Start

The storm built steadily all day, starting with the massing of gray clouds. By the midnight watch, it was blasting a steady sideways rain and the sails on the Fair Passage had been double reefed. The captain did not leave the helm, shouting orders to the skeleton crew still on deck. The hours were filled with the small tasks required to manage a sailing vessel, not particularly noteworthy on a sunny afternoon, but death defying in current conditions. "Come on, men. Get the rest of those sails stowed clean."

Dawn came golden and blue, with quieter winds and clear skies. "All sails" was called out and men scrurried into the ratlines to unfurl canvas. Things shaken free in the night were stowed, the deck made shipshape. The captain finally relinquished the helm to the first mate, Mr. Daniels.

Starting through the companionway, heading for a berth and much desired sleep, the captain was stopped by an excited shout from a crewman securing sails in the rigging, "Man Overboard". There was a scramble of activity on deck as hands made ready to drop sails and put a long boat in the water. The captain went to the rail, eyes shielded from the morning sun, looking down thinking to see a man in a dingy which needed to be bailed. He was lying across the tiller, hat somehow still covering long twisted dreads, beads and bones woven into his hair. Alive? Possibly. Then the crewmen in the long boat turned his body up, preparing to transfer him to the Lady over from his slowly sinking vessel. The captain turned from the rail and muttered "Bloody hell, it's Jack Sparrow!"

After the longboat was brought up, the crew placed Jack's unconscious body on deck. Jack was alive and breathing, wet, soaked and not of this world. The captain frowned mightily, then finally spoke. "Take him below to my cabin—call the cook to meet me there." The crew moved quickly to follow the orders issued. The captain turned watching the men go below. "Well, Captain, no good deed goes unpunished—what now?"

The cook, examined Jack, who showed no signs of rousing, determining he would just have to be watched until he regained consciousness. Crewmen had stripped off wet boots, coat, clothes leaving Jack in the Captain's bunk, covered to his chin plaits with blankets, a large purple bump on his forehead showing plainly. "Bout all we can do for him Capt'n, don't seem broke no other place but that." "Thankee Mr. Ham, that will do for now. I'll keep an ear out for our 'guest'. I'm so tired I'm going to climb in me hammock and get a little rest."

Hammock hung, slicker stowed, wet hat, boots, and coat all removed, the captain tugged shirttails from breeches, poured a bit of fresh water in the wash basin and washed. Hands and face wet, sluicing off salt spray from the long night, the captain heard a small groan from the person on the bed. "What's this then? Am I dead?" The captain stepped across the cabin to the berth. Jack looked over, eyes barely opened to slits, a slow grin spreading across his face.

With one quick move, Jack latched onto the Captain's wrist and jerking sharply, pulled the captain down and across his body, followed by another quick roll effectively trapping the person under Jack and against the cabin bulkhead. This action was followed by a loud yelp and struggling, both with Jack and the bedclothes.

"What the bloody hell do you imagine you're about—Get your mangy paws off me person you dimwitted pisspot?"

"Now, darlin', I'm just so happy you're here—no need to take offense just because I didn't ask first—we'll settle a price later, after you experience the joy and the mastery of Captain Jack Sparrow, did I mention I had been to Singapore? Why, heaven come to you right here in your own ….cabin—Who the devil did you say you were, exactly? I am in Tortuga, am I not? Why is this bed moving?"

At that point the captain reached back, connecting with a solid left to Jack's chin. "Now listen up you half drowned bilge rat—I'm Captain Margaret Aislin—You're on the Fair Passage out of Port Royal and if you don't set me to rights now, you will be examining the interior of the brig!"

Jack sat up suddenly as though the young woman in the berth with him had sprouted horns. Captain Aislin struggled to untangle herself from bedclothes and Jack's legs, which had been thrown over her own. She finally realized her goal and pushed Jack aside as she fell off the berth, landing hard on her backside. Jack hadn't spoken—he just sat with a look of intense confusion on his face.

"Mr. Sparrow, daft Jack Sparrow, eh?" she said between clenched teeth.

"Captain, you know, it's Captain Jack…." Jack said vaguely, still not making eye contact, puzzling to figure this out.

"You're on my ship, your vessel sank as we got you aboard, and if you ever lay hands on my person again, you'll be irons before you can say Robert's your uncle. Do I make myself perfectly clear?"

"Aye, captain, now I just have one other question about my situation?"

"Yes, Mr. Sparrow, what might that be?" "Well, love, where might me effects be? I am a little surprised that you wasted so little time getting me to my naturals. What with me being unconscious and all, there was little to be gotten in the way of comfort from me." Jack's leer grew. His eyes never left Maggie's face, which was becoming redder by the second.

"Sparrow", Aislen squawked, "Why did I ever let them bring you aboard!"