A Debt Repaid.
Disclaimer: I don't own Pirates of the Caribbean or the Jack Sparrow book series. However, I do own James Norrington's mother, Sarah.
If there were any moments in his life that James Norrington would rather forget, this ranked at the very top of that list. His life had changed drastically in a heartbeat. In just a few months, James had gone from being a commodore in the Royal Navy, to being nothing more than a common pirate.
After his fall from grace, Norrington made his way to the pirate port of Tortuga. There, he fell on hard times. He started drinking heavily. James was headed down a dark road. But help was on it's way. And it would come from the most unlikely of sources.
The turning point for Norrington came when, in an odd twist of fate, the Black Pearl docked in Tortuga. This was the ship of the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. The irony was that Jack was the man who had caused all of James' problems in the first place. After Jack's escape from Port Royal, Norrington became obsessed with hunting down the wily and elusive pirate. He even sailed his ship right through a hurricane. This stunt had cost James the lives of some of his best officers, as well as lead to his resignation from the Navy.
Jack Sparrow was in Tortuga looking for new crew members. Norrington signed up. The way he saw it, this was the perfect chance for him to get his revenge on Sparrow. He was just waiting for the opportune moment to arrive. Then he would strike.
It had been about a week since Norrington had boarded the Black Pearl. His voyage had been very uneventful so far. James spent most of his days swabbing the deck of the Pearl. This was a very boring and very dirty job. Norrington hated doing it. It made him feel so inferior. The worst part of it all was that Norrington was rarely ever left alone together with Jack.
At this rate, the former commodore thought, my plan is never going to succeed.
Killing Captain Jack Sparrow was turning out to be more difficult than James Norrington thought it would be.
One day, as Norrington was swabbing the deck, Jack stood him. A smug look of satisfaction was written all over his face. He was clearly enjoying seeing James in such discomfort.
"Come on, Norrington", Jack bellowed. "Scrub faster. This deck won't swab itself." Norrington angrily threw down the rag he was using to swab the deck. He stood up and looked Jack straight in the eyes.
"If my father were still alive, Sparrow", he said, "I know the mere sight of me would send him right back down to his grave again. Ever since I boarded this sad excuse for a ship, the cruel words that he yelled at me when I was six-years-old, have been playing over and over again in my head. I still remember them as if they were just yesterday. My father said, and I quote;
"Saved by a pirate, James. You stupid brat. You should have let yourself drown, boy. I would have rather that than a Norrington smeared with the taint of being indebted to a pirate!"
"What was your father's name?" asked Jack.
"Lawrence Norrington", said James. "Admiral Lawrence Norrington." He heavily emphasized on the "Admiral" part.
Admiral Lawrence Norrington, Jack mused quietly to himself. Why did that name sound so vaguely familiar to him.
"Did you also happen to have say, I don't know, a cousin?" asked Jack.
"I did", answered James.
"And was said cousin's name Fitzwilliam P. Dalton, III?" Jack asked.
"It was", James told him. "But how did you know that?" Jack grimaced slightly. The name Fitzwilliam P. Dalton, III was certainly very familiar to him. But he hated to think of why.
"Hmm", said Jack. "I see. Very well then. Carry on with your duties then, Mr. Norrington." With that, Jack quickly ran off towards his cabin.
This left Norrington standing there all alone. He felt very confused. Jack Sparrow had just acted a bit more peculiar than usual. Why had the pirate reacted in such a strange way to the names of James' father and cousin? Norrington didn't want to press the matter just yet. But he was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.
It was later that night. Jack sat at the large desk in his cabin. He was busy going over various maps and navigational charts. He held on tight to a half-empty bottle of rum. Just before leaving Tortuga, Jack had instructed his crew to hide all of the rum. This was to keep it safe from a certain miss Elizabeth Swann. But Jack always managed to keep an extra bottle or two in his cabin. Frustrated, he downed a swig of rum, thus finishing off the bottle. He was about to go to bed, when he heard a knock on the cabin's door.
"Elizabeth Swann", Jack yelled, guessing it was she who was knocking, "how many times must I tell you that I DO NOT have a dress in my cabin?!" There was another knock at the door. "Lizzie, go away", said Jack. The door was knocked at a third time. "God damn it, woman!" Jack roared. He rushed over to the door. "If you are not gone by the time I open this door", he said, "one of the following three things will happen to you. One, I turn this ship right back around to Tortuga, and sell you to a brothel. Two, I'll throw you overboard. Or three, I'll chain you to the main mast of this ship, and leave you there." Jack opened the door. To his surprise, it wasn't Elizabeth whom he found standing there. It was Norrington. "What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I need to talk to you", said Norrington. "But first, do you really not have a dress anywhere on this ship?" he asked.
"That's right", said Jack. "I don't. Ship's captains usually don't keep feminine things, such as dresses, in their possessions. And women shouldn't actually even be allowed on ships in the first place. It's bad luck, you know."
"I know that", replied Norrington. "But why then is Elizabeth Swann here?" he asked.
"That's different", Jack explained. "Lizzie's an old friend of mine. And I'm helping her find her dear fiancé, William Turner. So I HAD to let Elizabeth on board the ship." Norrington nodded. "But", continued Jack, "I am a bit concerned as to why you, Ex-Commodore Norrington, would care so much about whether or not I have a dress in my possession. Do you think you'd look good in one?" he asked.
"Of course not", Norrington fired back. He was appalled that jack would ask him such a question.
"I thought not", said Jack. "A dress would not flatter you at all. Just like men's clothes do not flatter Elizabeth at all. Although, I do suppose a dress would be a little nicer than the so-called "uniform" you currently have one. And what was with the wig back in Tortuga?" he asked.
"I wanted to keep an air of dignity about myself", said Norrington. Jack had to keep from laughing out loud when he heard that.
"Mate", he said, sighing. "you were on Tortuga. Dignity is like a foreign language to the folks who inhabit that island."
"Let's get back to the real reason I came to talk to you in the first place", said Norrington. "It wasn't until after you learned my father's name that you ran to the safety of you cabin. I'm not a simpleton, Jack. You knew my father." Jack sighed.
"Old Larry Norrington", he said.
"Lawrence", James corrected.
"Lawrence, Larry, whatever". Jack said dismissively. "We'd met only once. But I did know your father. Briefly. I was more familiar with your cousin, Mr. Dalton. Or at least I thought I was."
"How did you know Fitzwilliam?" asked James.
"Fitzy, as I called him, because I knew that annoyed him as much as he annoyed me, sailed with me when I was the captain a great ship called the Barnacle when I was just a teenage", said Jack. Norrington rolled his eyes. He found it very hard to believe that Jack could have successfully captained a ship when he was only a young boy.
"As I was saying", Jack continued, "Fitzwilliam and I were very close to one another. In fact, he was the only member of my crew that stayed with me after everyone else had abandoned me. We'd shared in all of our adventures together. I thought Fitzwilliam was the only person whom I could trust and rely on. I didn't know how wrong I would be about that."
"There's an interesting story behind that", Jack said, with a slight chuckle. "My meeting with your father coincided with a rather unique reunion with my own father."
"Hold on a moment", Norrington interrupted. "Let me see if I understand this correctly. You, the notorious Captain Jack Sparrow, has a father. I would have assumed that I man like you just came out of nowhere."
"Well, I don't quite know if the man I've just addressed as my father actually IS my father", said Jack. "I've always believed he was. But I've never actually been sure about that. Anyway, his name is Captain Edward Teague. And he is the keeper of the code of the Brethren Court of Pirate Lords."
"The Brethren Court of what?" Norrington asked curiously.
"Eh, never mind", said Jack. "Believe it or not, Captain Teague was the very same man from whom I ran away a year before."
"Why did you run away from home?" asked Norrington.
"My whole family is full of pirates", Jack told him. "It's a family tradition, you might say. But it wasn't a fate that I wanted for myself. I thought I was so much more than that."
Interesting, thought Norrington. And quite ironic, too, that the man who is now one of the most well-known pirates was once a boy who did NOT want to be a pirate.
"Where'd you go after that?" asked James.
"Tortuga", Jack answered simply. From there, I commandeered the Barnacle, recruited a stalwart crew. But we weren't pirates. We were just a group of freedom-seeking teenagers, and a girl who was turned into a cat"
"A girl who was turned into a what?" asked Norrington.
"You don't want to know about her", said Jack. "Trust me. Now, where was I?" he asked. "Oh, yes. Fitzwilliam's betrayal. Do you want to know how he even came to be sailing with me in the first place?"
"Yes", said Norrington.
"It's very simple", said Jack. "When I first met him, Fitzy told me that he was a runaway aristocrat. I automatically believed him. His story seemed so legitimate. He threatened to turn me in for stealing the Barnacle. I preferred to say that I was commandeering the ship, because it's a nautical term. But in this case, I do suppose that salvaging would have been a better word to use, seeing as the Barnacle was in such bad shape when I found her. The only way Fitzwilliam wouldn't turn me in was if I let him join the crew. At first, I refused him. Then he challenged me to a duel. He said that if he won, I had to let him on board the Barnacle. Needless to say, Fitzy won the duel, and the rest, as they say, is history."
"But how exactly did you find out that Fitzwilliam was a tratior, and how did you feel about it?" asked Norrington.
"I found out the truth about Fitzwilliam, that he was actually a spy for the both the East India Trading Company and the Royal Navy, when a combined fleet of both Company and Navy ships surrounded us.", said Jack. "At that moment, I remember feeling a whole range of emotions. Betrayed, of course, angry sad and a bit stupid. Looking back on it, there were many warring signs about Fitzwilliam that I was completely oblivious to. Particularly the way that he often kept to himself. But I thought that was just they way that aristocratic people were."
"You said your father's name was Captain Teague, correct?" asked James.
"Yeah", said Jack.
"I vaguely remember my father telling me about him once." said Norrington. "In fact, I actually went with my father on one of his voyages when I was six-years-old. This was also the same time when he yelled at me for being indebted to a pirate."
"Why exactly were you indebted to a pirate?" asked Jack.
"One of them saved me from drowning after I fell from my father's ship", explained James. As he heard this, Jack's face turned ashen white, and he gasped audibly. "What is it?" asked Norrington.
"That was Captain Teague", said Jack. His voice was barely above a whisper. "And I know this, because I was there. That's how I really knew your father and cousin, and why Fitzwilliam stayed with me for so long. He was using me to get to Teague."
"Now that you mention it", said Norrington, "I do somewhat remember a young boy who was with Teague. He was probably around 16-year-old. Both the boy and the pirate captain frightened me very much. You many find this hard to believe, but when I was a lad, I was scared of many things. Especially pirates. This was because my father would often tell me terrifying tales about them. I remember the first time that I ever laid my eyes on Captain Teague and this strange boy. I was so scared, that I hid behind my father's coattails. I also remember him kneeling down beside me and saying;
"You need to be brave, son. There are men out there who are savages, and they want to destroy you and your way of life. They are uncivilized, heathen, thieving, filthy pirates, and when I have gone onto a final rest, it is you who will carry on the banner of civility and order, and help the Crown and our allies in the East India Trading Company eradicate their slime from the Seven Seas."
"Then, as if on cue", said James, "right after my father had just finished talking, a huge explosion rocked our boat. I started to cy, and my father slapped me across the face and told me to come to my senses and act like a man."
Jack flinched. He couldn't understand why any father would hit their own son.
"Despite some instances like that", said James, "my father and I were actually quite close. After my mother, Sarah, died when I was two, father and I were all each other had. He may not have said this as much as I thought he should, but I knew he loved me. And I loved him, too."
"What I want to know is how you fell off your father's ship, which prompted Captain Teague to rescue you", said Jack.
"He and my father got into a duel", said James. "I rushed over to try and help my father. But at the same time, I was still scared of Teague. So I was backing away from him. Unknowingly, however, I was heading straight for the edge of the balustrade. The boy who was with Teague must have seen me. He ran over to save me. But his action only scared me further. This was the same boy, who earlier that day, had scared me by making funny faces at me. And he still scared me at this moment. Can you blame me?" asked Norrington. Here was a teenager who looked, acted and cavorted with a pirate, coming after me."
"That was me!" Jack blurted out suddenly. "I was the boy who tried to save you."
"Really?" asked Norrington. "I can't believe it."
"Neither can I," said Jack. "Anyway, please continue with your story."
"I lost my footing, and tumbled into the water", said James. "I remember slowly sinking down to the darkest depths. I wanted to swim back up to the surface. But I couldn't. I didn't know how. I thought of my mother. How much I wanted her to be with me at that moment. I thought of Heaven, and what that place must be. But then I also thought about Davy Jones, and wondered if I was going straight down to his locker. I nearly panicked at that thought. I had heard many stories about Davy Jones. He scared me even more than the pirates. I always shuddered when I thought about what it would be like to meet him."
Ohhh, Davy Jones is NOT a guy you'd like to meet in person, Jack mused quietly to himself. Believe me.
"Then suddenly", continued Norrington, "I felt a pair of hands wrap around me. I don't remember much of what happened next. I must have been unconscious. And I couldn't breath, until I coughed up lungfulls of water. When I opened my eyes, I was back on the deck again. That's when my father shouted those terrible things at me. The rest of that day is a blur to me. All I know is that I never saw Captain Teague, or that boy, who I now know was you, Jack, again. That is, until you and I met that day in Port Royal."
"And neither one of us is ever going to forget that incident", said Jack.
"But even then, I thought there was something strangely familiar about you," said James. "And I know it wasn't just all the stories that I'd heard about you over the years."
"What happened to your father and Fitzwilliam?" asked Jack.
"My father died when I was 16," said James. "It was his death that prompted me to join the Navy. I knew that's what he would have wanted of me. And Fitzwilliam is currently still with the Navy."
"I have one more question", said Jack. "What does the "P" in Fitzy's middle name stand for? For years, I have tried to find out what his middle name is. I've come up with some very interesting ideas. Some of them are Pansy, Penny-Whipple, Pirate-Hater and Pigeon-Whisperer. So what really is his middle name?" asked Jack.
"It's Pleiades", said James.
"Fitzwilliam Pleiades Dalton, III", said Jack. "Hmmm. I like it. That's an interesting name. "Well, goodnight, Norrington."
"Goodnight, Jack", said James. Then he walked away. Jack went back into his cabin. He went to bed. It seemed as if the pirate captain and the former commodore had reached a new understanding with one another. But little did Jack realize that once they got to Isla Cruces, Norrington would betray him. And this betrayal would hurt Jack just as much, or even more than the one by Fitzwilliam, all those years ago.
A/N: 1.) This is NOT Slash. Surprising, isn't it? Considering how much I love Slash, particularly Sparrington (JackXNorrington.) I thought this story really didn't need to be Slash , unlike The Painful Truth. But I do suppose that the part in the beginning, when Jack and Norrington are talking about whether or not James would look good in a dress, could almost be considered pre-Slash, if one were to look at it that way.
2.) As much as I wanted Fitzwilliam's middle name to be Pansy, I knew I had to choose something more appropriate and realistic for the "P" to stand for. I picked the name Pleiades because I love that name. I think it sounds so cool. And if the name sounds familiar to anyone, that's because it's Jim Hawkins' middle name from Treasure Planet. (James Pleiades Hawkins.) But I'm still going to continue to refer to Fitzwilliam as a pansy. Because that's what he was to me; a pansy. A silly, little pansy.