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by Melusina


Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG    Pairing: Will/Norrington    Full Header


After two weeks becalmed on the Black Pearl, Will couldn't get off the ship fast enough when finally they arrived in Port Royal. They'd been on short rations and even shorter tempers for the past week: Elizabeth and Jack had squabbled and made up more times than Will could count, Jack and Gibbs had nearly come to blows over the last bottle of rum, and even placid Dinah had yowled at Will and scratched his hand when he'd opened the chest where she was nursing her kittens. He knew he'd have to meet Elizabeth and Jack at Government House for supper, but after the bustle and noise of shipboard life, all Will wanted was a few moments of peace.

He wandered away from the docks, so glad of the quiet that he paid no heed to the direction he turned or to the gathering clouds. A crack of lightning, accompanied by a sudden deluge, brought him to his senses. Will looked around and realized that he'd unthinkingly walked to the part of town where James had his lodgings. Hunching his back against the rain, he dashed towards James' front door, and ran headlong into a cloaked gentleman who was rounding the corner.

"Blast it, can't you--" James' aggrieved expression was transformed. "Will? What on earth are you doing here?"

In no time, they were settled in James' quiet parlor, sipping tea and catching up. The rain pattered against the window soothingly and James' grandmother's silver tea set gleamed softly in the lamplight. When the cook appeared with a tray piled high with raspberry tarts, buttered toast, and sugar-dusted cakes, Will sighed happily and swore that he must have died and gone to heaven.

The tray was nearly empty before Will recalled the package he'd put in his pocket that morning, on the off chance that he might see James in town. "I've got something for you," he mumbled through his sixth tart.

James arched an eyebrow suggestively and Will laughed. "Not that -- or, rather, that too, if you've a mind to -- but first let me show you your present."

James unwrapped the bundle with alacrity, but when the plain brass compass tumbled into his hand, his enthusiasm obviously waned. He was too polite to say, "But I've got a compass already," but the thought was written all over his face. He blinked and managed a tepid, "Thank you."

"It's more than it seems," Will explained, eager to alleviate James' disappointment. "I won it from a French cartographer in a dice game. He said it was the most accurate compass he'd ever used." Will rattled on, relating to James the mechanics of it, as the Frenchman had explained them: the rice paper to reduce friction, the weight on the needle, and the silk strings, but he stopped abruptly when he realized James was no longer looking at the compass.

"And you brought me this wonder, instead of keeping it aboard the Pearl?"

"We already have a compass," Will said lightly.

"Indeed." James' smile lit up his whole face. "One that doesn’t point north."

Will snapped the compass closed, brushing his fingers across James' wrist. Leaning in, he whispered, "But we don't need it to point north, do we? Not so long as it gets us where we want to go."


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