Title: You Had a Charming Air, All Cheap and Debonair, Part 3/15
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. I don't always rinse before loading the dishwasher. There. I've said it.
A/N: Thanks to floweringjudas for the beta work, and for sending bits back whimpering and on crutches. I'll take feedback and concrit, please, either here or by email - username at livejournal dot com.
[Prologue, 1] [2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ]
James had been gagged with a filthy rag that made his head swim from the stench. The rough, green rope that bound his wrists was replaced with the cold iron of a pair of shackles; the chain that hung between the cuffs was hooked high overhead in the captain’s cabin. Turk had spit on him as he left the room, muttered something in a low, gravely language James didn’t recognize, pulled the gag off, and left him there.
Before Jack had sauntered in, a good hour had passed during which James had felt the anchor pulled up, the oars methodically rowing the Pearl out of the cavern it had been hidden in, and then finally, the jerk and rush as her sails caught the wind and she raced away. Jack hopped onto his bed, facing James, crossed his ankles and pointed a boot at him.
“You like them? I do believe they are yours, Commodore.”
“Had to stuff the toes with rags, didn't you?”
Jack smiled a slow grin. “Clever. And yeah, I did. Got rudders for feet, Jamesy. Probably why you found the dull life of an officer and all of that slow marching so pleasurable. Not quick-footed enough for piracy.”
“I chose an honorable career, filth.”
“You chose filth for your career, good of you to be man enough to admit it.”
“That’s not what I-“ James sighed. “Look, get me out of these. I didn’t shackle you back on the Dauntless.
“Commodore, you had me bound and gagged by other means.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you’ve grown poetic.”
“No, sober, and that’s a far worse state, believe me.”
Jack swirled a snifter of brandy under his nose, inhaled deeply, and swallowed a good mouthful of the pungent liquid. “Care for some, James?”
James shot Sparrow a look that not only would have killed him, but anyone standing behind him, besides.
“You wound me. You offend my graciousness, you do. Tell you what. You want out of those shackles, there’s something you’re going to have to do for me.
“Hmm. Make that two things.
“On second thought-“
“Enough, Sparrow. What the blazes do you want?”
“He most certainly did!”
James took the newly filled glass from the barkeep and swirled the liquid in the glass before taking a slug. He had.
Sparrow leaned back against the headboard, crossed his arms behind his head and closed his eyes, smiling. “Suit yourself. Eventually you’ll lose all feeling in your arms. When your fingertips turn black, give us a shout. I’ll have the smithy lop ‘em off, quick as shakes.”
Jack stretched out languidly on his bed. “Oh, Margaret, how I’ve missed you.”
“You named your bed? And you named it Margaret?”
“Well, Rachel’s the wheel. And you didn’t know Margaret.” Sparrow waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“You have absolutely no honor. To talk about a woman that way-“
“Hey, I paid her good money for the right to do so!”
“Impossible. Disgusting and impossible.”
“Perhaps, but I’m the one lying on the bed, aren’t I?”
James had hung from the rafters of Jack’s cabin for ninety-seven hours. The last ten he swam in and out of consciousness, barely able to keep his feet under him. He had awoken with a jerk once before; his legs gave way to his weight and the pain had been excruciating. He had taken to reciting the names of the constellations under his breath to keep awake.
Jack stormed in at hour ninety-seven, threw a cup of water in his face and hissed at the spectacle before him.
“Alright, mate. Enough’s enough. I’m not a black pirate.”
“...Octans, Ophiuchus, Orion, Pavo...”
“...Pegasus, Perseus, Phoenix, Pictor...”
“Is that... Are you saying all of the constellations? In alphabetical order? That’s it.”
Jack grabbed James around the chest, heaved upwards, and unhooked the heavy chain from the rafter. James’ arms collapsed forward, his legs gave out, and Jack could barely carry the large man to the bed. James flopped onto his side, muttering still.
“...Pyxis, Reticulum, I’ll never do it, Sagitta, Sagittarius, better be dead than...”
Jack lay down on the bed next to the incoherent man, tucked a stray lock of dark, silken hair behind the Commodore’s ear, and whispered gently.
“Come, man, it’s not that big a deal. Be over before you knew it. Well, probably not, as I do like to have my fun, but that’s besides the-
"...Scorpius, Sculptor, most disgusting man on earth, Scutum, Serpens..."
“Oh, for God’s sake. It’s not that bad. Promise.”
Norrington, using the last of his energy, turned to his back and was face to face with his captor.
“Sparrow? I’ll never let you... use me that way. I’ll die first.”
“Well, darling, that looks inevitable. And you’re crushing Margaret.”
Jack shoved James hard, and James rolled bonelessly to the floor with a loud thump and a quiet, “ouch.”
Jack thought that termites had finally taken over the ship. He had awoken from a nightmare where huge, gnawing beasties were chewing away his precious Pearl and his toes. It turned out that the blanket had merely uncovered his feet, and James was lying on the floor, teeth chattering in the cold.
“Oi! Commodore! Shut your gob, or I’ll hang you back up and set the monkey to tickle your sides!”
“B-b-b-boo to you. Now shut it.”
Nope, no good. Jack could still hear him shivering down there.
“Look, if you want a blanket, if you want a bunk for that matter, or a hot meal, you know what you need to let me do. I’ll not be changing my mind on this one, Commodore. I want your consent.”
Jack popped out of bed, and stomped around a bit. “You know, it’s not like I’ve asked much, really. And you are being absolutely ridiculous! A quick little tug, a march through the crew’s quarters, a bit of time on deck, tad more down below, because let’s face it, I’m going to want a bit more, and then that’s it! ‘S not like I’ve told you I’m setting you on fire. Nor cutting off your feet and tossing them to the sharks, is it?”
James turned his back to the spectacle, curled in on himself like a shrimp, and rocked back and forth to keep warm.
“FINE. Fine. Have it your way, you self-righteous, fool-hardy... wanker!”
Jack stormed back to his bed, and tried to sleep. After fifteen minutes of his cabin-mate’s yammering, he couldn’t take it anymore.
“Here. Never let it be said that Captain Jack Sparrow’s a cruel man.”
James sneered at Sparrow for a moment, then covered as much of himself as he could with his great coat.
The morning came, and with it, the smells of the morning chow. Not much by sailors’ standards, but for James, who had eaten nothing in almost a full week, it smelled like a magnificent feast. His necessity pot was full, and his water jug empty. He glowered at the guards standing outside the cabin door and was led up deck to Jack, who was lovingly caressing Rachel, also known as the helm.
“Where’s it gonna be today, Rachel? You and Pearl have never failed me, except for all those times you did, but don’t think I hold it against you, because I - . Why, bless my soul! If it isn’t the Commodore!”
Jack bit his lip to hold back a smirk, tilted his head and cupped his ear. “I’m sorry, bit of fluff in there, didn’t hear properly. What was that?”
James brought himself up to full height, and although he was filthy, rumpled, shackled, and the crew below decks could hear his belly rumbling, he still managed a quiet dignity. “I said, ‘agreed.’ “
“Excellent.” James barely registered shock at that shark’s grin before he was roughly man-handled back to the captain’s cabin.
Captain Jack Sparrow slowly opened a drawer in the side table, pulled out a small container, and handed it to the broken man before him.
“You’ll want to... prepare it for me.”
“Now, now, nothing to cause alarm, just... Well you don’t just whip it out and be off with you! I know you... groom it. Show me.”
Jack looked down at James with a strange look in his eye. Was he pleading? James took the container and sprinkled its contents over the top of the object in his lap, the chains dangling from his wrists making a steady jingle.
“Do you happen to have a comb on this... ship?”
Shark’s grin again. “Will any comb do? Or does it require a special one?”
“Judging by your looks, I’d wonder if you even had a comb.”
Jack leaned forward, swiped his hand behind James’ ear and produced a comb.
“Clever. A pirate, a busker, a kidnapper, and a magician. You have cornered the market on all forms of layabouts, haven’t you?”
“That’s enough. I want it.”
James bit his lip, straightened his spine and stared into the eyes of his enemy. And handed him his wig.
“And the hat, and the hat!” Jack made grabby hands, a huge smile on his face and the tip of his tongue sticking out of the side as he placed the freshly powdered wig atop his head scarf.
James reached back, grabbed his tall hat denoting his rank and handed it to the pirate, who quickly clapped it atop his head.
“You know, if they gave pirates hats like these, we’d change for the better, I’d wager. How do I look?”
“Like a damned fool.”
“Takes one to know one.”
~TBC. 'Tis here, in fact. Yaharrr.
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