|The weeks passed by swiftly, and first thing every morning, Norrington cut another nick in the large piece of bark he used as a calendar. Sunday-nicks were larger, new months were marked with a cross. Thanks to this meticulous record-keeping, Will knew that this godforsaken island had been their home for over three months now.
Every evening, Norrington would draw up a schedule for the next day. At first, this pedantic planning for every day had irritated Will, but after a while he began to appreciate the structure such a schedule added to his life. Will knew the story of Odysseus, how the hero's crew had given in to laziness and been turned into pigs by Circe the temptress.
Not that there would have been any risk of porkification on this island even if Will had given in to sloth. But collecting fire wood, catching fish and exploring the island kept his spirits alert.
At dusk, Will would stroll to a small clearing which he called his "private chapel" and say his prayers. They consisted mainly of "dear God, please send us a ship" and "dear God, please send Jack Sparrow a kraken". Sometimes, depending on the day, he added "and I'd really appreciate it if Norrington would fall off a cliff, thank you". Those moments became increasingly rare, though, for he grew used to the other's company.
While Will was praying, Norrington sat on the beach, staring out at the sea. He too hoped for a ship to come, but he knew well enough that the island was far off the shipping routes. The only ships which might pass by would likely be pirates, slavers or rum smugglers. Considering their fate if found by such folk, Norrington preferred being trapped on this island.
It wasn't so bad, anyway. Nobody mocked him for his failure, his inability to catch Jack Sparrow. The pirate had escaped – it happened. The lady had played an evil trick on them – not a first. Men had been the victims of female treachery for centuries, and there were more pirates sailing the seven seas than hanging from the gallows.
Norrington had travelled a lot, seen many places and survived great dangers. This helped him to cope with the situation; unlike Will, who became increasingly restless, he kept a cool head. There were only two ways this story could end – they would be rescued or not, and if the latter option should come true, then they would have to make the best of it.
According to Norrington's calendar, it was a Saturday when those two different outlooks on their situation collided. After a hot day spent wandering all over the island, both men were exhausted. They sat by the fire, too tired to talk, lost in their own thoughts.
Suddenly Will jumped to his feet and started pacing up and down.
"I have to find the Black Pearl and get Elizabeth back. I'll forgive her, and then we'll get married, I'll show her all the places you told me about, and then we'll settle down, just as we were supposed to do," he declared, sounding like a child unwilling to part with a favourite toy.
They had not discussed Elizabeth's treachery since their first days on the island, and so Norrington was rather surprised by Will's outburst.
'He's getting into a paddy,' he thought.
"Mr. Turner, I admire your enthusiasm for starting a family, but it's very likely that Miss Elizabeth Swann, who by now might already be Mrs. Jack Sparrow, has no wish to return to you."
He looked at Will, saw the anger and the fear in his dark eyes. For he first time, he realised that he genuinely liked the young man and felt sorry for him.
"You've no right to say that!"
Norrington, who had been fiddling with his calendar during this conversation, put it aside and stood up.
"Mr. Turner, I have known Miss Elizabeth since her birth. I can assure you that she never took fencing lessons; her father would not even let her do needlework for fear she might prick her finger in the process. Have you never wondered, Mr. Turner, where that woman learned to wield a sword so masterfully?"
Will stared at Norrington with that astonished expression which never failed to aggravate.
"And if you can explain that, perhaps you might also tell me how she can suddenly run up the rigging like an old hand, when she previously needed two maids even to walk down the stairs. Can you account for this, Mr. Turner? Can you?"
They were now standing opposite each other, their eyes locked. Will did not reply, and Norrington nodded.
"I see that you can't. But I believe I can, Mr. Turner. What we truly love is no hardship to learn. Miss Elizabeth has adapted to the pirate lifestyle so quickly because she loves it. I will never forget the way she looked at you when we rescued you from certain death. She was obsessed with you because she thought you were a pirate. In her heart, Mr. Turner, she's always been a pirate.”
Will moved so fast that Norrington had no chance to dodge the fist. Will had worked as a blacksmith for as long as he had been able to lift a hammer; he was strong, and the punch powerful. Norrington stumbled backwards and fell over, hitting his head on the rum barrel. At once, he tried to get up again, but found his head was spinning too much.
Will was towering above him, hands still clenched into fists, staring down at him wildly.
"Don'’t you ever dare to speak of the woman I love in such a way again!"
For a moment Will looked as if he would attack Norrington again, but then he took a step back.
"Bastard!" he spat. He stormed off into the jungle, while Norrington carefully checked the back of his head for damage.
* * *
back next chapter
|WITHOUT FAIL 4/7
by Molly Joyful