Title: You Had a Charming Air, All Cheap and Debonair, Part 7/15
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. For the record, I did not invent Velcro, either. Just want to be clear and upfront on that.
A/N: Special thanks to cherusha for the beta on this portion - she who sent it back crippled, bleeding, and begging to be shot, then ordered me to fix it. ♥
[Prologue, 1] [2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ]
"There's them what say Sparrow was a wraith. A specter - made of the night and cloaked in fog."
"Aye, and there's the lasses what'll tell you otherwise, and had the bite marks to prove it."
The two old codgers broke into a riotous laughter and clinked mugs, while James Norrington, world-weary and jaded, rubbed his neck and fought back a creeping blush. While he could assure anyone who had dared asked him - and none had - that Captain Jack Sparrow was indeed made of flesh and bone, the man did have an uncanny ability to disappear off the face of the earth for great lengths of time with nothing but exaggerated tales of adventure to prove his existence.
"Sure, but he met his match with The Scourge, and make no mistake. On the side of the law or no, that man was a demon and wreaked his vengeance on them that sailed under the Black. He fell upon old Ned Lowe's ship the Navigator and kilt them all. Set his curse upon all those who had plundered in Exuma. Every ship fell ill with the bloody flux, and every crew was dead within days. No sailor with so much as a lifted biscuit will set foot in that harbor to this day."
"God bless me soul..."
The two men crossed themselves and drank deep. Norrington leaned back in his seat, turning his glass in his hands. While he had no qualms with pirates being killed legally for their crimes, the tale of the Navigator and its compatriots had grown to fantastic proportions, and none rightfully attributed to him. A horrible outbreak of dysentery had spread like wildfire amongst the rioting ships. Whether or not Sparrow had recognized the symptoms when he had gone ashore, or just continued his streak of good fortune, James had never bothered to find out. The Pearl's leaving had been fortuitous. James' isolation in the jungle for the next few days had been as well.
" 'Twas a hard man, The Scourge was. Heard that after he called the flux upon them in the bay, he did as much to them what lived there on Exuma for aidin' and abettin' the pirates. They all died in their beds, and he stole two of their boyos and gave them up as payment to the crown!"
"Ach, yer tetched in the head."
"Am I? He left a mark on their doors! Marked his X on their houses and stole away with the Lobsterbacks' sloop fer Freeport and the safety of the British garrison!"
"Well, now, I did hear of that bit."
While the old men drank, James recalled the sight of the empty house, the smell of the dead bodies within that almost overpowered him, and discovering the two frightened lads that had hid in the jungle when first the pirates came and kidnapped the officer. James found a spare bit of parchment, briefly wrote what he believed had transpired, signed his full name and rank to the bottom and affixed it to the door of one of the main houses. As to the young boys, Norrington could not leave the two there alone, unprotected, and so had taken them to the nearest British stronghold with him.
"If I hadna been on a fishing excursion, I woulda tried for the price on his head. I coulda retired and lived like a laird on that pot of gold."
The one-eyed sailor clapped his friend on the shoulder, "He'd a kilt you before you had time to reach for your blade, MacDougal. He was a demon, he was."
The tale of the slaughter of a large armada of pirates, and not much to explain what happened other than a mark and signature of one James Norrington, Commodore of the King's Navy, had spread like wildfire. James rolled his eyes. Pirates were not the most educated of men, although there were those who had brains. Well, somewhat. He gave a brief laugh. Jack Sparrow would probably give the Pearl over to hear James admit he had brains. No, he wouldn't. James smiled to himself.
"MacDougal, weren't it you that came across Sparrow in Tobago?"
MacDougal grabbed his lapel and beamed drunkenly at his mate. "Aye, t'was me that turned him in, him that none other had been able to get aholt of. I saw who it was through that disguise of his."
The one-eyed pirate regarded his friend. "True, but he slipped out of their grasp again, did he not?"
MacDougal's face fell. "Aye. Bastard."
If I had a pound for every sailor that claimed to have captured Sparrow... James smiled to himself. For two years he listened for word of the Pearl or her captain, but Jack, like his ship, had for all appearances, faded into the night.
Word would come to Norrington that a black ship had been spotted, or that a man that resembled Sparrow had been seen - one time a small woman had been imprisoned, her crime apparently that she wore her hair in a similar manner to Sparrow's. Norrington had shown up for her trial and quickly pointed out that first and foremost, Captain Jack Sparrow did not have breasts. She was released within minutes.
"Wait... did you say disguise? What - did the old blighter try for a cleric again?"
MacDougal pounded the counter with his fist, a twinkle in his eye, "Nope. Dressed up like a Commodore with the costume he stole from The Scourge himself!"
Norrington clutched his glass tightly in his hand for a moment. Didn't even cut his hair, the absolute imbecile.
"Well, well. If it isn't you. Finally slipped up, eh, Sparrow?"
Jack walked the length of the bars to his cell, hand dragging along the metal as casually as if it were the railing of his ship. "Commodore! James, my old friend."
"I'm not your friend, Sparrow."
"Funny, all the provisions I've been able to abscond with due to our friendship prove otherwise."
"Impersonating an officer, now? Are there no depths to your boldness?"
Jack Sparrow stood, bowed with a flourish, and grinned up at James. "I've never stopped long enough to find out. Just all in a day's work, love. Have to thank you, your Commodoreship - it is still Commodore, correct? Or have they pushed you off the sea and stuck you at a desk with a fancy title like 'Admiral,' now? If you hadn't left behind your gorgeous coat and hat and left without a word... Mind you, it worried me heart, it did, James- "
"Heard you have magical powers now. Able to wipe out entire flotillas with the bloody flux. Impressive."
James pinked at that. "I cannot help that simpletons won't listen to reasonable discourse."
Jack hopped a few steps back in his cell, leaned back against the stone wall, crossed his arms, and smirked. "Oh, then, by all means. I'm all ears."
James glowered at the man. "I've only come to- "
"Look upon my beautiful face one last time?"
"I've only come, " he began again with a sharp exhale, "to prove that it is indeed you, and not another poor sot that has the misfortune of merely resembling you."
"Misfortune? Misfortune? No, no, James, see you've got it wrong. But then, you didn't see how fine I looked in your coat. Nor your wig. Hat was a bit much. You know, I never understood how you kept that on in a strong wind-"
James gave a slight nod, looked Sparrow up and down, then spoke curtly. "You'll be hanged at dawn. Any last words?"
Jack arranged his face into that of contriteness. "Only that your life is in grave danger, Commodore."
James chewed the inside of his cheek, "I daresay that my life is in danger every day, yet somehow I seem to manage."
Jack sprawled upon the straw-covered floor of his cell with a slight groan and covered his face with his hat, as if to take a nap. "Suit yourself. And I wouldn't go to sleep for the duration of my stay here, if I were you. Or eat anything. Or speak to anyone. Or step outside."
"Out with it, Sparrow."
Jack pulled the hat off his face slightly and grinned up at Norrington, "Oh, no, I can see that a busy man such as yourself has things to see, people to do... Wait, that's not right."
"If you have any information regarding illegal activity, I would suggest that you come out with it immediately."
"Or what? You'll hang me? Can't hang me twice. Actually, I'm sure you could, but it's not as fun the second time, I'd wager."
"Surely you don't expect me to make a deal with you for information that most likely will prove to be false."
"I'm hurt, Commodore! Have I lied to you? Don't answer that. Have I lied to you when it was important? Second thought, don't answer that either."
"Guards! Bring me a whip, if you please!"
Sparrow blinked. "You wouldn't -. James, after all I -. Er, what do you want to know?"
James rocked back on his heels. There were no guards in the corridor, but Sparrow didn't need to know that. After all, Jack was the one who explained that the threat of violence was as effective as the violence itself. "I want to know any intelligence you may have - limited though I'm sure it will be - regarding any attempts on my person."
"Well, there's a bonny lass at the Drunken Eel that says she'll bed ye by nightfall-"
"That'll be all Mr. Sparrow, " James turned to walk away and smoothed the front of his coat. "I'm sure your humor will be cold comfort on the gallows come dawn."
"And the rocky shores on the far side of this island will be yours, if you don't heed my warning."
James turned back to face Jack, who had a completely unfamiliar look upon his face - worry.
"Captain Sparrow. Captain. Why can't anyone ever..."
James let out a long-suffering sigh, "Fine. Captain Sparrow, I can assure you that I am perfectly safe here in the garrison. It won't be the first time someone has wanted me dead. We are surrounded by soldiers and-"
"Aye, but what if one of the fine men serving ye is the one wanting to do ye in?"
~TBC, The next is here, to be sure, arrr.
Update cross-posted to pirategasm and sparrington