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Tumble - my Gillington story

Okay, so it's only been 3 years since I've posted any-effin'-thing to this journal.  But now I have fulfilled a major item on my Bucket List:  Write and distribute a "Pirates of the Caribbean" fanfiction story.  And I did it in, like, 8 hours total, in response to a favorite author's request for something new to read in her favorite pairing.

And so, just as I did with my Harry Potter/Cedric Diggory story Needles And Pins, I've ended up writing my first PotC fanfic in a pairing that I am quite new to.  I've probably read the equivalent of my own weight in Sparrington  (Jack Sparrow/James Norrington) fic by now - and just between you and me, that's saying something - but Gillington (James Norrington/Andrew Gillette) is a rather more...refined and eclectic taste.   Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I was soundly thwacked about the head and shoulders by a rabid Gillington plotbunny that wouldn't stop until I'd finished the fic.

For the purposes of this story, I've changed Edmund Ryan's allegiance.  He was, in fact, a Catholic Irish landowner fighting Cromwell's Protestant English forces; but I wanted the hero of the song to match my version of Gillette's personal and family history. Sorry Edmund!

The haunting ballad Andrew sings in Irish Gaelic can be heard here; look for 'Ned Of The Hill'. http://www.rhapsody.com/connie-dover/tracks.html

Title:  Tumble
Author:  Seven of Velvet
Rating:  PG
Pairing:  Gillington (James Norrington/Andrew Gillette)
Word Count:  1952
Dedication:  To the lovely and talented potboy , who was bored and frustrated and wanted something new to read.
Archive:  You have but to ask. 

*

James Norrington remembers the first time he ever heard Andrew Gillette sing.  It was at the dinner celebrating James' promotion to Captain or, more properly speaking, it was long after the dinner, long after the ladies had withdrawn, long after the more casual guests had gone home. The few officers sober enough to still be conscious were gathered around a single table in the banquet hall of Fort Charles.  The conversation had turned to music and song, and the mischievous (and very drunk) Lieutenant Theodore Groves had suddenly stood and regaled them all with a risque version of 'Married To A Mermaid' that had them all roaring with laughter.  Captain Hudson, sitting next to him, had led them in a rousing and only slightly off-key rendition of 'Hearts Of Oak'; and then it was Gillette's turn.

Andrew Gillette had only been in the Caribbean for about a year at that time, and James still didn't know him well, but he did know that Gillette tended to be a maudlin drunk.  So, despite the festive occasion, the tall redhead had sung, in a surprisingly soft, beautiful tenor voice, a bittersweet song of a sailor's unrequited love, called 'The Blackbird', which he said he'd learned from his Irish mother.  The other officers had insisted on hearing another, jollier ditty, but they'd had to pour another glass of wine down Gillette's throat before he would sing again, and then it was another sad Irish song, about - what else - a lost battle, the name of which James couldn't remember. 

 Another round of wine and another round of conversation, which turned to the Irish, their music, customs, religion and language, a conversation to which Gillette had contributed surprisingly little; though, by that time, James recalled, he had already been three sheets to the wind.  But after much prompting and a generous belt of whiskey from Captain Murphy's hip flask, Gillette finally stood and, swaying slightly but not sounding a whit more drunk than before, sang a haunting ballad in the native Irish tongue. 

 Far from sounding barbaric, as Hudson had accused, James found the strange language to have a fey, wild beauty that stayed with him long after Gillette had slid bonelessly to the floor, unable to sing another note.  Andrew hadn't given a title, or an English translation; he had simply sung the ballad in a voice so wistful, so full of longing and loss, that James found himself quite moved.  He recalled how Andrew's eyes had darted towards him with an intense look, then away, then closing in what looked almost like anguish. Open, looking directly into his own; then away; then closed.

 The next morning - or rather the next afternoon - Andrew didn't remember singing at all, and vehemently denied the possibility that he ever would have sung in Irish. He explained that his Protestant mother's family had been driven from their home by Catholic armies, and they had emigrated to England, feeling that they had been betrayed by their own countrymen, their friends and neighbors.  But the next week, James had once again heard Andrew humming the haunting melody.

 And now he heard it again, seated beside Gillette's bunk as Gillette lay drowsing, sleepy with rum and laudanum, aboard the Dauntless, all of them licking their wounds the night after nearly being defeated by a shipful of unusually tough pirates.  Gillette had taken a narrowly-deflected sword blow to his hip that had been meant for the Commodore. 

 James had heard that ballad a few more times in the last few years; curiously, Andrew always seemed to recall the song in the hours after the Dauntlesses had seen action.  Even more curiously, James reflected, they had all been times when Andrew had been wounded; and, now that he came to think of it, Andrew had sustained every one of those wounds protecting the Commodore.  James frowned, then blinked, the pattern seeming to coalesce before his eyes.

 James leaned forward and pressed a damp cloth to Andrew's sweating brow, feeling heat radiate against his hand; the fever had set in remarkably quickly.  He hoped the damned pirate's sword hadn't been poisoned.  Andrew opened his sleepy, dilated eyes and made an effort to focus on the face so close to his.

 "James," he croaked.  He managed a wan smile, nothing like his usual smug smirk.  "All right?"

 "I am," James said lowly.  "I wish I could say the same of you." 

 The Dauntless rolled heavily to larboard and back again, setting the lantern hanging from the deckhead swinging, the patterned light flashing lazily over the interior of the cabin and Andrew's pale, sweating face. 

"Must be tideturn," mused James, looking out the quarter-gallery window at the black clouds scudding over the surface of the moon.  Suddenly he felt a brushing touch on his hand, and he looked back to his first lieutenant. Gillette took the cloth out of James' hand, dropped it on his bunk and then, to James' surprise, twined their fingers together, their hands palm to palm.

James looked down at their clasped hands, open-mouthed, as though the concept was utterly foreign to him; then back up at Andrew's face.  His pupils were so widely dilated hardly anything could be seen of the irises.  James tried to remember what color they were; he couldn't recall.

"There.  Better," Andrew rasped, the drugged smile spreading across his face.  Even those half-lidded eyes seemed to sparkle with a bit of their usual fire. 

 James shuffled forward a little, arranging their arms into a more comfortable position; he looked carefully into Andrew's face.  Sweat beaded on his forehead.  His eyes must be brown, James thought, since he couldn't see a great deal of difference between the color of the irises and the pupils, in the dim light.

The Dauntless lurched ponderously to larboard.

And all of a sudden Andrew was humming that low, sweet melody again.  James had to ask.

"I remember when you sang that song the first time.  At the party, years ago."

"When you...made captain."  He paused to moisten his lips.  James held a tumbler of grog to Andrew's mouth, let some of the fiery sweet liquid trickle down his throat.  Andrew swallowed, then turned his face away.  James stuck the tumbler between his knees so it wouldn't fall. 

 "What's it called?" 

Andrew's sweating brow crinkled in confusion.  "What?" 

 James took up the cloth in his other hand, hunching even closer to stroke it across Andrew's brow.  The lieutenant pushed his face into the touch like a cat. 

"That song.  What's it called?  And what does it mean?  And why do you always sing it when you're wounded?"  James had to clench his jaw shut to keep  the other questions from bursting out.  Why are you holding my hand?  And why does it feel so damn good?

Andrew smiled drunkenly again.  "Eamonn a craick," he said, which made no sense to James.

"What?"

Andrew smiled wider, looking more drunk than before.  "Edmund Knock Ryan.  Ned - of the Hill, in English.  Protestant...Irishman.  Fightin' the Catholics.  Cromwell's time.  Turned out of 'is estate.  Became a...highwayman.  Me mother's family.  Ryans." His Irish accent was breaking through.

The Dauntless rolled again on the greasy swell.  Lantern light grazed Andrew's face like an incorporeal blade.  His pupils were enormous. 

James nodded.  "It's beautiful."  He gave Andrew's fingers a squeeze and the smile on the handsome redhead's face blossomed. 

"There are...English words."

"Really?"

"Mm.  More grog?"  Andrew struggled to prop himself up on one elbow; James reclaimed his arm, reached it across Andrew's shoulders to help him sit up.  The back of his shirt was soaked with sweat. 

James held the tumbler to Andrew's lips again, wondering when he had decided that his first lieutenant was handsome.  Andrew drank deeply, draining the glass.  "More?"  James offered, but Andrew shook his head, winced, and slumped back against the pillows again. 

"Better," he said, and his voice sounded stronger, but more slurred than before.  "Thanks."

"My pleasure," answered James, surprised to find that, in fact, it was. 

 He looked down at Andrew's hand again, then back up at his friend's face.  Andrew was watching him. Without breaking eye contact, James smiled and took up that hand again, noting the hitch in Andrew's breath when he gave it a little squeeze. 

"They're so green," Andrew said, with a look of wonder on his face.

James frowned, lost at sea.  "What?  What's green?"

"Y'r eyes.  Like the ocean."  Andrew's grip on James' hand tightened, then he heaved himself upright again with the roll of the ship, to brush his other hand against James' face.  His first finger and thumb caressed an almond shape around James' eye socket, smoothing along his eyebrow and cheekbone, then tapering together at his temple.  James held his breath.

"Beautiful."  Then Andrew fell back against the pillow again; James exhaled shakily.

"No; you're the beautiful one.  This isn't the first wound you've taken for me, you know."  Where the hell had that come from?

But Andrew didn't seem to mind.  He smiled drunkenly again, almost leering at James, and said, "I know."  He squeezed James' hand, closed his eyes and began to sing.

Once again James found himself captivated by the wild, unearthly sound of the Irish language and the melancholy tune.  Then, with a start, he realized Andrew had switched to English.

" O my love fond and true, what else could I do

But shield thee from foe, from wind and from weather

When the shot falls like hail they us both shall assail

And mayhap we will die together..."

James felt like he had taken a sword blow himself.  What was Andrew saying?  Was he...did he...love James?

In the next moment, James wondered if he had asked the question out loud, or whether it was just written all over his face.  Andrew's hand tightened on his own again, and once again Andrew hauled himself up off the pillow, his shoulder colliding with James'.  James felt his lieutenant's breath on his face, warm and rum-scented. 

His eyes were definitely brown, James thought.  The color of grog.  From this close, James fancied the other man's eyes were deep enough to fall into.  He wondered if he'd drown.

"Mochree," Andrew murmured, his other hand on the back of James' arm, steadying himself.

"What?" said James, wondering how many times he had said that this evening.

Andrew gave him an unbelievably sweet little smile, his fingertips caressing the inside of James' arm.  For some reason that touch seemed almost unbearably intimate to James. 

 "My love," he whispered, with a slow, languorous blink. 

James felt a little shiver run through his body, like an electric shock.  He realized he was growing hard.  Andrew's breath was rapid and shallow, his brow was beaded with sweat; his eyes were bottomless.  James wondered if it was possible to become intoxicated by the rum on someone else's breath, because he was beginning to feel more than a little drunk himself. 

He leaned forward, planting his other hand firmly on Andrew's face to keep it from shaking.  He felt stubble under his palm, strands of cherrywood-colored hair and the shape of an earlobe under his fingertips, the edge of a cheekbone under his thumb.  For an instant they were nose to nose, then Andrew and the rolling waves pulled them the rest of the way together.  Their lips met, hesitantly at first, then Andrew made a little whimpering noise, let go of the back of James' arm and clutched the back of his head instead, and opened his mouth to the Commodore's kiss.

The empty tumbler fell to the deck, rolling hollowly round in a circle with the lantern light as the Dauntless lurched to larboard again.

 

For J

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain,
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountainside,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane - 
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear 
To go, so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, 'There is no memory of him here!' - 
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

                                                      --Edna St. Vincent Millay

First Ever Completed Harry Potter Fanfic

I thought this was worthy of an actual post in my actual LiveJournal. I have, after any number of unfinished attempts, completed and posted my first Harry Potter fanfiction story ever. I've provided a link to the first chapter, which can be found on one of my current favorite Potter fanspots, twoseekers, a Harry/Cedric community. Links to the subsequent chapters can be found directly after each previous one. Here are complete headers for the story. Please feel free to comment if you wish, I'd love to hear what you think!

Title: Needles And Pins
Author: seven_of_velvet
Rating: G - NC17
Pairing: Harry/Cedric
Length: approximately 15,800 words
Warnings: explicit male/male sexual activity, underage!Harry, a bit of dom/sub play
Summary: During his fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry gets tired of waiting and finally sends a Valentine to the object of his affections. Cedric gets a little more than he bargained for.
Archive? I'd be honored, but please ask first.

Needles And Pins, Chapter 1

--Seven

Bodyart tale

By popular demand, here's the full text of the tale of how I got my interesting and unusual bodyart pieces, a cutting and a brand, in September 2004, at Passage Bodyart studio in Toronto, Ontario. Pictures will be inserted at the appropriate spots. I don't think they're terribly graphic, hopefully nobody will be squicked by them. Text was written in November 2004.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I was inspired to get my brand and cutting by the story of Maedhros, an elf character in 'The Silmarillion', JRR Tolkien's history of the Elves in Middle-Earth, and by fanfiction stories featuring Maedhros written by Tyellas, on her fanfic website, http://www.ansereg.com/. Maedhros is Tolkien's great tragic Elf hero - as much a victim of his own choices and actions as he is of fate and circumstances, as much a victim of the pride and tempers of his father and brothers as he is of Morgoth's evil. Maedhros suffered a lot and sacrificed a lot for what he believed was right, partly because many others of his society regarded him with misunderstanding, contempt, fear and hatred. His unwavering commitment to his beliefs, even in the face of his own self-doubt and regrets, is very inspiring to this 21st-century mortal female, who sometimes finds it challenging to adhere to her own principles and life-choices, since there are still folk in this Age who regard certain ways of life with misunderstanding, contempt, fear and hatred.

In Tolkien's works, Maedhros is captured by Morgoth, the Really Big Bad Guy of Middle-Earth, and tormented by being shackled to a cliff face by his right wrist. He is rescued by his friend and half-cousin Fingon, but at a price - Fingon has no choice but to cut off Maedhros' right hand to free him from the shackle. Maedhros survives, but with the memory of his torment and pain still in his heart. Tyellas' 'Thrice for Honour' story arc reveals how, at the end of the First Age of Middle-Earth, the few who were left to oppose Morgoth had to be constantly wary of treachery and betrayal. Maedhros' followers were branded with an Elvish letter M, on the right wrist, close to where his own hand had been hewed off - to identify them to others, to inspire their courage, and to remind them of the oath of fealty they swore - to fight Morgoth and to regain, at whatever cost, the Silmarils he had stolen from them.

The idea of being branded with the mark of Maedhros myself occurred to me the very first time I read 'Thrice for Honour', and reoccurred every time I re-read the story, and whenever I read Tyellas' other works in which Maedhros and his followers appeared. It's hard to say when the idea really started to stick in my mind; but at some point, I found myself looking up branding on the Internet, just to see what information was out there. I found one woman's story of being branded by well-known body modification specialist Fakir Musafar, so I knew the basics of the process; and then I found the online portfolio of the artist I chose to do my brand, Blair of Passage Bodyart Studio in Toronto. Blair's portfolio was impressive in its size and the beauty and variety of the work, and Toronto is within reasonable driving distance of where I live. For a while, I wrestled back and forth with the idea of having a brand - a permanent scar - on such an exposed place as my right wrist, but after a year or so of thinking about it, I decided I was ready to make the commitment.

I contacted Blair and told him what I was interested in, and where I wanted it. I had been concerned about the possibility of damage to nerves, muscles or tendons, which are close to the delicate skin on the inside of the wrist, where I wanted the brand. Blair reassured me that my fears were unfounded, and his friendly yet professional manner put me at ease right away. We had several phone consultations and exchanged printed designs and drawings in the mail, and eventually set a date for Thursday, September 16. It was during this time - looking at different Tengwar font styles, as well as examining other Tolkien art, including the drawings of the good Professor himself - that I was captured again by the beauty of the heraldic devices Tolkien drew for some of the more important Elves in history. I thought the device of Feanor (Maedhros' father and the creator of the Silmarils) was particularly attractive - a sunburst with sinuous curving rays, surrounding a stylized Silmaril which had straight rays coming from it, bordered by a lozenge shape. This design, simplified and changed a bit, would become the cutting, placed on my upper left arm, around my smallpox inoculation scar.

I drove the 6 hours up to Toronto from Pittsburgh on Wednesday, September 15, settled into my hotel, walked around downtown Toronto (a very exciting and interesting place), found some pretty good sushi for dinner, went back to the hotel and turned in. Next day, drove out to Hamilton, about 30 minutes away, to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens. Very nice, even on a cool, windy day in September; most of the roses were still blooming. Back into Toronto for my 3.30 appointment with Blair at Passage Bodyart Studio. All were welcoming, especially Blair himself, who had spiky bleached-blond hair, hand-carved curls of horn or bone in his very large ear piercings, and a somewhat distracting labret plug that looked like an eye. A hazel-colored one. The labret-eye aside, Blair's manner throughout the afternoon was cool and calm, unhurried, professional and yet friendly and reassuring. (Blair's website can be found at http://www.byblair.com/.)

Anyway, once in Blair's workroom, we discussed our respective ideas & drawings, finalized our plans, then Blair drew the stencils onto copy paper and got them ready to transfer onto my skin. We decided to do the cutting first; I wanted it centered around my inoculation scar, on my upper left arm, but somehow, when he placed the stencil, I missed the fact that it wasn't quite centered. Oh well. I lay down on the table & work began. Blair said, 'I'm just gonna scratch the design in first, then I'll go over it again to make sure all the lines are of a uniform depth.' I was a bit nervous; nothing like I was when I got my first tattoo, but nervous all the same, partly because I have a particular 'thing' about being cut. The pain, in itself, wasn't that bad; there was a strange feeling of heat that seemed to radiate from the cut marks. But the feeling of being cut was difficult for me to endure. Blair noticed I was having a hard time and he offered to rub a bit of xylocaine gel into the site; 'It won't totally numb you up, but it'll take the edge off.' I accepted, and he was right; it took the edge off enough so that I could bear it without shaking or gritting my teeth. When the cutting was done, Blair took a blood print - a white paper towel pressed on long enough to soak up blood from the whole cut work - and gave it to me as a souvenir. A bit morbid, but I'm glad I kept it. He did the clean-up work, I drank another cup of the excellent green tea he made us, and got ready for the branding.
my cutting, photo taken 08/17/2004

Where the cutting work was slow and meticulous, the branding seemed to go much faster and in a way, was simpler. I lay on my back, my left arm all bandaged up, and stuck out my right arm for him to work on. Blair sat on his rolling stool and, once the stencil was in place, fired up the propane torch. Then he took a tiny tab of what looked like carbon steel in a pair of forceps and started heating it in the torch. He said, 'I'll say "strike" just before I make each one, so you'll be prepared." Once it was at the right temperature - just a bit cooled from red-hot - he said, 'strike' - and then, *tsss - tsss - tsss* three quick strikes in a row, just like that, to form the leftmost down-stroke of the tengwa. With each strike there was an intense pain, for an instant - and then it was gone. I could feel the superheated steel sinking a bit into my skin, and the skin - and subcutaneous fat, I suppose - bubbling up a bit around it. There was no bleeding, and the finished brand looked neat and clean, if a bit brownish and crispy around the edges.
my brand, photo taken 08/17/2004

Over the next few weeks, I followed Blair's surprisingly simple aftercare instructions: wash gently twice a day with warm water and mild soap. Don't apply anything else. Well, okay, if you want you can put a thin film of plain petroleum jelly on the cutting to keep it from scabbing over so stiffly. But nothing else. The cutting and brand did scab up, and were annoyingly sensitive and itchy for about ten days; but once the scabs were gone, I had two pieces of beautiful bodyart that I really love. I've had a number of compliments on the beauty of the cutting; showing it in public has inspired a number of interesting conversations with friends, acquaintances and total strangers. Far from regretting having my fandom carved into my skin, I already have the beginnings of ideas for one more brand and cutting, as well as any number of tattoos, celebrating the books, movies and characters I love. Branding and cutting are assuredly not for everybody, and I'm glad I thought long and hard about getting it before I made the final decision. For anyone else who is seriously interested in getting this sort of bodyart, I can recommend Blair wholeheartedly.
my cutting, photo taken 11/2004
my brand, photo taken 11/2004

--Seven

Arrrr!

This is too cool not to go to, if you're any kind of pirate or 'Pirates' fan:

http://www.downtownhampton.com/blackbeard/

The Hampton, Virginia Blackbeard Festival. June 4 & 5, 2005.

Oh, and I turned 35 yesterday. Hey, I may be old, but at least I've made it this far. :^P

--Seven

Seven of Velvet

brocade and tapestry, you lean back
your head against blue velvet
the sun dancing sparks of light across your naked skin
you lie there, your balls nibbled by teenage succubi
and your hands on their snaky heads
their moonglow fingers twining around your rigid cock
and their little tongues darting and licking
as you stroke their smoky hair

across the room, I lie between the paws of a tiger
almost faint from the scent of his violent fur
he holds me to his belly and his paws bind me
his huge head purring like thunder at my shoulder
his white belly is velvet against me
and I am velvet to him

slowly, subtly, his paws tighten around me
and he enters within my body
I look at you from the embrace of the tiger
and our eyes meet in wonder
little tongues, little hands move faster
and you cry out as you come
spurting a fountain of flowers
into the tiger's mouth

--Lenore Kandel

*strides elegantly down the white marble staircase, ~a la Carol Channing~, arms spread wide, million-dollar smile prominently displayed, curvaceous body encased in a fabulous gown of midnight blue satin and black velvet, with peacock-feather headdress, black velvet elbow-length gloves, and black velvet pumps, while two generous chorus lines of handsome tuxedo-clad gentlemen sing, "Hello, Dolly, oh hello, Dolly, it's so nice to see you back where you belooooong...*

Thank you, dahlings, thank you all so very much.  It's fabulously exciting to be here at last.

*extends cigarette in long, slim black holder, ~a la Holly Golightly~, for handsome tuxedo-clad gentleman to light*

More frippery to follow soon, dahlings, I promise.

 

--Seven

 

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