Summary: Young Gillette has a problem with authority. He can't stop respecting it. Rating: PG-13 Pairing: Norrington/Gillette Disclaimer: Disney owns these characters and the setting in which they live. Notes: Northlight wanted a Norrington/Gillette fic--Gillette may be another bloke who says, "That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen!" Hard to characterize based on just that, but I've done my best. True to form, I've patently invented another first name in dubbing him Vaughn Gillette. Oh . . . and as to the title, I just couldn't resist. =)

Razor's Edge

By gileonnen

Gillette was what the men called "keen"--which meant that he was the kind of soldier who saluted the flag when it was raised and kept his boots polished--and in his first week with the navy, wagers had been made as to when Captain Norrington would snap. The captain was known for having a short temper for pop-eyed young men with more dedication than common sense.

But for reasons unknown, the eminently practical captain had taken a liking to young Gillette, taking him aside when he got a bit too keen and explaining away the mysticism of naval life.

Gillette still read heroic books about fighting pirates in his free time, and his hand still leapt to his hatbrim when he saw the British flag, but overall, Norrington's efforts had been a success. Crewmen called him "idealistic" rather than "keen," and he'd sprung up the promotional ladder like a goosed thatcher . . . but not too far, because even after being raised to lieutenant, he occasionally forgot himself and saluted the senior deckhands.

That queer, misplaced respect was precisely why Vaughn Gillette was the wrong lieutenant for a stint at pirate-hunting--he had the notion that a hunter had to respect his prey. While this sentiment was acceptable in an inexperienced hunter, though, a more senior type knew that pirates were right bastards, and so his mantra that Jack Sparrow was "the best pirate" he'd ever seen did wear on the nerves after the first dozen times he'd said it.

Norrington sensed that it was time to pull young Gillette aside again.

It was hard for most of the men to see why such a famously impatient man wasted his time on pruning the great kudzu vine of Gillette's keenness, but times like these were all the reason he needed.

A keen sword is better in your hands than in someone else's.


"Commodore. I've been doing it again, have I, sir?" Gillette asked.

The commodore waved him into a chair. "Sit, Vaughn. No ranks until you have your brandy." Gillette's expression crumpled as he took a seat.

"And there I just did it again, and we've had brandy like this two years going now. I'm sorry, s--John."

"Just pour yourself a drink." The only way to curb Gillette's formality was to be informal, and though it was a foreign manner for Norrington, he did his best to adopt it. After all, the man was his project--he would not have two years of work go to waste.

Gillette grabbed the neck of the brown bottle and poured some brandy into his glass. "Er," he began, hand hovering just above the glass, "What luck on the pirate, then?" He caught Norrington's frown and added hastily, "Not that I think we could be doing better against the canny blackguard; he is the best--"

"That's it, Vaughn." Norrington poured himself a glass and took a drink. "You can't respect a pirate!"

The lieutenant's brow furrowed. "Whyever not, s--John?"

"Because they will never respect you. Pirates have no respect and deserve no quarter, or you'll find yourself jilted in Madagascar without even a rowboat to your name!" The brandy washed down Norrington's throat. "You hear the men call you keen, Vaughn Gillette, but what you are is respectful--respect for your flag, your country, and your superiors. "A pirate is not worthy of that list!"

He fully expected Gillette to cringe and mutter some apology for doing it again, but the lieutenant suddenly showed a bright smile and sipped his drink. "So that's it, then," he murmured, and Norrington wondered how the man could enjoy the brandy so much that he licked the last drops off his lips. "That's what all this has been about."

"Pirates?" Norrington tried, but Gillette wouldn't be smiling in that unnerving way unless he thought he'd found something deeper. "Respect?" He realized that he was metaphorically sailing to Bermuda without a ship, and asked, "And what is 'all this,' exactly?"

"Brandy." Gillette put down his glass. "Sticking up for me with the men. First names." The man stood, only to kneel at Norrington's side. "And pirates and respect, too."

He rested clasped hands on the commodore's thigh.

"The Black Pearl's captain is the best pirate I've ever seen, but John, you are the best commodore, and I will always hold you in the highest regard. Don't go being jealous of a pirate." He grinned. "But if you wanted it a bit more . . . well, personal between us, you could've asked me. No elaborate setup needed."

Transfixed by this turn of events, as men generally are when they discover great gaping errors in their calculations of other men, Norrington could only sit staring, mouth hanging open slightly.

Gillette kissed him on the way to standing, then patted his cheek. "If it makes you happier, I'll say no more about the pirate. All right?"

"Er--yes--right," Norrington managed, still unable to fight his way off the sandbar of shock into the harbor of horror.

"Very good . . . John," he beamed. Then, turning on his heel, he saluted the flag on the commodore's wall and left the room.

Kissed by Lieutenant Vaughn Gillette! Norrington rubbed his lips, but he couldn't wipe away young Vaughn's intensity.

The man put everyone on edge. He said exactly what he meant, no prevarication, and infused every word with disturbing sincerity. When he gave respect, he gave it from his bootsoles up, and if he gave love . . ..

Norrington glared at his brandy and drank a bit more.

They'd said it would happen, but he hadn't believed--Gillette was keen as a blade, and John Norrington had finally cut himself.

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