A/N: That's it. Finally I am sending this plot bunny to the world. Maybe against my better knowledge – who knows, where it will lead me? - but the idea has been persistent and just flatly refused to leave me in peace – so here we go, and hopefully you will like it.

What to say as an introduction for this story? It takes place after the „Curse of the Black Pearl", ignoring „Dead man's chest". Don't get your hopes up, it will affirmatively continue ignoring the second movie, not because I did not enjoy it, but because the story which came to my mind does not work with DMC.

I will, however, steal one or two motives from the film, just because they were too good to pass on, mere sceneries, put into a different context.

It is all about... well, who knows. All about all of them, maybe? Or just all about James Norrington and his way through treacherous waters? All about Susannah Delanney and a way she never would have liked to thread? All about Elizabeth Swann, torn between what seems right and what is wanted?

I do not know yet – bear with me and we will find out together...


Disclaimer: Of course, almost none of this is mine. I am borrowing, and I am trying not to break anything.


Prologue:

And so empty the skies

He had called one of the soldiers to turn his table to face into the room first thing when he came back. He could not stand to watch the sea any more. He had deliberately placed his working space up here, looking over the white and blue bay of Port Royal to always remember, why he was here, and what challenge he had risen up to.

He had dreamed of conquering the sea. His first time on a ship, he had felt the exhilerating emotion of being in control of an ever changing element, of challenging what could not be challenged and emerging as its master. The sea, though it had to be respected, had proven to be a worthy opponent to be conquered, and he had devoted his life to it.

Now, however, things had turned out to be quite different.

It was the sea, that had conquered him, his control of the situation, of his life even, slipping through his finger like the water it was, and it had taken with it what was as uncontrollable, as fascinating and ever changing as the ocean itself.

Elizabeth.

So much these two prizes of his life seemed to be alike, he could not stand to watch the one without being reminded for the other. And thus Commodore Norrington refused to continue to watch the sea.

The order came out harsher than intended, not the cool controlled tone he usually preferred when talking to his subordinates, but he failed to regret it, his mind being firmly fixed on other things. However, this was the only outward sign of just how irritated he was.

Yet, maybe irritated was not quite the expression, truth to be told. He would have preferred it, though. Being irritated had a nice sound to it, a touch of scorn, mingled together with a note of annoyance, an emotion, that, however profoundly felt, stayed on the surface of mind and heart, like a knife scratching porcellain – causing a nasty sound but no lasting damage.

This, however, was not the truth. In fact, if asked, he would have had to admit that the marks left upon him this day were quite sure to last. Fortunately, there was no one in the position to ask that very question. Neither Elizabeth Swann, being the cause and reason for his current state of mind, nor her father, who had taken it upon himself to aid him in his carreer as one might do for a future son-in-law. And, still much less the two soldiers that currently struggled with the big mahagoni table, trying to turn it around to face the door without inflicting too much damage on the floor.

And so irritated it was. At least, as long as no one took a closer look.

Truth to be told, no one was likely to do so. He did not exactly inspire trust and friendship in those around him, and he did this with full intention. Loyality, yes, this was, what his life was about, but loyality was an affection towards something much more insubstantial. Loyality to an idea, a country seemed to be a much more fitting thing for a naval officer, dedicating his life to the sea and the service.

Loyality, however, had not been enough for her.

It was not all he had. But it was all he had offered. And even now, he was not sure whether to regret or to cherish his restraint on that part. He was not altogether convinced that opening himself to the formidable Miss Swann would have tipped the scales in his favour, and thinking about facing the rejection he had experienced today after showing, what he barely dared to admit to himself was... simply not an option.

The ground shook slightly as the table finally settled, the two soldiers sweaty in the afternoon heat. He had not even watched their toil, his gaze firmly fixed on some point at the wall, and now he dismissed them with a distracted wave of his hand. Both of them were more than glad to comply. The Commodore was known for his strict but fair regime, and neither of them really felt guilty about one thing or another, however, considering the current circumstances, things might be a little different at the moment. The door falling into its lock behind them they left the Commodore to silently ponder what had happened – and what had not.

Norrington sat down at the table, still upright as if to pick up the neatly piled papers at any moment, to look through it and to decide what had to be done, but his gaze was unfocused, as he stared at his hands placed flatly upon the wooden surface. And then, with slow, determined movements, he removed the ring from his finger. His hands were trembling, ever so slightly, and finally, when he had removed this apparent sign of his failing engagement to Elizabeth, it fell from his fingers as if his power were totally and utterly spent.

The sound of metal on wood tore the silence in the room, only to be joined by the sounds of his laboured breathing, as truth slowly began to sink in.