Summary: It's always a tough thing to meet your lover's family . . .
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Disclaimer: Disney owns these characters and the setting in which they live.
Notes: hilbycent, this is all yours. It contains the following--Sparrow/Norrington, a row of impressive houses and a girl selling flowers, the word "whippersnapper," an oddly-colored wig, extremely expensive cookies, a white boot (or two), a duck, and someone saying the phrase "Come now! Any sane human being would know not to do that with a lobster!" (albeit in an Austrian accent), all as per your requests. Written between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. so as to provide time for a next chapter of "Hunter." Enjoy. =)
Meet the Norringtons
A landbound pirate is a pirate adrift.
London could have made a handsome ocean. Merchants in great hulking vessels (but on land they were houses) full of rich things jostled at port with (or, rather, lined the streets across from) a row of respectable but hardly wealthy vess--er, houses.
But a man couldn't very well sail his house down the street and board a luxury mansion. The best he could hope for was an unlatched window at night, and then he was no pirate at all, but only a common burglar.
Jack Sparrow swayed unsteadily on the cobbled street and despite himself, sized up the merchant ves--mansions for boarding.
It just wasn't the same.
He felt a tug at his sleeve, and whirled around. These streets made him edgy--he couldn't see the sea even if he climbed to the top of Westminster Abbey and put a spyglass to his eye. He was justified in being a bit jumpy. But it was no threatening figure who had plucked his sleeve; a ragamuffin girl in a crumpled dress and no shoes lifted a basket full of slightly wilted flowers.
"Please, sir, buy a posy?" she whispered, shielding herself from the man with her basket. In the worse pirate ports, the girl would be learning the wench's trade already.
Poor girl looked entirely terrified, for some reason that had not made itself clear to Jack. He looked around, not seeing any officers of the type who had given him trouble the night before. It was only himself and the little girl in the street, and he wasn't a frightening sight at all--on the contrary, he accounted himself a right handsome devil.
. . . What the hell. He could do with a flower today, and she could do with some feeding at any time. He pressed a pair of florins into her hands and took his choice of the least-wilted flowers, pressing it into his pocket.
As he turned away, the girl asked suddenly, "Are you a pirate or a gypsy, sir?"
Jack tipped his hat and grinned at her. "A pirate, lassie."
With that, he continued down the street, whistling an odd little tune as he tweaked up the corners of his mustache and noted the first advantage to land life--there were no gunports on the shi--mansions.
"Come now! Any sane 'juman being would know not to do that with a lobstoh!"
Franz was infuriated. He was livid. He was incensed. He was the fifteenth-best cook in London, a fabulous chef with seafood, and very Austrian.
And some miscreant had sent him a dead lobster . . . which his assistant was attempting to boil, even though the creature was clearly unfit for the table. Who knew how long it had been dead?
"Foh the first toime, Mastah John has come back, and he can't haff dead boiled lobstoh!"
Franz was currently in the employ of Master and Mistress Norrington, a respectable family in London's cleanest district. Their son had just come home from a bit of a grueling stint in chasing pirates in the New World, and on the one day that Franz's cooking mattered--Master John's first dinner at home in six years--he had a dead lobster to contend with.
"But wot d'yer wont me t'dew, then?" his assistant demanded, stabbing the defective lobster with the fireplace poker and lifting it, dripping and steaming, from the pot.
Franz cast about in something that would have been called a panic in anyone else. At last, his eyes alighted on the poultry racks.
"Roast a duck," he ordered, and set to slicing bread in that cunning slanted French way.
Aha--the correct house!
In a row of fiendishly impressive houses, this particular one was quite bland. But it was the kind of bland that was meant to tell you that the occupants brooked no silliness in their presence, so you had best make your deliveries and be gone right sharpish.
If Captain Jack Sparrow had had "outclassed" in his repertoire of emotions, he would have been feeling it right now.
Fortunately, he was hampered by no such feelings, and he swaggered up to the door and pulled at the bell-chain.
After a moment, a servant opened the door and peered out. He had a uniform with a cravat and queer white boots; his wig was obviously meant to be white as well, but it had come out an unfortunate lavender color. And he bore an expression of extreme distaste.
"May I inquire as to your business, sir," the servant muttered--it wasn't so much a question as a rote repetition of words that were meant to be respectful but clearly didn't apply in this situation.
"Why, yes, you may," Jack said ebulliently. He spread his arms and cocked his head, giving his very richest grin.
The servant studied him very carefully indeed. Jack Sparrow had done himself up in his best finery and laundered his headscarf; he'd polished his hairbeads until they shone and cleaned his teeth. He was certain that he cut quite an impressive figure.
At length, the servant asked, "What is your business at this residence, sir?"
In all probability, Jack wasn't aware that his hand was stroking the hilt of his sword. The servant, however, was very aware. "I've come to visit John Norrington," the pirate announced. "I thought you'd be expecting me."
The distaste on the servant's face turned to stark horror. His eyes rolled back in his head, and the last thing he saw before blessed unconsciousness claimed him was Jack's injured frown.
"Jack! I thought the servant would show you in!" Norrington stood from the cards table and embraced the pirate, who clapped him heartily on the back.
"He had a bit of a tumble, m'fraid," Jack muttered, looking over his shoulder.
". . . Dear?" The two men looked back to the cards table, where an elderly lady sat with her hands folded around a fan of cards. ". . . Who on Earth is this?"
John Norrington looked from his mother to the pirate and back. Jack could see the man doing a sort of mental arithmetic.
"Mother, this is Captain Jack Sparrow. He is the man whom I wanted you to meet."
Mrs. Norrington peered over her cards at the captain, straining to see more clearly--why, the captain looked to be some sort of wild brigand! He even wore an earring!
Jack smiled, and she was certain her eyesight must be failing her--the man seemed to have gold teeth! "G'day madam. Lovely to meet you." He offered a beringed hand, and she put her cards down to place a shaking hand in his. He bent over to kiss it, and despite the beaded braids that scraped against her fingertips, she was inexplicably charmed when he proffered an only slightly wilted posy of flowers.
Jack took one of the expensive cookies from the tray in the middle of the table and bit a corner off of it. It looked like a biscuit . . . but it tasted strangely sweet. He popped the rest into his mouth and chewed.
Norrington shot him a look, and he remembered the manners in which he'd been drilled. Right--mouth closed.
Old Mrs. Norrington had roundly beaten the pair of them at cards. It was a remarkable feat, when one took into account that she peered at the numbers as though she were almost blind.
". . . And your father will be in soon; he's been anxious to see you since you sent word that you were going on leave, dear. Franz--you remember Franz, don't you?--well, Franz is cooking up a lovely lobster dinner for your first night home. It will be positively lovely." She squinted at Jack again. "Is . . . is that an earring, dear?"
"Yes it is, madam. Silver and ruby," Jack replied proudly.
"And . . . you'll pardon me for asking, but my eyes have been troubling me . . . are you wearing a pistol?"
The front door opened without the chime of the bell, and Norrington Senior entered the front hall. He hung up his coat and hat and made his way to the drawing room.
He stopped dead still in the doorway. "Is that a pirate?!" he demanded, looking at his wife and then at his son, and after that looking anywhere but at Jack.
The seamen exchanged a long look. "He's a privateer," John eventually managed, and Jack shot him an insulted glare. "Father, this is Captain Jack Sparrow."
The lovely lobster dinner was very apparently roast duck, and Mrs. Norrington resolved to have a word with Franz.
"The trouble with you whippersnappers is that you don't want to settle down," Norrington Senior announced, lifting a forkful of roast duck to his lips. "You've got a fabulous career and you're still a young man yet; what I don't understand is why you haven't yet got yourself a wife."
John stared into his wine. "I did try to get a wife, Father. She wouldn't have me."
"There are other women in the world, man! There are other ladies of suitable stature for you, even in the Godforsaken Caribbean! Why, I am shocked that you haven't found some lovely creature down there already."
Jack shared another long glance with John Norrington. It was time.
"You see, Father . . . I invited Captain Sparrow for a reason." He didn't take his eyes off the goblet, instead noticing how red it was in comparison to the white tablecloth. "You see . . . I've found a lovely creature in the Caribbean."
Norrington Senior looked the pirate over. "What does Captain Sparrow have to do with her, then?"
"Well . . . I wasn't entirely truthful when I said that he was a privateer. He is a pirate--the first one I hunted. And as I followed him . . . we reached, er, a kind of understanding. He's a good man," John added quickly, seeing how desperately badly this was going and trying to bale water out of the sinking ship of his parents' good regard for him. But then he shattered it all. "He's a good man . . . and I've gotten to love him."
The cobbles were hard under Jack's rear end. "Didn't need to throw us out on our arses," he muttered, brushing himself off. It was, he reflected, a very good thing indeed that mansions didn't have gunports.
Commodore John Norrington sat forlornly on the cobbles, head down. "They think I've failed the family."
This was a sentiment which Jack had never heard expressed before. His mother had been an honorable prostitute and his father a good seaman, and he had never once in his life doubted that he was following their legacy as well as a man could.
"Come now--you're a navy man and you have a great broad life ahead of you. You haven't failed them at all." He put an arm around John's shoulders. "Try to hammer it out with them tomorrow, love."
"'Go away and never come back into our house--you are no son of mine.'"
This did give him pause. "Your mum seemed taken with me."
"She's probably cursing her poor judgement as we speak."
In actuality, Mrs. Norrington was cursing her husband's lack of respect for their son.
"--And he turned out far better than his brother Norton--found a nice courtly chap even if he does wear things in his hair, and Norton run off with that crude harlot to run rum, in all my born days I've never seen a pirate as nice as that Jack fellow!"
"All right!" Norrington Senior shouted, feeling very put-upon. His duck was starting to disagree with him. "Save your shouting, wife; I'll talk to him."
The door swung open just as Commodore Norrington was getting to his feet.
He turned around, barely daring to hope.
"Son, you and your fellow come back in here. Franz hasn't served the plum pudding yet, and he remembered that it was your favorite."
Jack smiled at Norrington the younger and took his hand. "Told you your mother was taken with me--she's got your father wrapped around her finger and no mistake."
As Norrington Senior turned to reenter the house, pirate and commodore shared a quick kiss in the twilight gloom, then went inside, still hand-in-hand.
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