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How sweet the pain can be

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Sometimes he wondered if it had been all worth it, if he hadn’t made a huge mistake. Thoughts full of regret keeping him awake at night.

All the hard labor for their cause was gone. Traded for a life in captivity. Invisible chains holding him on this island, with nothing left but endless loneliness.

He missed him, wanted him, loved him and failed his only chance. He could only wish for James’ happiness, that only he himself would have to suffer the consequences of his decision.

It was his torturous tradition. Begging forgiveness to the vast emptiness of the sea.

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Past sins torturing him his entire life. Driving him into a life of lies and deceit. The barest instinct to survive. No matter how. It was the price he had to pay.

For love there was another price. It wanted honesty. Something he could not give.

Instead a final sacrifice of letting go. Of creating a chance for a life he knew he would never have. He paid the biggest price, sacrificing himself for another’s happiness.

In the end he was left in hell. Forced to travel a never-ending journey of loneliness.

A self-imposed prison he could never break free.

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The first time he had touched him he had flinched away. Involuntarily. A lifelong instinct of trying to protect himself.

It was hardly his fault his brain associated touch with never-ending agony.

He wanted this. He craved it. The comfort of an embrace, of fingers on his skin, torturing him with pleasure instead of pain.

Now he soaked up those touches, craving them just as much as dry soil craved water after a long drought. An addiction he never wanted to cure.

Drenched in deep red blood he kissed him, hard and passionately as they watched just another city burn.

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Come back. I love you. Please. Don’t leave me alone. I need you.

He was yelling at the horizon, tears on his face. There were no answers. Only the ocean lapping at his feet, the once so calm water turning into a maelstrom of blood and destruction, torturing him with past mistakes until he could do nothing more but scream for help.

Until he woke. Alone. It was nothing but a dream.

The screeches of the owls in the distance breaking the heavy cloud of silence around him.

The only comfort he would get in his self-imposed prison of loneliness.

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The water had claimed him, stolen him from his arms to create another. Someone to take his place.

He should have felt happiness, at losing the burden of being something he did not want to be.

He never wanted to be a villain. He also never wanted him to take his place in this nightmare.

Such was the price they had to pay to the ocean.

Years later there was a book on his doorstep, used and worn out.

Opening it he could only make out two words, blurred by the many tears that had fallen on them.

Forgive me.

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With shaking fingers he tried to tighten his grip around the pistol, willing himself to be strong enough, to not let it fall to the ground.

I care for you.

I need you.

I love you.

Unspoken words to be locked inside his mind for eternity.

This needs to end.

I found him. I returned him to you.

I don’t love you.

He had lied instead. It was better that way. In the end it would be nothing more than another of his meaningless stories. One of many.

Dragging him deeper down into this rabbit hole of distortion and misery.

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Sometimes he dreamed. Of warmth. Of love and kindness. The long lost memory of a mother’s embrace. A longing hidden deep inside his heart.

There was no place for love in his life. No matter how much he wished for it. Cursed to always want what he could not have.

Trust me.

Two words. Begging him to give in.

He did not have the energy to fight it. But perhaps there was no need. Not anymore. Perhaps he could have this. A chance at happiness. Something he had dreamed of his entire life.

Soft kisses and strong arms around him.

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I never wanted this. 

Not a life full of lies. Not a pirate’s life. Not the loss of everything and everyone he’d cared for.

He did not want to fall in love. For he knew it would bring him only more pain. A betrayal of his own heart, punishing him for all his past sins.

In the end he could only stand with grace, holding back the tears as he pushed him away, towards the happiness he himself would never know.

Alone he watched the fire devour the ship, leaving nothing but chaos and ruin. A mirror to his soul.

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He was loved. He was cherished. He was worshipped.

Demanding kisses stealing his breath and a bristly beard scratching the sensitive skin of his neck.

Strong arms around him and rough hands on his heated skin, teasing until his back arched from the sheets and he drowned in pleasure.

Until he woke up. And there was nothing but cold sheets around him. No warmth. No love. Just abandonment. Nothing but a dream of something he craved more than life itself.

He was cursed. To live a life of loneliness. Haunted by the memories of a love he could never have.

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What was left of him?

A death mask on his face. For his soul had perished on that fateful day, nothing more but the empty shell of his body remaining.

Trapped in a questionable revolution. A fight for a purpose that had long lost its meaning. Was it madness? Or apathy? The chains of exhaustion weighing heavy on his legs.

Trapped in an endless dance with another, yearning for closeness and yet being separated by a seemingly impassable trench. Too afraid to take the leap. A never ending status quo, the only way to keep what little comfort there was.

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A blade to the back. The beginning of his misery.

Would he change anything in retrospect? Even if he could? He was not sure.

Was there even another purpose for him. Something else than to exist as the rock upon which he build his church. An altar to another. Almost overflowing by the blood of the sacrifices brought to it. A macabre way to keep record of their now shared sorrow.

And yet he had agreed to bear this weight. If only one of them could find happiness. Then even he himself would become a martyr upon this very altar.

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In the darkness of the night, he could pretend. In the darkness of the night, he could rest. No more thoughts. No more maps to be memorized. No war to be fought.

The only map to follow was one of endless freckles painted upon soft skin, leading to a treasure far more important than gold.

In darkness lit only by soft moonlight he could lose himself to passionate kisses, a heavy body pinning him to the sheets.

For in the darkness of the night he could pretend. That he was loved. That he was happy. That this was not temporary.

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His power had been intoxicating. A dangerous attraction, a craving for safety in those arms. To be touched and worshipped.

Strong hands, buried in his long locks, holding him close as he had claimed his mouth with such a force he had struggled to remember how to breathe.

How many times had he kissed the blood from his skin, desperate and wanton, as if it had been the sweetest wine he’d ever tasted. Yet another addiction with no cure.

Now all that was left were his tears falling onto the paper, smudging every apology he’d written in the past decades.

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Deep red blood on white snow. A memory still burned into his head even decades later. Teaching him a precious lesson. Forcing him onto his destined life path.

There was no snow anymore. Only heat and deep blue waves consuming the white sand, dragging it into its depths.

There was peace. For a few precious moments.

Stolen kisses in dark places. Bodies rocking with the rhythm of the waves crashing against the ship. Sharing warmth in those cold nights.

In the end it did not matter. Love always ended looking down the barrel of a gun.

What remained was remorse.

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He had never been a tactile person, despite his ability to manipulate people however he wanted. He was good with his mouth. Not with his hands. There was never the need to touch people.

There was sometimes a need to let himself be touched. A heavy burden if his goals required it. But he never enjoyed it, never wanted it. Until he met him.

A desperate kiss after a battle, fingers touching bloodied skin. Nothing but an impulse decision, awakening a want he never expected. He needed this. The embrace, the kisses. A true blessing for his touch starved soul.

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He did not understand, could not comprehend why he was willing to touch him, to care for him.

The miracle of finding that one person in the world not feeling anything but contempt for him, to find someone just as messed up as he was. Someone who would understand.

The comfort of loving kisses and strong arms keeping him safe at night.

In the end it seemed love was just like another bullet. Shattering the walls around him just as easily as if they are made of glass.

He could only pray he would not later regret letting it happen.

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Another one finished. One of the many unsent letters, locked away in shame for the rest of eternity. Just another reminder of his terrible loss.

Sometimes he dared to dream. How their life would have been under different circumstances. Without all these losses. Without the pain.

He imagined them living together, enjoying soft kisses as they listened to the soft music of a piano somewhere far away. Resting peacefully in a cocoon of shared warmth of their entwined bodies.

Such a shame it was never real.

The soft light of the moon being the only witness to his unshed tears.

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He was trapped. Deep in the bowels of the Walrus, water rushing in from each direction, leaving him no way of escape, dragging him into the depths of the ocean, drowning in his own desperate screams.

Until he woke from this dream, relieved to feel the air entering his lungs as he tried to catch his breath.

Above deck the men were celebrating, the noise grounding him back to reality.

Still exhausted he curled closer to Flint, resting his head on his chest. The soft drumming underneath his ear the perfect melody to lure him back to a restful sleep.

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What was hope if not a lighthouse in the dark. A flame burning brightly across the distance, inviting him to come closer, to feel its warmth.

A welcoming shelter from his pain. A want ingrained so deeply in his soul. To feel him. Around him. Inside him.

For he did crave love as much as a squirrel craved the nourishment in autumn.

In the end there was no warmth. Huge waves of reality crashing him into the cliffs. There was no safety. Only icy floods drowning him in their cold embrace.

What was left was the worthlessness of his loyalty.

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Gone. She was gone. Perished in a useless fight for a liberty they would never earn. Ripped out of his life so fast he still had trouble to process it.

There was nothing left of her but a forgotten brooch, dropped carelessly onto the floor of his cabin. Just awaiting his return. Preparing him to face yet another horror that was waiting for him.

He could not lose him, too. Not both of them in one day. He couldn’t handle it.

Helplessly he counted those shallow breaths until his heart turned as cold as the forgotten stew on the table.

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It was bad news. He knew. Knew before the messenger could even open his mouth to speak up.

Whatever it was, he did not want to hear it. He was not ready for it.

Involuntarily his body started to tremble and he knew it would be only moments until he lost his balance, until strong arms grabbed him and pulled him into a strong body.

Desperately he buried his face in the crook of his neck, his hands gripping his shirt tightly.

For he was the only thing that kept him tethered to reality. His anchor in the stormy sea.

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How long has it been. Since he’d felt any emotion. Anything but the emptiness. Happiness. Sadness. Whatever. He just wanted to feel something.

He killed, murdered everything that decided to step into his way. It did not ease the void.

Drenched in blood he left the burning banana plantation behind him, trying to reach his ship until he crumbled. He had gotten what he came for, could feel the price heavily in his pocket.

He was waiting for him. He could see worry in his eyes. And anger. He kissed him. Hard and rough. In the safety of his cabin.

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He should have never entered this cave, looking for shelter on this godforsaken island.

By the time they noticed the toxic gas most of the men had already fallen victim to it.

He had disobeyed his order. His command to stay safe. How foolish of him. Oh how he wished himself back in his arms, to safety.

And yet he knew he would never feel them again. No love, no kisses. Only death awaited him.

As he desperately tried to crawl back to the ship he could distantly hear the cannon fire, destroying the only place he’d ever felt home.

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He kept watching until his figure vanished in the distance, hidden in the safety of his carriage.

Tears were streaming down his face as he almost regretted his final act of compassion.

He gave him happiness, peace, but at what cost. His own love.

There was nothing left for him. Only the dreams of a quiet life he would never have. There would be no warmth in his bed. He gave that privilege to another man.

The final nail closing the coffin containing his heart for all eternity, burning the last remaining bridge towards what used to be his happiness.

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They had the house to themselves. There was no one to see them, to hear them. Only the warmth of the fireplace reaching their naked skin.

The soft pull on the leather string of his necklace, restricting his breath as he felt him slowly enter. The fullness an intense contrast to the emptiness in his lungs as he trust into him.

It was the thrill of being at his mercy, trusting that he would take care of him, would protect him.

“Good boy.” He whispered in his ear as he loosened his grip and the world around him turned white.

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Sometimes he pretended. That he was a gentleman. That he was worth something. That his past didn’t exist.

How differently would his life have turned out had he not chosen the path of a criminal. Perhaps he wouldn’t have lost so much. Perhaps he wouldn’t have known love in the way he did now.

He missed him. His touches. His kisses. The feeling of belonging to someone.

Sometimes, in the darkness of the night, he could almost pretend he felt those arms around him, kisses on his skin. Wishing it was not only another ghost of his long forgotten past.

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How long would it be until he stopped being spooked by loud noises? To flinch whenever something sounded just too much like cannon fire in the distance.

It has been years since he’d last heard it for real. Years of peace he could sometimes not believe he finally got to live.

Far away from the sea, from any prying eyes. Just the two of them. Sharing a life, a bed. He felt loved. And happy. For the first time.

And only the taste of candied fruit on his lips, fed to him by strong fingers reminding him of the Bahamas.