The Devil in the Dark
by Luvvycat

Author's Note: This is a story written for the High Seas J/E Erotica Challenge on LiveJournal, posted in honour of Valentine's Day. As the "erotica" tag implies, it is VERY "M" rated, so please take this into consideration before deciding to read! I will not be held responsible for any melted eyeballs, heart palpitations, or extreme cases of the vapours that result from the reading of this fic! ;-)

This two-parter takes place in my "Rum and Persuasion" story continuity, and references are made that are specific to events that occurred in the previous stories.

Many thanks to my beta-reader extraordinaire, The Charming and Delightful GeekMama. She truly is the Midas among beta-readers: every fic she touches is improved and enriched! :-)

Let the Valentine's Day smut begin ...

Ta, and Enjoy!

-- Cat

"Come below as soon as you can," Jack had told her, kissing her fingertips lightly before leaving her at the helm of the Empress, adding, in a silky tone laden with sensual promise, "I'll be waiting for you …"

He had been full of praise for her today, pleased with the progress she was making toward learning the skills necessary to captain a ship like the Empress, and she had basked in his praise, though Elizabeth tended to attribute any advancement on her part more to Jack's considerable skill and surprisingly infinite patience as a teacher than to any natural aptitude she possessed. But he had shown enough confidence in her to leave her solo at the helm for the first time since he had come aboard, and she had to admit that she was beginning to enjoy the sense of power it gave her to be able to be in control of Sao Feng's … no, her … ship.

She had thought her vast reading on the subject of pirates and seafaring would stand her in good stead when it came to sailing and navigation, and that was true, to a certain extent. Indeed, she knew more about the different types of ships and the names and functions of their parts than the typical landlubber, and she had picked up a bit of practical nautical experience during her brief, incognito tenure as a crewman on the (ultimately doomed) Edinburgh Trader. And, prior to that, she had helped to defend the (also doomed) Interceptor, putting to use tactical knowledge she had gleaned from books as well as the tales of sailors and navy men, to which she had listened, raptly, as a child.

(She paused at the sobering thought that, not only had the various men in her life met tragic ends—her father, James Norrington, Sao Feng, Hector Barbossa, Jack, Will … albeit, in the case of the latter three, less permanently than the others … but so had the ships on which she had travelled …

The Dauntless, destroyed in a hurricane off Tripoli …

The Interceptor, sunk by Barbossa and the Black Pearl

The Edinburgh Trader, and the venerable Black Pearl herself, both fallen victim to the Kraken …

It was almost enough to give credence to Gibbs' superstitious belief about women plus ships equalling bad luck!)

However, working with Jack, she soon discovered how inadequate book-knowledge was as compared to the actual doing, and merely reading about sailing was indeed a poor substitute for learning the ropes through personal, hands-on instruction by a master of his craft.

She found that the same held true as far as sexual congress was concerned. Luckily, Jack was proving to be quite knowledgeable in matters both naughty and nautical, and both her day-time lessons at the helm, and Jack's more intimate night-time tutoring in the cabin they shared below, were turning out to be extraordinarily educational, and quite mind-broadening.

She stayed at the helm until the sun slipped below the horizon, even forgoing supper (though, in truth, she felt little like eating these days, due to a nagging and persistent queasiness in her stomach that seemed reluctant to go away) and, with final orders for her first mate, she turned the Empress over to Tai Huang, and headed for the door on the quarterdeck that led to the cabin below.

Two small brass lanterns burned at the top of the arched staircase, which curved down, gradually disappearing into a sea of shadow. Not a glimmer of light issued from the Great Cabin.

"Jack?" she called out in a tentative voice.

His lazy drawl drifted up from the inky blackness. "Yes, luv?"

"Jack, why are all the lights out?"

The shadows emitted a mischievous chortle. "Why don't you come down and find out?" the voice purred.

Elizabeth spared a glance over her shoulder at the lanterns flanking the door through which she'd just passed—both of which, unfortunately, were securely bolted to the wall, and unavailable for her use. She briefly considered going back out on deck to fetch a lamp, but Jack was waiting, and apparently had a reason for dousing the lights (daft though it might be, knowing Jack). With a sigh, she slowly started to descend, leaving the island of dim lamplight at the top of the stairs and was eventually swallowed by the dark.

She stumbled a bit as she reached bottom, anticipating more steps than there actually were, and thrust her splayed hands out in front of her, pawing the air like a blind man feeling his way in unfamiliar territory—which, in fact, this was. Though in possession of the Empress for more than a month now, she had not spent anywhere near enough time on her for her to be able to negotiate the ship and her private quarters in complete darkness without risk of mishap.

Her seeking hand eventually found the circular frame of the moon gate leading to the master cabin. Sparing one last, longing look upward to the distant lantern flames, which shone like a pair of golden cats' eyes in the dark, taunting her with a reminder of the light she was abandoning, she moved into the room, treading carefully, cautiously, as she strove to remember the layout, and keep from knocking into the furniture.

To her light-deprived eyes, the room was pitch-dark. All of the lanterns and candles had been extinguished. Her every muscle tensed. Though not exactly afraid of the dark, Elizabeth was not accustomed to being in places totally devoid of light. Even in her bedroom, as a child in London, and again in Port Royal, she had always left a candle or lamp burning on her bedside table. Absolute darkness disquieted her — it reminded her of death, and tombs, and a dim childhood memory of her mother, being sealed into her mahogany casket before the funeral ...

She took another tentative step into the room. "Jack … where are you?"

There was a stir of air, and a light but unmistakable scent of rum, carried on a puff of hot, moist breath, wafted around her as a voice sounded low in her ear, "Why, right here, luv."

She whirled, and automatically struck out, her hand impacting taut, warm, naked flesh in the dark, eliciting a muffled "oof!" from the shadows before a hand groped for and found her wrist, pulling her against that same warm, naked flesh …

"'Strewth, Lizzie, calm yourself … 'tis only me!"

She could feel her cheeks flush hotly, and she ground out through gritted teeth, "Damn it, Jack! What the bloody hell do you think you're doing!" She hated being caught unawares, and her voice held more than a soupçon of anger—aimed mostly at herself, for letting him startle her so easily—as she squirmed against Jack's body.

"Just puttin' a theory to the test, luv, is all …" Though the blackness prevented her seeing his face, she swore that she could hear the smirk in his voice.

"What theory?" she responded, hotly. "Of how insanely foolish it is to accost a pirate captain who may, or may not, be armed with deadly weapons?" She laughed harshly. "You're damned lucky I'm not wearing my bloody sword, Jack, or your little 'test' might have resulted in you losing a couple of vital appendages and bleeding to death on the floor of my cabin!"

She wrenched her hand out of his grasp, and took a step back, but was arrested by the feel of strong hands lightly gripping her upper arms. "Hush, luv," Jack's voice came again, like dark red wine in the stygian gloom—a rich vintage flavoured with a tart undertaste of amusement. "No harm done, eh? All me parts, still intact …" He chuckled, deep and low in his throat, "As you'll surely be findin' out, very soon, if things go accordin' to plan."

"Jack … I can't see a bloody thing! Why don't we just light one of the lanterns …"

The press of a callused finger against her lips silenced her. "Sshhh!" The finger traced a path downward, dragging lightly across her lower lip, rounding the pert promontory of her chin, then curving under it to wend its way down the graceful arch of her throat, until his peripatetic digit encountered the collar of her Asian tunic. She felt the brush of beard against her face as his cheek pressed close to hers, and he growled tauntingly in her ear, "What's th' matter, darlin' … 'fraid of the dark?"

She rolled her eyes, the effect of which was completely lost on him in the absence of light. "Don't be absurd!" she snapped, feeling her face flush at his gibe, as well as in reaction to his touch. She vaguely wondered if he could feel the sudden warm rush of it against his skin. "More like, afraid of stumbling over something and breaking my bloody neck …"

"Just indulge me, luv …" he cajoled, his breath hot in her ear.

"Don't I always?" she said, ruefully. Then her face flushed even more hotly as she recalled the few things she had refused to do for him, in the privacy of their cabin and bed. "Well … nearly always," she qualified.

"Besides …" he argued, his voice low and persuasive, "… the introduction of light would absolutely scuttle my little experiment …"

"What exactly are you—?" she began, but then his mouth was on hers, swallowing her words along with her breath, and her resistance melted away under the heat of that kiss, as it always did … as he—the silver-tongued, golden-toothed, jet-eyed devil—knew it would.

She moaned as she fell into the kiss, losing herself in the liquid fire of Jack's mouth, the wicked wet flame of that agile argentine tongue setting her alight as her own passion caught and burned fiercely within her. As her desire rose, she realised that she didn't really want to waste time on anger and arguments—not when there were much more enjoyable ways they could be grappling with one another.

Each of her night-time encounters with Jack was a discovery, a revelation, a lesson about herself, and the woman she was, and always had been, behind the genteel, aristocratic veneer. Under Jack's gentle, loving, often playful, occasionally fierce tutelage, she was learning things about her body, and about his own, that a proper lady would never have dared to contemplate: how the brush of a calloused finger against her wrist set the pulse beneath the skin fluttering and racing; how the flick of a tongue in just the right place made her breath hitch and her skin flush with fever; how the pressure of a thumb at a critical moment could send her over the precipice, catapult her into a world of throbbing, shuddering rapture. And she was learning, too, how her touch could affect him, in similar ways.

They had been lovers for nigh on a month now—from the time she surrendered her virginity to him, the eve before the battle with Beckett, to the present—and it still embarrassed her how eagerly she looked forward to these nights with Jack, and what she became when she was with him: a woman, wild with want, driven by need, without a thought for propriety, decency, or self-restraint when it came to indulging her own desires.

She couldn't help anticipating with delight every new experience he brought to their bed … every new sensation he wrought with his rogue's hands and libertine's body … every sweet sinful secret that was revealed in the shedding of their clothes, and her own inhibitions. Jack's nimble fingers had deftly, deliciously loosened the knots of her old, maidenly reserve, sweeping away the flimsy shreds of her tattered modesty like wispy clouds blown before an irresistible rum-scented breeze. She found the exciting new horizons of pleasure that Jack opened up for her to be more than adequate recompense for those things the well-bred lady had left behind.

His dextrous hands were now making short work of the fastenings of her tunic, his lips moving from her mouth to the slender column of her throat. "And … just what is this theory you're set on testing?" she said weakly as his fingers reverently stroked each newly-uncovered patch of skin.

"Well, luv … some say that, when a body is deprived of one of its senses, the remaining ones compensate for the lack by becoming much more … heightened …" His hand slipped into the open front of her tunic ...

She couldn't suppress a small intake of breath at the feel of his finger teasingly tracing the low neckline of her thin silk undertunic, drawing a line of fire across the upper rise of her breasts, and when she spoke her voice was huskier than it had been before. "So … what you're saying is, by rendering us, for all intents and purposes, blind … we can expect to be more … intensely affected … by the other senses?"

"Aye," he replied, "All the other senses …" Then went on to demonstrate …

"Touch …" His hand splayed now against her upper chest, his warmth seeping into her flesh, adding to the hot flush already creeping up her throat. She felt the brush of his tangled hair against her chin just before his lips found the small notch at the base of her throat, his dangling chin-braids nestling in her scant cleavage.

"Taste …" The tip of his tongue dipped into the indentation, a warm slickness against her skin as he proceeded to drag it along the elegant arch of her left collarbone. Elizabeth closed her eyes in reflex—despite the fact that the total darkness rendered the reaction superfluous—and shivered at the sensations it evoked.

"Smell …" he buried his nose in her hair, inhaled deeply, and whispered, so softly that his voice was barely a shiver of the air next to her left ear, "Sound …"

Jack's hands settled on either side of her neck, caressing, before moving down, pushing the material off her shoulders, and the outer tunic fell to the floor with a soft silky sigh.

Hands still at her shoulders, Jack turned her around, so that his bare chest was now pressed to her back. She could feel the warmth of him radiating through the thin fabric of her undertunic. His hands sought and found her trouser-clad thighs, drifting up them and under the hem of the tunic, his palms resting briefly on the lean flatness of her stomach (oh, how they blazed with heat as they pressed against her!), before his fingertips danced lightly about her narrow waist as they sought the ties of her trousers. Soon, the cloth was sliding down her legs with a slithery susurration of sound, pooling around her booted ankles.

She felt Jack's hands skimming down her limbs, following in the wake of the material, and the press of his head into the small of her back, just above the gentle swell of her derriere, as he reached down and, by touch, found and helped her off with one boot, then the other, and she was able to step out of the puddled trousers. His hands lingered at her shapely ankles as he pressed a kiss to the back of each knee, his tongue swiping the tender skin, sending an unexpected shiver up her spine.

Then he was moving upwards again, pushing the tail of her undertunic up, cupping her buttocks in both his palms. She flinched at the sting of cold metal—his rings—upon the left swell, a contrast to the smooth well-worn leather of his palm-guard upon the right. (Good Lord, she thought dimly, does he never take that thing off?) She let out a little gasp as she felt the bristly ridge of his close-cropped beard scrape against the silken skin of her backside, back and forth, back and forth, scouring it, enflaming it before salving the friction-burn with a humid, open-mouthed kiss and the soothing balm of his hot, wet tongue.

"Sweet," he breathed against the luscious curve of her bottom, and she shivered again at the feel of his scorching breath against her skin. "Sweet, and warm, like fresh-baked bread …"

She inhaled, about to make some sort of biting remark at that simile, then let it out in an explosive yelp, jumping as she felt his teeth sink into the succulent flesh where his lips had just been, nipping gently, playfully. His mouth stretched into a smile against her skin.

"Oh, luv," he laughed, wicked and dark and low in his throat, "What I wouldn't give right now for a nice, big pot of butter …" He drew a saliva-moistened finger down the cleft of her arse …

She tensed as his probing finger threatened to become a little too invasive for her comfort. "Jack …!" her voice held a note of mild panic.

Then he was rising again, sliding up her back as his sweat-dewed flesh clung to the thin undertunic, dragging it up with him, and when he wrapped his arms around her and pressed against her again, she could feel him, hard and hot and velvety, nestled cosily against the crease of her bottom.

"Oh, God …" she breathed as something tight and thrilling coiled deep and low inside her, realising for the first time that Jack was completely naked. And, save for the thin silk garment now bunched and gathered practically to her waist, so was she …

She barely had time to come to grips with this thought, when his hands began moving over her, slowly and deliberately, with intent to arouse, and then she found herself incapable of thought at all. His fingernails coaxed soft, sibilant whispers from the fabric as they lazily sketched intricate designs upon her silk-draped stomach and strummed across the washboard ridges of her ribs, transferring a trail of fire to her naked skin through the tunic … and a corresponding fire gathering in her belly.

She let herself fall back against Jack as his hands travelled upward, delineating patterns on the rise of her bosom, tracing concentric, ever-narrowing circles around the tips of both breasts. He teased, the circles tightening, then widening again just when they would have reached the epicentre, and she moaned in frustration.

When, at last, he allowed his nails to flick across her hardened peaks, she cried out and threw her head back against his shoulder as an intense frisson of luscious liquid heat suddenly flared between her thighs, throbbed and flared some more with each tantalising swipe of his nails across her pebbled flesh. The thin shield of silk between his fingers and her body transformed the scraping of his grubby nails into meandering paths of pleasure, a wonderful friction that had her pulse leaping and her breath coming harder, made her arch her back and thrust her chest out to offer those girlish breasts up to his agonisingly erotic, thoroughly delicious ministrations.

The rush of intense desire made her knees go weak, and she hooked one arm back and around Jack's neck to keep from falling as his clever hands continued to play a rhapsody of wanton delight upon her eagerly receptive flesh …

* * * * *

Jack's hands slid up the front of her body, the silk beneath his fingers cool and slick as oil, a soft and gossamer-thin barrier between her skin and his. He shuddered with sensual pleasure as he drew his nails across its sleek surface, twitching almost imperceptibly where he lay sweetly cradled against the dimpled nest of her arse.

She writhed so beguilingly under his hands, each swipe of his roving fingers evoking a response in her … a sigh, a shiver, a reflexive tightening of the muscles beneath her skin, a quite distracting undulation of her bottom against his hard flesh. The sound of her breath in the dark was sweet music to his ears, like the soughing of the wind through his Pearl's shrouds. Its cadence altered from movement to movement …sped, hitched, trembled on a moan as his fingers continued their gentle—and studiously, determinedly patient, given his own enflamed state—motion across her.

He felt the cool silk warm under his palms as they cupped her breasts through the flimsy tunic, and then his cartographer's hands were moving over her again, drawing roundels and flourishes and curlicues upon the map of her chest, elaborate compass roses taking shape under his long, elegant fingers, before they sailed on to circumnavigate the twin islets of her breasts. Her bosom heaved more pronouncedly as his circles grew smaller and smaller, closing in on the centre of the target, the pebble-hard "x" that marked the site of her treasure. And then – naughty Jack! – he changed course, moved away again, his fingers deliberately avoiding reaching their tender mark.

Again he closed in, and backed off … and again, until, hearing her moan of frustration, he took pity on her, and let his nails brush across the stiffened, silk-clad tips …

She gave a cry, and arched against him, her legs trembling (sending her arse, deliciously, all a-quiver against him). Her head fell back onto his shoulder, even as his own head dropped to the gentle curve where swan-like neck met soft feminine shoulder, seeking out her pulse, feeling it thrum rapidly under his lips in time with the strong heart beating under his meandering fingers. He fancied he could almost feel, almost hear, almost taste the very blood rushing through her veins, throbbing in time with that blood-engorged part of him that seemed to pulse to the exact same rhythm. Inhaling deeply, he swore he could smell the earthy, musky tang of her arousal, like a subtle perfume on the air.

His hand reluctantly left her bosom, and charted a new course southward, where the convergence of her satiny thighs marked yet another territory to be explored. He dipped a gently probing finger into her channel, testing the waters, and found it drenched with her moisture …

"Oh, darlin'!" he laughed a bit shakily, his voice husky with desire. "You're well beyond ready, aren't you?" Her only answer was a moan against his neck. "Don't fret, luv … Jack knows just how to take care of you …"

He bent and, bringing one arm behind her knees, lifted her, sweeping her limp form up in his arms, and turned in what he hoped, according to his recollection, was the direction of the bed …

But, in the absence of light, and without the glimmer of the stars up above to guide him in his navigation, he proved to be just as confused and lost as she had been earlier. He stumbled around blindly in the dark, swore in pain as he barked his shin against a rather substantial hulk of furniture.

Elizabeth laughed breathlessly, tauntingly, in his ear, even as her arms tightened around his neck, "Now, whose brilliant idea was it to do this in total darkness?" He felt her fingers lace into his hair. "Are you certain, now, that you don't want to light a lantern?"

In the end, he might have sworn that the bed, taking pity on them, found them and threw itself in their path, for stumbling back in the direction from whence, he was sure, they had already come, he suddenly found his knees impacting something painfully solid, and felt himself falling over an object considerably larger than a chair or table. Elizabeth let out a little shriek as they tumbled together—making it her turn to reprise Jack's earlier "oof!" as he fell on top of her—onto something that billowed around the two of them like a soft downy cloud …

They had, indeed, located the bed!

Elizabeth gasped in a lungful of air, then erupted into peals of helpless laughter, her body quaking with mirth beneath him, until Jack, desperate to recapture the concupiscent mood, pressed her into the feather mattress with his body, and silenced her with a long, deep kiss …

Author's Note: The action gets even smuttier in Part 2. Read on, if you dare ...