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Extreme Unction

by Melusina


Fandom: PoTC Crossover    Rating: G    Pairing: none    Full Header


Of all the people Horatio had expected to visit him in his jail cell, Admiral Norrington was perhaps the last. When they'd learned that they were sailing to the Caribbean, Horatio had idly hoped that he might meet Norrington, but Archie had assured him that it was unlikely, for Norrington was rumored to have become quite reclusive of late. And Horatio certainly hadn't expected that this would be the event to draw Norrington abroad once more. Yet even in these unfortunate circumstances, Horatio was thrilled to be face to face with the renowned pirate hunter.

He didn't disappoint. Norrington's face was lined, but his posture was ramrod straight, and a keen intelligence shone in his green eyes. He peered at Horatio speculatively, with a mixture of curiosity and sympathy, as one might observe an animal in a cage, and when he finally spoke, his voice held a striking authority for such an elderly man. "Well, well, Lieutenant; we've heard much of you, but I must confess, this was not how I expected to meet you."

"Nor I, you, sir."

"Are you guilty as charged?"

Horatio hesitated, inexplicably tempted to confess everything. "Not. . .exactly."

"You were not exactly mutinous or you're not exactly guilty?" Something inscrutable flashed across his face. "A. . .friend once told me that the deepest circle of hell is reserved for traitors and mutineers. But perhaps even in mutiny there may be extenuating circumstances."

Horatio remembered the horrors they'd been subjected to aboard the Renown and shuddered. "Do you believe, sir, that those circumstances may erase the fault? Can good ever come from wrongdoing?"

Norrington sighed, and to Horatio's surprise, smiled wryly. "It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but we must hope that our intentions count for something in the end, for who can claim a spotless record?" He gripped the bars between them. "Whatever comes of this, remember that sins of commission are always superior to those of omission. It's better to take the chance and fail than to risk nothing and save yourself. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life."

"Thank you, sir."

Norrington hesitated, as if he would say more, then shook his head. "Good luck, my boy."

"Thank you, sir," Horatio said again, as the sound of the Admiral's footsteps faded. A full life, he thought, inexplicably heartened, a full, long life. He smiled and sat down once more to his book.


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