|Sequel to "Tůmas"
Overall rating: PG-13
Category: slash, adventure, humour
Other characters appearing: Lord George Cutler Beckett, Lt. Greitzer, Lt. Groves, Will Turner plus cameos by Prince Frederick of Prussia and Voltaire
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's note: I thought that "Tůmas" was the weirdest story I've ever written. Well, I was wrong.
Summary: There is nothing that a leprechaun wouldn't do for his treasure, so all is not lost for James Norrington.
Greitzer felt queasy on his way to the prince. For the life of him he couldn't think of any reason why he had been summoned, and as its human nature to assume always the worst, he was quite certain that this evening would not end well for him. He could hear faint music coming from the prince's study. Flute and piano? The prince had a visitor then. Getting closer to the study, Greitzer noticed to his great surprise that Frederick and his guest didn't play one of the prince's favourite pieces by Bach or Hšndel, but "The Gallant Seaman's Suffering". It was a pretty lewd song Greitzer had often heard aboard the ships of the East India Company and in taverns, but never expected to encounter in a palace!
A servant led Greitzer in the study, then left him to his fate, closing the door. Frederick was fully concentrated on the music, and so was the man playing the piano. During his service in the East India Trading Company, Greitzer had learned a thing or two about fabrics; Lord Cutler Beckett had been obsessed with silk and velvet. While waiting for the music to finish and Frederick to take notice of him, Greitzer had a closer look at the man whose pale fingers seemed to dance across the keys of the piano. He was red-haired and wore a suit of finest grey silk. Greitzer had to hide a smile; he could imagine how Lord Cutler Beckett would have reacted upon such an observation. 'Grey? Grey? There's no such thing as grey, Mr. Greitzer! Silk can be taupe or silver or dove-coloured. Why am I punished with such uninspired peasants?'
"I really hate to interrupt your thoughts, which are, without a doubt, of great importance to the future of our country and maybe even the world, but still, I'd be very grateful if you could pay some attention while I'm talking to you, Mr. Greitzer."
Greitzer, realising to his great horror that the music had ended and he'd been addressed by the prince, snapped to attention.
"My apologies, your highness," he stammered. "I didn't mean to-"
"Never mind," Frederick cut him off. "An old friend of yours is here. He undertook a long journey to see you."
The piano player stood up and turned towards Greitzer. It took a moment for the pfennig to drop, but when he realised who was standing next to the prince, Greitzer blinked.
"Lieutenant Gillette?" He couldn't have been more surprised if a kraken had materialised in front of his eyes, and past events considered, he'd much preferred the kraken over Norrington's former first lieutenant.
"Not an old friend then," Frederick stated dryly. Greitzer shook his head. While not an enemy, Gillette certainly wasn't a friend, and "old" simply wasn't the correct term to describe him. Greitzer felt old, military service had taken its toll on his body and mind, but Gillette didn't look a day older than the last time he'd seen him. When had that been, anyway? The great battle had taken place almost ten years ago. Gillette hadn't been there, so - at least twelve years, and Gillette hadn't changed a bit!
"Old shipmates, though we have never served in the same ship," Gillette said. "I very much approve of your new uniform, Mr. Greitzer. It suits you far better than the one of the East India Trading Company." He turned to Frederick. "Blue and yellow, Fred. Yellow! Can you imagine? I'd have looked like a red-tailed blue-and-yellow Macaw in that uniform! Very unbecoming."
"So you joined the Royal Navy because their uniform matched your hair?"
"My dear Fred, I'm not that shallow. At the end of the day, I can wear whatever I want, I'll always look like a lighthouse. Now, Mr. Greitzer, I'm looking for Lord Cutler Beckett, and I hoped that you could give me some information on his whereabouts."
Greitzer, who had followed the conversation between prince and lieutenant with increasing confusion, shook his head.
"Lord Cutler Beckett is dead, Mr. Gillette."
"Yes, yes, I know, that's what everybody tells me. But let's assume for a moment that he wasn't - where would I find him?"
"But he is dead," Greitzer insisted. "I was there; I've seen it with my own eyes! Lieutenant Groves ordered us to abandon ship, and the last I saw of his lordship was him descending the stairs to the main deck. The Endeavour was blasted to pieces, Mr. Gillette. No man could have survived that!"
"No man, that's true," Gillette agreed. "What about Commodore Norrington? Were you present when he died?"
"No. He wasn't on the Endeavour. He died on the Flying Dutchman, and I wasn't aboard her at that time. Lieutenant Groves was on duty."
Gillette arched his eyebrows. "Ah, my dear old friend Theodore Groves. I'm looking very much forward to seeing him again. Now, one last question, Mr. Greitzer. Do you know the coordinates of the spot where the Endeavour sank?"
"I have noted them down in my journal," Greitzer replied. "But I don't understand why this is of any importance. It all happened so many years ago. Let the dead be buried, I say."
"Under different circumstances, I'd agree with you, but in this case, none of the dead in question was buried, as you just admitted. Thank you for your time, Mr. Greitzer. Would you be so kind to fetch your journal now? And you wouldn't happen to know where I can find Mr. Groves, would you?"
"Last thing I heard he has rejoined the navy," Greitzer replied. "But that was almost nine years ago. For all I know, he might be dead by now. Or married. Or both."
"Is there anything else you need to know from this brave man here?" Frederick asked.
"I don't think so. He's been a great help."
Frederick, hands clasped behind his back, turned to Greitzer.
"Yes, sir," Greitzer automatically said, and hurried to get out of the study, followed by Gillette's cheerful laughter.
"My dear Fred, you just gave a perfect impersonation of Commodore Norrington! I admit, I'm very fond of you, which doesn't make my departure easier."
"Well, your company was certainly enlightening and enjoyable," Frederick said. "A pity I can't tell anybody about it, least I wish to be declared not of sound mind. When will you leave?"
"As soon as Mr. Greitzer returns with the coordinates. Then I'll know where I have to look for dear Seoirse. I hope I can convince Voltaire to accompany me on this journey."
Frederick winced. "Voltaire? Why on earth would you need to drag Voltaire with you on this lunatic quest?"
"What a silly question," Gillette said impatiently. "Why, because of the mermaids, of course!"
* * *
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|THE FLYING SCOTSMAN 2/18
by Molly Joyful