The welcome sound of hundreds of people enjoying themselves, trying to fulfill their fantasies of unbelievable wealth, assaulted James Norrington's ears as the elevator door opened. He took a last glimpse at his reflection in the elevator's mirrored doors as they slid noiselessly out of sight. A brown suit, hand tailored to his body, the dark color matching the shade of his hair, a crisp white shirt, cotton for breathability during the long night, and a silk tie, brown with a faint pattern of black diamonds. His outfit looked as it did every night, almost a uniform of professional respectability and power, absolutely perfect for the head of security at the Black Pearl Casino and Resort.
James did his rounds, checking in with his senior security officers and the main pit bosses, letting the junior staff members observe his presence. Las Vegas might be considered a decadent town, full of wild doings and loose women, but James's little slice was an immaculately well-run organization with a strict but not harsh chain of command.
Satisfied that the staff was aware that he was in command for the evening, James took to the prowl, watching the customers. Many Vegas residents regarded visitors to the city as gambling fools, but to James they were customers seeking their dreams, and it was his responsibility to ensure them a well-ordered environment for that mission.
The night seemed relatively quiet, despite the hectic ongoing noise of the slot machines. No obvious professional gamblers trying to scam the system, no one too embarrassingly drunk, no one looking in that desperate state of going beyond their financial limits, no newlyweds regretting their hasty decision… James rubbed the almost healed scratches on his throat. No one got quite as carried away as people intoxicated by love, a potion James considered more dangerous than alcohol or gambling fever.
Pleased that the casino floor was under control, James headed to his office close to the main security center, determined to spend a brief amount of time on emails and paperwork. He kept a constant check on the dozen security screens in his office as he worked, the cameras showing the casino from every conceivable angle. The people on the casino floor were energetic but orderly as James read through the paperwork he detested but couldn't avoid. The evening advanced, every slot machine and seat at the tables filled, the waitresses in their abbreviated outfits colored black or pearl rushed back and forth, and the dealers' hands moved rapidly, shuffling and flicking cards to customers.
As James glanced at his screens from time to time, one individual in particular caught his eye. The man was a shady-looking individual in a flashy blue suit and a matching fedora tilted back on his head. The hat hid much of his hair, but what James could see was brown and lightly wavy, hanging almost to his shoulders. A small mustache and goatee camouflaged his features. Change to more mundane clothes, slick the hair back, shave his face… he'd be a different person, James mused. And anyone who could change his identify that quickly deserved a close inspection.
Fifteen answered emails, two signed pay raises, and one revision to a letter of warning later, James emerged from his office. The rest could wait for another hour or so, and James was eager to tackle the odd fellow who was disturbing his watch.
Taking a position close to the poker table but far enough away that he wouldn't seem too obvious, James covertly observed the fellow in the electric blue suit. The fellow didn't do anything obviously underhanded or illegal. If he was counting cards, he was too subtle to be observed, and his hands lightly rested on the table, in plain view, without excessive movement to disguise a sneaky act.
But still…something nagged at James. The man wasn't merely a casual gambler; he had some purpose for being here in this casino. A hand finished, the man winning and smiling as he raked in his chips, and James moved swiftly before the dealer could start a new game. "Excuse me sir, could we talk in my office?"
The man craned his head back, the fedora starting to slip off his head. Giving a little, "Whoa!", the man grabbed his hat and settled it more firmly in place before asking, "'N' you are?"
"James Norrington, sir. I'm head of security services at the Pearl."
"Oh goody! I'm always pleased t'meet more of the estimable staff members of this fine establishment." The man's words had an odd slur, an indiscernible accent that would be difficult to lose if real but easy to change if faked.
Estimable … establishment? Who was this goofy fellow and what kind of an act was he playing? "Shall we further our acquaintance elsewhere and let these other fine people continue their play?" James gave an equally formal reply before leaning over, stacking the man's chips and dropping them into his own jacket pocket.
"I'm Jack Sparrow. Captain Jack Sparrow." Jack offered his hand to shake.
Taking his hand, James noted that he wore silver rings on every finger, another distinctive attribute that would be easy to discard. Using their mutual grip to urge Jack out of his chair, he said pleasantly, "Mr. Sparrow."
"Cap'n Sparrow. Or Jack." Reaching behind him, Jack grabbed his drink, from its color and the size of the glass, a Ruby Long Island, one of the Pearl's specialties. He stumbled a little as James's grip almost yanked him off the poker table stool, but got his feet under him. As if accomplishing a difficult trick, he bowed to the dealer and the other patrons. "Thanks for the game, mate, gents, ladies. Hey," he directed at James, "he needs a tip. Give him a tip, James."
Pulling a chip from the stack in his pocket, James held it out so Jack could see the color. Jack nodded and James flipped it to Louis, who caught it one-handed. The other patrons at the table watched the curious scene but instantly reached for their cards when Louis began dealing. They had bigger concerns then wacky tourists on their minds.
The man seemed inclined to gaze around in wonder as if enchanted by the glitz and glamour of his bejeweled surroundings, but James let go of his hand and placed a hand on his back, keeping him moving, not allowing for any pauses as they crossed the casino floor and walked into James's office.
"Now Mr. Sparrow," James said amiably. "We."
"Jack or Cap'n." Jack interrupted James as he strolled around his office, looking at the furnishings with an inquisitive manner.
"What is the purpose of your visit to Vegas? Are you here for pleasure or business?" James took the chips out of his pockets as he spoke, stacking them neatly on his desk. Despite his instinctive distrust of Jack, James had no reason to believe he'd cheated, which meant the chips were legally his property. He sat down in his desk chair, not feeling the need to emphasize his greater height. Jack's stumbling and wide-eyed wonder were beginning to irritate him, but he didn't need to intimidate him. Not at this point anyway.
"Pleasure of course. 'N' business. I always believe in combinin' the two. Lot of personality you have here. In your office." His right hand fluttered, gesturing at James's office, the solid mahogany desk with its matching desk chair, visitor chairs, and security screens covering the walls.
"Excuse me?" Jack asked, startled. Of all the things his office might have been accused of being, 'full of personality' was not one of them. He had striven for dignified, respectable and discreet when he'd taken over the head position and had the office redone.
Jack picked up one of the two framed pictures in the office, a picture of an older man and woman. Holding the heavy gold frame, he noted, "Your parents I presume. Love them deeply. Very family oriented you are." He set the picture down and picked up the other one. "Your sister is beautiful. 'N' the kids are real spirited-lookin'.
"And what makes you think they're not my wife and children?"
Jack snorted. "Not unless you believe in incest, mate. You 'n' she both have your father's eyes. So what happened to your brother-in-law? Why isn't he in the family photo? Something bad?"
Death undoubtedly qualified as 'bad,' but James refused to be drawn into such a personal conversation. "So what business are you in, Mr. Sparrow?" He idly noted to himself that while Jack's slur remained his style of speech altered, his sentences becoming shorter. Yes, this man was definitely an actor.
"I can tell you love your family but you love this town too, or you wouldn't be so far from them. It must tear you up sometimes." He put the other picture down and drifted his hand along the desk's surface. "Very neat, no other gewgaws, no dust, no cluttery paperwork…"
Gewgaws? This amateur Sherlock Holmes needed to pick one verbal style and adhere to it. But how did he know James's feelings about his family and Vegas, merely from looking at two pictures? This man seemed too ridiculous to make such accurate guesses. "So how long have you been in town, Mr. Sparrow? And where do you come from?"
Jack grinned, apparently highly amused at James's patented disinterest in his conclusions. "Don't like to draw attention to yourself, do you? Ambitious but not showy. Not self-centered. I like that in a man. Or even a woman for that matter. It's a rare quality in this town."
"So where are you staying Mr. Sparrow? On the Strip? Or is downtown more your style?"
"Oh here, I should think. In the Black Pearl suite." Jack dropped one knee on the ground, causing Jack to start in concern, but Jack didn't take more action, just stared under James's desk. "Your computer cables are coiled. 'N' tied. Tied."
James frowned in confusion. "What of it?"
"That doesn't seem odd to you, does it?"
"Of course not. It makes it easier for the staff to vacuum around the cables."
Standing, Jack cocked his head to one side, watching James with inquisitive brown eyes. "'N' the cables are vacuumed around why?"
"Dust is harmful to the computer," James snapped, beginning to feel agitated. He was used to controlling the conversations with guests, but somehow Jack was getting the upper hand, navigating the conversation into absurd directions. Who cared if his computer cables were coiled and tied?
"Oh of course," Jack replied, clearly mocking. "You're professional, respected, intelligent, a little too orderly p'haps," he added, his eyes sliding toward the computer. "Is your underwear folded in a neat stack in your dresser? I'm thinking you're a boxer man, am I right? Bet you'd look nice in one of those skimpy Y fronts, you would."
That was the last offense. James shot to his feet, standing close to Jack and using his few extra inches in height to glare down at him. "You, MR. Sparrow, are banished from this casino. You will leave now and you will not be allowed to return."
Jack didn't seem particularly perturbed by James's declaration. "'N' my crime is?"
"I don't need to give you an excuse, Mr. Sparrow. This is my establishment and what I say goes. You will leave now."
"C'mon, can't we come to some compromise? How 'bout lettin' me return every third Tuesday and every fourth holiday?"
"I want you out of my sight." James scowled when Jack laughed, a soft husky laugh. "Why are you laughing?"
"I think you're cute when yer all … declarative-like. Yer the one who should have been a captain. Besides," he added, bringing one finger to his lips in a shushing gesture, "I know the secret."
Cute? He was cute, not intimidating? This man was giving James a headache. Knowing he would regret it, James asked anyway, "The secret?"
"The secret to being able to stay. See… I know you can be bribed."
The assertion almost made James numb with astonishment. How could Jack deduce everything he could about him and not realize the basic fact of his honesty and sense of ethics? Speaking carefully, he said, "You cannot bribe me, Mr. Sparrow."
Sparrow grinned, clearly not believing James. "Not even a little? 'N' it's Cap'n."
"Not at all," James retorted firmly.
"There is no amount of financial inducement that you could offer me that would make me forswear my duty, Mr. Sparrow."
"Old-fashioned language…I do like that in a man. Adds a certain panache, if y'know what I mean." Jack settled his buttocks on the edge of James's desk, taking off his fedora and setting it by the framed photos, looking cool and collected. "Sex?"
"Sex?" James was thrown by the apparent non-sequitor.
"If you can't be bribed w'money, could you be bribed w'sex?"
"Don't be absurd."
"I'm not, mate. Many men have crumbled for the best sex of their lives."
It was James's turn to snort. "From you?"
"Well…not from me, per se. I don't generally go around bribing people with my luscious body 'n' amazing talent." Jack lowered his eyes demurely before raising them again, meeting James's look squarely. "But I like the idea. 'N' it would be the best sex you've ever had."
"Your ego knows no bounds, does it Mr. Sparrow? You certainly fit in with …what did you say I wasn't? Showy self-centered types?"
"Afraid t'take the risk, James? Is that how you so do well in Vegas, you're afraid to gamble yourself? Stay on the sidelines?"
"I am not afraid of you, Mr. Sparrow, or anything you can do."
"Oh goody. You won't mind a demonstration then, will you?" Jack put his hands on James's chest and pushed suddenly. Startled, James flopped into his desk chair, which promptly rolled back, banging into the wall. Jack immediately dropped to his knees between James's legs, boldly spreading James's knees farther apart to give himself more space. His hands were on James's zipper before the security chief unfroze from his surprise and caught them.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"Have that little experience do you?" Jack grinned broadly at James's glare. "Proving myself to you. Proving that sex with me would be worth forswearing your duty. I'm going to give you the best blow job you've ever experienced."
"You're being absurd again. Nothing you do is going to make me change my mind."
"Then there's no harm in me trying, is there?" Jack pulled James's zipper down while James mentally cursed himself, his brain frantically trying to think of a persuasive response to get this man away from him without having to resort to undignified force.
And then Jack was coaxing his penis from the slit in his underwear, and the disloyal creature was obeying with a very definite 'yes, let's have some action, we're feeling quite starved,' reaction, causing James to internally curse his body as well as his mind.
Not that James gave any sign of this struggle to Jack beyond the obvious physical response. His expression was frustrated but controlled. Trying his best to look bored, he drawled, "Very well, Mr. Sparrow, if this is what it takes to shut you up, have at it. It won't make a difference."
"Your tune'll change, mate." Jack cradled James's penis in his hands, the warm flesh and cool metal rings providing a delicious contrast of sensation. "Poor laddie, you're feeling lonely, aren't you? Want to come in my mouth?" He crooned to James's penis, an absurdity that in another situation might have made James roll his eyes in sardonic amusement. But Jack's warm breath was blissfully drifting over James's flesh and laughter was the last thing on his mind.
But despite his words, Jack didn't immediately tack James into his mouth. Instead, he licked at the tip, moistening the head with his tongue. Jack gave a little purr of sound, a greedy noise of anticipation, like a child preparing for a treat. Only sexy. Really, really sexy, James conceded to himself, feeling the shifting in his balls. His body was ready for his satisfaction, even if his mind knew it was incredibly unwise.
"Y'taste good," Jack muttered, his lips joining his tongue, playing with the crown.
Taste…God. "Condom. There might be…" he tried to roll the chair to the side, so he could reach the desk drawer, fighting to remember when he had last used one.
"Don't worry." Jack gave James's penis a little squeeze, causing James to give an inadvertent whimper of pleasure. "It's all fine." He licked further down the shaft and James relaxed, knowing that even if Jack was crazy to take the risk, the other man had little reason to worry.
James expected that Jack would have rushed the business, would have tried to bring James relentlessly to a fast and furious orgasm. But Jack seemed completely unhurried, licking James's penis with his tongue and stroking it with his fingers. It rather resembled a really good massage, as if Jack was covering every particle of James's skin, soothing and exploring the underlying muscle.
Only unlike a massage that caused relaxation, Jack's touch created tension, a tension that began in his shaft and his balls, and slowly reverberated throughout his body. His balls drew up tightly, close to his body, poised to explode, as his penis straightened and quivered hard and hot, like a gambler on a winning streak.
And still the touches continued, the licks and caresses, the warm breath, the soft, limber tongue, the strong fingers… but no mouth. No sucking, no fierce pulling, which James was realizing he wanted badly, damn the man.
His hips twitched, trying to direct his penis into Jack's mouth, which slid temptingly away from the crown and toward the root, where Jack brushed his lips on James's wiry groin hair, inhaling his scent.
"I like the smell of a man, here, where he's most real, most himself."
James's breath labored to get the words said. "You like to tease, Mr. Sparrow."
"Wantin' the real thing, are you?" Jack brought his lips back to the crown. James took advantage of his open mouth, cupping the back of Jack's head, pushing his penis between his lips.
Jack gave a little gasp and obliged James's silent demand, opening his mouth wider, letting James enter more. He tilted his head forward, not stopping until he took in all of James's length.
That feat made James gasp in amazement. He was an average-sized man, nothing to be embarrassed, about, but certainly no porn king. Still, few people could take him so easily, so totally. He ran his fingers through Jack's hair. "Don't…" Hurt himself? That sounded arrogant. Make himself uncomfortable? That sounded ridiculous. How could this man make him lose both his composure and his words?
Withdrawing his mouth, Jack gave a little chuckle. "Y'worry too much."
The disappearance of warmth caused James to whimper in an shameful fashion, but he wasn't disappointed for long, as Jack proved the feat was easy for him, repeating it.
And then he sucked. Air breathing through his nose and the loud sucking noise he made was the only noise in the office, the combination an erotic symphony. James petted Jack's head and relaxed as much as his balls would allow, enjoying the moistness and pressure on the sensitive skin of his penis.
He felt Jack's fingers on his balls, as if knowing they were impatient with being outside the action, squeezing them in the same rhythm as his sucking. The dual sensation made James yell as he came, spurting straight down Jack's throat, his entire body shuddering, his eyes rolling back in his head.
Jack's mouth freed James's penis slowly, licking and cleaning along the way, and James's penis went limp in its satisfaction. The vision was beautiful, not obscene, Captain Jack Sparrow's flushed face, his tongue diligently trapping the last few drops of James's come.
"That still doesn't make a difference," James said with determination, even if the cadence of his words was lethargic. His body sagged in the chair, experiencing the best post-coital bliss he'd ever known. Well…perhaps not ever, but certainly for a disturbingly long time. Or was post-coital only for full penetrative sex? He'd have to look it up in the Oxford English dictionary he kept by his bedside to work on crossword puzzles when his mind needed to relax. Tomorrow, when he got home, if he was recovered enough to drive by then.
James pulled his eyes from the back of his head and tilted his heavy head straight again. He looked down at Sparrow, sitting cozily between James's spread legs, one elbow resting on James's thigh. "I am positive, Mr. Sparrow."
Jack's mouth twisted in a wry grimace. "It was worth a try."
James stroked the strand of hair dangling by the left side of Jack's face. "It was exquisite." The sound of his own voice speaking in a lover's murmur startled him, and he hardened his tone. "But my first allegiance it to my job and my employer." Reaching down, he tucked himself back into his underwear and zipped up his trousers, noting that Jack was a surprisingly courteous and thorough lover. There was no trace of fluid on the outside of James's clothes that might indicate he'd been letting something…untoward…happen to him.
"So wha' happens now?"
Though Jack appeared content to sit on the floor, James was ready to bring a sense of business back to the atmosphere. Not that he'd ever achieved an impressive sense of business in dealing with this man, but perhaps he could achieve it before he threw him out. With the chair up against the wall, he couldn't roll back, so instead he rose, feeling like he towered over the man seated at his feet. "Now you leave the casino. And you do not return. As I said before."
"You're a hard man, James Norrington," Jack said mournfully, curling his feet under him and standing too.
"And you're a reckless gambler."
"Gambler yes, but reckless?" Jack glanced casually at the stack of his chips on James's desk. "I thought I was playing quite…conservatively."
"You just fellated a man without a condom or a blood test. That was a reckless gamble, the most reckless and unwise of them all. You will be relieved to know, however, that you do not have any cause for alarm. I am exceedingly careful with my personal life, despite what impression this encounter might have given you."
The reassurance seemed to amuse Jack. Everything James had done tonight seemed to amuse Jack. James found his irritation creeping back as Jack said, "I've done my research, James. You're a safe bet."
"What do you mean?"
Jack's reply was interrupted by a rapid knocking on the door, followed by the door swinging open and the restaurant manager, Andre Giles, barging in. "Captain Sparrow! I heard you had graced us with your presence tonight."
"Mr. Giles, what a pleasure t'meet you."
The fussy Frenchman smiled happily, obviously delighted to be recognized without an introduction. "And it is a pleasure to meet you, Captain. I am in anticipation of serving you my specialties."
"As surely as I'm looking forward to tasting y'exquisite cuisine."
"Tonight, I hope?" Giles gushed.
"Tonight, I promise. James 'n' I jus' need to wrap up our conversation 'n' then I could use a full meal. My appetite's been whetted already 'n' I'm ready for more."
"I shall prepare you a feast fit for a king!"
"Or a Cap'n?"
"A Captain!" Giles promised gleefully. With a bow, he rushed back out of the office.
Desperately hoping his face didn't show his shock at Giles's obsequiousness, James demanded, "Who are you?"
"I tol' you, Captain Jack Sparrow."
"And Captain Jack Sparrow is…"
"As of yesterday, the owner of the Black Pearl. Y'may be right on top of the casino cameras, James my lad, but y'need to work on keeping up with the gossip."
"Boss is fine. Or Captain. Or Jack." He winked. "Or lover. I think I'd like that one best of all."
James slumped into his chair. This man – this reprobate – was the new owner? The one who'd tried to bribe him with a blow job? Who had sucked every last drop out of him, swallowing it all down? This entire scene was all a test? James boiled with an anger that was rare to him, an anger at feeling manipulated. "What the hell do you think you just did?"
"Confirmed my understandin' that James Norrington is an upright, honest employee…" As he spoke, Jack swaggered forward, sitting boldly on James's lap, his legs on the outside of James's, his fingers sliding into James's dark hair, "… 'n' someone I want to know better. Much better." Jack kissed James gently, reassuringly, with the promise of more to come.
"You're insane, utterly insane."
"Not insane. Jus' … Captain Jack Sparrow. Funny, I thought you'd have heard of me." For a second, Jack's face showed a flash of hurt before he grinned. "But don't worry, you'll be learnin' more about me. All about me."
"Perhaps I will quit my employment rather than be sexually harassed by my boss."
"Won't matter if you do." Jack leaned forward so that the side of his face was against James's. James couldn't see his eyes, but he could hear the determination and promise in Jack's voice. "You can run if you must, but I'm not lettin' you go." Jack nonchalantly swung off James's lap. "'N' now, I'm supposed to meet that nice young fellow in charge of facilities – what's his name – "
" – Yes, Will Turner, for a drink at the Diamond Lounge. I'll see you at the end of your shift. Meet me in the Black Pearl suite for dinner." Jack started to walk out of the James's office, but stopped when James said, "No."
"I'll meet you in The Jewel of the Sea. That's where Giles cooks. We can talk there."
"The Jewel it is then. In 'bout an hour?"
"I'll watch the screens. I'll follow you when you head there."
"I like that. You'll be watching me." Jack rolled his hat up his arm, fancier than a Fred Astaire move, and put it back on his head before strolling out of James's office, leaving the security head in shock.
Oh…God. God, god, god. Those accurate guesses…that mention of research…What did Captain Jack Sparrow know about him? Who had he been asking what, and what answers had he received? What was the truth and what were other people's inaccurate perceptions?
And who was Captain Jack Sparrow? Was he even really a captain? More likely a captain of trouble than any form of sea vessel. How rich was he and where had he gotten his wealth? Billionaires didn't appear out of thin air, not without multiple mentions in Time or Business Week or even People. James should have at least recognized the name. Only a billionaire could have bought this casino. The fellatio…was that his bizarre sense of humor, a test, or was Jack going to pursue a sexual relationship with him? A romantic one?
Wild thoughts and unanswered questions swirled through James's brain, though he knew instinctively what he should do. He should get out, right now. Pack his few personal items and leave a letter of resignation. Avoid the master of mischief who had just entered his casino and his life. But what if Jack's threat not to let him go had been serious? If that were true, staying close where he could learn more about Jack would be the most effective course of action.
James looked over to the security screens, picking Jack out of the crowd, watching him swagger through the casino floor, watching him meet and shake hands with that puppy Will Turner, and made his resolution.
Yes, he would stay. He would stay right where he was, at the Black Pearl. Where he knew the territory, was respected, and had back up and support. Captain Jack Sparrow had been watching him…and now it was time for James Norrington to watch Jack Sparrow.
~ the end ~