you admit that you're lonely,
you're as cold as a statue
pleading 'fuck me' on the marble
that was used to create you
He has to come to terms with his feelings that extend beyond sleeping together and sharing a bed. He and Anne have had a small falling out, although it was involuntary. She’s jealous of him in Charles bed and he’s offended that she was in Max’s. Still they always, came back to each other. She touches him in a different way, she takes control and takes what she needs and he lets her because they’re each other’s absolution. She’s his absolution from sin and his religious hang ups from when he was a boy. He’s her absolution from her fears and the part of herself she’s still having trouble to find.
They don’t receive absolution from each other anymore.
They keep like that for a week, unsatisfied and tense.
Their old arrangement breaks, they make a new one. Their new one lasts a month and a half. He’s supposed to be going to tell Charles about it now, since Anne is now less likely to gut him or slit his throat.
He doesn’t tell Charles because he runs into Eleanor Guthrie while striding his way through the fort towards Charles’ room. His little creature seizes at his heart as it threatens to stop beating. When she glances at him with fear in her eyes, no matter how satisfied his reaction should make him feel, he feels absolutely nothing but murderous intent at that very moment.
Charles slinks out of the door behind her, lacking a shirt or his boots. All of the air in his lungs leaves . Charles tilts his head and says something that Jack can’t hear. He mutters something, about needing to be somewhere sometime and sometime being now. He turns around and pretends that he’s not sprinting to get the hell away from the fort and he just goes. He doesn’t head back to the brothel. He bumps into Charlotte on the way to the beach, she’s standing with Logan, the Walrus crewman she’s absolutely besotted with and he tells her that he won’t be in.
He tells her to tell Anne not to look for him. He retreats to their rocky outcrop and sobs while his little creature rips at his heart and he chastises himself severely for even thinking he was enough.
Charles doesn’t find him.
the only reason you breathe,
is to sleep through the night
the only reason you speak,
is to state that you're mine
He understands that now; Anne is no longer his partner, Max is not willing to share, Charles is still besotted with Eleanor Guthrie just like when he was nineteen and betrayed Teach for her.
Jack relents to the dark twisting in his stomach and the creature that rears its head back. He’s steely eyed as he goes about his business for the day. His little creature stares at people along with him. He can't help that he wants Charles, but if he avoids looking him in the eyes he might just be able to avoid the fact that he might have real, actual feelings for him. It’s taken the reins for today. He’s snapped at the girls more than once for mistakes that they’ve never made. He apologizes straight after and blames the stress of some made up entity that he’s come up with on the spot. The girls offer their comfort and pat his shoulders, with their own apologies.
But still, everyone gives him a wide berth when he pinches the bridge of his nose or sighs just a bit too harshly.
He loves Charles and he’s made a damn mistake.
He squashes down every bit of feelings he’s had for Charles ever since their kiss. Ever since the rocky outcrops became their thing. Ever since, he though Charles loved him. His fingers shake as he adjusts the new belt for his knives that Anne and Max have given him. It’s wider, and carries six sheathes instead of four. He’s only lucky he has enough knives to fit on it or it would be awkward to balance the look.
There’s a captains meeting just after noon. He has nothing to do before then. He stands in front of the mirror in his room, his eyes linger on the embroidery of his shirt, something new that Max said highlighted his eyes very well, a pale green. It suits his frame nicely. He’ll have to thank Max when he sees her.
Time flies too quickly and before he knows it, he’s stepping into Eleanor’s place and his mask is slipped on.
Steely eyes, cold glare. He meets everyone eyes and at the same time he avoids looking too deep into them because right now he is not allowed to feel. He’s stern when Naft tries to rebuke one of his drawled assessments about the protection around Nassau. Even Flint looks taken aback at how rough his words sound when they come out of his mouth, and that’s something when it’s Flint.
He’s well aware of his heart pounding in his chest, despite his little creatures’ attempts to grip at it until it stops. It’s like he’s hearing without really being there. He catalogues every reaction to every idea and proposal, concocts one after another in his brain while avoiding the way Charles is trying to catch his eye.
They break for a recess, Jack worms his way between Hornigold and Flint to pour himself a mug of rum because Charles isn’t talking to Flint and they’re both actively avoiding each other. Where Flint is, Charles won’t brave. Flint seems to notice the way his shoulders just slightly curl in on themselves but he doesn’t say anything, and Jack is entirely grateful.
The next thing on the agenda is Flint’s plan for the Urca de Lima’s treasure. Surprisingly, Flint turns to him when Eleanor asks him who he’s planning on having as a partner.
“You’re serious?” He can’t hide his surprise well enough. Flint smirks, the other captain’s faces soften in the light of what looks like the old Jack Rackham. Flint however seems to know better.
“You’re smart, you’re efficient. You understand charts and schedules better than most the men here, and you know how to sail well, from where I have no clue how.” Flint adds to the end of his explanation. Jack preens, he feels like a peacock when he tilts his chin forward slightly and perks his nose upwards. Flint looks proud of himself as Jack mulls it over.
“Alright. The Crew Killer will have her holdings cleared to carry back anything that the Walrus can’t.” He says as diplomatically as he can without letting excitement slip through his voice. “When would you like us to depart Captain?”
“Three weeks from now.” Flint gives him a smile that he’s never seen before. Flint holds a hand out towards him. Jack grasps it firmly, shaking it while inhaling sharply.
“Thank you Captain Rackham.” Flint’s words come from the left-hand side of the feel and punch him right in the chest. He makes no outward reaction, still stuck in his own shock to realize that Charles is staring slack-jawed and Eleanor looks put-off that Flint’s chosen him of all people as a partner.
Flint leaves the meeting after that, the rest of the meeting is directed towards profits, regarding the brothel, the warehouses and protection, all things that Hornigold, he and Charles still have to stay behind to discuss. Without Flint to help him avoid Charles’ stares, it’s so much harder to not lose his grip on himself as Charles tries to get his attention. Eventually, the meeting trails off into a stalemate about some decisions. Eleanor throws her hands up in disgust and waves all of them out of her place without a second glance.
He has to clench his fists at his sides while he leaves when Charles lingers behind to talk to her. He should do something about it, like he did something about Charles’ deposition and banishment. But he can’t fucking bring himself to do it. His little creature claws at his insides and demands justice for what it counts as a betrayal. Anne is waiting outside for him. She grazes her hand across his and he takes it for a second of comfort before he drops it. She glares at anyone who dares to walk or step to close to him.
“Jack!” Charles calls out from behind him. He wants to turn around. He doesn’t. He pushes down the urge and keeps walking. “Jack!” Charles calls again but it’s further away. Once he’s sure he won’t be facing Charles, he turns himself around and sighs. They’re back on the beach, him and Anne. He screams, while the beach is empty. He throws his things to the ground, throws a damn tantrum and a fit because everything is so fucked up and he can’t fix it unless he murders Eleanor Guthrie.
The consequence of doing that now and getting caught would end him.
when my body is bleeding
i won’t admit that this hurts
because admitting isn't fixing
so then what is it worth
In the end, Charles manages to catch up to him and corner him. It takes a week, Charles follows and lingers and waits for an opportunity to speak to him where he can’t get interrupted. Jack feels like a trapped animal. His first instinct is to remove the threat. Said threat being Charles pinning him to the wall in his room at the brothel, with his arms trapped firmly by Charles’ palms pressing him to the wall by his biceps so he can’t fight his way out with his knives, or his fists. His second instinct is to run before his he loses what little control he has of the situation.
“Let me go.” Charles shakes his head.
Jack inhales sharply. The pain is almost physical in nature when he really notices how warm Charles is against him. He wants to be wrapped up in Charles warmth not run away from it.
“You’ve been avoiding me Jack.” Charles mutters. Charles tries to search his eyes and he darts his gaze away. “I just wanna see you Jackie.”
“You’ve seen me. Now let me go Charles.” He says while looking away. He can’t look Charles in the eyes, even when Charles lets him go.
“Fuck you Jack.” Charles spits out, his voice is a low growl. Jack winces and turns his head away, towards the window in his room as Charles backs off. When he lifts his head again to look at Charles, he looks like he wants to say something, anything. Charles hesitates, he shifts his weight and his mouth parts.
“I need you to go, Charles.”
“What did I do Jack?” He can feel Charles behind him, lingering. Charles’ presence is impossible to ignore. He clenches his fists on the windowsill and looks outside. It’s evening, most men and women are lurking near the bar. The brothel is mostly full, and he’s retreated away from the noise. It’s why Charles was able to corner him in the first place.
“I don’t want to do this right now.” Jack mutters. He squeezes the wood of the windowsill and cracks his knuckles.
“Do what?” He just knows that Charles is gesturing behind his back. “Talk to each other? You’ve been avoiding me Jack, after everything we’ve been doing together you don’t want to talk? Isn’t that your speciality?”
“I don’t want to do this.” He repeats harshly. His voice is roughed, strained, it grates on his own ears. “Charles don’t fucking touch me.” He snaps when Charles’ fingers land on his shoulders. He shakes, as he turns to face Charles. Charles looks hurt, a wounded expression flashes across his face and he steps back from Jack.
“What did I do Jack?” Charles gestures to himself. “Let me make it up to you, whatever it is?”
“You can’t.” Because Charles is still besotted with Eleanor and it doesn’t matter what Jack changes with Anne, or himself, it doesn’t matter if he changes everything about himself; to be weaker, to be stronger, to be smarter or to work harder, to be different, or the be just like Eleanor. He turns his head to look away from Charles and pauses, before he climbs out of the window impulsively to escape Charles’ grasp.
if i told you i loved you
would you reach out and touch me
you taste like the ocean
Jack runs. He feels like a coward and scales down the tree opposite his window with all the grace of a flailing child before he plants his boots on the ground and runs. He glances back over his shoulder for a second and Jack catches sight of Charles peering out the window after him with shock. Jack scrubs on his face as he retreats back to the rocky outcrops. He lowers himself down to the cove where he fell and lost their money.
He’s soaked from waist down, wading through the water on the ledge in the cove and he sits on the wet rocks. His heart beats in his chest as he tries to rein himself in. He’s trying so bad. He feels ripped apart, and it’s worse than the things he’s been through with Anne. Worse than the absolution that doesn’t come from Anne. It’s worse than what he’s become, willing to hurt, to kill, to lie.
He’s still a coward. He works from the darkness, he’ll sneak and revel in thinly faced threats but he’ll never face the feelings that are in his throat and growing in his chest. His heart is on his sleeve and it is bleeding.
Jack feels like a fool.
Charles is still besotted with Eleanor and their trysts, sharing each others beds mean nothing in light of Charles’ decision to choose Eleanor. He should’ve killed her when he dragged her into the alleyway. He wants to, now, but as he weighs the consequences in his mind he knows that it would end him entirely.
He doesn’t know why he’s so scared to confront Charles about his feelings, when he was so straight-forward and charming with Anne. He’s afraid of himself and his feelings and he doesn’t understand it because Anne and Charles are not so different. He doesn’t want to compare the both of them because while they’re similar they’re so very different.
He hears footsteps stomping around above him. Mutters that disappear in the wind. Charles’ voice carries out over the wind that blows in from above him and he whimpers and clamps his mouth shut to avoid being found. Bile rises in his throat when Charles’ wounded expression presses to the front of his mind, he chokes it back, when the vile taste spills onto his tongue.
Jack cries when the footsteps fade away above him.
It takes a while for him to stop crying and sniffling and scrubbing at his own face.
A splash makes him lift his head and then Charles is pulling himself up from the water to sit next to him. He doesn’t say anything as he strips his shirt off and wrings out the water from his clothes. He pulls his shirt back on and sits with his hands in his lap. Charles hesitates when Jack takes his hands away from his face.
“Jack.” Charles says so softly he almost misses it. “Jackie what did I do?”
Jack picks at his nails and the skin around his nails. He scratches and picks at his skin while his eyes sting. He breathes out slowly and darts his eyes over to Charles, who’s looking at him with softness in his eyes.
“Do you love her?” He asks shakily. He taps at his knee, while he kicks his heels on the edge of the rocks.
“What?” He sees Charles tilt his head from the corner of his eye.
“Jack what do you mean by that?” Charles creeps his hand across his shoulder, until his fingers are curled on his shoulder and he’s being pulled closer towards Charles’ chest.
“Eleanor.” He shakes his hands and picks further at his nails. It starts to hurt the more he does it, pressing his thumbnail into his pointer finger until it rips his skin from his nail. “Do you love her?”
“Jack what are you talking about?” He lifts his head to look at Charles, his own eyes are wet when they meet Charles’ deep set blue eyes. Charles looks so confused, bewildered by his shaky question.
Jack takes a deep breath and tries to sort his words out in his head. He’s not entirely sure on what else to say to Charles. He doesn’t know how else to ask, was what they had nothing? Did he not matter? When he chews on his bottom lip, Charles takes his hand with his free one.
“You fucking matter Jack.” Charles snaps, like he can’t think of Jack as anything but something that matters. Jack lifts his head faster than he should. He gets dizzy and falters, words stuck in his throat. “God what did I do Jack? You need to tell me.”
“You love her!” The dam breaks, everything spills. He yells and he lashes out. His wrist thumps into Charles’ chest and Charles barely moves from it. “I have done everything, everything do is a commitment, to Anne, to the girls, to you ! And Eleanor gets to have you! And I get nothing-”
Charles tugs him in for a kiss that bruises his lips. It crashes their teeth together and causes them both to topple over.Charles nips at his bottom lip and prods his tongue into his mouth. He inhales sharply and kisses back, his breath hitching while his hands shake on Charles’ shoulders. Charles tastes like the salt on Charles’ lips and the salt on Charles’ skin. They kiss and kiss until Jack’s lips feel raw, Charles pulls away, only to hold onto him by the back of his head and look him in the eyes. Charles looks like he’s a moment away from tears.
“Eleanor and I aren’t reconciling.” Charles says firmly, curling his fingers against Jack’s scalp. “We are never going to.” He can’t meet Charles’ eyes. “I don’t love her Jack. I thought you knew that.”
“Then why.” He pleads. “Why was she there? Y-you and-” He hesitates, shaking his head. “I don’t understand Chaz. I just don’t .” He’s a far cry from what he’s been trying to be. He’s disorientated, scared. He doesn’t get it. For the first time since he was a boy he’s unsure and he’s scared and he doesn’t understand why he can’t talk his way out off this.
“Jack when? You have to tell me Jackie, I’ll tell you the truth, just ask .” Charles cradles him. Charles wraps an arm around him and holds him close. He leans in and presses his forehead to Charles. He gasps before he squeezes his eyes shut.
“Anne, we had a talk.” Jack rubs at his cheek, wiping away the tears from his cheek, pressing the fabric of his sleeve to his damp skin. “I wanted to tell you about it so, went to the fort to see you, ‘nd she was there .” The words comes out in a high pitched whine. “And I love you Chaz I fuck-I love you and I-” He gives up on his words and he drops his head, going silent.
“Jack no…” Charles’ voice uncharacteristically softens and then Charles’ hand cards through his hair. “Fuck Jack, I never, she came in to yell at me for missing a meeting. I was asleep .”
His stomach clenches. So Charles… wasn’t, isn’t besotted with Eleanor. Bile rises in his throat and he leans over to weakly dry heave. Nothing leaves his throat. Charles runs his hand up and down his back, it soothes him, as he shakes like a leaf in the wind. Charles bodily lifts him into his lap and cradles him to his chest. Chapped lips find his temple and Charles murmurs to him in a soft voice while carding a hand through his hair.
“I love you Jackie, I should’ve told you sooner.” Charles whispers to him in his ear. They kiss, and Jack lets the kiss speak for his desperation as he clings onto Charles’ shoulders desperately. Tears fall freely down his cheeks as he kisses Charles and Charles kisses back.
and my heart goes
bum bum bum bum bum