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The Captain's cabin was a fair bit fancier than any lodgings Rab had ever been given, all velvet drapery and pillows and softness. At least, he thought, softer furnishings would easier on the knees. His muscles ached from too long in the brig, and he was ashamed of how badly he was relying on Bay to hold him upright.

"Not bad," he commented, and he heard Bay chuckle.

"A little better than the crewmen's quarters. It's a status thing, you see. In the end they have to know-"

"You're better than them," Rab finished for him. He felt the stone settle in his gut: he'd known that of course Bay was better born, and better educated, of higher rank than he. He had felt, though, for a foolish moment, an odd kind of equality, of mutual respect.

But no, there it was: he was above all else the Captain, always, no matter what other side he may show below decks.

When Rab looked back at the Captain, however, Bay’s expression was surprisingly stern. "No,” he said, immediately, “that they report to me. That this is my ship. I'd say I'm the equal of any man or woman aboard, in most terms, but there clarity is vital. How could you run a ship, hell, how could you run a manor or a shop or even a simple stables properly, without a clear chain of command?"

And Rab, foolish though it was, felt that knot in his stomach loosen. It shouldn't matter to him if his new bedmate was a snob: the last one surely had been. But it did.

Of course, things had been different the last time. James had been a cocky little bastard, a tyrant in training, and a good few years his junior. That kind of gap in maturity had meant that status came to naught, with James’ hands tensed on the stable door, his back arched, and Rab’s strong hands on his hips. James had run the show in the house when his father was away, but in the stables he was little more than Rab’s plaything, and that was how, deep down, the stupid boy had wanted it.

James could've been a Prince of the Blood: he'd still have been vermin. His view of those beneath him on the social ladder were both predictable, and of little importance.

Bay was different, though, a grown man with authority and the weight of maturity in his voice and manner. Rab found, to his utter surprise, that he could like the man a great deal, given a little time.

After all, he already had the wanting, even the respecting, sorted. It was only a matter of time, he knew, before genuine regard followed.

"I suppose you have a point," he admitted, grudgingly.

They'd reached the bed, at this point, and Bay eased Rab down to sit on the side. The movement caused his wrist to catch Bay's coat's epaulettes, and he hissed in pain.

To his surprise, Bay was sat at his side in an instant, prompting him gently to let him take one of Rab's hands in both of his. "Rope burns,” he murmured, softly, turning Rab’s wrist over in his tender hands, revealing the soft underside, scored by thick red lines.

“Tends to happen,” Rab returned, just as quietly, “when one is bound with sailing rope for days in the dark.”

Bay’s dark eyes met his, hard and unyielding, the Captain incarnate, “You were onboard the Jolly Roger, the ship that is this ship’s greatest enemy, for weeks. We couldn’t know where your loyalties lay, and had to take precautions.”

“And yet, you didn’t question me when you came to see me,” Rab pointed out. “You said many things,” a soft smile touched Bay’s lips, mirrored on Rab’s own, “but not one question about Captain Jones, nor my loyalties.”

“I didn’t have to,” Bay returned, “they didn’t come back for you, and you didn’t try to escape. And you left Henry alone.”


“My quartermaster’s son.”

“Ah, the little lad who brought me my meals,” Rab nodded, recalling the little dark-haired boy who had scurried in, fearless with his greeting smile, and without a word left him his dinner and ran back to the sunlight.

“We’ve had brigands as prisoners,” Bay said, “men who meant us harm, who would betray us for their true masters. Every one of them tried to speak to Henry, for information or to bribe him, even to threaten him. You let him be.”

“A wise choice, apparently.”

“Indeed,” Bay grinned, suddenly, a smile of true warmth and gladness and, perhaps, even friendship. Rab should like to be his friend, he thought. He hoped someday that he might be. He looked back down, at Rab’s rope burns, and ran his fingers lightly over the angry red marks, making Rab shiver with a sensation that was almost pain, his skin too sensitive to the touch. “I don’t regret these, Rab,” he said, “and I’m sure you’ve suffered far worse. But I’d take the pain away now, if I could.”

He raised Rab’s wrist to his lips, and ran his soft mouth over the welts, front and back. His tongue slipped from between his lips, and Rab felt it rasp and lap at his skin, slowly, tentatively at first, and then with more confidence as Rab did not pull away. He exhaled slowly, trying to keep his composure as Bay bathed his wounds with his mouth. His heart hammered in his chest, and beneath his breeches he felt his cock twitch.

As if he had not spent it a mere ten minutes ago in the brig. As if this were not dangerous ground he walked on, and caution, wariness, the ticket for survival.

He shivered when Bay finished his work, and slowly, with a gleam of mischief in his eyes, blew a trail of cold fire along the wetted skin.

His breathing quickened, his eyes locked on Bay’s, and he could see the other man’s eyes darkening, his high cheekbones flushed as deeply as Rab knew his own face must be. He slowly pulled his hands from Bay’s, and for a moment, a harshly gratifying moment, he saw the disappointment flash across Bay’s handsome face before he had a chance to hide it.

It left, as quickly as it had come, when Rab’s right hand went not to push himself from the bed, but to wrap around the base of Bay’s neck, his fingers tangling instantly in the loosely tied curls that hung there. His other hand slid up from Bay’s curiously angular knee, along his slim, firm thigh, and Bay watched its progress with those same dark, feverish eyes. Rab smiled with intent as he widened his fingers, so his thumb rested in the crease between hip and thigh, barely but definitely touching just lightly, just next to where he knew Bay hoped his hands would go next.

He stopped there, though, his grip firm and possessive without being cruel. His other hand began to move, then, coming up from the tangled curls at the nape of Bay’s neck to find the band of cloth that kept it back, and seeking out the knot. He tugged when he found a loose end, hidden, black on black, in Bay’s hair. With a little fiddling, and the sensation of a shiver passing through Bay when Rab’s thumbnail grazed the sensitive back of his neck, the tie came loose, and crumpled in Rab’s hand.

Bay’s hair spread out slowly, as Rab’s hand combed through it, gently, teasingly, until it hung down around the other man’s shoulders. It was soft, cleaner than a pirates’ hair usually should be, and once again Rab wondered at the other man’s past: where had he been brought up, that he knew how to wash and keep clean at sea? That he felt it necessary even to bother?

Or, he thought, was this the influence of the women Bay had said were welcome aboard the Dagger? Did Bay have a mistress tucked aboard someplace, who washed out his hair for him, like a gentleman?

He didn’t have a chance to ask, whether or not he wanted the answer, because Bay surged forward at that moment and claimed his mouth desperately, his hands firmly on the sides of Rab’s face, holding him still as his lips worked hard against Rab’s. It was Rab, however, who coaxed Bay’s lips open and slid his tongue inside, claiming control of the kiss and plundering the other man’s hot, wet mouth. There was a slight tang of blood on Bay’s tongue, and the salt of skin; his own, Rab realised, with a shudder of want. He could taste his own skin on Bay’s tongue, and he felt a growl, half animal and utterly wild, rise in his throat.

The hand that had rested atop Bay’s thigh finally slid down, and they both of them groaned, lips parted and warm breath mingled in the dark cabin air, when Rab pressed his hot palm to the growing bulge in Bay’s breeches. Bay was hard already, and a grind of Rab’s palm against him, firm and merciless, had him growing harder still, and the man himself panting for breath.

“Mercy,” he breathed, and Rab grinned, wickedness itself.

“Why, Captain?” he asked, in that same husky undertone, “You showed me and my poor limbs none.”

Bay groaned, a mixture of pleasure and pain, and Rab smirked, knowing the man had finally caught the intention. Much as the ending of his captivity, with Bay on his knees and Rab’s cock in his mouth, had been more than worth the days in the dark, his limbs were still too weak to hold him up for long, his ankles and wrists chafed to bleeding and burned from the ropes. Rab did not feel like being merciful to the man responsible, however good and sweet a soul he was turning out to be, however deliciously tempting his pale flesh and dark, deep eyes.

Rab ground his palm again, and again, until he could feel Bay throbbing against his hand even though his breeches. The hand at Bay’s neck hauled him in again, and Rab kissed him searingly, roughly, all scraping teeth and ravaging licks, until he could feel the other man melt against him, weak as a lamb.

“How would you have it, Captain?” he asked, roughly, when they’d parted once more to drag desperate lungfuls of air.

Rab knew what he wanted, how he’d spread his new lover out on the bed like a feast, face down to the pillows. How he’d blanket him with his own body, and leave dark, bruising marks with his hungry mouth all over Bay’s shoulders and down his back. How he’d pillage, explore, claim all that undiscovered territory as his own, and make the poor man squirm and moan in the process. How he’d take him, at last, when Bay was no more than a quivering mess against the sheets, and slide his cock deep inside, make more bruises still with his fingers on Bay’s harshly angled hips.

But having Bay willing to sink to his knees and take his’s cock in his mouth, to suckle and lick until Rab came, and then to swallow him down, was different to having that same man willing to take him inside his body truly. Rab wouldn’t take this any further without hearing the confirmation from Bay’s own lips.

“Entirely,” Bay replied, after a long moment of harsh breathing. “However you’d do it normally, I’d have it, entirely.”

Rab smiled, again, but this time it was brittle and sharp-edged. He was the expert here, he knew, in bedroom matters between men. He was the one who knew what to do, where to put it and when, as it were.

It still stung a little, however, to think that perhaps Bay had only brought him here, only wished him aboard his ship and in his bed, because no one else would oblige. Because he wished for a teacher in such matters, because he knew that a branded and acknowledged sodomite would be able to show him how.

It was a stupid thought, born from having that exact experience with James, a stupid whelp looking for tuition in something forbidden. Rab couldn’t fathom why he wished so strongly for this time to be different, nor why he thought he’d value Bay’s good opinion and respect, could he earn it, nor why he knew he’d not want to do so on his back, as his mother had his father.

But wish, he did, and he couldn’t keep down a snarl.

“Would you want me to bring you off in my hand?” Rab pressed, “My mouth, perhaps?”

Bay shook his head.

“Then what do you want? I’m a man who knows his place, Captain, I won’t do any more without orders.”

“Your place is here,” Bay said, firmly, “if this is where you wish to be. It would be the crewman’s quarters or the brig, if either of those suited better to your taste. But I’d like, for what it’s worth, for you to wish to be here.”

Rab was undone, at a loss for what to say next: Bay seemed awfully good at causing that.

“If you’re only here on orders,” Bay continued, softly, “then I order you leave.”

“Not an order, then,” Rab agreed, that same knot in his chest as before once more undone. Perhaps, he thought, foolishly, this Captain was truly what he seemed: a friend to all he stood with, the equal of his men in all but title, a good man. He’d been lead to believe there were none left in existence: he rather felt like a man months at sea and alone, spying a mermaid on the rocks. Utterly enchanted, drawn in as inexorably as a moth to a lit flame, and ready to be drowned in the waves. “What do you wish me do?”

“Take me,” Bay breathed, “and roughly, without mercy.”

“Don’t you worry, Captain,” Rab said, with a wide grin, “I don’t intend to be merciful.”

He was caught by surprise, when Bay grasped his hair in both hands and tugged him in for another kiss, as wild as before but with the other man taking the lead, plundering his mouth without allowing Rab a second to respond or seize control back. Rab was once again reminded that soft and warm as Bay might be, Captain Williams was known as a man who did not take prisoners, a pirate of renown throughout the Caribbean who had killed and burned and pillaged many times. He was no boy, fumbling in the stables, for all his inexperience and willingness, even desire, to bend and let Rab lead: he was a man, with his own will and his own mind. Rab felt a little ashamed for forgetting that, for underestimating him so.

“Neither do I,” Bay promised, and Rab felt an odd rush of affection for his sinful smile. He’d be lured to his death on the rocks by that smile, by the dark, roughened music of that voice, and happily so. “Especially not to your clothing.”

Rab grinned, a mirror of Bay’s own smile, and without another word Bay’s hands were at the loose hem of Rab’s dirtied shirt, forcing it up and over his head. Rab’s hands reached blindly for the shoulders of Bay’s coat in turn, forcing them down Bay’s arms and off. All clothing was thrown unceremoniously to the floor, until both men were shirtless and left to work on their own breeches and boots.

Bay had crawled up on the bed and made himself comfortable, coverlet brought up to sit at his waist, by the time Graham had worked the sodden and muddy laces of his boots out of their knots and off his feet. He turned, naked as the day he was born, and started back toward the bed.

He allowed Bay ample chance to stare at him in the firelight, as he returned to the bed and knelt at his feet. He knew that it showed his own body to advantage, that he’d been the object of fascination for women in most if not all of the towns he’d visited, that whatever tarnishes to his soul, whatever he lacked in heart and mind, he was at least good to look at. It had never bothered him, one way or the other, if he was admired thus.

Pride was another sin, he knew, but what was one more to add to the list?

The look on Bay’s face though, admiration and awe and raw, burning hunger, made his heart hammer. For some reason he couldn’t fathom, he did care that Bay liked what he saw, and was glad - and aroused further, his cock hard and aching between his legs - that he so clearly did.

“Enjoying the view?” he asked, his voice deeper and rougher than before, and Bay just smiled, long and slow.

“Entirely,” he agreed, “firelight suits you well, Rab Graham.”

“I’m sure it would you too, for all you’re a skinny bastard,” Rab agreed, “if you’d get your arse out from under those covers. Not much I can do for you, with your blankets in the way.”

Bay looked uncomfortable, “I’m not going to measure up,” he warned, bluntly. “I’d rather hoped-“

“That you’d get to gawp and not return the favor?” Rab finished, and thought he caught Bay preparing to nod, before he caught himself. “I could come beneath the blankets with you, if that’d suit?” he said, mildly, “But I’d have to wrap myself around you, like a lover, and it’d be all slow and soft and intimate. Would you prefer that, Captain? A slow, warm fuck under the covers?”

“As opposed to what?” Bay’s voice was strained, and Rab had heard of men who, like women, were stirred by prettily filthy words. Apparently, Bay was one of them. It probably came from reading, Rab thought, absently, thinking of the papers and books littering the desk he’d seen on the way into Bay’s cabin.

“As opposed to fucking like animals,” he said, slowly, relishing the flush covering Bay’s cheeks. “Rough and brutal, like beasts in the forest, fast and hard.” He slid his hands up along the blanket, placed them on either side of Bay’s torso and bore down over him, smiling a predatory smile at his cornered prey, “Which’ll it be, Captain?”

“Bay,” Bay corrected him, swallowing hard, his pulse fluttering beneath his skin, and Rab thought he’d like to press his tongue there, and feel the other man’s rapid heartbeat for himself. “My name is Bay.”

“Alright,” Rab said, “Which will it be, Bay?”

“The second one,” Bay said, his breath slow and shuddering, and then laughed, “I don’t think I’ve the patience for the first.”

Rab laughed too, the sound warm and bright in the hot, dark air, mingling with Bay’s own. It broke the tension that had lingered, made them into playful almost-lovers, rather than simply two tense strangers, stranded on a bed.

“Me neither, in truth,” Rab admitted. “So are you planning on getting out of these blankets? Or am I going to have to rip them away?”

He growled the last, and Bay’s eyes lit with challenge. His hands came to grip the bedclothes, holding them high and covering him to his collarbones, and Rab grinned, delighted. He snarled as he raised one hand from beside Bay’s head and tugged hard at the covers, wrestling them away as Bay clung on with all his might.

He lost his balance partway through this tug-of-war, and Rab used his momentum to pull the blankets with him, rolling onto his side and exposing Bay to the balmy night air. Immediately Bay followed him, trying to pin him down, body to body with the blankets now on top of Rab, who wasted no time in fighting back.

They rolled around, batting at each other like cubs at play, but the growls set loose from Rab’s lips, the soft groans from Bay’s, where anything but childlike. Rab finally managed to wrestle Bay down so he was as he’d imagined, plastered back to front, with Bay’s face on the pillows and Rab’s mouth at his ear.

He ground down, so that Bay could really feel how achingly hard he was pressed against his backside, and Bay whimpered.

“Will you do as told now, Bay?” Rab snarled, biting at the shell of Bay’s ear, and felt the other man nod, his eyes closed with sensation.

“I thought you said,” Bay said, swallowing hard, “no more orders.”

“From a captain to his underling,” Rab specified, with another roll of his hips, and a sharp bite to Bay’s shoulder, and the little noises the man was making were intoxicating. “But between us?” another nip, this time to Bay’s neck, followed by a swift, possessive swipe of Rab’s tongue, “Between men, naked on a bed, about to fuck? Aye, orders are allowed here.” He craned a hand down, using his body weight to pin Bay as he wriggled it beneath their bodies, to rub at Bay’s iron-hard cock. “I’d say you’re even enjoying it.”

Bay squirmed beneath him, and the sensation of his hot, soft flesh against Rab’s, the cleft of his arse against his cock, nearly sent him cross-eyed. “Now, will you heed my orders, Bay?”

Bay nodded, “If it’ll make you bloody well do something,” he ground out, and his breathy chuckle was met with one of Rab’s own, “Then yes.”

“Alright then,” Rab said, and squeezed Bay’s cock suddenly in approval, making the other man groan like he was being tortured. Except Rab had heard and seen torture, and it had never sounded as delicious as that. “Up on all fours, then, come on,” he patted Bay’s flank like one of the horses he used to tend, and Bay did as bade, up on his hands and knees.

“You have oil?” Rab breathed into Bay’s ear, and Bay nodded.

“I have trouble with my ankle, sometimes,” he explained, “The soothing oil’s on the table.”

Said table, and the bottle clearly marked, was thankfully within arm’s reach, and Rab, who swore that any God had surely given him up for lost long ago, winged a sincere prayer of thanks heavenward.

He sat up on his knees, then, and unscrewed the bottle, taking some of the sweet-smelling oil and pouring it liberally over his cock and fingers. He used his other hand to spread it well, before replacing it back on the table.

At the first touch of Rab’s fingers to his opening, Bay shuddered, but Rab did not take it as discouragement. He’d only been on the receiving end once or twice, but he remembered it being a surprising sensation, and he knew that Bay had wanted this. He carefully slid one finger inside, and waited for Bay’s gasping release of breath. Bay squirmed, wriggled, and Rab slowly twisted his finger around, opening him up more and more, as he searched for the place he needed.

He knew he’d found it when Bay’s muscles tensed all over, and he whined, low and long, through grit teeth. He grinned, and slid a second finger inside, touching that place only glancingly, only enough to keep Bay relaxed as he readied him.

Finally, he judged it was just about enough. He placed a hand on Bay’s hips, steadying him, as his other grasped his cock, lining it up with Bay’s entrance. “Ready?” he whispered.

Bay nodded, “Just do it, you bastard,” he returned, and Rab grinned. He could grow very fond of this man, he thought, if he hadn’t already.

Slowly, carefully, he worked himself inside, a little more with every relaxing exhale Bay made until he was most of the way in. He stayed there a moment, letting Bay get accustomed to it and trying not to spill himself there and then like a schoolboy. Bay was so hot and tight around him, like heaven and hell and fire and bliss, and Rab was nearly blind with the effort not to simply shunt back and up inside, hard and fast, and fuck him until he couldn’t breathe.

He waited as long as he could stand, and then slowly slid back, and glided back in, angling for the place he’d found before. It took three more tries before he managed it, but Bay’s strangled howl of pleasure was more than reward for his efforts. “You’re going easy on me,” Bay complained, and Rab snickered, pulled back and rammed home. Bay whimpered, desperately.

“Am I really?” Rab said, “Well, then.”

He upped his tempo, pulling back and thrusting inside faster and harder than before, until he was fucking Bay mercilessly, as promised. He glanced against Bay’s hotspot every couple of thrusts, and when he did Bay keened and contracted around him, the sound and sensation fit to drive him wild.

“Better?” he asked, between punishing thrusts, and Bay keened in response, “It’ll no be enough,” Rab warned, his brogue thickening as he lost his mind, “not the first time. Ye’ll need to touch ye cock for that.”

He could do it himself, he knew, but something had stayed his hand. Most likely the image of Bay strung out and desperate, pounding his own cock into his fist as hard as Rab was pounding into his arse. That image alone had Rab gritting his teeth and trying to hold off from disgracing himself.

“Go on,” he urged, “I cannae hold out much longer.”

Bay adjusted his weight, bracing himself now on his forearm so his other could snake beneath him, and Rab couldn’t tear his eyes away as Bay’s hand encircled his own cock and started to stroke. Slowly, at first, but soon his tempo matched the snapping of Rab’s hips, and he was grunting with every thrust, swiping his hand over the weeping tip, white-knuckled with his harsh grip. He was finished within moments, five good thrusts and he spent himself over the bedclothes, with a final, keening cry of release.

Rab followed soon after, three more punishing thrusts and he came, hard, stars bursting behind his eyelids as he groaned his relief.

Bay’s arm gave out the same time Rab’s knees did, and they fell onto the bed together, spooned up the way Rab had threatened earlier. He felt himself slide out of Bay with a slight pang of disappointment, before remembering that, with a performance like that under his belt, Bay would likely want it repeating sometime soon. Rab hoped so, at any rate: he certainly would be up for another round when he’d got his strength back.

He nipped at Bay’s shoulder, and enjoyed the way the other man shifted, the way he smiled. Fondness came in Rab’s smile, now, the lust done away with for now at least, and he saw the same mirrored in Bay’s returning grin. It was absurd, almost unbelievable, but there it was.

“That what you’d cracked it up to be, then?” Rab asked, after a moment, and he was gratified when Bay nodded.

“Decent,” he said, after a moment, but his sly smile eliminated any actual insult, “might need a couple more times just to make sure. Practice, you know.”

“Aye,” Rab agreed, biting again at Bay’s shoulder before suckling, leaving a lovely reddish purple mark on Bay’s pale skin, “Does make perfect, after all.”