Pairing: Gillette/Bush (aka Groves) (Yah Lieutenants in Luuuuuurve!)
Author's Notes: For this story to make ANY sense, you're going to have to read a 'Matter Of Rules', people. Sorry about that.
To: My Slyness, Monnie, and Dea. Merry Christmas, girls. SexyLieutenants and cameos just for you.
Dedicated to: Marsquete and Jehan's Muse, who taught me if one can't have a Commodore, a Lieutenant is DEFINATELY the next best thing.
By L.M. Griffin
"I never knew you two were lovers." Commodore James Norrington turned from the prow of the Falcon towards his Lieutenants, his green eyes quiet and unreadable. For a long, agonizing moment, Andrew Cristophe Gillette knew fear. The sort of fear that rips men apart in battles, the kind he himself had never experienced before. Not for himself, but for the tall, handsome man beside him.
His companion. His friend. His lover. His equal and other half in this life they shared on the sea and her ships, a life that might soon be over. He resisted the urge to look over at the one person in his life, besides the Commodore before him, that he refused to give up without a fight, as he set his shoulders and prepared for the worst.
Jonathan Ashley Bush stood silent and straight, knowing this moment was bound to come, that it had to. Their trio of friendship was on a precarious balance with the passion he felt for the ginger-haired, sarcastic yet adorable man at his side. He knew Andrew was only thinking of what would happen to Jonathan, but the realization didn't make the feeling any less dear.
What would James do now, they both wondered. Would he turn hypocrite? What had all these years of friendship really meant to this hardened leader of men before them?
Eight years ago, they all started this journey together. Blessed were they to finish it together. He stared at James, thinking back to when it began, and where it might just finish...
Eight Years Ago - The HMS Interceptor
"Mr. Gillette, front and center!" Second Lieutenant James L. Norrington's voice ran above the melee of the jack-tars at work, and Andrew drew his head up from where he was helping some of the men check the rigging for undue wear. He slapped a youthful hand on Strong's shoulder, one of the junior carpenters, and shorter than Andrew himself, "Keep it up. I'll be back momentarily."
"Aye sir!" The jack-tars chorused, smiling amongst themselves. Andrew Gillette was one of the youngest midshipmen on the Interceptor, and one of the few they obeyed without question, as he was one of the few 'gentlemen' who wasn't afraid to get in and do 'man's work'. A trait, they had all noted with some satisfaction, he had picked up from his friend and mentor James Norrington. The two of them would go far, or at least that was the considered opinion of those below decks.
Andrew smoothed down his uniform, then checked to make sure his red hair was neatly tied in place. James was a stickler for neatness, and Andrew was always looking to impress his slightly older and only friend. He moved with smooth alacrity through the groups of men, until he stood at James's back, waiting until the Lieutenant turned to fire off a quick and perfect salute, "Yes, Lieutenant Norrington, sir?"
James nodded approvingly at the salute, before stepping slightly to the side to reveal a slender young man, perhaps a year younger than Andrew himself, with dark curling hair and a look of avid interest on his handsome face. Dressed in the uniform of a midshipman, he finally turned his attention to Andrew and flashed him a brilliant smile that made Andrew's heart suddenly thud.
"Gillette, I'd like to introduce you to our newest addition, Midshipman Bush." James said formally, but politely, "Bush , this is Mr. Gillette."
"Jonathan, if you wish." Jonathan Bush said, flashing that smile of his again.
'Oh Bloody Hell', Andrew thought to himself weakly, although to look at him one would never guess at the tempest within. He offered a hand, attempting to keep his own smile distant and yet polite, "Andrew. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."
"Bush will be bunking in with you," James said, nodding his head once towards Bush, "Show him where to stow his things, and give him a basic run-down of the ship, how we like it run, and so on."
Andrew resisted the urge to moan manfully, but instead inclined his head just so, "Of course, sir. Follow me, Bush."
He moved for the stairs leading down below-decks, his mind a-whirl. This was dreadful. Horrible, vexing, and outright painful. He knew that his attraction towards men was something he could not indulge in freely aboard ship, although he had a few memorable encounters with more experienced officers. Several times with a gentle jack-tar named Michael whom Andrew always remembered with a little bittersweet meloncholy, for Michael could be considered the first lover Andrew ever had for any considerable amount of time. He died in a battle a half year ago, and from then Andrew satisfied himself with his hand and the thought of purely serving his nation and not his own needs.
However, temptation had just been delivered at his doorstep, so to speak, in the form of this lithe young man with the laughing dark eyes and charming smile. However, he could retain his professionalism. After all, this looked like a hearty young man who probably had a fine appetite for the ladies. He hoped. Sincerely.
"...He's a rather fine fellow, isn't he?" Bush said from behind him, startling Andrew from his thoughts. He turned towards the other young man, raising one eyebrow in question, and Bush smiled that Damned Enticing Smile once more, "The Lieutenant. He's young to be promoted to a First, is he not?"
Andrew's sharp chin tilted up, his dark eyes flashing, "He's one of the most brilliant Naval men in the Caribbean theatre. Just wait, Jonathan. You'll see how lucky you are to serve under him."
Jonathan seemed a little taken aback by Andrew's fervor, but that Damned Enticing Smile appeared once more, "I look forward to it. I hope I can make his acquaintance more personally." He paused, then that smile softened, making it more appealing, if such a thing was possible, “And I hope the same can be said of us."
All the water in Andrew's mouth dried up, returning instead to his hands, where his palms were quite suddenly sweaty beyond all reasoning. He managed a curt nod as he turned towards the door, "Yes, that would be pleasant, wouldn't it?"
Barring of course, if he managed not to fall in love with him.
Seven Years and Nine Months Ago, HMS Interceptor docked in Nassau
Jonathan sighed, fiddling with his tin cup as he looked over at James, "Yes, but why doesn't he like me?"
"I never said he didn't like you, Jonathan." James said, glancing over at the younger man with a patient yet amused look, "I said he's usually shy around those who he doesn't know very well. Now are you going to move or not?"
"Well, he acts as if he doesn't like me." Jonathan grumbled, as he reached over and moved his knight.
James's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. He shifted his rook, and then proclaimed, "Checkmate. Really, Jonathan, your mind isn't in the game at all."
Jonathan looked ruefully at James, who had become his friend through sheer persistence on Jonathan's part. "I know, I know. It just bothers me, is all."
"If it bothers you that much, take a small bit of advice from a senior officer and a friend. Go have it out with him. I have never seen anything work more effectively than facing Andrew Gillette down when he's trying to avoid the subject. Stubborn as a mule, fights like a cat out of a corner, but if there is anyone stubborn enough to get it out of him, that would be you." James said wryly, setting the chess board back up again. "And when you two have begged each other's pardons, come and see me and we'll dine together. The Captain's gone ashore so we can head out to that pub you recommended ... For Food."
"You know, there's nothing wrong with a little healthy drinking contest." Jonathan said, his dark eye twinkling as he rose to his feet, "But you're right, James. I'm going to go corner him and find out just what exactly I have done to make him avoid me so."
"There's a good man." James said encouragingly. Jonathan straightened, saluted, then made his way down to the midshipman's quarters. Silently he hoped James was right, but he was having his doubts. Andrew Gillette seemed to avoid him on principle, notably taking all the shifts where he would not have to deal with Jonathan for more than a few moments before retreating below to sleep. Had this been any other circumstance, Jonathan would have shrugged it off. His mother always said you couldn't make everyone like you.
However, he wanted Gillette to like him. So much that it actually ached that the red-haired man didn't. Jonathan grunted, shaking his dark wigged head. It probably wasn't wise to fall in love with someone as reserved as Gillette, so silent and secretive. Jonathan imagined some terrible deed - perhaps a childhood from the wrong side of the sheets, or an illicit affair? With woman or a man?
His mother often told him that love came in all shapes and forms, and since God was Love it was a bit untold for mere mortals to decide what sort of love God actually did like or did not. Jonathan thought at the time she was trying to explain to him it was all right to want to kiss George Conners, a young boy his own tender age of twelve with the prettiest blue eyes.
He didn't realize until a bit later that she was referring to the relationship she had begun with Aunt Sally - who was not a sister to his mother or his recently departed father. Of course, when he finally DID understand, and explained to his mother in turn, that he might need the love of someone of his own creed rather than the distaff gender, she was shocked. A bit mournful and guilty, thinking she had somehow passed it down through her blood. He assured her that he was going to be no less of a man - he didn't fancy that much lace at any rate and they wouldn't let you be a Royal Naval man if you weren't a brave lad, through and through.
Mother and son shared their secret, and it drew them closer together. Jonathan wondered what would happen if he found out Andrew's secret. Would it cause the man to trust him, or drive them further apart? He sighed, thinking to himself, 'First things first, Bush. Let's see if the man can even stand us, eh?'
He stepped into the midshipman's quarters, set apart from the rest of the jack-tars by a mere wall. The Interceptor being a smaller ship, they had no need for more than six midshipmen all together, so each man had his own little space. Andrew was sitting in his hammock, a blank of wood over his lap as he wrote in a small red leather-bound journal. He glanced up at Jonathan's footsteps, then hastily closed the journal. Jonathan put on his brightest smile, "H'llo Andrew, doing a bit of scribbling, eh?"
Andrew cleared his throat, smoothing his red hair away from his pale brow. Jonathan folded his hands behind him to keep from touching the flame colored strands, as Andrew spoke, a bit stiffly, "Just noting some of my observations on the voyage so far."
"Well that sounds fascinating! I've got some observations of my own - perhaps you would like to discuss them over dinner in town?" Jonathan took on a deep breath, and plunged onward, "James's treat, of course." He tried the smile again.
Andrew glanced up at him sharply, then back down at his journal. "I'll consider it."
Jonathan sighed - this was turning in the direction of all their conversations - one-sided and uncomfortable. He fixed his chocolate brown eyes sternly on Andrew. "Listen, Gillette, if you don't want to go, just say so. I know you'd rather have James to yourself, and you simply can't stand me..."
Andrew's chin went up defensively, "I never said I didn't like you."
"You don't have to. It's perfectly clear to anyone who has noted your conduct." Jonathan said harshly, trying to swallow his hurt and rejection. God, he was acting like a petulant child. He turned on his heel briskly, "I'd best go."
"No, wait!" Andrew must have gotten up too quickly, for the next thing Jonathan heard was the sound of the plank and the ink bottle tumbling to the floor - the bottle shattering against the hard wood. As he turned, alarmed, Andrew rolled out of his hammock quickly and let out a string of profane curses in perfect and fluent French. Then he froze, fear coming over his handsome face, sweeping those brilliant ebony eyes.
Jonathan's mouth worked for a moment, then he shut it tightly. Gillette. Gillette. How could he be so stupid? Of course the man had French blood in him, and no wonder he didn't let people get close to him. Lord knows how much censure he had received in the past for his birthright. Jonathan's eyes sketched over the room carefully, until he quietly took out his handkerchief, kneeling on the floor to pick up the fragments of broken glass, before he spoke, "I'm afraid of dogs."
He glanced up at Andrew, up at the face where fear had mixed with confusion. He offered a little smile, and continued to pick up glass carefully. "Deathly afraid, in fact. Once and awhile, I'll even run from them like a ruddy coward. Some horrific incident as a child, I'm sure, but I don't care to recall it." He gently wrapped the ink soaked bundle, rising to his feet and meeting Andrew's eyes directly. "So I would appreciate it, if you didn't tell anyone. God knows what people would think."
A wave of emotions crested over Andrew's face, before, quite unexpectedly, a perfect smile pulled up all the sharp edges of his face. Jonathan's heart melted in his chest at that smile - at the way it just made Andrew seem all the more illuminated. Jonathan smiled in return, and turned towards the door again, his blood singing with happiness.
"Just a moment." Andrew's voice brought him to a halt, and he heard some scuffling noises behind him, and the sound of a sea-chest being opened and closed. Then Andrew was at his elbow, pulling on his uniform jacket and adjusting his hat over his red hair. "So. Where is James taking us to sup?"
Jonathan just managed to keep himself from jigging happily, as he disposed of the broken bottle remains in the nearest empty vessel, "Well, between the two of us we could probably get him into the Three Dogs Inn."
"...Don't they encourage baudy drinking for your dinner? James said that was his whole reason for avoiding it. Very improprietious." Andrew asked, ginger eyebrows raised in amusement.
"Do they? I hadn't heard. I suppose we'll have to go there and see for ourselves." Jonathan said innocently, and was rewarded with the sound of Andrew's low laughter. He wrapped the sound around his memories, a secret of his very own.
Six Years Ago - The HMS Interceptor en-route to London
Andrew and Jonathan each sat down next to James on the deck of the still smoky deck, while jack-tars cleared away the debris and the dead bodies of both pirate and Naval man. James gingerly curled and uncurled his arm, testing the new stitches in his shoulder. He raised an eyebrow, waiting for one of them to speak. Instead, Jonathan merely leaned forward on his knees, clicking off the hammer to his pistol, while Andrew primly took out his handkerchief to clean his sword.
James sighed, and looked from one to the other, "You have something to say, Second Lieutenant Gillette? Acting Third Lieutenant Bush?" The two men leaned over to look at one another, shrugged as one, and then leaned back again. James's lips twitched. "Nothing to say about my charging ahead of the men right into the fray of the battle? Not one thing about having to swing over from the Interceptor to help me when I was battling off more than five pirates on my own?" A long, silent pause. "Nothing at all?"
Again, the two Lieutenants looked over at each other. Then in one smooth, clockwork-like motion, they both punched James in the arm closest to them. James winced, but said nothing, merely waiting for the nagging to begin.
Andrew growled. "Insane Twit. Were you trying to get yourself gutted?"
Jonathan added with a glare, "Impatient Moron. We WOULD have gone over with you if you had simply CALLED for us."
"I know, I know. Consider me well chastised for my impatience. Next time I shall ask the pirates to wait until you catch up." James said quietly, hiding twitchy lips. "Are we done, gentlemen?"
Andrew and Jonathan looked at one another, then shrugged as they spoke together, "For now."
"Odd how you two can do that as one..." James drew himself to his feet, his musing ending abruptly as he pulled on his invisible First Lieutenant mask. "How are the preparations going?"
"We'll be able to make sail in about an hour, sir." Andrew said promptly. "The prisoners are all in the brig, and the pirate vessel, Spanish-make, is intact and ..." A brief smile curled Andrew's lips, "Filled to the brim with Spanish treasure."
James nodded his head with silent approval, straightening. "A fine haul to bring back to port. Well worth the 'delay'." He snorted softly, "At any rate, this might earn you your Lieutenancy without even having to take the examination, Bush."
"I hope not, sir. I did spend a terrible time studying for the damned thing." Jonathan flashed an easy smile.
"Which you shall pass with ease - and what better reward than to sail the prize ship in yourself." James said thoughtfully. "I'll speak to the Captain about it, immediately."
"Now just make sure you don't turn pirate on us, Jonathan, from here to London." Andrew advised, well pleased to see the delight dancing across Jonathan's face.
Jonathan clapped Andrew's shoulder, smirking. "I have yet to see a single pirate that would make the change in lifestyle worth the effort, and I doubt I ever will."
The two friends exchanged a warm smile, then realized they were falling behind James, and hurried to catch up. They weren't about to let him charge into the fore, again, without them.
Five Years, Eleven Months, and One Week Ago - London, England, Rear Admiral Pub
Andrew sat in his chair at the Rear Admiral, craning his neck towards the door once again, which still yielded no sight of James or Jonathan. If he was to be more honest with himself, he was more concerned about the absence of Jonathan than James. However, he had managed to segue himself with denial often enough, so he managed worry for both his friends.
James was probably at the Admiralty, getting his shoulder patted for the umpteenth time, when they should be giving him a command of his own ship. Andrew thought, and Jonathan agreed wholeheartedly, that James was more past due. Even if it had only been a scant two years since his promotion to First Lieutenant - James had done more for the Caribbean campaign than any other officer - Captain and Commodore aside. So James would be just fine.
Jonathan, however, was getting the results of his Lieutenancy exams, a far more daunting trial. Andrew clenched his slender hands into fists. He had to have passed! If they failed Jonathan, after all the work he put in...
'And what will you do, Andrew? Charge in there, sword drawn and at the ready? Jonathan is no maid whose honor needs protecting.' He reminded himself sternly, 'Nor would he want protection if offered. He is a free spirit.'
For the several thousandth time, Andrew had to remind himself that he was not Jonathan's lover, but his friend. Despite the fact that long ago he realized that Jonathan's tastes ran along with his own, he dared not say a word. He poured all his feelings into his little journals, painful passages of Jonathan's virtues and faults, his charms and his little annoying habits. How much he loved him. How much despair he felt not to have him. How he was a fool.
'A fool, and a coward combined. Oh wouldn't Father be proud?' Andrew snorted, then perked considerably as Jonathan strode through the door, beautiful and perfect and ...
"Is that what I think it is?" Andrew exclaimed, his face breaking into a grin as he looked at his friend's new uniform, and his new tri-cornered hat.
In response, Jonathan shot off a sharp salute, intoning solemnly, "Third Lieutenant Jonathan Bush, at your service, sir."
Andrew returned the salute with equal solemnity, then clapped Jonathan's arm excitedly, "This is wonderful, Ash. Does James know?"
"Only because we rode over here together. He's paying off the carriage driver right now, but I wanted to tell you straight away." Jonathan beamed, then fixed his eyes on Andrew's. "Are you pleased, Cris?"
Andrew blinked. What an odd thing to ask. "Well of course I am! I could feel no other way."
Jonathan's smile blazed brighter, making Andrew feel like he had his own personal sun. He basked in Jonathan's glow, when James's voice distracted him and pulled Jonathan's gaze towards their taller friend. James gave them one of his rare little smiles as he approached, uniform immaculate as he spoke pleasantly if not quietly, "With an influx of such good news, we need a drink."
"I concur completely. Off with those wigs, gentlemen, I'm buying." Andrew said firmly, signaling the barwench over. Then something struck him, and he turned back to James. "...Influx of good news?"
James's smile widened, just a touch, that earnest almost boyish smile that Andrew wished his friend wore more often. He tucked into his uniform pocket, drawling out slowly, "Now, unlike Jonathan I didn't have time to get new clothes ... however I think this piece of paper should suffice?"
Jonathan and Andrew both stared at the fine parchment paper, with the red seal on it from the Admiralty, before they were both clapping James on the arm and shaking him a little. Jonathan crowed, "I knew it! I knew bringing back all that booty would ensure your promotion!"
"What ship? Where will you be posted?" Andrew asked, his dark eyes flashing excitement.
"They are promoting Captain Jacobs to Commodore of Nassau, so I will be taking the Interceptor. And we will be posted in Port Royal once again, if that is amicable with you two gentlemen?" James asked, folding his hands together to look at his friends, and Andrew knew he was trying to mask his nervousness.
In response, he tilted his chin up. "Do you honestly think you can escape from us just by changing commands, James? Please."
"You are, I am afraid, stuck with our nagging persons for as long as we all sail on the seas." Jonathan shook his head mockingly. "Poor bugger that you are."
"Oh. However. Shall. I. Survive." James said with that still sardonic twist of his expression.
"We should go out and celebrate tonight! There is too much good news not to." Jonathan plunged on, and Andrew admired the way that his brown eyes lit from within.
"We can, and we shall ... but first we are invited to a party in our honor." James paused and sighed, "At Mrs. Lincoln's." Off of his Lieutenant's twin-protesting looks, he raised his hand. "Now I know that her parties are a bit ... on the dull side."
"Is that anything like how pirates are just a little on the illegal side?" Andrew noted with his patented sarcasm.
James gave him a humorless smile. "We are officers, and gentlemen. It would be rude to not to show up to our own party, Andrew."
Jonathan sighed, and then squared his shoulders, "Well, it won't be that bad. I mean, it's not like we have to stay that long. Everyone gets drunk about a half hour into the party itself at any rate. We'll chat, make nice, and leave before the bawdy singing starts." His smile flashed on, wicked and gleaming, "I prefer to do my bawdy singing in a more appropriate environment at any rate."
James and Andrew groaned, but Andrew's thoughts brightened. An hour? He could survive an hour to spend the rest of the evening alone with his two dearest friends. After all, what could possibly happen in an hour?
"Get your hands off of me." Jonathan growled, moving to shove away Second Lieutenant Thomas Moncrieff, only to find himself pinned and trapped in the alcove. He cursed himself silently for coming down here for a little peace and quiet before begging leave of their hostess, but the reason he wished to be alone followed him, and now he was trapped. Moncrieff just didn't understand that no meant no. Or rather, No Way In Hell Will I Soil Myself By Bedding You, meant no.
"Oh now, c'mon Johnny..." Moncrieff purred in that throaty voice of his, reminding Jonathan sharply of whose voice he'd rather hear in those intimate terms. The taller man moved in to touch the side of his face, and Jonathan jerked his chin away. "All I want is a little kiss... a little nuzzle...." Suddenly his knee was -definitely- not where it should be, and Jonathan stiffened, not at all in a good way. Moncrieff's dark eyes flashed, he was further intrigued by the struggling, the sick bastard. Jonathan jerked violently, his brown eyes going flat and dangerous as the other man's mouth wetted his earlobe, "Come then, Jonathan ... what are you saving all this pretty flesh for, at any rate?"
Jonathan gritted his teeth, his own hand finally gripping what it had been groping for in his belt, when quite suddenly Moncrieff's weight was gone. Jonathan blinked, then gasped in surprise. Andrew had bodily dragged Moncrieff away by one arm, and Moncrieff growled, turning to face the 'interloper'. He stared, uncomprehending but then suddenly fear crossed his face, "No, wait -- "
Andrew's fist smashed into his face, sending him stumbling, and Andrew stepped up once more, his voice rich with rage as his dark eyes flared hatred, "Don't You Touch Him!" Again his fist rose and plowed into Moncrieff's mouth. "Don't You EVER Touch Him.... AGAIN!!"
Moncrieff fell to the hard marble floor, clutching face, screaming in pain, "I didn't do anything! I didn't do anything!" Andrew muttered something in guttural French, so low that Jonathan struggled to hear it, not quite believing what he heard to begin with.
"No, you didn't, and you are quite lucky for that." James's voice echoed coldly, his footfalls precise against the marble floor. The newly minted Captain stood tall and daunting, glowering down at the fallen Lieutenant, "Your Master Bennett is waiting for you, Moncrieff, so pick yourself up and get out of my sight. And if I ever see you near another one of my officers again ... " He left the threat in the air, and the blade at his side half-unsheathed. Moncrieff whimpered as he dragged himself to his feet and quickly limped away from all three of them.
Jonathan reached for Andrew, his hand closing in on one tense arm, marveling at the fine quiver, the fire that still fused through his friend's body. Wanted to rub it away. Wanted to trap Andrew in that alcove and taste all that burning, insulted passion with his lips. However, he was no Moncrieff, so he merely tightening his grip on Andrew's arm and dragged him away, down the hall to where James stood, ramrod straight.
Andrew spat in Moncrieff's retreating direction, but allowed himself to be pulled away. Violence hung in the air, heavy and choking, until Jonathan said with wry amusement, "Well, I'm glad to see you two exercised restraint."
James snorted, sliding his blade home again, and Andrew shook out his hand and winced at little, giving Jonathan a caustic smile, "Depends on what you call restraint."
Jonathan returned the smile with one of his own, as he brought his other hand around, pistol cocked and in hand. James's eyebrows shot up, and Andrew let out a little noise that was surprised. Jonathan's smile darkened, as he un-cocked it and stuffed it back in his pocket with a sigh, "Now can we go?"
"I second the motion." Andrew sighed, rubbing his wig back into place, "I need a drink and more civilized company."
"Then let us adjourn to the Inn, gentlemen. I have quite tired of polite society." James said quietly, his lips twisting. "A good strong ale wouldn't be admiss either."
Jonathan managed a real smile for that, as he trailed after James and Andrew quietly, staring at the back of Andrew's still pink-flushed neck. He wondered at Andrew, wondered at his actions and quite possibly his words, and wondered if tonight ... tonight ... he might take a chance.
"I'm drunk. You're drunk. James has ruddy well passed out." Andrew groaned, as he flopped on the floor to their room, and looked at Jonathan's wine-flushed face, "And tomorrow our shoulders are going to hurt like the Devil because we were drunk enough all to listen to your brilliant idea ... when I sober up I am going to be very put out with you."
Jonathan pulled the blanket over James's sleeping form, and Andrew wondered at the intent look on his friend's face. Jonathan picked up the last bottle of wine, and sauntered over to him. Andrew, drunk as he was, could only stare at the beauty in those too-bright brown eyes, the open shirt that revealed such sleek skin, the fine way Jonathan's hips moved, and how well-looking his legs were in those stockings. As Jonathan leaned over, offering the bottle, Andrew murmured softly, "You really are quite lovely."
Did he just say that? He must have, because Jonathan froze, staring down at him. Andrew was about to explain himself away, to blame the liquor and the night and the tattoo of the swan that now rested on his shoulder, when suddenly all the words were stolen from him as Jonathan's mouth closed in over his. Jonathan's fingers wrapping in his hair and tugging him closer into that insistent heated kiss, and Jonathan's warm body pressed into him.
When they finally broke the kiss, Andrew could only dumbly gasp, wanting more kisses. Jonathan, however, had something to say, as he put the wine bottle down, "Andrew, do you remember what you said to Moncrieff? About how I belonged to you, and no other could have me?"
Andrew's cheeks burned bright crimson, and not from the wine as he whispered, "I didn't mean for you to hear that..." Jonathan's hand over his mouth stopped the words.
Jonathan smiled His Smile, the one that always melted Andrew beyond comprehension, and this time was no different. He removed his hand so he could whisper against Andrew's lips. "It doesn't matter, because it's all true."
Then he kissed Andrew again, tasting of wine and sweet promises, and Andrew delved his mouth into both, tasting with his tongue and soul all that Jonathan had to offer. There were no more words as they melded together.
Five Years and Four Months Ago - Port Royal
They hit Jonathan's bedroom like men bedeviled, and they were. The long months at sea, a fingers-width apart and unable to do much more than steal a few kisses here and there again had drove them both to near madness. The only reason they agreed on Jonathan's small home was because it was closer and emptier; Jonathan had yet to hire a manservant. They had their jackets off just inside the door, before the savage kissing began, trailing a path here, a storm of two bodies hungered and hungry. Jonathan had been waiting so long for the touch of Andrew's bare skin that he tackled the other man to his bed and started tearing his clothing off.
Andrew let out a gasping laugh as he held his arms above his head, his dark eyes laughing, "I didn't think you'd last until we got into port, much less here."
"You're extremely fortunate that I did." Jonathan growled, letting his hands run appreciatively up the fever-warm freckled skin as he tugged the other man's shirt off, then struggled with his own. Andrew smirked, unlacing Jonathan's breeches and parting them with clever fingers, freeing the shirt so that Jonathan could throw it aside. Then he hissed out as Andrew's roving hand found it's prize between his legs, and stroked slowly. He groaned out softly between his teeth, "Bloody plundering Lieutenant..."
"Yo ho, m'hearties." Andrew sang softly, gripping his prize, stroking it with an even movement, the palm of his hand warm and slightly rough from life at sea. Then he stopped singing, his eyes widening as Jonathan finally got his own breeches open and evened the score. He lifted coal-black, whirlpool eyes to Jonathan, and Jonathan let himself drown in that gaze, leaning down to kiss the other man. First the slow tasting of lips, then the thrusting of tongues, hot and heavy.
Jonathan had the euphoric feeling of being swept away, even as he managed to get Andrew out of his breeches, stockings and shoes. He wanted to press himself into Andrew, get lost in that sinking, floating feeling that came from merely touching Andrew's cheek, brushing the fine ginger hair between his blunt fingers. He stripped himself, elating silently in the appreciative noise coming from the bed. He reached beneath the bed, fumbling for and finally finding the small flask of oil. Scented in peppermint, sharply sweet. He smiled, pouring it over his fingers, looking down at Andrew with a wicked waggle of his eyebrows.
Andrew sat up on his elbows, laughing softly in the dim candlelight, a laugh that faded into a content purr when Jonathan's hands parted his fine, fine muscled lithe thighs, and then parted him from within. Jonathan watched, his brown eyes alight with warm passion as Andrew arched his head back, pale freckled throat with the Adam’s apple bobbing furiously, the ginger hair fallen loose from the wig and all around his shoulders. Jonathan sighed in the exquisiteness, then sank himself in, thrusting himself into drowning. Drowning in the tight feel of Andrew's body around him, of his lover's quiet groan, into the dark eyes that fixed hungrily and dreamily on his own as he angled himself better, lifting one leg up and over his shoulder. Jonathan kissed that calf softly, the tugs of sharp reality losing themselves as he pushed deeper into Andrew. Loving him. Loving him hard, and deep, and too fast, just too fast...
His still oil-slick hands found Andrew's manhood, waiting stiffly and patiently, as he again began his stroking assault. Pulling Andrew down with him as they drowned in each other, making no noise for there wasn't enough air but to breath, to gasp and to tighten in pleasure, and finally into release as Andrew threw back his head once more, pulling into a shuddering that had Jonathan following him naught moments later.
The tides settled, as Jonathan gently pulled himself loose, and fell onto Andrew's chest, letting out a content sigh. Andrew's arms wrapped around him, and they drifted along the eddies of desire to sleep. At least for an hour, when another series of passionate storms overtook them, all the way to the morning.
Three Years, Eleven Months Ago, Port Royal, Andrew's Bedroom
"I said, 'No', Ash. Quite distinctly. Would you like me to repeat the word for you? Nooooo-O."
"Just once. Just this once, and I'll never ask again."
"You might even enjoy it."
" This is not some sort of horrific sodomy drama of the Courts. I simply want something a little spicier in our lovemaking on our anniversary..."
"And what's wrong with our regular lovemaking?"
"Nothing. But the thought of being possessed by you completely has it's appeal."
"Ash..." Andrew finally closed his letter from his sister Brianna, who ran some sort of Inn for misfortunate women in New Orleans. He looked over at his nude lover, raising one eyebrow, "Do you really want me to shackle you up to our bed naked and paddle your bottom just to prove that you belong to me?"
Jonathan huffed, blowing curly brown hair out of his face as he played with the laces of Andrew's nightshirt. "Well ... no."
"Good." Andrew leaned over, kissed Jonathan's forehead, then opened his letter again, reading about his cousin's Monique's latest shipping nightmare. He shook his head with a sigh. Bloody pirates. Silence reigned over the bedchamber.
Jonathan relented. "All right. How about just the shackles and your hand doing the spanking?"
"Jonathan!" Andrew growled, then paused, looking contemplative, "...Bare handed spanking?"
Jonathan grinned, leaned up and stole Andrew's lips for his own, "Got you."
Six Months Ago, Isla de Muerta, the HMS Dauntless, Below Decks
"Open your eyes, damn you." Andrew whispered harshly, staring down at Jonathan's too pale face, gripping his hands between his hands. "Wake Up, Ash." His mouth tightened as he looked down at the broad bandage covering Jonathan's middle and bowed his head a little, "Please..."
"He'll wake up 'gain." Came the rum-roughened voice from across the infirmary, and Andrew jerked his head up, looking at the shackled and bedraggled form of Captain Jack Sparrow - pirate and all around fiend. Sparrow smiled golden in the dark, "Jest needs a little time. The body don't take well to havin' a sword pressed so close to the belly, savvy?"
Andrew glared at the pirate, but acknowledged the words of comfort for what they were with a staunch nod of his head, "Thank you."
Sparrow saluted with one finger, then made himself more comfortable in his corner, bound hand curling around him. A slightly hoarse voice drew Andrew's gaze sharply back around, "He's right, you know. It hurts like the bloody devil."
Andrew gripped Jonathan's hand, who opened his eyes, smiled his Smile, and squeezed lightly back. Andrew forced tears down as he said harshly, "I thought I told you to duck, you imbecile."
"My apologies, Lieutenant. I'll remember that the next time an undead pirate crew takes us." Jonathan murmured, interlacing their fingers together. He twisted his head, frowning at Sparrow, "What is he doing up here?"
"...The curse was broken, and our brig is filled with Barbossa's now living pirates." Andrew said with a little shake of his head, "Seeing that it was Sparrow and Turner who broke the curse, James thought it would be safer if they were both kept above - and away from each other." He lowered his voice, muttering, "Also seeing as they cause nothing but chaos when combined."
Jonathan laughed softly, then looked towards Sparrow thoughtfully, "Are they going to hang him?"
"Of course. He's a pirate." Andrew said, watching as Jonathan settled deeper into the hammock, his eyes closing once more.
"Hmm. Pity." Jonathan sighed, pulling Andrew's hand close to his cheek, kissing it.
Andrew's lips twisted about the edges of a smile, "Oh? Why is that?"
Jonathan's next words shook Andrew Gillette right down to his boots, "Because James is in love with him, and neither one of them knows it yet."
Andrew held his silence, before leaning over to whisper fiercely, "But James doesn't like men like that!"
"No, he doesn't." Jonathan smiled softly, "But those men aren't Jack Sparrow."
"And what makes you such an expert?" Andrew asked dryly, one auburn eyebrow drifting upwards.
Jonathan looked up at Andrew, eyes soft and wise, "Because I know love when I see it, Cris." Then he closed his eyes once more, yawning tiredly.
It took everything in Andrew's power not to kiss those closed eyelids. Instead he pulled the coverlet a little higher over Jonathan's quietly breathing body, and turned to look at the still sleeping Jack Sparrow broodingly.
This Morning, the Black Pearl, New Orléans
They waited until James had stepped out of the cabin, and both men noted the near spring in their Commodore's steps. His Lieutenants shared a look, before moving to knock firmly but politely on Jack Sparrow's cabin door.
There was a moment of silence, and a wary, "Aye? C'mon in."
Andrew and Jonathan entered, hands folded behind their backs. Andrew gave Jonathan a nod, and Jonathan closed the door firmly behind them, as they both faced Jack Sparrow once again. The pirate was just tucking his long shirt into his breeches, and his dark, newly kohl marked eyes moved from one Lieutenant to the other, " 'N what can I do for you two gentl'men this morning?"
Another glance was exchanged, and Jonathan spoke quietly, "James is a good and fine man, Jack."
A glimmer of a smile flared over Jack's lips, before disappearing, "No arguments here, Johnny."
Andrew glared fiercely, speaking in clipped tones that curved around his accent, "We would prefer, Sparrow, to know that you had no intentions of hurting him, or otherwise playing him false. James is not one to easily give his heart away, and it deserves care."
Jack looked up sharply, his elvin features hardening in a dangerous sort of way, " 'N I suppose that a pirate wouldn'ae know a thing about takin' care of hearts, is that it?"
"One who loves his ship more than he loves our friend might." Jonathan said quietly, crossing his arms over his chest.
Jack's expression flickered guardedly, before he reached down to tie on his sash, "Ah, I see. This is the obligatory 'If y'hurt our mate, we'll ...blather, blather, other ridiculous nonsense'. What will you do, gentle'men, if I do not meet up to your high expectations? Hang me? That wouldn't be repeatin' any patterns."
"Actually ... we've already discussed this. If you end up crushing poor James, once again, through malicious purposes, first we take the Dauntless, find you and the Pearl, and kidnap you both again." Andrew said, his face taking on a mockingly pleasant smile.
"Then we would sail both ships to Tortuga." Jonathan chimed in.
"At which point we would douse your entire ship, from highest mast to the bilges, in rum." Andrew tilted his head.
"Once we were in sight of the Tortuga docks, we would set the rudder in place, abandon ship, and from the Dauntless we would set the entire thing ablaze." Jonathan tried not to laugh at the shocked and dismayed look on Jack's face, and stilled his expression into sternness.
"Where the Pearl would take herself, all the rum, and Tortuga in one foul swoop." Andrew paused for dramatics, and added in a lowered voice, "And we would make you watch."
Jack looked from one to the other, his entire face frozen in comedic horror, before he cleared his throat and paced over to where James's hammock lay. His eyes caught unto something, and both Lieutenants watched curiously as Jack plucked up a piece of parchment. His entire demeanor softened, as he touched something on the paper delicately, "If I hurt Jamie that badly, I'd prob'bly deserve it." He sighed, and put the paper back down, "Y'have my word, gents. I won't be breakin' the Commodore's heart."
Jonathan and Andrew relaxed, then nodded their heads just once. They moved towards the door, before Jack's voice stopped them, "You'd really do all that?"
The Lieutenants stopped, and looked at one another, before Andrew answered quietly, "You may love him best, Jack Sparrow, but we loved him first."
Jack tilted up his head, and gave a little knowing nod and a smirk. Andrew nodded his head curtly, and didn't speak again until they left the cabin, and started to head above decks to find James, where he said in disbelief, "...Jamie?"
"I'm sure it's a nickname that will grow on us." Jonathan shook his head with a quiet laugh.
Now, The HMS Falcon, British-held waters
The moment passed, and James moved on, "...of Plato."
Andrew exhaled sharply, looking into those knowing green eyes. He should have known. He should have realized that James's love for them was just as true as theirs was for him. He looked at his friend with naked gratitude, before glancing over at Jonathan, a world of love in his dark eyes.
Jonathan's gaze met James's knowingly. 'Love again triumphs, Mother', he thought to himself, before glibly replying, his words almost not making sense to him as he too, turned to look at Andrew, lover and beloved. He wouldn't lose his love, and he wouldn't lose his friend. Not this day. No, not today.
In front of them, the sun sank below the waters, casting colorful brilliance everywhere, promising a new tomorrow.
I'll go wherever you will go...
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