|Rating: mild R, slash
Pairings: Will/Gillette, Norrington/Elizabeth mentioned
Summary: When the cat's away, the mice will play.
Will glanced around, making sure that he hadn't been followed before he climbed over the wall shielding Norrington's house from the street. During the course of the past few months, wariness had become second nature for Will. Fortune was said to favour fools and lovers, but better safe than sorry.
The house was quiet and dark, except for one narrow window on the first floor, dimly lit by a candle. It belonged to Norrington's study; the commodore often sat and dictated letters and reports to Lieutenant Gillette, for his own handwriting was difficult to decipher. Had Elizabeth found it difficult to read Norrington's letters to her? Will had no idea. She had never mentioned the letters, one of the many signs that had eventually made him accept that her path wasn't his.
Sometimes, when running errands for Mr. Brown, Will went a long way round, just to pass Norrington's house. He would halt a moment and look up at that window, even if he knew that nobody was home. It was one of the rituals that had become important to him; a small thread among many that tied him closer and closer to his lover. How many threads were needed to make a rope? When would the ties become restricting bonds? Will tried not to think about it. His approach to life was to deal with problems when they occurred, not fret about them in advance and maybe ruin good times that could be had instead.
Gillette aside, nobody was home. Nobody had followed him, no dark figure was hiding in a bush to spy on him. Maybe he was overly careful; but there were few things James Norrington did not know or at least suspect, and he was a man Will did not want to count among his enemies. Will could hear muffled voices and laughter from a distant tavern and the roar of the surf. One didn't find drunkards on the street in this part of Port Royal. Swindlers and cut-throats could be found here, but they were clad in velvet and silk and did not use cheap rice powder for their wigs. Will couldn't be fooled, though – a pirate was a pirate, whether he drank rum with Jack Sparrow or tea with King George.
Will had now reached the house. He opened the backdoor which led to the kitchen and stumbled over a crate of potatoes. Luckily, he caught hold of the table just in time to save himself from falling flat on his nose. He had to grin, feeling like a youth on his way to a tryst with his sweetheart behind her father's back.
In a way, this was not too far off the truth.
From the kitchen he found his way to a corridor leading to the entrance hall. It was surprisingly cool in here, Will noticed. Paintings decorated the walls, and while they had probably cost only a fraction of the price of the ones he had seen at Governor Swann's place, Norrington's home had more class. There were few things Will cared less about than interior design and aesthetics; furniture was there to be used and pictures pointless, as far as he was concerned. But he felt the atmosphere of balance he had missed in the Swann household. He felt comfortable here, not intimidated. Maybe Swann had the money, but Norrington definitely had the taste.
Gillette was standing halfway up the stairs, smiling at Will. Had he any idea what that smile did to him? Probably not.
"You've really come."
"Like a thief in the night. A good thing you don't have any guard dogs. I almost broke my neck in the kitchen, though."
"That would be a bad place to die. Come, I've opened a bottle of my best wine. It's actually really a good one; a present from the commodore."
"You don't have to ask me twice," Will replied, though he couldn't have cared less for wine. He cared very much for Gillette, though, and would have drunk a bottle of vinegar if that was what it took to spend some time in his company.
"I'm amazed that you managed to get everybody out of the house, Thomas."
"Groves and Collins didn't have much choice but to accompany the commodore to the musical soiree. He might be a terrible violist, but he's very enthusiastic about his playing, and expects his lieutenants to show some interest in culture. He was not amused that I decided to stay here to – work."
Will laughed. "And what about the servants? Did you lock them in the cellar?"
"No. I suggested that they be given the evening off. I thought that..."
"...it wouldn't be a good idea to have them witnessing my presence. I understand."
A shadow fell on Gillette's face.
"Don't worry about it, pour the wine!" Will said with a forced cheerfulness. Gillette didn't really buy the act, but he gave him a grateful smile for trying. Will climbed the stairs two at a time and came to stand next to him.
"So you mean there's nobody here right now but you and I?" he asked.
"It's just you, me and the rats in the kitchen."
"I'm pleased to hear that," Will said. This was good – finally it was just the two of them, no worries, no fears, and, best thing of all, no James Norrington to interfere. How he had missed that simple act of kissing! He pressed the lieutenant against the wall and began to unlace his shirt. When he broke the kiss, Will grinned and licked his lips.
"Some host you are, you already tried the wine."
"I had to be sure the bottle hadn't turned sour."
"I think I have to try again, maybe it did turn sour and you just didn't notice."
"And I think we should really go to my chamber, Will."
Because somebody could return home early, Will thought. Gillette was always on his guard, even now.
"As you wish, Mr. Gillette, Sir."
Will followed him up the stairs. The door to Norrington's study was half open, and Will, curious by nature, entered the room whose window he had so often watched. It was a small room, not much more than two comfortable armchairs in front of a fireplace, a desk and a lot of books, nautical instruments, maps and documents scattered all over the floor.
"And there I was, thinking that James Norrington was the most pedantic and tidy person I've ever met."
Gillette managed a lopsided smile; it was obvious that he didn't want Will to be in the study.
"Not when he's at home. This is his sanctum sanctorum, no visitors or chambermaids allowed."
"So what does that make you then?"
"Not a visitor, and certainly not a chambermaid."
Will sat down in one of the seats.
"Does he ever use it?" he asked.
"So what's the point then? I mean, why does he have a fireplace if he doesn't need it?"
Gillette looked over his shoulder, then he filled a glass with the wine and handed it to Will.
"I guess it reminds him of home. No decent English house is without a fireplace in every room. Believe it or not, sometimes even I get homesick."
"I can hardly remember Glasgow."
"Don't you ever think about returning?"
Will looked up, surprised.
"No, why should I? There's nothing and nobody there for me."
There was no regret or bitterness in Will's voice, it was merely a statement.
For a while they remained in amicable silence. Will looked around with great curiosity; the place told him more about Norrington's personality than he would have expected. Chaos and order so close together, who would have thought? Opposites attract, so the saying went, and who knew, maybe this was true. Gillette was very orderly and organised.
Will finished his wine and put the glass on the side table, then stood up and headed for the door, carrying the bottle. He would not allow Norrington's invisible presence to ruin the evening. Not again. Gillette followed him, then returned to fetch the two glasses. There was no need for Norrington to know.
"Which door leads to your bedroom?" Will asked.
Gillette almost dropped the glasses.
"Good grief, Will. Could you possibly be any more forthright?"
"Sure: I want you. Now."
Gillette hastened to push down the doorhandle with his elbow and opened the door to his chamber. He placed the glasses on the chest of drawers, then quickly closed the door, but not before checking once again that they were really alone.
"I have to fetch a light. It's dark. And there's a bit of a mess," Gillette apologised, squeezed past Will and hastily removed his coat from the bed.
"I don't mind as long as your bed is without bugs and the sheets are clean."
"So far, nobody has complained, Will."
"Were there many who could have complained?"
"Norrington's been one of them?"
Will could have kicked himself. As soon as the words had slipped from his tongue, he wished he could take them back. Much to his surprise, Gillette didn't become angry, though.
"He's never been in this room, Will. But he is important to me."
"As important as I am to you?"
"As important as Elizabeth is to you," Gillette replied coldly. He, too, regretted his words immediately. Why did they do this to each other?
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. Will, I can't answer your question. You're so different from him. Why do I always have to justify and explain my love?"
"So you do love me then," Will said. It wasn't a question, merely a statement.
"Well, that's fine then."
Gillette marvelled once again how simple things were with Will. Direct questions, direct answers, none of the sweet-talking drivel that was usually expected from him.
"That took us a long while."
"Do you realise that for the first time we're alone, neither of us is injured, both of us are clean - and we have a bed at our disposal?"
Gillette had to smile.
"I can't deny that's true."
"We should make use of it then."
Will took off his coat and waistcoat. Gillette didn't move, just stood and watched Will sit down on the bed and battle with his boots, throwing them carelessly in a corner once he had managed to take them off. Seeing Gillette standing there, Will became a little impatient.
"Thomas, if you're about to tell me that you're having second thoughts and would rather spend the rest of your life pining for Norrington, I'll spare him the trouble and throw you out of the window myself."
"That's not the point."
Gillette slowly unbuttoned his waistcoat and hung it up neatly, straightening out the creases. Some things would never change, Will thought.
"What is the point then?"
"That this is - awkward."
Will hooked two fingers in the waistband of Gillette's breeches and pulled him towards the bed.
"Stop being difficult."
Another pull, and Gillette lost his balance, stumbled forward and landed on top of Will.
"So much for sailors and their equilibrium. See how easy that was? Now I have you right where I wanted you to be."
"How convenient, for that just happens to be where I want to be, too."
"Yes, that's rather obvious," Will remarked salaciously.
"You know, it's difficult for me to maintain my self-control when you're smiling like that, Will."
"Why would you want to maintain your self-control? I quite like it when you lose it."
They took their time undressing and kissing, interrupted only by occasional muffled laughter and some cursing at unmanageable buttons. In all of that, Gillette was quite happy to leave the lead to Will.
"Are there any Articles of War that I'm not aware of yet which regulate the frequency for officers to touch civilians?" Will asked after a while, running his hands down Gillette's sides. "The only way you could participate less would be if you were dead."
Gillette looked a little sheepish. "This is – new."
"Can't be newer to you than to me."
"No, not that. This place. This house. And how do you know what's new to me and what is not, anyway?"
"A wife in every port, so they say. I, on the other hand, never made it outside of Port Royal, so to speak."
"That's not really the same."
"I wish I could share your unconcern."
"And I wish you'd stop talking."
Will rolled them over, took Gillette's hand and pressed it to his cheek.
"You have no idea how much I've missed that. How much I've missed you."
He kissed the pad of every finger, nibbled on the pulse point. Gillette closed his eyes and just gave in to the sensations. There was no way of predicting where Will would touch and caress him next. He hadn't forgotten anything, remembered exactly where to touch his lover, and he took his time. Too much time for Gillette's taste, but Will had set his pace and wouldn't be hurried by begging or threatening.
"It seems that I have over-estimated your self-discipline," Will murmured into Gillette's ear, then playfully bit his earlobe.
"To hell with self-discipline," Gillette cursed. "Bring this to an end!"
"In my own sweet time, so stop complaining and writhing. And easy on my arse, you're leaving bruises."
"You don't have an arse, so I can't bruise it."
"Now what's that supposed to mean?"
"You don't have an arse. See?" He playfully slapped Will's backside. "Flat like the Dutch mountains. Actually, you're sitting directly on your tailbone."
"And very smooth it is as well, your backside."
"It's enough if one of us is all hairy."
They both laughed; Will continued his caresses, and Gillette thought that he'd probably have to strangle Will very soon if he continued to torment him so. For someone without much experience, he knew scarily well how to tease him.
Gillette was pulled out of his musings regarding Will's natural talents by a very enjoyable, but also most unexpected sensation.
"What the hell are you doing there?"
Will looked up. "Well, what does it look like to you?"
"I think it looks like nothing a gentleman would do!" Gillette protested, but Will only laughed.
"Don't be so uptight, Thomas."
"That's just - disgusting," came the pressed reply.
"Now is it? Odd, that. From what I can see here, you look like you're enjoying yourself."
"Good grief…" Gillette groaned, and Will grinned.
"Your luck that I'm not a gentleman but a blacksmith."
"That's not mutually exclusive."
* * *
Gillette attempted to get up, but Will wouldn't move.
"Where do you want to go?" he asked sleepily.
"To get us cleaned up. I wouldn't want us to be found like this by the commodore."
"The commodore is very likely just now taking a romantic walk in the moonlight with Elizabeth, explaining to her in all meticulous detail his plans for the next ten years. Then she will tell him that her plans are completely different from his and they'll have a big argument, so I expect them to announce their engagement tomorrow. The more you love, the more you argue. Now stop the fidgeting and stay here."
Gillette gave in. "We do argue a lot, don't we?" he asked after a while.
"All the time," Will agreed, all messed up and finally happy.
* * *
|WHERE THERE'S A WILL
by Molly Joyful