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A Perfect Homecoming (Pirates of the Caribbean)


groundcontrol

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    Hi all :) Nothing like a break to give you time to watch a few movies and write a bit. Although I'm over a decade late, I just watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and took a liking to Commodore, and upon finding a slim collection of stories concerning him, churned this out ;) I hope this finds an audience and that you enjoy!

Note: I obviously own no character nor place in this fic besides the ones I made up myself. If I did, I would be very rich indeed haha.

The ship had returned the evening before, dropping anchor in the harbor in time with the dropping of the sun past the horizon line. A bit of rough weather toward the middle of the journey, but all things considered the voyage had been quite the lucky one. The merchants in Calcutta had been of good humor this time around and so a relative few shells and guns had purchased for the British sacks upon sacks of spices, and Commodore Norrington himself had been able to snag a marvelous necklace for Elizabeth to formally begin their courtship. Lastly, the timing of their arrival back in Port Royal couldn’t have been arranged better; the commodore had just enough time for a few rounds of celebratory drink with his men on land in the taverns without staying up all hours of the night.


    For all that went right with the trip, there was one thing that went wrong, something that the commodore only realized upon waking the next morning with a pounding headache. He sat on the edge of his bed for a while, feeling as though if he stood up right then the heaviness of his head would topple him over.


    A courtesy knock on the door was accompanied by Gaines, having grown too accustomed to Norrington’s automatic response of invitation to wait for it to come any longer. Upon seeing that Norrington was still, for lack of a better word, indecent, Gaines retreated clumsily, tripping on his feet and knocking over a candle-holder in the process. “Uh, sir, I beg your pardon, it’s just, um, you’re usually--”


    Norrington held his temples with one hand as the metal holder clattered to the floor, the sound reverberating off his headache and magnifying it tenfold. With the other he waved away Gaines' concerns. “It’s alright. I’m usually ready by this time.”


    Gaines picked up the candleholder and set it back in place. He cocked a brow of concern. “Are you feeling alright, commodore?”


    Though the weight in his skull hadn’t faded in the slightest, he had to get up at some point and he figured now was as good a time as any. He was unsteady on his feet for a brief moment but quickly caught himself. “A bit too much to drink last night, I suspect.”


    “I can send for some coffee if you’d like.”


    Norrington nodded as he went to his dresser for his uniform. “Perhaps that would be in order.”


    “Yes, sir,” the servant said, and turned to leave.


    “Gaines?” Norrington stepped behind his dressing boards to change and regarded Gaines through the wood.


    “Sir?”


    “Was there something you’d like to see me about?”


    “Oh, yes! There is a man, a Mr. Alcott, who wishes to see you. He’s staying at the Brooksby Inn and says to call him as soon as you’re ready.”


    “You’ve told him I’m busy, I presume.”


    Gaines sounded shocked. “No, sir, I told him you’ll be seeing him shortly.”


    Norrington poked his head around the boards. “For God’s sakes, Gaines, you couldn’t have forgotten I’m to see Elizabeth today.”


Gaines' face flushed crimson and his eyes hung toward the ground. In a small voice he said, “He sounded very urgent, sir.”


The commodore sighed and turned his attention back to dressing himself in his uniform. “Well, tell Mr. Alcott that I’ll be with him soon.”


"Yes, sir," Gaines said and the door heaved shut. 


No sooner had the man left the commodore's room than did Norrington feel a rising urge to sneeze. He scrambled to find a handkerchief in his drawers and, having dug one up at long last, held it desperately to his face. 


“Etsch-aah!”


The resulting pressure in his sinuses told him that last night's liquor wasn't the only player in this headache, and so the commodore slipped the handkerchief into his breast pocket. Though he hated to concede defeat, he reminded himself it was for the best. 


Whether it was brought on by the sneezes or simply unnoticed before, Norrington became uncomfortably aware of a burning in his throat. He tried swallowing, but that only made it worse. Splendid. Just what he needed. 


Another knock on the door, but the muffled quality of Gaines’ voice told Norrington that the servant had stayed back this time. “Coffee, sir.”


“Set it on my nightstand if you would, thank you,” the commodore said as he shifted his wig into place. He hoped he was only imagining the congestion in his voice.


Gaines’ footsteps paused for a moment, but he quickly carried on and obeyed his orders. “Anything else you require, sir?”


“This will be quite satisfactory,” the commodore said, strategically avoiding any m’s or n’s that might give him trouble and stepping out from behind the dressing boards at last. “Oh, and I trust you’ve told Mr. Alcott to expect me very shortly?”


Gaines nodded. “Of course, sir.”


“Very guh-ah--ah-khxt!” The sneeze caught the commodore so off guard that he scarcely had time to turn his head much less take out his handkerchief. “Excuse mbe,” he said, feeling himself blush as he hurriedly mopped himself clean with his handkerchief.


“Are you sure you feel well, sir?” Gaines asked, hanging on the door handle and poised to leave at any moment to give his master privacy.


“How couldn’t I, Gaines, on a day like this?” To prove his point, Norrington pulled open his curtains, and took a deep and satisfied breath of the sunlight. Occasionally, the commodore made very poor decisions and this was one of them. “Eh-kuchxt! Kcht! Kchh!” The force doubled him inward on himself.


“Sunlight,” he said sheepishly. “Always gets to me.”


Gaines nodded slowly, skeptically. “I’ll be going then,” he said, backing out the door. “Let me know if you think of anything you need.”


“Thank you, Gaines.” Damn the n’s. Damn his throat, damn his nose, damn his whole body for betraying him on such an important day. Why hadn’t he expected it? The voyage went off without a hitch, the celebrations were good the night before, something was just bound to go wrong. Serves him right for thinking things could go that well for that long.


Norrington could damn himself and brood all day, but that would hardly get him anywhere. He was already pressed for time what with this obnoxious Alcott character and whatever the hell he could want, so it did the commodore no use to waste any more time wallowing in his own self pity. He gulped down the coffee with a measured speed, and he couldn’t help but smile a bit at the way it eased his throat and head a bit. Perhaps the day wasn’t too ruined after all.


Gaines waited for him at the front doors with his coat. “Mr. Alcott has been informed and he anxiously awaits your arrival. Shall we ready one of the horses, sir?”


“That won’t be necessary,” Norrington said, giving a slight cough under his breath to clear his throat. “If he is simply at the Inn as you say, that’s only a five minute’s walk from the grounds.”


“As you wish,” Gaines said. “Will you be having any breakfast before you go?”


Norrington’s throat still irritated him and so he gave into a few real coughs to clear it. “If it’s made, you have my portion, Gaines. I’m not terribly hungry.”


“Are you sure you feel well?”


Norrington gave a smile. “Haven’t felt better. Just a touch of nerves about the day’s events I suppose, but that’s hardly a cause for alarm. Now, I hope Mr. Alcott’s proceedings will not take long and so I will come by afterwards before my meeting with Elizabeth. Her father’s home is quite a ways, so do have my horse ready by then.”


Norrington was half out the door when Gaines said hesitantly, “Are you sure you should go alone?” The poor man shook his head as though doing so could erase his words. “I mean, would you like accompaniment?”


“I do think I can handle myself,” Norrington said. “But thank you.”


As he walked to the inn, the sunlight, as before, brought about a barrage of sneezes, and Norrington was thankful for his handkerchief, as they had grown considerably messier. Much to his chagrin, he seemed to be getting worse and worse by the second. If he was going to be ill, and at this point he was forced to accept that he was, he must do something to hide the worst of his symptoms later on when he was to meet with Elizabeth. It wasn’t as if she had never seen him ill; who hadn’t seen everyone ill at some point on the dreadful first voyage to Port Royal. But that was years ago, Elizabeth was a little girl and he a young captain and that was all. Things were ever so different now. 


The May day was already balmy and moist, but Norrington found himself shivering deeper into his coat, a sure sign of fever. He was just about to ask what else could go wrong but stopped himself, knowing full well of the myriad answers to that question that cruel Fate could thrust upon him.


He arrived at Brooksby and instantly a man rose from his seat to great Norrington. The man didn’t wear a wig but rather kept his own hair slicked in a lump at the base of his neck. He smiled. His teeth and face and clothes were clean, but he still exuded a sense of grimy about him, and it was with a moment’s hesitation that Norrington joined him at a table.


“Mr. Alcott?” The commodore extended a hand, which Alcott gripped vigorously.


“James Norrington,” he said unctuously, his voice positively slimed with false sincerity. 


A tickle grew, and as Norrington spoke, he fished out his handkerchief as well. “I have a title, good sir, and I’d appreciate your using it. Excuse me.” He turned away into his shoulder. “Hapch’eh!” Involuntarily, he sniffed and coughed softly afterwards, and thus was the first time he realized just how pitiful he really sounded.


“Falling ill, Commodore?” Alcott stressed the word so that it became a slap in the face.


At first Norrington thought of denying it, but then the idea sprang to his head that if he admitted being ill, perhaps this Alcott man would make his spiel quickly for fear of catching it. “Regrettably. Must’ve picked something up on my trip.”


Alcott’s beady eyes lit up and he clasped his hands in excitement. “Ahh yes, ships arrived back last night. I saw. What an exhilarating lifestyle that must be, hopping from port to port, reeling in riches.”


“I suppose it is,” Norrington said coldly.


“But alas, I merely deal in insurance. Good enough business I suppose, but I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the money you see in a day of the sea trade.”


Norrington sighed, which, as per the tone of the day, yielded a fit of coughing. Up until then they had been fairly shallow and dry, but these were the deep, chest coughs of sickness, and there was no longer any denying it. “Mr. Alcott, I have squeezed you into a day in which I already had little time, so I’d appreciate if you’d make your point sooner rather than later.”


Alcott’s smile twitched a smirk as he saw his opportunity to drag his feeling of self-importance out. “If you’re feeling unwell, perhaps this isn’t the best time. I can come again later.”


“That won’t be necessary,” Norrington said. “I have prior obligations, as my servant Gaines undoubtedly informed you, so please, do tell me why you had the urgent need to meet with me today.”


Mr. Alcott sulked at the cutting of his time in the limelight short, but did as he was told nonetheless. “I trust you keep your treasures aboard the ships until sorting and selling time.”


“I didn’t know the affairs of my fleet were your business.”


“Commodore, to get my advice you’ll have to tell me one way or another.”


“I may not want your advice, Mr. Alcott. I have been in the Navy since I was a boy at the academy, I think I know a few things about handling ships.”


“I don’t doubt you do, but this is a tidbit no amount of military training can afford you.”


Holding his handkerchief over his mouth, Norrington half-sighed, half-coughed as he surrendered to playing along. “Say I do keep my goods aboard the ships for sorting, what then?”


“Again, if you aren’t well, I--”


“Mr. Alcott!”


Alcott held his hands up, and Norrington noticed the almost maplike scars on his palms. “Yes, yes, so you keep your goods aboard the ship. Is that safe?”


“It has been for the last ten years.”


“Who guards it?”


Norrington felt his patience wearing thin and he all but snapped. “What are you trying to say, Mr. Alcott?”


“Alright, alright, what I am saying is that I urge you to reconsider how you store your wares, especially in the days to come.”


“And why should I do that?”


Alcott leaned in and dropped his voice to a theatrical whisper so that Norrington had to lean in as well to hear. “Pirates, Commodore.”


“Pirates?” Norrington repeated loudly and half-laughing, and a few heads in the inn’s lobby turned in his direction.


“Keep your voice down! Yes, pirates. Do you have any idea what they’ll do if they find your ships, rich as they are?”


“It may come as a shock to you, given my profession, but I do believe I have a hunch.”


“And yet you feel comfortable keeping them out in the open like that? Commodore, haven’t you heard the tales ahead of the pirates who sail these waters now? Such horrors, they keep me awake and a-tremble all night.”


Norrington blew his nose into his handkerchief not-so-discreetly and folded it back up. “Funny, I have been sleeping magnificently.”


“I appreciate your lightheartedness, but this is far from a laughing matter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you must rethink how you keep your treasures, Commodore Norrington, if you want to have any left for selling.”


“How do you advise me to store them, then?”


Alcott nearly burst. “Insure them,” he cried. “Keep them locked away in a safe underground.” He slipped a folded sheet of paper into Norrington’s hand. “There's information on my business. I have a myriad of ideas, Commodore. I would hate to see Port Royal go under because of poor judgment.”


He’d have no more of that from an insurance man. Norrington shot to his feet and snapped his coat back around his shoulders. “If my judgment is poor, then poor it shall stay, as it has served me naught but well all my life. Good day to you, Mr. Alcott. I really should be going.”
Alcott followed him out the door like an anxious puppy. “Promise me you’ll keep my advice in mind, Commodore. These pirates are like none you’ve ever seen.”


Rolling his eyes, Norrington left the man reeling on the Brooksby Inn doorstep. “I’ll keep my eye out, Mr. Alcott, and in the meantime, good luck with your insurance.”


“Pirates, ha,” Norrington muttered under his breath as he stormed home. “My ah-my arse--Achkt!” No, the only thing the commodore had to worry about was how to prevent himself from being an utter sniveling and sneezing mess later on in the presence of the woman he hoped would be his wife. Pirates were the least of his concerns. 

TBC

 

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Oh man, I love Norrington! I feel like he's super underrated, so thanks for sharing a piece about him~ :D I think you have his speech patterns down perfectly, as well as the setting, and I'm excited to see what else you bring to the table (especially when Elizabeth comes into the picture!). 

(I definitely recommend watching the other Pirates movies, by the way, if you want to see more of him! ;))

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14 hours ago, Spoo said:

Oh man, I love Norrington! I feel like he's super underrated, so thanks for sharing a piece about him~ :D I think you have his speech patterns down perfectly, as well as the setting, and I'm excited to see what else you bring to the table (especially when Elizabeth comes into the picture!). 

(I definitely recommend watching the other Pirates movies, by the way, if you want to see more of him! ;))

Thank you very much, I'm glad you could appreciate it! I'm so happy to hear that I did a good job with speech patterns and settings, as those were the two things I was worried about haha. The next part with Elizabeth will hopefully be up soon, so keep an eye out :)

13 hours ago, supernaturalfragalistic said:

I love ittt!!!

I love you :D Thank you!

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This was really well done! I didn't pay enough attention to Norrington when I watched the movie, but when I read your fic I can totally picture him in my head and it's great! Thank you, I'll love to read the next part when you have written it. If Elizabeth is here, it's even better!!!

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This is really nicely written!

Special commendation for:

On 26/11/2016 at 3:21 AM, groundcontrol said:

“Thank you, Gaines.” Damn the n’s. Damn his throat, damn his nose, damn his whole body for betraying him on such an important day.

Especially "Damn the n's." It's a very nicely placed, evocative bit of phrasing, and pulls me into Norrington's mindset to boot. Well done.

I also appreciated:

On 26/11/2016 at 3:21 AM, groundcontrol said:

Norrington held his temples with one hand as the metal holder clattered to the floor, the sound reverberating off his headache and magnifying it tenfold.

Again, that's a very clear and enjoyable mental image you just gave me there.

I liked how you kept making distinctions between the different kinds/levels/intensities of symptoms that let Norrington know just how sick he's becoming. It really helped me empathise with his suffering and, well, enjoy it at the same time, especially since you wrote him as sensible enough to be honest in his own mind about his condition, whatever front he intends to show to others.

As I say, this is good. Thank you for sharing it!

 

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On November 28, 2016 at 9:13 AM, Aliena H. said:

This was really well done! I didn't pay enough attention to Norrington when I watched the movie, but when I read your fic I can totally picture him in my head and it's great! Thank you, I'll love to read the next part when you have written it. If Elizabeth is here, it's even better!!!

Thank you so very much!! I'm so happy to hear that I've done a good job capturing his character, since that's all I could really hope for, right? :) I'm working on the next part currently and I think (hope) you'll enjoy! 

On November 28, 2016 at 4:45 PM, RiversD said:

This is really nicely written!

Special commendation for:

Especially "Damn the n's." It's a very nicely placed, evocative bit of phrasing, and pulls me into Norrington's mindset to boot. Well done.

I also appreciated:

Again, that's a very clear and enjoyable mental image you just gave me there.

I liked how you kept making distinctions between the different kinds/levels/intensities of symptoms that let Norrington know just how sick he's becoming. It really helped me empathise with his suffering and, well, enjoy it at the same time, especially since you wrote him as sensible enough to be honest in his own mind about his condition, whatever front he intends to show to others.

As I say, this is good. Thank you for sharing it!

 

Oh my. I don't even know where to begin with your comment. The level of detail and time you took to make that comment is just unbelievable. When I read your comment I just couldn't stop smiling the biggest smile. The fact that you took the time to give such detailed feedback and "specific commendations" really made my day, so thank you thank you thank you! I hope you stick around and find the next part as enjoyable :) Gahhh, thanks again!!! 

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Hi! I'm back with part two. I apologize, it's a tad long :mellow: Oh well, I hope you enjoy it! Also, I completely forgot to mention in my first post, this takes place before any events of the movie, but I think everyone's figured that out haha :) Onward!

Gaines was the picture of surprise when he opened the doors, wide-eyed and pitchy of voice. “Commodore Norrington!” He stepped aside to allow the commodore in. “Back so soon?”


Norrington slid past him, hoping to dodge Gaines’ attempts to take his coat, as it provided a nice sheen of warmth on his chilled body. “Mr. Alcott didn’t have much to say.”


Gaines looked crestfallen as he eased shut the front doors. “Didn’t he?”


Norrington shook his head. “That man was biggest scam of my life, G-Gai--Ach’eh! Kngt!” The commodore sneezed into his shoulder, successfully deterring Gaines, who stood expectantly behind him, from seizing his coat for a little while longer. “Apologies.”


“Sir,” Gaines ventured cautiously, “if you don’t mind my saying so, you don’t look well.”


Norrington made use of his handkerchief once more, this time to spot the sweat from his brow as well. “I appreciate the concern, but I’ll survive.” He coughed into his fist, then added as an afterthought, “However, if you did have a potion to make me a tad more appealing to Elizabeth, I would be much obliged.”


“There is spiced wine in the cupboards.”


“That would be wonderful.”


While he waited, Norrington took a seat on lower steps of the grand foyer stairs and leaned his painful head against the wall. How long does it take a man to convince a woman to be his wife? Norrington certainly didn’t know; he’d never had the experience. But for Elizabeth’s sake as much as his own, he hoped it would be a quick process. Clearly he had picked up some exotic breed of influenza in the ports, and were he a man more prone to dramatics he would say the affliction was eating him alive. It had been years since he had felt this unwell, and that was back in the time he nearly died of yellow fever off the Portugal coast some five years prior. No need to repeat that again.


He must have closed his eyes and dozed off for a brief moment, for there he was being stirred awake by Gaines’ hand on his shoulder. “Your wine, sir.”


“Thank you.” Norrington straightened up and took the glass, but upon bringing it to his lips found the scent more potent than he had been expecting. “Ah-ah-kncht! Hehh'chew!" If it weren’t for a steadying hand by Gaines, the wine would have been on the floor.


“Do you feel feverish?”


“Quite, but don’t trouble yourself.”


“Sir, are you certain you’re in good enough health to be going out again later?”


“Utterly positive. And besides, I could hardly cancel on Elizabeth now, could I?"


“I don’t think--”


“Gaines, put all your worrying to more productive manners, such as getting my horse ready. I’ll be departing as soon as the wine is finished.”


“As you wish, sir, but it is my humble opinion that you should rest.”


“And rest I will tomorrow. The day is free save for my meeting in the evening with that East India Company tradesman. I shall sleep until noon should you advise it. As for now, the horse, please. There is business to be done.”


Biting his lip in the moment’s panic of whether to stay silent or speak his mind, Gaines at last chose the former and went off to inform the stable hand of Norrington’s request. Norrington stayed at the stairs and sipped the wine. It weighed his heavy head down even more but relieved his nose of some of its incessant bother, so that the headache he could deal with. Elizabeth couldn’t see his headache.


Gaines returned a few minutes later. “He’s ready when you are, sir.”


“Thank you Gaines,” Norrington said, noticing that his voice was deeper in tone but less congested in nature. His throat had also recovered slightly faster from the ache of speaking. What an odd drink. 


The two men went to the front grounds were two horses, held dutifully by the stable boy, stamped and whinnied at the bottom of the grand house steps. 


“I can only ride one horse at a time,” Norrington said, sniffling slightly as his nose had begun to run. He dabbed it with his handkerchief.


"I will ride with you,” Gaines said in a restrained voice. The poor man bit his lip so harshly that it bled.


"Gaines,” Norrington said, a note of worry creeping into his voice, ‘do you know something I don't?"


“Of course not, sir,” Gaines said hurriedly. “I merely think that you should have accompaniment on this occasion.”


Slowly and suspiciously the commodore mounted his horse and nodded to give Gaines permission to do the same. “Very well, if you’re so insistent.” 


*********


The Governor's servants bad led him there while Elizabeth finished getting ready, and so Commodore Norrington stood by the edge of the balcony overlooking the harbor. His head throbbed gently to the same rhythm as the swooping of the tides on the rocks and general malaise was seeping back into his bones, but he did his best to stuff his pains to the back of his mind. Just to think that if all went well and he and Elizabeth did marry, the Governor's house and this view would be his. And so would she. 
Soft footsteps patterned behind him, and he turned around. 


“Elizabeth.” She came round the corner from the house, hair falling in ringlets around her shoulders, and she walked with an elegance and poise that certainly hadn’t been present in her youth on his ship. The commodore realized just then how long it had been since he had really seen her and how much had changed. Long gone was the rowdy young girl who sang songs of pirates at the helm of his ship, and in her place was a young woman. And by God, she was beautiful.


“Comm--”


“James,” he said breathlessly. “Please.”


She smiled gracefully, flicking her eyes downward in a coyishly bashful way. “Well, James, it certainly is good to see you again. It’s been some time, hasn’t it?” Her tongue had suddenly breathed new life into his first name, filling it with potential he never knew it had. 


“It has indeed.”


Norrington pulled out a chair for her at the table that had been set up, but she walked past to the outlook point. He followed her back, keeping his mouth clamped firmly shut and coughing lightly to clear his throat's irritation. 


"I trust you've been a busy man," Elizabeth said, gaze somewhere far beyond the ocean. A gentle breeze played with her hair. 


"Yes," Norrington said, a few involuntary coughs escaping his guard. Damn it! "Excuse me," he said, hoping the heat in his cheeks was invisible fever and not blush. 


Elizabeth didn't react but kept looking at the sea. "Those are your ships down there?"


"They are," Norrington said, wishing he could trade in all his years of naval training for just one lesson in women. He tried turning the conversation to her. "Do you sail? That is, since the voyage here to Port Royal."


"No," Elizabeth said, turning with a smile to Norrington though he heard a sharp note of bitterness in her voice. "Father says it's improper for a 'lady of my birth'."


"One day you'll sail again," Norrington said. "I'm sure of it."


The conversation went on, Elizabeth eagerly hounding him with questions about his voyages and battles. But even so, the whole of their conversation, he noticed something amiss about her. Though she engaged him and smiled and joked, her laughter was cut just short of being utterly genuine and when he spoke her eyes fluttered somewhere just above his head as though searching for something more. In his pocket, the necklace burned against his skin like a talisman.


“Elizabeth,” he said suddenly, acutely aware that he may have just cut her off. “I have something for you.”


She smiled with a true warmth. “Shall I close my eyes?”


"Go ahead."


She did so, biting her lip as though to keep her grin from spreading too widely. Only with her eyes shut and her face drawn in eager anticipation could the commodore catch a glimpse of the little girl on his ship all those years ago. 


"Turn around," he told her, and she obeyed. 


Carefully Norringon slid the jewels, shimmery in the early afternoon sunlight, from his pocket and draped them around her neck. The Royal Navy had afforded Norrington training in many aspects of life, but unfortunately working necklaces was not one of them. In addition, Norrington had had very few women in his life, and so he spent a healthy while fumbling with the clasp. As he struggled, the God-forsaken tickle in his nose returned with a vengeance. At first he fought to stave it off until he finally hooked the necklace, but all too quickly it became apparent that that wasn’t a possibility. He intended to say “Hold this!” but he scarcely managed a breathy first syllable before he had no choice but to hop away lest, God forbid, he sneeze on Elizabeth.


"Ha-khchoo! Ah-kchtt! Kchh!"

Since Elizabeth wasn’t a psychic, the necklace had slipped from her neck and shattered on the ground before her hands even attempted to grab at it. She gasped. 


"Oh Elizabeth, I'm sorry!"


She glanced from the glinting remains of the necklace to the commodore with deep concern. "Are you alright?"


"Yes, yes, I don't know what got into me." Sniffling slightly, Norrington bent down to scoop up the pieces, and the sight of the shattered things of beauty in his palm made him want to cry for some strange reason. 


He must have stood up far too fast for the world spun around him like a top and he stumbled backward. Elizabeth caught his arm. 

"James!"


"I just need to sit for a few moments," he mumbled, and Elizabeth guided him to the table. Embarrassingly it was now she who pulled out the chair for him. 


No sooner than he sat did he lurch forward into his handkerchief. “Ach’xhew! Hcxht!”. His shoulders shuddered with chill. 


"James," Elizabeth said tenderly and suddenly there was a cool and delicate hand against his cheek. "You're ill."


"I'mb sorry," he said quietly, eyes downcast and all the congestion having returned to his voice. 


"Don't apologize," she said, her hand resting on his shoulder and making him feel tense and at ease at the very same time. Softly came her voice, like the tune form a music box. "You took care of me when I had pneumonia, do you remember that?"


He coughed into his fist. "That was so many years ago, Elizabeth."


"But we're still the same people, aren't we?" It was in that moment, the beautiful and caring way she beautiful and caring words that made the commodore realize he loved her. She smiled at him slightly. "I've had a wonderful day but you need rest. I'll get Father. "


For the few moments he was alone Norrington did his best to polish himself up. It was mortifying enough that Elizabeth had seen him in such a sorry state, but the Governor? He badly wished he could jump the balcony and swim away from the events of this day that he had ruined so terribly. He sneezed twice more into his handkerchief and gave his nose a solid blow. His good luck had certainly run out. He definitely could say Elizabeth cared for him, but whether she loved him was a whole different story. 
The footsteps coming up the balcony returned, this time a contrasting pair of soft and lumbering, and Norrington forced himself out of his seat and standing upright so as to look a bit less pitiful. By now, his entire body ached and he wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed. 


"Governor," Norrington said the moment the two had rounded the corner. He extended his hand but then retracted it, realizing that if Elizabeth had indeed told her father how sick he was, the governor probably wouldn't want a handshake. 


"At ease, James," the governor gave a deep chuckle and then immediately assumed his usual business tone but with a touch of what he no doubt thought was care. "Elizabeth has told me you're feeling a tad peaky.”


That blush was certainly visible. Norrington cleared his throat. “A bit under the weather, sir. It’s nothing to fuss about.” Naturally, Fate could not leve well-enough alone and so a harsh and wet single followed his assurance. “Eh’ckht!”

Elizabeth whispered in her father’s ear as Norrington turned to wipe his nose as discreetly as he could. He would ask Why?, but he knew Fate didn’t bow to those type of questions. He had sailed every water imaginable, fought in countless battles, kept rowdy crews in check for months, and yet his own body had the gall to defy him. 


The governor nodded to whatever Elizabeth had been saying, and then regarded Norrington. “Which room would you prefer? We have a few guest rooms overlooking the harbor.”


“Room? Sir, that won’t be necessary,” the commodore said hurriedly and tried to all but run to the stairs that lead off the balcony. “I had better be going. I wouldn’t get you sick as well, and I ha-ha--ha’cheh!--have paperwork to do--ah’chkt!”

The governor stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Very well then, I’ll have a coach readied for you.”


Everything kept falling from bad to worse and he must, to say it bluntly, abandon ship. Norrington coughed in his shoulder. “Sir, really, you’ve already done more than enough. My horse is here. I rode here and I’ll ride back. I’m perfectly capable.”


The governor nodded. Elizabeth opened her mouth to object, but her father silenced her with a rub of the shoulder. “Very well, James. Get on to bed, and I hope to see you in good health soon.”


“Yes, sir,” was all Norrington could say before he dashed down the stairs, coughing to himself as quietly as he could and hoping neither Elizabeth nor her father could hear. As he rode home alone he wondered first what Gaines would think and then whether the man had a spiced wine to erase memory. Norrington and the Swanns could use a healthy dose of that.

TBC I think, because I have one more plot thing up my sleeve ;) 

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I like the second part as I've enjoyed the first!!! Poor Norrington...

On 03/12/2016 at 11:15 PM, groundcontrol said:

TBC I think, because I have one more plot thing up my sleeve

Oh yes please!

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On 03/12/2016 at 10:15 PM, groundcontrol said:


"James," Elizabeth said tenderly and suddenly there was a cool and delicate hand against his cheek. "You're ill."


"I'mb sorry," he said quietly, eyes downcast and all the congestion having returned to his voice. 

This is my favourite part. Strong people being called out on being not-so-strong after all. What a great fic. Thank you for writing it!

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On December 6, 2016 at 1:52 PM, Aliena H. said:

I like the second part as I've enjoyed the first!!! Poor Norrington...

Oh yes please!

I'm so glad you're enjoying this! Can't thank you enough for reading :) 

On December 7, 2016 at 2:45 AM, camillapapen said:

This is my favourite part. Strong people being called out on being not-so-strong after all. What a great fic. Thank you for writing it!

That's a favorite trip of mine as well :) Great minds think alike. It was my pleasure to write, and thank YOU for reading it!! 

Stay tuned, I'll write the next part as soon as my school is on break at last, but I just had to pop in and thank you both for your sweet responses!!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi again!

Ah, it's been so long since I updated this, but time has a habit of getting away from us, doesn't it? :) Enough with the sentimentalities, let's get down to business!

A note: I haven't gotten the chance to watch any more of the movies besides the first one :( However, I am aware of the existence of a Lord Cutler Beckett and I have mentioned him briefly in this story. As I was too wary of reading summaries for fear of spoilers, I have little idea who this man actually is, so please forgive me if he does not actually tie into the POTC universe this way. I'm a mess lol ;) 

Onwards!

Norrington awoke from a restless sleep that didn’t last near long enough to find the sun already creeping in through his bedroom curtains. He sighed and found his chest to be a bit tight, signaling that his cold had slipped there as well. He coughed openly and struggled to swallow afterward. Marvelous.


Gaines knocked lightly at the door. “Sir, are you awake?”


“Unfortunately.”


“May I?”


“May as well,” Norrington said, clearing his throat. His voice was at least an octave lower than usual. Outstanding


Gaines came in, staring for a moment at the commodore in well-disguised shock and concern, but then snapped himself out of it. He poured Norrington a glass of water from a pitcher. “How are you feeling, sir?”


To make himself feel like less of an invalid, Norrington forced himself to sit up to receive the glass. The sudden movement made his head spin, and he blinked rapidly to rid himself of the feeling. Stupendous.


“A touch worse than yesterday.” Norrington allowed himself to admit that much. He sipped the water.  “Do I have any more urgent visitors today?”


“No, sir.”


“Then I think it best I remain here until I’m due to meet the East India tradesman,” he said as he sat the water down on his nightstand. “I will be catching up on paperwork if you need me.”


Taking his cue, Gaines nodded and left the pitcher on the nightstand as well before turning to go. As soon as the door shut, Norrington sank back in bed. He had told no lie, there was paperwork to be done and he would do it, but he would try for a few minutes more sleep first. There would be no doing paperwork with such an aching head, anyhow.
*********
Norrington was awakened to more rapping on his door. “Commodore Norrington, sir, the trades fellow has just arrived.”


Dizzy head and all, Norrington shot out of bed. Damn it, there was no way he could’ve slept that long! “Show him to the study and tell him to have a seat,” Norrington said, throwing his uniform on in a haste he had never operated on before. “I’ll be with him--he’ESH’uh--shortly.” That’s right, but for his nose’s stirring reminder he would have forgotten his handkerchief.


“Yes, sir.” After a momentary hesitation, Gaines’ footsteps receded.


After last minute touch ups and adjustments of uniform and wig, Norrington strode as proudly as he could to his study, and before opening the door, drew in a deep a breath as he dared. It gurgled in his chest.


The East India man sat at Norrington’s map table, drumming his fingers against the wood. Immediately upon Norrington’s entering, he stood and tipped his head in a slight bow. “Commodore,” he said reverently. “George Leighly.”

“A pleasure,” Norrington said, shutting the door behind him. “Please, have a seat.”


Norrington went to the seat opposite Leighly. From this position the map that Norrington always kept unfurled as a sort of tablecloth on his workdesk was the right way round. It was his usual spot, and the cluster of papers spread out on that end affirmed it.


“Forgive my delay,” Norrington said as he quickly organized the papers. “Time gets away from me when I do administrative work, so it seems.” He gave the papers a shuffle before stashing them atop a bookcase. “Excuse me a moment.”


Facing the bookcase and with his back to Leighly, Norrington managed to stifle his sneezes into complete silence, a great surprise to himself. He straightened a few books that didn’t need straightening, and took his seat in front of Leighly.

Leighly stroked the map at his end, along the northern coast of Russia. “A fine one you have, Commodore,” he said, eyes slightly glazed. He pointed to the pins Norrington had stuck all over the world. “And these?”


“Important ports and naval outposts, Mr. Leighly.” Norrington couldn’t help but cough harshly into his fist, taking care to turn away from Leighly as he did so.


“Ah yes,” Leighly purred, smiling and pointed to India. “Calcutta. You’ve just returned from there, no?”


“You’re correct.”


"Lovely place, my East India ships know it well. Do you like monitoring trade as you do, Commodore Norrington?"


"I do as my Navy requires of me."


"Well, Mister Commodore, it seems as though there's a change in the winds."


"Is that--eh’ch’uh--so?"


"Are you quite well, sir?"


"My apologies, carry on."


"As I was saying, what your Navy requires of you is fast changing. The Crown has requested that there be a stronger East India Company presence in Caribbean ports as well as the Indies so that the Navy may turn her attention to matters of military protection."


"Who then will be in charge of trade through Port Royal? You?"


"Me? Oh no, I'm the messenger. The Crown has of yet to officially appoint anyone, but I do suspect a candidate."


"Yes?"


"Lord Cutler Beckett." Leighly stood to gesture to the map, and Norrington stood to better see what he was doing. As they both leaned over the narrow table, their heads were close to touching. "It's sensible. Currently Beckett controls the trade from Cape Horn--"


hah’eh’chew! AAH’kcht! kcht!

Leighly jumped back, recoiling his arm as though he'd been burned. "I repeat, sir, are you quite well?"


Norrington wiped his nose. "A touch of a cold, please carry on."


Leighly continued to watch him, eyes a mixture of horror and disgust. Norrington sighed and held his handkerchief over his nose and mouth to appease him. "Carry on."


Satisfied, Leighly continued. "As I said, Beckett is in control of the trade routes running through Cape Horn and San Salvador."


Norrington regarded Leighly through the handkerchief. "How would Port Royal fit into all of this?"


"It's simple, really. Port Royal would become a hub. Beckett would sit here and---"


Suddenly the door to the study banged open, hitting the wall. Gaines rushed in, red-faced and panting from his exertion. He clutched the door handle for support. "Commodore Norrington! There's trouble at the harbor, the ships--"


Instantly, Norrington shot out of his chair and flew to the large window that occupied the near entirety of one of the walls. From it he could see the docks in which the better part of the Royal Fleet at Port Royal were kept. The harbor was engulfed in smoke. "Ready my horse, Gaines!”


Norrington shoved past Leighly, who grabbed the commodore’s elbow. “Sir, what’s happening?”


“My bloody ships are burning, man, that’s what’s happening!” Norrington snapped. Addressing Gaines he added, “Get this fellow a horse as well, unless he’d like to run alongside us.”


Within minutes Norrington and Leighly were saddled up and galloping toward the harbor. Save for the pain of swallowing, the adrenaline of the moment had flushed all evidence of illness from Norrington’s mind. As they grew closer, the smoke formed a wall at the horizon. The harbor swelled with yells and screams, and Norrington could make out the vaguest silhouettes of men scurrying about with buckets to douse the fire.


“What’s the cause of the fire, Commodore?” Leighly yelled.


Dismounting from his horse, Norrington waved him impatiently to do the same. “Come and find out, Mister Leighly!” Smoke finding its way to his sinuses at last, Norrington hinged at the waist with two burning sneezes, before running to his lieutenant.


“Groves!”


The lieutenant made to remove his hat but Norrington waved dismissively. “To hell with that! What’s going on here?”


“The fires have all been put out, sir,” Groves said, panting with excitement. “It’s only the smoke that’s left. The fire started on the Proudhomme, but she suffered negligible damage. A bit of smoldering on the port side but nothing unfixable.”


As Groves spoke, Norrington had been nodding along and unfolding his handkerchief. “The rest--ah’ketch!-of the fleet, Lieutenant?”


“Just a bit warmer than usual, sir. No damage.”


The smoke had certainly gotten to him now, on top of everything else. Norrington mopped his nose and said thickly, “And have you determined the cause?”


Groves leaned in. “I beg your pardon, sir?”


With a wince, Norrington cleared his aching throat, though it did little to help his voice. “The cause, Groves. What was the cause?”


“Could have been anything, but more than likely, sir, it was negligance on the part of a dockworker. One dropped pipe is all it takes.”


Norrington coughed roughly behind his hand. “Find the cause Groves, and if it is so, see to it that that dock worker is permanently relieved of his responsibilities.”


Groves nodded. “Aye, sir.”


Leighly touched the brim of his hat. “Commodore Norrington, if I may?”


“Mister Leighly, I’d forgotten you were here.”


“I’d advise you not to rule out foul play, Commodore.”


“Foul play?” Norrington said, his tone able to turn hell to ice. “And what might you know of that?”


Leighly jumped nervously and fingered his hat. “Nothing! Nothing. Just a suggestion. The Crown would hardly like it if her fleet were the target of attacks. There are pirates on these waters, sir.”


“Do you know an insurance man called Alcott, Mister Leighly? The two of you would get along quite well.”


Leighly rambled on, ignoring Norrington’s input. “Rumors are that the Black Pearl is back at sea--”


“The Black Pearl is a myth,” Norrington said shortly, unfolding his handkerchief to make use of it again. “Heh’ah’ketch!” He sniffed wetly and tucked it away. “A myth to keep foolish ensigns alert and a-tremble. I thank you for your time today, Mister George Leighly, but that time has now run dry.”


Leighly bowed his head and scurried back to his horse, muttering to himself all the while as he rode away. Norrington surveyed his ships; the smoke had cleared to a thin film and he could see that the men of the Royal Navy had taken good care in protecting them.


The unrelenting tickle sprang on him again and after five forceful sneezes, Norrington found himself dizzy and kept upright only by his lieutenant’s hand. Groves eyed him with concern, but Norrington merely nodded his gratitude and straightened his jacket.


“Groves?” he said in what he hoped was a semi-dignified voice, eyes level with the line where the sky met sea. 


“Aye?”


“I trust you will be able to oversee the rest of the clean up?”


“Of course, sir.”


“Good,” Norrington said, turning for his horse and fighting back a cough. “I will leave you to your duties. Should anything go wrong, do not hesitate to fetch me. I will merely be doing, er, paperwork.”


“Aye, sir.”


Groves bit back a laugh as he witnessed his commodore nearly sneeze himself off his horse mid-mount. Of course the lieutenant knew the real reason behind the commodore’s hasty departure, anyone could do the same, but he would let the man leave with his pride intact.


“You there!” Groves called to a spindly young ensign sponging the helm of the Proudhomme. “Quit your staring, there’s work to be done!”

End

 

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Oh, that's such a great end for this story! 

20 hours ago, groundcontrol said:

Leighly continued to watch him, eyes a mixture of horror and disgust. Norrington sighed and held his handkerchief over his nose and mouth to appease him.

Poor Norrington!!! I feel so sorry for him...

20 hours ago, groundcontrol said:

Groves bit back a laugh as he witnessed his commodore nearly sneeze himself off his horse mid-mount.

I totally picture the scene and I love it!

Thank you for this story and feel free to write some more!

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On January 17, 2017 at 2:48 PM, Aliena H. said:

Oh, that's such a great end for this story! 

Poor Norrington!!! I feel so sorry for him...

I totally picture the scene and I love it!

Thank you for this story and feel free to write some more!

Thank you for being such a faithful reader of this story, I really appreciate it and I'm glad I could write something you enjoyed :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

...IIIIIIIIII am massively behind with replying to this. Which is a shame, because you maintained the quality throughout and I'd hate you to think I was being slow out of a lack of enthusiasm. I especially appreciated that you kept the background plots moving alongside Norrington's illness- partly because it let me feel smug about having read a threat into Alcott's sales-speech.

I liked that Norrington was prepared to accept palliatives, even if he wasn't ready to give up on his plans for the day.

On 03/12/2016 at 10:15 PM, groundcontrol said:

were he a man more prone to dramatics he would say the affliction was eating him alive.

Norrington is undoubtedly a man prone to drama in thought if not in action. But again, I really enjoyed the level of description you gave to how he was feeling. I felt fully enveloped by his point of view, which added an extra layer of intensity to the fic for me.

Poor Gaines. I'm glad he was confident enough to insist on going with Norrington to the Governor's.

I thought you captured the dynamic of James and Elizabeth's interactions very well. It felt entirely in line with the films, in my opinion.

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:

He sighed and found his chest to be a bit tight, signaling that his cold had slipped there as well. He coughed openly and struggled to swallow afterward. Marvelous.

:heart::heart::heart:

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:

“A touch worse than yesterday.” Norrington allowed himself to admit that much.

Again, I really like how he's feeling out a balance between pride and practicality as regards his health.

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:

That’s right, but for his nose’s stirring reminder he would have forgotten his handkerchief.

I thought this was a lovely turn of phrase.

Poor man, I felt so sorry for him during his interview with Leighly

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:

Smoke finding its way to his sinuses at last, Norrington hinged at the waist with two burning sneezes,

a- I love smoke as a cause of sneezing. Love.

b- I reallllllly like your use of the word 'hinged' here.

c- 'two burning sneezes' had me happy-squirming.

All things considered, good sentence. Top marks.

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:

“Foul play?” Norrington said, his tone able to turn hell to ice. “And what might you know of that?”

Ah, a man who has run out of patience with the world. Good.

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:


The unrelenting tickle sprang on him again and after five forceful sneezes, Norrington found himself dizzy and kept upright only by his lieutenant’s hand. Groves eyed him with concern, but Norrington merely nodded his gratitude and straightened his jacket.

*high pitched noises* Nope, nothing coherent to say here, just *gives thumbs up from the floor*

On 17/01/2017 at 0:30 AM, groundcontrol said:


Groves bit back a laugh as he witnessed his commodore nearly sneeze himself off his horse mid-mount.

This managed to be both funny and highly attractive to me.

I agree with Aliena, this was a wonderful ending, and thank you for putting this all together! It's been a most enjoyable ride.

Yours,

Rivers.

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On January 31, 2017 at 5:58 PM, RiversD said:

...IIIIIIIIII am massively behind with replying to this. Which is a shame, because you maintained the quality throughout and I'd hate you to think I was being slow out of a lack of enthusiasm. I especially appreciated that you kept the background plots moving alongside Norrington's illness- partly because it let me feel smug about having read a threat into Alcott's sales-speech.

I liked that Norrington was prepared to accept palliatives, even if he wasn't ready to give up on his plans for the day.

Norrington is undoubtedly a man prone to drama in thought if not in action. But again, I really enjoyed the level of description you gave to how he was feeling. I felt fully enveloped by his point of view, which added an extra layer of intensity to the fic for me.

Poor Gaines. I'm glad he was confident enough to insist on going with Norrington to the Governor's.

I thought you captured the dynamic of James and Elizabeth's interactions very well. It felt entirely in line with the films, in my opinion.

:heart::heart::heart:

Again, I really like how he's feeling out a balance between pride and practicality as regards his health.

I thought this was a lovely turn of phrase.

Poor man, I felt so sorry for him during his interview with Leighly

a- I love smoke as a cause of sneezing. Love.

b- I reallllllly like your use of the word 'hinged' here.

c- 'two burning sneezes' had me happy-squirming.

All things considered, good sentence. Top marks.

Ah, a man who has run out of patience with the world. Good.

*high pitched noises* Nope, nothing coherent to say here, just *gives thumbs up from the floor*

This managed to be both funny and highly attractive to me.

I agree with Aliena, this was a wonderful ending, and thank you for putting this all together! It's been a most enjoyable ride.

Yours,

Rivers.

YOU! Rivers, you make me happier than a clam :) You can't imagine how great I felt, stopping by the forum after a particularly long day and seeing this novel of a reply! All for me! Really, you are too good to me. I'm so happy that you liked my story enough to write such a detailed comment. How long did that take you? I really appreciate it, especially the specific feedback and your occasional squealings :) I love hearing that my writing tickles the reader's fancy as well as mine. Also, I found it funny that you graded my sentence with "top marks" lol thank you very much. Again, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to make my day like that. My reply pales in comparison to yours, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Glad you enjoyed the ride and thanks for sticking with it!

On February 3, 2017 at 4:43 AM, camillapapen said:

I was so happy to see this continued! A great ending - thank you.

Thank you, my friend! So glad I could create something you enjoyed. 

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