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For snowbryneich, who requested three things James Norrington likes about Mal Reynolds, and three things he dislikes.

Title: That Wave's Shadow
Author: voleuse
Fandoms: Pirates of the Caribbean/Fireefly
Characters: James Norrington & Mal Reynolds
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Sand in the heart outweighs whatever living existence we drop on the scales.
Notes: Set after Serenity, with spoilers for At World's End.

Like #1

In the years after he died, James Norrington found three things he missed most from life as a man with natural heartbeat. (He had started with dozens of things, even hundreds, but over the centuries he whittled it down.) Warm lips, sweet fruits, and the open sky before him.

After Earth's oceans boiled away, he amended his list to four.

When he stepped on to the deck of Serenity, he met Mal Reynolds and sensed a kindred spirit. After standing on the bridge for an hour, he knew it for a fact.

Reynolds loved the horizon, the black void that it was, and he loved his ship.

Once upon a time, James had felt the same.

Like #2

It had been decades, at least, since James had fought with someone at his back. He'd been in the war, of course, but the nature of it was foreign to his training--ships had swooped down like angels, and no one called for a charge, only screamed.

There had been bayonets, however, and he hadn't thought the surprise pleasant.

When Reavers descended on the satellite they were scavenging, James found himself wishing for his sword once more.

Reynolds stole a blade from his first slain foe, but swung it without elegance. James whistled, and traded his own pistol for the sword.

They fought for minutes, until the Tam girl whirled through. In the aftermath, his breath rattled in his lungs, but he raised his sword in salute to Reynolds.

The man was a shoddy swordsman, but his aim, otherwise, was true.

Like #3

Despite the gruff misanthropy Reynolds wore like a coat, he was good with the crew--inspiring, one might say. They were a motley group, to be sure, and insubordination seemed to be the preferred mode of conversation. (James still couldn't manage it, not quite--he settled for a smirk that made figures of authority seethe without focus, instead.) Reynolds would toss back insolence as quick as they gave it to him, and when they disobeyed his orders, he only rolled his eyes and snapped.

When he asked them to put their lives on the line, however, they did it without even blinking.

Dislike #1

Another ship drew up even with Serenity, and Reynolds wasn't answering comms.

"He's otherwise occupied," the Tam girl noted, her fingers playing against the helm like a song under her breath. "They don't like waiting."

James weighed her answer, tried to tie the two statements into logic. Chronology did not always indicate cause and effect, he had discovered.

"Their weapons are armed," she added, as if it were only an afterthought.

"Tell them we'll allow them to dock," he said, "if they disarm themselves, and we'll do the same."

She slanted a glance back at him, and then he was being pulled back, slammed against the wall, the metal ringing against his shoulders.

"I'm sorry," Reynolds said, "but it sounded like you were giving my pilot an order."

James didn't twitch, because that would indicate submission. "A suggestion, I'd say."

They stared each other down, until the Tam girl twirled in her seat. "We had to say something," she told the air, "and they're still waiting."

Reynolds smiled, all venom. "Tell them what he said." He released James without a shove. "And he'll meet them in the hangar bay."

Dislike #2

Ruthless as he could be, Reynolds had a poor eye for justice. James watched him give alms to murderers, while leaving former soldiers to starve.

"I've seen a meal turn a bad man good," he murmured, not even turning his head to answer James's glare. "And, truth be told, the other way around."

"So what makes them different?" James asked. "What's to keep you from being fair?"

Reynolds shrugged. James expected the gesture to suffice, so the next statement surprised him.

"The look in a man's eyes, or a woman's." He turned his heel, words echoing as he walked. "I do what they'd do for me."

If he was the sort to shudder, James would have, because he'd seen that philosophy played down to the very bone.

Dislike #3

The station clung to the fragment of an asteroid like a spider. James breathed out, breathed in. "It looks like a legitimate outpost."

"It is." Washburne tied her hair back as she nodded, slid a subtle knife into the knot. "Means the goods will be fresh."

"Is that the only reason?" he asked. "Or is this our beloved captain's continuing grudge at work?"

Washburne's glance was like a strike, aimed to leave him gasping. "We need fuel, and we need food, and we don't have a day's worth of either." She holstered one gun, then another. "Three days in, they'll be resupplied."

"As for us," James began, and the Tam girl handed him the long handle of a knife.

"Here on the edge of nowhere we'll stay," she opined, "lest we shout down the maw of the beast."

James stared at her, the metaphor shifting in his mind like a puzzle, and then Reynolds loomed through the doorway.

"Everybody hungry?" he asked, and gestured forward without looking for an answer.

James buckled his holster loosely, and tried to reconcile life, death, and everything in between.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Charles Wright's Nostalgia. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

And, in order: His devotion, his skills in battle, his authority, his control issues, his disrespect for the law, and his career choices.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Norrington is so very much one of my favourite characters. He doesn't get to be the rebel, romantic or the rogue, but he is fundamentally a good man.

And him being on Serenity is incredibly cool.
Mar. 25th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

Also, your icon is made of win. ♥!
Mar. 25th, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
thank you! Feel free to use.
Mar. 25th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely.
Mar. 25th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
*beams* Norrrrrrington!
Mar. 25th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
SWEET MOTHER OF AWESOME. That is not a character combination i probably ever would have thought of, but oh my goodness how much it works. It also doesn't hurt that i love Mal and Norrington individually more than a lot of things. That was friggin gorgeous. I love that Norrington leaves pirates for different pirates, and he picks out the noble aspects of Mal's character to appreciate-- Norrington, with the same moral code after so long.

The man was a shoddy swordsman, but his aim, otherwise, was true.

LOVE that line. And awwww, Shindig. <3
Mar. 25th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
That was completely awesome. I love Norrington and I love Firefly. this was perfect. I'm so so happy. ^_^
Apr. 26th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
This is very pretty, and way more believable than I expected it to be when I started. Oh, Norrington.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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