Alexis (summerstwilight) wrote in piratechallenge,

Challenge 8

Title: For the Love of a Lady
Author: summerstwilight
Pairing/Characters: Gillette, Groves, Giselle, and a splash of Norrington
Word Count: 1353
Rating: PG
Genre: General drama, though it’s a little angsty
Summary: Lt. Groves and Lt. Gillette spend the night before Jack Sparrow’s hanging discussing love.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Disney, they aren’t mine.
Spoilers: Just for CotBP
Warnings: None
Notes: Groves has something revealed, and Gillette has something hidden. (I liked them both). Also, my word processor is freaking out, so there may be some spelling/grammer issues that I didn’t see, despite double checking. Apologies.

The excitement after the capture of a criminal was usually an undercurrent in the hallways of the fort, a general feeling of satisfaction that the men in blue and red had once again done their duty for king and country. The capture of a pirate, however, was entirely different. This was no ordinary day’s good work. This was cause for celebration. As Jack Sparrow sat in a dark cell, considering his dwindling options, workman quickly errected a gallows within the fort, smiling at the thought of a hanging the next day. Hangings were entertaining, an all day, family affair.

Deeper within the fort, the men who had just returned to port sank wearily into bed, happier to be back in a real bed then they were about the capture of any pirate. There were three exceptions to this. The Commodore sat up in his room, contemplating the twists and turns of the late voyage, attempting to decipher the labyrinthine corridors of Miss Elizabeth Swann’s mind and behaviors. He thought until he could stand it no more, then reached for his violin and played a sad, slow sonata late into the night.

The room next to the Commodore’s struck an entirely different chord. Lieutenants Groves and Gillette sat talking, the table before them littered with bottles. That the two could not stand each other when sober gave some indication as to their condition, as they were not only talking, but all together having an agreeable evening.

“I’ve got to tell you, Teddy, Norrington drives me up a wall when he starts playing his bloody violin like that. You would think his mother had died.” Gillette took a sip from his mug, settling back into his chair.

“It would be far worse if he didn’t, you know.” Groves looked thoughtfully at the table, noticing exactly how many bottles were on the table, and that all of them were empty. He hoped he wouldn’t live to regret it, but it didn’t appear that Gillette was going to be stopped by it.

“And how would it be worse? He’s already a bit of a stick, even for a navy man.” Gillette sniffed.

“James is… different then most.” Groves said softly. “He takes things entirely too much to heart. For example, he’s troubled by this business.”

“Sparrow ought to be hung, and he will be. It isn’t that difficult a position.”

“I don’t believe he’s worried about Sparrow. He’s worried about Will Turner and Miss Swann.”

“Turner wouldn’t be stupid enough to… Would he?” Gillette looked thoughtfully amused at the thought.

“He might, if he thought it would affect Miss Swann.”

“Oh.” Gillette groaned, putting his cup down more forecefully then he intended to. “The love of a woman. What good has it ever done? Aside from produce rather good musicians, and scores of alcoholics.”

“It… it makes life worth living.” Groves said with quiet intensity.

“Oh, has it got you too? Is it that silly maid of Miss Swann’s?” Gillette laughed, though not harshly, when Groves blanched. “It is, isn’t it? I’ve seen how you looked at her, though she only just came back. You ran off to her house, didn’t you?”

“What? I… well,… no… not in thatway…” Groves stammered. He took a large gulp of whiskey, hoping the fire in his throat would distract from the warmth in his cheeks. “You will not… mention this?”

“No. No one likes the person who reveals their secret, and you already don’t like me.”

“I do not understand you, Andrew.” Groves felt himself angered and frustrated at Gillette’s obtuse manner. It might have been that the whiskey was goading him onward, daring him to ask about what it was that Gillette had kept hidden, close to his heart and unrevealed; what he kept hidden that made him this way. “For example, why this distaste for love? For women? They are different then naval men, true, but they are altogether beguiling creatures.”

“You are entirely too proper. They’ve more in common with pirates then respectable people. They leave you for no reason other then…” Gillette let his voice trickle off, unwilling to go on.

“Other then what?”

“The Commodore is not the only man who has been turned by love.” Gillette said suddenly, shooting up out of his chair and lumbering toward the door. He started forward, unsteady on his feet as the alcohol flooded every part of his body. Grabbing the door handle, he let himself into the hall, grasping to find that room that had so recently become his.

He let himself into the room heavily, crossing the room and falling down in front of his chest. He opened it, not caring for how much noise he made. He grasped around inside it, throwing aside books and clothes until he came across the small, linen handkerchief bundle. The linen had yellowed with age, but it still retained a trace of her perfume. Opening it carefully, he cradled the miniature, gazing at the small, perfect image. Her blonde hair curled softly around her face, eyes piercing out of the frame, grabbing him and holding him, as her eyes had done so often those years ago.

She had sailed out of London so many years earlier, thrusting this very bundle into his hands, tears coursing down her cheeks. She had hesitated, then softly kissed his cheek as she turned, heeding her father’s call. He had tried to call after her, but no voice would come. The ship sailed slowly out of the harbor. His last sight of her was along the stern of the ship, a small white figure shrinking into the distance that only the sea could encompass. For weeks, he threw himself into his work, never far from his station when the post arrived. The day he was not was the day that the news arrived. He was doing exercises, trying to become a better soldier, a better man, one worthy of his beloved. When he returned to the barracks there was a short note scrawled on a scrap of paper and thrown on his bed.

On its voyage to the colony of Jamaica, the ship The North Star was attacked by pirates. The ship was destroyed, and all passengers captured or killed.

After that, he was a changed man. Overnight, he became a harder, more focused man. Soon, he found himself transferred to the fort in Jamaica, under the command of a new captain, James Norrington. His grief had been quiet, until they had made the trip to Tortuga. He was sent ashore to attempt to find a particular criminal, an effort in a place where there were no decent citizens. He walked into the town’s square, affronted by the distasteful sights and sounds of debauchery. A young woman sidled up to him, waving her skirts about. She hooked her arm through his.

“Looking for some excitement?” His heart stopped as she asked. He turned slowly, taking in the sight of her. She still had blonde hair, though it was mussed beyond fixing. Her clothes were tattered and torn, her make up ostentatious. Yet her eyes were still clear blue, full of haughty defiance and inviting.

“Emily?” He whispered. She gasped, going white as she recognized him. “Are you… is this you?”

“Andrew?” she whispered, stretching her hand toward his face. She stopped, pulling her hand back, looking up at him, then down. “I… I thought you were still in the Navy.”

“I am. I thought you were dead.” He was dazed, confused. He could not have been more stunned had she been a ghost.

“I was given a choice. I chose to live.” She said in a low voice.

“I thought…I thought you were gone.”

“I am gone. I am not the girl I was.” She gestured to her appearance. “I am a ruined woman.”

“I could fix it, I could take you back with me, I could…” Gillette rushed, his head filled with a thousand ideas, convinced that he could save her, that he could rescue her from what she had become. She silently placed a finger on his lips, stilling his speech.

“No. I am what I am, God forgive me. This is me now.” Her eyes started to fill with tears. “Go be the man you are, the man you always wanted to be. Find a girl who can be that too.”

“I am to lose you again?” He whispered, feeling the pricking at the back of his eyes that he always felt when he thought of what he had lost.


“Giselle!” A ragged looking woman ran up to her, grabbing her by the arm. She took a look at Gillette, then turned. “I’ve found a man, says he wants you. You might be able to squeeze him in.” She pointed back at Gillette.

“No.” her voice suddenly became higher, more seductive. “He was just looking for someone.”

“Oh well. He wants you now.”

“I’m going.” She protested. The woman started to drag her away. She turned quickly, locking eyes with him for only a moment. “I love you.” She mouthed, then turned away. Gillette was left standing, stricken.

He returned immediately to the ship, saying he didn’t feel well. He spent the rest of the voyage in his cabin, venturing out only for the watches that he could not avoid. Norrington attempted to question him, but he simply refused, pushing the Captain away.

Back in his small, moonlit room, Gillette still sat in front of the chest, cradling the miniature, tears running down his cheeks as he remembered that day. He had lost her twice, and no words from anyone would ever justify it to him. “No,” he thought, “love was only for those who were foolish enough to believe in it.”
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