This Beautiful Skin
By: Missfortune
Disclaimer: I do not own them, or we'd definitely see Will in a dress sometime in the future.
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: cavity inducing James/Will
Notes: As promised a longer chapter. Sorry it took so long. I had to keep running to the bathroom and to brush my teeth a lot while writing this chapter ^_^* I now have a playlist for this fic, it's the Beautiful Skin soundtrack ^_^* I find that Hoobastank's "The Reason" just screams James. Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlin induce mushy scenes by singing "Don't let Go" And even more mush gushes out when Lifehouses's "Everything" comes on. I am of the opinion that listening to these songs enhances the experience, but hey, that's just me ^_^ Anyway, on with the fic!

Will stood in the foyer of Norrington's house. Unlike his last visit, he had the opportunity to look around the modestly decorated hallway. As Will looked over a painting of the ocean, Norrington came up beside him and gently placed his hand on Will's back. Will glanced at him nervously.

"Would you like to join me in the parlor for a nightcap?" Usually, Norrington entertained guests in his office, simply because most of his guests were merely there on business. However, he knew that after their last encounter in his office, it was the last place that he should take Will.

"Yes, that would be nice," Will answered softly.

Norrington smiled and escorted him into the parlor. "Please, sit down and I shall pour a drink for you." Norrington motioned to a small couch and Will sunk gratefully onto the soft cushions. The Commodore walked across the room and pulled out two glasses, pouring a generous amount of rum in each. He returned to Will, handed him a glass and sat on the other end of the small couch.

Will sniffed the glass carefully. "Rum?"

"Yes, but do not confuse it with that rot that Sparrow drinks, this is much smoother and more pleasant on the palate I assure you." Norrington explained as he raised his glass to his lips.

Will took a hesitant sip and found it to be much nicer than the stuff that Jack had given him. "It's good," he said, licking his lips. He made a point of staring into his glass rather than at Norrington. Now that they were away from the party setting, Will felt nervous all over again. It was a hard feeling to get over considering the history between them.

Norrington noticed Will's behavior and frowned. "I apologize if you find my behavior too forward. I can move if it will make you more comfortable." He had hoped that after their kiss, things might improve, but it seemed that on the carriage ride Will grew even more skittish.

Will looked at him in surprise. "No, you do not have to move. I am fine."

"Are you certain? I only wish for you to be at ease."

"I am certain," Will replied. He took another careful sip of his rum. "I am just unsure of what I am doing here. Your kindness makes me wary. People are only kind when they want something." Norrington's kiss had affected him as nothing had before, but he couldn't risk his heart over it. People always had motive and Norrington’s were unclear. He would not step out on a limb only to have it break beneath him. He was fairly certain that his heart could not take many more cracks before breaking completely. There are only so many times that one can re-forge a heart before it becomes too brittle to be reworked.

Norrington's frown deepened. "Is that how you see things? People are only kind when they have need of things?"

Will shrugged. "That is how it has always been, hasn't it? Mr. Brown took me in because he needed a laborer. Elizabeth was kind to me because she wanted the adventure she thought I represented. Jack aided me in chasing Elizabeth because he had parallel goals. Even the people, who go to church every Sunday and hand over their money, only do so to assure their place in heaven. It is the way things are."

"That is a very bleak outlook. Can people not do things for the sake of being kind? Jack has been your protector as of late. What does he get out of that?"

"Jack is an exception. You know, as well as I, that he hardly walks the same paths as others do. Whatever his reasons are, I'm sure they are hard to fathom for those of us that are sane and sober." Will tilted the glass in his hand as if it held the answer to Jack's kindness. He really appreciated what Jack did, but he could not fathom the pirate's motives. Jack had been taking such good care of him, in truth, he'd never had anyone, aside from his mother, worry over him as much as Jack had done lately. He didn't want to get too comfortable with the idea and have things suddenly go back to the way they were before. Soon, Jack would leave and then Will wouldn't have his support in his crazy endeavors. There would be no Jack to rescue him and soothe his soul. No Jack to give him bracelets and tell him that he was beautiful. It was best not to get used to it, to write it off as Jack being eccentric as always. Will bit his lip and twisted his bracelet, fingering the sparkling gems.

"It can't simply be friendship?" Norrington asked quietly.

Will offered him a strange expression, a cross between amusement and sadness. "Funny, I never pictured you as much of an idealist."

"I believe there is good in every man."

"Even pirates?" Will questioned, with a trace of humor.

"Yes," Norrington conceded, "even pirates. Though, it is often in such instances that one must squint."

Will smiled.

Norrington finished off his rum and set the glass on the table before him. He turned to Will and took in the tense set of his back. "No matter your outlook on kindness, I really do want you to be at ease. I will gladly move to another chair if it will make you feel more comfortable."

"Why are you treating me like this?" Will asked, raising his eyes to meet Norrington's.

"Treating you like what?" He asked, worried that he had taken yet another misstep in his handling of Will.

"This." Will waved his hand in an oddly Jack-like manner. "So carefully. So delicately. As if I might break should you so much as breathe wrong?”

"You don't want me to treat you kindly?"

"No. Yes. I...I don't know. I'm confused. I'm not used to being treated so carefully," Will confessed. "At the ball and then this..."

"But it's what you've wanted, correct?" Norrington leaned in, trying to catch Will's nervously wandering eyes.

Will let his eyes fall shut, blocking out Norrington’s concerned gaze. "I...I guess. But..."

"You don't think you deserve it."

"No." Will shook his head. "No, I don't think I deserve it." Will set his half-finished glass of rum aside and slowly stood. "I don't think I should be treated so gently because really, I'm only a common blacksmith, merely an apprentice at that! Why should anybody take the time to acknowledge me as something more? I have obviously already been judged. "Know your place." That is something you told me. Know my place. And I do. This is not it." Will waved at the finely decorated room he now paced. "This is a lie. It's not real at all. I just don't understand. Now that it's over, why are we still pretending?" Will rounded on the Commodore, looking at him for some sort of answer.

"You're wrong." Norrington said, slowly, as he stood and moved towards Will. "This is not a lie. We are not pretending. For the first time, I am seeing the truth. Now that I am looking beyond Will, the blacksmith's apprentice, I see that which is unexpected and rare. I see beauty. I see Nerissa. I see you." Very carefully, Norrington collected Will into his arms, cradling him close. “I see you.”

Will trembled in his embrace. Norrington leaned back, one hand coming up to gently cup Will's cheek. Will bit his lip, his eyes fluttering shut as he leaned into the Commodore's touch. Norrington watched as tears beaded up and leaked from beneath his dark lashes. They slowly left fiery tracks on his cheeks that reflected the lamplight like pirate gold.

"Do not cy," Norrington whispered, his thumb gently wiping away a tear. He pressed his lips to the other, erasing it from Will’s cheek. "Please do not cry any more."

"I...I can't help it. I seem to have lost myself," Will admitted in a strangled voice.

"Then let me help. We can find you. Together." Norrington pressed their foreheads together as he stared deep into Will's brown eyes.

"How do I know what to look for?"

Norrington brushed a lock of hair behind Will's ear. "When you find it, you'll know. It will simply feel right."

"Like this feels right?" Will whispered, loosing himself in Norrington's green eyes.

Norrington smiled. "Yes, like this feels right." He pressed their lips together gently.

With a soft moan, Will parted his lips. Norrington pulled him closer and deepened the kiss. His tongue slid over Will's lips, carefully teasing between them. Will leaned into Norrington, opening himself eagerly for the man, but Norrington took his time, slowly exploring the sweetness of Will's mouth. Will's arms slid around Norrington, holding their bodies together. He felt that if he didn't hold onto the Commodore, he might simply melt away. He didn't want to wake and find this all a dream, for while he was confused, it was some of the sweetest confusion of his life. Nobody had treated him so kindly before. Part of him was still wary of the Commodore's motives, but a larger part of him was saying to trust James.

"James," Will whispered as their mouths parted for a moment.

Norrington moaned softly. "Say it again. Please," he requested, stroking Will's cheek.

Will looked up at him, capturing his gaze. "James."

Norrington smiled in delight and that's when Will knew. This wasn't the Commodore holding him. It wasn't stuffy old Norrington. It was simply a man called James and even if he couldn't trust the Commodore, he could trust James. It was James that took him out for tea. It was James who whirled him around the dance floor and never complained when he had his feet stepped on. It was James who desperately requested his kiss. It was James that he would trust not to break his heart.

James' lips resumed their passionate dance with his own and Will let his thoughts flutter away. He didn't want to think. He only wanted to feel for now, to let the feel of James sink into his mind and engrave itself there. Slowly, James pulled Will across the room. He reclaimed his seat on the couch, bringing Will down into his lap. Will cuddled against him, getting comfortable in his lap. James watched Will relax against him completely and smiled, running his hand over Will's back. They sat in silence for a while; simply soaking in the feel of their bodies nestled together. Will had his head tucked into James' neck and after a while, he began to play with the curled hair of his wig.

"Doesn't that wig make you hot?" Will asked quietly, tugging at some of the white strands.

"It is inconvenient at times." James admitted watching from the corner of his eye as Will played with the carefully curled locks of hair.

"I don't know how you can stand the heat in that thing."

"I don't know how you can stand the forge." James countered.

Will sighed, his breath tickling James' neck. "I really don't have much of a choice, do I?"

"No." James shook his head. "I suppose not and neither do I. It is expected of my station regardless of convenience."

Will nodded. "Yes, but it makes you look like an old man."

"I am not old." James sputtered.

Will smiled and kissed him gently. "May I take the wig off then?"

"I certainly wouldn't protest," James replied with a smile.

Will carefully removed the wig and set it aside. James' dark brown hair was damp with sweat, but he didn't mind. He tugged on some of the damp curls of hair sticking to James' forehead. James reached up and took his hand. He kissed Will's knuckles briefly before he began to slide the silk glove off of Will's arm. When the glove was removed he placed another kiss on Will's exposed hand before collecting the other arm and repeating the process, pausing only to remove Will's bracelet. He set the gloves and bracelet beside his wig and turned back to Will. Will cupped James' cheek, drawing him into a kiss. They pulled apart as Will yawned, muttering an embarrassed apology.

"You're tired."

Will nodded. "I stayed up late learning to dance with Jack. I got up early because I was nervous and the day has been so busy."

"Yes, a lot has happened today. I think that its best if we retire for the night. The maid has gone home for the night, but I can prepare a guest room easily."

Will lowered his head, wringing his hands together.

James took Will's hand into his own, causing Will to look up. "Or, if you would prefer, you can share my bed tonight."

Will swallowed as he looked into James' earnest green eyes. He took a deep breath. "I...I think I would like that."

James nodded, kissing Will's cheek. "Come then, let us get ready for bed." He stood and picked up a candle before taking Will's hand and leading him up the stairs to his bedroom. Will couldn't make out the interior of the room very well by the single candle, but from what he could see, the room was much nicer than any he'd ever slept in before. He could make out the shadowy forms of an armoire and other pieces of furniture but it was the bed that was most noticeable as they walked towards it. It was a large bed with heavy curtains tied back at the corners. There was a table beside it where James set the candle. Will licked his lips nervously, not sure what to do next.

"It looks like there was a visitor while I was out." James commented.

"What?"

"This chest," James tapped a chest beside his bedside table. "It's not mine. In fact, I think it's the one that your clothes are in." James knelt down and opened the chest to find a note on top of a carefully folded nightgown. He took out the piece of paper, holding it close to the candle and reading it aloud. "Thought you might be needing these. Love, Jack."

Will smiled. Jack was more caring than he liked to let on. He would really have to thank him later on. He watched James stand and pull out the carefully folded nightgown.

"That certainly was thoughtful," James commented, fingering the soft garment. He didn't recognize it as any of the ones he'd purchased and supposed that it must be yet another gift to Will from the pirate. "Will you be requiring assistance?"

Will nodded, blushing softly. James smiled as he laid the nightgown aside. He moved towards Will, settling his hands on Will’s tense shoulders and squeezing them briefly before starting on the layers of clothing. There were various buttons and laces to undo before he could release Will but layer by layer he watched as Will shed the gown and jewels, emerging like a butterfly from a cocoon. James took the time to study him in the candlelight, giving the revealed skin light caresses that made Will sigh softly and lean into his touch. He was quite reluctant to hide the newly revealed skin, but regardless of his desire to run his hands over Will's body, perhaps even taste it, he helped Will slide into the nightgown.

As the soft nightgown settled deliciously around his body, Will ran his hands over the fabric. Smoothing out a crease, he wondered what he was to do next. James pulled back a corner of the bedclothes. "Please make yourself comfortable while I get ready to turn in."

"Thank you." Will said quietly as he climbed into the soft bed.

James settled the blankets over him before turning to carefully tuck Will's gown into the trunk. Will watched as James moved away from the candle light and into the gloom near the dresser. Even in the dim glow, Will could see that James' body was quite well defined. He had seen, on a few occasions, just what he was capable of. Once, he had experienced a taste of that too, Will thought, touching his cheek briefly. He quickly banished the thought. That had been the Commodore. Here and now, he was with James. “James,” he whispered, to remind himself of the difference.

James looked at the bed as he thought he heard his name. Will had a far off look in his eyes that he didn’t care for. He pulled on his nightshirt and returned to the bed, settling on the edge of the mattress beside Will. "Is something wrong?"

Will looked up. "No, I was just thinking. This is the nicest bed I've ever slept in."

James smiled a bit sadly as he reached out and brushed Will‘s loose hair from his face. Will turned into the contact, gently nuzzling the hand. "Then, I hope you sleep well. May your dreams be sweet." James leaned down and kissed Will. What was meant to be a gentle peck, turned into something slow and sweet as he lingered, caressing Will's cheek. Long moments were lost to the kiss before James was able to take control of his urges and pull away from Will. Will's lips glistened in the candlelight and James was forced to turn from Will lest he pounce on him again. As James stood up to blow out the candle, Will reached out and touched his hand.

"James?"

"Yes Will?"

"I am sure my dreams will be very sweet tonight. Thank you."

James turned and smiled. "No. Thank you."

Will returned the quiet smile before lying back amongst the pillows. The room flickered into darkness. The burnt scent of the wick hung in the air as James quietly made his way to the other side of the bed. The mattress dipped and Will listened to the rustling of the sheets as James settled in, a mere foot from where he lay. When the other man stilled, Will let his hand slowly inch along the covers until it came in contact with James' arm. James captured Will's hand in his own. He brought it to his lips, pressing a quick kiss to his knuckles. "Good night Will."

Will slowly laced his fingers with James', smiling in the darkness. "Good night James."

To Be Continued...

*sighs* they're being so uncooperative. They keep surprising me with all the sappy sweet romance. I keep going "Awww! Aren't you the CUTEST things?!" and they smile and nod smugly before continuing to snuggle. I mean, I honestly thought that maybe I could end the fic at ten chapters with some pretty boi-sex. Apparently not. Oh well, let me know if you're enjoying it ^_^ Love to hear from you. So stay tuned!