Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean

Summary: A look into the past. The past of a man who doesn't cry because society won't allow him to be human.

This room is a study. Not overly large, it is simply but elegantly decorated, the walls a forest green with beautiful dark wood panelling. The furniture is plain, serviceable and comfortable. Dominant materials are leather and that same dark wood that is to be seen on the walls. Bookshelves comprise much of the furniture. A surprising mixture of classic literary romances, plays and books on Naval theory can be found on the shelves. The large writing desk is next to the window, each item on it conscientiously put in its place. This is room of work and paper, thought and reflection.

Wait, there are footsteps outside. A man enters the study. He is tall- possibly six foot, six foot one- and his bearing is confident. His image of proud height is emphasised by the security of his stance, the stern poise found in his body language, the grace and ease of his movements. Fittingly, it is a heavily brocaded officer's Naval uniform that sits perfectly in place on his lean, firmly muscled form. He is young, perhaps only thirty years of age, but his tempest strewn green eyes are older. So much older.

He turns to close the door, removing his feathered tricorn hat. For a few seconds after the quiet click of the door catch he stands tense, like a nocturnal hunter listening for the scuttle of a careless mouse. The his shoulders slowly relax and his whole body seems to slump slightly as he strides across the room to place his hat on his regimentally tidy desk. The white wig is also carefully removed and placed on a stand. Released from its confines by long fingers, thick dark brown hair tumbles to about shoulder length. Distracted fingers brush through it, smoothing it away from his face. Then the heavy blue coat is almost shrugged off those surprisingly broad shoulders. The man hesitates, then fastidiously folds it and places it on a chair in the corner.

Only then does he allow himself to fall back into the chair at his desk. He closes his grey-green eyes and buries his face in his hands, placing his elbows on the surface of the desk as he exhales slowly.

Look at this man. He looks and acts like any other human being. His name? Commodore James Richard Norrington. This is the man they call the Scourge of Piracy in the Caribbean, the Iron Commander. Strange, he looks like a normal human being to me. Strong, perhaps, but vulnerable. His stony front would seem to be just that. A façade, a forgery, a mask to cover an unforgivable weakness. He is human. God forbid the world should know that there is a man behind the smart uniform and the Naval Commodore.

What has led to this? What has led to his dismissal of emotion in the public eye? It is not that 'it is just not done'. It can't be that. It goes deeper. Let us look into the past…

Behold the young boy before us. Familiar features, yes, but younger, happier, more open. See the bright smile, the gleam of intelligence in sparkling green eyes. No lines of pain or worry on this five-year old face. May I introduce you again to Commodore James Richard Norrington? Obviously he is just a child, with no concerns, no worries. Then let us go on…
He is ten years of age. His once sparkling green eyes are older and greyer. Made old by misery and sorrow. He is dressed in black. We move around to his perspective. Two graves, side by side. One headstone. One inscription. Two names. 'In loving memory of James and Violet Norrington….' He is still a young boy, but now his parents are dead and he is alone in the world. But he does not weep. He does not publicly display his sorrow. He turns it inwards on himself and when his few mourning relatives turn in for the night, his anger explodes and he goes wild, destroying his belongings, cursing the scum that dared kill his parents. He vows to rid the world of pirates so that such a tragedy may not happen to another. A powerful vow for a person to make…
Again the years pass. He is now a gangling awkward youth of sixteen years. He has been in the British Royal Navy for four years, joining up at twelve to escape the grey misery his family home had become. Currently a midshipman on HMS Steadfast, he is a favourite of the captain due to his extensive knowledge, quick mind and impeccable behaviour. This does not make him a popular companion for the other midshipman in the mess. Nor does his peculiar friendship with the latest addition to the crew- another young midshipman, unfortunate enough to have been born half-French in a time of antagonism and war.

Adam Matthieu Gillette, two years younger than his self-appointed protector, is an equally intelligent youth with a sharp, sarcastic wit that he shares with his friend. He does not know why Mr Midshipman James Richard Norrington has taken him under his wing. He does not think to question the action. Neither does he notice the multitude of bruises that start appearing on James' body and the sudden increase in rumours and insults that sully his friend's name. If he did, he would leap to his fellow midshipman's defence. A powerful bond then, despite its youth and hardships, a bond that will serve these two men well…

Second Lieutenant Norrington is grievously wounded. Men whisper amongst themselves of his heroic action, attacking the enemy captain, taking a sword-thrust for their own captain. They speak of his bravery, his selflessness, and his loyalty. Third Lieutenant Gillette and Fourth Lieutenant Groves sit by the side of his cot in silence, watching with concerned eyes as their friend twists and turns in fevered delirium. They pray that he will survive until they get back to England, where two special passengers await their escort to the West Indies…
A ship is sailing to the Caribbean. At its prow stands a pretty young girl of about twelve years with ringlets in her hair. She sings of pirates. Behind her, an old sailor mutters to himself and prepares to stop her. It's bad luck to talk of pirates, doubly bad when tis a woman. Even a miniature one. He does not hear the approach of one First Lieutenant Norrington, intending to talk with his little travelling companion. Though you would never guess it, 22 year old James Norrington likes children. When he is able to drop the stony mask he has built up, he is a favourite uncle to his nieces and nephews. He delights in their imagination adventures, taking it upon himself to play the villain or hero as they play their way through childhood. But talk of pirates quickly hardens his heart. His face sets into its customary granite expression as a pain that has never been forgotten stabs through his heart.
And the final picture in our journey of memory. Commodore Norrington faces three people in the middle of courtyard of rock and stone. The girl with ringlets has grown into a beautiful, iron-willed woman. She stands beside her true love, her defiance clear for all to see. Beside her, the son of a pirate stands firm, willing to risk all for a friend. A child of the sea wavers uncertainly behind their shield. His kohl-lined eyes flash over the face of the Commodore, who is staring at the girl who grew up before he knew her.

The façade cracks. "So this is where your heart truly lies?" Shattered into a million gleaming shards and ground to dust under the unmerciful Caribbean sun, his beleaguered heart is once again crushed by his love. Though surrounded by men who trust and follow him with unwavering loyalty, he stands alone in an ocean of pain.

Now we turn away, pull back from the past, look to the present. We look at the man who sits at his desk with his head buried in his hands. We think of the hardships he has endured, the trials through which he has suffered. Life has been cruel to him, Dame Fortune a fickle mistress, Lady Luck an unworthy friend. We think of eyes that grew grey with the pain of heartbreak. We think of the emotionless man he has become to the world around him.

Because James Norrington doesn't cry.

Note to self- must write nice cheery story. All those in favour, say AYE