"Alive?" André Gillette exclaimed as he read a letter from his friend Theodore Groves. "But…impossible!"
James Norrington had perished along with his vessel in pursuit of the pirate Jack Sparrow and his ship, the Black Pearl. But apparently Theodore had recently heard differently. Continuing to read, André found that James—his darling James—was not only alive, but had been promoted to Admiral and was working on an assignment under Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company.
The rest of the letter was not read thoroughly enough to commit to memory. André was too busy thinking along the lines of, "Oh, my God, he's alive…thank God, he's alive…"
Hearing of James' death had been hell for André. He loved the man with his whole heart—and hearing of his demise nearly broke him. He had begun to fear for his sanity as he saw James in the crowds around him, felt his breath on the back of his neck, felt his warm embrace at night, all despite him not really being there.
But he was. Perhaps André had been imagining all of it, but at least now the hallucinations could stop. James was alive, and he would be home. He would return soon. He just had to wait a little while longer and he could be in his lover's arms once again.
Days passed, with André glancing out the front window of his—of their—home every fifteen or so minutes, anxiously awaiting James' return. Would James have changed? Would he still have the same feelings for him as André had for him? He had been gone so long…
Weeks went by, and still James did not return. Theodore repeatedly told him that the assignment was likely not yet over, and that André needed to be patient. But André had never been very good at being patient.
And then months with no word. Theodore was beginning to worry that he had been misinformed and had raised André's hopes for nothing. But even when he told André to live life as he normally would and not to keep his hopes up, André continued spending most of his time watching for James and daydreaming about his return.
Theodore went out to sea on the Endeavor a few months after he told André of James' survival, leaving André to wait for James' return alone.
One morning, André received a letter with the East India Company's seal. Realizing that both James and Theodore had worked for the Company, André began to shake with fear. This letter was likely to inform him of the deaths of one of them—his best friend, or his lover.
He could not even open it. It remained on his desk, unopened, for the entire day. Every time he glanced at it, he felt a great sense of foreboding. Of course, he could be wrong. Perhaps it was from one of them, James or Theodore, and they had merely used the Company's seal. They had worked for it, so why not?
Yet no matter how much André told himself that the letter was not as dreadful as he imagined, he could not force himself to open it. He could not bear losing either of them. He did not know if he could take it.
And so the letter remained there, on the desk, through the next day, and the next, and then a week. André hardly slept nor ate as he worried about its contents. Now it was getting ridiculous—André had to open the letter. For all he knew, it was James telling him that he was returning home shortly and that he had missed him and still loved him, and that they would soon be together again. Or perhaps it was a letter informing him that James was dead.
After a great deal of cursing and muttering to himself, André finally approached his desk, eyeing the letter fearfully. If either his friend or lover was dead, he had to know sometime. If it was from one of his friends, his mind would be at ease.
André cautiously picked up the letter, holding it out like it was a poisonous snake. He slowly picked up the sharp letter opener from his desk and held it in his shaking hand.
It's going to be all right, André told himself, although his gut was telling him differently. It's going to be fine.
André swore as he accidentally cut his finger with the letter opener due to his shaking hands, but he did not attend to it as he unfolded the letter.
He had hardly read the first sentence before he fell to his knees, hot tears pouring down his face. It was not at all the pleasant greeting from his friend or lover that he had been hoping for. It was too terrible to believe; too much to live with.
André did not, could not, even think as he raised the sharp blade in his hand to his chest and plunged it into his heart.
O O O
James Norrington looked up as he felt a new presence joining the dead. He sighed sadly, hoping that it was no one he knew this time. He had known far too many of the deceased that had joined him of late, including his good friend Theodore Groves.
His mouth dropped open in horror as he saw who had just died.
Theodore turned to follow James' gaze and let out a sharp breath. "Oh, no."
André Gillette looked around in confusion, as all did as they looked for something that matched their beliefs about death. But his eyes quickly focused on James.
And suddenly he was in James' arms, holding him tightly and crying into his chest. Tears also came to James' eyes as he fully realized that André, his dear, sweet André, was now dead.
"André, what happened?" Theodore asked, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"You died. You both died."
"We're here, André," James murmured into André's hair as he held the man he loved close. "We're together again."
"Always?" André asked.
"Always," James answered, running a hand through André's auburn hair.
Looking up at him, André smiled softly.