Rating: PG-13
Genre: slash, humour, hint of het
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Jack/Elizabeth
Other characters: Will Turner, Gibbs, Pintel, Ragetti
Warnings: none.
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's notes: please pardon my French.

Summary: How to deal with French pirates? Captain Sparrow thinks he knows.

"Brig ahead!" came the warning from the crow's nest. Jack extracted his long-glass.

"Oh," he finally said.

what?" Will asked impatiently. "What is it?"

"This is difficult to tell, but from my many years of experience in the seafaring business I think I'm qualified to say that it's a ship."

"And there I was thinking it might be a coach without wheels. Do you know her? Who is her captain?"

Jack rolled his eyes.

"My dear Captain Norrington, please don't make me regret my decision to give in to this lovely young lady's nagging and offered you and your men a passage to Tortuga. Next time you get yourself and your ship on the rocks, you can swim back. Ah, but what can a man do? You know what Elizabeth is like."

Norrington and Will sighed in unison, and Gillette rolled his eyes.

"But anyway, to answer your questions: she's a forty-four, French and under the command of Captain Le Roquin, which means 'red-haired', so your sourly lieutenant will probably like him. He's also known as The Merciless; coming to think of it, Mr. Gillette might not like him all that much. The forty-four stands for 'forty-four guns', just to answer the question before you ask it, Will my boy. Oh, and Le Roquin is a pirate."

"Pirates," Gillette sniffed with contempt.

"44 guns!" Will cried.

"French!" Gibbs groaned. He spat over his shoulder, missing Gillette only by a hair's breadth. Gillette quickly took a step back, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

"And? How do you intend to deal with the man?" Norrington asked.

Jack scratched his head.

"My intentions are clear, dear non-commodore, however I foresee some problems with their realisation. The Pearl is damaged, we have no powder left, and Monsieur Le Roquin over there has 44 guns at his disposal. We have nothing to bargain with but…"

He eyed Elizabeth for a moment, but quickly moved behind Norrington when he saw her murderous glare and pulled his hat deeper into his face.

"As I said, we have
nothing to bargain with."

"Maybe they won't do anything to us? Isn't there something like honour among pirates?" Will asked.

The crew broke out in loud laughter.

"Your naiveté is refreshing, Will my lad. But unless Le Roquin can be persuaded to let us go in exchange for a British officer which is a plan that I, no offence intended, Mr. Gillette, don't really see coming to fruition, I should say we're having a serious problem. Well, let me do the talking, I'll handle this."

"That's exactly what I feared you'd say. Do you even speak French?"

"May nutterment, Captain Norrington!" Jack declared.

Gillette covered his eyes with his hand, shaking his head. This was not looking good at all.

The French pirate ship was fast, it didn't take the crew long to bring her alongside the Black Pearl. They were now within shouting- as well as boarding distance, and Will wondered whether the shouting-part would be skipped in favour of a quick capture.

A tall man with flaming red hair came forward. Even without Jack's explanation it would have been obvious that he was the captain, as his crew hastened to get out of his way. 

Le Roquin looked the crew of the Black Pearl over, then he waved.

"Nous allons maintenant monter à bord et exigeons le paiement de la traversée!"

"What did he say, Jack?" Will hissed, but Jack only looked confused.

"I'm not quite sure – something about pidgeons, which, considering that we're on open sea, doesn't make much sense."

Elizabeth elbowed him in the side.

"Don't be ridiculous! Why should he talk about pidgeons? Admit it, you don't speak French!"

"It might be that I overestimated my knowledge in this distinguished language, my sweet little moray," Jack said, looking a little sheepish.

The French pirates couldn't understand the low-voiced conversation, but they didn't look like men with a lot of patience.

"Nous allons maintenant monter à bord" the captain shouted once again.

Gillette decided this was enough, pushed Jack aside and stepped forward.

"Ca n'est pas possible!" he shouted.

Le Roquin looked annoyed.

"Sans paiement, pas de traversée!" he replied. His crew grumbled and muttered in agreement; swords and daggers were drawn.

"Tell him that we're armed and ready to blow them up!" Jack prompted behind his back, but Gillette ignored him.

"Nous vous laisserions bien monter à bord, mais nous sommes frappés par une maladie contagieuse!" he replied.

The men on the other ship moved instinctively back.

"Quelle genre de maladie?" Le Roquin asked.

"Bloody hell," Gillette muttered. He thought about it for a moment, then he shouted:

"La...rougeole. Oui, c'est ça. La rougeole!"

"La rougeole? Pour l'amour du ciel!"

Le Roquin looked shocked, and yelled orders at his crew. The men almost fell over each other in their attempts to obey.

"Allez, allez, vous fils des putes!"

"In French, even insults sound charming," Jack commented, which gained him another glare from Elizabeth.

"Que Dieu nous vienne en aide! Partez vite, mes amis!" Gillette shouted after them.

"Nous nous dépêchons!" was the last thing they heard before the French pirate ship was out of shouting distance.

All eyes were on Gillette, who looked rather flustered. Gibbs shaded his eyes against the sun.

"I'll be damned, I've never seen a ship brought about that fast," he finally said.

Jack peaked over the wheel he had hidden behind, and grinned at Gillette.

Measles? If my ears haven't betrayed me, you told them we have measles on board? My respect, Mr. Gillette, for your great imagination and medical knowledge."

"Just what has been happening here?" Will asked, looking even more confused than usual.

"Pardon me, Mr. Gillette, but either your family has come to England with William the Conqueror, or …" Jack made a vague gesture with his hand and wiggled his eyebrows at the lieutenant.

Gillette muttered something illegible, glaring daggers at Jack.

"Now for all I know, 'Gillette' an abstraction of 'Guillot'," Ragetti explained.

"An' what does Gullet mean?" Pintel asked suspiciously.

"Guillot, I said. Short for Guillaume."

"It's the French dimut- dumivit – diminutive for William," Jack threw in.

"Means: Will?" Pintel concluded.


Gibbs reached for his hip flask.

"Merde," he said. "As if one wasn't enough."

Jack hurried to Norrington's side and put an arm around his shoulder.

"Could you please keep your dirt on your own clothes, Captain Sparrow?" Norrington snapped, and wrinkled his nose.

"You're quite a rogue, non-commodore! French, eh?
Now I know why you're so fond of him! Ah, don't worry, nobody will hear anything from old Jack, lover's secrets are safe with me. But just between you and me - is it true? I mean - what they say? About the - French?"

Norrington looked even more annoyed than before.

"I have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you return to... well, whatever it might be you usually do, and won't further annoy me with ridiculous, insulting and completely pointless questions!"

Jack looked disappointed.

"How unfortunate. Not even a small hint? Very small? Tiny? No?"

Norrington ignored him, and Jack threw his arms up.

"Fine, fine, then don't tell me! I'm not hurt in the least by this obvious lack of trust, not at all! I'll leave now and tend to my duties, if you don't mind. Elizabeth!"

He stalked off, and Norrington looked over his shoulder at Gillette, who had a decidedly smug smile on his face.

It was a good thing Norrington was a paradigm of a Royal Navy officer, otherwise he might have been tempted to cry "Vive la France". But as things were, he simply arched an eyebrow.

* * *

Dramatis Personae
The Stories
by Molly Joyful