This Beautiful Skin
Disclaimer: I do not own them, or we'd definitely see Will in a dress sometime in the future.
Pairing: sweet and awkward Norri/Will, father/son type Jack/Will
Notes: Much thanks to my Guinea Pig for help with deciding on Will's name.
Will stared at Elizabeth. "I beg your pardon?" he stuttered.
"The Commodore is mine," Elizabeth repeated.
Will blinked. "But weren't you engaged to that Will Turner, the Blacksmith's apprentice?"
Elizabeth shrugged lazily. "He was simply a passing thing, as I'm sure you are for James as well."
Will flinched. He was well aware of the fact that he was no more than a fleeting fascination for Norrington, or anybody else for that matter, but did she have to rub it in? Elizabeth smirked and Will felt himself shiver inside. Where had the Elizabeth he'd fallen in love with gone? Was she always this way and he hadn't noticed, or had she truly changed so much? He wasn't quite sure, but it no longer mattered. The truth remained that she was now a stranger to him, one that was currently getting entirely too close. He clutched his wine glass to his chest and watched her closely.
"I see that you understand your position. Where did he find you? Selling flowers on some street corner and he brought you along. Or perhaps you were selling more than flowers..." Elizabeth moved closer, a silky smooth grin pulling at her painted lips.
"N-no," he stuttered, finding himself backed up against his chair. He glanced around but it seemed that the previously curious on-lookers had suddenly turned a blind eye to them. Trust them to look the other way when someone of status was involved, Will thought bitterly.
"Oh come now, you appear from thin air and expect me to believe that you are not some bought girl?" Elizabeth reached out, tipping Will's wineglass towards him, the liquid sloshing dangerously.
A white-gloved hand caught Elizabeth's wrist. "I assure you that she is not that kind of girl."
Elizabeth and Will turned to the man who had stepped in. A handsome man, in a pristine white wig and a navy blue jacket, held firmly to Elizabeth's wrist.
"Who are you? How would you know?" Elizabeth struggled to retrieve her arm.
The man let go, moving between Will and Elizabeth. He faced the girl, clearly unfazed by her glare. "I expect that her father would know best, don't you?"
Will's eyebrows shot up in shock at the stranger's proclamation, but he quickly tried to hide his mystified expression. This man was saving him and it would not do to give the game away.
Elizabeth stared at the man that stood between them. "Her father?"
"Yes," he nodded, "I am Jonathan Blackwell. I wish I could say that I am charmed, Miss Swann, but I am not."
Elizabeth nervously searched for something to say. "I..."
"Do not feed me excuses Miss Swann. I suggest that you leave my daughter be, or the consequences shall be quite embarrassing for you. So please, apologize and take your leave." The man instructed.
"I...I am sorry." Elizabeth said quickly, curtseying before hastening off into the crowd.
The man turned to Will and grinned. A quick flash of gold made Will's eyes widen. "Jack?" he whispered in awe.
"Of course it's me lass. You didn't think that I'd let you go off unsupervised, did you?"
Will just stared. Jack's transformation was as fascinating to him as his own. Jack was clean-shaven and dressed up in expensive clothes with a smart looking white wig covering his trademark hair. His eyes had no trace of their usual lining of kohl, but now that Will looked at them closely, he could easily recognize the mischievous glimmer. If Jack hadn't smiled at him though, he wasn't sure that he'd have recognized him at all, as even his voice seemed different.
"How did you get in here?" Will finally asked.
"I have my ways," Jack winked.
"Ways indeed! You are going to get yourself caught!"
"Nonsense. I'm fitting right in. Why before I came to your rescue I was having a rather fascinating conversation with the mayor from the other side of the island about the finer points of rum. But enough of that, come dance with me before all the gossip mongers get close enough to hear us." Jack glared at the people trying to edge in on their quiet conversation. He took the drink from Will, setting it aside, before taking Will's hand and leading him to the dance floor.
Jack led Will to the center of the floor and quickly whisked him off into the dance. Will felt as though he'd suddenly been sucked into the center of a hurricane. His feet carried him automatically through the steps as he stared at Jack. He looked much younger without his beard and moustache. Will could almost mistake the pirate as being much younger than he claimed.
"What's the matter? You look as though you've seen a ghost."
Will studied him. "I'm not so sure I haven't."
Jack smiled and said nothing as they whirled around the floor, picking up more curious glances as they navigated through the other dancers.
Across the room, Norrington looked out from the curtained alcove that the Governor had pulled him into as the whispers increased. He frowned as he saw a stranger dancing with Will. The Governor was still going on about raising some tax by a minimal amount, but he stopped as he saw that he'd lost the Commodore's attention. He followed his gaze to the dance floor, where he also saw Will. The Governor shook his head and grinned, clapping Norrington on the back.
Norrington looked back at him quickly. "I'm sorry sir, you were saying?"
"I'm sorry I took up your time, I can see that your attention is obviously elsewhere. Go and fetch her back, we can talk at a more convenient time." The Governor's eyes twinkled.
Norrington nearly told him that it wasn't what it appeared, but knew that it would fall on deaf ears. Instead, he bowed. "Thank you sir."
"Go get her man, she seems a fine catch." The Governor practically pushed Norrington off.
Norrington started towards the dance floor, but found himself intercepted as Elizabeth latched onto his arm.
"James, you have barely spoken to me this evening." She looked up at him, expectantly.
"I am sorry, but I was attending to Miss Blackwell, as I must do again." James waved towards the dance floor.
Elizabeth pouted. "But shouldn't you be dancing with me? After all, we are intended."
Norrington paused, looking at the girl with an incredulous expression. "Intended? Forgive me Elizabeth but, were you not set to marry Turner?"
"I realized the mistake I was making."
"What mistake? He is a fine young man," Norrington admitted, surprised at how easy he found it to defend Will.
Elizabeth frowned at him. "Yes, but he is merely a blacksmith. He cannot provide for me. He has no manners, no money, and no status. Besides, I have heard that he has found another. She was seen leaving the shop. Why should I marry such an unfaithful pauper? You are much more suited to me." Elizabeth cuddled Norrington's arm.
Norrington's mind whirled. So, rumors of the lady leaving the Smithy had indeed gotten around. He hoped that nobody was smart enough to connect that mysterious young lady with his own.
Norrington looked at the girl and shook his head. "More suited? I have tried for some time to win your heart. First, you chose Turner over me and then you scorned my gifts, giving them away to be sold!"
Elizabeth winced. "Who told you that? Did Will tell you that? He's lying! Somebody, somebody stole them, my maid, she stole them and ran away."
The Commodore watched as Elizabeth tried to cover her tracks. "Elizabeth...you are lying to me," Norrington said softly. "I do not know what kind of game you are trying to play, but please do not play it with me. It is obvious to me now that we are simply not suited for each other. Perhaps William is not the man for you either, but do not grasp at straws so."
"What...what do you mean?" Elizabeth's brow creased with confusion.
"I shall not be marrying you. It is obvious to me that you need time to figure out what you really want. You are no longer a child and now the time has come for you to enter the world of adults. It shan't be easy to navigate this new world, but some day you will figure out what you need and find someone to give it to you. But I am not that person." Norrington gently removed her hands from his arm.
"That's it? That's it!? You are choosing her over me?" Elizabeth glared daggers at him.
"No. I am just coming to my senses and I do hope you'll come to yours. This behavior is most unbecoming." He admonished, turning away from her.
Elizabeth watched, mouth agape, as Norrington walked away from her. People nearby began to put their heads together, whispering behind hands and fans. Elizabeth gathered up her dress and quickly fled the ballroom, not staying to watch Norrington reclaim his date.
Norrington stood impatiently at the edge of the dance floor, waiting for the latest dance to end. He couldn't very well march onto the floor and tear Will from the stranger's arms. That would certainly cause more of a scene than they already had. All he could do was glare at the man and wait.
On the dance floor, Jack had to fight back a smile. "What do you find so amusing?" Will asked quietly.
"Our dear Commodore. You'd think I was a pirate the way he's glaring at me."
Will laughed softly. "Jack, you are a pirate," he whispered.
"Ah yes, so I am, so I am. But still, he does not know that. I do think that he's rather upset that I have stolen his treasure away."
Will shook his head. "I am no treasure."
"Well, it seems that some people disagree as dear James just blew off Miss Lizzy to come for you."
"He did?" Will turned his head, trying to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth. He didn't see her, but he did get a good look at the glare Norrington was throwing Jack. "It looks as though he is imagining the noose around your neck as he hangs you." Will said in surprise.
"Then perhaps it is time I return you to his arms." Jack said as the dance ended. He stepped away from Will and bowed deeply. Taking his hand, he led him to where Norrington was watching them closely. "Commodore, I am returning this beautiful treasure to your care. You will watch her more closely in the future I hope." Jack bowed, offering Norrington Will's hand.
"Who are you and what are you talking about?" Norrington asked as he took Will's hand from Jack's.
Will nudged Norrington. "Surely you remember my father."
Norrington blinked. "Your father," he said slowly as Will nodded. "Mr. Blackwell?"
Jack nodded. "Yes, it's good to see you've not forgotten my name." Norrington glanced at Will in confusion. Will looked at him, deliberately dragging his eyes towards Jack. Norrington looked back at Jack, who offered him his hand. Norrington hesitantly took the hand and gasped at the flash of skin between glove and jacket that Jack flashed. It was hard to miss the raised P in the flesh, even at such a speed. His eyes flicked back to Jack's face. "I see you remember me better now. I just came to check on my lovely dear. It seems I got here right in time to rescue her."
"Rescue her from what?" Norrington glanced at Will, who was watching the crowd for a glimpse of Elizabeth.
"From Miss Swann. It seems she's taken quite a disliking to my daughter. She called her some less than savory things and tried to ruin her lovely dress. We couldn't have that now could we?" Jack explained.
"Certainly not, her dress is far more lovely than Miss Swann's."
"Nerissa, luv," Jack said softly. Will turned at the sound of his mother's name. "You're not paying attention."
"I...you...you called me by," Will stuttered.
"Your name, is there something wrong? I thought it would be much better than always referring to you as Miss Blackwell" Jack smiled.
"Yes..yes, of course," Will said quickly, flushing.
"Nerissa?" Norrington raised an eyebrow as he rolled the name over his tongue. "I think it is well suited," he finally announced.
"Thank you, Commodore."
Norrington shook his head. "No, if we are going to go by first names, than I insist you call me James."
Will looked surprised. "Ah, all right...James."
"Attention my friends. Attention!" Across the room, the Governor stood close to the small band of musicians on a slightly raised step. "We are about to have a special dance in honor of this St. Valentine's day, so please collect your sweetheart and participate!"
Norrington turned his attention from the Governor, back to Will, looking thoughtful. "Nerissa, might I have this dance?"
To Be Continued...
All righty me luvs, here is the stunning conclusion to yet another chapter *laughs* Um, yeah, so thanks for all the people who reassured me that the fic was not floundering. Encouraged, I forged onward. A note, Nerissa is derived from Greek nereis meaning "nymph" or "sea sprite". I found it to be quite appropriate. So anyway, tell me what you think. Please? ^_^