|Rating: PG-13, slash, het, drama, humour, romance
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Anamaria/Groves
Summary: Anamaria is waiting for her case to be called in court. If it was up to her, she'd wait alone, but Lieutenant Gillette is very difficult to get rid of.
Author's note: Admittedly one of the more obscure things I've written...
Anamaria watched the people waiting for the court hearings. A colourful crowd; vendors hawking refreshments, ladies in bright robes talking, men discussing the latest news. The rich and the poor, the good and the wicked mingled, and amidst this carnival, children were playing tag.
"This is not a good place for young ones to be."
Her barrister, Mr. Roy, had been daydreaming again, so he'd only caught the last words.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said: this is not a good place for children. Children shouldn't be here. Don't you listen?"
"My apologies. I was lost in thought."
"I hope your thoughts were focussed on my defence rather than on the girl in the green dress over there."
Mr. Roy blushed and assured her that of course he was focussing exclusively on her plight. Then his eyes slowly came to rest on the young lady wearing a green silk gown and a fashionable hat with feathers again. Anamaria shook her head; this did not bode well for her case. Deciding that any attempt at holding a sensible conversation with Mr. Roy was a waste of time, she returned her attention to the crowd.
Whenever a case was called, all involved followed the bailiff. Anamaria would have loved to learn about the outcome of the proceedings, but nobody ever bothered to inform the crowd. Most people were occupied with their own cases, anyway, and she couldn't deny a feeling of uneasiness when it came to her own. Not that she had any regrets; on the contrary, she'd do everything all over again, if given the choice. She'd tell the judge just that, trusting in her barrister's assurances that honesty was the best approach in court. But piracy, of that she was certain, would not be regarded with favour here.
"I'm tired of waiting," she said, rising from her seat. "This is boring. I'll go for a walk."
"No, you'll stay right here," Gillette replied, not looking up from his paper or interrupting his reading. "Now look at this, I've missed Middlesex versus Surrey at Finsbury! I wonder who won - Surrey, I suppose."
"I'll go for a walk if I want to, and what are you talking about, anyway?" Anamaria snapped.
Gillette closed the paper.
"I'm talking about cricket. Now sit down, or I'll tie you to your seat. Do you think I enjoy sitting here? Wandering around won't achieve anything."
Anamaria crossed her arms over her chest and wrinkled her nose.
"You better call for the crew of the Dauntless then, Gillette. You'll need all of them to keep me here."
"That's what you think, Mrs. Bluestocking."
"Says the one who was outfoxed by Elizabeth Swann."
"Now wait a moment, that was not-"
"I'm afraid I have to agree with Mr. Gillette here," Mr. Roy interrupted the budding argument. "Sir Peter won't be pleased if he shouldn't find upon his return; that could have a very negative impact on the proceedings."
Anamaria muttered something about overbearing ginger ship's boys, but sat down again, just in time to see an elderly gentleman in black robes and an old-fashioned wig approaching. He carried a large pile of documents and frowned when he discovered Anamaria and Gillette.
"This is outrageous," he railed. "Why, your case has been called five times already, and you're still sitting here, watching the grass grow! Do you think this court has nothing better to do? Come, come, and make haste, it's time!"
Anamaria looked at Gillette, Gillette looked at Anamaria, and then they both shook their heads.
"I'm afraid that's not possible, Sir Peter," Gillette said. "You see, Lieutenant Groves hasn't arrived yet. His presence is essential for the proceedings; we can't start without him. That, and there's no grass here."
For a moment it looked like Sir Peter might throw his documents at Gillette, but he quickly braced himself.
"Don't push the boat out too far, lieutenant. And as far as you are concerned," he said, pointing at Anamaria, "your case will be dealt with in your absence if you don't follow the next call, and I can promise you that the verdict will be harsh then, very harsh!"
Mr. Roy winced, but neither Gillette nor Anamaria were impressed.
"Then we'll appeal the decision."
"There is no possibility to appeal a decision of this court, my lady. It's final. Fair and final," Sir Peter explained firmly.
"Fair, bah. Here's where I stick your fairness!" Anamaria patted the back of her breeches.
"Anamaria, read the obituaries, they will cheer you up," Gillette said, and handed her the paper. Mr. Roy cleared his throat.
"My apologies, Sir Peter. My client is well aware that the court has shown great patience with her, for which she's very grateful, but it's absolutely necessary that Mr. Groves should be present."
Sir Peter shrugged.
"Very well then. But she'll only have herself to blame for the consequences of her stubbornness."
"Loyalty," Gillette corrected. "Loyalty, dear Sir, not stubbornness."
"That's six of one and half a dozen of another," Sir Peter said before returning to the court room.
Anamaria blew him a raspberry, then leaned back in her seat and continued her wait for Groves.
"That's the entrance to the court," Groves explained. Norrington knew this, of course, but he was too terrified to enter, so he just stood in front of the closed door and stared at the rapper in the shape of a lion.
"Let's tackle the tiger, Sir. Things are never as bad as they seem, after all," Groves said cheerfully.
"They are bad enough, I'd say," Norrington replied. "But you are right." He reached for the rapper and knocked three times. The door was slowly opened, and they were welcomed by a stony-faced clerk.
"Your names, Sirs?"
"Lieutenant Daniel Groves and Admiral James Norrington, of the Royal Navy."
The clerk checked his list.
"Gnome, Grobe, Gromes - ah yes, there you are. Please hurry, you're very late."
"My apologies," Groves said, trying to keep up with the man's fast pace. "Both the admiral and I were kept by circumstances beyond our control."
The clerk didn't consider the apology worthy of a reply and continued to make his way through the crowd.
"I didn't expect this place to be so... normal," Groves said to Norrington, who nervously straightened the cuffs of his sleeves. "I'd expected it to be more splendid. Just look at those chairs! Why, I'd fear for my life sitting on one!"
"Don't judge this place by missing floor slabs and ramshackle seats, Mr. Groves. The court is dealing with justice, not with furniture. Now where has the blasted clerk gone?"
They had lost sight of the man. Groves looked around, but couldn't find him; instead, he caught sight of Anamaria.
"Anamaria! Sir, Sir, she's over there! Anamaria! Can't you hear me?"
His cries attracted quite some attention, especially when he took off his hat and waved it through the air. Norrington didn't know whether to disapprove of his lieutenant's behaviour or envy his lack of decorum.
Anamaria had discovered Groves, and not even the whole of the British Navy could have kept her on her seat, and Gillette was wise enough not to try. She jumped up and rushed across the hall, pushing people aside, stepping on toes but not caring one bit. Groves did the same, and so they met halfway, flinging their arms around each other before losing themselves in a long kiss. Mr. Roy hurried to the side of the happy couple, face red with embarrassment, and tried to restore some kind of order.
"Please, show some decorum," he hissed. "For God's sake, you're in court, not in a Tortuga tavern!"
Groves, still holding Anamaria tight, wasn't overly concerned.
"I really think the people here have more important things to worry about than a sailor kissing his wife he hasn't seen for years," he said.
"You'd be surprised how much people worry about things that are none of their business," Mr. Roy said. "If they didn't, none of us would be here today."
Norrington had kept a respectful distance. When it came to love, he'd been a spectator most of his life. He was very happy for Groves and Anamaria, who he thought to be a formidable woman, despite the flaw of piracy. But still, he couldn't help but feeling a little bit jealous.
Norrington stood thunderstruck upon hearing that voice. Thomas Gillette was definitely the last person he'd expected to see here. The years that had passed since they had parted hadn't changed his appearance much. The narrow-set, button-like eyes and the thin-lipped mouth still gave the impression that Gillette was constantly smirking, and he looked as arrogant and self-important as ever.
"You are here?"
Gillette smiled, and as usual, this smile transformed his face and he looked like a mischievous boy.
"Of course I'm here," he said. "Why, did you think I'd leave you in the lurch?"
Norrington shook his head. "It was me leaving you in the lurch, I'd say. I had no hope that I'd ever see you again."
"I've missed your pessimism, James. Among other things, of course."
Gillette wanted to say more, but he was interrupted by Sir Peter, who divided the crowd like Moses the waters, and glared at the group with undisguised anger.
"Gentlemen! Gentlemen! And the lady! Enough with the banter! Will you now, please, follow me? This is your last call, far too much time has been wasted already!"
"Of course, Sir, we are ready," Mr. Roy said, and shooed his protégé and her husband in direction of the courtroom.
"Admiral, you will follow the bailiff to court room number VII," Sir Peter said, looking over his shoulder. "The judge wants this to be over and done with."
Norrington swallowed hard, but then he did as he was told.
"Good luck, Anamaria," Gillette called across the room. The pirate, being rushed to a court room at the opposite side of the hall, smiled. "No worries about me," she cried. "We'll meet soon again, but you better look after your captain now!"
Gillette nodded, then hurried after Norrington. He wouldn't leave him alone in this time of need.
* * *
Norrington and Gillette followed the bailiff into the courtroom. Every place was taken, and upon their entrance, the talking and laughing stopped immediately, and the audience looked at them with great curiosity. Norrington didn't know where to direct his eyes, but Gillette held his head high and didn't seem to be intimidated. No, he really hadn't changed at all.
"About time, gentlemen! You, the accused, come closer now! Good grief, how long have we been waiting now? My backside's all numb," the judge grumbled. He was a small, portly man with a rosy complexion, almost disappearing under an enormous wig. To his right sat a lady in a blue velvet frock, holding a tambour and seemingly lost in her needlework. To his right, a lady in a gown of red silk made sketches of the audience. Very odd behaviour, Norrington thought.
"Where is your barrister?"
"He's already left," Gillette explained. "I suppose his backside got numb, too."
The judge blinked.
"Who are you, Sir? What right do you have speaking here?"
Before Gillette could answer, the lady in blue looked up from her tambour and whispered something into the judge's ear.
"Aha, I see, I see. The Gillette file, please!"
A clerk hurried to the judge's place and handed him a bundle of documents. The judge leafed through the pages, nodding here, frowning there, then he put everything aside and gave Gillette a stern look.
"Quite a file, Mr. Gillette, quite a file! Pride, Lust and Wrath! I can see the charge for Envy was dropped, nobody knows the reasons why, but still, you're not what I'd call a paragon of virtue."
"That's very true," Gillette agreed, though without showing any regret. "I suppose that's why I was hanged."
"You must believe me that I really tried everything in my power to help you," Norrington whispered. "But there was simply no -"
"Quiet," the judge ordered. "No private conversations, show some respect to the court. Now, Mr. Norrington, we're close to lunchtime, so let's keep this short. You're charged for Lust, Envy, Wrath and Chastity. What's your defence?"
Norrington looked puzzled.
"But your lordship - Lust and Chastity? That's a contradiction, and isn't Chastity a virtue in the first place?"
"It is. Then again, it's not. It depends. So?"
"I fear I'm guilty of all those charges, and probably more. To be quite honest, your lordship, I wouldn't know of anything that I could say in my defence."
"Good, so I'll be in time for lunch. As we can't expect much from Mr. Norrington here, maybe you could give us some information concerning the events which lead to your execution, Mr. Gillette?"
Gillette tried to remember the circumstances.
"I can't remember all details, as it happened so many years ago, but I was found guilty by a court martial of breaking Article 28 of the Articles of War, my lord, and refused to name my - accomplice."
The judge arched his eyebrows.
"And you didn't name said accomplice - why?"
"The gallows were crowded enough already, your lordship. Mrs. Groves made for good company in my final minutes, and strictly speaking, I wasn't guilty of the crime, anyway."
"That's where Mr. Norrington's charge of Chastity comes in, I suppose?"
Norrington looked as uncomfortable as the audience looked interested. How embarrassing!
"The mind was willing, your lordship, but I felt bound by the Articles of War," he muttered.
"I see, I see. Why, I almost feel that Temperance should be added to your charges, Mr. Norrington! What were you thinking, declining the gift of love? No, don't answer, it was a rhetorical question. But tell me, have you ever regretted your actions, or the lack thereof?"
"I have no words to express how much," Norrington said. "The last twenty years have been hell; not a day has passed without regret. I wish I could have died along with him, and when our ship went down yesterday, my last thoughts were with Thomas Gillette."
"Balderdash!" The lady in red put her drawing aside and cut off further sentimental confessions on Norrington's part. "Enough, this is so full of sap, I'm getting a heartburn! Good grief, there's a hall full of heinous criminals waiting to be judged, and we're wasting our time here with irrelevant issues like buggery and officers marrying pirates!"
The judge had to hide a smile.
"Mrs. Fair, am I correct in assuming that you do not wish to accommodate Mr. Norrington and Mr. Gillette on your premises?"
"Hell, no! I admit that Mr. Gillette has some potential, and he'd certainly make one dashing devil, but having to witness that sweet-talking and melting gazes for all eternity would drive me insane. It's nauseating! Give me men like Beckett, Mercer or Barbossa any time, but those two? There be God before - with all due respect, your lordship."
"Oh, how can you say such terrible things, Lucy!" The lady in blue wiped away a tear with a delicately embroidered handkerchief. "I'll give them shelter, no questions asked! This is so - touching."
Mrs. Fair rolled her eyes and added a moustache to the sketch of Norrington she'd been working on.
"Well then, it has been decided. Your ship will leave in ten minutes, gentlemen. The bailiff will lead the way. My thanks to Mrs. Gabriel and Mrs. Fair for their assistance; the hearing is closed. Have a nice afterlife."
The audience cheered; men threw their hats in the air and women their fans.
The judge closed his book and everybody stood up. As they had been ordered, Norrington and Gillette followed the bailiff, but Norrington could tell that something bothered Gillette.
"Is anything wrong, Thomas? Things went well for us, didn't they?"
Gillette chewed his lip.
"Yes. But she didn't' mention Jack Sparrow."
"Lord Cutler Beckett, Mercer and Barbossa, but not a word about Jack Sparrow."
Norrington stood thunderstruck and grasped Gillette by the arm.
"You mean - he might be there as well? Jack Sparrow? But - aren't we supposed to go to Heaven?"
"James, even if Heaven should be crowded with every single man that has ever served on the Black Pearl, it would be Heaven as long as I'm with you."
Norrington produced a rather dopey smile. Mrs. Lucy Fair, however, counted her blessings and reached for a bottle of antacid tablets.
* * *
|VICES AND VIRTUES
by Molly Joyful