Author's Notes: This short story takes place during Admiral Norrington's time aboard the Flying Dutchman in At World's End.
O O O
James Norrington turned over again, trying to hide his head in his pillow. The pillow was covered with rough material that James would normally not care to have against his face, but the sound of the organ was thunderous and incessant. The captain of the Flying Dutchman did not seem to understand the concept of common courtesy. Who plays loud music at this ungodly hour?
James finally gave up trying to keep the noise away and sat up, glaring at the ceiling above him. That bloody organ was right above his cabin. He wondered if Davy Jones knew that. The man, if he could be called that, had not been happy when Lord Beckett took over the Flying Dutchman and placed James in command. James prayed one last time for the captain to stop playing. He didn't.
Grumbling, James got out of the bed and slid on his boots. He grabbed his jacket and threw it on. He glanced at his wig, but decided not to bother with it, instead quickly tying his hair back with a black ribbon and putting on his hat. He glared up at where the music was coming from again. Admittedly, Davy Jones was a good organ player, but nothing that loud sounded musical at this hour of the night. James headed up the stairs and to the nearly deserted deck, and then he burst into the captain's cabin without bothering to knock.
Two East India Company soldiers were inside, aiming two small cannons at the chest, which contained Davy Jones' heart. James smirked when he noticed that both men were both covering the ear closest to the organ. James nodded to them as he passed and stood behind Davy Jones.
His tentacles seemed to pause for a split second the captain of the Flying Dutchman noticed the shadow that was being cast upon the keys by the Admiral standing behind him, but he continued to play the same loud tune. James sighed in annoyance and stepped beside Jones, casually resting his hand on some of the keys on the lower range of the organ, "accidentally" playing about six keys at the same time.
Davy Jones stopped playing and glared up at him. James brought his hand back as though he had been bitten. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt your song."
"You did so." Jones stood. "Now that you're here," he snarled. "What do you want, Admiral?" James flinched slightly at the detestation behind Jones' voice.
"Are you aware of the time?"
"What of it?" Jones pretended to suddenly understand. "Oh, was my playing too loud? Did it wake the baby Company pawn?"
James breathed deeply, trying to keep his composure. The "pawn" comment struck a nerve, especially since James knew that it was true. "It is very loud, and I, as well as many others aboard, would appreciate it if you would avoid playing at such a late hour."
"What I do in my quarters is not the business of the Company," Jones growled, glaring at the two men aiming the cannons at the chest.
"It was cruel for Lord Beckett to actually have this kept in your quarters, wasn't it?" James asked. "Take the chest somewhere below deck and guard it there," James ordered the soldiers. Jones looked at James in surprise. "If Davy Jones promises to stop playing his organ music at night."
Jones' tentacles twitched. "Tonight. I'll decide later about the other nights."
The soldiers looked at James for orders. James nodded for them to leave. They made a rather funny sight as they tried to carry the two small cannons and the chest. "You're welcome," James said. Jones sat down at the organ, but did not play.
"Thanks," he grumbled. "I hate that thing."
James nodded, his eyes locking on a locket lying on the instrument. He reached out for it, curious. He gasped as Jones' cold, slimy hand suddenly grabbed his wrist. "Don't touch that," Jones hissed.
His heart pounding, James pulled his arm from Jones' grasp. "I apologize. I simply wanted a closer look. It's a very interesting locket."
Jones gazed at the locket silently and took a deep breath. James was shocked to see his eyes shining with tears. Jones suddenly cried out, vigorously brushing a tear from his face with one of the tentacles of his beard. "That bloody thing," he growled angrily. "Why does it have to be on this ship?"
James looked at his feet, understanding that Jones was speaking of his heart. "Lord Beckett believes that it's the only way to ensure that you follow the Company's orders."
Jones stood quickly. "Damn the Company!" he spat. James wiped off a small bit of slimy spit that had hit his cheek. "Damn you!"
"I would return the sentiment, except it appears that you are already damned," James said maliciously, unable to keep his tongue under control.
Jones stared at him incredulously for what seemed like an eternity before he suddenly burst out laughing. His laugh was rather frightening, but James dared show no fear. "You have a point, there." Jones sat back down in front of the organ. "I've been damned since I first laid eyes on…" He paused, staring at the locket.
Comprehension dawned on James. "A woman." Jones said nothing. "You fell in love."
"A dreadful bond," Jones muttered. "But I found a way to sever it."
"By cutting out your heart?" James said quietly, a hand going to his own heart as he winced at the thought.
Jones looked up at him. "You have another suggestion?"
James hesitantly sat beside Jones, his eyes focused on the locket. "I don't know. I wish I knew a way to relieve the pain." He could feel Jones' eyes burning into him as they fell silent.
"Ah," Jones said finally. "You had one of them, as well."
James moistened his lips and sighed heavily. "Yes."
"And she broke your heart."
James slowly turned to Jones and nodded. "Yes."
Jones reached for the locket, holding it in his slimy hand. He slowly opened it, and it began playing a quiet tune very similar to what he had been playing on the organ. The tune was haunting, beautiful…tears came to James' eyes as he thought of Elizabeth, how she had broken his heart, and how he had recently betrayed her.
"It appears you're already damned too, James Norrington."
James smiled slightly. "I suppose so."
Jones closed the locket, making the music stop. "You don't want to be working for Beckett anymore than I do," he predicted.
James shook his head. "No. I just wanted my life back. But this…"
"Is not life," Jones finished.
"A woman," James said with a small grin. "That's all it takes."
"And then damned to the depths of despair," Jones added darkly.
James no longer saw the slimy skin and the beard of tentacles as he looked at the Captain. He saw a version of himself—broken-hearted, doing work he didn't want to do, serving those he did not want to serve. They were in the same boat. The same hell.
James stood to leave. "Damned indeed."