Overall rating: PG-13 to mild R (depending on chapter)
Genre: slash, hint of het, drama, romance, adventure
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Norrington/Elizabeth, Norrington/Gillette (heh! and then there's... eh. Wait and see. ;-)
Series: sequel to
Warnings: a wee bit of angst, h/c
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's notes: "Cross And Pile" takes place five years after the events in "Lost And Found".

"Then, after an hour, they went to a bow'r,
And play'd for ale and cakes;
And kisses too, - until they were due
The lasses held the stakes.
The girls did then begin
To quarrel with the men,
And bade them take their kisses back, and give them their own again."

- Soame Jenys, 1729

Governor Wilkins had obviously never learned that brevity was the soul of wit. He was supposed to brief Norrington and the officers on the problems at hand, and he did so by using a lot of words. Too many for Norrington's taste; his patience was running thin after an hour of the Governor's ranting and complaining.

"... outrageous..."

Dear Weatherby had kept meetings short and to the point; what a pity that Norrington's father-in-law was not governor anymore.

"... and as I've said again and again..."

Norrington pretended that he was listening intently to the Governor's word flood, but in truth he was looking at the large map on the wall of his office. It wasn't the same as the one Lord Cutler Beckett had put up almost thirty years ago. There were no white spots left, the world had been split up among the major players in the game for fortune and riches. "Terra Incognita" was no more, and Norrington felt outdated like wigs and pigtails.

"... three lost frigates..."

Norrington decided that he had given Governor Wilkins enough time to make his point. Judging from the faces of the assembled officers, their patience had been stretched to the limit as well.

"I understand," Norrington said, interrupting Wilkins mid-sentence. "And the government understands as well, otherwise we wouldn't be here. Somebody is capturing our ships, and we'll find out who it is. At the moment it looks like our French friends are involved. I have no idea if that is true, and even less of a clue how that could be done, considering that we've destroyed most of their fleet. But I don't want to rule out the possibility."

"It must be the French!" Wilkins insisted, and wiped the sweat off his forehead. He looked sickly and thin; Norrington suspected he might have caught March fever.

"Who else would do such a thing?" Gillette asked.

"Well, there is Spain. Then we shouldn't forget our former brothers in America who have shown amazing creativity in the field of annoying Britain. There are still some pirates left, and-"

"Pirates? Now please, Admiral, with all due respect - their days are over."

"Of course. I'd just like to point out that-"

Norrington was interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Come in if you must," he said, and one of the marines on guard entered.

"Excuse me, Sir, but there are a captain and a lieutenant to see you, Admiral Norrington. They say they've just arrived."

Norrington's face lit up.

"Ah! So the
Bilberry's already here then? Excellent news! Please send them in!"

However, it was not Jamie who entered the office, but a lieutenant Norrington had never seen before, accompanied by the much-disliked Captain Edison.

"Admiral Norrington! What a pleasure!"

"I'm glad to see you've had a safe journey," Norrington stiffly replied.

"Indeed! And what a pleasant one as well, considering the company," Edison said, a wide smile on his face. Norrington had no idea why the man grinned like an idiot. Having a sulking Jamie aboard for weeks could possibly not have been that enjoyable.

"This is my first lieutenant, Mr. Robert Kyle," Edison introduced the officer who stood behind him. "Excellent man. Your son and your wife are rather fond of him."

"My - wife?"

Norrington stared at Edison, then at Kyle. The officers pricked up their ears, hoping for some interesting gossip.

"Your son accompanied her to your house, that's why he's not here. He probably didn't want a lady to be alone in a place like this," Edison babbled on. "Good grief, what an ugly little town - and so dirty! Disgusting, really."

"Eh. Yes. My wife is at my house now, you say?"


Norrington rose stiffly from his chair, and the officers followed suit.

"Governor Wilkins - gentlemen - I suggest that we continue this highly interesting conversation tomorrow. I can possibly not leave my poor, helpless little wife alone in the wilderness of Port Royal."

There was some chuckling and snickering, and Gillette bit his tongue so not to laugh out loud. Elizabeth Norrington was anything but poor or helpless; the fact that she had come here without Norrington knowing was proof of that.

It was her right to be here, after all she was Norrington's wife, but still, Gillette couldn't help feeling a pang of disappointment. Once again, he would have to share his lover.

* * *

"Elizabeth! Now that's what I call a surprise!"


She ran across the entrance hall and into his arms. Norrington saw Jamie standing next to a table, leaning against the door to the drawing room, arms crossed over his chest and frowning.

"I hope you're not upset with me, but I just couldn't stay at home!"

Norrington laughed and kissed her.

"How could I possibly be upset with you for being here? I should have known, we're married long enough."

She looked good, blushing with excitement and her eyes shining. A look in the mirror showed Norrington that the same couldn't be said of him. Was that really him, that tired old man with the greying hair? Mirrors should be banned.

"You're the best of all husbands," Elizabeth declared, and kissed him on the cheek. "Now tell me, how are you? You look a little tired, love. And Port Royal - have things changed much since we've left?"

"I am tired; the situation here is rather complicated, but I'll tell you more about that later. Port Royal hasn't changed all that much; Turner's smithy is still there, though Mr. Brown has relocated to the local cemetery, so I've been told."

"Poor Mr. Brown! Jamie, did you hear that? The smithy is still there! I'll show you around Port Royal one of these days if your father doesn't mind."

"Good to see you again, son," Norrington said stiffly. "I trust you are well?"

Jamie's bearing didn't encourage a more open approach. He frowned at his father and shrugged.

"As well as one can be after serving under an idiot of a captain for a couple of weeks," he grumbled.

"Jamie, that's going too far!" Elizabeth said sternly. "Show your father some respect."

Norrington knew that he should have reprimanded Jamie for his impertinence, but he felt too tired to argue with his son.

"I see that you've decided to spend your time in Port Royal sulking and moping. Very well then. I didn't expect you to arrive so early, but your room will be prepared soon. We can continue our argument during supper."

"Too kind of you, father, but I prefer to stay with my men at the fortress."

"As you wish. Sleep under a bridge if it pleases you, Jamie."

Jamie had prepared, actually hoped for a confrontation with his father; Norrington's resignation took him by surprise.

"Well - I'll go then," he snapped, and took his hat from the table.

"Do that."

Elizabeth looked from her son to her husband. Should she try to mediate between the two? Or let things take their course? In the end she decided that this was an issue the two men would have to deal out among themselves.

Jamie bowed formally in direction of his parents.

"I wish you a good evening. Mother - father..."

With that he left, exposing his mother to the great temptation of kicking his backside while he passed by.

"I'm so sorry, James. I have no idea what's wrong with the boy, he's been like that all through the journey."

"I guess I better prepare for six months of sulking."

Elizabeth gently stroked his face.

"If he doesn't behave, we can still throw him overboard; I'm quite certain Gillette wouldn't mind giving us a hand. Ah, James, it's so good to be with you again. And this place still looks the same! The stairs - remember? You've carried me up there on our wedding day! What a foolish but very romantic thing to do!"

Norrington chuckled.

"Oh yes, I remember! You've had far too much wine and insisted on sleeping in the entrance hall as there were three stairs, all of them moving, and you feared you could fall and break your neck!"

"I wasn't drunk in the least. I just wanted to see how you'd react."

"Ah, so I've been tested! Did I pass?"

"Of course you did! Jamie was born nine months later, after all."

She grinned, and Norrington quickly looked over his shoulder to see if any of the servants had heard that most unsuitable remark.

"Elizabeth, now please! Would you want me to carry you up the stairs again?"

"Oh James - would you do that? What a wonderful idea!"

"Certainly, my dear."

She was touched. He always seemed to be so stern and earnest, but she knew that deep inside, he was even more romantic than her. He made her presents, gave her flowers and, on some very special occasions, had even written poems for her. Terrible poems which would have made those not knowing him cringe, but to her, they were little treasures.

Nothing could have made her happier than being carried up the stairs like the young bride she had been all those years ago, but she also knew that there was no way in hell James Norrington could manage that. From the looks of him, she worried if he'd even be able to walk up the stairs alone.

"See, that's one of the many reasons why I love you, James. But I fear I've hurt my back on the journey. It might not be a good idea to carry me around. Maybe some other day?"

Norrington pressed a kiss in her hair, which smelled of tar. He had always failed to see why women were described in books as smelling of roses and daisies. Elizabeth smelled like herself and like the sea, which was all he needed and wanted.

"You're the best of all wives, Elizabeth. One day I will carry you up those stairs again."

"If not, I will carry
you, darling," she replied cheerfully. "Now let's go upstairs and celebrate my arrival. After weeks around Edison, that spit-licking bastard-son of a warthog, I need a real man, preferably naked!"

* * *

Tom had been serving as a midshipman during the blockade of Brest, had been to Cadiz and later fought in the battle of Trafalgar. Those were the seas he knew like the back of his hand, but the Caribbean? A completely different kettle of fish. Listening to the stories his father told was one thing, but actually being here in Port Royal quite another. They had been briefed, and so he knew they would be looking for French ships. Or Spanish ones. Or ships of unknown origin. Someone had even mentioned pirates, but that seemed too far-fetched. Hadn't Admiral Norrington freed the Caribbean of that plague years ago?

Tom took his duties very serious, so he sat in a small office, hunched over a pile of maps, and studied them carefully. Admiral Norrington had been kind enough to allow him searching the library for maps and books that might be useful.

He liked Port Royal. People were friendly, and there were so many fascinating things to discover. He had strolled through the local market, a dizzying chaos of colours, smells and voices. There were fruits and vegetables on sale he had never heard of, and it seemed to him that the sky couldn't be any bluer than here in the West Indies.

The only hair in the soup was Jamie. Tom had hoped that it would be possible to just work together, but while Lt. Kyle managed to approach him in a professional way and pretended that the embarrassing incident had never happened, Jamie was unbearable. He seemed to have entered a state of permanent sulking, interrupted only by short phases of snappiness. Tom tried to avoid him whenever possible, but being briefed in Jamie's presence was an ordeal.

If it hadn't been for Jamie, Tom would have been happy in Port Royal. The heat was terrible, of course, and there was no escape from the sun, but unlike his father's, Tom's skin tanned rather nicely, which made an odd contrast to his red hair. Not that it really mattered; with that dead eye of his, he had a mug only a mother could love, and he had no mother.

Tom returned his attention to a map of Tortuga when he was interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Come in!" he said, without looking up.

"Good morning. So you are the one who hoarded all the maps?"

Tom startled, then slowly turned around.

"So it seems. Is there one you need, Lt. Kyle?"

"Yes, I would need a map of the northwest coast."

Tom began to look through the pile in front of him, then he pulled out a map and handed it to Lt. Kyle.

"Here, please."

"Wonderful, thank you."

There was a moment of awkward silence, then Lt. Kyle cleared his throat.

"I'm actually rather glad to find you alone. I want to -  I wish to apologise."

"I wouldn't know what for."

"Oh, you do."

Instead of doing the decent thing and get himself out of the office, Kyle pulled the second chair next to Tom and sat down.

"I have to apologise. It was unforgivable what I did; I should have never approached you in such a manner while you were drunk."

Tom stared at the map in front of him.

"You should have never approached me in such a manner in the first place, Mr. Kyle. May I remind you that we have both violated an Article Of War, and that it's only due to incredible luck and Lt. Norrington that we didn't have to face a court martial?"

"You call that 'incredibly luck'?" Kyle asked, pointing at Tom's eye.

"This is not up to you to decide. I consider the discussion ended, please do not bring this matter up again. Any further word would be an insult."

Kyle sighed.

"Please hear me out before you show me the door, will you? I apologise for approaching you while you were drunk; but I will not apologise for approaching you in the first place. You're a man of honour, you're good company, I admire your wits and find you very attractive. If you call that insulting, then so be it."

Tom gave the lieutenant a suspicious sidewise glance.

"Why are you saying those things? What do you want?"

"I will be honest with you, Tom. My wife's a wonderful woman, and we have two beautiful children. Of the ten years we're married, I've spent less than two with my family. That's not much, and while it might be fine for people like Admiral Norrington or Captain Edison, it is not enough for me. I don't enjoy being lonely. We'll be here for at least six months, Tom. We could spend those six months as good friends."

Tom just stared at Kyle, trying to process what he had just been suggested.

"How dare you make such a suggestion? You, a married man? Don't you think of your wife?"

"My wife has nothing to do with this. Nor has the wife of any sailor who ever sought out distraction and company in a harbour. This is the nature of things, Tom. I'm sincerely fond of you. I wish to spend time with you and get to know you better. And I'd really, really like to kiss you again."

"Are you insane?"

The lieutenant realised that he might have been a little too forward, but he was convinced that he had assessed Tom correctly. He reached out and ran his fingers through Tom's hair. It was a light touch, the young man could have moved away at any time, but he didn't.

"Port Royal is full of beautiful girls, Tom. If you're so inclined, find yourself one and enjoy her company. I would be honoured if you'd enjoy mine as well, though."

The wheels in Tom's head were turning. Whatever he did now couldn't be blamed on the rum later on. There would be no excuses. If he agreed to this, it would be out of his own free will, and he would have to carry the consequences. If found out, those consequences would be worse than the loss of an eye, and Tom was well aware of it.

He reached in the pocket of his coat.

"You have been to the West Indies before, haven't you?"

"Indeed. I've stayed in Montego Bay for a year," Kyle replied, slightly confused by the question.

"Then you can certainly tell me what this is? I bought it on the market this morning."

Tom showed Kyle a yellow, oddly shaped fruit. The lieutenant smiled and let go of Tom, taking the fruit in his hand.

"Five Fingers. That's what we call them. This one is yellow, so it's ripe. Tastes very good - fresh and sour, just the thing you'd want if the sun means business and tries to burn your brains out. Wait a second..."

He pulled his penknife out of his pocket and cut the fruit in half.

"See? If you cut it, it looks like a star. That's why some call it star fruit, but 'Five Fingers' fits better. You'll need five fingers to it eat it without making a mess."

He offered Tom the fruit, and the young man took a bite. At first he pulled a face; the skin of the fruit tasted and felt like wax, but then he smiled.

"I like that. Keep the other half."

While he took another bite and watched Kyle chewing on the fruit, Tom considered his situation. Was he lonely? Of course he was. These last years, it had been Jamie he had shared everything with. He had been his friend, his companion, his confidant. But Jamie was gone. What joy could there be in the discovery of a strange new fruit if there was nobody to share it with?

Tom waited till Kyle had swallowed the last bite of the fruit, then he kissed him. He tried to remember how it had been kissing him on the night he had lost his eye, but he couldn't quite remember. Did it matter? The earth didn't shake, the sky didn't fall down, but he liked the warm, tingling feeling that spread all over his body.

To hell with Jamie Norrington. He didn't need him. He wouldn't waste his time anymore daydreaming over somebody he could never have. It had been nice wondering what it would be like to touch Jamie, and being touched in return, but Robert Kyle's fingers were real, and they were busy unbuttoning Tom's breeches.

* * *

"And here is the place where your father proposed to me!" Elizabeth declared, beaming at her son and opening her arms wide, as if she wanted to embrace the memory.

"How romantic - next to ruins and on the edge of a cliff. I suppose you blushed and breathed 'I will'?"

Elizabeth laughed.

"Oh no! I fainted because the corset was laced too tightly and I fell over the cliff. Your father wanted to jump after me, but needless to say, Thomas Gillette held him back."

"You did - what?" Jamie asked in disbelief. He made a step forward, carefully not to get too close to the edge, and upon seeing the sharp rocks down, down below, he paled.

"It's a miracle you survived!"

"Truth be told, I had a bit of help," she said, an odd, mischievous smile on her face. "I've longed for many years to see this place again, Jamie. See those trees? That's where we celebrated our wedding, and it was also here that I told him you were on the way."

Jamie rolled his eyes.

"He must have been overwhelmed with joy," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "Let me guess: 'Good grief, Elizabeth, how exciting! Do you want me to get you another cup of tea?'"

"Now listen, young man, while I have to compliment you on your comedic talent, I can't tolerate your behaviour towards your father any longer. I'm beginning to wonder if his theory regarding corporal punishment has been wrong all along and if we'd been better off if we'd given you a bit of a spanking once in a while!"

Jamie folded his arms over his chest.

"He doesn't care, mother. He didn't care for me back then, and he doesn't care for me now. He dragged me aboard his ship when I was twelve; and it was certainly not thanks to him that I returned from Trafalgar alive. I know I'm not the son he hoped to have, but trust me, he's not my idea of an ideal father either."

Elizabeth turned away, looking out on the sea.

"What do you know, Jamie? What do you know. When you were born, I've been terrified. Oh, you men think having a baby is the fulfilment of every woman's life, but trust me, that was not the case with me. The only babies I've ever seen were cutely dressed, beautiful little things, sleeping peacefully in their cots. I had no idea of the pain I'd have to endure to bring you in this world, and when they handed you to me, I cried. That should be my son? This shrivelled, mewling red thing, covered in blood?"

"Mother, I - "

"Shut up and listen, Jamie. I had no idea what babies look like when they are born. I was afraid of you! And you father - ah. He told me not to worry, that all would be fine, and then he went to your cot and lifted you up, carrying you around. You were so tiny in his hands! He showed you the house and the garden, his uniform, introduced you to your grandfather and his brother, the dogs and even the cat sleeping on the front porch. And he told you that you were the most beautiful and wonderful child that had ever been born. My father laughed and told him it was pointless to talk to a baby like one would talk to an adult, but your father insisted you'd understand."

"I can't remember that," Jamie murmured.

"Of course you can't, silly. You were two days old! Two days later, your father was deployed to Sicily, and when he returned, you could already walk. He loves you so much, Jamie, and he missed out on so many things. You grew up, and he wasn't there. Can you really blame him for wanting to have you around? He didn't take you as a midshipman aboard his ship because he wanted you to become a famous naval hero, Jamie - he did it so he could see you. Otherwise he'd done what every other officer would have done and sent you to serve under the command of a befriended captain."

Elizabeth sat down on a large stone, stretching her legs and blinking into the afternoon sun.

"Talk to him, Jamie. He's not as healthy as he wants us to believe. You never know - Jamie, nothing is worse than missing the right moment to tell someone that you love him. I know that. I don't want you to experience this as well. I know you disagree on many things, and you are a spoiled brat, all in all, but Jamie - of the three things your father loves most, you are the one he'd chose above all others. Always keep that in mind."

Jamie had listened with increasing confusion and a feeling of guilt. He put his hand on his mother's shoulder, looking at her beautiful face.

"You really think he would choose me over you and the sea?" he asked.

Elizabeth looked up.

"The sea? Why - ah. Yes. Of course, Jamie. He would."

* * *

Jamie was in a bad temper when he made his way to the tavern. The weather matched his mood; for days they had been plagued by torrential rains and gales, which had turned the streets of Port Royal into mud. He hated the squishing sound under his feet. He also hated the mud, Port Royal, his father, the world in general and, most of all, Thomas Gillette the younger.

Not only did the bugger - hah! Just the word! - avoid him whenever possible. No, he ignored him. Tom didn't even give him a glance, and this infuriated Jamie beyond words. At least he could have said something! 'I'm sorry for bringing you into such a situation,' for example. Then Jamie could have said 'ah, that's fine, I'm sorry I punched out your eye'. They would have drunk an ale or five and had been friends again.

Unfortunately, Tom didn't seem to have the slightest wish to eat humble pie, and it didn't look like he was suffering from loneliness, either. Jamie had seen him four times heading for the tavern with that bloody Robert Kyle, who he now added to his personal 'most hated' list. Once he had even seen them on the market, buying fruits. What the hell did they need fruits for?

Serving under Kyle had become torture for Jamie. If he had only found a fault in the man's work, or if he had treated Jamie unfairly! But he was the paradigm of a lieutenant, strict yet fair with his men and of a seemingly endless patience. By all accounts, Jamie should have admired him, but instead he had to resist the temptation of strangling him.

Not that Jamie would have lacked company. The young gentlemen and especially the young ladies of Port Royal's respectable society had welcomed Admiral Norrington's son with open arms. Emily, Governor Wilkins' eldest daughter, had taken immediately a shine to him. He was ever so courteous with her, but that that didn't keep him from flirting with her chambermaid, the daughter of the Governor's doctor or the wife of the apothecary.

Jamie didn't find any pleasure in it, though. Neither in his romantic pursuits nor in gambling or soirees. The young people were fair and entertaining, but there wasn't one among them whom he could have called a friend. How he missed Tom and their discussions! As much as he had often rolled his eyes over Tom's enthusiasm for the oddest things - he missed now hearing him talk with shiny eyes about an oddly shaped stone, an interesting book or a fruit. His new 'friends' were all shallow, pointless banter, and the harder Jamie tried to find joy in it, the more miserable he became.

So for tonight, he had set his mind on going to the tavern, finding a nice girl and getting drunk. Not too drunk to enjoy the company of the young lady, but drunk enough to numb his pain. Rum or ale, blonde or dark-haired, he didn't care.

Upon entering the tavern, he found to his great annoyance Tom sitting in the corner, for once in the company of a pretty girl. That should have improved Jamie's mood, yet he found this to be a very reprehensible situation. Tom hadn't seen him, and Jamie chose a table which allowed him to remain hidden while still being able to watch the goings-on. He ordered the first ale, then the second, and within the hour, Jamie was rather drunk.

From time to time, he could hear Tom's laughter, interrupted by the girl's giggle. Why the hell did that wench have to giggle? Certainly Tom's words couldn't be that funny? But then Tom could be very charming when he set his heart on it. Oh yes, Jamie had witnessed this a couple of times. A joke here, a witty word there, accompanied by a quick, intriguing smile. The girls liked that. Jamie liked it as well - not in the same way, of course, but still, when Tom smiled, even the darkest room seemed to be much brighter all of a sudden.

Empty tankards began to collect on Jamie's table. He stared at Tom and his companion with increasing irritation. Now what was that? Had Tom just touched her hand? He had! Outrageous behaviour for an officer, especially in public! Jamie scowled at the couple and ordered another ale. The innkeeper gave him a suspicious glance, but Jamie didn't notice. Now Tom even put an arm around the girl's shoulder! He would report that tomorrow, absolutely! Indecent behaviour of a lieutenant in public. There was an Article Of War regarding that, Jamie was sure. There were Articles Of War regarding everything, even the officially approved way to wipe one's arse, as his mother used to say.

Now Tom and the girl stood up. They were leaving? Where to? Jamie had to know. He waited until the door had closed behind them, then threw a couple of coins on the table and followed them. Outside it was raining cats and dogs, which was a good thing, as it made it easier for Jamie to follow the couple unnoticed. He pressed to the walls of the houses along the muddy street and hid in the shadows, but such precaution would not have been necessary; neither Tom nor the girl seemed to care for anything but each other.

Suddenly they disappeared. It took Jamie, who was three sheets to the wind a while to realise that the two must have turned into the next dark alleyway. Jamie almost ran into them when he followed suit, because they had halted and were now kissing, shielded from the rain by the large shop sign of the local shoemaker.

Jamie could feel a dark, red rage rise in his heart. He saw the girl's fingers play in Tom's hair, and Tom - was that possible? - had his hand under the girl's skirt. That was too much for Jamie to take.

"What the hell are you doin' there?" he yelled.

The couple startled, the girl immediately hiding behind Tom.


"Course it's me. Good ol' Jamie, alright! What are you doin' there with the wench?" Jamie snapped, unsteady on his feet but unshaken in his mission to end whatever indecencies were committed here.

Tom shook his head.

"Go home, Jamie. You are drunk."

The calmness in Tom's voice infuriated Jamie even more.

"Not drunk! I'm not drunk in the least! Haven't even wet the bottom o' the barrel yet! And you? Found yourself a little friend?"

"Jamie - go home. This is none of your business."

Jamie kicked an empty bottle and sent splashes of mud flying in all directions.

"Damned well my business! Have to look after you and make sure you're not in bad company!"

The girl clung to Tom's arm, staring at Jamie with big, fearful eyes.

"Maybe it would be better if I'd leave, Tom."

He patted her hand.

"Nothing to worry about, Alice. He's a good man, just drunk."

"Not drunk!" Jamie howled. "Not drunk at all!"

"Maybe you should bring him home? We can still meet tomorrow. My father won't be home till late, we could go for a walk."

Tom sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, giving Jamie a not overly friendly look.

"I fear you're right, Alice," he sighed. "Yes, I better get the drunkard home before he causes trouble. I don't think his father would like it. Are you sure you can manage on your own? I'm not feeling good about you walking around here in the middle of the night alone."

"It's only a few steps, Tommy. Don't worry about me."

She stood on tip-toes and pressed a kiss on his cheek. Tom smiled at her; she gave Jamie a quick, disgusted look and then disappeared in the darkness of the alley.

"Good! She's gone. Now we go home, and I won't tell anybody."

"How dare you, Jamie. How dare you embarrassing me so," Tom hissed.

Jamie, leaning to a wall for support, looked at Tom in surprise. He had never seen him so angry, and he wondered if he might have done something wrong.

"Don't know what you're talking about;" he slurred. "Wench is gone, and that's just fine. Need no wenches around here. You and I and the navy and the sea, that's all we need. And ale."

"Maybe that's enough for you, but not for me! Mind your own business, Jamie, or you'll get yourself in serious trouble!"

"Are you trying to tell me to shut up? Is that it? Nobody's telling me to shut up; I say what I damned well want to!" Jamie snapped.

Tom's fingers closed into fists.

"Shut up? Yes, I tell you to shut up. Shut up, Jamie Norrington! Shut up and get out of my way, because I'm sick of your sight, you - big-headed, self-righteous bastard!"

Jamie lunged at Tom and tried to punch him. Tom quickly stepped out of the way, and Jamie landed face first in the mud. Unfortunately, he got a hold of Tom's foot and dragged him down as well. Within moments, the former friends were involved in an ugly fight. Jamie landed a blow on Tom's mouth, splitting his lip. Tom hit Jamie's nose which began to bleed. They were covered in mud, both trying to get the upper hand in this fight.

"Bloody bugger!" Jamie spat.

"Damned masher!" Tom growled, fisting his fingers in Jamie's hair and hitting his head repeatedly into the mud. This went on for quite a while. Then, as if coming to an agreement, both halted the fight for a moment, trying to catch their breaths before continuing their struggle.

That was the moment Thomas Gillette the younger made a very interesting discovery.

"You bastard! You bloody, lying bastard!" he gasped, emphasizing every word with a hit of his fist in the mud next to Jamie's head.

Jamie blinked and spat out mud and blood. At first he didn't know what Tom was talking about, but then he realised to his greatest embarrassment that, despite his state of heavy drunkenness, Tom's thigh was pressing against his own rather solid erection.

"Huh," he said in lack of a better comment.

"Huh indeed! That's all you have to say? You damned bastard! You cost me an eye, cut me out off your life, made me miserable, and all this just because you've been

"Let me get up!"

"The hell I will! How could you do this to me! You've tortured me all those years with your skirt-chasing, telling me about your Emilies and Annies and Janes, and now you're lying here in the mud with a hard-on? You bastard!"

Jamie shifted and tried to stand up, but Tom held him in an iron grip, not caring for rain or mud. He took Jamie's face between his hands and kissed him. The kiss was neither sweet nor gentle; it was rough and demanding, tasted of ale, mud and blood, but Jamie didn't consider even for a moment to fight back.

They didn't know whether to fight or hug, kiss or bite; their brains had switched off all logical thinking and they acted only on their basic instincts, neither caring for the fact that they were in a public place nor for possible witnesses. Tom bit Jamie's lip, enjoying the pained groan. In return, Jamie found great pleasure in the moan he could excite from Tom by licking along the ridge of his ear. Tom pulled on Jamie's cravat, excited by the sight of the thin strip of pale, clean skin, which stood out from the mud-soaked uniform and the dirty face. He nibbled and bit while Jamie pulled on his hair, a painful yet strangely arousing feeling.

"Oh God, what are you doing to me, Jamie..."

Just when Jamie tried to slip his hand under Tom's waistcoat, he heard an odd, thudding noise, and Tom went limp in his arms. Next thing he knew, he felt a sharp pain on his head, and the world went dark for Jamie Norrington.

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Dramatis Personae
The Stories
by Molly Joyful