and dismay in Jack's dark eyes were even enough to soothe some of the hurt and anger still rankling within Barbossa at being rejected in such an offhanded manner, and never given the chance to speak his piece or explain, and he knew Jack's weakness, his fears, were at the root of the same.
The Black Pearl was his, and the gold would be his, and he, Barbossa, would be the feared pirate and rapscallion of this fat, fearful Spanish Lake, while Jack Sparrow reaped the rewards of his cowardice and weakness on the island that even now they neared, even as the Pearl deviated from their course towards the Isle of Dead.
Jack had given the bearings up to him in exchange for the promise never to repeat their little 'dalliance', and more besides, but they were only words, and it was that at the last that had sealed Jack's fate in Barbossa's motivations.
He contemplated keeping the man for himself, just…because.
But it were better this way all around, with the temptation and the hurt set aside to wither and no longer remain with the fear of Jack's reprisal and revenge later, perhaps sooner even, should he attempt to take back his ship.
Surely the desire for the man would die along with him as Jack remained behind, marooned. Out of sight, and out of mind.
As Jack sat in the brig below that night, as the Pearl sped towards the little island they'd seen hours before on their way to the Isla de Muerta, Barbossa went down to visit him.
Jack sat in the cell and looked up at him as he stood outside it, staring down in at him.
"It's not too late, Jack, for ye te change yer mind. Ye might even last longer than ye're fearin', if ye were te stay aboard as my mate, if ye take me meaning," Barbossa grinned.
A flash of scorn and some pride in Jack's eyes at the use of the word 'mate' and his deliberate emphasis of ownership of the same was enough to make Barbossa lean closer in anticipation of Jack's retort.
But Jack climbed to his feet, said nothing, merely looked back at him with a blend of pain and anger, and his hands moved to his right ear. Unfastening the gold earring from his ear, Jack tossed it at Barbossa and said, in a dry and clear voice that was devoid of any inflection whatsoever, "I was not your whore for the taking then, and I'll not be now, either." And he stood there, glaring back at Barbossa with righteous indignation and dignity, as if Barbossa were the cause of all sorrows or grievances…And a shaft of guilt lanced him. For of course, he was.
Only pride made him turn away, leaving the earring to lie on the deck where it fell, and he did not pick it up.
Although it must be said, too, that if Jack had only agreed, had only bent a little, just a small portion, towards himself, he would have been willing to release him, trust him even but a same of that small amount, but as he continued to walk away, Jack's voice came to him through the darkness of the hold.
"If a man has no honor, he has nothing at all, Hector."
Barbossa did not dare to look back, leaving him behind, while going above to enjoy the rewards of audacity and daring to pluck such a grand prize as this ship from a man too weak to understand how to play the games of wiser, older, more experienced men.
A life for a life, for he'd saved Jack Sparrow's life once before, and it was his to take.
Although, in truth, it must finally be said at the last, too, that there were some nights that even in his dreams, Jack Sparrow's face and form would insinuate itself into Barbossa's vision and he would awake in a cold sweat as if haunted by the dead man on that deserted isle.
When the curse of the Aztec gods revealed itself to be terrifyingly, horrifyingly real, Barbossa found the desire was gone with all else, and there was nothing but the knowledge of empty greed for having snatched too quickly at pleasure, too many pleasures, and he knew himself punished in more ways than any man could guess.
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