It was near dusk by the time they'd left the bathhouse on Feverfew Street: the twilight creeping up the walls of churches and lodging-houses, warming the grimy stone and softening the faces of each Londoner hurrying about his business.
Jack Sparrow was not in any particular hurry to be anywhere, aside from the ever-present wish to achieve privacy with Mr Jack Shaftoe: but he'd sated a fair proportion of his most urgent desires in that dim bagnio, and his arse and balls ached pleasantly from the exercise. Not to mention his skin, tingling from a confusion of cleanliness and ungodliness: from sponge and strigil, and from tongue and hands and teeth. And Shaftoe's hand was on him too, albeit separated from actual contact by several layers of second-hand clothing. Oh, Jack longed for his own garments again -- though these, at least, were unstained and uninhabited.
"So, Mr Shaftoe," said Jack, leaning slightly closer for the sheer sense of Shaftoe's presence, "where're we bound, eh? Where do we lodge tonight? Or are we spending the hours of darkness on the road to my Pearl?"
"Told Bill we'd be back by Wednesday," remarked Shaftoe, as though this were any kind of answer.
"You did, did you?" said Jack. "May I reiterate, then: where are we bound at the present time?"
"I've a notion," said Jack Shaftoe, with a faraway look that made Jack shiver just to think of what might be playing out in Shaftoe's mind's eye, "to do a little ... sight-seeing."
"Sight-seeing?" queried Jack. "Have you not seen sufficient of this troublesome urb? Have we not observed all that London has to offer? Or did you, perhaps, wish to witness the demise of Mr Nevison?"
Jack Shaftoe brightened at this suggestion, but shook his head. "Too long 'til the next Hanging Day," he said. "Even if the perfidious stoat doesn't find some way to postpone Sentence. No, Jack, there ain't too many sights we've left unseen, 'twixt the two of us. The Tower and the Menagerie -- remind me to recount that tale to you, by the way: you'd have enjoyed it immensely, such a shame you found yourself indisposed --"
"The brothels of Southwark," said Jack sweetly.
"London Bridge, complete with severed heads!"
"The heights of thespian art, as epitomised by that lewd play you took me to see," countered Jack.
"You loved every moment of it," protested Shaftoe, his hand creeping from Jack's shoulder up through his damp hair as if to call to mind the various intermissory distractions found at the theatre.
Jack conceded this point with a nod and a smirk. "And your charming olde worlde gaol," he said, mostly to elicit a solemn guilty look from his companion.
"'Xactly," said Jack Shaftoe. "And now I wish to furnish, by way of contrast, the view from the heights."
"Heights, eh?" said Jack with a happily nostalgic smile. "D'you recall that time when I raced you to the masthead, Jack?"
"And I found the fastest way down?" said Shaftoe, grinning. "O yes, Captain Sparrow, I remember it well. But none of that here, eh?"
"Here?" said Jack, peering around at the gloomy alley down which Shaftoe was tugging him.
"Here," said Shaftoe triumphantly, turning the corner and gesticulating at the column of pale stone that soared ahead of them. "The Fire-Monument, Jack: I shewed it t'you when first we came to town."
"Ah, yes," said Jack, his smile sharpening, "this giant Phallus that you Londoners have erected to inspire you to greater ... efforts. Though I can't help but note, Doctor Shaftoe, that there are signs of Inflammation at the very tip. Perhaps your great City has caught the Pox, eh?"
Shaftoe shaded his eyes and peered up at the gilt flames that adorned the pinnacle of the Monument, glowing red and gold with livid sunset hues. "I daresay you're correct, Doctor Sparrow," he said. "As Men of Medicine, 'tis clearly our duty to assay a Cure."
"I seem to recall that there's a way up through the, the core of the building," said Jack, and tilted his head up to murmur into Shaftoe's ear, "Let us imitate that rush of seed, eh?"
"I'd rather take it ... slowly," said Jack Shaftoe, with a leer that made the nearest doxy turn and smile hopefully. "'Tis a long and strenuous ascent, Jack: I wouldn't want to tire you, not so soon after your ghastly Ordeal."
"You might be surprised, Mr Shaftoe," said Jack, "at how very refreshed I feel, subsequent to my ablutions."
* * *
There had been some contention at the foot of the spiral staircase, but Jack Shaftoe had won the argument, and it was Sparrow who went first, with Jack a quarter-turn behind him, eyeing the sweet high curve of the pirate's arse, the flex of his muscles, as he climbed.
With luck there wouldn't be any other sightseers at this time of day (and Jack had lingered briefly at the entrance to ensure that there'd be no more admissions). With luck, they'd have the platform at the top -- and all of London -- to themselves. And Sparrow's conceit was certainly inflammatory, though in a hale and wholesome way, inductive of a pleasant heaviness at Jack's own groin.
Not for the first (nor the hundredth) time, Jack Shaftoe thanked whatever powers might be listening for the beneficence of that Cure they'd undergone of late. There was nothing to prevent Sparrow and himself from enjoying all of life's pleasures, and most 'specially those that were best enjoyed by Two.
"Not much further!" he called cheerily up to Sparrow.
"Delighted to hear it," said Sparrow over his shoulder.
"Tired already?" provoked Jack.
"Not at all, Mr Shaftoe. Which is not to say that certain elements of my anatomy have not been exercised rather more in the last few hours than in the days preceding, and the concomitant tenderness -- though undeniably pleasurable -- presents some slight hindrance vis--vis the current ascent."
"Save your breath," advised Jack, not bothering to disentangle this oration more than was necessary to produce a prideful glow in his own anatomy. "You'll need it."
"Careful you don't promise more than you can deliver," grumbled Sparrow. "Are we nearly there yet?"
But there was light -- a lurid coppery reflected glow -- from above them, and Jack found from somewhere an extra measure of strength that enabled him to reach the stairtop a mere moment behind Jack Sparrow. They'd raced the sunset and beaten it: the platform at the top of the Monument was still bathed in the last rays of sunshine.
All London lay spread before them, clad in providential twilight that hid the constant bustle of commerce and criminality, the dirt and decay, and (best of all in Jack's opinion) the denizens of those twisted claustrophobic streets. Jack had had enough of Londoners, lately. He and Sparrow were alone up here -- the fellow at the door'd been telling the truth after all -- and could gaze down on the City as though they were its Lords. Ships, towers, spires, theatres ...
Jack had seen it all before. He stood close behind Jack Sparrow, close enough to feel the lovely warmth of his body, and propped his chin on Sparrow's shoulder.
"That's the Tower, over there," he observed helpfully, gesturing. "And All Hallows church."
"Mmm," said Sparrow, curving back against Jack in a way that was delightfully evocative of the episode of play-acting inspired by Jack's encounter with bloody Nevison. "How very educational, Mr Shaftoe. And that great Edifice, to westward?"
Jack spared no more than a glance for it. "The new St Paul's," he said. "Unconscionable, the time they're taking to, to erect it." And he canted his hips against Sparrow's firm arse, lest his wordplay go unnoticed, and slid his hand 'round Sparrow's waist to make some explorations of his own.
"If a job's worth doing," said Jack Sparrow, with an incendiary glance back at Jack, "it's worth taking time over."
"Oh, I don't know about that," argued Jack, moving his hand lower and discovering a pleasing state of readiness. "Surely there's something to be said for rapidity and efficiency?"
"What possible reason could there be for haste?" said Sparrow sweetly. "'Tis not as though we're in a 'specially publick place."
"What? All of London can see us here!"
"And have they their perspective-glasses?" countered Sparrow. "Or can they merely make out two minuscule and anonymous figures, high above them, exclaiming over the glories ..." He twisted round in Jack's arms, turning his back on the darkening vista, and stared at Jack hungrily. "... of the view?"
"It's a very fine view," said Jack indistinctly, his mouth brushing 'gainst Sparrow's. Could not resist claiming a hot kiss, and then another, though all the while Sparrow's right hand was busy at his buttons, and Sparrow's left was working its way under Jack's shirt to tease his bare skin. "See?" said Jack, coming up for breath from an especially voracious kiss. "Rapidity and efficiency. Excellent qualities."
"Admirable," said Sparrow. "And I'll lay you could do this with your eyes closed, eh?"
A shiver of greedy memory overtook Jack at the recollection of pitchy midnight liaisons, feeling his way, letting Sparrow map him with touch and tongue. "I could," he agreed. "But then I'd not be able to look at you, Jack. And I've missed that, these last few days. Missed you."
* * *
The strong slanting rays lent an ambery glow to Shaftoe's hair and gilded his skin so perfectly that Jack wanted to lay him all bare, quickly and efficiently and immediately, before the light faded. Personally, he was afire with more than sunlight: even subsequent to the afternoon's sensual delights, Jack felt he had a deal of catching-up to do. And Shaftoe's words had sparked in him a sharp desire to carry out that catch-up as publickly as possible.
"Tell you what, Mr Shaftoe," he murmured against Shaftoe's delectable (though unnaturally clean) neck. "What say you stand here, eh, leant against this parapet, and observe the view?"
Shaftoe, for a wonder -- he clearly had missed Jack, all the time he'd been in Newgate -- let himself be turned. He grinned back over his shoulder. "And what'll you be doing, while I peer out at, let me see, the Palace of Westminster?"
"Oh," said Jack airily, freeing Shaftoe's heavy, firm yard from his breeches. "I sh'll be ... enjoying the view." He gave Shaftoe a slow stroke and licked his neck, and his breath hitched at the vibration of Shaftoe's moan against his tongue.
"Wish I was down there, Jack," he said, low and fierce, lending a hand to Shaftoe's sudden hurried attempt to push his breeches down. "Down there, looking. As well as up here, that is: co-located."
"Too far," said Shaftoe, bared from waist to knee, pushing back against Jack's hand. "Though, dear Christ, two of you, Jack, oh, do that --"
"Down there, lurking in that alleyway," pursued Jack, hastily unbuttoning himself and groaning at the sweet warm press of Shaftoe's arse against his eminently ready prick. "Down there with my cock in one hand and my spyglass in t'other, fixed on your expression as I, as I ..." Damn, this talk of glasses and phalluses was making him fumble-fingered: he slid his hand, loose and lazy, up the length of Shaftoe's cock, and delved into the left pocket of his coat for the ...
"Fuck," he swore against Shaftoe's neck. "I've naught with me."
Shaftoe groaned, and thrust into Jack's hand. "Then -- unh -- then improvise, eh?"
"Haven't you had your fill, today?" Jack could not resist enquiring, spurred not by any need for reassurance but by the simple desire to have Shaftoe sweetly and urgently honest, here in his arms.
"Why, Captain Sparrow," said Shaftoe archly, "is this Monument providing insufficient inspiration? D'you find yourself in need -- oh, Jack, Jack ..."
For Jack Sparrow, chusing to take that last jibe as a challenge, had spat upon his hand and was pushing a slippery finger down into the crease of Shaftoe's arse, down and in. There was slickness inside Jack Shaftoe, still, from that last fuck in the bathhouse -- oil and semen, thought Jack with a shiver, pressing his mouth against the back of Shaftoe's neck -- and the tightness was easing already. Two fingers, now, and Shaftoe was pushing back against him, demanding more, braced against the stone parapet and groaning with each thrust of Jack's left hand, each pull of his right.
Jack was giddy with power (not to mention what passed, in these parts, for fresh air, of which he was inhaling deep lungfuls as he panted and gasped 'gainst Shaftoe's neck, and nudged his own prick 'gainst the hard tense muscle of Shaftoe's thigh). "If I was down there," he said out loud, "I'd be looking at you, Jack, looking at your face, phant'sying I could hear you begging for it -- "
"Begging? Insisting," corrected Jack Shaftoe, spreading his legs wider to let Jack in as far as might be.
"Ah, but insisting what?" enquired Jack. He bit at Shaftoe's neck. "Insisting that I desist from such terribly publick displays? Requesting me to keep my, what was it, dreadful vice to myself?"
"You're my dreadful vice," growled Shaftoe, twisting his head around 'til Jack could feel the warm yeasty gust of his breath. "An' I scarcely think you need any instruction in that discipline from me."
* * *
Jack Shaftoe never ceased to be amazed, astounded and exhilarated by Sparrow's gift for improvisation. Never a dull moment in Jack Sparrow's arms, all right, and this occasion promised to be the antipode of dullness. Perhaps it was the cool spring air on Jack's face, raising gooseflesh to mark the warm wet passage of Sparrow's agile tongue: perhaps the sheer visibility of their rendezvous, up here above London's clamorous streets. Or perhaps it was simply the way that Sparrow -- ever apace of Jack's phant'sies and dispositions -- was murmuring filthily provocative suggestions against Jack's ear.
"Just think on't, Mr Shaftoe," he was saying, his fingers delving deep inside Jack's arse and pushing glittery against that hidden place. "All of London can see you up here, giving it up to me, letting me give to you."
"You ain't giving me what I want," countered Jack, groaning. "All talk and no -- oh Christ, Jack, yes, there, there!"
"All of London's watching you," pursued Sparrow, pushing against the swell of Jack's buttock so that his cockhead pushed tantalisingly against Jack's arsehole. "All of London, stretching their eyes to see the infamous Jack Shaftoe made a pirate's catamite."
"Fuck all of London," said Jack breathlessly, fists clenched atop the parapet, trying to curve impossibly upward so that he could force himself onto Sparrow's cock.
"Assumed you'd ... done that already, mate," said Sparrow, shaking -- Jack could feel the tension transmitting itself through his cock, his arse, his spine, his neck, everywhere that they touched -- with the effort of not shoving himself deep.
"Done enough to know it's you I want," gabbled Jack. "Jack, c'mon, get on with it, give me --"
"In a hurry, Mr Shaftoe?"
Jack had no answer for this: he could only groan, and brace himself against the stonework. But it seemed that no response (or at any rate no verbal one) was required, for at once, at last, Jack Sparrow -- his open mouth pressed against the bare skin of Jack's neck -- was groaning too, and pressing in, hot and hard and urgent.
Maybe it was the angle of Sparrow's thrusts, or the cant of Jack's own hips, that made this particular fuck so awkward, so tantalising, so deliciously odd. Jack leant forward, dizzy at the impact, dizzy at the violet dusk that separated him from London's filthy pavement two hundred feet below. Oh, Jack Sparrow made his senses reel, all right, and had done so even before that hot blue afternoon high above the Pearl's deck. Jack writhed, remembering that sense of flying and falling with Sparrow, the two of them holding onto one another -- though perhaps not quite as hard, as deep, as lasting as they held each other now, with Sparrow's teeth in the skin of Jack's neck (that'd sting tomorrow) and Sparrow's cock pushing deep inside (not deep enough) and Sparrow's hand quick and wicked on Jack's yard, and Sparrow's weight pressing him against the cold stone, and o there'd be worse ways to go than falling now: but Jack was falling already, crying out -- how much could anyone see, down there on the street? And did he give a shit? -- and arching back against his love 'til all he could see was the deep indigo of the clear evening sky, blooming with fireworks like the ones that filled his body and fizzed in his veins and gushed out of him into the firmament.
They'd nothing to clean themselves with, but Jack had had enough of cleanliness for one day. Once Sparrow'd withdrawn, Jack twisted 'round and slid his arms about Sparrow's waist: kissed him soundly, and hummed happily into Sparrow's mouth as Sparrow's hand gentled his softening cock.
"Well, Mr Shaftoe," murmured Sparrow. Jack would've sworn there were lights reflected in his love's eyes, but perhaps that was just the aftermath of the glory they'd just shared. "I've heard you speak so very fondly of this city," the pirate went on, "and it seems to me that you've just fucked her roundly." He gestured, fingers fluttering, at the dusky drop where Jack'd spilt himself.
Jack snorted at the conceit, and craned his head to peer over the parapet. "Perhaps some fine lady's wiping the dew from her cheek e'en now," he suggested.
Sparrow's eyes narrowed, and his tongue crept out to swipe along his lower lip in a manner that could not fail to provoke. Jack's spent flesh, and his spirit, stirred again.
"So now you've consummated the affair," pursued Sparrow. "All London's your doxy, Jack. Can you bear to leave?"
"Oh," said Jack airily, "I've another love these days."
"Have you, indeed?"
"A true wanton," said Jack dreamily, "and cunning and brave with it. Huge dark eyes and a wicked mouth." He leaned in to bite gently at that mouth. "I'm ruined," he said, "for aught else."