Rating: PG-13 (language and drug use)
Disclaimer: Disney owns these characters and the setting in which they live.
Notes: hilbycent is at it again--I've once again undertaken one of her marvelous challenges. As per her request, this story includes: a stint in a barrel, fried clams, a very pointy stick, Norrington making a half-arsed remark concerning Jack's mother, opium, eyes that are two different colors, and the line, "The idiot who taught him how to dance needs to spend an afternoon with the Captain's Daughter." The Captain's Daughter, in this sense, is the cat o' nine tails.
Summary: Jack Sparrow has got a brilliant plan for sneaking into Will and Elizabeth's wedding.
Unfortunately, the barrel he commandeers is bound for another port . . . time for a new brilliant plan.
A Brilliant Plan
Jack was by and large the swashbuckling type, and so his normal modus operandi for sneaking into great hulking mansions involved grappling hooks, swinging from chandeliers, and a frantic swordfight upon fleeing with whatever he'd entered to retrieve. And by and large, that approach worked out quite well.
The difficulty, though, was that his usual approach didn't allow time for conversation and dancing and a few well-placed lewd jokes. Therefore, Jack Sparrow was forced to reconsider his brilliant plan for the storming of Will and Elizabeth's wedding party.
He couldn't very well just walk into Governor Swann's ballroom and make himself at home--while this suited the part of him that enjoyed making a scene, the part of him that enjoyed not being hanged cautiously warned that the entire government of Port Royal would be in attendance. A wanted pirate had to be more subtle.
He'd briefly toyed with the notion of dressing up as a noble, but there were simply too many fiddly details. Besides, his hair was never going to fit under one of those damn silly wigs.
The next brilliant notion had involved climbing through a window and making his way down to the ballroom of the governor's mansion, but an unfortunate experiment with a grappling hook had led to a smashed window and a chamber pot emptied only inches from where Jack had been standing.
And so it was with some relief that he espied the cartload of fat wine barrels marked "G.M."--obviously intended for the governor's mansion. It was the work of a mere moment to empty one of its contents (mostly onto the ground) and stow himself inside.
It was hot in there, and jostled unpleasantly as the cart began to move again. Added to that, the smell of wine was making him a touch more tipsy than usual. However, it was a plan well concocted, and as the cart jounced down the road, he rode secure in the knowledge that he'd be laughing with Will and Elizabeth by evening.
After being carted and rolled and carried for almost an hour, Captain Jack Sparrow was reevaluating the brilliance of his plan and dying for a drink.
However, the carters' voices were still audible, and he waited while they squabbled over their pay and argued with some deep-voiced chap whose words were absolutely unintelligible. The discourse continued for another half-hour, and just as Jack was contemplating lifting the lid of his barrel and asking for a drop of rum, the men seemed to strike an accord. There was a thump of bootsteps on wooden stairs and the thud of a door shutting; Jack waited another five minutes, then lifted the lid and looked around him.
The thing about wine cellars is that they are very predictable places. There are barrels and tuns and tureens and kegs and even a few bottles; these invariably contain wine, gin, brandy, rum, ale, beer, and all manner of other alcohol.
Normally, an unoccupied wine cellar was one of Jack's favorite places to be, but right now he was on a mission and his brilliant plan had already taken longer than he'd anticipated. He perused the dimly-lit room for a moment until he caught sight of the stairs, then stepped gingerly out of the barrel and stiffly swayed his way to their foot.
It wasn't exactly dashing, creeping up the stairs with his muscles locked and the smell of wine all over him, but he reasoned that not every grand adventure called for a grand entrance. Fortunate thing, as he wasn't going to manage a grand entrance with his calf cramping as it was.
If wine cellars are predictable places, a tavern is an equally predictable place, as Jack realized with a sinking feeling as he opened the door onto a familiar scene of smoky light and the smell of clams frying in oil. He put a hand to his head and leaned against the doorframe as a wench bustled by with a plate of the aforementioned clams.
The situation, though, could get far worse, and showed every intention of doing so. He could make out a few men's heads through the smoke, and every one of them was wearing a wig. A white one. With curls and a tail of hair tied back with a bow.
No need to panic. He'd walk out of the tavern very casual-like, and the aristocrats would never notice he was here. If only none of them were--
"Captain Jack Sparrow." It was a quiet voice when he was used to hearing it shouting, but he recognized it all the same. He turned a look of stark horror to the man smoking opium in the corner of the tavern, and lo! it was none other than Commodore Norrington.
Jack's signature rakish grin was a little tense. "Commodore. Fancy meeting you here."
"Yes . . . strange, as the Good Morrow is an officer's tavern."
The Good Morrow. Not the governor's mansion--the Good Morrow! Jack fought the urge to bang his forehead against the wall, but the urge won.
"Sit down. I'm too hazy now to make an effort to capture you." Norrington patted the floor beside him and inhaled more of the rich, sweet smoke. "Opium?"
Jack crouched beside the officer, examining him. Norrington's eyes were slightly unfocused, and his lips were slightly parted for a deeper breath. There was a light film of sweat on his face. "Indian opium?"
"I don't know . . . possibly it is." He passed the strange little pipe, and the pirate took in a lungful of the smoke.
Aaah . . . yes, Indian.
"I take it you're not celebrating at the governor's tonight?" Jack ventured, trying like mad to come up with a new brilliant scheme.
"Oh . . . I am. I'll be expected to smile at Elizabeth and congratulate her on finding her man. Shake Will's hand. Preside." Norrington waved a hand and stretched his legs out. "As soon as I've got enough opium in me, I'll be ready to . . . to attend." He looked at the pipe, still in Jack's hand, and reached for it rather slowly. Jack tamped down the sticky, burning opium and put the pipe into his coat pocket.
Norrington frowned, getting to his feet in a bit of a daze. "I can take more opium than you might think."
"And not as much as me mum," Jack countered easily, standing and helping the commodore stand straight.
"Your mother was an Indian prostitute," Norrington muttered. He straightened his damn silly wig and put on his hat with the gold frogging.
"Yes, and she'd dunk your head in a tub if she could see you." The situation was, against all odds, amusing, and Jack's new brilliant plan involved Norrington, the governor's mansion, and the transport of the former to the latter. The pirate began leading the officer to the door.
There was very suddenly a large hand on Jack's shoulder, and he turned around with an excuse at the ready. The sharp stake in the barkeep's hand, however, convinced him that perhaps he should leave the excuse until he knew exactly what offense he was committing.
"Your man needs to give back the pipe he rented," the barkeep said--he was the low-voiced gent from the wine cellar. He had a large, hawkish nose and queer, listing eyes (one blue and stationary, the other brown and rolling about in his head). With that pointed length of wood in his hand, he looked a dangerous chap indeed, and Jack had turned over the pipe almost before he'd finished sizing the man up. How the carters had argued for a solid half-hour with this man, he'd never know.
The barkeep nodded, pocketing the pipe. "Watch that one. He's a mite strange on opium."
"--and the thing of it is, Elizabeth is going to be feeling sorry for me," Norrington finished, staggering into a barrel of fish in water. "Sorry. For me. As I asked her to marry me."
"Aye," Jack agreed. He'd taken the liberty of commandeering a hip flask from someone they'd passed, and now swigged at the cheap rum. It burned coarsely in his throat.
"And you see, I've been . . . been trying to tell her that I have a life, career, and . . . and I hardly knew her, anyway. Beautiful lass--"
"Aye!" Jack said, more enthusiastically this time. The cramp had just come out of his calf, and he was once again walking with his typical rolling swagger.
"Yes, beautiful lass . . . good, civilized lass . . .." He broke off as Jack guffawed. "On land, good, civilized lass," he amended. "And she's got it into her head that I still want to marry her . . .."
"But you've moved on--better things, a pretty lass of your own?"
"No." He leaned on a cart, breathing hard. "Moved on, but no pretty lasses . . . lasses only cause trouble . . .."
"And they slap you."
"Aye, and they slap you." Norrington rubbed his cheeks, surprised at the sweat there. "India opium, you said?" Jack nodded solemnly. "Strong . . . strong stuff. Can't be much farther to the . . . to the mansion, though, can it? Legs like lead." He peered at the captain with glassy eyes.
It was true, what Jack's mother had said all those years ago. Opium was the devil's tool, and should only be taken when one wanted devilry. If Jack were to hazard a guess, he would have said that the other man was in the mood for some devilry under the moonlight.
"I . . . I think I'm going to kiss you," Norrington murmured, and slumped against Jack's shoulder. His head lolled alarmingly.
Captain Jack Sparrow, dread pirate and scourge of the waters off of Singapore, Sicily, Port Royal, and New Amsterdam, gently steered the commodore back to the fish barrel, removed his wig and hat, and dunked the man's head.
Commodore Norrington came up spluttering. "That was unnecessary!" he growled, but from the more animated sound to his voice, it had indeed been necessary. Jack offered him a handkerchief, and he wiped his face.
There was a moment of silence, and then Norrington muttered his thanks.
"We're going to go to the governor's now, savvy?" Jack put his hand on the other man's back and began marching him down the cobbled street.
His brilliant plan would not hit a squall now--although, he thought, studying the commodore's still relaxed expression, there would be time for all manner of squalls later.
Jack had made it through the soldiers at the gate with Norrington as his invitation, and was settling in to watch the celebration. At last, his brilliant plan had come to fruition, and with nary a grappling hook necessary.
"The idiot who taught him how to dance needs to spend an afternoon with the Captain's Daughter," he muttered, watching Will stumble through a reel with his new wife. In fact, he decided as the dear idiot boy turned in the wrong direction and missed Elizabeth's hands by a good arm's length, he would be happy to apply the lash himself, if he weren't so certain that Will himself was to blame for his poor education.
He received plenty of strange looks from the aristocrats present, but each and every one performed the real art of the nobility--they assumed that since he should not be there, he wasn't there, and soon their eyes were sliding past him and moving on to more influential people.
Jack only had to wait. Eventually, the Turners would tire of amateurish dancing and go amid the public like king and queen of the day, and when they swung his way, he'd be ready with congratulations and several suggestions as to how they could put the remainder of the night to use.
Although the opium had begun to wear off over the night, Norrington had made precisely the wrong move in spending his time at the party stationed by the winecasks, and so it was again on untrustworthy legs that he made his way out of the mansion and into the moonlit night.
He was aware that he'd spent a lot of the time smiling and nodding and saying trite things, but exactly what those trite things were, he couldn't remember. He could remember . . . well, lots of wigs, and very shiny clothes, and people inquiring after his health.
Nothing wrong with his health. He was just bloody tired, and the ground was conspiring to move under him--but he was a seaman, and chary to its ways. He swayed easily to match the yaw of the street.
He remembered some damn good opium, too, and very shiny beads around a hazy face with dark eyes.
Suddenly, the face was before him again, and he pulled himself to a halt.
"We were at lasses." The man turned to walk with him, and he was the only upright thing in this unpleasantly swaying world. "And how they slap you when you kiss them."
"Yeh--lasses. Slapping you." He couldn't remember the conversation, but he must have been having it. "A fellow . . . fellow doesn't slap you. Sometimes hits you, but 'sfair."
"Some fellows wouldn't."
Norrington was unexpectedly being kissed.
He couldn't recall a reason for being kissed, but he must have had one.
It wasn't fair to have taken advantage of the good commodore in his intoxicated state. Not fair and not right and probably not legal, either.
But as Jack hitched up his trousers, he was already formulating his next brilliant plan. It would involve Norrington, and opium, and possibly rum as well.
There might even be grappling hooks.
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