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Reprise

by Melusina

 

Fandom: PoTC    Rating: NC-17    Pairing: Norrington/Will    Full Header

 


Will rarely remembered his dreams, but there was one that recurred with such regularity that he couldn't forget it. The black ship and the Jolly Roger, wreathed in fog. Blood and smoke and darkness, and then waking with a terrible thirst, looking up into Norrington's determined face. Norrington always said, "You're safe," and Will believed him.

Is that how it had happened?  Will could never be sure.  The dreams had become more vivid than the reality, and perhaps the truth had been twisted and shaped into something more meaningful, in the same way that a bar of steel is pounded and shaped until it becomes a blade. 

But what could be more natural than for a boy to look up to the man who'd saved his life?  Especially when Norrington had taken an interest in him, visited him at the forge, even agreed to teach him to use a sword.  For a time, it was nothing but hero worship, what any boy would feel if a man of Norrington's caliber had deigned to spar with him and bring him trinkets when he returned from sea.

When had the adulation taken on a keen and greedy edge of longing?  When had Will's avid study of the blade become an equally avid study of his tutor?  Will's body had matured and changed, and his feelings had undergone a similar transformation; it all happened so subtly that he only realized it when he found himself flushing and burning from Norrington's casual touches and corrections.  His desire to excel, to please Norrington, was still there, but it was colored by a shameful and insidious passion. 

In a port town, it is impossible to escape the knowledge of what sailors do when they are at sea.  Despite Norrington's blameless reputation, Will couldn't help imagining him compromising himself with one of the officers who sailed with him.  Did Groves go to his knees for his Captain?  Did Gillette allow Norrington to bend him over the table in the great cabin and take him from behind?  Or did Norrington suffer in silence, taking himself in hand when his desire became too fierce to ignore?  The more Will thought about it, the more suspicious he became, until he couldn't pass one of the officers in the street without looking askance at him and wondering what secrets his pristine uniform hid.

****

Attack, parry, riposte.  Will and Norrington's feet shuffled across the floor, stirring dust that glittered in the golden late-afternoon light and settled on their skin.  Just as Norrington had taught him, Will watched his opponent carefully for the tiny telling gestures that would indicate his next move.  Had Norrington left himself open purposefully, to test Will?  Will feinted, then stepped back out of the anticipated attack. 

Norrington's concentration broke for a moment and he nodded approvingly, a boyish grin lighting up his face.  "You've been practicing."

"Three hours a day."

They circled, blades at the ready, eyeing one another warily for any sign of weakness.  They'd been sparring for some time now, and the heat in the forge was becoming unbearable.  Norrington's cheeks were red and his shirt was damp with sweat.  Will held back, knowing that Norrington would grow impatient.  Sure enough, he lunged and attacked.  Will attempted to riposte, but his hilt slid in his sweaty hand.  For a panicked moment, he thought he would be disarmed, but the sword remained in his tightened grasp.  Norrington, damn him, chuckled at Will's awkward recovery.  

Norrington was carrying his guard a bit high.  Another trick?  No.  Norrington's parry was a beat later than it should have been, and he had to jump aside hastily to avoid the blow.  He clicked his teeth together in surprise when Will pressed his advantage, attacking again before Norrington could regain his footing.  This time Norrington parried easily, cocking an eyebrow at Will.

They continued, Will relentlessly driving Norrington back against the door of the forge, until he could retreat no more.  Their swords locked together corps a corps; each man strained to free his blade, but hours at the forge had given Will superior strength,  and with a final twist of his arm, he forced Norrington's sword from his hands.  The sword flew across the room, clattering harmlessly against the wall, and Will stumbled and caught himself on the door. 

Norrington looked at Will in astonishment, and for a long while, neither spoke.  They were both panting, and Will was suddenly conscious that they'd picked up one another's rhythm and were inhaling and exhaling together.  It gave the moment a curious intimacy.  Will was painfully aware of the proximity of Norrington's body and of his own body's reaction.  He knew he should move away and put his coat back on before his state became obvious, but he was frozen in place.

Not until their breathing had slowed did Norrington speak, uncertainly.  "I believe the pupil has surpassed the tutor.  If you'd like, I'll speak to the fencing master at the fort -- perhaps something can be arranged there.  But I have nothing else to show you."

****

After that, Will saw little of Norrington.  Their weekly sparring sessions had come to an abrupt end, and there was no other reason for them to meet.  The governor had commissioned a sword for Norrington's promotion ceremony, and Will threw himself into the task, sketching designs and collecting the necessary materials.  He crafted and discarded several prototypes before devising one that balanced perfectly in his hand, light and deadly.

The day of the ceremony, Will delivered the sword to the governor and, then wandered aimlessly, vaguely aware of the distant sounds of the celebration.  When he returned to the forge, he was surprised to see Norrington there, sitting beside poor drunken Brown, his new sword poised on his fingers.

"Will.  Mr. Turner. . .This is a fine blade."

Will's eyes were still adjusting to the dark room, and Norrington's face was inscrutable to him.  "Thank you."

"Whatever Swann may think, I'm not fool enough to believe that Brown had anything to do with this.  You have surpassed that master as well, I see." 

Will had wished for this as he'd worked, that Norrington would recognize his efforts, but now that it had happened, he felt caught out.  "I hope. . .I hope it serves you well." 

Norrington stood.  "I must go; I have to dine with the governor.  Miss Swann. . .has just done me the honor of accepting my proposal." 

Fixated on his envious fantasies, Will had never considered the more likely object of Norrington's affections.  He wiped his hands on his breeches, swallowed hard, and made some perfunctory congratulations.  The new formality between them made it difficult for Will to judge what Norrington was feeling; his tight smile betrayed nothing.

He was long gone when Will discovered the glove he'd dropped, crumpled on the dirt floor of the smithy.  The leather was fine and soft, with the slightest stiffness at the joints, each one marked by a tiny crease.  It looked ridiculous in Will's scarred and callused hands.  He flushed with shame and thought to throw the glove back where he'd found it, but caught himself at the last moment, unable to let it go.  Instead, he rushed through the motions of closing up the shop, and retired to his room, tearing his stifling clothes off as soon as the door was shut.

He crushed the glove in his hand, rubbing his thumb across it repeatedly and pretending he could still feel the warmth of Norrington's skin.  It smelled pungent and musky, and the leather caught on the stubble of his beard.

Only when he'd savored the scent, felt the nap against his cheek, darted his tongue out to taste it, oh so delicately, did he put his hand in the glove.  "Hand in glove," Mr. Brown had once said, obscurely, of Gillette and Groves.  It was only later that Will had had an inkling of what he'd meant.

The glove fit Will's hand tolerably well.  A little loose, for Norrington's hands were bigger, but not much.  Hand in glove.  He was hard already, just from the thought of it.  He tipped his head back, and imagining that his hand was Norrington's, he stroked his throat lightly, groaning at the sensation.  His hand moved of its own volition, groping, pinching, hard and relentless, leather sliding over sweat-slicked skin until it reached his cock, and oh, that was what he'd wanted, James' hand there and the back and forth glide of the leather and the smell still in his nose, mingling with the scent of his own arousal and yes, James, just like that, yes, yes, yes.

Afterwards, he was deeply ashamed, but he could not part with the relic, stained and besmirched though it was.  For a while, he kept it in the pocket of his coat, but the dizzying reminder was too much for him to carry every day.  Instead, he stored it in his chest with the coin his father had sent him so long ago.

****

After Norrington's marriage, Will's fantasies took a different turn.  He was plagued by thoughts of golden hair spilling over the pillow and Norrington's fingers gripping white shoulders tightly.  When these images became too vivid, Will visited the Sailor's Rest, where he purged his mind with ale and rum.  One night there was a new girl, with gilt-colored hair and a tall, slender build.  When she invited Will upstairs, he followed in a daze.  She asked his name, and without a thought, he said, "James, call me James."

Norrington had taken to pirate hunting with a new vigor.  There were whispers that the marriage was not a happy one, and before the year was out, Mrs. Norrington had returned to England on the Hermes, purportedly for an extended visit with her cousins.  There was no word of when or if she would return to the Caribbean.

A week after the Hermes sailed, Norrington visited the forge.  Nothing about him indicated disappointment or heartbreak, although he maintained a cool distance with Will.  "Lieutenant Gillette is to be given command of the Interceptor.  I'd like to present him with a sword to commemorate the occasion."

Will nodded, and noted the details of the order automatically, his mind filled with unsuitable questions.  He wondered if the rumors were true, if Norrington missed his wife, and if he'd regretted his marriage.  He wondered what sort of friendship Norrington had with Gillette.  

Norrington grew quiet, and he stared absently at the rack of swords.  Without meeting Will's eyes, he asked, "Do you practice as much as you did?"

"Mr. Brown has all but set up housekeeping at the Sailor's Rest.  I have less time for fencing than I once did." 

Norrington made a noncommittal noise.  "I've had a difficult time finding a suitable sparring partner.  Perhaps you'd indulge me some time?"

A wild thrill of hope coursed through Will's veins, but he forced his voice into a casual tone.  "No time like the present, eh?"

James' sword shone in the dim room.  When he said, "en garde," their blades rang together true and sweet, and the sound lifted Will's heart.  They fell into the familiar steps, and Will was sure the grin on Norrington's face was a match for his. 

Will was out of practice, and Norrington had learned a new trick or two, fighting pirates.  Twice he nearly disarmed Will, and the third time he succeeded, laughing aloud at his victory.  His glee was contagious, and Will laughed as well, leaning his head back against the wall.  Norrington's laughter ended in an odd gasp, and when Will met Norrington's eyes, they were wide and dark

Norrington turned away.  "I should go."

Summoning up all of his courage, Will grasped Norrington's arm lightly.  He halted and turned back to Will.  The expression on his face was unbearably vulnerable, and Will felt a sharp, yearning pang in the center of his chest.  It was difficult to speak, but Will manage to stammer out, "Please. . .Stay." 

And then their mouths were pressed together, and Will couldn't have said who initiated it.  They kissed for a while, inexpertly, teeth clashing and hands roaming awkwardly over one another's bodies.  Norrington's wig had been knocked off, and Will couldn’t resist nuzzling the closely cropped hair on the edge of his skull.  Softer than Will had expected, but still prickly against his nose, and Will was inhaling the starchy scent of wig powder, overlaying the clean smell of the sweat that beaded up along Norrington's neck.  Will blew lightly on the damp skin, and Norrington shuddered, murmured Will's name, and tilted his head gracefully.  Will took it for an invitation and nipped at the soft skin behind his ear. 

More bites.  Salt and dust in Will's mouth and pulse skipping and racing under his tongue.  Norrington swallowed; the muscles in his neck tensed and released, then vibrated with a rumbling growl when Will's hands made their way to the placket of Norrington's breeches.  The buttons gave way easily, and then Norrington's, no James', cock was in Will's hand, and he was frigging it, just as he did for himself.  James was gritting his teeth together and making a guttural, needy noise, one hand twisting in Will's hair, and the other braced against the wall, and then he was coming all over Will's hand with a triumphant shout.

In the silence that followed, Will could hear himself breathing, hard and desperate, and he was afraid of what would happen next.  But that fear lasted only a few minutes, for as soon as James had recovered, he slid to his knees, unbuttoned Will's breeches and took him in his mouth.  Hot, wet suction and Will clung to the wall, his knees shaking.  He fought for control, wanting this to last, but James flicked his tongue underneath the head of Will's cock and Will heard himself whimpering and begging wordlessly.  One wet finger stroked and circled, gradually moving back and into Will, and his knees buckled and he spent himself in a wave of ecstatic joy.

The next thing he knew, he'd slipped down the wall, and they were tangled together on the floor.  The sun was nearly set and the room had grown dark, lit only by the banked fire; Will dozed, and in his dreams, the black ship came, and the cannons fired, and he choked on the acrid smoke.  He woke abruptly, and James was looking down at him; for a moment, Will thought he was still dreaming.

"James?"

"I'm here."

Will believed him.

*******

Notes

Reprise is a fencing term that means "renewal of an attack that missed or was parried, after a return to en-garde."
 

 

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