Genre: slash, angst
Other characters: Lord Cutler Beckett, Lt. Groves
Warnings: this might contain a spoiler for AWE, depending on your point of view. I think it's a logical conclusion of DMC, but just in case...
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Summary: Lt. Gillette is nobody's jumping-jack.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said: no."
"So you did say what I thought you said. Mr. Gillette, are you aware what great chance you're turning down?"
"The chance to wear a hideous uniform which would make me look like a git."
Groves, who stood next to Cutler Beckett and wore the much-maligned uniform, looked rather uncomfortable. Certainly Thomas understood that he hadn't made this choice out of love for the East India Trading Company, but out of loyalty to James Norrington?
"You are an intelligent man, Mr. Gillette, otherwise you'd never made it lieutenant. Then again, looking at some of the officers in the Royal Navy, I wonder if the ability to think is really a prerequisite for a promotion. But I digress. You could be captain, command your own ship and serve under Admiral Norrington."
Cutler Beckett gestured in the direction of the man who stood by the window and watched the hustle and bustle on the street. He didn't seem to be interested in the conversation, but Cutler Beckett had no doubt that he had listened intently to every word that had been spoken.
"A generous offer, my lord, but I'm already serving under Captain Norrington. I can't serve two masters."
"You're a man of settled habits, I see."
Gillette looked down his long nose at Lord Cutler Beckett, not even trying to hide his contempt.
Cutler Beckett frowned.
"Very well then, have things your way. Mr. Groves here will make an excellent first lieutenant."
"There's no doubt about it."
Groves looked down at his boots, avoiding Gillette's glare. His boots. Bloody hell.
"May I leave now?"
"Yes, yes, do leave, please! Return to your ship and do one of those naval things you seem to be so fond of. I would advise to stay out of the line of fire, Mr. Gillette. You may not count on my protection anymore. Or on the one of my admiral."
Gillette added the last sentence to the long list of reasons why he'd run his sword through Lord Cutler Beckett one fine day.
The lord leaned back in his seat and smiled.
"Dismiss! Ah, I always wanted to say that. I like the sound of it."
Gillette clenched his jaw and left, not giving Groves or the man by the window a single glance. After his departure, there were a few moments of uncomfortable silence, then Cutler Beckett chuckled.
"That was the last one of your band of brothers, my dear Admiral. It sure looks to me like you have overestimated Mr. Gillette's loyalty. How sad, such a splendid young man. And the boots would have suited him, don't you agree?"
Norrington watched Gillette leaving the house. He halted by the gate and turned around, looking up to the window, knowing very well that his captain would still be standing there. Norrington could see the worry on his face and smiled at him lovingly. Gillette looked very relieved, and returned the smile in the certain knowledge that Norrington would never be Beckett's admiral, but always his captain.
"My best unbeaten brother," Norrington murmured.
"I beg your pardon?"
Norrington turned around.
"Nothing you would understand, my lord. It's a naval thing, you see."
* * *
Author's notes: "My best unbeaten brother" is a line from a fantastic Johnny Cash song. I've made a video to go with this fic, so in case you're bored: this way, please.
by Molly Joyful