Category: slash, humour
Pairings: Norrington/Gillette, Jack Sparrow/Gillette, Norrington/Groves, Jack Sparrow/Groves
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Summary: "Great minds think alike."
Theoretically, it had been a brilliant idea. Practically, it had been an idiotic one, and Captain Jack Sparrow had had the same. That was the reason they all had to meet up here on this wonderful island in the middle of nowhere. James Norrington was drenched in sweat, his skin itching under many layers of linen, cotton and wool. Only the prospect of making Gillette's life hell on earth for the next ten years allowed him to keep calm.
The Interceptor was berthed on the southern shore of the island, the Black Pearl on its northern coast. The commodore and the pirate would meet by a pond in the centre of the island. That had been Sparrow's conditions: just him, Norrington and the two prisoners. No marines, no navy, no pirates, no monkeys. It was madness to trust the man and against all regulations, and Norrington knew it. But he had vowed that Thomas Gillette would regret the day he had joined the Royal Navy, and by God, James Norrington had every intention to keep that promise!
However, for that purpose he needed his lieutenant back first.
"Lt. Collins, you will stay here, as discussed. Me and Lt. Groves-" Norrington began, but then he broke off. "Me and the prisoner will meet Sparrow as-"
"Captain. It's Captain Jack Sparrow, Sir. He's sort of peculiar about that point," Groves interrupted politely. His hands were tied together with a rope; quite a contrast to his uniform.
Norrington rolled his eyes.
"Fine then, Captain Jack Sparrow. Mr. Collins, if we're not back within two hours, you will do as ordered."
"Yes, Sir," Collins replied, and scowled at Groves, who gave him a sheepish smile.
"I'm sorry, Collins," he said. "But look on the bright side of it: you won't have to pay me the farthings that you lost during last week's game of dice."
"I don't own you anything," Collins snapped. "I bet you've cheated!"
"You're such a lousy gamester; I didn't even have to cheat."
Collins ducked. This was James Norrington at his worst, all commodorial and angry like a snapping turtle, and without Thomas Gillette around to distract him, it was better to get out of his way as quick as possible.
"Everything will be handled as ordered, Sir," Collins hurried to say. "You can rely on me. Fully. Completely. In every aspect."
"It will be a cold day in hell before I trust a lieutenant again!"
Norrington grasped Groves' upper arm and dragged him towards the palm trees that merged with the jungle.
"You go ahead," he ordered. Groves lead the way, followed by Norrington, holding his sword and frowning. It would be a walk of about forty minutes, so the note had said, and after five minutes of hostile silence, Groves began to get bored.
"Are you going to glare daggers at my back for the rest of the way?" he asked, and looked over his shoulder. Norrington's face was red, very likely not only due to the heat.
"If I had things my way, I'd see you hanging from the yardarm, Mr. Groves, or whatever your name might be. I'm certainly not interested in a conversation with a traitor, liar and - pirate."
"That's a shame. I doubt we'll ever meet again, and considering that we've spent some good times in each other's company, I thought that maybe-"
"Don't think! And most of all, don't speak!" Norrington poked Groves in the back with the tip of his sword. "This is embarrassing to a degree I'd never thought to be possible, and if I consider that I will have to write a report about it, I'd wish you'd stop existing at all!"
"I'd love to read that report. Is there any chance you might send me a copy? I'd be especially interested in reading how you'll explain to the Admiralty how you discovered who I am."
"I do not wish to discuss that!"
The commodore's anger left Groves quite unperturbed.
"See, that's one of your problems, James. You're a hypocrite."
"Hypocrite? You are calling me a hypocrite? I'm not the one who pretended to be a lieutenant when, in fact, he was nothing but a pirate! You've disgraced this uniform! For that alone, you should be hanged!"
"Ha! You want me to hang for breaking one Article of War, while you're not willing to hang for breaking another? You did so with my support, agreed, but still - hypocrite."
Norrington pinched the bridge of his nose. It was hot, he had a splitting headache, and he just wanted this embarrassing matter to be over and done with.
"This - unlucky incident, happening under heavy influence of alcohol and, if I may say so, by you taking advantage of my somewhat gloomy mood, can certainly not be compared to a life of pillaging, loitering and other heinous acts of piracy!"
Groves laughed and threw his head back. Hat and wig fell down, and Norrington stepped on them. He cringed and wondered whether he should pick them up, but then decided against it. Jack Sparrow didn't need a wig, and as far as the hat was concerned, he could buy his first mate a new one.
"Ah, much better," Groves sighed, and shook his hair. "Wigs - an invention of the devil. Your scalp itches all the time and you can't scratch. No surprise you're always grumpy, James."
* * *
"You know, we don't have to do that, mate," Jack Sparrow said, trying to keep pace with Thomas Gillette. "We could just forget about the whole thing, get ol' Daniel out of there an' all return to the Pearl. What says you?"
"I say you should hurry or we'll be too late for the prisoner exchange. As one of the prisoners in question is me, I have a certain interest in being there in time, if you may please."
Gillette, wearing a dirty cotton shirt and an old pair of black breeches, increased his pace. A handkerchief in faded green was tied loosely around his neck, and from time to time, he'd slap after a mosquito.
"Damned bloodsucker," he muttered.
"Don't be so hard on Norrington," Jack said. "He does have his virtues. I suppose."
"I wasn't talking about the commodore. As a general rule, I'm never talking about the commodore. Especially not with you."
"Agreed. No talkin' about the commodore. Perfectly fine. I can do that. I mean, not do it. Talkin' about him that is. You should stay with me, Thomas. Us, I mean. Us, absolutely. What do you want in the Royal Navy, anyway?"
Gillette halted so abruptly that Jack ran into him, and the pirate caught a whiff of tar and tobacco. Nice mixture. Comforting.
"The Royal Navy is my life. I'm here to serve King and Country, remember? There's nothing more to say about it. Now hurry up, I don't want to have the commodore waiting for me."
"The commodore, the commodore," Jack monkey'd Gillette. "He's the true reason why you want to return, admit it!"
"This is none of your business," Gillette replied, and continued his way.
"He's boring," Jack muttered.
"He's a man of honour."
"An honourable, yet very boring man."
"A brave an' honourable but unfortunately still very boring man. Plus he's wearin' a wig."
"So am I, under normal circumstances."
Gillette looked over his shoulder, giving Jack an amused glance that made the pirate's legs go weak. Smug bastard!
"Aye, an' I'll never forgive myself for not recognisin' you! But I'll be damned, how could I know that you were hidin' under that wig and that ridiculous uniform?"
Gillette halted again and turned around. This time Jack used the ensuing collision to put his arms around Gillette's waist and pull him close.
"Don't you ever call that uniform ridiculous again, and if you want to keep your hands, keep them off me!"
Jack grinned, showing his gold teeth.
"That's not what you said last week, Thomas my lad."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Article 28. 't is 28, aye? Or did the number change? At the pace the Navy comes up with new articles, it's difficult for a man to keep track."
Gillette stared at him, eyes becoming wide like saucers.
"You're not going to tell him, are you? Not even you could be that much of a bastard! It was a moment of weakness..."
"Heh, no, won't tell your precious commodore. Wouldn't believe me, anyway. But you must agree, life would be easier for you on my side of the fence. No Articles of War, no court martial - just some guidelines. An' a plank. You should consider the options."
Gillette wiggled out of Jack's hold.
"There are no options. I could never be a pirate."
"But you've been a pirate, Thomas! An' a good one, if I may say so! You terrified the crew! Actually, I might still hadn't found out that you're an officer of the Royal Navy if you hadn't threatened Wilkinson with the cat for not having his shoes polished."
Gillette turned his back to Jack.
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness. We have to hurry."
"Fine, fine, let's hurry. Don't want dear Norrington havin' to wait for his precious first lieutenant."
"And I wouldn't want you to have to wait for your precious first mate, either," Gillette said icily. "Poor Mr. Groves - I wonder how he agreed with the life in the navy."
Jack caught up with Gillette and walked now beside him.
"What do you mean? They wouldn't do anythin' to him, would they? He's a good man, Groves that is!"
"He's a pirate."
"Yes, but that aside, he's very bright an' well-mannered. An' difficult. An' complicated. An' moody. That's why I've sent him; he's the only one of my men who could believably play an uptight stiff in a wig."
"Good grief, Norrington didn't kill you - why should he hurt your first mate?"
Jack pushed his hat to the left and scratched his head.
"Truth be told, Groves can be rather... tedious at times."
* * *
"We're almost there. In a few minutes, you will have your beloved lieutenant back."
"Watch your tongue!"
"Could you please stop poking me with that damned sword, James? If he isn't your beloved lieutenant, why do you keep a copy of his passing certificate? And the lock of hair? I wonder where you got that one from. Cut it off while he was toeing the line? Then there is-"
"I don't have a lock of Gillette's hair!" Norrington howled.
"Sure you have. Top drawer, between the stockings and the cravats."
Norrington almost dropped his sword.
"You've been searching through my drawers?"
"I'm a pirate, remember?"
"While you were sleeping."
"Absolutely. Imagine what your superiors would say! And now stop yelling, we're almost there. Countenance, James, you're representing the crown here."
Norrington could have happily strangled Groves with his cravat, but now he could see the pond, and to his great surprise, Jack Sparrow and Gillette were already waiting.
"Yo, commodore!" Jack cried, and waved at Norrington. "Good to see you again! Daniel, is everythin' fine with you?"
"Couldn't be better, Captain!"
Norrington looked over Groves' shoulder, cringing when he saw the state Gillette was in.
"Mr. Gillette, have you been treated well?"
Jack put an arm around Gillette's shoulder and smiled.
"Actually, dear commodore, we've treated him exceptionally well. I've personally done everythin' to make his stay aboard the Black Pearl as pleasuring - pleasing - pleasantly as possible. Haven't I, Mr. Gillette?"
"No doubt," Groves muttered.
"Sort of," Gillette replied, not taking his eyes off Norrington.
"See? Now, commodore, let's' not waste anymore time. Ready to exchange my sarcastic git for your smug bastard?"
Norrington nodded. He sheathed his sword, took his knife and cut Groves' ties. They hadn't been very tight, but Groves made a big show of rubbing his wrists and wincing.
Jack let go of Gillette.
"Should you ever change your mind, you know where to find me, Thomas my lad."
"The need to look for you will never arise, I assure you."
"Now come on, be honest: it's been fun, hasn't it? I mean - some parts of it."
Gillette turned his head and looked at the pirate. An acid reply was on his tongue, but then he had to smile.
"Some parts - yes."
The question remained unanswered, because Gillette had already begun to walk towards Norrington. When the commodore saw that Jack had released his prisoner, he nodded at Groves.
"You may leave now."
"That I will do, James. Keep your powder dry and the drawer locked."
Groves left without looking back. Halfway across the distance, the two prisoners met and exchanged an icy glare.
"If you've done any harm to my captain, I'll rip your heart out, Gillette."
"Should I find that you have hurt my commodore in any way, form or shape, I'll hang you personally from the yardarm."
With that, both men returned to their respective captains and commodores.
* * *
Jack Sparrow awaited Groves, arms akimbo, and scowled at him.
"Daniel, you miserable mangy dog! Can't ye do anythin' right?"
"I'm very happy to see you again as well, Captain."
Jack looked over Groves' shoulder to ensure that Norrington and Gillette had left. When he didn't see them anymore, he pulled his first mate close by the lapels of his coat and kissed him, trying to make up for the last three months within two minutes. When he finally let go of Groves, the man gasped for air, then he grinned.
"So you did miss me after all, you bastard."
"Sure I did. Norrington's terrier's a decent man and good company, but he couldn't hold his liquor. But now tell me - how did he find out?"
Groves shrugged and looked a little guilty.
"What can I say - he saw the tattoo."
"That one," Groves replied, and pointed at the ship and the sparrow on Jack's arm.
Jack arched an eyebrow.
"Daniel - that tattoo is on your arse."
"Now that you mention it..."
* * *
Gillette had finished reading the last page of the report to Norrington, and put the document on the nightstand.
"Do you think we can send it to the Admiralty like that?" he asked. Norrington nodded and kissed Gillette's shoulder.
"Perfect. But unfortunately, this was only the first of many, many reports. Considering the confidential nature of the matter, it might be better if those reports would continue to be written in the privacy of my bedroom."
"Excellent idea, James, and I'm all for it, but what about Article 28?"
Norrington caressed Gillette's chest and nuzzled his ear.
"You know that I'm very strict when it comes to the interpretation of the Articles of War, Thomas, and they must be adhered to. But Article 28 - well, Article 28 is more of a guideline."
"Aye, Sir," Gillette replied, and blew out the candle.
* * *
* * *
"Art. 28: If any person in the fleet shall commit the unnatural and detestable sin of buggery and sodomy with man or beast, he shall be punished with death by the sentence of a court martial." - The Royal Navy Articles Of War (1757)