I do not own anything having to do with Pirates of the Caribbean. The only thing I have is time and an overactive imagination! Please don't forgot to review, they are very helpful and much apprciated!
Plundering of the Heart
"Gentlemen, we will be arriving in Port Royal in ten days. It's time to get a move on with the cleaning. I want the deck swabbed and your quarters disinfected. After months with you lot, the Defender is hardly fit for hogs." Commodore James Norrington said to his Naval officers with a slight teasing glint in his green eyes.
They had been at sea for just over two months shadowing the Governor's ship to England. Commodore Norrington had the added task of acting captain as the regular captain of the Defender had passed away suddenly the day before they were to sail. He had of course stepped up and other than the depressing start it had been a remarkably easy journey. No ship problems, no sign of pirates and mostly clear weather except a few isolated nights.
They were on the last leg of the assignment and Norrington was eager to return to land. It had been his experience that nothing ever went this smoothly, situations waited until you were comfortable and off your guard. There were still ten days for a problem to arise.
"I want everyone to keep a sharp eye and not get lax in their tasks. That's how problems come about at sea. Dinner is in an hour. Dismissed.." Norrington said as he clasped his hands behind his back and gazed out over the bow of the ship.
He leaned over to appreciate the beautiful blue clearness of the Atlantic Ocean in the afternoon light and found a pair of dolphins chasing along side of his beloved ship. He watched them for a few minutes before returning to his quarters, smiling to himself as he remembered why he loved the open sea. Mother Nature was a many faceted woman. One minute the seas were swelling angrily to remind men just who was in charge and the next she sweet and giving as she let man witness her majesty.
Norrington sat down at his heavy walnut desk and removed his powdered white wig before reaching for his compass to plot the remainder of the journey. He untied the ribbon that was holding his hair back and ran a hand through his shaggy brown locks as he alternated between studying his map intently and jotting down the coordinates. He worked until it was so dark in his cabin that if he wanted to continue he would need to light a candle to see his parchment. He stood and stretched as he gazed out his porthole to gauge the time and determined the crew should be at dinner.
He made his way to the galley to grab a plate, foregoing the dining table in his quarters and heading to the stern of the Defender to watch the sunset. He mindlessly munched on an apple as his eyes roved over the peaceful horizon. Norrington was lost in thought when his gaze raked across a large brown object bobbing in the distance. Wondering what sort of sea creature it was he set his tin plate down and pulled his spyglass from the pocket of his blue coat, trying to focus on the shape in the blazing setting sun.
When his eyes became accustomed to the bright light he saw what seemed to be the figure of a man floating on a flotsam. He tossed the forgotten apple over his shoulder as his adrenaline began pumping.
He ran to galley and yelled "All hands on deck! Man overboard!"
His officers hesitated not a second before abandoning their supper and jumping to their posts and he couldn't help but feel thankful for having such well trained men. He ran after them, calling out random orders.
"Starboard side at the stern. Less than a kilometer away."
"Prepare to lower a lifeboat."
"Get me a canteen filled with water fresh water."
"Jones! You're the lookout. Didn't you bloody see him? I told you not to get lax. You must keep a sharp eye at all times."
"Lieutenant Gillette, Mr. Morgan. You're with me."
"Commodore Norrington, it's not necessary for you go. Captain Carter wouldn't have bothered. Let me take one of the other men." Lieutenant Gillette said.
Norrington gave him a look that plainly said what he thought of that idea before saying "I'm going Lieutenant and that's final. To the boat."
Five minutes later Morgan was rowing toward the driftwood as Norrington held his spyglass to his eye trying to determine if the man was even alive, he thought he could see movement in the chest but they were still too far away to be certain. However, the closer they got Norrington began to realize he was incorrect in his assumption.
What appeared to be a man's broad chest in the distance was actually the swell of a woman's full breasts. Her arms were folded over her eyes, her deep lapis blue dress was whipping in the wind and her precarious position had him wondering if she was about to go tumbling off her makeshift raft.
He looked back at Gillette who was squinting into the sun and had apparently came to the same realization he had.
"It's a woman." Norrington said unnecessarily as he turned back around and pocketed the spyglass.
"Ahoy there miss." Gillette shouted to the limp form. "I say, can you hear me?"
"Is she dead?" Morgan asked.
"I don't think so. I'm sure I saw her breathing. She must be unconscious. Who knows how long she's been out here. There was no sign of wreckage behind us so it must be something that we're going to come up on. Morgan, get as close as you can to her. Gillette, help me lift her in."
Norrington grabbed her arm and Gillette grabbed her leg before lifting her on three into the safety of their boat. Her eyes fluttered open for just a couple of seconds revealing confused blue eyes that were red rimmed from the salt water before drifting back closed again as she whispered something inaudible.
"Her skin is very cold." Norrington said.
He removed his coat quickly and wrapped it around her before briskly rubbing his hands up and down her arms to heat her chilled flesh. He couldn't but compare her to a drown rat. Her brown hair was damp and matted to her head from all the exposure to the sea water that had lapped at the flotsam but Norrington pulled her head into his lap anyway so he could force fresh water from the canteen through her slightly parted lips.
She didn't swallow and it spilled down her chin. He brushed his thumb softly just under her lip to wipe away the water and was surprised at her loud groan. He leaned over her and saw that she had a bad bruise where he had touched and several small cuts. He felt an irrational stab of protectiveness surge through him and tamped it down quickly.
"Morgan get us back to the Defender as fast as you can." Norrington commanded.
"Miss? Please, you have to wake up." He continued in a much quieter tone as he shook her gently. He watched as her eyes flitted open again and tried to focus on his face. He realized it was too much effort and allowed her to shut them again as he decided to try another tactic.
"Nod if you can hear me." He said and waited with baited breath before he felt her head move almost imperceptibly to the affirmative.
"Excellent. My name is Commodore James Norrington with the British Royal Navy. I am taking you back to my ship, the Defender. Do you understand?"
She nodded more forcefully this time and he held up the canteen as he continued "I need you to drink. It is fresh water. Please, just swallow. Can you do this?"
"Yes." She whispered hoarsely.
Norrington held the canteen to her lips again and tipped it back so the liquid could pour down her throat, waiting for the telltale swallow before giving her more. She reached up a now warmed hand and held on gently to his wrist as he watered her and he ignored the small tingling sensation it created, blaming it on his raging adrenaline.
They arrived back at the ship where the crew hoisted them up and were surprised to find a woman in the boat. The moment the lifeboat touched down on the deck the Commodore had jumped out and gathered her in his arms.
"Mr. Smith! Captain's Quarters. Immediately! Gillette, you're in charge for the time being." He ordered over his shoulder as he strode purposefully through the curious onlookers with Smith trailing behind him. He wasn't exactly a licensed professional but he was the closest they had to a doctor. He'd tended to more battle wounds than any other man on board.
Norrington kicked his door open and set the woman on the bed. He moved aside so that Smith could quickly examine her as he waited nervously in the doorway. He watched as Smith forced her eyes open, lifted various limbs to check for broken bones, checked her pulse and otherwise prodded and poked the woman until he was satisfied.
"She's going to live. She needs hydration, food and a bath. Commodore, can ye please have one the men tell cook to prepare something for her? Bread and fruit would be especially beneficial."
Norrington didn't even hesitate, he whirled around to complete the task himself when Smith stopped him again.
"Sir? Can I trouble ye for a night shirt? She needs to get in some different clothes. These are completely sea soaked."
"Of course." He replied and strode to the chest where he kept his clothes. Since it was ship full of men they had nothing suitable for a woman. One of his night shirts was going to have to do.
He tossed the first clean one to Smith and averted his eyes as he heard the distinct sound of a dress rustling. Embarrassed, he rushed out the door to hunt down the cook.
Ten minutes later he returned with a tray laden with turkey, bread, fruits and large jug of water. The woman was sitting on the bed leaning against the wall as she gazed around the room. It was obvious that Smith had washed her face as her eyes had lost all signs of redness. Norrington had a hard time meeting the intense blue eyes that came to rest on him with great curiosity.
He strode over to her perch on his bed and set the tray down. "Please, do eat something Miss..." He prompted as he realized he didn't know her name.
"Uhh, Commodore? We have a problem." Smith interrupted quietly as he moved to stand next the Commodore.
"Problem?" Norrington asked just as softly.
"Aye. Problem." Smith said as he turned back to the woman. "Excuse me, young missy? What did ye say your name was?"
She raised those blue eyes to Norrington again and stared searchingly for a moment. "I'm...I am...My name is Miss...I'm sorry but I don't know sir."
He watched as she bit her full lower lip, drew her knees up to her chest and looked away as her eyes filled with repressed tears before he turned with raised eyebrows to Smith.
Smith nodded, said "Aye. Amnesia." And left the Commodore staring at the woman with trepidation.