|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.
Gillette narrowed his eyes.
"Kinslayings aboard the Dauntless only take place on Fridays during the Dog Watch. As today is Wednesday, you can be assured that the deaths which have unfortunately occurred here can be blamed entirely on the attack of pirates and a terrible storm. And if you cannot stand the sight of the blood, feel free to fetch a brush and a bucket!"
Erestor made a step forward, his hand clasping firmly the hilt of his sword.
"A more restraint attitude would certainly befit you, Amras!"
Glorfindel quickly stepped between Erestor and Gillette, who obviously wasn't one to mince matters.
"I have not invited you, and lived well without your company so far," Gillette snapped. "As soon as the repairs on the Dauntless are finished, we will return home. Feel free to do the same."
"Home? You call their world your home? Certainly you must be jesting!"
"I am not part of your world anymore."
"This is the best news I have heard all week," Erestor muttered, and turned on his heel to return to the swan ship. Glorfindel caught him by the sleeve and held him back.
"Erestor, this is not your decision to make."
"He wants to stay here and I respect his wish, Glorfindel. What do we care for humans, anyway? Let them stay where they are, and him along with them. Good riddance, I say!"
"Glorfindel? You carry the name of the famous Balrog-slayer?" Gillette asked.
"I am the famous Balrog-slayer. The Valar have returned me to life and Middle-earth, and now I am serving Lord Elrond in Imladris. Yes, I have been dead. No, I will not retell the story of my heroic fight. Yes, the Balrog had wings."
"Sir, what on earth is going on here?" Groves whispered in Gillette's ear. "Are we in danger?"
Gillette looked over his shoulder.
"Everything's fine, Mr. Groves. Give me a moment, and we'll have this sorted out."
Groves still felt uncomfortable, but he didn't ask further questions. He couldn't help but stare at the three visitors, who seemed to be the most beautiful creatures he had ever seen. Erestor noticed the admiring glances and smirked. Groves quickly lowered his gaze, heat rising in his cheeks.
"Glorfindel of Gondolin, who would have thought our paths would ever cross? And Elrond? I remember him. He was quiet and friendly, unlike his brother. I am glad to hear he lives."
"Nothing you could take credit for," Erestor riled, but Gillette ignored him.
"As much as I would like to chat about old times: I have a ship and a crew to look after. If you could supply us with some provisions and fresh water, we would return to the other world. We did not intend to enter your realm. It was the storm which brought us here."
Erestor opened his mouth to answer back, but when Glorfindel shook his head, he only shrugged.
Círdan looked around, frowning upon the sight of the broken mast and the large holes the gunshots of the Black Pearl had left in the deck of the Dauntless.
"I am Círdan the Shipwright, and I can tell that your ship is badly damaged, Telufinwë. And I can hear the cries of the wounded. Are you certain that water and provisions are the only help you need?"
Gillette thought of the men writhing in agony, and of Norrington's ashen face. The hostility he had felt towards the three Elves disappeared, and all that was left was weariness.
"Do you have healers with you?" he asked. "In their world, they don't know how to ease pain and heal wounds properly, and many men were injured during the battle."
"You are an Elf. Why do you not use your gifts?" Erestor asked in an accusatory tone.
Gillette looked down at his hands. Large, calloused hands, covered in bruises. The hands of a man, not an Elf.
"There is nothing left that I could use," he murmured. "Are you willing to help?"
"We would not let innocent men suffer," Glorfindel replied. "I have some knowledge in healing, and there are others aboard our ship who could help. Erestor has even learned from Lord Elrond himself, but I do not know if-"
Glorfindel broke off, and Gillette watched the exchange of glances between him and Erestor with suspicion. Unlike Glorfindel, who had the solemn bearing and elegance befitting an Elven lord, Erestor was aggressive and moody. While Glorfindel's eyes showed the wisdom of Ages, there was a flickering fire in Erestor's; looking at him made the hair on the back of Gillette's neck bristle.
"I suggest that I will go and assess at the situation," Glorfindel said. "Then we will know what is needed and can be done."
"Mr. Collins, please show Lord Glorfindel - that would be the blond gentleman - the way to the sick bay. Mr. Groves, inform Círdan the Shipwright here of the damages on the Dauntless. Don't let them fool you, they understand every word you say. Answer all their question and give them access to all parts of the ship. Erestor, will you please follow me?"
Glorfindel and Círdan arched their eyebrows, but didn't comment. Erestor reluctantly followed Gillette, who headed for Norrington's cabin.
"That would be Master Erestor to you, Ambarussa," he hissed.
"As long as you are on my ship and refuse to address me as 'Lieutenant' or 'Prince of the Noldor', you will be simply Erestor to me. What meaning do titles have, anyway? In their world, the lords are greedy villains and the princes half-witted fools. I am rather fond of the title of 'lieutenant', at least it is one I have earned."
"You might as well call yourself a murderer then, that one is well-earned, too!"
* * *
Glorfindel was at loss for words. He had known that the world the youngest of the two Ambarussa lived in was brutish and cruel, but what he found on the gun decks of the Dauntless surpassed his worst expectations.
"Iron and fire," he cried upon seeing the guns. "You fight with Orcish weapons?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Nothing, child. At least nothing one of your age should know anything about."
Collins was not amused. "With all due respect, Sir, but I'm not a child!"
Glorfindel rubbed his chin and tried to hide a smile.
"You are small, you are young and your voice is still the one of a girl. I regret that I have to inform you that, yes, indeed, you still are a child. A rather precocious one, if I may say."
"I don't have the voice of a girl, and I'm a midshipman!" Collins protested. "I'm an officer!"
"What does this title mean as you seem to be so proud of it?"
"It means - well, it means I can give orders, and I fight like everybody else," Collins explained with great pride.
"How old are you, young Collins?"
"Thirteen. Almost fourteen."
"Thirteen? And yet you go to war?"
Glorfindel's opinion of the world beyond the veil had never been high; but now he felt actual contempt.
"I suppose Amr- Mr. Gillette encourages you to fight?"
Collins shook his head in regret.
"Unfortunately not. On the first ship I've served, we were expected to be on the main deck during battle, as it would be proper for an officer, but Mr. Gillette and the captain always order me and the other midshipmen and the ship boys below deck when we engage in a fight. I wouldn't know of any other ship handling discipline like that; sometimes I worry if I'll even see an enemy before I've made it lieutenant!"
"Do you like Mr. Gillette?"
"Oh yes, very much, Sir! It's a great honour to serve under him. Finest officer I know, beside the captain, of course. He's very popular. We have hardly any floggings aboard the Dauntless, yet she's got the most disciplined crew in the fleet."
"Well, yes. Flogging. Punishments. Don't you know this?"
"I do know what flogging means. I am just not sure I want to know why there should be floggings aboard a ship!"
"That's what Mr. Gillette said as well. He said only Orcs have to use a whip to upkeep discipline."
"Yes. I don't know what an Orc is, but it must be someone nasty."
"Now that is very true. Has Mr. Gillette been involved in many battles?"
Collins frowned and thought about the question.
"I guess so, Sir. I know that he's often fought against pirates, because he's always been by Commodore Norrington's side, and he spends all his time chasing pirates. I wish he would teach me how to use the sword the way he does. It's so elegant, almost like a dance."
Glorfindel could well imagine; the combat skills of the twins were legendary, and they had left a path of death and destruction behind them. Like a dance, indeed!
"Valar - what is that?"
By now they had reached the sickbay. Some men were screaming, others had lost conscience, and some were dead. There was blood everywhere, and a terrible stench of rotting flesh lingered over the place.
Collins sighed deeply and looked with great sadness at the wounded men.
"The surgeon and the ship's doctor are both dead. There's nobody to treat the wounded. Mr. Groves and Mr. Gillette had to perform some amputations. Mind you, Mr. Gillette is not a surgeon, and it takes him more than forty seconds to saw a leg off, but he seems to be good at it, the men claim they feel no pain. Well, not while he does it, anyway."
So that was the reason why Amras had no strength left for healing; he had given all he had to ease the pain of the men here. At least one point in his favour. Glorfindel went from patient to patient, making mental notes on the number and severity of the injuries. Sometimes, he put his hand on the brow of a screaming man, who would immediately calm down and fall into a deep slumber.
"How are you doing this?" Collins asked, deeply impressed and fascinated by Glorfindel's abilities.
"It is a talent our people have," Glorfindel replied. "We hurt and we heal. Valar, this is a child!"
A boy was lying in a hammock, his hair matted with dried blood. He stared at Glorfindel and the midshipman.
"That's Sean, one of the ship's boys. Unlike me, he is still a child. He's only nine," Collins explained. "Do you think he'll make it?"
"I cannot tell, young Collins. Now, do me a favour and return to Mr. Gillette and Erestor, my friend with the long black hair. Tell them that all men have to be moved to our ship. This is a place of filth and death, no help can be given here. Will you do that?"
"Yes, Sir. I mean, my lord, Sir," Collins replied, and hurried to carry out his orders. Glorfindel returned his attention to the child in the hammock, who scrutinised him with great curiosity.
"Are you an Elf? You must be."
The boy's statement caught Glorfindel by surprise.
"Yes, indeed, I am an Elf. How can you tell?"
"There's a light about you, and then there's your ears. Where I come from, there are many Elves and Pixies and Fairies. And my head hurts."
Glorfindel put his hand on the boy's head and gently stroked the dirty hair. Sean calmed down and sighed.
"That's nice. My headache's almost gone. Can I tell you a secret?"
"Of course. I will not share it with anybody," Glorfindel promised.
"Mr. Gillette, the first lieutenant? He's an Elf as well. I know, I've seen what he really looks like when we fought the pirates. He was beautiful and had long red hair, and pointed ears, just like you! He didn't look at all like he usually does, you know? I told Mr. Henry, but he whacked me up the head and told me not to be stupid. But I wasn't bein' stupid. I saw it, with me own eyes!"
"You have the eyes of a child, Sean; you can see people how they really are."
Sean blinked. "But he's a good Elf, isn't he? I've seen an evil one once, at home. Me and the sister, we've lost our way, and there was a will-o'-the-wisp, tryin' to lure us into the bog. He was very beautiful, but I was scared and didn't follow him."
"Sometimes it is difficult to tell who is good and who is bad, young one. But you were wise not to follow his call. He was very likely not evil, just wanted to play a prank on you, and forgot what the consequences could be. Now come, we have to leave this place. Let me carry you, Sean. Just put your arm around my neck, do you think you can do that?"
The boy nodded, and Glorfindel lifted him out of the hammock. It was only then he noticed that one of the boy's legs had been amputated.
* * *
Erestor looked down at Norrington, wrinkling his long nose in disgust.
"An ugly, stinking, hairy creature with rotten teeth, just like the rest of them. How can you bear them near you?"
"He has an angry wound on his shoulder, that is what causes the stench."
"How about washing him then, Ambarussa?"
"Brilliant suggestion. If we had any water left, I would have considered it. Could we postpone the mutual insults? He needs your help."
Erestor sat on a chair next to Norrington's cot, pushed the dirty shirt aside and examined the wound, very careful to touch the man as little as possible.
"It would be a waste to even try."
"I do not think so," Gillette replied, and Erestor froze when he felt the point of a dagger at his throat. He smiled, showing two rows of sharp, white teeth.
"So I have been right and Glorfindel has been wrong; you have not redeemed yourself. A murderer you have been, a murderer you will stay."
"I might have been away from your world for a very long time, Erestor, but I can still tell an Elf from a Fairy. Will-o'-the-Wisp they call you in their world. I know of your people and their hatred for humans, how you lead them astray and to certain death with your fair faces and fake lights when they lose their way at night. So you are hardly in the position to talk about redemption and murder!"
Erestor swallowed hard, yet very carefully, so not to cut his skin on the dagger.
"My people have changed their ways ages ago. We have left the bogs, and leave the humans well alone. I admit it would be amusing to play some prank on them at times, primitive brutes that they are. But I have never leaded anybody astray. I am an Elf of honour; would Lord Elrond have made me his chief advisor if that was not the case?"
"Elrond found recommendable traits even in my brothers Maedhros and Maglor, so you will forgive me for having some doubts in his judgement."
Erestor gave Gillette a beguiling look and a smile so sweet that it could have melted the heart of a cave troll. It had no effect on Gillette, though, who didn't move the dagger.
"Save your charms for the Balrog-slayer, Erestor. I will not fall under your spell and trust you. Hate mankind all you want, but now you will help my captain. There is so much blood on my hands already, I would not hesitate a second to cut your throat if you should cause him any harm. Take that into account."
Gillette put the dagger back in its sheath, and Erestor gave Gillette a sidewise glance.
"You seem to hold great love for humans and their ways. There is no need to cut my throat, I will do my best to help him. However," Erestor added, and for a brief moment there was the glance of a fire in his dark eyes, "a man should always know his way. It is so easy to get lost at night."
There was a knock on the door, and Collins entered, one of Círdan's assistants in tow.
"Mr. Gillette, Sir, they say we have to bring all men on their ship!"
"Your ship is badly damaged," the Elf behind him explained. "And Lord Glorfindel insists that the wounded cannot be treated on this wreck."
"Very well then, do as Glorfindel and Círdan have ordered. That is, of course, unless our fair prince here has objections."
"The fair prince has none," Gillette replied.
"Have this man here brought to our ship," Erestor ordered. Two Elves wanted to help, but Gillette did not allow them to touch Norrington.
"No. I will carry him."
Gillette wrapped Norrington in a blanket, careful to cover him completely.
"Why such trouble?" Erestor asked. "It is a warm day, he does not need a blanket."
"I do not wish him to be seen by his men in such a state, injured and naked."
"Have things your way, but there is no shame in nakedness or injury."
"Not in your world, Erestor. But in his."
Under normal circumstances it would have taken two strong men to carry Norrington, for he was a tall man, but Gillette picked him up as if he was a doll. He carried the captain out of the cabin, then he noticed the man's naked feet. He hated that he couldn't cover them; somehow it made Norrington look vulnerable, and this was certainly not what his captain would have wanted.
Groves saw Gillette's frown and quickly took off his coat and put it over Norrington's legs, covering his feet.
"Thank you, Mr. Groves. We abandon the ship, make sure all men leave."
* * *
Author's notes: a Balrog is a very large, very dangerous and very ugly demon. Glorfindel died fighting one, and some Tolkien-experts find great pleasure in discussing the "Balrogs: are they winged or not?"-question. Also, there's LOTR fanon that poor Glorfindel has to retell his glorious fight over and over again to the admiring masses.
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|AMBARUSSA - 2/5
by Molly Joyful