First Stephen, his words incomprehensible, then Diana, louder and clearer, “What odd lives we live. But I think that will be my final word on the matter.”
He seemed to have come in on the end of the conversation. Once again he couldn’t catch Stephen’s response, but Diana then said. “Speaking of sex...” and Jack promptly crossed the cabin and put his ear to the bulkhead. He justified it by reminding himself that according to Stephen Diana knew about their relations and accepted them when they had been married, and if she had rethought this decision and her final word was that they had to stop, he would rather know immediately.
He heard a sharp intake of breath, something he would never have noticed through a bulkhead had it come from anyone besides Stephen, and knew that whatever Diana was doing, it was arousing him, and pretty quickly.
Then he heard her: "Finally! I was beginning to worry that you had at last taken one draught too many!”
Stephen’s voice was think with arousal. “My dear, I think if I took that many draughts, I’d be dead. But I don’t think this is especially good idea. I think Jack’s in the...” Then he was cut off with a gasp. Jack guessed that Stephen’s breeches were at least partly undone, and Diana’s hand was on him.
Diana’s voice was also husky. “Let him hear. It’s nothing he hasn’t heard.”
“Diana, you are quite loud; he won’t be the only one.”
“I want you too much to care. Let them hear. After all, they can’t hang us for it. In fact, I think you want you a little louder then usual. You can return to being quiet when you sail off again.”
Jack was flooded with relief. Whatever her final word was, it didn’t deprive him of Stephen in any way. He supposed that now that he knew this, he ought to go back up on deck, or at least move away from the bulkhead, but somehow he did not.
“But my leg...”
“I’ll be careful.” He heard a soft thump; were they settling on the floor? And then there were more gasps, and Stephen started again, “Diana...”
“I don’t think I want you talking right now.” Then Jack heard Stephen moan, and knew exactly what Diana was doing. If one wanted to get Stephen beyound the point of coherency, at least in English, the quickest way to do it was to go at him with one’s mouth.
She wasn’t going for his prick immediately, though, he realized when the moans grew louder. Jack knew Stephen, had done this to him more times then he could ever count, and he knew Stephen’s reactions. This was his reaction to being teased.
Jack’s own prick was starting to divert his attention, reacting to Stephen’s cries. Feeling suddenly ashamed, he tried to pull away from the bulkhead, but then he heard a rather loud exclamation from Stephen, and knew instantly that Diana had taken him into her mouth.
Jack had, one night then they were both on the drunken side, sucked Stephen with his body and Stephen’s legs both on top of the locker bench, and with the rest of Stephen’s body on the floor he had had a good view of Stephen’s face. He had memorized it that night, and now he recalled his expression with ease. It was far too arousing to know that only a bulkhead away, Stephen had his eyes closed and his lips drawn out in just that way, even if it was in reaction to Diana rather than Jack. He also didn’t need to listen to the clatter of the cast to know that Stephen had to be fidgeting helplessly about; he always did when not given an active role. His head would probably be thrown back, his hands tangled in her hair-was he thrusting? He always did with Jack, but Diana didn’t have as big a mouth; he might be afraid of choking her.
When Stephen’s words began to dissolve into Catalan, into phrases he still didn’t know the meaning of but recognized, Jack couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing Stephen was in this state, so completely lost in pleasure, always brought him too close to losing it himself. As silently as possible, he undid his breeches and grasped himself hard, biting his lip to keep quiet.
Then he heard Stephen gasp out Diana’s name, the same way he always gasped Jack’s out when he spent, and he couldn’t help the jealousy that flooded him. Of course Diana was Stephen’s wife, and like it or not she had the right to him, that was undisputed. And he would have Stephen back when they left Diana in England. But right then he wanted Stephen to gasp out his name; he wanted to be the one doing this to Stephen. He suddenly felt very dizzy; he had to take his hand off his prick and place it on the bulkhead to steady himself. For a moment he feared they had heard him.
They hadn’t. He heard Stephen murmur, “Thank you,” and then Diana say, “Oh, but now I want the favour returned, my dear.”
“Diana, joy, I am not in condition to do that properly.”
“You don’t have to move.” He was having trouble hearing her; she was speaking softly. “I’ll come to you.” And then he heard the rustle of her undressing.
Jack felt a vague curiosity at this point. Molly Harte had attempted to show him how to please women with his mouth, but she had finally declared he was no good at it. But Stephen, who certainly knew how to please Jack with his mouth...
Or at least he knew how to tease. A seductive murmur by Stephen, too low for him to tell what he was saying, put Jack in mind of countless whispers and hot touches with his tongue, along with fingers probing his entrance, everything to make Jack absolutely crazed with desire, until he begged as softly and as coherently as he was able, for Stephen to take him, until Stephen pulled away, stretched Jack’s legs apart...
And apparently Diana was of like mind, as while in the intensity of the memories her loud moans had become a buzz in the back round, his train of thought was now interrupted by her cry of, “Stephen, Stephen, I want you now,” and his breathing very heavily as she presumably lifted herself off of his mouth.
There was a low moan; she had to be lowering herself onto him, and Jack could not hold back a whimper. His hand had already gone back to his prick; he worked it furiously. He was almost able to feel Stephen entering him, his groans at being immersed in Diana resounding in Jack’s ears. He couldn’t be thrusting that much with a broken leg, but the phantom Stephen behind Jack had no broken leg, and was able to go as hard and fast as Jack liked, his breathing harsh in Jack’s ear, just as desperate as Jack.
At the same time, Jack screwed his eyes shut, but in his mind’s eye he could again see Stephen’s face, when their roles were reversed, when Stephen had Jack buried in him. His eyes were wide, and they had such an intensity to them, able to slice Jack clean through. He was very demanding with both his gaze and his limbs, using both to pull Jack in further, and Jack went very willingly, for he belonged to Stephen Maturin completely, whatever either of them ever did.
Stephen Maturin, who was now crying out his wife’s name like he had cried out Jack’s in Spain, back before they had had to worry about being heard, and this thought sent Jack over the edge, his faint cry masked by Diana’s much louder one as she too climaxed.
He was kneeling next to the bulkhead, breathing hard, he could hear Stephen breathing equally hard, and then he hard a sharp inhalation he thought was Diana, and then her voice. “My god, Stephen. You’re beautiful.”
For a moment Jack wasn’t sure he’d heard her right. But no, for there was a perfect, a wondrous explanation.
He could see Stephen’s expression, indeed the exact way he looked right then, in his mind’s eye again. Exposed like he very, very rarely was; indeed, in all their years together, Jack had only seen him in the state he had to now be in twice: after rescuing him from torture, and the night before his marriage to Sophie, when the weight of Diana’s abandonment had finally caused Stephen to crumble. Broken and then healed. Like a ship nearly torn apart by a storm or a battle just starting repairs. Ever since he had first perceived it, it had seemed echoed whenever Stephen showed even the least bit of vulnerability, which never seemed very common, but it was often enough.
Jack didn’t know why, but he found Stephen, when he was like this, to be so heartbreakingly beautiful that he could scarcely bear to look at him. And while he had never before understood what went through a woman’s head, he would stake his fortune, the Surprise, and all his chances at reinstatement that he knew exactly what was going on in Diana’s at that moment. She had never seen this before, and she was just as confused, as awed, and as devastated as he had been.
Suddenly Jack wondered if Diana loved Stephen. Sophie had once declared that she believed Diana incapable of love, and before this, Jack would have been inclined to agree with her. But he was certain that this beauty of Stephen must be perceived with the most intense emotions, or not at all. After rescuing Stephen, plenty of the Livelies had look on the very same sight that killed Jack, but only seen Stephen’s broken body.
Or was she wondering the very same thing, once there was room in her mind for such thoughts? This suddenly seemed like a very private moment for Diana, and Jack finally stood up and strode to the far side of the cabin. There was no sound coming through the bulkhead, nor did Jack expect any. Diana might not be capable of speech at the moment-Jack knew he hadn’t been, and Stephen would be too stunned that she would say such a thing. Jack had ached to be able to make him understand his own beauty, but he couldn’t explain what he had seen in words, and while Diana might be better with words then him, she wouldn’t be able to explain it any better then he could.
But she be able, in the future, to whisper to him that she loved him, the same way Jack did? And would he believe her? Jack couldn’t help the fierce pride that came with the knowledge that Stephen had to believe him.
But at the same time he hoped most fervently that Stephen would believe her, because he needed her to love him. Stephen would likely never even admit that he needed to be loved, but he did, and most desperately. He needed someone to love him when he was on land and someone to love him when he was at sea, and he needed that first someone to be Diana.
But the question that really bothered Jack was: did he need him to be that second someone?