Story: AUish one-sided Norriebeth. Norrington has turned his back on his Navy life and fought for Jack and his crew against Beckett and Davy. Now, he looks back on it, telling himself that he did the right thing and Elizabeth has something to say tha might make things a little better for him.
A/N: Ok, so this is what my angsty one-sided Norriebeth shipper side came up with one night after seeing the AWE trailer with Norrington in his admiral uniform. Mind you, I'd actually really like to see something like this happen in AWE. Anyway, enjoy!! And please leave a comment! I do love them! ;)
"I gave you a chance, Mr. Norrington. It's a shame you didn't see it."
For what has to be the millionth time today, these words replay to me in my mind. Damn Beckett. Damn that twisted, conniving, controlling bastard. I had always wondered if taking up his offer was a wise decision. At the moment, it had seemed as if all my prayers had been answered but now that I look back at it, I was just being played by a man who wanted his shot at fame and glory.
My eyes sweep across the deck only to find it hauntingly empty. Slowly, I drag myself to the railings, resting my elbows on the wood. I let out a long sigh and rub my face with my hands. After endless days without a wink of sleep, fatigue is taking its toll on me. I've been through so much in the past few days I'm not even sure how I'm still alive. Looking up, I gaze out into the still waters lapping against the ship. It's almost dark, the setting sun playing different colors across the horizon. Of all things, this should calm me but I can't seem to find it in me to simply forget all that has happened.
Again, I tell myself that I did the right thing. That deserting my men and betraying my country was simply a small price I had to pay. That going against everything I had believed in since I joined the Navy was for a benefit. That killing a man I had once seen as my ally was something I had to do.
He killed Governor Swann, I justified. He was condemned even before what happened. Thinking about this made my fists clench. Governor Swann had been like a father to me all these years. When I had left home to sail for Port Royal, leaving everyone I knew and loved behind, he was the one who took me under his wing. I owed everything to him and the least I could do was to ensure that his murderer was brought to justice.
Just then, I voice startles me.
"What a beautiful sunset, don't you agree, James?" comes a soft, feminine voice I was all too familiar with.
I was so consumed in my thoughts that I hadn't noticed Elizabeth come up next to me. I draw a quick breath when she speaks more out of hearing her voice again than surprise and turn to face at her. For a second, all coherent thought disappears from my mind as a look at her. She was so perfect. Even dressed as a pirate, filthy and covered in sweat and blood she was beautiful. She was looking at me with those soft, hazel eyes that seemed to twinkle with a life of their own and her lips were curved in a small, almost shy smile.
"Miss Swann!" I manage to get out as I come to my senses.
She looks at me for a moment with almost exasperated humor. "Why do you insist on calling me 'Miss Swann'?" she says. I can almost hear the laughter behind her words. "We both know you know me well enough to call me 'Elizabeth.'"
The truth is I don't really know why I still call her Miss Swann and seeing that since I am no longer commodore or even admiral I no longer am in a position in which I must refer to her in that respect. But still a part of me is desperately holding on to what honor and propriety I have left in me. It won't hurt you to try and loosen up, I tell myself.
"Of course." I say and I feel myself bending into a slight bow. She must've noticed this because she smiles and shakes her head. My cheeks start to redden as I realize how ridiculous I must look bowing to her in my tattered and grimy brocade.
Mercifully, she turns her attention out to sea and I'm able to breathe easier. But not a whole lot easier. I know she doesn't see it but it's killing me to be here. I've never stopped loving her even when I let her go off with Turner. To be here alone with her, only her, is torture for me because I know that she'll never come to love me as I love her. She will always have my heart but I will never have hers and that's something I have to live with for the rest of my life. When I proposed to her, I thought that over time she would grow to love me and the life I had to offer her. A life of comfort and ease, free of hardships and adversity. But I later realized that what she truly wanted was the opposite. She longed for freedom and adventure, something that I could not give her despite my status. I wanted her to be my wife but I knew that doing so would kill her inside and I couldn't do that. And so I let her go. As a result, it's killed me instead but I'd rather suffer without her than have her go through life an empty shell with me. I loved her too much to let that happen.
Once again she breaks the silence. "The stars are out early tonight." she says, looking up at the quickly darkening sky. Sure enough, in the hazy purple colors of the horizon, the winking lights of the stars are starting to appear.
I sigh and turn to look at her. "Is there something you wish to say to me, Elizabeth?" I don't want to seem snappy but I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Her gaze falters a bit and falls from the sky to the sea. Her beautiful face is suddenly creased with indecision and I immediately wonder if I was too sharp. Seconds pass like this until I start to open my mouth to ask if something was wrong. But instead she turns to face me and looks directly into my eyes. She gazes at me softly with her hazel eyes and I find myself falling in love with her all over again.
"I wanted to say thank you." she says in almost a whisper. "I know it wasn't easy for you to make that decision."
All at once, the thoughts that had been plaguing me all day surface once again. My betrayal. That's what she's thanking me for. There's nothing I truly regret doing what I did. No, the trouble now is justifying to myself that what I did was the right thing. I've killed men before; pirates, petty criminals, murderers. However, killing a man who had power and status was something I had never done before. But when I ran my blade through Beckett's heart I told myself that he was no different from the men I had watched swing from the gallows condemned for murder but he didn't make it easy for me. Again, his last words echo in my mind. "I gave you a chance, Mr. Norrington. It's a shame you didn't see it."
I blink and drop my eyes to the floor. I want to say something but there isn't anything I can say to it. For a moment, we're both silent.
"What made you do it?" she asks after a while.
It's a personal question but there's something about her voice, its gentleness, its unprying nature that makes me want to answer it. This time, it's my turn to look directly into her eyes.
"Sometimes what you wanted most in this world is no longer worth fighting for because you realize that it will never be yours." I say this so softly I wonder if she heard me. For me, this answer has two meanings. I knew now that my dream of one day purging the Caribbean Sea of piracy was impossible. I couldn't do it single handed. No one could. And so the Navy no longer had anything to offer me. The second meaning was Elizabeth. As commodore I thought I had a chance at winning her heart since she was the governor's daughter and when she accepted my proposal I thought I had succeeded. But then she ended up with Turner and I realized I never really did have a chance in the first place.
I'm still staring at her intensely and I notice that her expression has changed. She looks troubled, sad, almost regretful even. She opens her mouth as if to say something but instead she blinks rapidly and turns her eyes away from mine.
"My old life no longer suited me." I add in the same quiet voice. "So I left."
A second passes before she looks up at me again. "Why?"
I know that she's really asking why the Navy has nothing to offer me anymore and I know she knows the answer but I can't bring myself to simply tell her the two reasons. So I'm silent for a moment, thinking about what to say.
"Pirate once, pirate for life." I finally say and I offer her what I could remotely convey as a smile.
She returns it with a small knowing smile of her own and a slight nod. "Well, it was very brave of you, James."
There's a comfortable silence between us and for the first time in a long time I'm actually at ease in her presence. I debate on whether to bring up a delicate topic with her and in the end I do.
"So I suppose your father was right then." I say after a while and she looks at me curiously. "That 'perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?'"
She suddenly breaks into a wide smile and laughs softly to herself. The sound is like music to my ears. "I suppose he was." Then she steps closer to me, close enough that I can count the freckles on her face, close enough that I can feel her warm breath on my skin. My proper mind is screaming at me to move but I ignore it. I can't do it. I just can't.
"Thank you, James."
I don't know how it happened.
One second I'm looking into her eyes the next my eyes are closed and I feel the light pressure of her lips against mine. My mind goes blank and I'm suddenly in a different world. Her lips taste like the sea, salty, but I love it. After all, my life is the sea, whether it's pirate or Navy. Then, as quickly as it happened, it ends and she breaks the kiss, pulling me back to reality.
I stand there speechless and slightly out of breath, staring at her. Why did you do that? I want to ask but I can't seem to find my voice so my mouth just opens and closes weakly. She's still standing so close to me and she stays there for a moment. Then she smiles at me, that same small, shy smile she flashed me when she startled me before and slowly walks away. Having not found my voice, I can't do anything but watch her retreating form, leaving me to wonder the meaning of that kiss.
A/N: I had originally planned on writting a second version from Elizabeth's POV but my creative time has been limited lately so I jus got this one down. Review please!