After a while some of the lanterns began to go down; others remained, and some even climbed higher still; Jack and Stephen stayed where they were.
Jack kept his eyes on the dark horizon and waited until the others were gone. Only then did he move and turned toward his companion.
Stephen stood beside his friend, wondering what Jack had in mind. He had been unusually pensive all day. Jack's next move, however surprised him completely. Stephen gasped when strong arm wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him close to Jack's solid form.
”Jack? What is the meaning of this?” He murmured, thankful that the darkness hid his blush. Jack had never held him like this, and the new closeness made the delicious warmth growing within him. It was enjoyable feeling but also dangerous.
”I need to tell you something,” Jack whispered.
”You know you can tell me whatever it is, my friend,” Stephen said softly. He was unable to pull away, even if he realized that the situation was quickly slipping ouf of control.
”Stephen, I.. I love you and I want you as my own. But if you don't feel in the same way, you need but tell me and we will forget this ever happened.”
Stephen's heart started to race when he listened Jack's quiet confession. He had been attracted to his handsome friend since they met for the first time, but thought his feelings unrequited.
”I don't want to forget this, Jack. I love you too,” he said and smiled as Jack leaned closer and soft lips claimed his own. He lost all concept of time and surrendered to the sensual kiss which demanded everything but gave even more. He moaned as Jack's calloused hands caressed him through his thin shirt and hoped the fabric gone. But it was dangerous course to take; as much as he wanted Jack, this place wasn't the right one to indulge such desires. And yet he was powerless to resist as Jack opened his breeches, touching him gently.
Waves of growing pleasure overtook his senses as the intoxicating kisses and caresses continued. He held onto Jack for dear life, writhing and pleading for more. His blood turned into liquid fire, coursing through his veins with dizzying force. He hardly realized his own voice sobbing Jack's name like a mantra as he finally found his completion.
A blinding wave of need shot through Jack as Stephen writhed against him in throes of pleasure. Stephen's uninhibited surrender made him tremble to the core. Gently, he pulled the shuddering Doctor closer and cradled him in his arms. His whole being ached with need to take Stephen, but he forced himself to calm down. This wasn't the right time nor the place. For now, it was enough to have Stephen in his arms and to know that his touch had brought such pleasure and joy to his beloved.
Stephen slowly stirred from the stupor of bliss and smiled, enjoying the feel of Jack's strong body against him. Jack whispered words of love to him and still held him tightly as if he wanted never let him go. Stephen was more than content with that.
”I love you too, my Jack. Never let me go,” he whispered and pulled his Captain in a passionate kiss.
They sat on the ground and Stephen sighed as Jack's arms wrapped around him once more, pulling him into protective embrace. Feeling blissfully warm and loved Stephen let his head rest on Jack's broad chest as the steady heartbeats finally lulled him in slumber.
Jack, however hadn't any intention to sleep. He was content to hold his lover in his arms and enjoy the quiet moment together. And some day, hopefully very soon, he would claim Stephen completely as his own.
The thought made him smile.
Dawn found them under their rock, with Jack steadily sweeping the Gut - calm now, and deserted - and Stephen Maturin fast asleep, smiling.