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Warning for pirates possibly ravishing missionaries and wildly anachronistic dialogue! With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan for the title, and many thanks to Ces and Kass for beta! ♥

It Is, It Is A Glorious Thing

by astolat

Kris didn't really know what to expect from a battle at sea, but even so it seemed to him like the fighting didn't last long. The ship had stopped moving after the one and only cannonade, and once the pirates boarded, it was all over in what felt like minutes—Kris had barely finished saying last rites over the two men who'd gotten in the way of cannonballs before three pirates burst into the orlop, cutlasses bristling.

Kris closed the last man's eyes and stood to face them, the only thing between them and the handful of cots holding the wounded: a few of the ship's hands bloody with jagged splinters still poking out of them, and little Jamie Retton trying to struggle up with a poker in his good hand. The lead pirate had a seamy scar across his face, spattered with fresh blood, and there was a wildness in his eyes; he took a step closer. Kris stood his ground. He didn't have a sword or a pistol, but he wasn't going to cower, either, if they were all going to be murdered.

But the second pirate said, "Oi, here," and shoved the others, jerking his head back outside towards the sound of fighting; they turned and went out again. Kris drew one deep breath, made sure his hands wouldn't shake, and turned to press Jamie back down into his cot and do what he could for the wounded. The surgeon had disappeared back when the liquor stores had first been broken open.

Another of the pirates came around doing a survey after a while; he looked over the wounded with a lantern and said, "We'll have them moved over to ours," and ordered Kris up to the deck.

Kris followed him up the ladder, blinking at the sun after the dimness of the orlop, and then the pirate was looking him over, eyebrow raised. Kris stared back, confused, and then someone was saying, "Oh, and who is this?"

Kris turned: the pirate captain was standing behind him, as dazzling as he'd been from the deck of his ship before the fight, all crimson coat and gold braid, just some of his black hair pulled free from his queue. He was smiling, as if he and his men hadn't just finished killing a dozen men just so they could loot the ship.

"We didn't kill that many of them!" the captain said, reproachfully. "And it's privateer, if you don't mind. It's not as though I didn't offer quarter."

"Whatever you want to call it," Kris said shortly, "you go around murdering men for money." He knew it wasn't a good idea to go jabbing at the pirate, privateer, whatever. Right now, he didn't care. He knew it wasn't his job to be trying to kill people, even pirates, but it still felt like cowardice to be staying out of it, safe, while other men were fighting and dying. Also, it was just embarrassing how fast the ship had rolled over.

The captain sighed and said, "It's just as well you're a priest, because it would be hard for me to tell the men I'm not going to flog you just because you're pretty. Matthew, take him to my quarters and have him cleaned up for later!"

"Because I'm—wait, what?" Kris said.

The pirate captain beamed at him. "Well, since I'm apparently a remorseless pirate—"

Kris glared at him, speechless.

Adam hummed to himself while he went over the ship's books with her purser, who'd very fortunately hidden himself in a closet in the captain's cabin instead of getting himself killed. The ship had gotten bashed around a little too much in the fighting, and there was a storm coming up, so regretfully, Adam thought he was going to have to abandon her. The men were already working busily to transfer the cargo, and that would have to satisfy everyone.

Happily, they'd been carrying silk and tea and silver, so that was going to be worth at least ten pounds even to the lowest ship's boy. And Adam had gotten a special treat of his own, besides.

He swung himself back over to his ship with one of the ropes dangling loose from the yardarm, after they were finished, and couldn't resist peeking into his cabin to take another look. The priest was sitting at the desk, all freshly-scrubbed and adorable, tugging on all of the very locked drawers. He raised his chin defiantly when he saw Adam looking in, and didn't bother trying to hide what he'd been doing.

"If this is where you offer me a choice between my life and my virtue—" he said.

"No, I think it's clear to both of us that you would make the wrong choice there," Adam said. "But I've got at least another five hours of work to do, so you might as well get some sleep now."

The priest looked over at Adam's bed and then looked back at him, deeply skeptical. "I'll pass."

"Why? It's very nice, it has a featherbed and everything," Adam said.

"Yeah, but I don't want to raise false expectations," the priest said, dryly.

"I promise I won't ravish you without waking you up first?" Adam offered.

"Uh, thanks?" the priest said.

"On the other hand, you know what liars pirates are," Adam said. He gave the priest a jaunty wave and went back out to work.

Matthew looked disapproving as they went over the parcels coming from the other ship. "What?" Adam said.

"He's a priest," Matthew said.

"He's Church of England," Adam said. "They're allowed to have sex!"

"After they get married first," Matthew said.

"I don't think he'd have me," Adam said cheerfully, and waved the next barrel over.

The pirate captain's cabin wasn't like Captain Seacrest's had been—more like something out of a fairy tale, all silk and velvet and gold tassels everywhere, and the hanging cot was huge, piled with cushions and blankets. It did look comfortable. And like an incredibly bad idea.

Kris stayed at the desk and started writing a determinedly cheerful farewell letter to his mother, instead, trying not to think about being ravished. He had managed to find a letter opener lying loose on the table, and he was planning to put up a good fight, but he didn't have a lot of illusions about how well that was going to go. The captain was a head and a half taller, and had at least three stone on him. Not to mention he was a pirate, which probably meant he had a lot of practice at the ravishing thing.

You would've thought someone who looked like that could get willing partners and leave innocent priests alone. The pirate probably liked ravishing. Maybe he'd tie Kris up and—Kris stared at the completely blank page and made himself start writing down appropriate lies like I am in good health and all the men gave a good account of themselves.

Halfway through, he heard the cry to make sail, and through the stern windows he saw the poor battered Venture falling away behind them, her masts stripped down and only the ragged sails and broken rigging left in tatters on her; she was listing to one side already. The captain's voice rose loud and clear over the hands', calling, "Mr. Sarver, flemish up that line, if you please," and then raising in the start of a song that the others picked up, in surprisingly good harmony.

The captain sighed when he came back in and found Kris still at his desk. "It's not that I mind you being stubborn," he said, leaning over to see what Kris had written, "but the pointlessly stubborn part might get old. Why are you writing this up now? Do you think I'm going to throw you overboard after I've had my way with you?"

"After you haven't," Kris said, because he wasn't going to roll over.

The captain laughed and said, "No, really?" and then he raised his voice and called, "All right, Roger, you can stop listening at the door now."

A thin, blond man shouldered in with an enormous tray, muttering in a sullen continuous stream about disrespectful prisoners who ought to be strung up, not fed tid-bits and wine and the best of everything, and let to sleep in the captain's quarters, where like as not they would try to do nasty murdering things in the night, and all the while he was clearing off the desk, putting out a white cloth, and setting out dishes one after another, scowling at Kris the whole time.

"Hey, I'm the one being kidnapped and ravished here," Kris said, feeling pretty indignant about the whole thing.

The steward just scowled harder, and the captain actually giggled, then said, "You can leave us now, Roger. No, I'll pour the wine myself. No, I won't let him kill me! No, I—out! Out!" and half pushed the steward out the door and barred it after him. "Honestly."

He pulled up another chair and sat down across from Kris. The food smelled amazing, and Kris was suddenly starving—he hadn't eaten since that morning, when they'd first seen the pirate ship—privateer, whatever—on the horizon. He picked up a fork and dug in. There wasn't anything noble about being too faint from hunger to fight, he reasoned.

"Very practical," Adam said, beaming. "So what's your name?"

"Father Allen," the priest said, pointedly.

"Mm, that's not really my favorite style," Adam said. He reached over and hooked over the letter the priest had written. "Kris? Much better."

"It's Kristopher," the priest said, even though he'd signed himself with the shorter name.

"I like that, too," Adam said. "Kristopher." He purred it a little, liking the way it rolled on his tongue.

Kristopher looked annoyed some more. It was irresistible. Adam sighed happily and poured them both a glass of wine.

After a minute or so, the priest even drank it, although he obviously hadn't been meaning to. Dinner was fabulous, though—Chef David had outdone himself—and anyway, Kristopher looked as though he hadn't been eating properly. There were greenish hollows in his cheeks, as if he'd been sick, and most likely he hadn't been carrying any private stores, so he'd have had to make do with ordinary salt pork and biscuit.

"Oh—a fever. I've been on missionary work," Kristopher vaguely admitted, after he'd been softened up by a couple of glasses. "I'm going home to get better."

"Have an orange," Adam said, holding one out to him. "We had them from the tropics, a month ago. They're still sweet!"

"I'm not going to be had for a piece of fruit," Kristopher said, taking it and peeling it.

"Mm, I didn't think you would," Adam said encouragingly, waited until he had eaten the first few sections, and then leaned in to snatch a kiss out of Kristopher's mouth, sweet and tangy with the juice, delicious.

The kiss was a sweet, brief pull on his mouth, hot and urgent and shocking, and then the pirate was sitting back, lightly scraping his nails along the back of Kris's neck as he did, before Kris could even fumble after the letter opener in his pocket. "You—I—that—" Kris said, and shut his mouth before he spluttered any more.

The pirate gave him a dazzling grin full of white teeth and almost childlike glee, a little sly like he knew he'd gotten away with something.

Kris was tempted to throw the other half of the orange at him, but for one thing, he was pretty sure the pirate would think that was hilarious, and for the other, right now the orange was the best thing he'd ever eaten—a little dry and shrunken, but so good and fresh in his mouth, and he couldn't resist it. Which probably, he dismally thought, later on, should have been a warning.

"—and then I something something something," the pirate said, finishing a story about some really unlikely adventure.

Kris had lost track of his wine, somewhere along the way—the pirate kept refilling his glass—and he was starting to have a hard time keeping his back straight. He'd been hungry for so long he'd forgotten what it felt like not to be, and food like this—real food, not a slurry of pork fat ladled over biscuits full of weevils. It was depressing to realize that the pirate would've had a good shot if he'd just tried bribing him with dinner.

"But I still wouldn't—won't—let you," Kris said, firmly, or as firmly as he could.

"Won't let me what?" the pirate said softly, leaning in, like maybe he was going to take another kiss. "Won't let me take you? Take you to my bed, and take off your clothes, and put my mouth on your thighs, and press my fingers inside while I taste your—"

The pirate's mouth was full, and red with wine, and wide, and his fingers—Kris stared at his fingers, broad and strong, sword-and-rope callused, and wondered what they would feel like, if that would—whether that would hurt, and if the pirate—

"Adam," the pirate said, and he had Kris's wrist and was raising it to his mouth, licking across the thin skin and teasing the pulse with the tip of his tongue, and oh. The pirate—Adam?—was tugging him up, and Kris stumbled a little, swaying; Adam caught him, and kissed him again, sweet and dark with wine, and then Kris was tumbling into the soft bed, dizzy, and it was just as comfortable as it had looked, and—

"Kristopher?" Adam said, pausing in the unbuttoning. The priest sighed, and murmured something, and turned his head a little. His eyes were shut. "Oh, you are not asleep," Adam said.

The priest was, in fact, fast asleep.

Adam stared at him, outraged. "I'm about to ravish you right now," he said, and poked Kristopher in the side. "Shouldn't you be resisting? You have that letter opener and everything?" he added, in increasing desperation.

Kris snored softly on.

"Oh, fuck me," Adam sighed, giving up, and glared down at him. "Half a bottle is all you get from now on." He rolled over onto his back and heeled his boots off onto the floor and shut his eyes. As an afterthought, he reached out and poked into Kristopher's pocket and got out the letter opener, and tossed it off somewhere onto the floor.

After a few minutes, Kristopher rolled over and tucked up against him. Adam opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. "Half a glass," he said flatly.

The priest draped a leg over his thigh and snuggled in.

Kris woke up unbelievably warm, for the first time since they'd left port—no wind whistling in through the cracks, piercing his threadbare blanket; he was cocooned in soft wool and strong arms, against a broad warm chest, and there was a hard thigh pressed between his legs, and he was—rocking against it, and Kris planted his hands on Adam's chest and tried to get up as fast as he could.

"Aghflmphm!" Adam complained, and rolled them over, Kris tumbling back into the heap of body-warm pillows beneath, Adam heavy and so good above him, his hips pressing Kris's legs wide, and his—that was his—

"Oh," Adam said, in pleased tones, and kissed Kris's neck, and his ear, and his mouth, his mouth, licking at him, and Kris shuddered helplessly, his whole body yearning, and said, "No!"

"Yes!" Adam said, kissing him again.

His hand was working its way down the front of Kris's shirt, opening the buttons skillfully and fast, and Kris grabbed his hand and said, "You're not going to!"

"I'm not?" Adam said warily, pausing.

"No," Kris said. "If you were going to just have your way with me, you would've had it last night, if you'd really wanted to."

"Oh, believe me, I wanted to," Adam said, in dark tones. Then he said hurriedly, "But it's no fun if—"

"If the other person doesn't want to?" Kris said pointedly. Adam screwed up his mouth, looking deeply annoyed, and Kris said, "I don't believe you tried to make me think you were going to—"

"I am going to!" Adam said.

"You're so not," Kris said, and folded his arms and lay back against the pillows. "Here, I won't even fight you."

Adam's eyes narrowed, and he leaned in low. Kris had a brief moment to realize maybe this hadn't been the best strategy, then Adam's mouth was nipping at his jaw, and brushing at his ear, a nuzzle at his temple, and his hips were rocking steadily in, pressing.

Kris couldn't help it; he arched up to meet them. He'd never even imagined anything like—Adam was licking his own fingers, and Kris's breeches were loose and already half-unbuttoned, and Adam was going to put those—he'd open Kris up with them, and then he'd—Kris could feel him, so big and straining at the placket, urgent, and it felt so good already, this felt so good, how would it feel if—

"Kristopher," Adam murmured, low, and his hand was—

"Don't," Kris cracked out, in desperation. "I can't, I—don't."

There was a moment—a moment, and Kris felt his hips push a little, involuntarily, and thought oh—Adam would, Adam would, and it would be—

"Oh my fucking God," Adam groaned, and rolled off him.

Kris collapsed over onto his side in relief; Adam really wasn't going to.

Then Kris realized he was kind of sorry about that. "Oh, no," Kris said, blankly.

"Don't even start with me," Adam said, bitterly.

So of course, Adam had to fish up the one sincerely dedicated priest in the entire world.

What made it worse was the way Kristopher kept staring at him with that stunned expression all the way through breakfast, every time he raised his eyes from the six eggs he was eating through ravenously, as though he'd just now realized what all the fuss over lust and fornication was about on a personal level.

Adam finally pointed at him. "If you don't stop looking at me like that, you are going to be dragged back to bed and ravished right now," he said, and Kris flushed all the way hot up to his ears and looked torn, and Adam put down his fork, and then there was a call outside, "Sail ho!"

"Oh, this is not fair," Adam said. He grabbed up his coat as he stalked out of the cabin, swinging it on as he held out his hand for the glass. "Beat to quarters, gentlemen," he said, peering at the distant ship, and finished buttoning his coat one-handed.

"What, one ship wasn't enough?" Kristopher said, coming out on deck after the men had broken down the bulkheads in the cabin.

"Not when there's a second hull-up in front of us," Adam said, and leaned over to snatch another kiss.

Kris went pink again, but he stood his ground. "You could let her go," he said. "Your hold is full—what's the point? Why kill more men—"

"Kris," Adam said patiently, "she's a merchantman with twelve guns."

"Okay, so—"

"That means she's carrying gold!" Adam said.

"Maybe she's not!" Kris said, and several of the crew paused to glare at him disapprovingly. "Maybe—"

Adam caught him by the back of the neck and pulled him in ruthlessly, before Kristopher could get out anything even more awful and unlucky, and kissed him and kissed him, tasting the sweet coffee and the last bite of orange in his mouth while Kris clung to him shuddering, and when Adam had to let him go, Kris wobbled back, mouth parted and open, dazed, and Adam leaned in and said, low and determined, "When I come back, I am going to have you."

Kris swallowed, and looked wild, and then he said in a desperate voice, "If—if you let them go—"

Adam stared at him, fascinated, to see if that was really going where he thought it was, and then Kristopher evidently realized what he was saying, went very red, shut his mouth, and fled.

Kris ran away and hid—he could be honest with himself—in the ship's orlop, helping her surgeon sharpen the saws and knives, and looking in on the wounded from the Venture. But when the bell rang for the officers, the surgeon said, "That's dinner," and Kris got shooed back to the captain's cabin.

The prize was a lot closer already—she'd rigged out every sail she had, but the pirate ship was gaining anyway. Adam pranced in almost singing and took the bottle out of his steward's hand to pour for them both. "We'll have her before nightfall!" he said, exultantly.

"Great," Kris said, sighing, and cleared his throat. "I didn't mean the, uh, by the way. That thing I said, uh, before." He shot the steward a sidelong glance.

Adam laughed. "Don't worry," he said, purring, "I know exactly what you meant."

"Well, that makes one of us," Kris muttered.

"You meant you're desperately longing for me to—"

"Uh, can I have the chicken!" Kris said urgently.

Adam laughed again and sent the steward out. "Now we're alone. Is that better?"

"Yes," Kris said, then "I mean, no!" too late, as Adam caught him around the waist, and Kris's traitorous legs did this weird shaky thing and left him having to hang on to Adam's shoulders while Adam kissed him and Kris tried not to whimper. Adam's hands spread broad and warm over his back and pressed him in, close. Kris pulled back and hung against them, panting, his eyes squeezed shut. If he had to look at Adam's mouth, he was pretty sure he'd be responsible for the next kiss, and there was only one place that was going to end: in the bed just a few steps away.

"Shh, here," Adam said, murmuring, coaxing, and Kris managed to blindly fumble a hand up to stop him—warm breath against his fingers almost breaking him, and how could this feel so—but he dragged up all his resolution and made himself say, "I—I made a choice. Adam, I've—I swore, I—"

What was he supposed to do with that? Adam wondered bitterly. "You are the absolute most horrible prisoner I have ever taken," he said, with feeling, and let Kris go. Kris slumped into his chair and folded his arms on the desk and let his head fall down on them.

Adam sighed and sat down across from him, and poured himself a glass of wine. This really called for something stronger, but not when he had a prize on the horizon. He kicked Kris's foot under the desk. "Well, eat something," he said, and added sulkily, "Not that there's anything to keep your strength up for."

"It's not like I asked you to seduce me," Kris said.

"Oh no," Adam said, unfairly. "There haven't been any longing glances at all."

"That was after you started it!" Kris said, glaring.

"You've only been here a day!" Adam said. "It's not as though I've been working all that hard." Then he brightened, thinking about that. "And it is four weeks before we go back to Portsmouth."

Kris raised his head and stared at him in horror. "Four weeks?" he said, in a moan.

Adam beamed, and toasted Kris with his glass. He was feeling better already.

Adam was feeling significantly worse a few hours later, although the nice thing about enough blood loss, he thought vaguely, was that it left you sort of floaty. He heard voices distantly, and there was the hot flare of the iron against his arm, and twice on his leg, cauterizing the deeper wounds. "Did she strike?" he said, and Kris bending over him said, "Yeah, now sleep," and Adam let himself drift away.

He woke up painfully hungry and wobbly as a new foal, with Kris curled up beside him in bed, head lolling sideways and a book open in his lap. Adam managed to tip his head over drowsily onto Kris's thigh. "Hey," Kris said, and started petting his head; it felt amazingly good.

"Mmm," Adam said, and started a little debate with himself over whether he had the energy to nuzzle up strategically higher on Kris's thigh.

"Wax," Kris said.

"What?" Adam said, distractedly. He managed to get his hand on Kris's thigh, squeezing a little.

"She was carrying wax," Kris said. He sounded deeply satisfied. "You know, that prize you nearly got killed over."

"Oh, you're joking," Adam moaned in horror, and sank back limply. To add insult to injury, Kris leaned over and plumped his pillows for him.

"Why does everyone keep glaring at me?" Kris asked Matthew the next morning, coming back from the orlop with bandages and soup.

He was finding soup and porridge really effective at driving home the point that rampaging over the seas attacking random merchantmen and seducing innocent prisoners wasn't always a good time. Adam looked deeply downcast every time Kris brought out the deliberately cheerful tone the most annoying nurse had always used on him, while he'd been recovering.

Matthew looked embarrassed and mumbled something hurriedly about priests and oh hey, something he had to do over there, right now.

Adam rolled his eyes as Kris redid his half-a-dozen bandages. "Well, obviously, you messed up our luck!" he said. "I can't believe you actually said, out loud, that she might not be carrying gold."

"She didn't swap cargos because I said it!" Kris said, but apparently little things like logic didn't matter all that much here.

He still didn't take it seriously for the next few days. Adam had decided to take revenge by becoming the worst patient in the world, bored and inclined to whine, nitpicking about everything being done on the ship, fussing over taking any kind of draught. And just when Kris had built up a real head of impatience, Adam would turn sleepy and warm and tugging, and Kris would find his hands trembling, his whole body in a steady, hungry ache, while Adam curled into him against the cold and pressed his face into the curve of Kris's neck.

Kris told himself all the reasons this wasn't okay, repeated all his vows over, reminded himself that Adam was a bloodthirsty, murdering pirate, who just happened to be beautiful and treacherously seductive and inappropriately snuggly and—and—Anyway, all Adam wanted was to enjoy Kris's favors for a while and then dump him in the nearest port, and if Adam had wanted anything else, it wasn't like Kris was going to spend the rest of his life on a pirate ship just to be cosseted and teased and told ludicrous stories and made passionate love to every night and—

Kris stopped there and went to go get clean bandages.

"—and the captain laid so low, which it's never happened before," he overheard Roger saying bitterly and loudly to some of the other men as he went past them with the bandages, "and all on account of he's been letting 'im off, if you ask me," which Kris took a while to puzzle through.

He got it about halfway through another hand of whist with Adam (Kris didn't have to think hard to beat him, because Adam always got excited about face cards and forgot his strategy).

"Wait a second," Kris said, sitting up, "—hey!"

"What?" Adam said, yawning, and tossed aside his cards to sprawl back against the pillows. He was still pale and languid, but it looked good on him, his black hair in a tousled mess that Kris couldn't help wanting to touch.

"Roger seriously believes—your men are going around saying the ship's luck's gone because you're not ravishing me!" Kris said, and glared at Adam.

Adam went very still. He said strangely, after a moment, "We'll have to put into port."

"Huh?" Kris said.

"I'll have to put you off the ship," Adam said, in that same odd, rigid way.

"What? Because you think I'm unlucky?" Kris said. "That's the most—" He stopped, abruptly, as it belatedly occurred to him that he was about to start arguing about being let go, and that was obviously—

Adam said quietly, "The men won't stand for it if they really think there's bad luck on the ship." He shrugged and smiled. It looked a little forced. "I suppose that's good luck for you—it must be some kind of judgment on me. Matthew!" he called, and Matt put his head into the cabin. "Set our course north-north-east, if you please. Kris—that is, Father Allen will be leaving us in Madeira."

Matthew raised his eyebrows. "All right," he said, after a moment, and disappeared again.

Adam bent his head low and picked at the scattered cards. "We're not far. It should only be a few days. I'll put you off with funds to hire passage the rest of your way home."

"Oh," Kris said. His throat felt tight. "Thank you," he added, stiffly, because it seemed like the appropriate thing to say.

He expected Adam to pick up the campaign, now that time was running out. Instead, it stopped entirely—no more stolen kisses, or trying to persuade Kris to gamble them away; no more elaborately casual touches that somehow turned into caresses; no more cuddling in at night. Adam started malingering instead, pretending he felt hugely worse and needed to sleep away most of the daylight, and then coincidentally rousing up just as Kris came to bed, and going to spend hours fiddling with his charts by candlelight, in what he claimed was a deeply important way.

Kris kept wanting to say something, except he couldn't—what was he going to say, please keep trying to seduce me? He made himself suggest, after the first night, that he take another bunk, belowdecks, but Adam refused. "You're not going anywhere!" Adam said firmly. "You're still skin and bone."

It also wouldn't have been a good idea for other reasons, Kris realized—the men kept eyeing him sideways, with deep disapproval, and he even caught a few of them making the evil eye in his direction. It only got worse the next day, when a huge grey cloudbank started to creep across the sky and the mercury in Adam's glass shrank down so low you could barely see it. Adam quit all malingering the instant he saw it; a moment later he was out on deck in his coat and oilskins, issuing a steady stream of orders, and all hands were called up to the deck.

Kris felt the muttering and the glares as much as the cold sheets of rain that began to come down in spurts, and okay, to be fair, it was hard not to start feeling superstitious when the ocean started turning into huge glassy swells that the ship had to climb: agonizingly slow up from the troughs, and shatteringly fast down from the crests.

Kris worked with the hands, pulling on whatever rope others were pulling on, helping to lash down the cannon more securely, carrying biscuit and grog to the seamen going up and down the rigging. The galley fires had all been put out, nothing but work and huddling below in shifts to keep them warm, and the driving rain had slivers of ice in it that stung at the face and hands. The clouds blotted out stars, moon; the storm lasted its own time, hours and hours creeping by with no sense of time. Kris's fingers had gone almost uselessly stiff long before the sun went down, darkening the world only a little; the ship was still buried under the knotted mass of storm clouds.

Adam had been at the wheel for twenty-six hours straight by then, his hair loose and blowing wildly around his head, going hoarse from shouting his orders over the wind, until finally Matthew talked him into letting go and getting a little rest. Kris was numbly dragging on another rope when one of the hands coming back up from the last shift took him by the shoulders and aimed him towards the cabin, too. He blindly stumbled across the sleeting deck, the sheltered warmth of the cabin almost like a blow, and stood just inside dripping and staring blankly at Adam, who was stripping himself out of his oilskins, eyes cloudy with fatigue. Kris dropped his own soaked-through clothing where he stood and crawled into bed after him.

He was so cold he didn't even shiver at first, barely even felt it, and then abruptly he was shaking, so hard the cot trembled with it. He tried to press even closer to Adam, who stirred and threw an arm around him, drawing him in until Kris was tucked in against him, breathing out over Adam's damp collarbone, tasting salt on his tongue. Kris rubbed his nose against Adam's throat and clutched at his warmth with his clumsy, rope-swollen fingers. Adam sighed softly and pressed Kris back into the pillows, his whole heavy weight blanketing, and Kris groaned and hooked his leg over Adam's hip to bring him in, rocking with him while Adam's hands stroked waves of heat over his sides.

Adam was mouthing over Kris's jaw, his breath hot, and his cock was rising, nudging at Kris's thighs, the head leaving a damp smear of heat as it bumped over his skin, and Kris was hard also, aching, even while he shook with cold. He wanted, so much, and Adam was so warm against him. "Adam," Kris panted, and buried his hands in Adam's hair, thick and damp, shivering as Adam's hand slid between his legs.

"Kristopher," Adam murmured, kissing him.

"Yes," Kris said, jumping a little—it felt so strange, so—oh. He shivered again, and again, hard. Adam's mouth was wandering along his throat, and his fingers were—they were—Kris stared dazedly at the swinging lamp overhead. The whistle of the wind outside somehow now just made him feel warmer.

"Oh," Adam said, kissing his way along Kris's throat. "You're so—" He shifted, and Kris jumped. Was that—he put out his hand, tentatively, and Adam made a low growly noise deep in his throat and thrust into Kris's grip.

"But," Kris said vaguely, stroking up and down. It felt so good in his hand. "But it's not going to fit?"

Adam laughed softly and pressed his fingers deeper in a way that made Kris gasp and clutch at him. "Trust me," he said.

Kris had the sense there were very good reasons not to do that, but he couldn't quite recall them right now, and anyway they couldn't be that important, not with Adam pouring oil over Kris's hand and helping him stroke it over Adam's cock until it was beautifully glistening, and after all, Kris couldn't really see the harm in trying. Any objections seemed even more absurd once they started, Adam's cock sliding teasingly between his thighs, rubbing over him. Kris couldn't help wriggling against it until Adam pinned him flat and said, "Hold still!"

"I can't," Kris groaned, trying to writhe again, and then Adam managed to get himself fitted into place and Kris discovered he could hold still, he could hold still forever if only it meant Adam was going to —

"Oh, yes," Adam said. Kris caught his breath on a gasp, because that was—Adam was—in him, and sliding slowly deeper, and—"Shh," Adam was saying, kissing him, and Kris didn't know what he meant, he wasn't making any noise at all, oh, except maybe the groaning was him. But he couldn't help it, he could feel himself yielding, Adam pressing him shockingly wide open.

"Are you blushing?" Adam's mouth curved against his skin, unbearably smug even though Kris couldn't see it.

"Oh, shut up," Kris muttered, and pulled Adam's head over to kiss him.

Kris woke up a few hours later. The sea was calm, a gentle rolling swell of green, and the sunrise had broken through, orange-red glittering on the water. The storm was vanishing into the distance behind them, a wide black cloud flashing with lightning and fire, already far away.

"That's crazy," Kris said, staring after it.

"It was," Adam said, yawning behind him. "I don't believe you waited until we had nearly foundered."

"We did not make the storm go away with—" Kris waved a hand, taking them both generally in, along with the wreckage of the bedclothes.

Adam propped himself up and glared. "If you try and tell me you're sorry—"

Kris blushed hot, remembering Adam's salt-chapped lips under his, bruised with wind and sea and still so sweet; Adam's mouth on his throat, Adam's hands sticky and gripping tight on his hips, hearing his own heartbeat roaring in his ears louder than the ocean, like drowning. "No, I, uh," he said, and turned red again.

"Good," Adam said, darkly, and reached for him.

"Madeira, ho!" a call came from outside on deck.

They both paused and looked at each other. "Put back out to sea!" Adam yelled.

"No!" Kris said. Adam looked at him wide-eyed and betrayed. "You need to put in and take on some proper cargo," Kris said firmly.

"But I like being a privateer!" Adam protested, pouting.

"You like me more," Kris said happily, and pulled him down to the bed.

"Not that much more!" Adam said, but he didn't resist being tugged down. "Well," he said grudgingly, between kisses, "maybe we could hire on to protect a convoy or two."

= End =

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