Only Disney owns or can make money on anything to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. I-just-borrowing-to-play-with-for-personal-entertainment-and-giving-back. Can I be any clearer? NO profit being made here by or for me!
Rated: Teen for some violence,light innuendo and some language. Mild W/E pairing, J/A pairings.
Chapter 9: The Commodore and The Captain
The room they all followed him into caused both Will and Elizabeth to stop immediately and stare wide eyed. The floor was planking as the rest of the building, but in the center was a Persian rug so large it nearly covered the entire floor. Directly ahead of them were two high arched windows full of paned glass that had a 'wavy distortion' to it. This distortion dispersed the light that came through so it fell softly into the room, illuminating it well.
A large weathered sea trunk with a rounded top and wrapped with leather bands and brass tooling sat between the two windows. To the right was a dark wood desk with a bookshelf along the wall beside it and behind it and a lantern on the corner. Beside the window was a large overstuffed chair with a small table and lantern set beside it as well. The wall above it bore a woven tapestry depicting a rather bulky man with dark hair and a long dark beard, seated upon the back of a black tiger, clad in clothing of the orient with fronds and ferns in the background.
To the left was a very large actual English type bed, complete with bolsters and a quilt of many patched together swatches of colorful cloth. Along the far wall were mounted the heads of two extremely large tigers, expertly preserved through the skill of taxidermy. At the foot of the bed was spread out a large tanned skin of black fur that faintly showed tiger stripes. A small table separated the large bed from a much smaller one set against the wall. There in the smaller one lay Commodore Norrington, propped up with several pillows behind him.
Between the beds were two small chairs, currently occupied by two very young looking men. They looked up at the pirate with wide eyes and seemed a bit alarmed at his sudden entrance. Both had hair down past the shoulder but neatly tied back, and were still clad in the britches and shirts of their military uniform.
The Commodore looked up, a tea cup in one hand and the blanket folded down neatly over his lap and with a small bed tray beside him. But instead of frown, the Commodore seemed almost shy, quickly smiling as he nodded in answer to the man's question.
William and Elizabeth both looked around the room for a very long moment, drinking in the details. Both of the young men seated beside the Commodore seemed very nervous, as if wishing they could be suddenly invisible, which only attracted the pirate's attention all the quicker. He gave them a gold toned smile as he came to sit on the foot of the larger bed, just behind them. He seemed amused as one of the younger men swallowed quite dryly while staring at him as if transfixed.
"I don't believe we've had the pleasure yet gentlemen. Last time I saw either of you it was when I was trying to pick the lock on that cell you were in. What's your name lad?" he asked of the first who had already blushed at the mere mention of his former place of incarceration.
"Lewis – sir. Lewis – Dartmouth." He said and the pirate nodded and looked at the next who looked even more alarmed at his presence.
"Matthew sir, M-m-Matthew J-Johnson, sir," he said with a nervous stutter. Jack considered him for a moment.
"How old are you lad?" he asked and the one looked up and gulped hard.
"17 sir." He managed in barely a whisper.
"You like the Royal Navy? Has it been what you expected?" the pirate asked and the young man quickly nodded very much so, as did the other beside him.
"And you, young Mr. Dartmouth? How old might you be?" Jack asked and the one smiled.
"19 sir." He said smartly and the pirate seemed even more amused, considered them for a moment and then straightened up carefully.
"Very good then. Now, do you think I could ask the two of you to go out to the patio behind the building and offer your services for the afternoon to the lovely ladies you will find there? I'm afraid we were not exactly expected and having nearly 60 guests suddenly appear for dinner is probably a bit stressful? Just tell them that I sent you for the day. I do know they will be needing some firewood fetched, and water." he requested. They both looked at Commodore Norrington who quickly nodded.
"Yes gentlemen, please do anything Captain Sparrow asks of you for now." The military man told them and both left the room. As soon as they had gone the pirate sighed heavily and removed the hat from his head to set it on the bed.
"What, you don't think my intentions are to have them stewed for supper? You're slipping mate, you should never trust one of us dastardly pirates," he warned the military man as he lightly rubbed over his sore thigh. The Commodore gave him a wan smile.
"If you don't mind the observation, you look as if you belong in bed almost as much as myself. Someone told me this is your quarters when you are here. I appreciate you letting them put me here, but I'd much rather be quartered with my men if I could. There's no need for you to be inconvenienced…" He said and the pirate shook his head.
"No, my boys tend to get a bit rowdy at times out there – and at the best some of 'em snore at night like they're cuttin' down trees. Don't worry about your lads Commodore. If they were workin' for me I wouldn't let either of 'em even take part in a raid – or anything else dangerous. Not at so young an age as that. People around here – they all appreciate my opinion about what constitutes 'being of age' you might say. They'll treat 'em exactly as what they are – young boys trying to figure out how to be men on their first time away from home, hearth and kin. I can positively assure you that we won't be recruitin' them to join us." He said and the military man gave him a grateful look.
"Will you be able to repair the ship properly here? Wherever here is?" the Commodore asked and the pirate nodded as he sagged where he sat, his features seeming tired and worn now.
"Aye, we should be fine. Most of it was sail and railings. But, they get replaced a lot, which means we keep it on hand. Have a cannon to switch out, but that's not a real issue either." He said and the military man raised an eyebrow.
"You keep extra cannons on hand - here?" he asked in a surprised tone and the pirate smiled and shrugged with a hands up gesture of innocence.
"All the things in that cave that we saw… You went back for the treasure at the Isle de Muerta, didn't you Jack? Can't you just buy whatever you want now?" Will asked and the pirate gave him a smirk and gesture of innocence.
"Dear Young Mr. Turner, have you forgotten? I can assure you that we truly are pirates," he said and the Commodore smiled even more, although the blacksmith looked rather doubtful.
"Ah, but exactly what kind of pirate is the question, isn't it Sparrow? You risked your life, your ship, the lives of your crew, everything in the hold – just to get three members of the British Royal Navy out of the hands of some gone-rogue Spanish Captain and crew." The Commodore said and hesitated, tilting his head as he considered the man who should be his eternal nemesis, instead of his salvation.
"It's not exactly as it was with the disaster at Port Royal this summer. No, this was more of a true choice on your part. This wasn't just bringing back people and leaving goods – this was choosing a course of action that meant having to fight them. And considering it was on behalf of my men and I, not one I would ever expect a pirate to make. Why didn't you just leave?" He asked and the pirate seemed to think for a moment, head bowed, as he touched the bandage around his head very gingerly with one hand.
"A moment of temporary insanity?" he asked back and then winced at finding a sore spot on his head and now the military man chuckled softly. He quickly quit laughing as the pirate seemed to close his eyes with a pained frown, his hand still to his head as he swayed mildly. When he finally opened his eyes it was to find the doctor standing right before him, making a very intense study of the man.
The pirate gasped softly in alarm as he tried to move away, one hand coming up defensively as he gave a very dark scowl and leaned as far sideways as he could, hissing under his breath and obviously not very happy at this sudden apparition that stood before him.
"Whoa Jack, hush, – relax," the doctor quickly reassured, but the pirate shook his head, trying to get up but apparently not having the strength or balance to do so just then. The doctor frowned deeply as he attempted to steady the man by his good shoulder. This seemed to cause the pirate to struggle harder in his attempts to get away.
"No, no, no – you'll only make it worse trying to do that – please - let go of him. He doesn't take well to being man-handled." Came an unfamiliar female voice in a very stern, authoritative tone.
They all turned and did strong double takes to see a woman come in, clad in a traditional nun's outfit. All of them stared in sheer disbelief as the nun came bearing a steaming cup of tea and moved with a very graceful air as she sidestepped the doctor to reach the pirate.
"Captain Jack – shhh now, it's all right," she soothed as she lightly touched his shoulder and offered him the cup of tea. The man immediately stopped his protest and looked up, obviously relieved to see her, and even letting her give him a gentle half hug. He sipped at the tea cup and instantly made a face of bitter dismay and coughed hard – and then gave her a reproving look.
"You forgot something Sister Mary," he said and she smiled at him fondly.
"Its got a dab of rum in it already and that's all your getting with the kind of head injury I've been told about. And don't bother trying to con any more out of me, you daft scallywag. You're lucky I put any in it at all for you." She told him with a mild Irish brogue and watched as he sipped again at the cup and made a face of dismay. Much to the pirate's annoyance, the good doctor, the young blacksmith, his darling wife and the military man all seemed rather amused with his situation.
The nun smiled at all of them, one hand absently smoothing down the dark hair on the pirate's back.
"Ah – how nice to meet you all! I heard we had visitors this time!" she said as they all considered her rather intently.
"Is – is there a church on the island?" Will asked and she smiled and shook her head.
"No, actually there isn't." She said and the pirate looked up as if amused and then introduced each of them to her. Dr. Cook gave the man an amused smile.
"I had no idea you were Catholic Jack," he said and the pirate did a double take at him and nearly choked on the tea.
"Who me? I'm not that insane! No – actually its' my mother who tends to hold with Church attendance…. And no, she's not here, she's back in jolly old Britannia." He said and now the others looked a bit puzzled. It was Sister Mary who smiled at them.
"When the lad was shot by his very own father,it wasIthe hospital sent to care for him at the family estate. I had worked in the various hospitals of our order for a very long time, and the lad was not expected to survive. Lady Stuart had asked the church to send the priest to give him the last rites, and Father Joseph suggested I come along so someone would be there with her when he passed, besides just the physicians." She said and they all looked thoughtful.
"He must have had very good physicians." Dr. Cook observed and she sighed and nodded.
"His majesty's own as a matter of fact. Still he was given the last rites 7 times in a one month period – its quite the miracle that he managed to stay with us." She said fondly of the man and the pirate gave her a rather incredulous glare.
"You don't need to be telling them this Sister." He warned sternly and she gave him a nonplussed smile as she stroked down the dark hair and discretely rubbed his back a bit.
"Oh hush now Captain. True, when you decided to leave long before you were truly well enough to, I never expected that coming with you to here was going to be a long term arrangement, but its all worked out wonderfully I must admit. Besides, I don't want anyone getting the slightest idea that I am somehow here against my will or that you picked me up somewhere and brought me here by your own design. In fact, as I remember, you were a bit loud in strenuously insisting you did NOT need a nursemaid to watch over you on the trip home." She said and he seemed amused and then shrugged and sipped more at his tea.
"And I was right," he pointed out and she laughed softly.
"You came back with him after he was shot? I was under the impression that had happened many years ago. You've been here ever since?" Dr. Cook asked and she nodded.
"Well, no, it hasn't been all that long actually since that happened. Not long at all really! When we finally got here, he went to a small town not that far from here and hired out on a ship bound for Tortuga. From there he set out for Port Royal, where he met Miss Swan, and the good Commodore and young Mr. Turner. Shortly afterwards he was able to bring the Black Pearl here for refitting and repairs. So, it hasn't been all that long in reality." She said and they all looked surprised.
Dr. Cook frowned mildly at the pirate who finished his tea with a shudder of disgust and grimaced at it and set the cup aside and rubbed at his forehead. Sister Mary seemed to instantly notice.
"You're still having a headache and bouts of dizziness." She stated without question and he half shrugged.
"Oh its' nothing compared to how it was at first. Nothing to worry about." He dismissed with a short wave of one hand and she arched an eyebrow at him, then moved to pull the pillows up and stack them against the headboard as were Norrington's and the pirate gave her a dark look.
"I really don't have time for this sort of thing. I just wanted to be sure the Commodore had been properly situated before anything else. I'm certain Dr. Cook would appreciate any assistance you could give him in seeing to our esteemed guest." He told her, but she kept up what she was doing, preparing the pillows behind him at the other end of the bed. Finally she finished and stood there, looking at the pirate very expectantly. The man glared back most stubbornly and looked about to voice his rejection when she raised a hand with one finger upright.
"Jack – it's the first day the ship is back with us. The most essential things have been unloaded and the boys have brought up their things and stowed them away. Half of them are up at the swimming hole or over at the waterfall by now getting cleaned up. You know as well as I do that you've always let them go early the first night to spend as much time with their loved ones as soon as possible. Do you have some intentions of changing that?" she asked seriously and he shook his head.
"No. That is what I want the first night we get in." He agreed and she smiled mildly.
"All right then, you also know then, that aside from dinner, which won't be served for a few more hours, that there isn't anything that urgently needs your attention now or for the rest of tonight. I myself can tell you that things have gone well. There are no vital matters waiting for you to see too this time. The boys all know they're expected back tomorrow at noon for assignment to a work party of some sort or other. Now don't argue with me. Just get up here." She told him and the pirate shook his head some, quickly half wincing and putting a hand to it.
"I can't… we have – guests." He said and she considered the others just briefly and smiled at them kindly.
"I'll see to our guests for awhile Captain. Now get yourself up here. There is a package of correspondence I suppose you can look through – and I'll even throw in a small glass of rum. Do we have an accord?" she asked cheerfully and the pirate gave her a sly smile.
"Only a small glass?" he asked and she grinned and pat the pillows.
"Get up here ye black hearted scoundrel" she teased and indeed now the man rose slowly and came up, seeming relieved as he crawled up onto the bed and sat with the pillows behind him. The nun left and returned in a moment with a dark glass and a leather satchel that bulged noticeably. She gave both to the man and watched as he quickly took a long swig, and he made a face of distaste.
"Its watered down!" he objected strongly with a 'looks-that-could-kill' scowl and she sighed and pat him anyway.
"When you're not having dizzy spells and over this head injury – I'll make it up to ye lad, I promise. Besides, its not all THAT watered down." She said with a gently stroke of the dark hair and the man gave a soft sigh but didn't protest further.
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Commodore Norrington dimly became aware of what sounded very much like a mouse rustling somewhere close by. He shifted uneasily in his sleep with a vague frown. He must remember to get more mouse traps as soon as possible. In his dream he stomped the floor, but the rustling continued. Finally he turned over onto his side and hugged the pillow closer, but still the noise continued.
Slowly he came awake and realized he was not in his home, not in his kitchen, but sleeping in some hidden pirate's lair! He was just contemplating how he could possibly explain all of this, when suddenly there came the sound again.
He opened his eyes to find a dim light in the room. He turned towards it to discover that the pirate captain was sitting at the desk in the corner of the room, a wooden box of some kind open beside him. The mouse-like scratching was the sound of the pirate's quill pen as he wrote on a piece of paper at length.
Norrington shifted, getting comfortable and arranging himself so he could watch the man without the pirate being aware of it. He frowned as he realized that the pirate had removed the bandage from around his head, and seemed very engrossed in his work. He watched as the man seemed to finish whatever he was doing on the page, blotted it dry, blew on it lightly for a few moments, then carefully folded it and put it in an envelope that he went about affixing a wax seal to on the back.
Norrington realized the pirate was using the embellished side of the silver and onyx ring he wore to create a 'seal' in the cooling wax, then he set the envelope aside and pulled one from the box beside him. From the stack of sealed ones to the man's left and seeing that there were very few left in the box, Norrington guessed that the man had been at this task for some time.
Norrington dozed lightly on and off as the pirate opened the new envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper, read it thoroughly, then took out a clean sheet of paper and looked in the book at several pages before beginning to write on the page. His strokes were fast and with ease, well practiced and apparently with some flair. This one he quickly finished and added to the pile and now took out another as he sat back in his chair and picked up a nearby mug to sip at its contents as he considered the outside of the envelope curiously. The pirate gave a long yawn and put his elbows on the desk to rub at his face tiredly, not realizing he was being observed by the drowsy military man.
The pirate opened the letter, holding it in the area of light cast by the lantern as he sipped at his cup. Suddenly the man bolted upright in his chair, eyes wide with surprise as he gasped and then choked on what he had been drinking. The pirate leapt to his feet, coughing loudly and long, apparently having inhaled some of his drink. His eyes were watery when he finally quit and now he seemed shaken and pale as he half fell into his seat, eyes glued to the page before him.
"Ye blasted lily-livered bloody fool! I do NOT need this now-" the pirate breathed in a deeply upset tone as he carefully flattened the sheet beside the lantern and now read it again. Norrington came more awake at the pirate's emotional tone. Jack was obviously breathing hard all of a sudden and seemed to be fumbling with anything he touched, his hands shaking and features suddenly extremely pale and reflecting shock.
For a long moment the pirate parked his elbows on the desk and put his hands to his eyes and stayed that way, still and silent. When the pirate still had not moved after several minutes, Norrington stirred, making sure the man heard him.
Sure enough, as soon as he moved, the pirate used his sleeves to wipe at his eyes, and leapt up from the desk, crumpling the page and stuffing it into his pocket, then he looked over at the bed with a very wary and guarded countenance, his expression one of tension and fatigue – both easily noticeable.
"Sparrow? What time is it?" Norrington asked softly, and the man froze for an instant, then came around to the corner of the desk where his face would be in shadow and there he stopped, leaning against the desk.
"Um – they just rang five bells a little bit ago – little after 2:30 in the morning. My apologies if I woke you" He said as he sat back and claimed his cup from the desk and sipped at it, his hand still trembling visibly, which he refused to acknowledge. Norrington sat up in the bed and rubbed at his eyes and then frowned mildly at the man.
"Can I get you something Commodore? Would you like a drink of water? Do you need me to summon the doctor?" the pirate asked, his voice husky with suppressed emotion. Norrington shook his head.
"No, no – I just – ummm – shouldn't you be in bed yourself?" he asked and the pirate just shrugged as he retreated shifted into the shadows more, drinking more from his cup.
"I have been already. Its' fine. I'll go in just a few minutes. I'm pretty much finished up here." He said as he gestured loosely at the desk. Norrington gave a long yawn and gave him a sleepy frown.
"You really should be in bed Sparrow. It's the middle of the night" Norrington observed and the pirate half shrugged as he stood up away from the desk and sat the cup down and went to the other corner where he retrieved his long grey sea coat and carefully began putting it on. Now Norrington frowned even more at him.
"Oh, nothing to fret about Commodore – I will be soon enough. Just want to take a reading off the north star for the charts is all." He said casually and Norrington's eyebrow shot up his forehead.
"We are not at sea at the moment Sparrow, You need the horizon at sea level to be able to do that," the military man reminded, and the pirate froze solidly for a long moment with his hands on his lapels.. He finally straightened, then went about adjusting his coat as if the military man had not made such comment, one sleeve brushing roughly over his cheeks as he sniffled softly.
"Yes - that is true Commodore." He finally admitted very softly, claiming his cup and coming closer.
"Are you sure I can't get you anything?" the pirate asked, his voice husky and wavering with emotion. Norrington couldn't see the man's face with the light of the lantern behind creating only a silhouette form, but he could observe the mug shaking in the man's hand. The pirate looked down, and put his other hand to the mug as well to steady it. There was a long silence.
"Is something wrong Jack?" Norrington asked him in a genuinely concerned tone. The pirate reacted to the military man using his first name with a heavy wince, then he abruptly straightened up and headed for the door with several crisp, sharp strides and paused at the doorway.
"No, I give you my word Commodore. Now go back to sleep please? I won't be very long. You need to rest." He said in a suddenly gruff tone, then turned and abruptly left the room. Norrington could hear his forceful stride as he crossed the room full of slumbering sailors, then came the distant sound of the front door of the building being opened and closed. He was still sitting up and wondering exactly what had happened, when the doctor appeared at the doorway clad in sleep pants and shirt and with a candlestick in hand, seeming quite tousled and half asleep as he came over to his patient.
"James? Are you all right? What's wrong? I heard a noise – I think." He asked as he quickly felt at the military man's forehead and then at his neck and then at his wrist as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
"No no – its not me. It was Sparrow you heard." The commodore told him and the man looked over towards the big bed and quickly scowled.
"Oh no – if he's up wandering around, I swear I'll strangle him!" he breathed, and James quickly shook his head.
"No, something upset him.." He said and the physician arched an eyebrow at him.
"No, he truly was Doctor. When I woke up he was doing some sort of correspondence and didn't realize I was awake. One of them made him suddenly start coughing and shaking when he read it…. When he realized I was awake, he pretended nothing was wrong at all…. Said he was going to take a reading from the north star for the charts before he went to bed. When I pointed out to him that we are not at sea – you have to be at sea to do that – he just froze for a moment, then he took off out the door. I don't know where he's gone or why, but he was very upset. No Captain of a ship just happens to forget for a moment that he's not at sea. I certainly don't believe Captain Sparrow could mistake this building for his ship." He said and Dr. Cook suddenly seemed wide awake as he frowned darkly.