All he wanted was his life back.

James Norrington wasn't asking for much, was he? It wasn't like his life had been one of complete grandeur and splendour before, before he lost it all. He just wanted his title back, and his ship, and his crew. And, above all else, he wanted his lost love back with him again.

That was the beginning of the end, really. When he traced back all the failures and disappointments of the past months, it all came back to her. The tall, stunning, beautiful and haunting Elizabeth Swann, the darling princess of the Caribbean. The woman he had loved so madly and so deeply, she was also the woman that he would never, ever have.

When he had let her go, when he had freed her to leap into the arms of that damned blacksmith, he had tried to convince himself that it was the right thing to do, the only thing to do. He had tried to ignore the constant sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, the feeling that he was letting everything he'd ever wanted slip away. However, whenever he thought about her kissing Will Turner, whenever he unwillingly imagined them holding hands and grinned stupidly at each other, his heart seemed to stop and the world would grow silent around him.

And so, he'd thrown himself into his hunt for Jack Sparrow.

Completely, entirely, he pushed himself and, by consequence, his crew and his ship. Through high seas and the absence of winds, to Tortuga and all pirate havens beyond, he'd sailed without rest, searched without reprieve, all in his quest to find that god-damned self-proclaimed pirate captain. But yet again, it seemed that only failure would come to him, more and more defeats delivered to him by fate. On the western tip of l'Isle du Sable, his ship had been waylaid by reefs, while the infamous Black Pearl sailed on into the deep blue of the sea. Near Tortuga, he would have caught the insufferable Sparrow if it hadn't been for an interfering bar wench and the bewildering saving grace of Gibbs coming to his captain's rescue.

But finally, once and for all, he had managed to corner the slippery pirate, of the coast of an uninhabited island near where it had all started, Port Royal. He had been so close, so bloody close, he could almost feel the touch of the Governor's handshake when he arrived in Port Royal, a hero of the British Navy. It was this goal, this ambition that had driven him where no man should go, deep into the heart of a hurricane. The tempest had already begun to rage when he closed in on the Pearl, but nothing except for God Almighty himself could make him let Sparrow get away. He ordered his men to head into the storm, to press onward, because they were so close, so bloody close.

He can still remember the hidden anguish in his First Mate's eyes as he watched his captain, his friend, order the ship to its' doom.

He'd lost everything that day, his crew, his ship, his friends, and his career. Discharged without any vestige of hounour from His Majesty's Navy, he had become what he had always hated and despised: a drifting, aimless man of the sea; a mercenary, a bloody pirate, simply waiting for an opportunity.

James reached down beside him and grasped his bottle of rum tightly, bringing it to his lips and swallowing a grotesque amount without pause, gasping after the bottle had abandoned his touch and the liquid poured unabated deep into his throat. He had been here all night it seemed, but everything was night here, deep in the primal jungle of Tortuga. For that was what it was, really, not a village or a town, but a place were sin was rampant and embraced, worshipped by all in a landwithout salvation.

He sighed, ashamed and embarrassed of what he had become.

What had happened to his life? His career, the Commodore of the Caribbean, the enforcer of British rule, the man respected by others as the hunter of pirates, defender of all villages who became prey to their scavaging and ravaging ways. What had happened to that man, the clean, respectable, desirable James Norrington, engaged to the gorgeous and delightful Elizabeth Swann?

Picking up the bottle once more, he chuckled with an angry and sarcastic smile, as he thought of all the things he had had and he had lost.

Bloody pirates.

The bottle clanged back down onto his solitary table as he let it fall, having emitted it of all its' contents. Disappointed, he looked away, surveying the room with bloodshot eyes. His heart skipped a beat as his gaze caught the slim, perfect figure and immaculate blonde of a very familiar woman on the far side of the room. Elizabeth, he breathed, as his drink-weary mind hungrily devoured the familiar shape of the woman he had always loved.

She turned to him, though the noise of the room could not have permitted her to hear him, and as she locked stares with him, she smiled, and began to move across the room to him. Through the horde of people he watched her, as she wove between the bodies, dancing and yelling and cursing. And as she came closer, he realized that that temptuous body was not that of the woman he loved, nor were her blonde tresses as vibrant as Elizabeth's. His heart sank with the weight of a shattered hope.

Suddenly, though, a new feeling emerged from the inebriated core of his being. Did it really matter if it was not Elizabeth? Did he really care, here at the deepest pit of existence,in the darkest momentof his entire life? Right here and right now all he wanted was comfort, the comfort that he could only find in the arms of the woman he loved.

And as that would not be happening anytime in the foreseeable future, he was willingly to settle for this pretty maid, who had already settled into his lap and was gently kissing the edges of his unshaven chin. He was willing to find whatever pleasure he could with her, though no true happiness would ever occur. And he was even willingly to spend the rest of his life as a bloody pirate, if need be.

He had given up, simply. And all he had ever wanted was his life back.

Raising himself up unsteadily from the table, he drooped his arm over the girl's shoulders and led her out the door, eager to leave in the empty bottle of the rum all of his damned memories of a life that no longer existed and a girl that he could no longer love.