|A week had passed since that accursed game of dice. Will had not returned, and Norrington became increasingly angry with himself about his faux pas. He was an old fool who should have known better.
Running away when in trouble seemed to be a typical Turner thing to do. What would Will have done on a ship? Jumped overboard? It was probably a good thing he had left, though. Norrington shuddered at the thought of having to look into Will's eyes again - how could he possibly explain his brazen behaviour? He wasn't even able to admit to himself what he really wanted.
Norrington saw a thin trail of smoke rise from a distant corner of the isle, so he knew that Will had set up camp for the night. This made him feel even more lonely, and after he had collected firewood, he sat by the fire, staring out on the sea and chiding himself for being a pathetic idiot. Now that was an offence worthy of inclusion in the Articles of War!
By his calendar, it was Sunday, and Norrington was just about to add another notch when he saw Will emerging from the palms. He swallowed hard, then put calendar and knife aside. 'Time to face the music', he thought, taking a deep breath.
Will sat down beside Norrington, giving him a quick sidewise glance.
"Nice weather today."
"Indeed. Balmy," Norrington replied.
Then there was silence. Norrington frantically tried to think of a way to start the conversation and apologise, but Will beat him to it. Much to Norrington's embarrassment, he opted for the direct approach.
"Were you drunk when you did - that?" Will asked. "Did you disturb a scorpion? Or were you bitten by a poisonous snake? Stung by a jellyfish?"
Norrington turned lobster red, but shook his head.
"Then maybe you stepped on a stone fish? Or did you sit in the sun too long?"
Will scratched his head.
"So you did it because you wanted to?"
"Yes," Norrington replied firmly.
Will picked up a twig and began to draw patterns in the soft sand.
"I've thought about this," he began, without looking at Norrington, "and about the things you told me. You know – that 'circumstances on a ship can be such that good men do bad things'. Do you really believe that?"
Norrington looked up in surprise.
"Well – do you believe that it's bad?"
"It's clearly stated in paragraph 30 of the Articles of War that…"
"We're not on a ship, there's no admiral sitting in the tree eavesdropping," Will cut him off. "It's just you and me, and I ask you to answer honestly: do you think it's wrong?"
For the first time during this conversation, Norrington looked openly at Will. It was difficult to tell what was going on behind those dark eyes. Will didn't look angry or disgusted, just – puzzled.
"No," he finally replied. "It was incredibly stupid and inappropriate, but not bad."
"Would you do it again?"
"Absolutely not! I apologise for my behaviour, and you can be assured that I will not approach you in such a way ever again." He cleared his throat. "Furthermore, I would understand if you challenged me to a duel or…"
Will threw the twig away and began to laugh. He laughed so hard that he hit his head on the tree he was leaning on. When he finally recovered, he punched Norrington's shoulder and grinned.
"A duel! You really should get things into perspective, Mr. Norrington! I barely escaped a giant kraken and was dumped on a desert island. And you think I would challenge you to a duel for a kiss? I'd say we've had enough swordplay between the two of us to last us the next twenty years."
Before Norrington could make more barmy suggestions, Will pulled him close and kissed him. Norrington waved his arms about and tried to protest, but with Will's tongue in his mouth, he couldn't say anything until Will let him go.
Will chewed his lip and frowned.
"You know, that was truly terrible," he said.
Norrington was bound to agree, but Will had already decided that a second try was in order, and so he found himself flat on his back. The next moments were spent with clumsy and unsuccessful attempts at mutual undressing.
"Exactly what are you trying to do there?" Norrington asked, irritated.
Will arched an eyebrow at him. "I'm trying to finish what you started, and it would help greatly if you'd follow my lead."
"Your lead? Your lead? Good grief, why should you take the lead here? I'm older!"
"That's about the stupidest thing I ever heard."
"If we were in our right minds, we wouldn't be doing this at all. At least not this close to the beach."
"Correction. That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What do you think will happen, heh? You think Cutler Beckett's lurking in the bushes and spying on us through his long-glass?"
Norrington rolled his eyes.
"No. But I'd really prefer not to find sand invading sensitive parts of my body."
"Sensitive parts of… alright. Now that does it."
Will decided that they had wasted enough time on idle banter. Norrington had obviously come to the same conclusion: sandy ground or not, they undressed each other quickly and rather unceremoniously.
The next two minutes deserved a special mention as the worst sexual encounter in the history of mankind, though neither would have admitted it. Painful clashes of hip bones, badly aimed kisses, touches so rough they left bruises and tongues in all the wrong places resulted in one unsatisfactory climax and one frustrated commodore.
For a while they both lay there in silence, then Will sat up.
"Now that was – well," he muttered.
"I really don't think so," Norrington replied tartly.
Will scratched his head, avoiding looking at the other man. His cheeks burned with embarrassment.
"Quite a mess we made," he said. "I think I'll go and have a swim, get myself cleaned up."
Norrington stared at him with disbelief.
"You can't possibly intend to wash that off in the pool where we get our drinking water?" he protested.
"Why not? For all we know, that pool is full of dead fish," he said, getting to his feet and heading for the pool.
Norrington hesitated for a moment, but when he realised that Will wasn't waiting for him, he stood up and followed him.
* * *
Norrington bit his fist to keep himself from swearing. Will had retreated for the night not too far away, and he didn't want him to see the state of anger and frustration he was in. So that had been what he had risked his honour, career and life for? Two minutes of embarrassing fumbling with, he winced at the mere thought of it, Will Turner? By Jove, he'd had more fun in the past with Mother Thumb and her four daughters!
Not that it had been bad. Admittedly, it had felt good to be touched. But still – pathetic, the whole matter. Absolutely pathetic.
Some feet away, Will tossed and turned and couldn't find sleep, either. What a debacle! It had been a case of the one-eyed leading the blind. Or rather, the blind leading, and the result had been accordant.
He rolled onto his back and looked at the starlit sky. 'We've been using each other,' he thought. 'That's why it didn't work. Why did I act like that, anyway? I care for him. I'd never have treated Elizabeth like that.'
He cared for Norrington. That was an enormous realisation for Will, and he had to consider the consequences of it for a while. It was very likely they'd be stuck on this island for a long time to come, maybe even for ever, and either he would set things straight again or the situation would become unbearable.
Will took a deep breath, then stood up, brushed the sand off his trousers and walked over to Norrington's camp.
"Are you asleep?" he asked.
A good start. Will flopped down beside Norrington and put his hand on his shoulder.
"Listen, I'm sorry. I didn't want this to be so… well, the way it was. I guess we could both do better."
"I can't believe I'm having this conversation. Can't you at least have the decency to pretend this embarrassing incident didn't happen?"
Will shook his head.
"No, I can't."
He stretched out behind Norrington, putting an arm around his waist. There was some resistance, but eventually, he gave in and allowed Will to pull him closer.
"Could you turn and face me, please? I don't like talking to your back."
Having said that, Will pressed a kiss on the nape of Norrington's neck, and this, more than the words, made him comply.
"That's better," Will said, and ran the back of his hand gently down the other's face.
He cupped Will's face with his hands and kissed him. He took his time, after all they wouldn't be going anywhere soon. He could feel Will's hands caressing his back, light touches he'd not expected from a blacksmith.
Will didn't break the kiss, rather let it fade out. He kissed the long line of his neck, and noticed with satisfaction how the other's breathing quickened. He grew more adventurous, ran his hands over Norrington's chest and noticed well how the man trembled when his calloused fingers brushed over a nipple.
He leant back, grinning at Norrington.
"You really like that, don't you?" he said, gently rubbing the sensitive spot with his thumb.
Norrington bit his lip and closed his eyes; a silent answer. Will enjoyed seeing the usually so correct and stern man lost in sensation; he pulled him close and kissed him again. He pushed him down in the sand, half covering him with his body, and this time, there was no bumping of noses or awkward touches.
Their clothing went, discarded without a second glance, and now they had even more skin to explore, touch and kiss. They tasted of sweat and the salt of the sea, sand was in their hair and they couldn't get enough of each other.
"I want – want…" Norrington begged, bucking under Will, not able to voice his need, but Will understood.
"Just let go," he whispered in his lover's mouth. "Let go."
Will's caresses pushed Norrington over the edge. He came with a sob rather than a cry, but Will heard his name.
This was almost too big a thing for him to understand, having such an effect on another person.
* * *
back next chapter
|WITHOUT FAIL 6/7
by Molly Joyful