"Les fruits défendus sont les meilleurs."
Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.

"So you knew it? You knew it all along and didn't say a word?"

Norrington was shell-shocked. Gillette had overheard a conversation that could cost himself and Will their lives, and yet he had served by his side for a year, never saying a word, never even hinting that he knew! More so, he had joined Norrington on this adventure, forfeiting his career and possibly his life.

"For heaven's sake, Thomas. Why?"

Gillette shrugged.

"Because I'm the idiot who trusts you fully and wouldn't question your actions."

Norrington sat down beside him, feeling like a complete fool.

"I want you to know that..." he tried to explain, but Gillette cut him off.

"No. I don't want to know anything. Nothing. That little bit of buggery doesn't really count for much in the greater picture."

"Don't call it that!"

Gillette grasped Norrington by the collar and shook him hard.

"But that's what it is! Bloody Article 29 of the bloody Articles Of War! For heaven's sake, why did you take that risk? Did you have to act on it? You must have known that this could get you on the gallows! What if someone else but me had seen you? Does he really mean that much to you that you'd risk your life? Did you never stop to think what your death would mean to those who love you?"

Norrington finally saw daylight. Why hadn't he noticed before? It was so plain to see.

"What would it mean to you then, Thomas?"

Gillette let go of him immediately. Norrington was right: just what had they become? Not only had he attacked his captain, but had revealed the one thing that nobody should ever have learned, the only secret in his life, an ugly secret that he thought to have locked away for good.

Upon realising that no statement would come from the shocked Gillette, Norrington decided to come clean about the matter.

"I can tell you what it means to me - what you mean to me. More than you know and I ever thought possible, Thomas."

It had taken him a while to figure this out and it scared him. Loving Will was difficult enough, but being in love with Gillette as well took madness to a different level. By God, he made Sparrow look like a sane man in comparison! He loved them both, to hell with it, an enormous realisation for Norrington, and now he had admitted it to Gillette! He thought that Galileo must have felt like this upon declaring that the sun was stationary.

A year ago, Norrington would have taken his coat and left the place to keep himself from doing anything stupid and avoid the judgement of the inquisition. But he wasn't that James Norrington anymore. Thanks to Will, he had seen life from a different angle, and he couldn't just ignore what was happening to him, who he was. Yes, it was against the law. But he didn't consider it to be wrong.

So he kissed Gillette, who hesitated a moment before he gave in. It wasn't passionate or rough as Norrington had expected, knowing Gillette's temper. The kiss was gentle, a bit clumsy, almost shy. Very briefly the thought crossed Norrington's mind that an open stable in a side road was not the best place for this; any moment somebody could bust in on them, and one didn't have to be a genius to know where it would lead to if they'd been caught in such a situation.

Gillette felt dizzy, as if he'd had too much wine; that short moment between bliss and the beginning of a hangover. There was nothing he wanted more than to give in, and he tried to focus on Norrington, his hands, his lips, all those things he had longed for, but all he could think of were the pillory and the noose, the jeering and the hooting of the mob.

He pushed Norrington away with all his might.

"This is madness! Maybe Turner didn't care, but I certainly won't be the one who will get you on the gallows!"

Gillette stumbled up and darted out of the door before Norrington could even say another word.

* * *

Ragetti's random notes: Galileo Galilei had to recant his statements in 1633 and was banned from further publications. "Sun static, earth moving" was declared "heretic". He wasn't officially rehabilitated by the Catholic Church until 1751 (120 years - that was quick for their standards). Then again, we had the last execution of a "witch" here in Switzerland in 1782. The dark ages are closer than you think.

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Dramatis Personae
The Stories
CHAPTER 20: The Moment Of Truth
by Molly Joyful