Author's Note: The last one, kiddies! This one goes out to my Laurie-roomie, knitmeapony, who wanted a story about 'JackSparrowWorld', and Jack finding a present for James that is Just Right. This story is also directly tied into 'No Honor', set about a year and a half later.

Dedicated To: The Fabulous firesignwriter, who's been having a bad week, but who is still putting out that fabby Jj Jail story. The original James Junior was her idea, as well. Much love, Fire.

The Best Things In Life

By L.M. Griffin

Commodore James Norrington opened his eyes, eyed the dawn-kissed sky starting to filter through the dirty window, and let out a sigh under his breath. Well, he knew the dawn would have to come eventually - he had just hoped it would somehow find itself delayed for whatever reason. Perhaps a solar eclipse, or the like.

No such luck, however. He rolled out from beneath the covers, going through the rumpled pile of clothing for his own pair of breeches, making a face at the cold wooden floor of the inn's. Ah well. Beggars couldn't be choosers, and if there was no maid here to warm the fire grate, at least there was no one there to gossip about what she saw went on 'in-between the sheets'. He allowed himself a smile as he pulled the breeches up and buttoned them up, then reached for his stockings.

There was a creaking in the bed, and a sudden body shift towards James. A golden arm wrapped firmly around his still bare middle, and pulled him backwards just as firmly. James found himself looking up at a very sleepy pirate, who captured and plundered his lips with lazy warmth, which he returned, reaching up with one hand to play with those long dark plaits. The pirate's mouth left his, trailing slowly to his ear, and that warm tongue that had been so nicely ensconced in-between his lips now trailed around his earlobe, making his eyes close, and a soft, content-sounding sigh escaped him.

Jack Sparrow smiled, and continued to nibble, as he whispered, "Now where did y'think you were wanderin' off to, Jamie-love?"

"Not 'wanderin'', Jack." James corrected, fingers still digging into the mass of hair and trinkets, making them jingle. "Getting ready to depart. It's fast approaching dawn, and my ship has to leave by the tides if I want to make it back to Port Royal by nightfall." Still, he made no move to leave the warmth of his lover's arms, nor the intimate caresses of Jack's lips.

"'N what is waitin' so desperately for you back home that you have t'be leavin' me?" Jack murmured. "Do your piles of paperwork call for you?" The slight jibe earned him a soft smile, and he continued gleefully, "Jaaaaaaaaaamie, Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaamie, y'have to finish fillin' out all us acquisition forms. Jaaaaaaaaammiiieee, we miiiiiss the way y'slave over us for hours.

James's lips flexed into a slightly wider smile and a quiet laugh left his lips. Jack sighed happily, curling his arms more tightly around his Commodore. In-between the love-making and the fierce jibing they did in public, these were the moments he enjoyed the most. Where the world paused, just for a few minutes, and let them be. Let Jamie be happy, let Jack be calm. He nestled into James's neck, kissing there, the rough bristles of his goatee tickling against James's pale skin. The Commodore squirmed slightly, much to Jack's delight. He felt the tug on his hair, and lifted his chin to meet mockingly fierce green eyes. "No tickling, Jack Sparrow. You promised."

"But I like it when y'wriggle." Jack purred, pressing his lips down to James's neck again, nipping a bit harder, getting that little twitch against him. He ran his fingers up and down James's bare chest, through his lover's chest hair, earning himself another squirm.

James's protests were drowsy, but firm. "Jack. I mean it. I really have to be gone before the first tides."

The pirate grumbled, then tilted his lover's chin back so they were looking at each other dark eyes to green. "'N why do you have t'be running off and leavin' old Jack to his lonesome, love?"

"Little James's birthday. I told you." James said, trailing his fingers down Jack's scarred arm quietly, so he was well aware of the momentary stiffening in Jack's posture. He lifted up his gaze to Jack, one eyebrow arching.

Jack's jaw had taken on that stubborn cast, when he didn't like something and could do nothing about it. His voice was gruff as he continued to stroke his rough hand over James's chest. "Don't see how it matters much. He's only two. Not like he'll remember whether or not you're there."

"Perhaps not... but I'll know." James said quietly, taking up Jack's wrist, and giving it a kiss, before he pushed himself to his feet. "I know you are the master of all things odd and eccentric, Jack, but I think being jealous of my son delves right into the ridiculous."

"I am not jealous of ..." Jack trailed off, as James's eyes fixed on his, that sharp and undeniably disbelieving look. A Commodore look, through and through. Jack huffed, and turned over on his side. "Well, what does it matter if I am? I only get you when y'decide t'leave Port Royal and precious baby boy. He gets all the best parts of you - your days 'n your nights, your every wakin' moments." His jeweled fingers played with the coverlet. "I get scant hours, love. I get from sundown to sunup, and sometimes not even that. You'll forgive me if I'm a lil' put out."

There was the sound of a shirt being shifted on, and a sigh. Then footsteps as James came around the wooden bed to face his lover. Jack huffed, and started to turn over again, but James gently pulled him over, kneeling beside the bed. He brushed plaits and beads away from the elvin face, tracing long fingers down the side of Jack's face. His voice was gentle, so gentle that it melted the ire from the pirate's face and heart, "I'd share every moment like that with you, and more, if we could. I'd curl you up in front of my fireplace and read Shakespeare to you. I'd fall asleep with you on a lazy summer day picnic. I'd make love to you in my own bed and not let you go come the sunrise. Jamey doesn't get to share all of those moments with me - because they only exist in my head and in my dreams."

Jack sighed, and clasped James's hand within his own. "Y'always got t'make a point like that, don't you? Damn'd wordy Commodore."

"Stubborn, pigheaded Pirate." James countered, leaning forward to capture Jack's lips. Their kiss was one of familiarity - the tasting of slow knowledgeable pleasure. After the kiss broke, James rose, moving to put on his stockings and shoes. Then his Turner-made sword, but as he buckled on the belt he paused thoughtfully. "...Tell me, will you be in Port Royal for Christmas?"

Jack smiled at the ceiling, before rolling to his feet. "D'pends." He snaked up behind the now dressed Commodore, pressing his naked body against James fully, "What sort of welcome would be waitin' me?"

"If you choose to foolishly sneak into Port Royal, when you know very well that your pretty neck is on the line for absolutely no other reason than to see the Turners..." James said dryly, lifting one eyebrow over his shoulder at Jack, lips twitching.

"Now who said I was goin' to see the Turners?" Jack grinned wickedly, as he thrust his hips up a little. "Yet again the question stands, mate. What sort of welcome would I be gettin'?"

James Norrington turned in the grip of his lover's arms, gave him a stern look, then proceeded to wrap his arms around those lithe hips, fingers sliding around firm buttocks, causing a shiver to run through Jack in an utterly delightful way. James rumbled low, velvet chocolate made warm and rich, "The kind where your first greeting would be this." He tightened his grip, attacking Jack's mouth as he would another pirate ship, no quarter given and no mercy allowed.

Not that Jack was asking for any. For once.


Needless to say, the Commodore just made it out of the harbor before the tides fled, leaving behind a very content and sated pirate captain in his wake.

Jack lingered in the newly tumbled bedclothes for a few moments longer, sighing happily, before he stumbled out of bed and got himself dressed. He'd have some lovely new bruises to wear off, he thought with malicious glee, as he inspected his neck in the inn's tiny mirror. He liked that Jamie was a biter, especially in all the right places. He adjusted his bandanna over his hair, then put on his hat at a rakish angle, before throwing on his black coat, then checked the look again.

Dangerous and yet devilish handsome pirate? Oh yes. He left the room whistling.

Christmas in Port Royal with a rather lovely and accommodating Commodore. He could think of no better way to spend his holiday season, especially since the last one was a complete disaster. Never again would he listen to Mr. Cotton's parrot on where they should spend Christmas. He thought he'd never get all the bird droppings off the deck of the Pearl. And those damned penguins...

No, this promised to be like the Christmas of the year before - with lots and lots of naked James and possibly more pie. Hmm. Yes. Pie. Jack definitely wanted his share of pie.

Hrm. However, this left one small problem. A gift. A gift appropriate and yet exotic and original enough to befit the lover of the Great Captain Jack Sparrow. He had to find something truly monumental. Something that James could put in his house, and all people could do would be to wonder at it, and ask, 'Why Commodore, where did you get this thinger-doodle?'

And then James could smile that little invisible smile of his, so mysterious and so intent that you just wanted to kiss it right off his lips because it was so aggravatingly enticing...

Oh yes. A special present was needed. Now, just where to go...

When he climbed aboard his beloved Pearl not more than an hour later, he was whistling, but thoughtfully. He gave Gibbs and Anamaria a chipper nod as he headed up to the helm, "Make ready to sail for Morocco!"

"...Morocco?" Anamaria and Gibbs said together, eyebrows raised. Gibbs moved a step forward, scratching his forehead. "Thought we were movin' up to Georgetown, Jack. Do a bit of scoutin'."

"That was before I needed a present!" Jack said gleefully, nodding his head approving as the crew made haste to his orders. Let's see. He had three months to get his perfect present - then sail back to Port Royal. Plenty of time.

"...We're going to Morocco. For a present." Anamaria drawled out slowly, again exchanging a glance between Gibbs. "Jack, why can't ye just get a present in Georgetown?"

Jack leaned on the helm, tilting his hat up as he wriggled his eyebrows knowingly at Anamaria, "B'cause you can't get camels in Georgetown."


The gangplank went down from the Dauntless, and the sailors rushed down it, securing ropes, tossing down bales of rope and the like. The officers disembarked, one by one, talking amongst themselves, or moving hurriedly down the docks to greet loved ones waiting for them. Commodore Norrington was the last to step down, his tall form precise in its movements, his face impassive and devoid of all emotion.

That is, until a small voice called out, "Da! DA! Dadadadadadadadadada!"

James Norrington, Junior, toddled down the docks as fast as his little legs could carry him, his well-worn nurse fast on his heels, but not quite fast enough. James Norrington, Senior, moved a bit faster down the wooden planks, then dropped down to one finely uniformed knee, opening his arms to the toddler with the biggest smile in his possession. His men marveled at it, shocked to realize that yes, their Commodore did actually know how to use those muscles in his face. The little boy flung his chubby little form into his father's arms, clinging like crazy and babbling like a magpie.

James wrapped his arms around his son, lifting him up in his arms, planting kisses on both of the boy's chubby cheeks, "Well, well, Mister Jamey. Someone's glad to see me." He smoothed back Jamey's fine dark hair, looked into the sea-green eyes that were so like his. There was nothing of his mother in Jamey's face or form, and James was glad of it. The less he was reminded of Clarisse, the better.

Jamey, however, was unaware of all these things, was patting his father's face with concentration, saying in a solemn little voice, "Da come home."

"Yes, Da did come home ... Good afternoon, Mrs. Marlowe. Has he been behaving himself?" James questioned the nurse, waiting for the woman to catch her breath before offering his arm for support for the walk back up the docks.

The middle-aged matron took it, panting gratitude, as she shook her head a little, "...Until five minutes ago, a perfect angel, Commodore Norrington."

"Jamey..." James chided the boy in his arms gently, "You shouldn't have run away from Mrs. Marlowe. You'll make her worry."

"'M sorry, MissyLowe." Jamey said, ducking his head and putting it against his father's uniform. "Won't do it 'gain."

"That's all right, lamb. You were just excited to see your Da, now weren't you?" Mrs. Marlowe cooed, then smiled up at the Commodore, "It is good to have you home again, sir. He's missed you terribly."

James smoothed back Jamey's hair once more, comforted by the weight of Jamey against his chest, for it chased away the pangs of wanting someone else there. A tough, lithe little pirate with a devil's smile and an angel's graces. His Jack. He sighed, and kissed Jamey's forehead. Jack was right - it wasn't fair. Why did he have to sacrifice one area of happiness for the other? Why could he not have both?

'Because life, as we well know it, does not allow us to have our pie and eat it too.' He mentally snorted, while giving his son another kiss. "And I've missed him too." The boy curled up closer to him, and James felt a lightening in the pang of not seeing Jack for three months.

It seemed James Norrington was bound to a life where he would forever miss something. This time, however, he was dismayed to find it was part of his heart.


Morocco, Africa

"It smells." Anamaria said shortly, looking up at the hulking, two humped beast.

"And it doesn't seem t'do much else but eat, sir." Gibbs said slowly, a frown working over his face. "A lot."

"But it's a camel!" Jack protested, leaning over the fence into the enclosure where the camel was peacefully chewing on his grass, "I willin' to bet a whole hat full o'gold he doesn't have a camel!"

At that moment, the camel tilted it's head to the side, and spit, missing Jack by mere inches.

Jack pursued his lips slowly, then hopped down. "Right. No camel." His crew look endlessly relieved, and turned to follow him down the dusty warm street. That is, until he stopped, his hands quivering in the air. "Oo! Oo! I know! A POLAR BEAR RUG!"

"..A polar bear rug, Capt'n?" Gibbs repeated stupidly.

"Where in dey hell are we goin' to get a polar bear rug in Morocco?" Anamaria put her hands on her hips, glaring a little.

"Oh, I'm sure they got themselves a dead polar bear 'round here somewhere." Jack grinned crazily over his shoulder at his crew. "We just got t'find one. C'mon, y'lot! We're goin' polar bear huntin'!"

He started off down the street, taking larger, swaying steps than a man of his stature could, medallion shimmering in the bright hot sun.

The crew of the Black Pearl just stared after him. Anamaria called out weakly, "A ...Polar Bear...Rug?"

Jack turned on his heels at the end of the street, and furiously gestured for his crew to follow him, grinning.

Gibbs and Anamaria sighed at one another, "A Polar Bear Rug." and followed.


Port Royal

"And many happy returns of the day, Master Norrington." Elizabeth said gaily, her brown eyes warm as she put the large, brightly wrapped package on the dining room table before Jamey. Jamey's green eyes widened to the size of plates, making Elizabeth laugh delightedly, then give him a little nudge in his tummy, "Go on, silly. Open it."

Jamey looked over the package to his father with silent question in his huge eyes. His father, who was currently bouncing Rebecca Anne Turner on his knee, already past two years and happy enough with her own Commodore pretend-pony. James looked over at Elizabeth then at Will, then nodded his head, "You may, but make sure to thank the Turners for it right afterwards."

"Even if you don't like it." Elizabeth said with that twinkle in her eyes.

Jamey beamed broadly at his father, tiny hands tearing madly into the paper. Elizabeth had to help him with the box, but the happy noise that Jamey made when they got it open let James know that it had been an extremely good present indeed. Jamey hefted out a rough wooden model of the Dauntless, obviously made for children's play in mind. Holding it with both small hands, he grinning over at his father hugely, "Ship, Da! Itzz our ship!"

"That's right." James said, impressed with the craftsmanship, as Jamey put the ship down carefully, and started taking out wooden figurines. He glanced over at the creator, who was gently rocking his son in his arms, "I didn't know you were a woodcarver as well, William."

Will's dark eyes glowed with happy pride, "It's a skill I haven't practiced since I was a child myself. I'm glad to see I haven't lost the talent for it."

"It is a brilliant present, and he obviously loves it. Thank you - oh, you want to see the ship too, do you?" Rebecca bobbed her dark curly head, and James put her down. Rebecca gave him an impudent little grin, then ran to the end of the table where James, with the help of Elizabeth, had the Dauntless and all his little figures lined up. He beamed up at his playmate, handing her one of the naval men immediately, and they both started playing.

James was quiet as he watched them, so entranced at the pure joy on his son's face that he didn't notice Elizabeth at his elbow until she cleared her throat. He blinked upwards, up into that still beautiful face and figure. A bit more curved now, from two children, but it befit her. Love apparently was the Fountain of Youth, for Elizabeth looked like the perennial fresh faced girl of eighteen he fell in love with long ago. She smiled at him, and offered a smaller, flatter package, "And a late birthday present for the father."

James arched an elegant eyebrow, opening the package as Elizabeth went to her husband and gathered up her infant son, then sat herself in Will's lap. Inside was a frame - a fine frame done in black wood and detailed with gold - but it was a frame-make he had never seen before, "There's a ... hinge in this?"

"So you can open and close it whenever you like. There's a catch on the side." Will gestured, and James's fingers slipped to the side, pressing down until something clicked and the frame opened to reveal....

Jack. Leaning against a door-frame, that wicked smile of gleaming golden teeth. He looked ready to laugh, that slow roll that started from his chest and came all the way up. Jack had a deep, well pleased laugh. James traced the painted face of his lover, his face going expressionless and unreadable as he asked quietly, "Where did you get the portrait?"

"Elizabeth did about a half dozen rough sketches of Jack the last time he visited us, and then we took it to Mr. Gibbons, the young portrait artist." Will said slowly, glancing over at his wife with concern.

Elizabeth frowned herself, leaning a little towards him, "James, are you all right? Should we have not had it made?"

James looked up, then shook his head, "No, no." He traced the picture again, feeling flooding his eyes if not his expression. "It is a very fine gift, indeed, and I thank you for it."

Jamey came running up then, beaming as brightly as the sun itself, his chubby fingers wrapped around a gaily painted figure. He hugged on his father's knee, offering up the figure, "Look Da! You!"

James took the little wooden replica of himself, and held it along with the portrait, his free hand reaching out to stroke Jamey's hair silently as he looked at both, "Yes, that's right Jamey. It's me."

Jamey beamed wider, peering over at the picture. James watched his son take in the barbaric hair, the golden teeth and the knowing fox-like smile, then reached out to tap the picture with one chubby finger. "Jac-k! Jac-k Spah-oow!"

James's melancholy lifted at the surprised gasp of Elizabeth's. Will's eyebrows nearly crawling up off his fine forehead in shock. James cracked a small smile, nodding his head, "That's right. That's Jac-k Spar-row. And what does Jack Sparrow do?"

Jamey leaned his cheek on his father's knee in thought, then beamed again, "Sails ships like Da's. 'N has 'ventures. Fights off 'ther pirates, 'n steals things!" He perked, then glanced guiltily at his father, before looking solemnly back at Elizabeth and Will, "Which is bad. Very bad. He shou'd get a s'anking."

"We're great, great admirers of Captain Sparrow in this house." James said, one side of his mouth lifting up. "He's one of our favorite bedtime stories."

Jamey held unto his little figure of his father, then moved towards Will, holding it up, "Make Jack Spah-ow?"

"For Christmas, I promise. A Jack Sparrow of your very own." Will intoned his head solemnly.

Jamey smiled, a much more open and younger version of his father's, "S'ank you, Uncle Will 'nd Aunt Lizbet." He toddled back off to the Dauntless, where Rebecca was setting up the troops for review.

Elizabeth and Will watched quietly, and then both turned towards the Commodore. Will stroked his wife's arm, before speaking quietly, "... I always imagined that you had been living two separate lives. One here in Port Royal, and one out there on the oceans. But that's not true at all, is it? Jack never really leaves you."

"No, he doesn't." James propped the portrait up, so he could look at it, and watch Jamey at the same time. A wry smirk crossed his face, "Now try telling Jack that."

Their smirks and silence were sarcastic answer enough.


St. Petersburg, Russia

The marketplace was appropriately wintry, and a feeling of approaching Christmas was in the air. Except, of course, for certain foreign parties.

"Ja-aa-aa-ack. We're freezin' our bums off!" Anamaria chattered, pulling her thick man's coat closer. "Just pick a DAMNED rug a'ready!"

Jack sighed, running his fingers over two equally white looking fur. "But I don't know what he'll look best against."

"Ja-CK! This is no ruddy time t'be color coordinatin' your lover to bear hair!" Gibbs groused, teeth chattering. He wanted to go to his flask, but he was afraid to find it frozen through and through.

"Aawwwwwk! Hard to rudder, Hard to rudder!" Mr. Cotton nodded his head, as his parrot squawked on.

Jack turned to Mr. Cotton, glowering, "What do y'mean, 'what is he going t'do with it?' He's going to lie on it, and curl up under it on cold winter nights. Prefer'bly with me." A leer crossed the full lips. "Prefer'bly naked."

The three crew members, and the parrot, all stared at him, and all three shook their heads as one. Anamaria sighed, putting one frosty hand to her forehead, her voice raising with each word. "Jack, only in yo'r world, your lil' demented Jack SPARROW World, would it make sense t'give a man, who lives in the B'OODY CARIBBEAN, a polar bearskin rug for when it's cold, since it is never COLD in the CARRIBBEAN to BEG'N with!!"

"...It could get cold. Sometime." Jack twitched. Then he sighed, and left the stall. "Fine, fine. We'll keep lookin'."

He sauntered back out into the streets, dark eyes scanning the booths, as the three crew members trolled along behind him. Gibbs spoke first, "D'you ever consider gettin' him somethin' he might need?"

"What does a Commodore of the British Navy need that a pirate can give 'im?" Jack said dryly, "B'sides his head in a noose."

"Awwwwwk! Hoist the mainsail!" Mr. Cotton tilted his head questioning, as did his interpreter.

Jack spun around, causing all three crew members to stop in their tracks and gulp at the fierce expression on their captain's face. "I. Am. Not. Gettin'. Anythin'. For. That. Baby." He stabbed one infuriated finger at Cotton, then turned back around ferociously, a lion who's cage had been prodded once too often.

His pirates followed meekly behind. Anamaria counted to 100, before saying, "Well, if not somethin' he needs ... what about somethin' he likes?"

Jack slowed, his fingers twirling his chin braids thoughtfully, before he waggled his fingers in the air, "That seems more than reasonable, Anamaria, m'darkskinned angel."

"And If we knew what he liked, it'd be easier for us t'help you find somethin'." Anamaria added quickly. Anything, at this point, to get them out of the frigid cold. "So what does he like?"

"Me, obviously." Jack smirked, then counted off things ringed finger by ringed finger, "The sea, sailin', swordfightin' - but gettin' him a sword is pointless b'cause he has one of Will's, music ... music! I'll get him somethin' musical AND rare!"

Horrible images flew through his crew's mind. Gibbs imagined a pipe organ twice the size of the Pearl's deck. Anamaria saw them kidnapping, at swordpoint, an entire choir of eunauchs. Mr. Cotton envisioned them sousing up some famous composer and hijacking him to the Caribbean. Mr. Cotton's parrot saw Jack Sparrow kidnapping songbirds and teaching them to sing the pirate song.

The parrot is smarter than everyone thinks.

Jack had already turned down the street, whistling, and his crew hastened to catch up to him, calling out in more or less one voice, "Capt'n!! What KIND of rare, musical gift!?"


Port Royal

"Christmas is right around the corner, isn't it sir?" Mrs. Meadows, the Norrington's housekeeper exclaimed happily, pouring his tea and setting the sliced bread and cheese slightly closer to his elbow, watching him keenly. She nodded her head with silent approval as he almost absentmindedly leaned picked up a slice of bread, putting it into his mouth and chewing, and kept speaking, "It seems a shame that there Admiral is comin' for a review right on Christmas Eve, though."

James finished off his slice of bread, and swallowed. "Well, beggars can't be choosers, Mrs. Meadows, and besides, the review won't take much more than an hour or two. Then the Admiral will spend a fine and long evening with the Governor drinking brandy, and Jamey and I will play with his newest ship model."

"And that's all you're doin' this year, sir?" Mrs. Meadows raised an eyebrow.

"Well, besides a late Christmas Eve supper with Andrew and Theodore, and the Christmas Day party at the Turners, yes. I wanted a quiet Christmas this year, right through to the New Year. The men deserve a rest, and so do I." James said with a smile, picking up his tea and adding a little sugar to it.

Mrs. Meadows nodded her head with approval once more, "Glad to hear it, sir. I'll leave you to your acquisitions and whatnot, then." She bobbed her gray head, and rolled out of the room, a living force in red gingham.

James smiled slightly after her, then sat back further in his chair, looking down at his paperwork with a wry sort of sigh. Do your piles of paperwork call for you? He could almost hear Jack saying, and he sighed as he flipped through his reports. Not one of the Pearl had crossed his desk since he left Jack at that little inn. What could that crazy pirate be up to?

He could have gotten lost. God knows that would be easy enough for Jack, as addled as he was. Besides, he still had that ruddy compass that never worked. He could be sailing anywhere, if he followed that thing.

Or he could be horribly wounded. That pistol probably still didn't have any shot, and the sword might have well been made of wood, for how corroded it was. How could he properly protect himself with those, James just didn't know.

Or, he could have been captured by other pirates, or the Spanish or the French ...

Or he could simply not want to come.

James played with the quill, jaw tightening at the last thought. It was possible. Horrible, painful, and heart-wrenching, but possible. After all, Jack Sparrow didn't like playing second fiddle to anyone - much less an infant. Perhaps his jealousy had finally won over his feelings, and the pirate decided it would be best to head to less ... complicated waters. And could he, James Norrington, blame him?

With the pain of a thousand screams that were even now sounding in his soul, Yes.

A knock at his office door dragged him away from his morbid thoughts, and to a smiling Mrs. Marlowe. "He's waiting for you, sir. Bathed and eager."

James managed a weak smile of his own, then pushed his tall frame out of the chair and away from the concerns of the office and his love life to something a little more tangible and real. Telling his son a bedtime story about a rapscallion pirate captain, the clever and yet annoying owner of a Commodore's heart.

He passed by a window looking out to the bay, alight with stars. He paused, picked out the One star, the North Star, and closed his eyes tight. A silent wish, never to spoken, but fervently asked. Just one request...

Bring Jack back to me.

His green eyes opened, and he snorted to himself. How foolish was it, to make wishes on stars? Shaking his head, he moved up the stairs, scolding himself for acting like a romantic.

Even if in his heart, the wish still called out, waiting to be granted.


Paris, France

"No, no. I don't want SHEET music. I want a ...St-ama-al-viraris? Strimlatis? Stroublaboalbis?" Jack tried to gesture with his hands, "It's an instrument. Plays music. Pre-tty Music. Comprends? Non? Wait, wait. I'll write it out." He mimed to the shoppe owner again, who just stared dumbly and silently at it. Of course, the silently part could probably be contributed to the fact that the poor man was tied and gagged to a chair, but really, that was inconsequential. At least to Jack Sparrow.

"'Ey, Anamaria?" Gibbs leaned over, and whispered softly, "What's a Stroubalblis?"

"Haven't a damned clue." Anamaria said gruffly, "But if he spells it as badly as he's sayin' it, we might be here all night."

"Awwwwk, winds from the east. Winds from the east." The parrot trilled, as Mr. Cotton smirked slightly.

The other pirates chuckled, and Gibbs nodded his head, "'There is no spellin' in Jack Sparrow World'. Nice one, Cotton."

"You all wouldn't be mockin' your old Captain, would you, gents and lady?" Jack asked mildly from across the room, as he finally dug up a quill and an inkpot from the shoppekeeper's desk, and wrote out what he wanted. His crew closed their mouths tightly, and he gave them a steely little smile, before showing the name to the shoppekeeper, who blinked at the word.

Then the man started to laugh. He said something fast in French, shrugging his shoulders. Jack shook his head a little, "...What is he sayin'? I can't follow."

"Awwk. Yo, ho. Yo, ho. Sixteen men down, and a bottle of rum..." Mr. Cotton looked at his parrot, raising both eyebrows.

"....What do y'mean he said I'd sooner be able to walk like a man!?" Jack growled, turning towards the shoppekeeper, before he blinked back at Mr. Cotton. "Y'speak French."

"Awwwwk! Red sky in morning, sailor take warning!" The parrot trilled, and Mr. Cotton shrugged sheepishly.

Jack blinked again. "The PARROT speaks French? Where did the parrot learn how to -- y'know what? Nevermind. ... all right, Mr. Cotton's parrot, you tell this ruddy bastard that I want m'self a ..." He read the paper carefully, "Stratovarius, and I want one right quick."

"..That's a violin, isn't it sir?" Anamaria asked slowly.

"Aye. A rare and extremely good violin." Jack turned towards her, and his eyes narrowed. "What? What's the problem now?"

"...Does the Commodore play the violin, sir?" Anamaria arched one eyebrow, crossing her arms over her well formed chest, her beautiful caramel-colored face twisting into a wry questioning look.

Jack's mouth opened, then closed, as he frowned. "Don't rightly know, actu'lly."

"So why are y'buyin' -"

"Stealin'." Jack corrected quickly.

"..Why are you stealin' him a violin, and a rare one at that, if you don't know if he'll even be able t'play it?" Anamaria finished, both dark eyebrows raising together.

Jack just stared at her for a long, long moment. Then he turned on his heel, and headed out the door without another word. The pirates all looked at each other with surprise, before leaving the protesting and still tied up shoppekeeper to his own devices.

They found him outside, pacing in front of the shoppe, muttering to himself something fierce before he turned to his crew, snarling, "What's the point? What's the bloody point? I'm not going to find anythin' good enough, or special enough, or apparently SANE enough! I might as well not go back t'Port Royal for Christmas. He'll probably just ignore me and spend all his time with his droolin' half-wit son, only vestige of a marriage gone bad! Why did I think some ruddy gift after three months was going t'make James say suddenly, 'Yes Jack, I want t'be with you and you alone and scupper them all b'cause I really do lo..'" He stopped suddenly, and trailed off, "...Waste of m'bloody time."

The pirates just stared at him for a long moment, before Anamaria said softly, "...Dat's it, Jack."

"What's it, love?" Jack said irritably, crossing his arms over his chest as he glanced at her.

"The one thing a Commodore would want from a pirate for Christmas. Something unique, beaut'ful, and practical t'boot." Anamaria said, the grin on her face widening.

"....'N that would be?" Jack asked, both eyebrows raised together.

Anamaria smiled.


Port Royal, the Governor's Mansion, Christmas Eve

"...One year without piracy."

"A privateer."

"...Alright, TWO years without piracy."

"Captain Sparrow, if you wish me to sign this document that gives you clemency in Port Royal, I need to know that Port Royal is going to be safe from your pirate ship which just happens to be nigh un-catchable."

"I just want clemency for ONE night, mate."

"Yes, and I'm offering you clemency forever. All you have to do is to keep from robbing British ships."

"'N why should I let the English government dictate what I can or cannae steal?"

"Why should I let you into Port Royal? Why shouldn't I call the guards? Why do you not set a pistol to my throat and make me sign your clemency paper? Because everything is negotiable, Captain Sparrow. You know as well as I do if anyone will end up dictating terms, it will be you."

"You're one ruddy good manipulator, Governor Swann."

"It takes one to know one, Captain Sparrow."


Port Royal, an hour later, the home of Commodore Norrington

It was truly one of the more odd nights for Captain Jack Sparrow. In the course of an hour he had become a privateer, a British Royal Citizen once more, and paid to rob other people, to boot. When he handed around the general pardons to his crew as their Christmas presents, the celebrating starting with a fervor. He honestly thought they would be more upset - however it turned out that most would take British protection if it meant avoiding an English noose. Jack had to admit, it did take certain pressures off.

However, not a half an hour after becoming a free-man, here he was breaking into James's house. The house of a ruddy Commodore, for chrissakes. He wondered if he could bill the government for this - sort of a - 'testing the security of Royal Officers homes' thing. He smirked at the thought of filing that sort of report with any paper-pusher, 'Monies requested for plundering of Commodore Norrington'. Heh, right amusing, that was...

He pushed open the long window, and blinked at the sight before him. This was definitely not the Commodore's room. Jack was fairly sure that James would not have a forest scene painted on all the walls. Nor have so many toys.

Deduction? He was in the nursery. He let out a little curse, and headed towards the far door, hopefully leading out to the hall, and away from the reminder of James's life when Jack, himself, was not around and ...

Damn. Fuck. Arrrrgh. He should have remembered. When one was in a nursery, there was usually a child involved. And that child just happened to be sitting up from his little bed, and looking over at Jack with very wide eyes, thumb stuck in-between cupid's bow lips, dark hair tousled.

Jack smiled weakly at the child, waggled his fingers once, and kept moving towards the door, when the little sprat suddenly called out, "Pirate!"

Jack froze in place, turning towards the child, waving his arms up and down wildly. The child tilted his head again at the strange man moving around like a deranged chicken, pointed his finger a little more forcefully and repeated, "Pirate!"

The self-spoken pirate grimaced, moving across the room, putting his finger to his lips, "Shhh, y'lil whelp! Y'want t'get me ... er...severely reprimanded?" What did one do to punish privateers, anyways? Not hanging. Fines? Taxes? Slapping of the wrist?

Even in the dim light of the nursery, Jack's teeth gleamed. Jamey tilted his head to one side, recognition coming to the small face. He blinked with a wide open mouth fixed in an 'O', then he beamed, and pointed once more, "Jack! Jack Spah-ow!"

"Shhhhh, and it's CAPTAIN ..." Jack trailed off, staring down at the now excitedly bobbing little boy. "...Jack Sparrow. Eh, now, how did y'know m'name?"

In response, Jamey rolled out of his little bed, a teddy bear hugged against his chest, as he toddled across the floor to a small dresser. There sat two little wooden figurines, and Jamey automatically went over to the one with the pained on bandanna, the one with the small golden teeth. He held it up for Jack's inspection, and whispered quietly, "Jack Spah-ow."

Jack stared down at the small replica of himself, then his eye caught on the other figurine. One in breeches, and a wig, a Commodore's hat on its little head. Something started to click in his head, as the little boy at his feet tugged on his breeches, and started walking towards a darkened alcove that James realized led to another door. A distant candle glowed under the door itself, and the little boy pushed open the door, pausing at the door to make sure Jack was following, his little thumb still firmly in his mouth. Jamey smiled around it, and the familiarity of that sweet little smile, so like James's, melted something cold in Jack's chest. Suddenly, this little person was not the child of the dread Clarisse, but 'Jamie's Boy'. He smiled in return, and followed.

...Right into James's bedroom. He knew this must be it, for everything was so regimental and neat. Even the boots were lined up. Jack's gaze traveled around hungrily, falling on Jamie's Boy, as the little tyke marched right up to his father's dresser, and pulled his thumb out of his mouth to grab some sort of frame, with a hinge?, off the small night-stand table. Jamey walked back to Jack, and offered it up to him just as solemnly as before.

It took Jack only a moment to find the catch, to see the picture, and the little click suddenly became an entire picture. He sighed to himself, looking up to the ceiling, "Jack Sparrow, you're a damn'd fool." There was another tug on his breeches's leg, and this time, he knelt down to meet little James Norrington, smiling a little ruefully, "What do you think, Lil'Jamey? Think old Jack's a damned fool?"

Jamey tilted his head, his green eyes wide and thoughtful. Then he pulled his thumb out of his mouth, and solemnly toddled closer to Jack, putting both little hands on Jack's bristly face. The little boy leaned in, kissing Jack's cheek noisily, and very wetly, then leaned back, smiling, "Jack Spah-ow good."

"...I'll be takin' that as a 'No'." Jack grinned broadly, not wanting to wipe away that sweet and innocent kiss. He picked up the little boy in his arms, who just as trustingly put his tiny arms around Jack's neck, hugging close. "Well, how about we get further acquainted whilst we wait for dear old Father t'get home, eh?"

"Da's on ship." Jamey intoned solemnly, as Jack flopped on the bed, Jamey still curled against him. "Jack tell story?"

"Jack tell story? Hmm. Jack can tell LOTS of stories." Jack settled Jamey more comfortably against him, and unconsciously found his fingers brushing down soft baby hair, dark as his father's but with a bit of a curl. "What sort of story would y'like, Lil'Jamey?"

Jamey tilted his head up, beaming brightly, "Jack Spah-ow story!"

"Lil'Jamey, we're going t'get along just fine." Jack smirked a little, "...Now, the tale I'm going t'tell you is about a pirate meetin' a fine English Commodore..."

Another hour passed, and Jamey had long since doused off, when the bedroom door opened and James Norrington, Senior, entered, carrying a long package and an equally long face. Jack raised one eyebrow, speaking softly as so not to startle the man too much. "Must have been some cemetery of a Christmas Party, love."

James started sharply, dropping the long package to the floor as he stared towards the bed. What he saw there, he couldn't quite believe, but it had to be real. Jack Sparrow, dressed in dark greens that suited his sun-ravished complexion, a bright red bow tied across one shoulder and down to his waist, was grinning that knowing golden smile at him, and at his side, fast asleep, was Jamey, sucking his thumb peacefully. James's green eyes narrowed, then he shook his head, "I'm either having a delusion brought on by too much roast pig, or a very pleasant daydream."

Jack smirked, carefully rolling his arm up as so not to disturb Jamey, then crept off the bed. He easily slinked over to the door itself, nudging the long package inside, firmly closing and locking the door behind him, before turning to gather up the still shocked Commodore into a long and lingering kiss, tongue making itself at home inside James's mouth for quite some time, until Jack pulled away to a low protesting noise in James's throat. Jack chuckled slowly, nibbling on James's bottom lip as he murmured, "I prefer t'think of myself as real -- with a touch of sensual fantasy, love. What'ver yer pleasure. I'm offerin' m'self as your one 'n only Christmas present, from me, t'you."

"...Whatever my pleasure?" James arched an eyebrow, his voice lowering in a way that tightened things below Jack's waist considerably. At his nod, James's smile flickered on, "Well then, Captain Sparrow, after you put my son back to bed, my pleasure is for you to make love to me."

"Hm, done. Once y'take care of this overdressed problem of yours, love." Jack pulled on one white wig curl with a smirk. "I don't fancy takin' a man t'bed so ...encumbered, savvy?"

"I'll do my best. Now, get Jamey to bed. Then you can come and tuck me in." James said softly, making it more of a promise than a command.

Jack wasted little time carrying the sleeping baby into his bed once more, but he did pause long enough to brush a kiss to the boy's forehead, tucking the blankets in close. Then he turned, eyeing that door speculatively and hungrily, before walking back through.

James had more than fulfilled his end of the bargain, for he was already in bed, and was already sans quite a bit of clothing. At least, from the waist up. Jack's grin widened, and he answered to James's crooked finger, slinking up the bed to meet warm Commodore flesh and warm Commodore lips. James slipped his fingers into Jack's coat, removing it as he murmured, "Time to unwrap my present, I believe?"

Jack's response was a little growl. He kept on kissing as James kept on unwrapping, until they were tangled up in each other's arms, bare skin to bare skin, pressing as hard together as they could. Stimulation, passion, pressure - all increased with each touch, each kiss and each heated whisper or groan. Jack rolled James onto his stomach, reaching for his jacket pocket and the vial of fine bamboo oil he carried for such an occasion, his lips ghosting across the fair skin of James's back, parting James with one exploring digit, and then the second.

James hissed against the touch, quivering slightly, and Jack smirked, sinking his teeth lightly into James's shoulder. He then leaned back once more, preparing himself with the oil, murmuring as he slide into James, "Have I told you lately, love, that I adore it when you wriggle?"

James's response was to shift his hips back against Jack, eliciting a sudden exhalation of breath from the pirate's lungs. James's breath was a little labored, but the sarcasm held true as James whispered back, "And I love to hear you scream my name. So let's just see if we both get what we want, eh Jack?"

"I thought you'd never ask..." Jack rumbled low, and then the real lovemaking began in earnest. The pushing in - in - innnnnto that tight, warm place that was James, to be surrounded in James and no want to ever let go. To want to meld together with his heaving back, the dark hair now sweaty and the pants and the moans and the soft curses to a God Jack didn't necessarily trust or believe in. Oh, but he believed in James. He believed that he was making love, pressing love, sinking love into this body - this man that he adored.

His fingers wrapped around James's manhood, pressing into him and at the same time, stroking him. Moving within and without. Surrounding James with love - hot, pounding love from his veins and his heart. When James came, he was the one who cried out. Who trembled, who came soon after in sharp, heavy bursts. So good, was his Jamie. Jack wanted to drown in him. Again and again and again.

"Mine..." He murmured, wrapping one arm around James's waist, as they slowly tumbled back into bed. "Mine, all mine."

His heart eased considerably as James nuzzled back into his arms and murmured quietly, "Always yours, Jack. Always."


Dawn was just coming over the sky when James awoke, finding Jack still in bed, the long thin package open across the bed, and Jack admiring the fine silver pistols and the sword that had come with it. James snorted a little, sitting up enough to press lips against Jack's chest, "Happy Christmas. I see you found your gift?"

"Hmm-mm. Now should you really be givin' a pirate these things?" Jack arched both eyebrows down at his lover, clearly pleased as he slid his fingers down the hilt of his sword.

"I'd prefer my pirate captain was at least able to defend himself in a fair fight, sirrah." James responded, sitting up on one elbow."

"Hm. Privateer. Privateer Captain." Jack said slowly, and his grin widened at the surprised look on his Commodore's face. "Shall I say 'Merry Christmas' once more, love?"

James's smile went warm and slightly lopsided, "To that I would say 'Thank God'." He shifted closer, resting his lips on Jack's arm, and kissing his way up slowly. "Amongst other things." When his lips found Jack's shoulder, he could feel Jack's warm breath on his cheek, and he looked up into those dark maelstrom eyes, heated and yet wanting. James's fingers ghosted upwards, twisting into those chin braids, with a firm little tug and a soft whisper, "Such as, I love you, and I'm glad English gallows will not be taking your life."

"But French gallows are just fine?" Jack murmured, closing the distance with a kiss that lasted, murmuring between brushes of warm lips and bristles against bare skin, "Love you too, Jamie."

"Well, if we hang on French gallows, we'll at least hang together." James's arm stole around Jack's waist, holding him close. "... You disappeared for so long, I thought they had gotten you already. Or you simply weren't coming back."

"..Act'lly, I was off shoppin' for your gift." Jack laughed softly, "Turns out the best thing I can give you is me, Jamie. Hope that's enough."

"That sounds just about right, Jack." James slide back down, wrapping himself more firmly around Jack's waist, putting his head just above the two burn marks on Jack's chest. He felt Jack's fingers entwining into his hair. "Just about right indeed..."

Jack watched his Commodore drift off into a comfortable doze, pulling the covers a little more firmly around them both, then turned his head sharply towards an opening door. He relaxed when he saw the little toddler at the door he had crept through hours ago, grinning broadly. The little boy smiled in return, and Jack crooked a finger invitingly. The boy needed no other invitation, and very determinedly marched over to the bed, crawling up one side. Jack leaned over as far as he was able, and hauled up Jamey atop his father's bed.

Jamey solemnly climbed up, patpatting Jack's cheek in greeting, and then leaning over to look at his father. He looked up at Jack, and put his tiny finger to his lips, whispering, "Da's sleepin'."

"That's right. Da's tired himself out. At least for a bit." Jack's free hand found it's way to brushing Jamey's hair out of his round little face. "So Jamey m'lad ... what do you make of all this?"

Jamey took his thumb solemnly out his mouth, then leaned over to pat his father's cheek lightly, before patting Jack's bristled one, and his little chest. He spoke clearly, green eyes quite serious, "Da. Jamey. Now Jack." He paused, then added very firmly. "Fame-ily, Jack. Fame-ily."

Without another word, Jamey nestled down on Jack's other side, thumb returning to his mouth.

Jack looked from one Norrington to the other. He leaned down, kissing James's ear, stroking Jamey's soft baby hair. He smiled to himself, feeling as if he had stumbled unto a treasure when all he was expecting was a bag of loose change. He murmured, leaning his own head back against the pillow, "Well, that sounds jest about perfect, now doesn't it?"

The best things in life, as they say, are free.


I don't want a lot for Christmas

There is just one thing I need

I don't care about the presents

Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas

Is you...


A Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night...

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