Author's Note: I was watching POTC: AWE last night and I couldn't get the idea out of my head to tell the story from the perspective of Norrington. He's always been one of my favorite characters, and I thought he deserved a voice. Not sure really where this will go, or when it will be finished. I'll try my best to maintain continuity or accuracy with the films or historical reality, but I'm no naval scholar, so if you catch me in error, please speak up. Enjoy.
It was a cold, dark night in the abyss somewhere between this world and the next. Captain Will Turner was in his cabin, sipping the tea that his steward, Kirby, had just brought him, writing in his captain's log and reflecting on the events of the past few days. It had all happened so quickly. He had joined the fleet in its fight against the East India Company's armada, he had nearly died, and now he was Captain of the Flying Dutchman.
He glanced for the thousandth time at the small portrait of Mrs. Turner that sat smiling at him from the corner of his desk. Almost instinctively, he reached for the picture, and drew her sparkling eyes closer to him. It had only been a few hours since they had shared a day of paradise together, the day he had dreamed of all of his life. Elizabeth, whom he had loved for years without hope of attainment, was his wife.
He closed his eyes and smiled as he remembered the day. He could almost feel the warmth of her skin against his, holding her, reveling in the intoxicating bliss of just being near her, the passion of the deepest love flowing between them, connecting them in a way that even now, with miles between them, he could feel.
She was within him always, in the place where his heart should be he carried her. He opened his eyes and stared into the portrait. Her eyes answered him back, those eyes so full of love and warmth and spirit.
In the crow's nest, a man shouted, and the Captain was shaken out of his reverie. He sighed and placed the portrait back on his desk, pulling on his coat as he left his cabin to see what had been sighted.
As he walked onto the bridge, Mr. Turner let out a good-natured laugh.
"Only more passengers, Captain, no need to bother yourself about that."
The young man smiled sheepishly.
"I guess I haven't gotten used this job yet."
Both men turned to watch as a small boat approached at starboard. There were a few passengers inside.
Two ladies, one considerably less formally clad than the other who was leering at the male passengers in the boat, were accompanied by a man in sturdy, somewhat fashionable clothes that indicated trade, two red coats, and a naval officer, with his feathered hat and the decadent gold braid that the British navy favored. The officer had naturally fallen into leading the small party of departed souls, and was now calling to the men on the Dutchman's deck. Lines were cast, and the men began helping the ladies aboard. Captain Turner was about to return to his cabin when he recognized the face of the officer.
"Admiral Norrington!" he called out, pleased to have met someone here who was part of his former life, however reserved that relationship had been.
James Norrington, Admiral of the East India Company in the Caribbean, looked up. There was a moment of silence between them, with the Admiral doing his best to hide his obvious surprise at seeing Will as the captain of the Flying Dutchman, before he Admiral touched his hat in salute, which the Captain returned. Then the former turned to help the remaining passengers climb aboard.
Eager to maintain the connection, the Captain descended to the main deck and waited for all of the passengers to board. Then he approached the Admiral. Holding out a hand, he shook the Admiral's in a truly sincere welcome.
"Welcome aboard the Flying Dutchman, Admiral."
"Thank you, Captain Turner." Both men seemed uneasy at the formality of the title.
There was a moment before the Admiral said, conversationally,
"You forget that I have been aboard her before. In fact it was on her deck that I died." He spoke matter-of-factly. "Strange to be here again."
There was a moment of silence as the speaker reflected upon his last passage aboard the Dutchman.
"So Turner, you were always a spirited fellow. How do you like being a captain?"
"I hardly know. I haven't been underway for very long. I find it keeps me busy though, which I like. I prefer it to being a blacksmith, certainly. And I suppose I was born to go to sea, like my father."
It was odd, but Will felt no awkwardness in opening up to the man. At this point, it seemed moot to be secretive or standoffish. "I first came to Port Royal aboard a ship when I was seven. Where your command found me."
And I first met Elizabeth, his thoughts finished for him. The expression on the Admiral's face suggested he was thinking something similar. "The merchant I was sailing with took me on as a cabin boy. And since then I've had my share of naval experience."
The Admiral smiled grimly. "Yes. If there's one thing we both have, it's experience."
Silence again, as both men sank into their memories. Then the Admiral spoke, with an indefinable tone in his voice.
"If you will excuse me, Captain, I feel rather tired. I think I shall go below decks and secure a berth."
Will nodded, knowing that now he was dead the Admiral would feel neither fatigue nor hunger, but accepted the excuse. They shook hands again.
"Rest well, Admiral." Will mounted the steps to his cabin and turned.
"Admiral," he called after the man, "You are welcome to dine with me tomorrow evening, if you choose."
In response, the Admiral touched his hat respectfully, then turned to go below decks. The offer was a formality, Will knew, for the Admiral would not eat, but he would be glad of the company. Giving a nod to his father at the wheel, Captain Turner stepped inside his cabin, and snuffing his candles, climbed into bed.
The next morning, as Will ate his breakfast, there was a knock on his cabin door. Kirby entered, announcing the Admiral. Will half-smiled at Kirby's formality aboard a vessel such as this.
Kirby had joined the crew only last night. He had come aboard with his former master, a gentleman traveling to Virginia to survey his tobacco interests, who could not have done without his best manservant, Kirby. Being dead, the master had no further use for the man, and, unlike any of the other crew on the Flying Dutchman, Kirby could cook. Will had offered him the steward's position, and the former manservant had taken the position along with the immortality it offered, but he still carried his English drawing room training with him.
Kirby's sober face disappeared, and in its place was the equally staid face of Admiral Norrington. When he saw the breakfast tray he spoke.
"I am sorry. I did not wish to disturb you."
"Not at all. Please, sit." The new Captain was still getting used to the gentility that accompanied his captaincy. "I trust you spent the night well. Are your quarters satisfactory?"
"Very well, thank you. Actually, I came to ask you a favor."
Will raised an eyebrow. "What can I do?" His surprise peeled the drawing-room lace off of his demeanor.
" I was hoping I might beg of you adequate materials for writing." Will released his gaze from the Admiral.
"By all means. How much did you want?"
"I would not wish to inconvenience you. Whatever you can spare."
"What do you need it for?"
The Admiral rose and walked to the window. In his calculated manner, he explained,
"I have thought I wanted to write a memoir of my life. It has not been a very illustrious one I am sure, but there have been things I have done that I should like to account for, so that--the world--will remember James Norrington as an honorable man, and a steadfast officer of His Majesty's Navy." He spoke almost to himself for the last words.
Will replied quietly with genuine respect, "There can be no question that your memory will be preserved, Admiral." A pause.
"Take what you need. Kirby will supply you. Kirby!" The white-wigged man entered the cabin.
"See to it that the Admiral has everything he needs. Tell the quartermaster I sent you."
"Yes, sir. Will there be anything else, sir?"
"Thank you, Kirby, that will be all. Good-day Admiral."
"Thank you again, Captain, for all of your hospitality." The Admiral gave a small bow, and turned to follow Kirby, who had gone to seek the quartermaster.
Twenty minutes later, the Admiral sat in his cabin, took out a sheet of paper from the stack the steward had secured for him, and, dipping his pen into the borrowed inkwell, began to write:
To be a collection of memoirs of the life of James Wentworth Norrington, former Admiral, in the service of The East India Company of England in the Caribbean.
Having thus titled his work, he paused, and contemplated how to begin.
Author's Note: Should you need it, Ch. 26 is a character index.