|Sequel to "Tómas"
Overall rating: PG-13
Category: slash, adventure, humour
Other characters appearing: Lord George Cutler Beckett, Lt. Greitzer, Lt. Groves, Will Turner plus cameos by Prince Frederick of Prussia and Voltaire
Feedback: very welcome. Good or bad.
Author's note: I thought that "Tómas" was the weirdest story I've ever written. Well, I was wrong.
Summary: There is nothing that a leprechaun wouldn't do for his treasure, so all is not lost for James Norrington.
Finding an intruder in his bedroom long past bedtime was one thing; seeing said intruder sitting on the fragile writing desk and reading the draft of his book quite another. Especially the young man's chuckling while leafing through the pages of his precious manuscript infuriated Frederick greatly. For a moment he considered calling for the guards, but he didn't feel threatened by the visitor, found the situation more embarrassing than dangerous and finally, curiosity won over caution.
"What? What? Have you come here to murder me? Then know that I will fight to my last breath! I will-"
"Yes, yes, I know. You will cut me in little pieces and feed me to your dogs," the young man said. He was dressed to the latest fashion in a suit of dark green velvet, and his shoes were decorated with the biggest silver buckles Frederick had ever seen. He wore no wig; the red, unpowdered hair was held back in a simple pigtail. "Your 'Anti-Machiavel' isn't bad," he said, giving Frederick a charming smile. "To be honest, I'd expected worse, despite dear Voltaire's praise. Of course, the text could do with some editing, and you really need to work on your syntax, but all things considered, Your Royal Highness does have a talent for writing. Ah, bloody titles, far too complicated. I'll call you Fred."
Prince Frederick, future King of Prussia, sat up in his bed and crossed his arms over his chest. "I almost admire you for your rudeness," he said. "Would you now please put my manuscript aside and explain who you are, what you want and how you managed to get past my guards? And even more important: what do you mean by saying that you've 'expect worse'? And you're not French. What business do you have with Voltaire?"
The young man hinted a bow and put the bundle of papers carefully aside. "My apologies. My visit must be quite confusing. You see, it's against my principles to beg for an audience; I prefer a more informal approach. As for your questions: I came here by coming in, Voltaire is a distant cousin of mine, I've expected worse because the last member of a royal household writing anything that made sense was Elizabeth I., and I'm here because I'm looking for Mr. Greitzer. Oh, and my name is Thomas Gillette, I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance."
Frederick's head was spinning, and not only because of Gillette's stream of words. Only now, with his eyes getting accustomed to the dark, Frederick could see that his visitor was actually not sitting on the desk, but hovering an inch above it in the air. He got goose pimples and broke out in a cold sweat.
"You - are not of this world," Frederick gasped.
Gillette shrugged. "That depends on your point of view. We live in the same world, but not in the same place. Too difficult to explain. I'm a leprechaun."
"A - what?" Frederick couldn't help it, he had to laugh. "A leprechaun? That's ridiculous!"
"A word of warning, Fred my friend: if you should try to educate me now that I'm supposed to be a small gnome with a red beard and spending my days mending shoes, I'll set your manuscript on fire."
Frederick looked from his manuscript to Gillette and then back again, swallowed hard and decided it wasn't worth the risk.
"Let's assume that you really are a - well, what you said you were, and that I don't suffer from a hallucination. You claim to be my dear friend Voltaire's cousin, and with all due respect, I've never heard of a French leprechaun!"
Gillette waved him off. "I said he was a cousin, not a brother. Good grief, even a mermaid could tell he's not a leprechaun! He's an Ignis Fatuus, or, more commonly known, a will-o'-the-wisp. They're very intellectual, but have absolutely no sense of direction. Anyway, we're not here to talk about him. You have a man called Adrian Greitzer serving in your guard, I understand?"
Frederick shrugged. "Do you have any idea how many soldiers are serving in my guards? How on earth could I know each of them?"
"I would do my best to know every man on whom my life could depend if I were you," Gillette said sternly. "You might take that into consideration for your future career."
Frederick thought about it for a moment. "You do have a point there, Mr. Gillette. I have no idea why I feel I have to help you, but I will order my servant to look for Mr. Greitzer. Please come back tomorrow night, I'll hopefully know more by then. However, I'd be curious to learn why one of my guards would be of such importance for you?"
Gillette drummed his fingers on the desk. "It's a very long and complicated story. I have a cousin - not Voltaire - named Seoirse. George in your language. Lord George Cutler Beckett, to be more precise. Dear George caused a lot of trouble; he almost managed to get half of the ships of the fleet destroyed. As an officer of the Royal Navy, I'm very annoyed. And he-"
"You? What? There are leprechauns serving in the Royal Navy?" Frederick scratched his head. "Well. That explains a lot. So you think Mr. Greitzer can help you to find your cousin?"
"Yes. Or rather, he might tell me what happened to George. He's served under him in the right honourable East India Trading Company, and was with him when their flagship went down. I have to find George, because George can tell me what happened to my captain."
"I fear I'm beginning to lose track of all the actors in this drama," Frederick said. "What captain?"
"James Norrington. My captain." The wistful look on Gillette's face didn't escape Frederick; he'd seen that expression all too often, usually when looking into the mirror.
"Your captain? I see."
Gillette looked a little embarrassed, and straightened out the cuffs of his coat to keep his hands busy. "James Norrington died aboard a cursed ship, the Flying Dutchman. It's very simple: I need to find Mr. Greitzer who will help me to find George who'll help me to find the Flying Scotsman where I hope to find my captain."
"Dutchman," Frederick corrected.
"It's the Flying Dutchman, Mr. Gillette. You said Flying Scotsman."
"Oh, but it is the Flying Scotsman now," Gillette assured. "She's sailing under a new command."
* * *
|THE FLYING SCOTSMAN 1/18
by Molly Joyful