The rush of besting a hurricane has the whole crew celebrating. They’re new to each other and to the ship they’ve commandeered, but they’ve just outrun a fair-sized fleet and Mother Nature herself, so Edward has them drop anchor just off one of the many small islands that dot their stretch of untamed ocean. The crew builds a bonfire on the sandy beach, making a feast of the turtles and wild pigs they find roaming the tropical paradise. Edward joins them for a while but, at the height of their revelry, he retreats to the Captain’s Quarters with a crate of rum he’s liberated from the hold.
He’s pulled off his still-damp coat and leathers, tipped out his boots, sharpened his blades, and is cleaning his pistol of the salt water he’d dragged it through when the door opens. He looks up, nodding at the shadowed form of the man who’d been invaluable to his escape. Setting aside his work, he gestures to the table between them, encompassing not only the alcohol, but the whetstones and linens he’s been using. “Help yourself.”
The dark-skinned man nods his acceptance, stripping off his vest and sword belt to begin servicing his own weapons. Edward watches him for a long minute, then thrusts his hand out companionably. “I’m Edward. Much thanks for your aid back there.”
The man is silent for a moment before clasping the outstretched limb across the table. “Adéwalé.”
Edward turns away to give the cabin a once-over, feeling Adéwalé’s dark eyes on his back. He runs his hand over one of the ship’s scarred ribs. Their escape was closer than he’d have liked, but they’re alive and their new lady is still seaworthy so he shouldn’t complain. “She took some knocks, didn’t she? I think I’ll keep her.”
There’s a low rumble from behind him. “And what of the rest of us?”
He turns to find Adéwalé closer than expected, weapons forgotten on the table when he followed Edward further into the shadowed room. He refuses to be intimidated - suspects that’s not what Adéwalé is attempting anyway - and grins, blue eyes dancing in the glow from their single lantern. “Those who wish to stay are more than welcome. You ever been to Nassau, Adéwalé?”
He tilts his head, looking Edward up and down as though he were something new and unusual. “Not yet,” is the almost absent reply.
Edward’s grin stretches wider and he claps his hand on one broad shoulder. “Good answer.”
He leads the way back to the table, uncorking the rum and passing one to Adé. He taps their necks together, then raises his bottle in toast. “To freedom!”
“To freedom,” Adéwalé confirms, and neither seem capable of looking away from the other as they drink.
That first swallow shatters whatever awkwardness they may have had and they’re soon drinking companionably, sharing stories of their respective exploits and how they came to be shackled together on de Torres’ blasted Treasure Fleet. They’re most of the way through their second bottle apiece when they fall into comfortable silence, having claimed seats on the plush carpet with their backs against the crates that crowded the room. The brig’s previous captain seemed to have not believed in chairs or even a bed - something to remedy when they reached Nassau - but for now the floor is adequate.
Edward takes a long pull from his rum, dragging the back of his arm across his mouth as he slumps down until their shoulders touch. “I’ve made my choice, Adé. I’m calling her the Jackdaw, for a sly bird I loved as a child back in Swansea.”
Adéwalé tips his head until Edward can see his knowing half-smile. “A dark little creature, no?”
Edward quirks his lips in return, a teasing lilt to his voice when he asks, “Does it rub you wrong that I take this brig for my own?”
There’s no little amusement in the reply but also a note of resigned acceptance. “It is the sort of rub I have learned to endure, sailing amoung faces of such… fairness.”
“It’s true, most of the men wouldn’t accept you as a Captain,” Edward sighs, contemplating his drink before emptying the bottle and tossing it aside. “So what fair role would complement such unfairness?”
There’s a long silence as Adé also drinks deeply, eyes distant and thoughtful. Finally he turns to Edward solemnly. “I’ll be your quartermaster. Nothing less.”
He counters the demand without thought, leaning in with a sly smile. “And if I offered more?”
Adéwalé’s gaze darkens. “Don’t promise what you can’t deliver,” he rumbles warningly.
Then one hand snakes out, darting around Edward’s neck to pull him off balance. He tumbles into Adé’s lap, hands shooting out to brace himself however he could, and he opens his mouth to protest the treatment only to find it covered by Adé’s own. Edward sinks into the kiss, his shock and whatever he’d been meaning to say fading beneath the buzz of alcohol and the skill of the man beneath him. They break apart only briefly, panting, before Edward dives back in, nipping at Adéwalé’s full lips until they open on a groan.
From there it’s all teeth and tongues as they vie for dominance. Edward smooths his calloused hands over Adé’s broad shoulders, pushing the rough linen shirt out of the way and leaning in to suck bruises only a shade darker than the skin they decorated. Adéwalé’s deft fingers pull at the leather holding the dirty blond hair from Edward’s face, freeing the salt-stiff strands only to gather them up in a fist and tug his head back, exposing his pale neck. Edward’s hips jerk forward when Adéwalé’s mouth closes on his pulse point, helped along by the hand sneaking under his sash at the small of his back. Another groan echoes through the cabin as their erections rub together through the thick cotton of their trousers. Adéwalé releases Edward’s hair, stroking down to unwind the blood-red sash and undo the buttons at each hip. Edward’s own nimble fingers pick at the knots of Adéwalé’s laces until they come undone.
“Adé,” he warns darkly, breath little more than a rasp.
“Aye, capt’n?” Adéwalé questions, a grin in his voice.
But there’s no answer as they both push the interfering cotton aside to lay hands on each other’s straining cocks. Edward hisses through his teeth when Adé strokes him firmly, and he distracts himself by returning the favour.
“First mate and quartermaster both,” he mutters into Adéwalé’s shoulder when they’re spent, too lethargic still to clean themselves off. “The rest of the crew can come and go as the tides, for all I care.”
One large hand sweeps down his back to curl at his hip, warm against the cooling sweat that covers them. “Aye aye, captain.”