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Sparrington fic: "Fever"
holmes smash!
rowen_r wrote in sparrington
Hi, I'm a veteran lurker, first-time poster, and I come bearing fic. All comments/criticism welcome.

Title: Fever

Rating: PG

Pairing: Sparrington

Summary: Norrington is uncharacteristically ill. Jack Sparrow is typically inopportune. Set after Dead Man's Chest, hence spoilery. 2000 words. Dedicated to the British public, who are currently experiencing a stupidly intense heatwave.



Fever


You’ll go mad in the tropics, people had warned him. They’re all mad there. The heat, you know. Drives you crazy unless you’ve lived there all your life. He would face disease, and peculiar insects, and an utter deprivation of civilised society, and would be much better off staying in England, all things considered.

James Norrington had nodded politely, and disregarded such ill-informed admonitions. He had never had a day’s illness in his life, and was inclined to look upon sickness as a feminine hobby, or as a sluggard’s excuse for shirking his duties.

And on arriving in Port Royal, he had, as he anticipated, adapted to the climate with enviable ease. It was not that he had changed to suit the heat, but rather that he seemed to carry around a patch of English weather with him wherever he went – a small rain cloud floating perpetually over his head to protect him from the sun and make sure his shirts remained as crisp and fresh-laundered as they had done at home.

But that had been before the hurricane, before the wrecking of the Dauntless and his subsequent resignation. Before he became a drunkard, a pirate, a traitor and finally a privateer in quick succession.

And now, though he is clean and shaved and back within four walls and amongst civilised folk again (albeit civilised folk he has little sympathy with) he can feel a subtle difference in himself. The Caribbean, which had been kept so safely at a distance before (despite occasional incursions of cursed skeleton pirates) seems suddenly close. The skies are intensely, outrageously blue, and the sea outside his window seems closer than it ever had before. Though his bathing is meticulous, he still imagines that he carries a smell of salt and rum and sweat around with him. Piracy, it seems, is not to be washed out with soap and water.

Lying in bed, a month after his return to respectability, he finds himself discovering at last what they had meant, the people who had warned him that the Caribbean would drive him mad. The heat has suddenly become intolerable. His throat aches for water and the bed seems to sway slightly, as if he were at sea again.

He tries to sit up in bed, and discovers with strange detachment that he cannot. The half-darkness is full of voices, memories buzz around him like mosquitoes and he finds himself falling back into the pillows like a stone.

He wonders vaguely if he is going to die. Could hell be hotter than this? Even if he could call out, there is nobody within call; probably nobody would be much concerned about the ignoble demise of an ex-Commodore with a drinking problem. He slumps further into his bed, and feels distinctly sorry for himself.

And then the window swings open, sending a draught of mercifully cool air breezing into the bedroom, and James finds himself staring up at Jack Sparrow.

"Aha," he says. "You’ve come to kill me."

Sparrow says nothing, apparently taking James’ fevered state, the sword which is leaning against the wall, left just out of reach – in short, his utter helplessness. He smiles slowly, and James feels the fog of his self-pity pierced by a stab of irritation.

"Well, chop chop." James waves a hand imperiously. "Jump to it, man. We haven’t got all day. Or night. Whichever it is at this present moment in time. Your guess is as good as mine. Better, I should imagine."

The pirate looks confused. "And just why would I be wanting to kill you, mate?"

Why? There is a good reason, though James can’t quite recall what it is at this moment.

"Stole…something," he hazards. "Didn’t I? That jar…thing…inside…?"

Sparrow swings another leg over the windowsill, and regards James with puzzlement. "Finders keepers, James," he says. "First rule of being a pirate. All’s fair in love and larceny."

"I’m not a pirate."

"Well you know, technically you are. Because, as you recall, you signed up as a member of me crew, and never formally tendered your resignation. And I’m a stickler for form, me."

James finds himself laughing mirthlessly – the noise is strange to his ears, sounding somewhere between the scraping of a heavy table on a stone floor and the death throes of a vociferous chicken.

"Is that why you’re here?" he says, closing his eyes again. "I thought you’d want vengeance."

Even with his eyes shut, he can tell that Sparrow shrugs at this. "That’s more your sort of thing than mine, wouldn’t you say? We all do what we can."

We all do what we can. James is taken aback by the breadth of such a view, the startling generosity of it. The utter lack of judgement. In Sparrow’s eyes, all people are neither good nor evil, just rather stupid (at least in comparison with himself) and trying as best they can to survive. James finds it a strangely comforting way of looking at things.

"I’m here on an errand, actually," Sparrow adds.

"An errand." James injects the word with every vestige of irony at his disposal. Sparrow, unsurprisingly, appears not to notice.

"Pre-cisely. I have a message from Miss Swann to her father, which I’d be most gratified if you’d deliver for me, being as you’re still a member of my crew and hence technically under my command."

"What message?"

"That she’s alive and well, and having a most interesting honeymoon. Tell him that, and try to keep it quiet, savvy?"

"Why don’t you tell him yourself, as you apparently have no fear or respect for the forces of justice and the price on your head?"

"Too dangerous. Despite your touching faith in my knack for breaking and entering. B’sides, this way I get to meet my old friend James again. And great as my respect for the Governor is, he doesn’t have your unique personal charm. Or personal charms, for that matter. Elizabeth’s a fine woman, but she needs to get her eyes seen to."

James considers throwing his pillow at the man, but decides against it. Instead he settles for a venomous – if unfocused – glare.

"Leave me alone. Let me die in peace without any more of your tedious soliloquies."

Sparrow nods with what James knows to be a masterly feigning of concern. "Fever, eh? You need to get a drop of rum inside you." He has slid down from the windowsill without James realising, and is now standing over the bed in a parody of a doctor’s stance. His hair is longer, his face browner, his eyes – if it were possible – more alight with unholy mirth and that suggestion they always held of knowing things which Man Was Not Intended To Know. James feels a small surge of what he assumes is loathing.

"Piss off, Sparrow." The slip from decorum ought to shame him, but he finds he is past caring. Sparrow – damn him – simply looks more amused than ever.

"Or what? I’m curious, here, mate. What’re you going to do? Throw a pillow at me?" He moves closer. "Seems to me you’re in no place to be giving orders, James."

"Don’t call me that. If you’re going to kill me, at least do me the courtesy of addressing me in an appropriate manner." James closes his eyes wearily. He ought to be terrified, but the throbbing of his head makes the prospect of death appear suddenly rather inviting. "What a way to meet one’s maker. Killed in cold blood by a chronically inept, rum-addled pirate. You do remember which end of the sword to run me through with, I presume?"

He sighs, only to feel something deliciously cool applied to his forehead.

"What –?"

The shock he feels when he realises that Jack Sparrow is holding a cold cloth to his head - as if this were entirely natural behaviour - is such that for a moment or so he is unable to speak.

"What…doing…why?" he manages at last.

"You need to be more optimistic, mate" Sparrow says conversationally. "Not everyone’s trying to kill you, you know."

"Really."

"Take me, for instance. You think that pirates are murderous, rapacious, treacherous, lascivious folk, prone to unspeakable urges and unmentionable acts that leave respectable persons like yourself quivering in their beds to imagine, but occasionally we can be good men. Or good women. Or good parrots. Or good cursed undead skeletons. Well. Maybe not good cursed undead skeletons. But you see what I’m saying."

"No."

"Ah, well, you’re sick, so I won’t hold it against you."

"So good of you. Why are you doing this?"

"Pirate. Also a good man. Weren’t you listening? Besides, you did a smashing job swabbing the deck when you were working for me – I’ve never seen the Pearl look brighter. Gotta take care of my crew, haven’t I?"

"I am not one of your crew, Sparrow."

"Well, we’ll see. Now, how about a glass of water?"

"God, yes."

"Well, ask politely, as my mother used to say, and you might just get it. Or was that a lass in Tortuga? Anyway, the principle stands."

"Give me some water, Sparrow."

"Pitiful."

"…Please give me some water, Sparrow. Ugh. Captain Sparrow. If you’d be so good."

Sparrow can apparently be magnanimous in victory. "Certainly, James, m’lad. My pleasure."

And James’ anger is lost in the delicious feel of a glass being raised to his lips, and water – if water can taste this glorious – tipping into his mouth.

"Thank you," he says, when the glass is drained, and says it without irony. It is, he realises, the first entirely frank remark he has ever addressed to Jack Sparrow.

"You want me to call one of your underlings? Get them to scurry round with fans and the like?"

"No. Just more water. Please."

And again there is water, and again he is lost in how good it tastes.

"Better?"

"Mmm."

Somewhere in the night, James hears a bell jangling inharmoniously, and raised voices. Sparrow seems to hear it too, because he stiffens, and then turns anxiously to glance out of the window.

"That is your cue to exit, I suppose?" James says dryly (and how good it feels to be able to be sarcastic again).

Jack grins. "Quite. I regret to say that I must cut short my visit. Pressing business to attend to."

"Saving your own skin."

"No business more pressing, mate. As you know. You won’t forget the message?"

"No, Sparrow, I won’t forget it. I may even be able to remember it without writing it down."

"That’s my boy. Now drink up that water" – he sets another full glass down on the table beside James’ bed – "because you’re going to need your strength before long."

"What’s that supposed to mean?" James asks, sharply. He has no intention of trusting Sparrow further than he can throw him – which at present would be a very short distance indeed.

Sparrow grins. "Sweet dreams, James." As if he knows what’s been in James’ dreams the last few nights, as if he knows and considers it a fitting tribute to the glory and wonder of Captain Jack Sparrow, Terror of the Caribbean, Scourge of the Royal Navy, and proud possessor of the best arse in the Southern hemisphere.

And then he delivers his coup de grace, and kisses James full on the mouth.

Jack’s lips are strangely cool, as are his hands, which are in James’ hair and on his neck without James being quite sure how they got there. He recognises vaguely that some part of him has been wanting Sparrow to do this for a considerably long time, and then loses track of orderly thought altogether, because Sparrow is as repellent and attractive and alarming as the sea, and he tastes of the rum James is ashamed to admit he misses.

Finally Sparrow draws back, his attempt at a contrite expression failing utterly to conceal a look of unholy glee. "Sorry about that. Couldn’t help myself. It’s the fevered look, you see. All flushed and rumpled. Suits you."

"Why…?"

"Same reason I gave you the water, love. You seemed in need of it. Dire need, if you want my opinion."

James bristles. "Stupid…bloody…pirate."

"Pot. Kettle. You’ll be back on my crew by Christmas, mate. Lots more swabbing, I think. Has anyone ever told you how good you look on your knees?"

"You’re mad," James says. "I’ve always said so."

Jack looks gratified, as if he has received a fulsome compliment, and moves swiftly to the window. "Get well soon, poppet," he says, and is gone before James can find the strength to haul himself out of bed and deliver a swift punch to the infuriating man’s jaw.

But he manages to stagger to the window eventually, to look out over the sea where the dawn is just beginning to show, and to wonder how on earth Sparrow managed the climb to his bedroom window in the first place.

He is half-inclined to dismiss the entire incident as delirium – what else could explain his own extraordinary behaviour, after all? Letting another man kiss him. Enjoying it. Delirium, without a doubt. And Sparrow is clearly insane. Annoying respectable navy men with night time visits and glasses of water and unexpectedly enjoyable kisses. Such persecution is not to be borne. He can only hope that Sparrow will either be caught and hanged, or get drunk enough to fall down a well, removing this thorn from James’s side for good.

He said he would come back. Or he implied it, at least. Not that Sparrow is a man of his word by any means. Still.

James stands by the window for a while, enjoying the dawn.

It isn’t as if he wants Sparrow to come back.

But as he watches the sky grow light, James finds a strange joy singing in his veins like rum, as if life has suddenly become interesting again. The breeze is deliciously cool, and he lingers by the window for a long time. And waits.

***

Oh, I really did enjoy that. It's got great voices to it and I love, love, love the situation! I hope to see so much more from you! *eager*

Thanks! I'm glad the voices worked, because I've never written in this fandom before and found them a bit tricky to master.

I second the great voice. I think this is a very well-written little snapshot, though for the first part I found myself wanting to know how James and Jack landed in these post-DMC positions. (Prequel?) At any rate, gorgeous. Best line:

Lots more swabbing, I think. Has anyone ever told you how good you look on your knees?

Heh, heh. Delightfully Jack.

Thank you - I agree that the post-DMC situations are a bit hazy, mostly becuase I'm envisioning the story happening somewhere within the third installment, and I'm dithering between trying to fit it squarely into canon as far as possible, or going bravely AU.

"Captain Jack Sparrow, Terror of the Caribbean, Scourge of the Royal Navy, and proud possessor of the best arse in the Southern hemisphere."
*giggles* I <3 that line.

Poor James, but the fic was great. Wish Jack would come over when I had a fever. ;)

Thanks! (I'm ashamed to admit that I posted the story and then had a crisis of confidence about whether the Caribbean was actually in the Southern hemisphere!)

Wonderful little ficlet! i really enjoyed this one.

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This was so amazing, it almost put me at a loss for words. I love everything about this fic. Your writing style, dialogue and characterizations are awesome. You really nailed the characters of Jack and Norrington here, and I loved their interactions. Really well-written. I certainly hope you write more. Please do?

"...Killed in cold blood by a chronically inept, rum-addled pirate. You do remember which end of the sword to run me through with, I presume?" *Giggle.* So Norrington. :D

I'm so glad I found this community.

Wow, thank you! I'm currently infatuated with Norrington, so there will probably be more fic in the not-so-distant future.

I'm so glad I found this community. Me too - so nice not to be the only one!

W00t. You managed to do one of my biggest kinks (one of the characters in a pairing being sick/hurt) right! YAY. At first it felt like the kiss at the end was a little out of place, but you eased into it more and it made it better. Write more, plz.

Thanks! You managed to pinpoint the part of the fic I was the least happy with myself, but since practise makes perfect, I suppose that just means I'll have to write more Sparrington in the near future. Which can't be a bad thing :)

Awh that was really good! I was sad when it ended. You did a great job of writing in character. *loves it*

Thank you! I was sad when it ended. I don't think anyone's ever said that about one of my fics before!

That was delightful! Thank you SO much. :-) Characterizations were spot on! I do love listening to James snark at Jack, and Jack flirt back. hee! This was so very very fun and hot. Do we get to see James back on the crew by Christmas? Doing his extra swabbing duty? ;-D Can you be bribed?

Because he DOES look oh so good on his knees... :-)

Thanks, I'm glad the characterisation worked for you. And he certainly does look good on his knees (now I come to think of it, I'm not sure if that particular thought is more my opinion or Jack's).

Ahahaha! How wonderful! Awesome dialogue and characterizations. Hope we'll get more... =D

Thank you! I think there may well be more in the future.

Captain Jack Sparrow, Terror of the Caribbean, Scourge of the Royal Navy, and proud possessor of the best arse in the Southern hemisphere.

With respect, James darling--second best. XD

I love this, and also you for writing it! Could there perhaps be a sequel on the horizon?

*g* I stand corrected!

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
oh wow!!! I loved it! I love those sick/nurse situations.
you really gave life to the characters!

Such persecution is not to be borne. He can only hope that Sparrow will either be caught and hanged, or get drunk enough to fall down a well...

Heh, considering he fell how far on that cannibal island, that be some wishful thinking there James m'boy. :D And I did get a good giggle out of "poppet," too. Would love to see more in this vein.

Thank you, I think there will be more... and good point on Jack's Macavityesque relationship with the laws of gravity.

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Thanks! I think poor James definitely needs someone to look after him, especially post-DMC.

This is a one-shot, but I'm currently writing another Sparrington fic, which will hopefully be significantly longer. And have sword fights.

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Thank you - just what I was going for!

Wheehee - the pretty fic feeds my newly acquired weather fetish!

Lovely situation and characterisation - and speaking as someone currently 'enjoying' said stupidly intense heatwave, you've captured James' heat inspired sickbed misery well.


"Why…?"

"Same reason I gave you the water, love. You seemed in need of it. Dire need, if you want my opinion."

James bristles. "Stupid…bloody…pirate."


And I'd like to add another vote for the above interchange being fantastic!

Thank you - I don't think I'd have had the heart to inflict such suffering on Norrington if I wasn't currently suffering similar misery myself (though sadly without any nocturnal visits from Jack).

Has anyone ever told you how good you look on your knees?

Awesome.

That was a very cute fic. I think a sequal(sp?) is needed.

Thanks! There will be more fic (though not quite a sequal) in the not-so-distant future.

squueeee! fabulous! quite enjoyed it. i love the snark and the sniping at each other.

I quite liked this! Thank you so much for sharing. :D

"sickness as a feminine hobby" XD Thats so Norrington.

Very nice and decent. Is there possibly more on the way?

I really should feel sorry for the Brits cause of the heat wave... but living in Australia and having to put up with hotter and hotter summers I can't help but laugh and say "Finally someone knows how we feel!"

Thank you - there will probably be more on the way fairly soon. (You're quite right about the heat, by the way - we probably are making a lot of fuss about it - partly I think it's just nice to have something new to grumble about, after complaining about the rain for so long!)

Love the situation, and Jack's ramblings are very nice. Great work.

that was lovely, a fantastic first fic

*just finished my uni work and came to look see what new fics we had*

Thanks! (And kudos to you for having such good priorities - my system is fic first, work second, and it's caused me endless hassle in the past).

This is lovely. Clever and amusing without losing a sense of purpose or a certain gravity. Well-balanced. I love Jack's explanation of why he kisses James. So forthright and yet, in a way, fanciful. And, yes, I agree with Jack. The fevered look suits James very well.

Thank you for such a lovely review - that was just what I was aiming for.

I'm not a Jack/Norrington shipper (don't ask why I'm even here in the first place; you know how it is in LJ -- distractions abound and links are everywhere) but this is written very well. Almost well enough to make me start to ship Sparrington. :D (Almost.) Your characterisation is completely on-the-spot.

I always value non-shippers' opinion, because I know that I personally tend to be a bit more critical of stories which don't feature my favourite pairings - so thank you very much!

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