Title: To be a Father

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I do not own PotC

A/N: I've put this off long enough. I can't even begin to explain how hard it has been to come back to this story. If you have seen 'Dead Man's Chest' please read my thoughts at the end of the chapter. If you have not seen it, go see it. Then read my thoughts.  Whatever you decide, please know that I am recommitting myself to this story after almost abandoning it completely. I hope you enjoy…

Chapter 8

His head was throbbing as he slowly opened his eyes. He had to swallow a few times, fighting the urge to vomit. The late afternoon light coming through the window made his head hurt even more.

A small, warm weight on his chest shifted when he let out a painful groan.

"Comdore?" The little girl whispered, sleepily.

He blinked down at her in confusion.

"What…?" He broke off, his eyes going wide.

"Bucket!" The little girl cried and pointed to the floor beside the bed.

He barely had time to grab it before he proceeded to empty the contents of his stomach into it.

"Eww," she said, wrinkling her nose.

He put the bucket back on the floor, and fell back onto the bed taking deep breaths.

"Mama! Comdore throwed up!"

He cringed at her shrieking voice, then sighed in relief as she scrambled off the bed and ran from the room.

He must have fallen asleep again, because the next time he opened his eyes night had fallen.

A woman sat on the bed, gently bathing his face with a cool cloth. It was hard to see much of her in darkness.

"How are you feeling James?" She asked softly when she saw he was awake.

"James?" He asked, a memory of himself kissing the woman flashed briefly through his head followed by a sharp, stabbing pain behind his left eye.

The woman gave him a hurt look.

"It's back to Commodore then is it? You know Penny didn't mean to hurt you with that block. The corner of it struck your temple at just the right spot… I'm very sorry, Commodore," she said and stood to leave the room.

He reached out a hand and tried to sit up, only to be over come with dizziness.

The woman had returned to his side and pushed down on his shoulders.

"You need to rest," she said firmly, and gently ran a finger over the source of his head pain.

He flinched away slightly, but reached up and grabbed her arm so that she wouldn't leave.

"Where am I?" He was able to ask, though it seemed to take a while to get the words out.

She gave him an odd look.

"You're home, Commodore. In Penny's room. I didn't want to move you to your own bed, I doubt I'm strong enough anyway," she said, watching him closely.

He accepted her answer easily enough. Then squinted at her face.

She moved over to a desk and lit a lamp while watching him closely to make sure it didn't hurt his eyes.

"Thank you."

She nodded and continued to look at him expectantly.

"Forgive me, but I cannot seem to recall your name at the moment," he said, hoping this wouldn't upset her.

She gasped and dropped the cloth she had been holding. She turned away from him and took a deep breath to steady herself before bending down to pick up the cloth. Her hands were shaking.

"It's Alice," she said in a whisper as she watched him cautiously.

He repeated the name in his head trying desperately to remember it. But it seemed his mind was not going to cooperate. The woman seemed very upset that he didn't remember her. Were they married?

He didn't like seeing her so upset, and decided he'd have to just figure things out for himself.

So he smiled at her, teasingly.

Alice blinked in surprise and then sighed and swatted him with the cloth.

"James Norrington, that isn't funny!" She exclaimed, hands on her hips.

He gave her a sheepish look and her lips twitched.

"Well, you mustn't feel that badly if you are well enough to tease me."

Before he could reply his stomach let out a loud growl.

Alice smiled.

"I'll get you some broth, if you promise to stay in bed," she offered.

"Of course I will," he lied, giving her his most reassuring smile.

He had every intention of getting up and figuring out what had happened to him as soon as she left. Unfortunately for him, Alice had a sixth sense when it came to her patients lying to her.

"Right, I don't think I believe you," she said and stuck her head out the door.

"Penny, come here please," she called, but not loudly enough to make his head hurt.

He grimaced at what sounded like a heard of elephants running down the hall toward him.

The little girl, Penny, had returned and was headed toward him, full speed. She jumped in the air, arms outstretched before her and he closed his eyes and braced himself for the impact. It never came.

When he opened his eyes, Alice was holding the struggling girl about the waist. She sat Penny down on the bed and grabbed the girl's chin so that she had her attention.

"Penelope, you listen to your mama! Commodore Norrington is still hurt from you throwing that block at him. You will be still, keep your voice quiet, and make sure he stays in bed. I am going to make him some supper and I need your help to take care of him, understand?" Alice spoke firmly to her, but not unkindly.

Penny nodded enthusiastically.

"Penny take care of Comdore, Mama," she said seriously.

Alice dropped a quick kiss on her forehead.

"You are a good girl Penny. I'll be right back. And remember, you must stay quiet," Alice insisted, and with a quick wink at Norrington, left the room.

It was with some trepidation that James looked at the little girl.

She looked worried.

"Comdore, hug Penny?" She asked him in a loud whisper.

She looked so hopeful he just didn't have the heart to say no. Taking a breath, he slowly eased himself into a sitting position, only experiencing a little dizziness. Once he had made himself comfortable with a few pillows behind his back, he gave her a slight nod.

Penny carefully climbed toward him and wrapped her little arms around his neck. He patted her back, awkwardly and was surprised when she kissed his check.

She sat down in his lap looking at his face seriously.

"Sorry I hurted you," she said, and a little tear fell with the apology.

His hear melted and he quickly wiped the tear away.

"I'm okay Penny. Don't cry," he said pulling her up against his chest and breathing in the scent of her hair.

The action was familiar to him. This was something he had done before, more than once even. Was Penny his daughter? If so, why did she address him as Comdore, er Commodore? Even Alice had called him Commodore. Obviously it was his military title. Was he such a hard man that he made his own family call him by his title?

He cleared his throat and decided to question her. Perhaps she could shed some light on his situation.

"Penny?"

She looked up at him expectantly.

"Why do you call me Commodore?"

He let out a laugh at the look she gave him. Clearly he had confused her.

"Comdore," she said putting her hand on his chest.

"Penny," she continued, touching her own chest.

He got the feeling that they had done that before.

"That's right. But why don't you call me father? Am I not your father?" He asked.

She seemed to think that over for a moment. It was odd, watching a two-year-old think.

"Dada?" Penny asked after a moment.

Norrington nodded, pleased she understood.

"Am I your dada?"

Penny just sighed in frustration and climbed out of his lap.

"Help Mama now," she told him and left the room.

He probably should have just kept quiet.

Norrington had intended to get up once the girl left, but found that he was rather comfortable and was soon dozing.

He opened his eyes when the door opened a little while later. Alice entered alone carrying a tray laden with a bowl of broth, a piece of bread, and a cup of water. His stomach let out another growl at the smell, and Alice smiled at him.

She placed the tray on the small nightstand beside the bed, but when he reached for it, she batted his hands away.

"Commodore, you have a head injury. We can't risk you spilling your dinner," she said picking up the bowl and a spoon.

He watched her carefully as she fed him. Alice seemed to be looking at him with a new affection and he wondered what he could have down to earn it.

"You seem to be in a more pleasant mood," he commented between bites.

Alice smiled shyly at him.

"Penny told me that you asked her to call you, Dada. That pleases me, Commodore," she explained.

Again James wondered why he had not done that before.

"You should call me James, Alice."

She blushed prettily

When he was finished, he could barely keep his eyes open.

"Goodnight, James," he heard her whisper.

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James Norrington awoke a few hours later, and looked around, disoriented. His head felt heavy and he couldn't seem to think very clearly.

Penny sighed and rolled over on the bed beside him. Why were they sleeping in her room instead of his? James slowly slipped from the bed and made his way down the hall to his own bedroom. He felt weak and dizzy, and had to stop and lean against the wall to rest a few times.

His bedroom was dark, but he didn't bother to light the lamps. James felt like he had been in Penny's small bed for a quite a while, and wanted nothing more than to curl up in his own. Stumbling slightly in the dark, he felt his way his bureau and pulled out a nightshirt. He shed his clothes quickly. Leaving them in the floor and pulling the shirt over his head he made his way to the bed, and sank gratefully into the mattress.

His mind tried to tell him that something wasn't quite right, but James was too tired to care.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

It was wrong. He should leave the room quickly and never let her know…

Alice sighed in her sleep, and gripped his arm tighter as if she could sense his thoughts.

How had this happened? James remembered getting beamed in the head by one of Penny's blocks, but after that? It was all a dark blur.

He looked at Alice again, trying not to notice how beautiful she looked in her thin nightgown and he auburn hair all spread out on his pillow. She was warm with sleep, and smelt like his soap.

He really should leave… Alice rolled closer to him, and her head came up to rest on his chest. Maybe he'd wait just a little bit longer…

Alice was nudging him awake.

"James? What are you doing her?" She asked.

He blinked a few times and saw that she was still cured up against him, only lifting her head so that she could see his face.

"It's my bed. What are you doing here?" He asked, hoping that she wouldn't notice his blush.

Alice looked at the bedroom door, then back at him and pushed herself up into a sitting position. She yawned and ran a hand over her tangled her.

"You were sleeping in Penny's room. Your room is the only other one that's open," she said logically.

James noticed his pile of clothing on the floor.

"Alice, did we…" He trailed off giving her an apologetic look.

Alice laughed and shook her head.

"No James. I slept all night. I didn't even notice when you crawled in bed," she said, and he smiled back at her.

They just stayed there, staring at one another without speaking for a few moments.

"I'm sorry James, but you just look so…" she trailed off and he was caught off guard when she suddenly leaned forward and kissed him.

It didn't take him long to come to his senses, and soon he was kissing her back. The angle was a little awkward with him lying down and her sitting up. He sat up, grabbed her by the arm and hip and then pulled her under him so they were both lying down with him on top. It was much easier to control the kiss now, and James delighted in her small moans as his hands caressed her sides through the thin cotton of her gown.

The bedroom door opening startled them.

"Commodore, I think…" Gillette began then let out a shriek.

The lieutenant was holding Penny, and upon seeing the compromising position of the two on the bed, quickly put a hand over the child's eyes. Penny giggled.

James and Alice just looked at him in shock.

"I-I… right," Gillette stuttered then turned on his heel and left shutting the door firmly behind him.

James was absolutely horrified. What would happen now? What would Gillette say? What would…

His was startled out of his panicked thoughts by a snort of laughter. He looked at Alice, and was surprised to see her holding a hand over her mouth and squeezing her eyes shut in an effort to hold in her mirth.

"Your reputation has been ruined! How can you possibly find this funny?" He demanded, indignantly.

Alice couldn't speak. She buried her face in a pillow and let out a squeal of laughter. James huffed and crossed his arms.

"H-He shrieked like a girl," she gasped out then buried her face in his arm. She clung to him, shaking with laughter.

James felt his lips twitch, and shook his head at their predicament.

"Alice?"

She pulled her face out so she could see him, but kept her grip on his arm.

"Hmm?"

"Do you even realize what has occurred here? The whole port will think you are…"

She stopped him with a finger to his lips.

"What do you think?" Alice asked, stroking his cheek tenderly.

"I well…"

"Yours is the only opinion I care about, James."

And then they were kissing again.

End Chapter 8

A/N: I hope you enjoyed it, and I promise I will get back to regular updates again.

Spoiler Alert

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Turn back now….

Okay, keep going then…

POTC:DMC- Okay, first let me just explain what a huge fan of this franchise I am. Really, I've grown up with Disney and POTC has been my favorite ride at Magic Kingdom for as long as I can remember! I saw the first movie with my mom, and we loved it so much that we drove the 8hr drive from Atlanta to Orlando to see the premiere of the 2nd one and to attend the reopening of the ride. It was a whirlwind weekend, also my 25th birthday, and I will never forget it. When we heard about the third movie, we decided to see it premiere on the Disney Cruise ship. We had a wonderful vacation this past May, and I'm very glad we did it. There was only one downside:

Why, oh why did they have to kill Norrington? I mean, at least they let him redeem himself first, but come on! Bootstrap? Why couldn't Davy Jones, or even Beckett or his henchman, whose name escapes me at the moment. have, killed him? They are the bad guys! Bootstrap isn't, and the only reason he killed Norrington was because he was having mental problems!!!

I have since seen the movie several times, and it really is good. I think I actually liked Elizabeth's character for the first time. And I know several people were upset with how it ended with her and Will being separated for 10 years at a time, but that's what will make their love story stand out. It's painful and beautifully tragic. And the romance of Elizabeth and Will deserve nothing less.

I will always think that James Norrington deserved better. Even seeing the movie for the fifth time, I can't help but flinch when he is run through with that sword.

I haven't been able to touch this story since then. As weird as it may sound, I was in mourning for that character. I think I had an especially hard time with it as a writer who has envisioned myself in the character's head for the past few months. I honestly feel like I've lost a friend.

So, I'm taking hold of my grief, and immersing myself in fanfiction where no character will ever die as long as there is a story that holds them.

Long live James Norrington!

-Princess Joyce