Title: To be a Father
Disclaimer: I do not own PotC
Summary: Takes place after first movie. After pursuing Sparrow for a few months, Norrington captures a pirate ship and finds a sick toddler hiding on board.
WARNINGS: This is AU after first movie. Elizabeth and Will are married and living in the Governor's mansion. The events of DMC are not going to happen in this story, and though Elizabeth and Will are in it (and Jack Sparrow mentioned), it focuses on Norrington. Commodore haters beware my whole purpose in writing this is to give him a much nicer ending than the one rumored to be in the third movie… Also, his love interest will be an OC from our time/world. It's not an original concept, but I assure you that I am going about it in a completely original way. Also, this is unbeta'd if you are interested in the job, please contact me.
To be a Father
'He's not Jack Sparrow, but he is a pirate,' Commodore James Norrington thought to himself as he watched Gillette lead the pirate captain away in chains.
It had been pathetically easy to catch this band of pirates. It was almost as if chasing Sparrow had led him right to them. What better way for the infamous pirate to get the 'scourge of pirates' off his back than to offer up fresh meat. But if Sparrow thought that Norrington would give up so easily, he had another thing coming.
Norrington smiled an unpleasant smile.
His plan was to lock the pirates in the brig, sink their pathetic excuse for a ship (after procuring the stolen goods, of course), and continue in his pursuit of the Black Pearl.
This master plan, however, went up in flames at the sound of a soft sneeze coming from behind him.
The commodore drew out his pistol, and moved cautiously to a large pile of netting. Someone was hiding there, he was sure of it. He frowned as he got closer. Someone small?
A look of surprise crossed his face as he holstered his pistol and used both hands to move the net away from the small shaking form.
It was a little girl who couldn't have been more than three years old. She was filthy, her blonde hair was knotted in a tangled mass. Her eyes were shut, and her flushed skin told him that she was sick. The small yet very well made dress must have been expensive, though now it was torn, dirty, and rather unimpressive.
He looked off in the direction that the pirates had gone. Had they even known she was there? Why on Earth would they have her on board? Perhaps she was the daughter of one of the pirates. The thought put a scowl on his face.
The child shivered and sneezed again, and the commodore looked around wondering what he should do. Luckily, Gillette had returned and noticed his distress.
"It's a child!" The man exclaimed helpfully.
The commodore glared at him.
"So it would seem."
A grin flashed briefly across the Lieutenant's face, before he shrugged out of his coat, and proceeded to wrap the child in it.
Gillette held the girl close to his chest.
"She's burning up with fever, Commodore," he said worriedly.
Norrington nodded, trying to decide what the best course of action would be. The sleeping child had already charmed his lieutenant as the man was now rocking her gently. They couldn't leave her to die, but what could they do?
He felt a small flare of resentment at the thought that immediately continuing his pursuit of Sparrow was no longer an option, but then as he had once told Sparrow, he always kept in the forefront of his mind that he served others and not himself.
"Take her to my cabin and get her cleaned up," he commanded.
"You would have me do this? I have no experience with children," he protested.
The commodore looked pointedly at the way Gillette was cradling her.
The lieutenant blushed.
"I knew enough to realize that she needed to be picked up," he said, doing his best to look dignified.
The commodore sighed again.
"Take her to my cabin. I'll join you shortly and we'll determine what to do then," he said finally.
It was with no little trepidation that Norrington made his way to his cabin. Over the past three hours he had seen that the pirates were securely locked away in the brig, the stolen goods were secured in the hold, and the pirates' ship was well on its way to the bottom of the ocean floor. He could no longer delay. It was time to deal with the child.
He entered the room to find Gillette sitting in a chair, dozing, while still holding the no longer sleeping child, who was watching the lieutenant warily. Her attention quickly turned to the commodore, however when he shut the door with a loud enough thud to wake the other man.
The sleeping man jumped to his feet, nearly dropping the girl. He had to struggle to get a good grip on her, as she had started squirming.
"Put her down on the bed, Gillette," Norrington said.
"I tried earlier and she cried," he said, but did as he was ordered.
The girl sat up on her knees and eyed the two men curiously as she stuck a dirty thumb in her mouth. Norrington winced.
"What is your name child?" The commodore asked as gruffly as if he was interrogating a pirate.
She looked at his stern face and whimpering, put her arms out to Gillette, who immediately scooped her up again.
Norrington glared at him.
"She was going to start crying again," Gillette protested as the child rested her head on his shoulder.
The two men stood there, unsure of what to do. The child started to whimper and squirm in Gillette's arms again.
"Perhaps you could get some fresh water to clean her with?" Gillette asked, finally sitting on the bed and placing her beside him.
The commodore was miffed that his lieutenant was practically ordering him around.
"Would you rather stay here alone with her?" Gillette asked, exasperated.
Norrington nodded, slowly.
"I will stay with her, you fetch the water."
Gillette looked uncertain, but did as he was told.
Norrington made sure the door was firmly shut before he made his way toward the child. He crouched down so that he was eye level with her. Even though they were alone in the room he still glanced around quickly to make sure that no one was about to witness this…
Clearing his throat, he smiled his most comforting smile and reached out toward the girl.
She whimpered, and he shushed her whispering "There, there little one. I'm not going to hurt you," he patted her back comfortingly.
After a few minutes of staring at him warily while he murmured 'baby talk' to her, she took her thumb out of her mouth and reached for him with drool covered fingers.
He did his best not to touch those fingers as he picked her up at the waist. Lifting her, he sat on the bed and placed her gently in his lap. The buttons on his uniform intrigued her immediately. He was content to let her pull at them, knowing she wasn't strong enough to do much damage. But then she tried to put the button in her mouth, releasing a big blob of drool down his front.
Gathering his patience about him, he pulled her up so that she was standing on his thighs with his hands holding her at the waist.
He cleared his throat.
"I am Commodore Norrington, what is your name?" He asked, as pleasantly as he could.
She watched him very closely with her wide crystal blue eyes.
"Commodore," he said very slowly as he pointed at himself.
"Comdore!" She shouted happily.
He fought back the urge to correct her.
"Yes, that will do. Now, what is your name?" He asked again, poking her softly in the chest.
She giggled, thinking he was trying to tickle her. It was a charming sound, and Norrington found himself genuinely smiling at her.
Of course then she sneezed and covered his face in snot. As if that wasn't humiliating enough for him, she proceeded to giggle even more.
He quickly put her down on the bed and cleaned himself up with an old shirt.
"Comdore?" She asked, tilting her head at him.
He shook his head and sat back down beside her.
"Commodore," he said pointing to himself. Then he pointed to her.
Her large eyes lit up in comprehension.
"Penny!" She squealed, pointing at herself
"Penny? What kind of name is Penny?" He asked, derisively.
She looked offended.
"Comdore?" She asked, sounding rather sarcastic for a…
"How old are you?"
Penny looked confused, so he held up two fingers as he asked, "Are you two?"
She smiled in comprehension.
"Dis many!" She crowed holding up two fingers.
His lips twitched. Whether she was actually two years old or was just mimicking him, he couldn't be sure.
Just then the door opened and Gillette entered with a large basin of water and a few clean cloths.
"Comdore!" She called to the lieutenant while pointing at Norrington. Gillette smiled at her and sent an odd look to the commodore.
Over the next half-hour the two men learned a lot about little girls. First, they do not like being bathed. It seemed more water ended up on the floor and on the two of them, than on the squirming pouting two-year-old. She didn't seem to have any injuries. They only thing that could find out of the ordinary were two long scars running lengthwise in the center of the bottom of each foot.
They also learned, that no amount of 'baby talk' would get her to allow them to brush the knots out of her hair. So, basically Norrington held tightly to the screaming thrashing toddler while Gillette tried his best to gently brush out the knots. Not surprisingly, they were unsuccessful.
Irritated beyond belief, the commodore grabbed his straight razor and advanced on the child.
"Sir, please!" Gillette cried, throwing himself in front of the wailing child.
"Oh for God's sake, Gillette! Get out of the way, I'm not going to hurt her."
He then proceeded to cut the matted lumps out of her hair. At first she whined, but then relaxed and let him work when she realized it didn't hurt.
That done, brushing her hair was much easier, though it now looked a bit uneven.
Gillette gave him a reproachful look.
"It will grow back," Norrington said, defensively.
Both men were exhausted by the time they finished. The commodore had just tied her into one of his clean shirts when she suddenly vomited all over it.
Then she cried and started coughing and sneezing.
They cleaned her up again and then the commodore had Gillette take Penny's dress to be washed and dried out on the deck.
Norrington tucked her into his bed, and pressed a cool damp cloth to her burning forehead.
"Mama?" She asked, pitifully.
Norrington raised his eyebrows.
"Who is your mother? What is her name?" He asked
"Mama!" She cried and rubbed her hands over her eyes.
Crying women had never been the commodore's forte, but at least he could reason with a full-grown woman. This little girl was sick, and there was nothing he could do about it.
"Comdore, Penny sick," she whined, reaching for him.
He gently pushed her back to lie down, and began running his fingers through her soft blonde hair. She was moaning slightly and shifting restlessly.
Norrington felt absolutely helpless as he stared down at the miserable little girl. Unbidden, the memory of a lullaby his mother used to sing him came time mind, and he started to sing.
Golden slumber kiss your eyes,
Smiles await you when you rise.
Sleep, pretty baby,
Do not cry,
And I will sing you a lullaby.
Care is heavy,
While I o'er you watch do keep.
Sleep, pretty darling,
Do not cry,
And I will sing you a lullaby.
When he finished she was asleep and Gillette was in the room looking at him like he'd grown a second head.
Norrington motioned for the lieutenant to follow him outside.
"How far away is the closest port?" He asked, after quietly shutting the door so that Penny wouldn't be disturbed.
"We should be there in a few hours."
"Good, the sooner we have a doctor look at her, the better," he said, looking at the closed door with concern.
He didn't notice the look of fear that briefly crossed Gillette's face.
End Chapter One