Disclaimer. Of course, I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean, go figure. Not even the characters William Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Davy Jones, Jack Sparrow, James Norrington, Tia Dalma, Mr. Cotton and Mr. Cotton's parrot - no one. The one thing I did come up with on my own was Josephine Beckett and the insane plot I devised for the characters :-) This is written purely out of fan-appreciation and because I love love love love! the movies. So please don't sue, okay?

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Once again he snug a quick glance at the sack he had hidden inside his bag. Just to make sure it was still there. How was it possible that something this small could have so much power? It was just a putrid piece of flesh, a muscle that was ceaselessly clenching and unclenching. Come to think of it, its stubborn activity was rather senseless, since it wasn't anymore attached to a body through which it could pump any blood. So why did it still feel compelled to perform this task? Of course, the legend said that when Davy Jones cut out his heart, it was to get rid off his emotions, off the pain he felt. Funny, he could relate. With an abrupt gesture he pulled the bag shut and slung it over his shoulder once again.

It had been quite sometime since he felt anything other than loathing and disgust. A fact which made him dimly wonder whether there was actually someone running around with his heart in a sack. It certainly felt like it. He could also vividly imagine who would be the owner of this cruelly extracted organ. A certain governor's daughter came to mind. Just because of her and this bloody pirate everything was gone: his career, his reputation, everything that had determined who he was, but he would not capitulate, not just yet.

His dirty boots dug forcefully into the muddy surface of the street which led to Cutler Beckett's estate. He had come to the finer areas of Port Royal and his appearance - his unshaved, dirty face and long unruly hair - made the ladies wrinkle their noses and the gentlemen shake their heads indignantly. He tried to ignore their stares, act as if he didn't care nor notice, but deep down it hurt, because he could remember a time when any of these ladies, who now looked at him disgustedly, would have fawned over him, asking him whether he had just met their young, eligible daughters. James Norrington lowered his head and continued his way with a grim expression on his face.

Out of a house entrance a few meters ahead a slender figure emerged, its face well hidden underneath the rim of a hat. It appeared to be a young boy, not older than maybe eighteen. Judging from the slightly awkward, shy way he moved, he was afraid to tumble over his own limbs any second. He looked nervously around before he stepped out on the street, but failed to notice a certain grim looking man coming his way and was promptly knocked over by the impact of their collision.

Years of etiquette persistently hammered into young James's head could not be shaken off easily, so he wordlessly reached out his hand, more out of a reflex than actual thoughtfulness, and helped the young man up. The pale face in which he stared seconds later was very smooth and gave away the impression that no single hair had ever dared to sprout on this chin. The eyes that peered up at him timidly were grotesquely large aquamarine pools.

"I'm sorry, sir. I didn't see you coming," the voice was breathy and oddly high. The poor lad must have been even younger than he suspected at first. He hadn't even gone through puberty. The way he squirmed under his gaze told him that he wasn't just shy, he was frightened of him. James decided that there was no need to add to the poor fellow's disquietude, so he chose not to take his temper out on him.

"No harm done. I am myself not entirely innocent in this," he admitted. His manners and polished accent presented a stark contrast to his rugged outward appearance.

Apparently his kind words were not enough to calm the young man down who hastily continued stuttering apologies.

"Listen, young man…what's your name?" he asked exasperatedly.

The boy rewarded this simple question with an incredulous stare as if he had just asked which colour the queen's knickers were, then after a couple of seconds he finally summoned enough courage to answer. "I'm Jo…Joseph," he managed to get out.

"Alright, Joseph, it's been a while since I've last been to Port Royal. A lot of things have change, so I've been wondering if you could kindly point me to Lord Cutler Beckett's estate…."

"Oh, yes," Joseph smiled, baring a set of impeccably white teeth. His nervousness seemed to have finally dissipated. "You won't be able to miss it, sir. It's right next to Governor Swann's house."

"Thank you," he nodded and shouldered his bag again, eager to continue his way.

"You're welcome," the boy called after him with his clear voice.

A couple of minutes later James had gained admittance to Beckett's study. After he had revealed his name and the purpose of his visit to the men who stood guard outside the manor, he was quickly asked to step inside. So far all was going according to plan.

While talking to Beckett he tried to keep his calm, though his mind was the whole time set on one thing: he wanted things to turn back the way they were before he had made the acquaintance of Jack Sparrow or even thought about wooing Elizabeth Swann. When he allowed the other man to briefly sneak a peak at the precious contents of his bag the negotiations immediately took a favourable twist. Beckett was suddenly whistling a different tune.

Of course, the crown would drop all accusations against his person, he would be even promoted to the rank of an Admiral. James registered those words as if through a haze and when they finally shook hands to set the seal on their agreement, it took him quite some effort not to burst into a relieved smile. Momentarily the consequences of this deal were of no importance to him as long as he just got his life back.

"Now, Admiral Norrington, there is so much we must talk about," Beckett's unpleasant voice brought him back to the present.

"Of course," he answered, ever the dutiful soldier.

"We will discuss matters over dinner tonight. So that you will have an opportunity to dress to the occasion," he gave him the eye-over, wrinkling his nose disgustedly.

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He stepped one last time in front of the mirror. The man that looked back at him was strangely alien, yet familiar. The white-haired wig, the ruffled shirt he wore, the polished shoes – it all felt like a disguise. He wondered whether this clothes had always been this uncomfortable or it was just the fact that he wasn't used to wearing them anymore.

His head itched underneath the wig, but he could only just resist the urge to scratch it. He threw a last scolding glance at his reflection, then turned to leave.

When James Norrington stepped inside the huge dining-room that was light by dozens of candles flickering on golden candelabras, it felt like entering a different world. Only a couple of days ago he had gotten himself into a bar fight at Tortuga and now he was dining in the company of the Queen's delegate.

The room was filled with people: a couple of high-ranking navy officers, some of which he recognized immediately. They nodded at him courtly, though the expression in their eyes was anything but welcoming. Over by the corner were Mr. Diggery and Mr. Hobbs, who were deeply engrossed in conversation. They were two of the most influential man of Port Royal, both of them merchants.

Lord Beckett had doubtlessly assembled some of the most important people of this little Caribbean town. In spite of his popularity he still couldn't help but dislike the man, but sympathies were of no importance in his situation. James forced a smile when he spotted their host among the crowd.

Lord Beckett advanced to greet him. A young woman, maybe about 20 years of age, followed him obediently, her eyes downcast in a coy manner. Her dress was of a rich burgundy red colour, probably velvet and worth a fortune. As it was fashionable among ladies of her social strata her skin was completely pale, as if it was never even touched by sunlight. Her dark hair made the contrast between her clothing and her complexion seem rather dramatically.

"Admiral Norrington, so glad you could join us. May I present my sister Josephine, she just arrived from London."

Jospehine curtsied and extended her pale hand to him. He took it, ever the gentleman, and slightly bowed his head above it. His lips never touched her skin. The whole time her eyes remained averted. She was too familiar with the situation to even blush. When he let go of her hand, she finally looked at him. Her fine porcelain features where dominated by two huge aquamarine pools. He had seen this face before, but…it couldn't be. How could she have managed…He immediately discarded the thought, mainly to be able to keep decorum.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Admiral. London always offers such dull company," the mysterious creature replied with an enigmatic smile on her lips.

"The pleasure's all mine, Lady Beckett," came his inevitable answer.

"Since presentations have been made, we can finally sit down to dinner. We shan't discuss business on an empty stomach, after all we are not brutes," Cuttler awarded him with a pointed glance. "I suppose it has been quite sometime since you were able to enjoy a proper dinner, Admiral?"

He just nodded in reply and obediently followed the siblings to the dinner table, graciously ignoring the host's snide remarks. When he had sat down his gaze fell on the polished silver cutlery next to his porcelain plate and the crystal glasses that were quickly filled with ruby red wine. The corner's of his mouth briefly curled into a satisfied smile, then he had himself under control again.

Diner passed rather uneventful, but he couldn't help but steal curious glances at Josephine from time to time. She sat across from him, eating with the grace only lady of her upbringing could demonstrate. The Beef Wellington that was lying on her plate was sliced in tiny nibbles which she gracefully balanced on her fork, before she took them in her mouth. He thought her oblivious to his scrutiny until she sipped her wine and her eyes met his over the rim of glass. They had a positive mischievous expression to them.

He quickly averted his gaze. His previous suspicions became a certainty. This wasn't their first meeting today. He would love to have a word with her, but now was not the time to satisfy his curiosity.