He gave up hiding in his room after two days, which was much shorter than the last time Marco had banished him with fear. He was out on the deck now, forehead against his kneecaps, listening idly to a party going on farther down the deck. A few of his former crewmembers had asked him to join in and had offered him drinks, but Ace had refused them all. He didn't feel up to celebrating and joining everyone.
He didn't really feel like he could join.
He heard the light scratching of sandals on wood and immediately tensed, raising his head to stare up at the man who touched him in ways nobody had ever wanted to before. He glared; Marco stared back just as evenly, holding a steaming bowl of what smelled to Ace like delicious soup. His mouth watered and he eyed the bowl hungrily. Several times Marco had placed beside him something to eat before promptly walking away. He hoped that this would be one of those times.
Marco crouched to place the bowl before him, but didn't rise as Ace had hoped. Rather he stayed low and fixed him with a hard stare that left him questioning, again, how it could be possible to belong on such a magnificent ship like the Moby Dick, weak as he was compared to the rest of the crew.
"You should be trying to have a bit of fun, Firefist," Marco said suddenly. Images of being bent over his lap flooded Ace's mind and he blushed before putting his head back in his hands. "Or are you too busy plotting your next attempt on Pops' life? You can't take his head you know."
"I will take his head," Ace spat, raising his eyes to Marco's. "I will take it and stick it on the goddamn flagpole."
"Where pieces of your shorts were hanging?"
"Shut up, old man," Ace snarled. Secretly, a thrill shot through him. If he provoked Marco exceedingly, would he punish him during the day? Would he seek him out at night, even if he never went above deck to wreak havoc?
But Marco didn't appear fazed by Ace's remark. Rather, his expression showed concern, the very concern Ace had seen on Thatch's face when he was first assigned a sea daddy.
"You can't continue like this. It's an impossible feat to achieve. There's no shame in forgoing these schemes of yours."
Shame. That was something Ace had been doing a lot of thinking about lately.
"You can join us and wear the mark of the Whitebeard pirates on your back."
"I can't join."
Marco quirked an eyebrow. "Why not? Is it because then I'd treat you like a brother rather than a sea daddy?"
"I…" Ace lost his words, his ears turning pink. "…No. It's disgusting and shameful."
"There's no shame in wanting something like that."
"There is shame," Ace hissed. "There's a whole lot of shame! I can't, I just, ugh, I don't know–"
"You don't know? That's why I'm here. To teach you what you don't know."
And with that Marco got up, tenderly patted him on the head, and left him to his lonesome.
Walking down the commander's corridor by himself was unnerving, but he pressed on until he reached the end of the hall. He didn't think Marco would be in his quarters anyway.
He was wrong. The door opened before he got a chance to raise his fist and knock on the wood.
"I've been expecting you," Marco whispered. "What took you so long to decide?"
Ace nearly turned and bolted at such an assertion, but Marco's hand was on his shoulder and a warm feeling flooded his chest as he smelt what had to be Marco's unique musk in the air. He breathed deeply, taking it all in, and allowed himself to be led inside. The door closed behind him and Marco clicked the lock.
"How could you know I was going to come?"
"Saw it in your eyes. You want to please me, don't you?"
Ace's face burned. "I-I do not! I-I just came because I-I, well–"
"Then you won't drop to your knees in front of me? You won't receive my spankings? You won't let me take your virgin asshole?" He wore a devious smile that told of his uncanny sense of humour. He wasn't mocking, but all the same Ace felt himself challenged.
Ace grit his teeth and dropped his eyes to the floor. His heart beat madly and he feared that his predator could hear it pulsating. But Marco didn't move, only continued talking. Though this time the smile dropped right off his face. "You're ashamed of yourself, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I fucking hate myself."
"I hate myself some days too, but that doesn't stop me from taking pleasure where I can find it."
Ace glanced up just long enough to see the understanding in Marco's eyes.
"After a while, it doesn't matter. You just have to keep living and find yourself something that makes you feel alive. Have you ever tried to turn your shame into something else?"
Marco clucked and shook his head. "That's not true. You have. Why do you think you came to me several times now? It's because you wanted to turn shame into pleasure."
Ace blushed again as he thought of Marco's hands and how they stung him but made him feel so alive. He liked the attention Marco gave him when they were alone; it made him feel so…wanted. Special, even.
Marco took a few steps forwards and closed the gap between them so that they were eye to eye. He brought his hands up and pressed his palms into Ace's freckled cheeks, feeling the warmth of Ace's skin and the fire that burned fiercely just beneath the surface, barely suppressed. Slowly he tilted his head and brought his lips down, gently brushing them up against lips that parted and gasped. Then he pulled back and let his hands drop to his sides.
The gesture was fleeting. Ace couldn't even close his mouth while he was so aflame with emotions. He wanted to feel those lips on his again, harder next time, maybe invite Marco's tongue into play. Or teeth.
"Will you drop to your knees for me?" Marco whispered with a sort of half smile that Ace had seen on him only when in the company of his fellow crewmembers. A smile that whispered to him, You do belong, you know.
Ace held his gaze as he dropped down, his hands coming out to brush over the expansive set of abdominal muscles in front of him. He brushed Marco's tattoo, traced it with his eyes next, and felt he really wanted that mark of belonging for himself. Marco had hinted that he had the answers to questions that Ace sought after, and Ace knew those answers were likely hidden in that mark on his chest.
He swallowed as his knees touched the wooden planks and his fingers stopped on the sash around Marco's waist. He didn't know if he should move it aside, or wait for some sort of instruction to do so. He didn't know what kind of a game Marco would make him play now.
With a soft chuckle at Ace's doe eyes staring up at him expectantly, Marco dragged his fingers through Ace's hair. Those eyes glazed over, and he continued to pet away. Eventually he removed his sash and pried away Ace's fingers, and they came easily after petting Ace into a subdued lethargy. He wished to reassure Ace that not all he did was cruel and harsh, and wished to do that right away so that the tension building in Ace's shoulders would dissipate as soon as possible.
"Stand up, and go over to the bed. I want you to lie down on it, but first you must remove your clothes. I won't bind you this time. I know you like mostly everything but being bound. I only did that for your safety, and that of the Moby Dick's."
Ace gave a cautious smile and stood, quickly undressed, and lay back on Marco's bed. The last time he remembered being there he had been in such pain, and he couldn't help but tremble and wonder if Marco would teach him roughly this time, too.
Marco dropped his breeches as well, making sure to go about removing his undergarments leisurely so Ace could get a long look at him when he was finally uncased. He could see Ace's Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed, taking in the meaty length that swung between Marco's legs when he walked forward, pulling up just short of the bed.
Already Ace was half-erect. Only this time, unlike other times before, his hands were free to reach down and caress himself, if he so wished.
"I know you have a curiosity for me. You have my permission to explore, if that's what you want."
Again Ace swallowed and flipped on his side, drawing close to Marco's flaccid length. He reached out, hesitantly, and touched the heavy rolls of foreskin, then wrapped his fingers completely around, afraid to be firm. It was the first time he had ever touched another man before, and he instantly felt connected to Marco in ways he'd never experienced with anyone else. His heart began to pound against his ribcage with that realization.
Marco let him lift and weigh him in his hands, giving him free reign to do as he pleased. He knew Ace was both deathly afraid and incredibly aroused, his hardening length being the deciding factor. He let Ace fondle his balls and press his lips to his rolls of foreskin, gasping as he stiffened and the head of his cock exposed itself. With trembling lips, Ace delicately kissed that too. Then he drew back, red in the face.
"I'm not sure what you want me to…"
"I will teach you," Marco said, moving his hands to Ace's cheeks. He ran a thumb along Ace's parted lips and gently widened his mouth, then angled his hips forward so that the head of his cock flowed through them. Ace received him with a tongue that flicked against the bottom of his mushroomed head, and as Marco gripped his hair, he began to lick him in earnest. He found he enjoyed the texture, and liked to trace those prominent veins on the underside of his shaft with the tip of his tongue.
But Marco had resolved to teach him, and Ace found that Marco no longer sat still placidly. Now he gripped Ace's black locks and pulled him towards his crotch so that, inch by inch, Ace took more of him in. Just as Ace began to whimper and gag, Marco retracted himself, and the process began anew. He forced himself down until Ace gagged, again and again, until Ace noticed that he was getting closer and closer to the curled pubic hairs of Marco's crotch.
Marco gave him little time to breath, and his pace increased with each thrust. Ace found his nose buried in blonde curls, and only then did Marco offer some form of verbal advice.
"When I draw back, take your breath through your nose. Straighten your neck. And as I come down into you, exhale. It will loosen your throat."
Ace tried his hardest to listen to Marco's instructions, and eventually he caught on to the correct breathing pattern, and only then did Marco intensify his thrusts once more, plunging deeper and deeper until Ace's throat felt like it was on fire. It could very well have been, but he doubted Marco cared with his regenerative abilities.
He seldom gagged now, and Marco was sliding down his throat. He realized he was drooling all over, but Marco didn't seem to care. In fact, he didn't even care how much of a mess he was. His own cock was twitching and spasming, and he didn't touch it once before it erupted. As Ace spilt his seed over the side of the bed and onto the floor, Marco thrust one final time and came in his mouth, holding Ace there so he gagged and lost a bit of oxygen, succumbing both to the light asphyxiation and his own mounting pleasure.
His world went dark for a few moments, and when he awoke Marco had him on his back on the bed, and was straddling him. He blinked a few times, and found that he hadn't been out for very long when Marco's cock brushed the inside of his thigh, still glistening with his saliva.
He groaned. An incredible urge to spread his legs and let Marco take him washed over his body. He knew he couldn't resist that urge, and he only hoped Marco would understand enough to allow him the satisfaction of being taken.
"Please fuck me."
"Are you sure? I won't be gentle."
Ace gave him a crooked smile. The first shy, genuine smile he'd given anyone in a long time. "You never have been. And I don't want you to be."
Marco leaned down to smash his lips against Ace's, thrusting a wet tongue into his mouth that was warmly received. For a moment Marco dominated him, making sure that Ace never got a second to breath, and when he finally drew back, Ace was panting vigorously. Marco took advantage of that sudden bout of exhaustion and flipped Ace over on the bed so he lay face down. Immediately he dug his hands under Ace's thighs and lifted his buttocks, so pale and unmarred, into the air.
He brought his palm down upon that unblemished skin, and began to administer a sound spanking. Ace gripped the bed sheets as Marco worked him over, never giving him a rest from the pain and always alternating between hands, making sure the hits were fresh. Ace felt tears roll down his cheeks, not because of the pain but because of some other emotion long dormant within him. He found that he liked being so thoroughly used. It was intoxicating to be Marco's toy, to have all of his devotion.
Suddenly the pain stopped, and in its place a new pain ignited not unlike the last one. Marco had jabbed two fingers into him up to his knuckles, and was stretching him forcibly. In the haze of being so lightheaded, Ace thought that maybe Marco had spanked him to lessen this new pain. It was certainly not as bad as he had imagined it would be. After a while, he only felt a calming heat and that strange, pleasurable tingle on his buttocks as the light welting settled in. He felt like he was glowing red, like an ember just waiting for the wind to give it a breath of life.
"Are you ready for me?" asked Marco, withdrawing his fingers. Instantly Ace felt the loss, and he squeezed his sphincter muscles together, wishing to grip something concrete. Something real.
"I'm ready, yeah. Do it. Please."
He sounded so weak, so pathetic, but at that moment he didn't care – he just wanted Marco to show him how it was possible to get pleasure from such a shameful act. He wanted something, for once in his life, and Marco was willing to give it to him.
With a grunt, Marco eased himself inside, spreading Ace's backside wide and his asshole even wider. Ace let his face fall into the pillow as he groaned loudly, unable to hide a thing from Marco. Not that he wanted to anymore. He had nothing to hide anyway. Marco had taken every private thing from him until there was nothing left to be ashamed of.
It was liberating. His whole life he had things to hide from other people. But Marco had destroyed that darker part of him and filled the void with something new, something refreshing.
Marco continued to nose deeper until Ace could feel soft, curly hairs rubbing against his welted cheeks. He instantly relaxed, embracing that palpitating length, even as Marco's weight fell on his back and his stubbly jaw brushed against his shoulder.
Then he felt it. A warm, wet tongue dancing around the shell of his ear. His whole body shuddered and his hips bucked instinctively, driving Marco even deeper than he already was. Ace moaned, fully aware of a dark chuckling in his ear. It sent spikes of heat down his neck and stomach, gathering in his groin.
One of Marco's hands found its way to Ace's cheek, and he tilted his head around to capture rosy, parted lips. Ace sealed himself to Marco for a long time, as long as he could without feeling too faint, sliding his tongue against his sea daddy's. And, as they met for a second round, Marco began to move, thrusting shallowly in and out of him.
Ace felt the change. He embraced it.
And the thrusts became deeper and faster until his entire body shifted and he struggled to avoid being driven into the headboard of Marco's bed. He braced himself against that headboard and drove back at Marco, hearing satisfied grunts that served to heat his core. He loved knowing he could use his body to elicit such noises from the first division commander.
In that moment, Ace felt powerful. Then one of Marco's hands, both of which had been holding him up, curled around beneath their bodies and stroked along the length of Ace's stomach. It dipped lower, and lower still, brushing dark curls until settling at the base of his erection. Two fingers in a 'V' encircled him and Ace gasped as Marco took control of his desire, strengthening his need for release while at the same time ebbing away at it with just the faintest touch of pain. He writhed and reached down to grab at Marco's hand, but the man swatted him away.
Ace heard a deep, throaty chuckle before he felt Marco's teeth nipping at his neck, and a tongue sliding along his jaw, moving up to his ear. Every pant that came from Marco deafened Ace and it was all he could do to continue moving his hips, unwilling to let their impending climax subside. Marco clenched him further with his deft fingers, and as a result Ace's entire body convulsed, sending Marco himself over the edge.
With a strangled moan he half smothered in Ace's hair, Marco came, slamming Ace a few more times to squeeze out every last ounce of pleasure from his engorged cock. Ace squirmed in place as he felt his insides coated with Marco's opaque essence, and his erection bobbed between the bed sheets and his stomach, begging to be given release. He would not be denied.
Before Marco could grow soft, before he could pull out, Ace thrust his hips back, and came with an all-consuming violence that left him gasping and clawing at the sheets. When he was finished and his vision not so white hot, with little flames dancing in front of his eyes, Ace fell into the wet puddle he'd created and struggled to breath, Marco allowing him that pleasure too.
As he came back to his senses, it registered that Marco was stroking his bare back softly and murmuring soothing words into his hair. He closed his eyes again. In his haze he couldn't understand a word of what he was saying, but he found himself agreeing and Marco chuckling, which put a goofy smile on his face. But, above all, he was just happy that Marco's fingers, running through his hair and all over his body, weren't stopping to rest.
He fell asleep, drenched in sweat and other juices but sated, feeling truly safe for the first time since the early days of his childhood.
"I want to belong here. I want to wear your mark."
"Oh, so your sea daddy has finally struck a chord with you?" Whitebeard replied, chuckling loudly. The suggestion was innocent in nature, but seeing Marco's half smile peeking out from the side of his captain made Ace blush. He hoped he could blame the sun's passionate rays for his flushed cheeks.
"You could say that," Ace answered softly. He remembered Marco's words that morning, after he'd woken up to find that Marco had taken him into his arms, cradling him against his chest and stroking his mussed hair.
"I hope you've learned the most important lesson I had to teach: that you do have a place on this ship," Marco had said. "You might not think so Ace, but I know you belong here. With me. And if you're afraid something might change between us when you become an official member, then you're wrong, brat. It's as simple as that."
Warmth again flooded Ace's veins and he turned his face up to the sun and Whitebeard's flag.
"I do belong here," he declared.
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