Characters/Pairings: Norrington, Beckett and an unavoidable hint of Norrington/Elizabeth
Summary: Was this really what Commodore James Norrington wanted most of all? Missing scene vignette set at the end of DMC leading into AWE.
Spoilers: Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest and 3: At Worlds End
A/N: Thanks to 16tosvo for betareading. :)
The heart is handed over, and it's the price for his honour.
So small for something of such power, it sits there on the desk, beating from within the pouch and Beckett stares at it almost ravenously, holding his breath. Clearly this goes above and beyond his expectations. James knows he'll get what he wants, possibly more if he dares ask for it.
“You have done the civilised world a great service, Rear-Admiral Norrington,” Beckett says smiling obscenely, practically crazed at this unexpected triumph. James does not reply, there's no need to, with his reinstatement blatantly confirmed by that statement.
Standing, he watches Beckett finalise the proceedings in silence. The East India Trading Company gets what it wants most of all and so does he. A fair deal by all accounts, but it feels like he might as well be handing over his own heart, because he's been as cruel and cold as Davey Jones in his quest to appease those of influence, those in the right positions.
Perhaps it's not too late he thinks, but he knows there's nothing he can do to get out of this position. He's made his station, and he hates to make a habit of abandoning … no, he is here and if there are any regrets that linger over his actions he will do all he can within the law to atone for them.
“You are very generous Lord Beckett.”
“That I am. Though you'd do good, Norrington,” he slips back into using the surname singularly, said with venom, “...to recognise that I reward as I see fit and punish equally by the same measure.”
The pleasantries are suddenly over and James knows he's reminding him of how he made him more and can take it away again, or fulfil the sentence that had hung over him previously. In the best tradition of the Royal Navy James stands tall and looks him in the eyes cleanly, accepting what he must.
“I understand, Sir.”
Foolishly, he thinks he can work around that problem. He vows he will not have damned Elizabeth by his actions because if so, he might as well have handed over his own heart.
However, it is not until months later that he truly feels the full extent of his actions. The last blow to his pride is when Beckett hands him the sword, as if it is a fine thing to be bestowed upon him, instead of his own. A gift; not something to take back, to reclaim with his honour.
Here he is with everything in the world that meant something apart from Elizabeth. He has however, sold her out, her and everyone whom she loves. He has his sword. He is yet again a fine man in the eyes of the empire, but he knows, he has lost his dignity. Nor has he heard news of her, and he cannot quite decide if that is best. He may have lost her too. As a man he doesn't know what to do but as an admiral he continues on.
All that remains is for him to walk out defiantly, pretending to be the man he once was, but he's nothing now. Despite his precious position, his title and place assured, he's nothing more than a godforsaken pirate, perhaps worse than them because he could not abide by even their paltry “guidelines”.
He should probably accept that it's too late now to change anything, he can't go back on the deal, won't go back on what he's done. However dishonestly he's earned this, this is his. It's not for Jack Sparrow that he cares any, rather it is Elizabeth and Will whom he worries he has cast aside too quickly, undeserving of whatever fate befalls them.
But he might still be able to do something. There are things they must know. It pains him to admit any of this to anyone, let alone those he betrayed, but it is the least he can do, his chance at redemption. Perhaps then, when he confesses, accepting whatever justice they inflict, he will feel honourable again.