Rating: PG-13
Category: slash, humour - MODERN AU (the cast of "Stubborn Tin Soldier" is back!)
Pairing: Norrington/Gillette. Jack/Elizabeth is very briefly mentioned.
Other characters appearing: Will Turner, Murtogg and Mullroy.
Warnings: none
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's notes: this story does not contain any spoilers for AWE, unless you consider the colour-combination "blue/yellow" a spoiler.

Summary: "Easy to assemble in less than fifteen minutes."

"Aisle 7, shelf 4. Fine. Just where
is that bloody aisle?"

"Maybe we should ask the shop assistant over there?" James suggested, pointing at a skinny clerk in a yellow/blue shirt who talked to an elderly couple.

"Can't we just ask the bloke over there?" Will pointed at an athletic young man who readjusted the packages in his shopping trolley.

"Will, that's a customer."

"I know, but he's better looking than the assistant."

James groaned, but then his face lit up.

"There! Aisle 7! Finally! Let's get this bookcase and leave; this place is hell."

They headed for the aisle James had noted down on the company-issued shopping-list with the company-issued tiny pencil while they had been in the showrooms, and to his great delight, he found the article Thomas had asked him to buy right away.

"There it is. Give me a hand, Will."

"In public? I really don't know if-"


Will grinned, but then he helped James to haul the heavy packages on the trolley.

"I just love it when you're embarrassed. Now what do we have here - the popular bookcase Norringbrö! How fitting. I'm still not over the fact that Thomas Gillette lives in a real house with real furniture. I was really convinced he'd live in a cave, and..."


"... you two would spend your evenings next to an open fire, roasting..."


"... rabbits that he's killed with his bare hands, and later on you'd make love on a bear skin which..."

"One more word, Will, and we're going to have a situation here."

"Fine, fine, no self-killed rabbits then. He's a civilised caveman."

James headed towards the check-out, and Will followed him, hands buried in the pockets of his jeans. People were queuing up, but as it was 9.30am, they didn't have to wait for long.

"Shopping is worst on Saturdays," Will remarked. "Been here twice with my mum. You have all those families with children running around and kicking your shins and screaming. 'Mum, can't we leave? Mum, little Nuttley kicked me! Daaaaad, can I have some chocolate?' Very tedious. Oh, look, cookies!"

Will reached for a bag with Swedish butter cookies.

"I can't imagine that shopping with five children could be worse than shopping with you, Will."

"Now what a pity you'll never find out. Maybe you're lucky; I noticed that Elizabeth has that special dopey grin on her lately whenever she sees a child, and she looks in every pram that crosses her path. You should have a word with Jack; if he does his job, you could look after the brats."

"Oh she wouldn't!" James protested.

"Sure she would. She also got that Great Dane from the shelter without asking Jack first."

They reached the counter and James paid. Will took over trolley-duties and headed for the lift while James studied the receipt and shook his head.

"Ninety-eight pounds for a Swedish bookcase. That's ridiculous!"

"Why? You have Swedish furniture all over your flat," Will remarked. "Could you open the packet, please? I need food."

"First: Verner Panton was a
Danish designer. Second, you don't get a bookcase by Verner Panton for ninety-eight friggin' quid!"

"Then why didn't you buy a nice, expensive designer bookshelf for your lover? I'm sure it would have looked neat in his cave."

"He wouldn't let me," James sighed, and thought with regret of Thomas' living room which was a nightmare for every person with even the most basic sense of aesthetics. "He wanted
this bookcase, and I couldn't talk him out of it."

"Hell, I'd never allow any furniture in my flat that's coming from a shop whose company colours are blue and yellow. The designers must be colour blind."

James stared down at the five flat packages. There was a little sticker on them, showing a cartoon figure with a big smile who promised that the bookcase "Norringbrö" would be easy to assemble in less than fifteen minutes. No special skills or tools needed.

* * *

Thomas was tired; it had been a long, hard day and he was looking forward to a hot shower, dinner and then a lazy evening in front of the telly. He was grateful James had offered to pick up the bookcase; they could assemble it on the weekend.

"I'll be damned - Mullroy, Murtogg, what has happened to you?"

The cats had been waiting for him behind the door just like on every other day. They usually didn't look like they'd just escaped a snowstorm, though. Mullroy and Murtogg were covered in tiny bits of Styrofoam, and while Mullroy frantically tried to clean his fur, fighting a lost battle against electrostatics, Murtogg just sat there and looked genuinely insulted.

Thomas closed the door and hung his keys on the nail next to the mirror. There was light in the living room.

"James, is that you?"

Mullroy and Murtogg lead the way to the living room. Thomas followed them, noticing with increasing confusion the trail of Styrofoam and cardboard.

"Shite - what has happened here?"

Cardboard and Styrofoam were littering the floor, and in front of the wall where Thomas had intended to set up the bookcase was now a chaotic heap of particleboard, fibreboard and red foil. Empty see-through plastic bags and tools were strewn across the parquet, and sitting on the floor, leaning against the sofa and nursing a beer, was a very miserable looking James.

Finally it dawned to Thomas what had happened here.

"You've tried to assemble the bookcase."

"It said it was easy."

"Yes, but-"

"Easily done in less than fifteen minutes."

"Yes, if it's done by two people who both know what they're doing."

"Didn't say that anywhere."

"Bet it did."

"I think I broke one or two shelves. I'm sorry."

Murtogg made himself comfortable on the ruins of Thomas' bookcase, while Mullroy pawed at a screw and began to play hockey with it.

Thomas scratched his head, then he sat down next to James.

"Any beer left?"

James passed him the bottle.

"That's the last one. I needed the other two bottles to keep me away from setting fire to that mess."

They sat in silence, sharing the beer.

"Seriously, why is Sweden doing this to us?" James finally asked, crossing his arms over his chest. "I like Sweden! I would never inflict ready-to-assemble furniture on them!"

"Don't underestimate them, James. They're a power to be reckoned with - just remember when they launched ABBA! Good thing they were banned by the Geneva Convention."

James had to grin. Thomas took advantage of his improved mood and leaned in for a long, beer-flavoured kiss.

"That's better. But what the-"

He reached out and pulled a sticker with the blue and yellow company label off James' shirt, and held it in front of his lover's nose.

James glared at it.

"I should have known. My mother always says that a Norrington's true colours are blue and white."

Thomas slapped the sticker on James' forehead, grinned and pressed a kiss on his nose.

"You know, James - for once I agree with her. Blue and yellow just aren't for you."

* * *
The End
Dramatis Personae
The Stories
by Molly Joyful