A/N: uh, so. I never know what to say in these things. This was the product of discussions about whether Norrington and Beckett knew each other pre-POTC2, what Beckett was like before he became the frigid little man he is today, etc.

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"When I grow up," Cutler said grandly, waving one arm in a wide sweep, "I'm going to be a pirate."

"Not with a name like Beckett you aren't," James smirked. He'd never really liked Cutler before, he was just a slightly annoying boy he went to academy with, but he was finding him to be a rather fun drunk.

"Well then I'll change it!" Cutler made a violent gesture, shaking the ruffles on his sleeves, "to something terribly dark and ominous, and every other pirate on the sea shall quail under my shadow."

James took a swig of the brandy they'd dug out of his father's cabinet. The carpet was starting to feel strange underneath him; softer, and sort of spinny. "That sounds nice," he muttered, rolling onto his back and waiting for the ceiling to steady.

"It does, doesn't it?" Cutler was flushed and bright-looking. He took a big mouthful of brandy and coughed at the burn, as usual. "I'll be a pirate, and I'll sail every sea and buckle a thousand swashes and, and," he belched delicately, "things like that. Oh, dear." He flopped onto his back as well. "I feel sort of, sort of strange."

James turned over with clumsy urgency, clothes flapping and tangling around him. "Do not vomit on this carpet, father will have a spasm." He pointed a serious finger.

"No, silly. Not like that." Cutler flopped one of his hands around in the air, trying to make some sort of point, and failing. "Just, sort of, well, like this," he said, and rolled over and kissed James sloppily on the mouth. James wasn't sure, but he thought he felt tongue.

"You taste like father's brandy," he stammered, shell-shocked, when Cutler had pulled back to give him a curly, confused grin.

"Naturally," Cutler said, and leaned over just in time to vomit on the carpet.

"You idiot," James fumed later, scrubbing at the carpet. Cutler was draped weakly over a chaise lounge looking slightly green, the utter ponce. "Is this the first time you've been drunk?"

"Oh, I feel like death," Cutler groaned, answering the question quite definitely. He flopped around and made pained noises.

"What a hangover you'll have," James laughed grimly, and sat back to have a look at his handiwork. It looked alright; there was a bit of a stain, but it sort of blended in to the overall pattern of the carpet. He quickly disposed of the cloth and hauled Cutler off the lounge. "Come on. It's to bed with you."

"Put me down," Cutler moaned piteously, turning paler. "For god's sake, have some compassion for the dying."

James rolled his eyes, dragging Cutler through the dining room and into the hall. "Shut up. You're certainly not going home like this and I doubt father will notice. You can stay in my room." He kicked the heavy door open, due to full hands, and dumped Cutler into the bed, warning him very seriously to not soil it (which he ended up doing anyway, but the maids the Norrington household employed didn't ask many questions).

The next day, James smuggled him some aspirin and water and made sure he was thoroughly done vomiting and moaning about his headache before smuggling him out the back door. He never asked him about the kiss, and never really saw him again, save at the academy and a few dinners and other Naval functions.

And more than ten years later, James stood before a desk, looking down at the man behind it, and for a moment all he could see was the boy who got drunk on his father's good brandy, and threw it up on their good carpet, who tossed his fancy brocaded arms wide and predicted his own future, who had pressed his alcohol-tasting mouth to James'.

But no. This short, cold man in the powdered wig was nothing like the pirate his boy-self had promised to become.

James Norrington dropped Davy Jones' heart onto the desk, and began his way home.

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PS: Did they have aspirin back in that day? It was a plant or something, amirite? -5 for historical innacuracy.