Captain. Commodore no longer, back to a mere captain. Norrington was grateful that he had managed to earn the rank back - after all, he was no only one step away from his former pos0t of 'Commodore'. The chain of events that caused his fall from power had almost been rectified; who could have thought that the notorious Jack Sparrow would survive the supernatural forces pursuing him? Captain Norrington allowed himself a smirk. How ironic that, after undead pirates, giant sea monsters and amphibious fishmen, the one to bring the legendary pirate captain to heel would be a living, breathing mortal human?

After sea leagues of fruitless searching, a half dead Sparrow had been found, floating aimlessly on a hunk of black driftwood with the letters 'RL' in creamy, peeling letters - presumably all that remained of the Black Pearl. The man was fished aboard and revived, but he refused to tell the recently promoted Norrington about the fate that had befallen his ship and his crew.

Originally, Norrington had planned on torturing the information out of Jack, but, his ambition's thirst for power quenched for the while, he had decided to let it lie. Now that Port Royale was nearing, it was time to make sure Jack was comfortable in the cell below decks, take requests for the last meal and all the other usual niceties one shows to a condemned man.

"All right, you've 'ad your fun. So let me out and we'll call it quits, no hard feelings, eh, Commodore?" Jack's oily but calm pleading voice accosted Norrington before he had even finished walking down the stairs into the hold.

"I am afraid, Mister Sparrow," a small smirk as Jack muttered 'Captain Sparrow' to the world at large, "that this is not a game, and may I remind you that, thanks to your efforts, I am no longer a Commodore?"

Jack made a strange swaying motion that was perhaps intended to be a shrug.

"You could'a been a great pirate, mate." He had changed the subject without a single hesitation.

"I pride myself because the opposite is true." The officer's voice was cold, but Jack seemed not to notice as he continued.

"You aren't so different from me - you have the dark ambition, lust for power, interest in teasures..."

"Shiny objects do not interest me as they do your type, Mister Sparrow."

"If I meant shiny things, I would 'ave said 'shiny things'. All that glisters is not gold, so on an' so forth."

"I'm quite amanzed; a criminal who can quote Shakespeare."

"Criminals can be intelligent too." Jack muttered sulkily, not without reproach. "Anyway, you'll taste the freedom of being a pirate soon enough. 'Ow do I know? Curiosity. That's how."

"You must be bloody joking!" Norrington snapped, composing himself a little before continuing. "This is sounding remarkably like that talk you had with Miss Swan. Do you say the same words to everybody?"

"Aha! Eavesdropping too! Great pirate quality!"

"-And just because she lsitened to you does not mean that I will. My standards are far higeher than anything you or your pirate brood can offer me, Sparrow, and that is final!"

"Shame, that." The pirate actually looked upset. "You an' I, we would have made a great team. I don't say that to everyone, either."

Probably does, Norrington thought to himself. "Enought, I do not want to hear more on the subject and I will not be swayed. I will never become a pirate - not after being in your crew."

Silence reigned for a short while as Jack dangled an arm through the bars to play with the dust on the wooden slats. A large wave buffeted at the hull, the pirate's other hand clutching the iron to stop himself sprawling backwards. The grimy, worn cloth wrapped around that hand caught Norrington's eye.

"That is disgusting." He commented, wrinkling his nose in distaste and drawing Jack's attention to it. "Take it off."

"No."

"Mister Sparrow, you will hang when we make land. Even if your soul isn't clean for the Lord's judgement, I expect your body to be clean for the spectators! If it is a bandage, I will bring you another. If it is anything else, then I suggest you stop being childish before I lose my temper!"

The captive hesitated and Norrington rolled his eyes with a sigh, but, after a moment's consideration, Jack undid the fraying cloth and pulled it away from his hand, revealing the black circle charred into the skin. It looked and smelled like burning flesh so badly that the naval officer found himself turning away.

"By God, man!" Was gasped into a handkerchief he had pulled out to cover his nose.

"S'the black spot, mate." Jack explained, almsot cheerfully. "Means as Davy Jones' Kraken hunts me."

Davy Jones. There was something that Norrington would never have believed if he hadn't carried the beating heart back to Lord Beckett to regain his rank. Oh, and being chased by humanoid fish with sharpened driftwood had helped to change his mind somewhat. Under normal circumstances, the officer would have firmly denied that such a tihng existed, but after what he had seen, he was no longer certain what 'normal' was.

"No worries, eh?" Sparrow added, seeing uncertainty in Norrington's expression. "Kraken's dead now. It swallowed me whole so I clung to the inside of it's throat 'till it choked to death."

"Mister Sparrow -"

"Oh, all right." The pirate tutted to himself. "Bloody thing swallowed me whole and when I had stopped being thrown about, I lit a match to see where I was. It must have had a good amount of about eighty ship's gunpowder stocks inside it - I just come face to... well, just come up close to some poor faceless bugger when the whole lot exploded. Tentacle everywhere. Any normal man would have died, o' course, but Captain Jack Sparrow always cheats death."

"Mister Sparrow, you are about to be executed..." Norrington reminded him.

"...oh bugger."

"Quite." James Norrington pulled a box close to sit on. "Now, Mister Sparrow, the reason I have come down here was so that I could attend to any last requests. Heaven knows, you don't deserve it, pirate."

"You don't have much luck with women, do you?"

This earned Jack a blank stare that went on several seconds past the limit of the comfort zone.

"Answer my question, Mister Sparrow." was the eventual cold answer.

"All right, then. Here's a last request for you. You answer my question, Commodore."

"Captain, if you please."

"Commodore suits you better." Jack said resolutely, and Norrington's eyes widened the barest bit... that had to be the first sincere compliment he had heard from the pirate's mouth, if it could be classed as a compliment.

"Very well," he managed at last, "I was engaged to Elizabeth Swann, but that has been called off."

"She's tricky, that'n." Jack made a hissing noise through his teeth. "Gave me a kiss an' chained me to the mast of me own sinkin' ship. Left me to be et by that giant bloody squid!"

Jack was interrupted by the call of 'land ho' from above decks. A moment later and the ship was again rocked quite violently by a powerful wave. Jack held the bars so he wasn't thrown backwards but this time Norrington had no support and slid from his box, crashing quite painfully into the bars and stunning himself.

Had he been fully conscious, the officer qould have immediately picked himself up and brushed away the dirt, before Jack's hands shot through the bars in an iron grip around his wrists, but, mind reeling as it was from the collision, he was soon pinned down and Jack had drawn his ceremonial captain's rapier from its scabbard.

"Commodore, you make this too easy." The pirate murmured, sword point pressed against Norrington's quivering throat.

"Clever, Sparrow. Very clever, but now you've run out of options." The captain managed to stay calm. "If you kill me, then you will have no chances. That blade is ornamental rather than practical, I assure you that it will break if you attempt to pick the lock with it, and if somebody should see me dead by your hand..." The sentence was left hanging, just as Jack would be if he murdered Norrington.

There was a splash and a running of chain as the anchor was cast into the clear sea of Port Royale's bay. Jack's mouth twitched as he realised he had run out of time. Just as Norrington had hoped, the blade was thrown away, being of no further use, but what happened next could never have been predicted; the pirate's lips met the soldier's.

I was not passionate, but it was not terrible. It simply was. There were no words to describe the mixed feelings in Norrington's mind of revulsion, shock and an odd wish that it might never end, but, as all kisses do, this one had to end too. Jack withdrew to the other side of his cell at the sound of approaching footsteps, leaving Norrington to stand and hurriedly adjust himself.

"Let the stubble grow again, mate." Jack winked at Norrington. "I want stubble next time."

"Mister Sparrow -" Norrington began, but cut himself off, realising something as the gaoler let the convict up on deck. That man was Captain Jack Sparrow, and a true pirate. It was certain that he would pull off some miraculous escape. The hangman's noose would not have Sparrow's neck today.

It seemed that 'next time' might be sooner than expected...