Title: You Had a Charming Air, All Cheap and Debonair, Part 2/15
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Rating/Pairing: PG-13 / Sparrow, Norrington
Summary: Set decades after PotC1, with flashbacks to 1 and after. Who doesn't like a little cat and mouse? Except, who's the cat and who's the mouse?
Disclaimer Own nothing, make not one red cent, the House of Mouse is run by Steven Jobs now. Also, I'm fairly certain I took my neighbor's paper this morning. Oh, well. He took mine yesterday.
A/N: Thanks to floweringjudas for the fantastic beta work, and for the reader: Concrit and insight are always welcomed either here or by email if you're shy about that sort of thing. My username at livejournal dot com.
Missed the first part? Click here to catch up!
[Prologue, 1] [2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ]
The one-eyed sailor sat back in his chair, rubbed his aching knee and sighed, “Now I remember the tale. I had heard that Sparrow had become an indentured servant. Was the laughing stock of the seas. Cabin boy, heh.”
“With all the duties required, I’m sure. Although, The Scourge was a lawful man. I’m sure he greased him up afore!”
As the men broke out into bawdy laughter, James glowered into his glass. It wasn’t the first time he had heard the rumors. After all, you spend your life at sea with men, you learned a few ways to pass the time. Some voyages were at sea for three and four years at a time, and most sailors began their careers as young boys. Still, he had been an honorable Naval Officer, and Sparrow was a filthy pirate. Jack had turned out to be an excellent Ensign.
“Not that it’s any of my business, Your Eminen- “ Sparrow inclined his head forward to hide his cheeky smile and finished, “-Commodore, but your crew is sailing directly into a hidden reef, and we’re too heavy. They’ll sink us for sure.”
“Hidden reef? My charts don’t show any reefs around this island!”
“That would be why they are hidden reefs, Commodore. I chased a ship through here a few years back, ran them aground, held them at gunpoint in the water while my crew loaded up with...“ he paused to tap his chin and think, “- fifteen kegs of fine wine, a trunk of silver pieces, and a cook that could do wonders with urchin.”
“Despicable. You took their cook? Why am I not surprised.” Norrington kept his eyes on Sparrow and handed the man a quill and compass. “Show me.”
“Gillette! Take in sail. Our captive here says there’s a hidden reef up ahead- “
Gillette poked his head into the doorway. “Hidden reef? My charts don’t show-“
“Yes, I know they don’t, as they are hidden. Not a word, Mr. Sparrow.”
Norrington turned to face him, and it was James’ turn to smirk. “Oh? Captain? And where is your ship, Captain? Where are your men? Where have they been for six months?” He turned back to his lieutenant and instructed him to drop anchor and send a small boat out to map the reef properly.
“Now. Mr. Sparrow. You had something to say?" James clasped his hands behind his back and rocked back on his heels. "Hmm. I didn’t think so. I believe I’ll have my tea now. You may place it on my desk in my cabin.” Norrington turned back to his charts, dismissal evident.
“And if you make a gesture like that again I’ll toss you to the sharks.”
Jack laughed quietly, turned his hand gesture into the fluttering of his fingertips and headed for the galley. When he returned to the captain’s cabin, he found James sitting atop his bed, coat off, shirt-neck undone, and poring over naval charts and logs. Jack set the tray on the table and plopped down into the chair next to it, feet on the edge of the bed.
Jack wiggled his toes. Nothing, still. Stretched his arms, shrugged, and helped himself to a biscuit.
“Do you realize no one has properly charted this chain of islands? I’ve found at least four errors on the latest maps drafted.”
Jack dropped his head back, bored. “Fascinating. Tea?”
Jack poured out, added a squeeze of lemon, grabbed a fresh biscuit, then sat back and sipped daintily at his cup, head cocked to watch the Commodore pore over his maps.
Norrington looked up. “I meant for me.”
“Sorry.” Jack flashed a huge grin, produced a second cup, handed it to James, and let him fix his own tea. James knocked the dirty feet from his bed, then sat on its edge, deep in thought.
“Do you know how impressive it will be to sail back into our home port with properly charted maps of this section of the West Indies? Where else have you found ‘hidden reefs’ and the like? Any caves you care to mention?”
“Right. That means you have something hidden in one of them. I daresay that we are currently running far ahead of schedule and could stay here for, oh... a week? I could send out a small group of men on boats to go exploring in every nook and cranny. Hand whatever was found over to the crown for a lovely reward of my own.”
Jack had leaned back in his chair, hands fidgeting with the frayed neckline of his shirt. “It’s not... that... there’s a treasure or anything buried anywhere. Certainly no gold in any caves to the north. Nothing like that. It’s just-“
“It’s just what?”
“Well, Jame- Commodore, the only thing me mother ever left me... I’ve secreted it away, is all. Worthless. Sentimental clap-trap, really, nothing to lose your wig-“ James stood and towered over the pirate, “-over.”
“Hmm. I believe I’ll go with the men on their first excursion. And I’ll have you along as my guest. We’ll see if there’s anything of value.”
James turned his back to the pirate to do up his shirt front and adorn his head with the customary wig and missed the wicked grin on Jack’s face.
“And an entire platoon of pirate ships was waiting for them on the other side of the cay. Never knew what hit them.”
“Ach, MacDougal, you’re telling it wrong!”
James sighed in his chair and in his mind he quietly filled in all of the gaps in the old men’s narrative - the things no one else had known but he and Sparrow. MacDougal only had a portion wrong. There was no platoon of pirate ships waiting, and Jack didn’t have anything of value hidden in a cave, but Sparrow certainly had brought something of value into it. The Commodore James Norrington.
James had set out the next day with a small party of five crew men, himself, and Jack. James knew the pirate was lying, but he didn’t know what about. Part of him had expected to find black sails looming at the horizon ready to board the ship, but his crew was well trained and on alert. There had been no attack on the ship during their day’s adventure. The same could not be said for the small crew that explored a small cave off the north side of the island they were currently mapping.
A small opening that was large enough for their boat and oars soon opened up into a large, empty cavern. Well, not entirely empty.
“You shouldn’t have worn your hat and wig, James. Makes you stand out like a ghost in here.”
“I’ll clap you in irons if you speak to me with such insubordination again, Sparrow.”
“Ah, but I don’t think that’ll happen. If you could take your eyes off my beautiful face for a moment, love, you’d see that you are surrounded.”
James and the crew shouted and reached for their guns, but they were out manned and out gunned.
“Funny that you had just asked only yesterday about my lack of ship and men. There’s a word for that...”
“No, that doesn’t sound right.”
“It’s irony, you bastard, now what do you want?”
Jack smiled, hopped out of the boat, splashed to a large rock, and made a show of sitting on it and thinking very hard.
“What do I want... how much time do you have, Commodore? Anything and everything that isn’t nailed down. A warm bed, preferably because someone is warming it up with me, “ he flashed his teeth and gave a saucy grin.
“Rum, and not the piss you serve your men. But more than anything else in this whole wide world, James, at this very minute, what I want more than anything is... you.”
The pirates broke into raucous laughter at that.
“So if you would, your Emine - . Sorry. Bad habit, that. James? Would you be so kind as to wet your knickers by climbing out? See, the Pearl is moored inside one of the larger caverns just through this passage behind me, and we can’t leave without you.”
“You’ll never what? I’m hurt, Commodore. All the months we’ve spent together, me fetching your shoes, your tea, scratching those itches you couldn’t reach-“
“-teasing me with those come-hither eyes that really only meant go-thither... Now. It’s come with me, or, how do you like to put it? ‘A short drop and a sudden stop?’ No, bugger that, I’ll just shoot you.”
A humongous, dark, heavily tattooed pirate laughed cruelly and handed Jack a pistol.
Jack looked at James, then his expression softened. “Oh, come on, mate! Don’t you want to ride with the pirates? Study us? I don’t know... let your wig down?”
James stood resolute in the small boat. “Percival, send a letter to my mother. Tell her that I love her, that I upheld the family’s honor unto the very end, and that my estate goes to her and the girls. Thank you.”
Jack rolled his eyes and waved with his hand holding the pistol, ”You must be joking! Alright. Enough of this. Turk? Grab him. I want him cuffed and hanging in my cabin. Oh, and the little one with the weasel face, you, there,” Jack pointed at a whey-faced boy at the back oar. “He has a gold watch. I could use a time piece.”
Jack danced a small jig while the large man bound and gagged the Commodore and carried him off into the further reaches of the cave.
“Ta, gentlemen. I’d like to say it’s been a pleasure. Hell, I’d like to say it’s been fun, but we both know the food stinks, the pay is lousy, and the hours are miserable.” He bowed with a flourish, blew a kiss to the remaining crew men, turned on his heel and sang as he stepped into the blackness to his ship beyond, “Yo ho yo ho, a pirate’s life for me...”
“The tables were turned, as it were, and now the Scourge was the cabin boy. Kept him on the Pearl for three months, I believe.”
“I heard two years.”
“Two years? Why that’s crazy talk, and him a respected member of the Navy? That ship would have been hunted mercilessly by every Naval officer from here to Kingdom Come. Didn’t matter, though. Bastard escaped. Had Sparrow running scared. Kidnapping’s a hangable offense.”
James tapped his toe three beats. Wait for it...
“Isn’t... piracy a hangable offense?”
There it is.
“Yes. Well. Point is, if they weren’t after him before, the Navy were certainly after Sparrow now.”
James looked down at the long, twisted scar across the back of his hand and along his wrist. Jack had given that to him during the two months that James was his captive aboard the small, leaky, smelly Pearl. He remembered when it happened like it was yesterday. And he remembered that Jack looked as surprised as he had when it happened.
~TBC. Arrr. You'll be clicking here fer more, harrr.
Cross-posted to pirategasm and sparrington. Sorry for the crossover to your flist, if that affects you. Thank you for my virtual rose, Sue! And Gordok? He knows. Oh, he knows. *smoooch* Happy Valentine's Day my friends!