"You ... you may as well stay, if you like."
Jack, rooting around under the bed for his boots, froze. Teetering rather precariously on the edge of the bed, which was a dangerous enough manoeuver for a man with as much rum in him as Jack without him getting distracted on top of it. It was a bloody wonder he didn't fall on his head as he carefully turned, as warily as though he thought the man behind him were holding a gun on him.
Well, he might. Wouldn't bloody know, with a Navy man, and this'n was as bloody dangerous as they came.
"Stay?" he echoed, somewhat dubiously. As in, spend the night? Sleep? In a Commodore's house, in the middle of Port bloody Royal, with quite possibly the guards showing up on the doorstep in the morning, and most definitely the most dangerous bloody man in the place sleeping next to him?
Jack considered that. Might have been the rum thinking (could rum think - seemed to do most of it for him, mind), or possibly something a little farther south, but ... Well, wasn't exactly any more dangerous than sneaking into Port Royal in the first place, wasn't it? More than once, an' all. And not more dangerous than proposing an assignation to Commodore bloody Norrington himself, when the man rather awkwardly caught Jack rifling his pantry. And really, nowhere near as shocking, a pirate staying the night, as Commodore bloody Norrington himself actually accepting said assignation in the first place.
Not more shocking. Not really more dangerous. And James might be lining him up for a morning trip to the noose, all things were possible with James bloody Norrington, but ... James didn't strike him as that sort. Not after ... well. Not after. Not a man to invite you to stay, after that, just to line you up for something nasty in the morning.
Really, he considered. In for a penny ...
Or rather, in for a Commodore. In for Jamie. Who was watching him with eyes that had shuttered defensively in the interim, gone blank and cold as Jack hesitated. Not in calculation, but in readiness for Jack's refusal, dark and wary in the moonlight, and in all likelihood fully expecting Jack to laugh in his face. And that there ... Even if Jamie was lining him up for a noose come morning ... that was too much of a dare for Jack to resist. That was too much to ask, for him to leave a man looking like that, when it was an easy enough thing to stay, and a harder but no less possible thing for him to make a quick break come morning, if anything unhappy were to disturb their mutual hangovers.
Jack grinned, broadly and abruptly, more or less just to see the wariness spike in the man's eyes, and the danger roll through those pale, loose limbs. Jack grinned, just to tease, but there was something else to it, as he slid softly back under the covers, as he watched the flash of surprise in a Navy man's eyes. There was something else besides mischief in his face as he gathered Jamie carefully to his chest, rubbing one hand soothingly down a tense and wary flank, and smiled softly down at him.
If Jamie were setting him up, at the very least Jack'd make him feel bad about it. That were the cynical part of it. But the bigger part ... the bigger part was watching the stunned softness that flickered in his eyes, and the big, calloused hand that tightened in Jack's shirt, and the way Jamie stared oh-so-defiantly at Jack as he softened, and curled hesitantly into a pirate's embrace.
"Don't mind if I do, mate," Jack said, very softly, with that little something else in his voice, and then he grinned. Dark and dirty and smug, just for the flash of temper, and the confidence that shot back through long limbs. Just to watch pride and temper push back that glimmer of something far too fragile for Commodores to be showing pirates.
Jack didn't mind. He'd time enough, he thought, to be mining that treasure at a later date. For now, for this night ... it could be about Jamie.