|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.
It was not only due to the suffocating heat in the great cabin that Lieutenant Groves sweated like a horse under the many layers of wool and linen of his uniform. Finding that Thomas Gillette was his new captain rather than Captain Reggins contributed greatly to his discomfort. Gillette was supposed to be dead, lost in the hurricane that had claimed the Dauntless and far too many lives. Yet there he was, in his immaculate uniform, no hint of sweat, not one wrinkle on his youthful face. Not even a gray hair! Groves, thinking of his own receding hairline, couldn't help but feeling resentful.
"I can tell that you're surprised, Mr. Groves. So was I when I learned that you've sailed under the flag of the East India Trading Company and the command of Lord Cutler Beckett."
The acid in Gillette's voice didn't escape Groves, and it irked him.
"With all due respect, sir: I have a family to feed and couldn't afford to stay ashore on half pay. It's not like I didn't try to help Commodore Norrington; there just wasn't a way for me to-"
Gillette cut him off with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Mr. Groves, here's an advice that you might wish to take to heart for your future career: don't follow men who are greedy for power and gold."
"Well, then I may better leave the service, sir; it will be hard to find a captain that would fit your requirements."
"Good point," Voltaire chipped in.
Groves studied him coolly; he didn't approve of passengers in the first place, and then a frog, of all people! That didn't escape Gillette, and he hurried to introduce Voltaire.
"This is Monsieur Arouet, Mr. Groves. He's here to... he's supposed to... he will..."
"I'm here upon invitation by the Admiralty," Voltaire said quickly. "I will carry out a series of experiments which are of greatest importance to the Royal Navy. And to the future of the British Empire," he added, lowering his voice as if he was talking of a state secret.
Groves' face lightened up. "That's splendid news. I can assure you that officers and crew will support you in every possible way. What kind of experiments will you conduct?"
"Experiments with dolphins."
"Dolphins?" Gillette and Groves asked in unison, both looking equally confused.
"Indeed, dolphins. My invention will increase the sailing speed of the fleet significantly," Voltaire explained with great enthusiasm. "Such a simple method, yet so effective! I've developed a harness for dolphins. Just like carts are pulled by horses, ships will be pulled by dolphins. Twenty to thirty for a ship of this size here. Amazing, isn't it?" He sighed happily. "And I'm already planning flying ships which will be carried by giant flocks of seagulls, atta-"
"That's - brilliant," Gillette muttered.
Voltaire smiled smugly. "I know."
Groves preferred not to speak his mind; he cleared his throat and turned to Gillette. "Your orders, sir?"
"Our mission has changed, Mr. Groves." He took a small piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to the lieutenant. "This is our course."
Groves studied the note."But that's where-"
"Yes, that's where. On your way, Mr. Groves," Gillette said sternly, and Groves obeyed, leaving the great cabin. As soon as the door had closed behind him, Voltaire began to laugh.
"Cousin, what on earth is wrong with you? That uniform, that tone - it's ridiculous! The very moment we came aboard this ship, you've changed completely. You speak and behave like a mortal!"
"Honour, honesty, loyalty, humility and dedication to the service are the values I was taught by my captain, and those are the values I'll adhere to," Gillette said with pathos. "At least as long as I'm wearing this uniform."
"Very admirable. Very honourable. Very boring," Voltaire commented. "I can't wait to meet that formidable captain of yours. He must be a stunning sight to make up for all his virtues."
Gillette thought of Norrington's crooked teeth and decided to ignore the comment. By the standards of their kind, Norrington's looks probably ranged on the same level as those of a troll.
"There's one thing I'm curious about: why were you not there during that epic battle? Why haven't you been by your captain's side when he was in sore distress? You've been very harsh with the poor lieutenant, but from all I can tell, you haven't covered yourself with glory, either."
Gillette began to pace up and down the cabin, hands clasped behind this back.
"I haven't left by choice, I assure you. Seoirse caught wind of James Norrington giving Captain Jack Sparrow one day's head start when he escaped. Back then, I made it very clear that this might be a gentlemanly, yet also very stupid thing to do. But did James listen? No. And of course Seoirse had to use this to his advantage, pulling strings and calling in favours in London, trying to topple my captain. I knew that, and warned James. And what did he do? Started to chase that cursed pirate! From here to there and back again - lunacy! He became quite obsessed, and didn't listen to any sense or reason. Or me."
"And then?" Voltaire asked, captivated by the story.
"And then he gave orders to sail through a hurricane. Through a hurricane, can you imagine? I protested; not only because it's really uncomfortable to walk around in a soaking wet uniform, but also because it could have cost the lives of so many men."
"You protested? Why so complicated? You could have just turned him into a toad. Really, Tómas, you're the least imaginative leprechaun I know."
Gillette sighed and sat down, looking very sad. "He asked me to calm the storm. But I'm only a leprechaun, not a merrow; I don't have such powers. I told him that we should sail home and mind our own business. That's when he called me a mutineer and ordered me off the ship. What could I have done? He ordered it. I had no choice but to take my pot of gold and leave. The ship sank, and I believed them all to be dead."
Voltaire sucked air through his teeth. "Ordered away by the one you love - that's terrible! Didn't he know the consequences? What happened then?"
"I returned home; what else could I have done? But I'd lost all fun in leading on farmers, and there are only so many times you can count the gold in your pot. Not to talk of the countless unmarried young ladies that mother invited for tea. She has 487 grandchildren already, how many more does she need? And I've missed my captain, as you can imagine. It goes without saying that I started looking for him when I learned that he had survived. But it was too late."
Voltaire patted Gillette's shoulder. "No need to despair; I'm very certain we'll find your captain. History is full of stories where lovers find their way to happiness despite misfortune and obstacles and annoying cousins. Just think of Romeo and Juliet!"
Gillette gave him a sidewise glance. "They died."
"Now did they?" Voltaire scratched his head. "My apologies. I never managed to sit through one of Cousin William's plays to the end."
* * *
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|THE FLYING SCOTSMAN 4/18
by Molly Joyful