dwgm: Kimi Birds (J/E - Just a Kiss - by the Nixonator)
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Written for [livejournal.com profile] penknife's "I never wrote..." challenge, prompt: Mirrors. It's only rated 'R', in spite of the title.



~ Occasion of Sin ~


An occasion of sin, her pious nurse had named them, but nevertheless, mirrors had always been a part of Elizabeth's life. There was no streak of the Puritan in her family, and one of her earliest memories was of her mother, seated at the dressing table, with little Elizabeth standing by, watching and wondering in the gilt-framed mirror. She remembered her mother's fond gaze and the curve of her rouged lips, and the scented cheek close against her own. "You shall be a great beauty, my heart. Never doubt it!" she'd said, with a hug, and young as she was, Elizabeth knew this to be a consummation greatly to be wished.

Elizabeth's father had caused the dressing table and it's spindle-legged chair and the fine mirror to be packed up and shipped to Jamaica with them -- one of the few familiar things they had retained from their old life when he left England to take up the governorship. Elizabeth had watched herself grow to womanhood within the confines of that gilt frame, though beauty was another, more subjective thing, a curse when it brought unwanted attention, a blessing in its power.

There were no mirrors aboard the Black Pearl, save the small, secret piece of silvered glass that aided Jack in applying the kohl he affected -- "Helps 'gainst the sun, savvy?" he'd told her the first time she'd witnessed this ritual, but she knew it was far more than that, something closer to vanity than necessity. A different kind of beauty, but beauty nonetheless, fierce, savage and fey.

Elizabeth stared at herself, and wondered what her mother would think of her now.

*

The room Jack had got for them at the finest hostelry in Cartagena was richly appointed, designed to impress the people they'd come here to meet. And had impressed: they would be off in the Pearl again in the morning, to do some profitable business. But there was a whole night before them in this landbound lap of luxury. The bed was the focal point of the room, an enormous thing of carved wood and brocaded canopy, fine linens, bolsters and down pillows, but it was the enormous cheval mirror that stood in a corner nearby that drew Elizabeth.

Jack had gone out on some brief errand. Elizabeth lit a few candles against the gathering dusk, and stripped off her clothing, donning the heavy silk robe Jack had given her, unearthed from a trunk in the Pearl's hold. The design of birds and flowers reminded her of the Orient, of Singapore and Sao Feng, which led to World's End and all that had come after. Will, hers so briefly, now the Sea's. And the new life she had taken up, the life it seemed she was meant to live.

She hadn't tied the robe, and now she gathered her courage and came and stood before the mirror in the candlelight, and stared. Too thin, was her first thought. Her face seemed all angles in the shadows. And the rest of her... she let the robe slip off one shoulder, and her jaw tightened. The scar from the wound she'd taken in the final battle with Beckett and the forces of the East India Trading Company was worse than she'd expected. Jack had tended it with his own hands (and she flushed yet at the memory of it, the first time she'd been unclothed before him, grief and pain assuaged by his care and the surprising gentleness of his touch) and the cut was healed but remained an angry red, marring the smooth, pale skin that covered her bones. Too thin... too...

"Beautiful."

She started. It was Jack, very close behind her, and his fingers curled brown against her arms. "I didn't hear you!" she said, dismayed.

He bent and kissed her shoulder, and said low, "Bad pirate. Though I can understand the distraction."

She leaned against him, but said, "I look different, that's all."

He raised his eyes to her reflection. "Beautiful, Elizabeth."

"Too thin," she whispered.

He straightened and, ignoring her small sound of protest, drew the robe off and let it fall to the floor. One coat-clad arm slipped about her waist to hold her there, while he plucked the combs from her hair, the golden mass coiling down, thick and long. She still had that, at least.

"Beautiful," he insisted. "All of you, crown to toe. Like one of Will's swords, come to life."

The analogy made her heart swell, but she touched the scar. "Even this?"

His fingers slid to cover her own. "Even that." He bent and kissed her neck, then looked up again, his eyes locking with hers in the mirror. "Stay still."

His hands began to move slowly over her, caressing, soothing, setting afire the secret places of her body, dark on light. She gasped his name, only once.

"Hush!" he said, his lips against her ear. "Stay very still. And watch."

*

After, regaining her senses, she realized her eyes had closed of their own volition at the vital moment. She opened them to find Jack’s still upon her in the mirror, with such a look of tenderness and warmth that she ached with joy. "Jack!" she whispered.

"Elizabeth!" And he finally allowed her to turn in his arms and they kissed, with a sweet thoroughness that was most satisfying to both. Presently, his forehead set against hers, he smiled. "Did you like that, then?"

"Yes!" She smiled back. "You know, my old nurse back in England used to tell me mirrors were an occasion of sin, but I'm fairly certain she didn't know the half of it." He chuckled, but the chuckle changed to a soft groan as she moved, sinuous, against the heat of him, evidence of his own sentiments straining against the cloth of his breeches. Eyelids drooping, she said softly, against his mouth, "Your turn!"

~.~






Profuse thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hereswith for editing.
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