|Overall rating: R
Genre: slash, drama - Pirates of the Caribbean
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Gillette/OMC, hint of Elizabeth/Will
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Beta by: the formidable Eveiya
Summary: Captain Benham has been ordered to Port Royal to sort out the mess Lord Cutler Beckett has left behind. He's confronted with a web of lies, secrets and a lieutenant who refuses to accept that his captain is dead.
Author's note: While this story is a stand-alone, it can be read as a sequel to "UNSOILED".
"Word has it a warrant of arrest has been issued for me. That must be a misunderstanding. Of course I expected a court martial after losing the Dauntless, that would be standard procedure. But a warrant of arrest? I have sent out letters to Governor Swann and some friends in Britain. In the meantime, I'll stay here in Tortuga. I have thought of T.G. many times these last days. While I regret his death, he would have probably preferred that fate to being drummed out of the navy. I'm glad that I won't have to bring his case to the attention of the Admiralty. - J.S.N."
It was an odd feeling sitting in James' armchair while drinking his wine and reading his journal. Captain Benham had no qualms about reading James' private thoughts; after all, his old friend was dead. But he still felt like an intruder in James Norrington's former house, he knew he wasn't welcome. That was not only true for the house, but certainly also for Mr. Gillette, who had been very thorough in his removal of James' personal belongings - even the chamber pot was missing.
"I suppose I should be grateful that he left me the armchair," Benham muttered. Henry VIII. and Richard III., his two bulldogs, blinked, yawned and resumed their naps. Their master gave them a glare. "Thank you for your interest in my investigations, gentlemen. Considering the state of this place, I'm very tempted to have you replaced by two cats; at least they'd take care of the rats. And they wouldn't fart half as much as you do."
Benham tapped his fingers on the armrest and tried to make sense of James' entry. T.G., he assumed, was Thomas Gillette. But why did James think that his second in command would have been drummed out of the navy? What for? He had always praised Gillette as a highly capable officer, an honourable man who took his duties very seriously and was loyal to King and Country. Benham hoped that Mr. Wallace would find the elusive Mr. Gillette soon; there were many questions that he wished to have answered.
So James had sent out letters to his friends, seeking for help. Benham had never received one, nor had his father. God knew that he would have done everything in his power to help. He had been at sea for almost a year; it was possible that James had asked him for help, but that his letter had gone astray.
"Three months, yet not one reply. Have all my letters got lost? Or has everybody turned their backs on me? Lt. G. sent a note from Port Royal that I should stay in hiding, but my funds are running out. Tortuga is filthy, populated with murderers and whores. Not a single man of honour to be found here. I have to find another hiding place. - J.S.N."
Lt. G.? Gillette? No, that couldn't be, so there had been at least one officer who knew that James was alive and kept in touch with him. But how odd that James hadn't received any replies! Of course there were always cowards who would rather not get involved in such cases, but Benham couldn't imagine that men like Admiral Copperstone or Captain Fields, like himself old friends of James Norrington, would have ignored his cry for help.
"Learned from Lt. G. that Wby., W. and E. have been arrested. How is such a thing possible? Has the world gone mad? W. and E. escaped. I pray for all of them. Have no funds left, started working for the inn-keeper now. No money, but food and rum are free. Found place to stay in the stable. I find the company of the horses preferable to that of the filth living here. - J.S.N. - PS: T.G. is alive. I'm glad to hear he survived, yet there's no place for one like him in the navy. Might suggest to him to leave so he can keep his honour. God knows that compared to the men in Tortuga he's a gentleman. - J.S.N."
Benham's head ached with tiredness, but he couldn't stop reading. He had hoped to find answers in James' journal, but so far, all he had come across were more questions. The tone of the entries became increasingly desperate. James' usually so neat penmanship became shaky, was at times completely unreadable; a month's worth of entries Benham couldn't read at all. There was page after page filled with nothing but doodles, triangles and drawings of eyes. Some pages had been torn out.
It was obvious James had been in a state of complete drunkenness when he had written them. Benham knew from experience that James became irritated and aggressive when truly drunk, that's why he always enjoyed spirits with measure. Benham shuddered at the thought of what James might have experienced and done while he was drunk as hell in a place like Tortuga. One entry seemed to confirm his worst fears.
"First lice, now scabies. What would you make of this if you knew, T.G.? Still no word from home. I'm on my own now. - J.S.N."
Benham leafed through the journal until he found another entry that he could decipher, though with great difficulty.
"Was visited by Mr. M. of the EITC. Have never heard of C.B. before, and I had many dealings with the EITC. Lt. G. has petitioned him, and he's willing to support my case if I am willing to support the EITC's fight against piracy. God bless him. - J.S.N."
God bless Lord Cutler Beckett?
"That miserable, sneaky, cunning, calculating, pig-snouted gnome!"
Benham jumped up and began to pace up and down in front of the fireplace, forcing the dogs to move aside.
"God bless Lord Cutler Beckett! Cutler Beckett! I can't believe it!"
He opened the door to the corridor and yelled for his secretary.
"Mr. Jeremy! Mr. Jeremy! In my office! Now!"
Ten minutes later a bleary-eyed and dishevelled looking midshipman stood in Benham's office. God knew he worshipped the ground his captain walked on, but did the man never sleep?
"My apologies for disturbing your sleep, Mr. Jeremy, but this matter can suffer no delay. I need a list of all lieutenants who served here in Port Royal during the last two years and whose surnames start with "G". And I need that list first thing in the morning."
"And please tell Mr. Wallace that I want to talk to Mr. Gillette by tomorrow evening latest, or I'll go and look for him myself."
"No, Sir! I mean, yes, Sir!"
"Good. Dismissed and good night."
Mr. Jeremy wished Benham a good night and returned to his room, secretly cursing every lieutenant in His Majesty's Navy, but most of all Thomas Gillette.
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|BLACKBERRY - 2/15
by Molly Joyful