Over the course of August and bleeding into September, Jack winds up accompanying James to the cinema or to restaurants or seeing him at clubs. Regularly. Sometimes even on week nights. This wouldn't come off as too strange unless one takes into consideration the fact that Jack made a strict point of not socialising with James except in the most extreme conditions. Meals and drinks, for as much as Jack enjoys each evening, are not to be considered extreme. They are in fact normal. Disconcertingly normal.
And they keep happening.
Jack firmly blames Elizabeth. He would blame Will but the boy is hopeless to put in any resistence in the face of Elizabeth's many charms. Jack's not so successful at that either, come to think of it. When Elizabeth rings or emails with another invitation to spend Friday night acting as a buffer between James and her sex life (her exact words being something along the lines of, "It's quite unfair, you know, to leave James sitting all by himself. Will and I are hardly enough company for him"), Jack hems and haws and eventually agrees to meet the three of them.
Well. The hemming and hawing might be subjective. It does seem unfair, after all. Jack's not cruel enough to leave James (or Elizabeth) to that fate.
So it goes this Friday night, the same as the last four, that Jack finds himself lounging against a lamp post outside his flat, taking pulls alternatively from a flask and a fag as he waits for Elizabeth, Will, and James to appear from the horizon. A car rolls to a stop by the kerb and a very bubbly female creature launches from the passanger door in a mid-rift bearing shirt.
Jack smirks and hides his flask before Elizabeth can nick it. James must be in a chipper mood with Elizabeth dressed like that.
"Where to tonight?" he asks as Elizabeth gives him a quick hug.
"Will arranged tickets to the premier of Bright Young Things from a friend of his at work."
Work here being the dingy little garage Bill got him gainful employment in on the wish that Will will at least put engineering to good use. It seems fitting that the other employees there should be corrupting Will with tickets to think.
Jack opens the rear passanger door for Elizabeth, ushering in the back with Will before he joins James in the front of the vehicle. "Concert?"
"No, I could have done tickets to see Aerosmith but I traded them in for this film. Sorry, Jack," Will says, sounding not very sorry at all. Elizabeth snuggles up tight against his side. It makes his expression go a bit funny, somewhere between pleased and pained.
Jack frowns at the disappointment, possibly just what Will wanted, and slumps into the passanger seat. At least there's James to distract him. Jack flicks a piece of ash out the window and leans into James' shoulder, eyeing the conglomeration that is Will and Elizabeth through the review window. "And you approved of this?"
What he really means is "hello".
My most esteemed me,
Rum is in the kitchen cupboard, behind the oranges. Might want to throw those away at some point.
Telephone is under the sofa over in the corner where that lamp used to be. Have you found that lamp yet?
Glasses are in the second drawer on the right. The other right. No, wait, sorry. I meant, the right that was the right right before the right went to the other right. That right.
Make sure to check the fusile lodge on the Pearl. Again. Before you fly her. If empty, do not fill with rum. Not even in emergencies.
(That was an interesting time, though, wasn't it? Never did remember to thank that Russian woman what with her large -- Where was I? Oh yeah.)
Stop laughing. Look behind you. Does James look angry? He's sort of funny when he looks angry, doesn't he? Go kiss him for this note being taped inside his wig. Offer to find him a new one to wear to work.
Dismantle the mop head.
Gibbs has your extra flat key. He keeps the rum beneath the sink.
P.S. Tell James about the oranges after you get the key from Gibbs.
Today, London is boiling. Even for August, it's uncomfortably warm. Sweat has clung to Jack's hairline and gathered in the small of his back since early morning, when he was cruelly woken by James shoving all of the covers on top of Jack in his sleep. It felt like being smothered by an elephant who had the mistaken assumption that Jack was a peanut and had sucked him into her trunk: sweltering and strangely damp. Jack had shucked the attacking sheets, kicking wildly until they retreated to the foot of the bed and padded into the living room to make sweet love to the fan.
The other thing about London today is that it happens to be boring. Jack sits for an hour, whispering dirty phrases into the whirring blades to hear his voice buzz back at him, and tries to feed apple slices through the wire mesh after the first activity grows old with no one around to hear the deft trick. Half the slices never manage to stay uneaten to meet their maker with the fan and the other half only catch the blades rather than being shredded into apple sauce. Jack gives up after a while and goes to shower the juice from his fingers and legs.
James still isn't awake by the time Jack dries with a towel, even after he sang "Sweet Caroline" six time through at the top of his voice (musical interlude included), so Jack dresses and fluffs out his hair and goes out onto the street to find something to do there.
Ice cream seems like a decent idea, given mother's nature intention to conceive hell on earth. Jack wanders down to the shops but the first four ice cream places he finds (well, three ice cream and one gellato stand) are closed. It's not quite ten in the morning so Jack supposes he should find this understandable but it's summer and his shirt has begun to stick between his shoulder blades and nothing open means he has to walk further to find a refreshing lick of mint chocolate chip.
A place finally finds him sometime after six blocks or so, near the park. A queue of four or five people with similar ideas stretches to the door. Jack joins the queue behind a man in a smart suit with great hair and somehow falls into a conversation with him over which ice cream flavour is better. The man defends cookie dough so astutely that when it becomes Jack's turn to order, he asks for a double cone, mint chocolate chip on the bottom and cookie dough on top.
The man is still nearby when the clerk hands Jack his cone, so Jack goes to sit next to him on a bench. It isn't until the man introduces himself as the Doctor that Jack realizes why he looks so familiar.
He studies the Doctor quizically. "You're taller than you look on television," Jack says, then licks at his ice cream. The Doctor just looks confused so Jack explains how he watches him on Saturday nights when he happens to be home.
The Doctor doesn't seem to understand that he's on a television programme so Jack offers to show him, promising that he has old betamax tapes somewhere back at the flat. They finish their ice cream as Jack leads them up the stairs to his door and slips his key in the lock, opening the door for the Doctor.
"Make yourself at home."
He doen't know if James is awake yet or not. Jack's sure he doesn't want to miss this.
The thing about England -- about Europe in general, in fact -- is that its public buildings have yet to develop an appreciation for air conditioning. Beads of sweat have started to gather on the back of Jack's neck as he slumps on a bench in the entrance hall of the King's College law library. June in London isn't anywhere near as humid as June in Thailand but the combination of boredom and lack of a breeze has begun to take its tole. Mister James L. Norrington, soon-to-be Esquire (information curtesy of a quick Google search in a cafe earlier this morning) seems to have a habit of taking his sweet time. Jack sighs and tries counting the tiles on the ceiling.
The other thing about England is that it doesn't install sofeted pannels in its ceilings. The archway stretches at least two stories high, done up in posh cheery wood with gilden trim, free of anything to count. Jack tilts his head and tries to imagine a mosaic up there, maybe someone like Cromwell in one of those horrible, hilarious wigs banging down the gavel of enternity on the Irish.
Jack would be the Irish in this analogy. Despite that, technically, he's as English as Cromwell was. Technicalities, Jack's always thought, are highly over-rated.
Even if a technicality is what will keep his arse out of jail for the rest of the month. Three days and a fine isn't a bad trade for keeping the Pearl safe. Landing in St. James Park was better than crashing into Big Ben, after all, and it's not like Jack could help the fact she was leaking oil all the way from Salzburg. Not in mid-air, at least.
In his hand, Jack holds a crumpled piece of paper with the name of the officer he's meant to turn himself into in a week's time. He could call now, introduce himself, try to arrange that week into two and those two weeks into never, but the only things he has in his pocket is €1, cigarettes, and some lint. There doesn't seem to be a phone booth around here anyway.
Court is really, really boring. Jack puffs at his fringe and then pulls himself up to smoke a fag outside. At least it will give him something to do with his fingers.
As he stands patting down his pockets (there are eight of them, when considering his socks sometimes serve as good storage space), a door down the hall swings open and the sound of very smart shoes come clipping down the hall.
James L. Norrington, soon-to-be Esq. looks entirely different than he did in the makeshirt courts. Without the robes and the wig (horrible, hilarious), attention can actually be focused on the strong line of his jaw, the broadness of his shoulders, the colour of his purse. (Bag.) Jack thinks the hue might be termed fawn. He wonders if Mister Norrington calls it that.
Tucking the filter of the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, Jack ruffles up his hair and walks to intercept his prey.
"You take a bloody long time to un-doff a wig, mate," Jack says when he gets within hearing distance. He holds out a hand, conviently blocking James L. from continuing on his merry little way. "Don't think we got a chance to be properly introduced."