December 12th, 2006


Will smiled to himself as he worked, these days. And hummed. And even, now and then, when no one was nearby, sang. Oh, to be sure, there were times when he would consider all the ways in which this… this fairy tale he found himself in the middle of could go horribly wrong, and then the crease would appear between his brows and he would fall silent for a time.

But then a servant would come from Government House with a note from Elizabeth inviting him to dinner, and he would know once more that it was real. And smile.


They lay panting, sweaty and spent; stuck together in places. The sheets were a mess. The last candle guttered on the table, wax spilling as the Pearl rocked on a gentle swell.

"I don't think," James said, after a time, "that I ever would have thought of quite that use for avocado."

Jack, eyes closed, looked smug. "I told you to trust me," he murmured. "You have yet to learn sufficient appreciation of my artistic temperament, mate."

James rolled, stretched out along Jack's body, nibbling on the offered mouth, and chuckled. "Is that what they are calling it these days?"


Ragetti woke from a heavy sleep when Pintel shook his arm. He spent a lot of time asleep, every minute he could.

"They're bringing food," Pintel was saying. "Come on. Keep up your strength."

Ragetti turned away and closed his eyes. "No point in eating," he muttered. "Still gonna hang."

Keys rattled as guards brought hard tack and water to the Pearl's whilom crew. Ragetti ignored them, even when Pintel put his ration down next to him.

Pintel whispered, "If you don't eat, how you gonna come with me when I escape?"

"Hope's for fools," Ragetti answered, and dozed off again.