December 3rd, 2006


Anamaria just stopped herself from jumping as an arm- Jack's, of course- slipped round her waist as she stood at the Pearl's wheel in the middle watch.

"Leave off," she growled.

Jack chuckled. "Darling Anamaria," he murmured in her ear.

"Not your darling," she snapped, "nor any man's. Now leave off; you're drunk."

"Not so's you'd notice," Jack replied, chin resting on her shoulder.

She stomped hard on the toe of his boot with her bare heel. Jack yelped and let her go. He did it on purpose to get her goat, Anamaria knew. And it worked, every damn time.


The Black Pearl limped into Nassau port for repairs and the crew, after weeks of short commons, had all but stampeded ashore in search of a meal. Most of them had ended up at the Mop and Kettle; Fat Marthe was famous for her cooking.

Elizabeth pushed her plate away. "I can't eat another bite," she said. Will made no answer, busy with his third (or was it fourth?) helping of fish chowder. Jack picked over the bones of a roast fowl and nibbled cheese.

"Good feeling, though," he said, "not being hungry."

Elizabeth smiled, patted her stomach, and nodded.


"I won't be a moment, Mr. Fellowes," Will said.

His customer nodded, turning back to his study of the swords displayed at the front of the shop. Will joined him there. They were discussing the merits of basket hilts when the journeyman interrupted with urgent questions regarding an inscription on a blade. As Fellowes departed, after bespeaking two blades, another customer entered just as a harassed Will was about to resume his own work. Leaving his journeyman to carry on, he headed up front.

"Need more helpers," the journeyman opined, under his breath.

Will sighed, nodding. Another thing to do.


Elizabeth sneezed for what felt like the thousandth time and dabbed irritably at her streaming nose with a handkerchief.

She detested being ill. Fortunately, her constitution was in general very good. This cold had struck, nonetheless, at a most inconvenient moment. She could barely lift her aching head from the pillow. She had been forced to admit that she was too ill to attend the Clarke's al fresco party and had sent her regrets in a note whose tone bordered upon plaintive. Just when Lieutenant Kinney was certain to propose to Cecily, too.

Elizabeth sneezed. . It was not fair.


"Leave me here to die," Gillette said in sepulchral tones. "I want nothing."

Groves laughed, making Gillette curl into a ball and groan. "It's naught save a hangover, you will be better presently."

"I shan't," the sufferer replied. "Go away."

Still chuckling, Groves pulled the blanket back and yanked the pillow out of Gillette's grasp. "Get up, slugabed!" he cried.

Gillette came to his feet, fist swinging. "Hell and the devil confound you, Theo," he snarled. "Ow!" He stumbled back as Groves threw open the curtains and sunlight flooded the room. "I hate you," he moaned.

Groves went on laughing.