|Overall rating: mild R
Genre: slash, drama - Pirates of the Caribbean / Silmarillion crossover
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Erestor/Glorfindel
Warnings: angst, violence
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Summary: It takes more than water to wash blood off your hands.
Groves would have lied if it had helped the situation, but there was no point to it, and Gillette wanted to hear the truth.
"I don't think he'll last the day, Sir."
Gillette nodded. One didn't have to be the ship's doctor to see that James Norrington was dying. They didn't have a ship's doctor anymore, anyway. He was dead, just like the surgeon, their fellow officers, six of the midshipmen and most of the crew. Of the marines, not a single man had survived.
First the pirates, then the hurricane - it had been too much. The Dauntless was dying as well; all the hurricane had left of the former pride of the Royal Navy was a slowly sinking, demasted wreck.
"This means that you are in charge now, Sir," Groves stated.
"In charge of a floating coffin. Not quite the way I'd expected my career to go."
"What are your orders, Sir?"
"Orders?" Gillette looked up. Orders, of course. He had to tell them what to do.
"If there was any rum left, I'd suggest we all get drunk. It would be a decent wake for our captain, Mr. Groves."
There was no rum left, though. Seeing Norrington burning in fever, Gillette would have given anything for even a bit of water to cool Norrington's skin, but he had given order for the water to be rationed. He would return later with his daily ration and share it with captain.
Gillette put his hand on Norrington's forehead. Groves had often joked behind Gillette's back that his fellow lieutenant's hands were always cool because he was such a cold-blooded bastard. That was closer to the truth than Groves knew, but at least Gillette's touch seemed to bring some comfort for Norrington, who stopped moaning and calmed down.
"How are the repairs coming along?"
Groves rubbed his neck. He had lost his cravat, used it as a tourniquet on the boatswain's leg. It hadn't helped much; the man had bled to death like so many others, and now boatswain and cravat were in Davy Jones' locker. Groves didn't care - he'd join them soon, and for that journey, a cravat was not required.
"They do the best with the little they have," he replied. "We might get the biggest leak in control, but that would still leave us with the problem that we have no provisions, no water and no clue where we are."
"If only we could see the stars. I wonder what godforsaken part of the seven seas that blasted hurricane has left us in. My only comfort is that Sparrow will probably be in the same mess as we are, and-"
Gillette was interrupted by a knock on the door. Collins, the only surviving midshipman, stormed in without waiting for an answer.
"Sir! Sirs, I mean! There's a ship!" he gasped.
"A ship? Are you certain?"
"Yes, Lieutenant, Mr. Gillette, Sir! It's not a big one, and it looks odd, but it's a ship! Come, see for yourself!"
Gillette had his doubts; Collins was only thirteen and had the common sense of a gnat. But if there was a ship, there might be life.
"Mr. Groves, you will stay with the captain. Alert me if the situation should - change."
Gillette followed Collins, who had been shifting impatiently from one foot to the other and was now eager to show his commanding officer the strange ship he had discovered.
"What flag is she sailing under," Gillette asked while they headed for the deck, but Collins couldn't say much about that.
"I don't know, Sir. Never seen one like that, might be Spanish."
Great. Just what they needed, a Spanish ship. They only had one functional gun left, that wouldn't be enough to keep a battle ship at bay. Hell, it wouldn't even do to keep a fish cutter away!
On deck Gillette found the same ghastly scene he had left hours ago. Men with empty, hopeless faces. The muffled cries of the injured from the sick bay. Fortunately the dead had been disposed of, thrown overboard, sent off on their last way with only a short, murmured prayer. The deck was still covered in blood and gore, but at least he couldn't tell anymore if he was standing in the blood of Lt. Crawford or the intestines of Johnny the powder monkey.
Norrington had done what he had been ordered to do. Maybe giving Sparrow a day's head start had been noble, but it had also been the commodore's downfall. Like vultures old enemies and enviers had descended on him, had attacked the one thing Norrington cherished above all others: his honour. Removing that stain from his name had become an obsession, and on his slide, Norrington had taken them all with him.
"Darkness doom us if our deed faileth..."
Gillette shook his head.
"Nothing, Mr. Collins. The spy glass, please."
Collins handed him the tool. It was Norrington's, the only one left that hadn't been broken. It was therefore a good thing Gillette didn't drop it upon seeing the quickly approaching ship.
"Bloody hell," he muttered, and Collins paled.
"Sir? Are we in trouble? Is it a Spanish ship, Sir?"
For a brief moment Gillette was tempted to give order to get the one remaining gun ready for action. There was as small voice inside his head encouraging him to do it. That would be a farewell to this world worthy of him! Dying in battle rather than drowning like a rat!
He closed his eyes for a moment and concentrated on his own breathing. The voice died down, like so many times before. He couldn't be fooled, though; it was still there, would always be there, lurking like a spider in the net, only waiting for the appropriate moment to incite his quick temper.
Gillette put a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Calm down, Mr. Collins, and do not fear. We're not in danger. That is a swan ship."
Collins' eyes grew wide like saucers.
"Governor Swann, Sir? Here? Why, I had no idea he had his own ship!"
Gillette returned the spy glass to the midshipman. He didn't know whom he'd find on that other ship, but Governor Swann would definitely not be among them.
* * *
They launched a boat and came aboard the Dauntless without invitation. Three of them, all tall and lean, hair held back in braids and pigtails, yet there was nothing of common seamen about them. They were beautiful to look at, but no man aboard the Dauntless dared to look into their eyes, with exception of Gillette, who seemed to be completely unperturbed.
He stood on deck, hands clasped behind his back, imitating Norrington's posture. Groves was right beside him, and Collins, bless the lad's heart, was there too, willing to fight to the end should anybody try to attack the officers, be it with his dirk or with his bare hands.
"For God's love, Sir - who are they? I've never seen such folk," Groves whispered.
"The hurricane has carried us further than I thought, Mr. Groves."
"Are they friends or enemies?"
"We'll know in a moment. "
Groves looked once more at the ship that had come alongside the Dauntless. He blinked, blinded by the white sails and polished wood. There were no weapons as far as he could tell, and not a single stain to be seen anywhere. The ship looked as if it had just been launched - an elegant, playful thing, unsuitable for battle.
"It looks like a toy," he murmured.
"Don't be fooled - not a single ship in the whole fleet would be a match for any of those 'toys'. I wish we had some of those at our disposition; there wouldn't be a pirate left within a fortnight."
Groves didn't feel reassured in the least, and he was glad he hadn't lost his sword during the hurricane. It wasn't like Gillette at all to be so cryptic, and he had an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach.
Their visitors looked around. The one with the blond hair frowned upon seeing the sad remains of the main mast and shook his head.
"This thing does not even have a mast. What shipwrights do those people employ - drunk Hobbits?"
"I know I have married you for a reason, Glorfindel," the one with the dark hair replied. "Unfortunately I cannot remember which one it was. I have listened to your complaints for a week now, and I am beginning to get a tad bit impatient."
"I have to agree with Glorfindel that it is not very pleasing to the eye, but this ship might be very well suited to sail the waters beyond the curtain, Erestor. They are mortals, they cannot control the elements the way we can, so they have to sail on swimming strongholds. The sea is their enemy, not their friend."
"You are the shipwright, Círdan. I am only the advisor. The ship seems to be badly damaged."
"A battle, or a storm, maybe?"
Groves looked at the three visitors with a blank expression on his face. He didn't understand a word of their language, and began to wonder if he was experiencing some sort of hallucination.
"It has indeed been a storm," Gillette replied. "A storm and an unfortunate encounter with pirates."
Glorfindel tilted his head.
"Ah. So they exist in their world as well?"
Groves and Collins exchanged a confused look. Gillette seemed to speak the language of the strangers, and the two were dying to know what was discussed.
Erestor looked coldly at Gillette, then at the dried blood on the deck. He kicked a pistol out of his way and wrinkled his nose.
"With blood on your hands you left us, and with blood on your hands we find you again, Ambarussa. What has the reason for the slaying been this time?"
* * *
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|AMBARUSSA - 1/5
by Molly Joyful