tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Pirate King Ch. 12

The Pirate King Ch. 12

bynakamook©

This is a part of an ongoing series - if you find yourself here without reading the previously chapters, I highly recommend going and catching up. We'll still be here when you get back :)

So it's looking like we'll be moving to a two week schedule, rather than a weekly one. I hope that won't lose me any of you - I'm just struggling to keep up writing this with everything else in my life. Enjoy the chapter, see you in a week or two.

Alternate title: "You got a haircut"

I am living for the responses and feedback and comments you guys have been sending me; its the only reason I do what I do, to make y'all happy. You guys are the best:) Peace, love, be safe. Wishing you all warm baths and someone to share them with.


*****

Natch meeting my brother was a scene in opposite of my reintroduction to Horace.

Natch stood about where Horace had been, his eyes wide, his stance ready. But where Horace had been ready to run, Natch was ready to fight. And the brothel workers were crowded at my back, rather than anywhere but near me, every corner but the corner I had been standing in. And to top it all off, now it was not I but my brother who caused the stir, unlike in the bars, unlike on the streets. Unlike in a brothel just like this one, so few days ago.

I would be lying if I said I did not take a moment to enjoy the shift.

The Captain took charge quickly, pulling Natch aside and speaking quietly to him. I don't know what he said. I know Natch's eyes went wider yet, tracked to me standing so near to this man who caused him fear.

I put a hand on Val's shoulder and I thought his eyes would burst.

"This feels familiar," I murmured to Val, unwilling to not be amused.

"I hate this," he responded. I squeezed his shoulder and he grumbled.

In time, the Captain coaxed Natch over to us. I didn't bother to smile at him as he moved through the open space; he would either trust me or he wouldn't. He should have already made that decision, listened to his captain. If he hadn't, if he didn't, then there was nothing that I could do.

"Ghost," he said cautiously.

"Natch," I responded, ignoring how Val shifted at Natch's name for me. Sybil had told him; he should have expected this. "This is my brother, Val."

Neither man said anything. I turned and gave Val a long look.

Val finally let out a long breath. "You sail with my brother."

"Aye." Natch was still holding himself stiffly, like he expected to have to take a hit at any point. He said nothing more.

"And with." Val shot a look at the Captain, took in those dark eyes that I loved so much. "With my brother's lover."

The Captain's eyebrow shot up. "Aye," answered Natch flatly.

Val glanced up at me. I shrugged. It was up to him how to progress.

He turned back to Natch, and his face set into an expression I was very familiar with. Strange, I thought. I would not have gone with that. "You were the one looking for Yarrick."

Natch stiffened further, his entire body becoming taut, Val's words having the effect of a stiff breeze into unprepared sails, his soul not expecting the force of the sea from this small, grey-haired man. From any man, perhaps, although he should have known better having known me. I wondered if he might keel over from the force of it, if we might have to right him when all of this was done. I looked to the Captain to see if he had the same thought and found him looking at the boy with concern.

Fair, I thought. Concern is fair, and much more succinct.

"Brother," I murmured, but Val raised his hand.

"I track him," he told Natch, his voice holding the first hints of a flurry. I thought I might be able to see his breath in the chill that had descended between the two men that stood before me. "I have to know where he works, so I can try and get to the boys before he does. Or after. I don't know when." He looked Natch over carefully. "I'm sorry, I've haven't been as attentive these past three years."

Natch took a step back.

"But I always know. Consider it my singular hell, to know all the people that I'm personally failing." The smile on my brother's lips was drug up from the bottom of the harbor; it dripped from his face like slime, held things that should not have ever seen the light of day. "Ah, but you don't care. You don't trust. As well you shouldn't. When you want, ask my brother. He'll know where Yarrick is. And if he doesn't, I promise." The smile sharpened itself on a thousand shards of ice. I felt the sea inside of me follow suit as gusts blew through my brother's soul. "I will."

He turned and walked away, and the room was colder than it had been before, and his promise hung in the air like the last flakes of snow, until it settled and melted against our skin.

Natch gasped and dropped to his knees.

"Fuck." The Captain was closer, but somehow I made it to the man first. I think I was the most used to the way my brother could freeze the very world. Or maybe I was the least affected, since my soul was filled with things to counteract his arctic press.

"You told him," Natch whispered.

"I never would." I put a hand on Natch's shoulder and was pleased to see that he did not pull away, but pressed into it. I waited until his skin felt warm again before I reached before him to try and help him up.

He took my hand and stood, if a bit unsteadily. "What is he," he asked, awe clear in his voice.

I met his eyes. "My brother."

He searched my face for a long moment before nodding. Natch, as always, understood more of me than most men.

"Is he dead too?"

Beside me, the Captain frowned and crossed his arms. I shook my head.

"Val is very much alive."

"And yet still like you."

I was saved from having to explain that the sea in fact predated my current existence, that my death in this form was a gift by the very ocean itself, which just seemed like a complicated thing and honestly not related to Val at all, by a gentle voice at my shoulder. "Excuse me."

All three of us turned around. A large teak-skinned man stood behind us, resplendent in silk. "It grows late; your bodies must grow weary. Valdrin decreed that there were to be rooms for you here, if you so desire."

I turned to look out the door. The shadows were growing long on the street - how had I missed that on our way over? I must have been focused on the Captain, on Natch waiting for us here. "Thank you," I told the man.

"We should go back." Natch was quick to suggest it; he still looked unsettled. Pale. Cold.

"Yes," the Captain agreed. His hand found mine and squeezed tight. I knew why he that wanted me to go back with him. I knew that he wanted to spend the more than night with me, wanted me to stay, forever, by his side.

I also wanted to spend the more than night with him, but I could not go back to the ship. Not yet. "I can't," I told them both. My voice was quiet but firm.

The Captain might have argued. Natch knew better than that. "Well, I can't stay here," he said. His hand was bouncing on his leg. Now, I thought. Now is the time for concern. To have this man, so practiced at holding the things he felt out of view of those who might use them against him being so open, so careless. I watched him as his eyes darted around the brothel.

"It's nice here," Val's man told him. Natch shot him a look that he ignored with practice. "There are baths."

"I know what the inside of a brothel looks like," Natch hissed.

Now it was the man's turn to shoot Natch a look. "Most men do."

"Fuck you." Natch was practically vibrating; it was a wonder that he did not fly apart at the seams. "Can we get the fuck out of here. Please."

The man's head moved back slowly, almost imperceptibly. He seemed to see Natch for the first time. I watched him gently take in the smaller man, watched him see all the things Natch would usually be hiding, and considered how much Val needed this man in his business.

"I don't see why you can't just come with us to the ship." The Captain continued as if nothing was happening. For his part, he seemed at ease. Perhaps all the pressures he might have been feeling were condensed into a single hand, so tightly wrapped around mine. "You're here, I'm here. We cut it a month short."

I brought him close, pulling his arms around my waist. "You know that I cannot."

"Fuck that," he stated. But, I noted with a smile, it wasn't a very angry statement. If only I could get him to spend the night with me...

"I gotta get out of here," Natch repeated, and the smile fell from my face. What to do with Natch? I wanted to be with the Captain, but it felt wrong to leave him alone.

"There's a bar." The man interrupted my thoughts. I turned my head to him slowly; his next words would determine if it was good that he had gotten my attention. "We go to it sometimes after work. They have rooms, too." He was still standing carefully,

resplendently, but there was something more real about his demeanor. "I know the owner."

Natch didn't relax. "I don't have money."

A hand was waved lazily; he must have gotten that from Val, it looked so familiar. Or maybe they all learned how to make the motions like that, easy, soft. "I'll take the money from the till. Val won't mind."

"Horace will," I interjected. The hand wave this time was much less lazy, much more pointed. I met his gaze and smiled to see the mischievousness he hid behind his eyes.

Natch was still not convinced. He stiffly extended an arm towards the Captain and I's entwined forms. "Only if they come with."

The Captain winced. I didn't think he wanted to be in a bar right then; I didn't think he wanted to be around people at all, unless people included me and only me.

But there was a bigger problem with that plan, one I saw Val's man trying to find a way to voice. I did it for him. "They won't serve me."

Natch frowned. "Because you're the brother of the Worm?"

I raised an eyebrow, saw Val's man start. Watched the way his gentle gaze became much more pointed on Natch's stiff form. "No."

"Then." He stared at me a moment. Behind those light eyes I could see him making connections, trying to understand what this meant. I waited.

Natch, as always, got there faster than most men would. "He's your brother," he said. "You're not his brother, he's yours."

"He's older than me," I replied, but Natch was right. I could see him processing this, what it meant for me to have someone like Val in my perceived possession. Trying to understand what I must have done to earn this kind of reputation. He should know. He had seen, even if it had only been bits. Even if he only had pieces. "And they don't think of him like you do."

Natch scoffed.

"Talk to the locals," I said softly. "Go to the bar, ask around. Or don't." I turned to the man, still standing off the side. "What's your name?"

"Aman," he responded. His eyes were still on Natch.

"Aman will take you to the ship if you want," I said to Natch, knowing it was true. Aman would do whatever I told him to.

But I didn't think it would come to that. I had the feeling that Aman understood Natch, that he would do what Natch needed. "But the Captain and I are staying here tonight."

"We are?" the Captain said from my arms.

"Baths," I reminded him. I lowered my head to his ear. "And I can get ropes. The beds here are sturdy enough to hold even me."

The Captain didn't respond except to pull my body closer to his.

"Which room?" I asked, a little distracted by the sudden proximity. The Captain began teasing my shirt out from my breaches, seeking skin to draw his fingers across.

"The King suite is just off the balcony," Aman instructed.

I turned to him and raised an eyebrow.

He caught my expression. "It's just a name."

Nothing is just a name, I wanted to tell him, but the Captain's fingers had found my skin and I was lost.

"Do you require assistance finding -" Aman began, but I already had the Captain by his questing hands and was dragging him towards the stairs.

When somehow managed to keep this door intact when we burst though, which was good. I didn't think Val would have appreciated a smashed door; he was probably already working on fixing the one we had broken earlier in the day.

"Bath," I reminded him again, but his hands stayed tight on my hips. He leaned forward and nipped at my collarbone.

"Gotta get you dirty first," I heard him mutter.

I have say, it was hard to find a fault with that plan.

He had me on my back on the bed, shirtless, by the time that we noticed the chest.

It sat next to the bed, which was the only reason we noticed it at all - it was in our way. It was dark, the color of the Captain's eyes, which had grown darker with the interruption. I smiled to make him wait and picked up the note waiting on the top.

Brother, the note read, have fun. I hope your 'Sir' enjoys the toys. It wasn't signed, but there was only one person who could have left such a note.

"Val," I sighed, feeling the Captain lean against my back. I held the note up for him to read.

"Your sir?" the Captain asked skeptically, just a hint of amusement in his voice. "Do you always kiss and tell?"

I shrugged. "No." That was all I said. It seemed too much to explain Sybil to him just at that moment.

"Well," he said. He sounded all business, but I could hear the anticipation in his voice. "Let's see what he's left us."

I flipped up the latches and opened the chest.

Behind me, I heard the Captain take in a sharp breath. I turned to him, preferring to watch his face rather than take in the contents of the trunk. I didn't care about objects; my Captain could undo me with just the barest whisper. What did it matter what this box of wood held?

The Captain's face told me that it mattered quite a bit.

I watched his expression move through so many emotions that I did not have names for, that did not have a place on his face, mixed in with anger and lust and something that would have looked like wistfulness on a softer man. I waited for it to settle, waited for those brows to drop and his eyes to darken to just the right shade but it all just kept dancing, dancing, dancing and I grew concerned.

"Captain." I reached out and touched his shoulder lightly, and was surprised when he jumped. I think he was surprised as well, his face falling open to look at me. There was a sudden space in his expression.

There was a moment. And then every bit of that space was filled with a sudden crashing flood of hunger.

"First things first." His voice was low and easy, as if he did not hold the world in his expression. As if he could not make me come undone with just one command. He reached into the chest and pulled out an assortment of objects; a crop, some whip like things. Flails. He gathered them up into his arms and walked over to the window, where, without a moment's hesitation, he threw them from the room.

He reached out and grabbed hold of the shutters, pulling them shut and effectively cutting us off from the outside world. His task done, he turned back to me.

Whatever had been at war on his face before, it was gone now. I wondered if he hadn't thrown it out the window with the objects; I did not have long to wonder that, because in an instant he was back to me, his hands pushing me onto the bed, his eyes pushing me into a place I was screaming to reach.

"On your back," he whispered into my neck. "Get those hands above your head."

I was instantly compliant. How could I be anything but, when he asked such things of me? Commanded? When I needed him in the ways that I did?

From my position on the bed it was impossible to see him, but I could hear him rooting around in the chest again. I wondered what was left in there, after his efficient and instant purge. I wondered what he would bring to me. I wondered where he would bring me, what worlds he would take me to, what doors he would open.

I did not have to wonder for long.

"Love." The Captain was back at my side, his fingers light on the skin at my hips. His lips dropped a kiss there the next moment; my body shuddered.

"So many things to I can do," I heard him mutter, "so many options."

"So do them," I told him. His teeth immediately sunk into my skin at my demand, and I hissed.

"I will," he told me. Promised me. "Oh love, I will." Those lips traced slow and light over my skin; fingers tugged on the waistband of my breeches. "I'll do them one-by-one, and I'll do them slow. I'll make you feel every single one, make you beg for the next." He was inching my breeches down over my aching cock. I moaned, needing him to go faster, but I was under no illusions of control; he would do what he willed, what he needed; I was incidental, and yet I was everything, and I loved the contradictions he pushed from my soul. I felt his hand brush the first inch of exposed flesh and gasped, air rushing from my lungs uncontrolled. "Make you need me," he whispered.

"I need you," I told him. "Sir, please. I need you."

I glanced down and found him hovering just above my half-exposed cock. The sight nearly undid me, to have him so near and yet to find such distance between our bodies. How was I expected to live with this man, when he continued to make me into such paradoxes? I groaned and pressed my head back into the bed, muttering curses.

I felt his laugh on my body - cruel, I thought, cruel, but I would have it no other way - and then his head was pulling away. I mourned the loss for a moment before his body was pressed against the length of mine, his lips against my ear. I gasped as I felt his hard member crush against mine, his breeches the only thing separating us from the closeness we both craved.

"But first," he murmured. "I need to tie you up."

And then he was gone, and I was left cursing there on the bed, only the ghost of his laugh trailing down my skin.

He was back soon enough, I suppose. It wasn't soon enough for me, but I wanted him with me constantly, incessantly. "Alright," he told me, somehow making his voice sound business-like beneath the desire I could hear swirling, pent-up. I needed him to unleash it on me, so that these things he brought up in me could find release as well. Instead, he sat beside me on the bed. I made an unhappy noise at how far away he was and got a hand on my stomach for my troubles.

"We've got options." I didn't want options, I wanted him. I told him that by pressing into his hand, trying my best to shift my body up so his hand would shift farther down my body; he pressed my fingertips into my stomach and held his position.

"Rope." He held it up briefly. "Leather cuffs." I could break out of those easily; they were as useless as restraints as ropes. "Or irons."

I knew which the Captain wanted from how his breath changed, from the way his eyes darkened. I knew which one I wanted from how I wanted those eyes even darker. "Irons," I told him.

Dark eyes landed on me and I shivered. "Are you sure?"

I nodded. I was sure.

He leaned in close, his finger tracing down my ribs. "Thank you," he whispered in my ear. I shivered again, my head moving back on its own accord to offer up my neck. But he was already gone.

It was not as easy as I wanted it to be, even at the Captain's hands, even in a place I knew I was safe. I was still on land. These were still irons. When I felt the first metal band clasp around my wrist I couldn't help the shudder that slipped over my skin, my body refusing not to react to the all-too familiar feeling. I took a deep breath.

"Love?" The Captain put a warm hand on my arm. I let out my breath and tilted my head back until I could see his eyes looking down at me. I was not in the mines; I would never be in the mines again. I was here, I was with the Captain. I was safe.

I smiled up at him. He hesitated, those expressive brows drawing tight until I brought my free wrist over to him and gently pressed against his hand.

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