|Their situation could have been worse, Will decided. They had found a freshwater spring very quickly, there was fruit aplenty on the island, and he had even managed to catch – something. Two somethings, in fact. He had skinned and gutted the creatures, and the two carcasses were now roasting over the fire. The night air was mild, the cicadas were chirping, while the stars above blinked and sparkled merrily.
All Will needed for complete happiness were Jack Sparrow and a pistol.
Will poked at the roasting meat with a stick to see if it was done. He decided it was, and passed one of the spits to Norrington, who had been munching a banana for the last half hour, lost in thought.
"Eat," Will ordered. Norrington started, torn out of his musings, which, oddly enough, had also involved Jack Sparrow and a pistol.
He sniffed suspiciously at the charred piece of meat Will had given him.
"This smells terrible," he said.
"And it tastes even worse," Will replied. He tore off another big chunk of meat with his teeth, then waved the stick at Norrington.
"Rat on a stick is not roast beef, but it's better than nothing. If you don't like it, go and hunt yourself tomorrow. Now eat."
Norrington closed his eyes, thought of England and took a bite. He shuddered, but while his taste buds protested, his stomach welcomed the food enthusiastically. So he chewed the bland, stringy meat and swallowed it, wishing he had something else but water to wash it down.
Will saw him eyeing the barrel of rum.
"You want to open it?" he asked. "We can, if you want to."
Norrington shook his head.
"I hate rum. Never understood the appeal it holds for pirates."
Will looked at him with surprise.
"You seemed to like it well enough when we picked you up," he said. "If I remember correctly, there was more rum than blood in your body!"
"I thought it was the proper thing to do, and the company I was in would scarcely have appreciated the cultural value of tea and crumpets."
"For someone who loathes rum, you held your liquor well."
Norrington's eyes narrowed – was the young man making fun of him? But no. There was no sign of mockery on the other's face, just simple pleasure over a meal. He watched Will licking the grease off his fingers, a sight he found rather disconcerting.
"Could you please stop that?" he snapped. Will looked up, surprised.
"Stop what?" he asked.
"Well – that. Licking your fingers. It's – disgusting."
Will grinned, and took his time over cleaning his hands.
"My apologies, commodore, I forgot where my servant stores the napkins."
Norrington frowned, reaching for another banana, while Will began to poke in the fire with a stick. It seemed to him that the dancing flames were mocking him and his gullibility.
Norrington took another bite of banana.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they were sitting down to a hearty meal this very moment, laughing themselves silly over you and I. Or maybe they're counting the gold. Or they..."
He broke off upon seeing the terrified look on Will's face.
"Or what? What?" Will asked, clinging to the stick like a drowning sailor to a floating spar.
"Well... I suppose now that things are as they are... I mean, I should imagine they..." Norrington stammered.
"You mean - Elizabeth and Jack? Doing - you know what?" he croaked.
The two men looked at each other, shuddered and simultaneously said "Ewwwwwww!"
"That's disgusting! How can you even think about such things?" Will protested, trying to get rid of a picture he really did not want to have in his mind. "Elizabeth and Jack - that's... unnatural!"
"Actually, Jack and ANYBODY would be unnatural. There should be laws. I mean, we have laws regulating intimate relations between men and goats, there should be something about pirates as well."
"I hate to break this news to you," Will said, "but you're a pirate too, remember? And if we should not find a way to escape from this island, you might wish for a goat very soon!"
Norrington threw his half-eaten banana at Will, but the young man ducked and it missed.
"After all I've been through with you lot, I dare say I'd prefer any goat to Miss Elizabeth butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth Swann!"
Will jumped up.
"Will you stop it now!" he yelled. "You're talking about the woman I love!"
"We are talking about the woman who brought you to this predicament! And me as well! So do not tell me to shut up. We are in the same boat here, Will Turner."
"I wish we were," Will muttered. "Then we'd be on our way to the next port and I could get rid of you."
"Then at least there's one thing we agree upon!"
"Now give me one of your bananas, I'm still hungry."
"Here," Norrington said, and threw another fruit at Will. "I hope you choke on it."
The men fell silent.
* * *
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|WITHOUT FAIL 2/7
by Molly Joyful