Fic: Aboard the Dauntless Ch. 1: Beholden to a Pirate

By Honorat Selonnet

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: The script is Ted and Terry's just like they promised; the wealth is Mickey Mouse's just like he promised; and I'm all set to make no money at all, just like I promised. So we're all men of our word really—except for me who is actually a woman, well, and Mickey, who is actually a rodent.

Summary: Commodore Norrington rescues his lady love in a highly compromising situation. Sequel to "Marooned," just a short transitional chapter. More movie novelization including deleted scenes and filler—the second trip to Isla de Muerta. As usual, this story has gotten entirely out of hand.

Thanks and one small Caribbean Island in a nearby universe go to geekmama2 for beta work on this. Any errors and inconsistencies remain mine.

Beholden to a Pirate

Commodore James Norrington's heart had sunk after his initial joy at seeing Elizabeth Swann alive on the shore of the small desert island. He had known all along that she had been held captive amongst pirates for over a week. When no ransom demand had been forthcoming, they had feared the worst. But he hadn't let himself realize the full implications of that truth until he saw her with Jack Sparrow. How she had ended up in such a location with the man who had escaped with young Turner was a mystery. But remembering the pirate's behaviour towards Elizabeth on the docks at Port Royal, he could not imagine that, if by some chance she had escaped the Black Pearl unscathed, that black-hearted bastard Sparrow, had left her unharmed. He could see the pirate smirking at him on the beach, probably quite aware of the commodore's thoughts.

Vowing that he would choke the life out of Sparrow with his bare hands, Norrington gave orders for the longboat to be brought in to shore.

Elizabeth met them in the shallows. At first glance, she looked as though she had been through hell, and his stomach twisted. She was filthy, dressed only in a thin and extremely grubby shift. Her face was bruised and sunburnt and sooty. Her feet were cut up, and one hand had been bandaged. What his men were thinking was written plainly on their faces.

But the commodore had come to the aid of enough port towns in the aftermath of pirate attacks to recognize the look in a woman's eyes when she has been raped and abused. Elizabeth did not have that look. In fact her eyes reminded him of nothing so much as those of a young marine in his first battle—bright and fierce and determined. As though her wounds were merely battle scars, and her heart was whole. She would not have met him with such glad, innocent eyes had Sparrow, or the other pirates for that matter, hurt her much at all.

Nor, he reflected, would she have been so comfortable around the pirate when he returned to the water's edge wearing his boots, shrugging into his waistcoat and re-tying his sash. Elizabeth laughed and teased him about how his legend would suffer if he did not immediately find a bath and a laundress. Sparrow looked mutinous with respect to the bath but agreed that the laundress, if she were a winsome lass, would be a fine idea. Rather than appearing shocked at this bold immorality, Miss Swann slapped at Jack Sparrow good naturedly and told him to mind his manners, the quality had arrived.

The entire exchange disturbed Norrington more than he cared to say. It occurred to him to wonder what look he would expect in Elizabeth's eyes had she been willing and the pirate not needed to force her. He repressed that traitorous thought immediately. But his mood was not improved by the fact that it was Sparrow to whom Elizabeth turned for help in boarding the boat in her long skirt.

The pirate handed Elizabeth gracefully into the boat, with an admiring glance at her display of trim ankles, irritating the commodore further. Norrington himself was having a hard time keeping his professional detachment in the presence of his scantily clad love, but that bloody bastard had no right to look at her so. Sparrow grinned mockingly at the commodore as he clambered in after the girl. It gave Norrington great satisfaction to see that grin slip as his marines again confiscated the man's pistol and baldric.

The satisfaction was short lived. As the boat set off for the Dauntless, Norrington heard Mulroy asking Jack Sparrow to tell them another story. "And no lies now," Murtogg added. He really had to get that pirate back to Fort Charles and safely hanged before the man had charmed the entire Caribbean into legalizing piracy.

Thus, the rescue boat returned to the ship with Sparrow's voice occasionally reaching Norrington's ears. "And then we let all twenty-five chickens loose on the deck . . ." The commodore winced. The man was not a pirate, he was a bloody joke.

His eyes were drawn again and again to Elizabeth's eager laughing face. It went very much against his grain to have to feel gratitude to Jack Sparrow.