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Permission Granted

by Linaelyn

 

Fandom: PoTC     Rating: PG    Pairing: Norrington/Gov. Swann    Full Header

 


A week prior to his promotion ceremony, Captain Norrington had been invited to dinner at the Governor's mansion, a singular honor, but one he was accorded with increasing frequency of late. The Governor was seemingly quite fond of this young rising star of his majesty's Carib fleet.

Dinner had gone quite well, and the evening had grown late, but the captain showed no signs of excusing himself, due to the late hour.

Elizabeth was bored.

Governor Swann was tired.

And the Captain? Was inexplicably ill-at-ease and awkward.

After the final plates had been cleared from the table, Elizabeth struck upon a a solution that would at least allow her own retreat from the festivities.

"I know! You gentlemen must retire to the parlour for some brandy!" She failed to disguise the excitement in her voice.

"Oh, but that would leave you without social intercourse for remainder of the evening," the doting Weatherby Swann countered.

"It's quite alright. I have a book I've been meaning to read, waiting for me in my boudoir," Elizabeth parried.

Norrington cleared his throat, interrupting whatever the Governor was about to say, "I should quite enjoy the chance to discuss a certain matter with you, privately, Governor."

This went against all their usual evening routine, but the Governor was adept at the social grace required by his position, and obviously James had something he needed to speak of, outside of Elizabeth's hearing.

Swann had an idea about what that likely topic of conversation would be.

Farewells were bid to the de facto "lady of the house", and Elizabeth retreated briskly up the spiral staircase, as the men carried their snifters of French brandy to the sitting room.

The servants were dismissed for the night, the bottle left in reasonable proximity, and parlour doors were shut tight.

James was out of time, and he knew it. It was speak now, or forever hold his peace.

"Governor Swann," he began, "I have a matter of some importance, nay, urgency to discuss with you."

"So formal, James?" the older man replied. "Please, you must remember to call me Weatherby, when the servants aren't about."

The informality nearly cracked James's carefully controlled exterior. "Sir, I have a boon to ask of you. Nay, two of them, and they are intertwined deeply within my heart." That selfsame heart pounded within his chest, in a way he had rarely experienced outside of battle. Surely his entire existence was about to go terribly, drastically awry.

"You wish to ask me for my daughter's hand in marriage?" Weatherby's eyes were soft and affectionate on the younger man. "Yes, yes of course. Whom else could I possibly choose, as a more appropriate match for her?"

James' eyes flew wide. The governor was lurching towards him, hand outstretched to shake his own. He took the hand proferred, but could only hold it, dumbstruck.

Finally, he was able to speak. "You don't mind? I do love her, you know, been terribly fond of her since she was but a child."

"Not at all, not at all." Weatherby laughed at James' discomfiture. "Drink up! We must toast you joining my family, after all!"

They drank together, smiling, although James remained uncomfortable and reserved. Finally, he spoke again. "There is a second matter. A vital matter, if I am to wed Elizabeth."

"What is it? Do you have need of funds?" Weatherby said. "I do understand that you may have to be posted elsewhere, eventually. That is the pain all fathers must face, as the price of having offspring. Children grow and leave, no matter how fond we are of them. You and I, we serve the crown first, and not only ourselves."

"No. No, that's not it." James swallowed, and placed a hand on the knee of the man who had been mentor, guide, and so much more to him, these past nearly ten years. "It must be over between us, Weatherby. As of tonight. No more."

Tears started in the elder man's eyes. "I know. You're right, of course. I know. How I would have survived those first years without Sophia..." his voice broke and he paused. "It is eminently time for us to end things, and I am so pleased to not be losing you entirely. I am gaining a son, after all!"

"I have no regrets," James was firm, but then smiled a little, "save that I could not have my cake and eat it too. But that's not how the world turns, for good or ill."

"You're a good man, an honorable man, James," Weatherby answered. "You're everything I'd want for her. This is by far the best solution, for everyone concerned. When will you speak to her?"

"At the reception, following the promotion ceremony." James palms dampened at the thought. "What do you think she will say? Will she give me an answer immediately, or make me wait for a while? I have heard women sometimes do that sort of thing."

"I have no more idea what she'll do about this, than I do about any other thing she does." replied the baffled father. "Whatever she does, you can be sure it will surprise the both of us."

"To the surprises Elizabeth delivers to us, then!" And James raised his glass in toast to such a thing.

The brandy snifters clinked together, the fingers touched, the eyes locked.

And then it was well and truly done.

But for an ache in Weatherby's heart, that would last for the rest of his days.
 

 

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