|Rating: mild R
Category: slash, romance
Feedback: most welcome. Good or bad.
Author's note: for Nellas. ;-)
"There he goes," Daniel Groves said. Thomas thought that mentioning this fact was rather gratuitous, for yes, there James Norrington went, determined to spend yet another shore leave in the company of Miss Elizabeth Swann. Upon seeing the genuine concern in Daniel's eyes, he couldn't give a harsh reply, though.
"I hope he will enjoy those few carefree days. It's been a hard few weeks for all of us."
Daniel nodded and took the liberty of patting Thomas' shoulder.
"True. That also goes for us, so why not join me, Collins and Nelson for a drink or two at the tavern? It will get us in the right mood for our shore leave."
Thomas forced a smile and shook his head.
"Tomorrow I gladly will, Daniel, but not tonight."
"That's fine, Thomas. So tomorrow then, yes? Don't let us down. And - don't brood too much. About - whatever."
Dear Daniel, always so sympathetic, showing his friend that he understood his feelings without mentioning the delicate matter. Thomas would have gladly strangled him if he hadn't liked him so much. He could well imagine how Messrs. Groves, Collins and Nelson would stick their heads together after three or four ales and pity him in lowered voices.
"Such a good man he is, that Thomas Gillette," Daniel would say, "what a waste!"
"A crying shame, the whole matter," Collins would agree. "Should find himself a nice wench, God knows there are enough of them here in Port Royal."
Nelson wouldn't say anything, as usual, and then they'd order another round in honour of Thomas Gillette, the poor, love-sick fool.
Thomas cringed upon imagining the scene, one that had been repeated over and over for years. He had to get away from Daniel; one more platitude like "seizing the day" or, his personal favourite, "plenty of other fishes in the sea", and he'd throw his old friend through the next porthole. So he picked up his cloak, put on his tricorne and bid farewell to Daniel Groves, declaring that he had to go and get his sword edged.
* * *
For some reasons, the devil had his tail once again between Thomas Gillette and his peace of mind: no other but James Norrington crossed his path on the way to the blacksmith. Thomas allowed himself a small groan, but then he straightened up and greeted his captain.
"Mr. Gillette, I haven't expected to see you so soon again," Norrington said with a smile.
"My sword, Sir. It needs some edging," Gillette explained shortly.
"Ah, of course. Well, you've come to the right place; William Turner is the best for this task. Between you and me, Gillette, the man doesn't look his best," Norrington said, lowering his voice and looking around for possible eavesdroppers.
James Norrington shook his head.
"No, poor devil. He's still not over... you know."
"Oh, I see. Still Miss Elizabeth?"
"Unfortunately, yes. Elizabeth wants to invite him to the wedding, but I feel it would be an act of cruelty, don't you agree?"
An act of cruelty? Gillette clenched his jaw. He could have told Norrington a lot about cruelty, and even more about his engagement to Elizabeth Swann which, from Gillette's point of view, was about the same thing, but again he managed a polite smile.
"May I speak my mind, Sir?" he said, and upon Norrington's nod, he stepped closer to the captain, making certain nobody could hear their discussion.
"I think it would be cruel not to invite him, Sir. Just imagine how embarrassing that would be for the poor devil, and what harm could he do? He knows his place; he'll probably get very drunk and maybe cry in the punch, but that aside - I'd invite him, Sir. But that's just my opinion, feel free to ignore it."
Norrington considered Gillette's words.
"I tend to agree with you, Mr. Gillette. As usual, your advice is the best. I will discuss this with Elizabeth. And it goes without saying that you will be invited as well."
Good grief, Gillette thought, he's not expecting me to be grateful for seeing him marrying Elizabeth Swann now, is he? But quite obviously, that was the case. He managed not to roll his eyes and bowed his head instead.
"It's a great honour, Sir. I'll keep an eye on Mr. Turner on that day, if you don't mind."
A grateful smile was his reward for that suggestion.
"Thank you, Mr. Gillette. That's an excellent idea. If he should misbehave, you could escort him to his house without causing much of stir."
"That was the idea, Sir."
Norrington brushed some dust off his sleeve.
"Well then, I have to leave. Enjoy your shore leave, Mr. Gillette," he said cheerfully.
"I certainly will, Sir."
Norrington left, and Gillette glared after him.
"Git," he grumbled, then he opened the door to Will Turner's blacksmith's shop.
* * *
Will Turner was just about to count the coins he had been given by the customer in front of him when Thomas Gillette entered his shop.
"I'll be right with you, Mr. Gillette," he called over a corpulent merchant's shoulder. The man turned to greet the lieutenant, then returned his attention to the young man in front of him.
"Wine, Mr. Turner, eight barrels! And French wine at that! My word, that will be a wedding they'll still talk about in years to come, even in London! My wife said Miss Swann's wedding dress looked as if Elves had made it. Silk and silver and the most expensive lace you could find!"
Will didn't look up from the coins in his hands.
"Really? How nice. I'm sure it will be a wedding dress worthy of the bride and her most splendid groom," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
The man looked a little embarrassed.
"My apologies, Mr. Turner, I didn't think. My wife always said my mouth would run with my brain, and she's right. I mean, she's a lovely girl and everything, and they'll make a nice couple, she and the commodore, but by all means, there are plenty of other fishes in the sea, and..."
"The amount's paid, we're even," Will interrupted the man, giving him a stern look. "I hope you'll be happy with the sword. If not, please let me know and we'll fix whatever problem there might be."
"Sure, sure. Not that there's ever been a problem with your work, Mr. Turner. You're the best, it's known everywhere."
"Well, some might think me second-best, and prefer a more polished work," Will said. "But that's something I'll have to live with, I guess. Good bye, Mr. Francis, and my regards to your most lovely wife."
Mr. Francis took the hint and hurried to leave the shop, but not without rolling his eyes at Gillette who nodded sympathetically.
As soon as the door had closed behind the customer, Will Turner crossed the shop and locked the door.
"That does it. One more customer who comes and talks about that bloody wedding, and I'll kill somebody with my hammer," he snapped.
"Terrible, I know. People just have no tact anymore, don't you agree?"
"Absolutely. They come here and pretend they feel sorry for me, but in fact they only want to see the love-sick fool so they have something to talk about over their ales. Bloody idiots, all of them."
"So I guess you don't want me to give you an in-depth description of Miss Swann's lovely dress, or the brand new coat Commodore Norrington intends to wear for the ceremony?"
Will looked at Gillette, Gillette looked at Will, and then they both broke out in loud laughter. Will threw his arms around Gillette's neck, not caring for the smudges his dirty hands left on the uniform.
"I only want you to kiss me, you bloody git," he said, giving Gillette a smile that made his legs go weak and his heart skip a beat.
"I guess I can do that," he replied, pulled Will close and kissed him so hard that their teeth clashed. Will smelled of fire and ashes and metal, his kiss tasted of ale and the tobacco he sometimes chewed, and it was that smell and taste Gillette dreamt of while he was on sea.
"Brown's at home?" Gillette asked between two kisses.
"No, drunk under the table at the tavern, as always," Will replied, busy taking Gillette's coat off. "Bloody uniforms and bloody buttons," he cursed, fiddling with Gillette's waistcoat and leaving imprints of his dirty fingers all over it. "Do they think sailors have all the time in the world? Shore leave is far too short, anyway, don't want to waste it with buttons!"
Gillette gently pushed Will's hands away and unbuttoned the waistcoat himself.
"After all those years, you should know how to undo them," he grumbled.
"Well, I know how to get you undone," Will replied, arching his eyebrows, "and I dare say that's something I know bloody well how to do."
The waistcoat was thrown in a corner, and Will had fewer problems with the shirt. It was very easy - unlacing and slipping it over Gillette's head.
"Shouldn't we move this to the house?" Gillette suggested.
"No. I've waited weeks for you, I'm not going to waste any more time," Will insisted. He ran his hands over Gillette's chest, leaving smudges of dirt there as well.
They kissed again, slower, more passionate, and then garments were taken off, thrown to the ground without much regard, and within minutes, they made love on the cold, dirty ground, blind and deaf for anything but each other . Both had been deprived of the other's touch for far too long, and so it was over far too soon.
It didn't matter, though. There would be other days, other nights which they could spend in each other's company, nights where Will would caress every scar on Gillette's body and Gillette would run his fingertips down Will's spine while admiring his dark brown eyes, complimenting him for his soft skin and talking a lot of other nonsense like the love-struck fool that he was.
"People are stupid," Will later stated, his head resting on Gillette's chest and his fingers toying with the fine ginger hair that covered it.
"Exceptionally stupid," Gillette replied, gently ruffling Will's hair. "But they do mean well. I feel bad at times, knowing that Daniel worries for me, the poor fool who pines in platonic love for James Norrington, the great hero."
Will pressed a kiss on Gillette's shoulder.
"You tell me. The pity looks, and all the nice elderly ladies who try to help me by invading my shop and assuring me that there are plenty of other fishes in the sea."
"You get to hear that as well? Funny, that! What do you reply?"
"I sigh and say something about the most beautiful pair of brown eyes in the world."
"You're a sneaky git, Will Turner."
"People feel pity for dropped fiancées and men who do some manly, platonic pining, yet they'd not treat us quite as kindly if they knew what we really are to each other."
"Very true. We're both invited for the wedding, by the way," Gillette stated, caressing Will's side. "James Norrington fears you might drown yourself in the punch, so I offered to keep an eye on you."
Will rolled on top of Gillette and wiggled his eyebrows.
"You know, I could have a nervous breakdown," he said. "Nothing big, I don't want to disturb the wedding. James and Elizabeth are nice people after all. But I could do a bit of drinking and crying, and then you'd have to lead me away and make sure I got home in one piece and without throwing myself from the next bridge."
"Oh, I see - and then I could spend the rest of the day comforting you, poor, heartbroken young lad that you are."
Will kissed him again, grinding slowly against his body.
"I like your way of thinking, Thomas. Especially the comforting-bit."
"You look so harmless with those eyes of yours, Will Turner. If people knew what wicked mind hides behind that handsome face of yours..."
"The world wants to be deceived, Thomas."
* * *
Daniel felt bad. Gillette had looked so sad, worse than ever before. He should have insisted that his friend joined them for a couple of ales at the tavern. There was still time, maybe he could catch up with Gillette at Will Turner's shop and repeat his invitation?
He put on his coat and hat and hurried down the street. Not far from the blacksmith's shop, he ran into James Norrington.
"Mr. Groves, you seem to be in a hurry."
"Oh - yes, why - indeed, my sword... something's wrong with it, and I thought that Will Turner..."
James Norrington shook his head.
"I'm afraid Mr. Turner has closed the shop for today, Mr. Groves. It would be a waste of time to make a call."
Daniel looked at Norrington with surprise.
"Closed? But he never closes at this time, and I know that Gillette said he would..."
Norrington grasped Groves by the arm and dragged him in direction of Governor Swann's house, away from the blacksmith's shop.
"You may trust my words, Mr. Groves. Mr. Turner's shop is closed. It's as closed as a shop can be. Why not come and have a cup of tea with me and Miss Swann? I'm certain she'll be delighted to see you again."
Elizabeth couldn't stand Groves, and Norrington didn't like lying at his lieutenant, but what could he do? The world wanted to be deceived.
* * *
|APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING
by Molly Joyful