'Pirates of the Caribbean' belongs to Disney.


Three Years Later, Linear Time

Signore Jack Sparrow, with his beaded dredlocks and strutting walk, had become a familiar figure among the narrow, sloped streets of western Capri. Less familiar was the swath of floral perfume he was currently leaving in his wake. It's source was the gift he carried; a large etched-gourd vase, filled with sprigs of small white blossoms. He knew Meredith Norrington preferred strong-scented flowers.

Turning off the public street, he approached his villa's northern entrance, almost reaching for a nonexistent doorknob before he remembered. Chuckling at his lapse, he pressed his palm to the adjacent hand scanner. The big mahogany portal slid aside, and he stepped into the wide entrance hall. Almost at once, he found himself confronting an alert gray-and-tan canine.

"Afternoon, Royal." Sparrow reached to pat the shaggy head, but the animal was unusually wary, sniffing suspiciously at Jack's stained trouser cuffs. "That, lad, is the odor of jaguar. Word of advice: if you ever encounter that in a wilderness setting, give it a wide berth. Now where's that no-good owner of yours?"

The no-good owner rushed in from around the corner. James looked just as anticipated: rumpled, unshaven, and deliriously happy. Very reminiscent of William right after Liz had birthed her twins.

"Jack! We didn't expect you home so soon!" exclaimed Norrington, giving his friend and colleague a fast embrace.

"Surely you didn't think I'd linger over any Mission when me two best mates were about ta have a blessed event!" Sparrow returned a one-armed hug (the other being needed to clutch the vase.) "So how did your gallant lady fare?"

"I think she took less damage than I did." James ran a hand through his mussed hair, embarrassed at the reminder, but still happy.

"I'd expect no less of our Fair Mare." Jack rocked on his heels. "Well, when do I get ta meet the new arrival?"

Norrington came back to himself. "Right now would be... wait, let me check first. Mare might be nursing..."

"I'm not! Come on in, Jack!" that personage called from the northside bedroom.

Both men hurried in. The dog followed close at their heels.

Meredith, wearing a green terry robe, was in bed, propped up by lovingly arranged pillows. Her hair was fastened atop her head, and she looked tired, though no more than after the Prague Mission. But her smile was brilliant as sunshine, bestowed upon the impossibly small bundle in her arms.

As the men approached, she turned said bundle to show the round-eyed little face, still a bit squashed, among the folds of yellow blanket.

Royal resumed his position, sitting alertly beside the bed. Obviously a self-appointed guardian.

"I brought you a souvenir from Martinique." Jack extended the bouquet. "Some folk there contend that inhaling jasmine scent has beneficial effects on a newborn. An' I'm familiar with yer own likings."

Mare was delighted. "How thoughtful of you! James, would you find someplace to put that?"

Norrington obligingly positioned the vase on an open windowsill. The incoming breeze quickly distributed the fragrance throughout the room. Even the dog sniffed appreciatively.

James reclined blissfully on the bed, close to his wife- to judge from the creased state of the sheets, he'd been there for a while. The navyman extended one finger, to gently touch the tiny chin. "Have you ever seen a more beautiful baby?"

"Never, cousin. So... do I tell him he's a comely lad, or her she's a bonnie lass?"

"The latter. Would you like to hold her?" Mare offered.

"Aye! If you think she won't mind."

Royal's scruffy ears pricked, as Sparrow extended his arms. Only when the transfer concluded without incident did the dog relax.

The infant made no protest, just stared up in wonder at the man with the shiny teeth. Jack cradled the little one against his chest, studying her with equal interest. Particularly the wispy copper forelock, and emerald pupils.

"You got yer Mum's bonnie hair, and yer Da's green eyes. A savvy choice, whelpling!" The proud parents beamed from the bed, fingers intertwined as usual. "Have you decided on a name yet?"

James and Meredith glanced smugly at each other, answered in chorus.


The babe's mouth opened, emitting a pleased-sounding gurgle. Royal's feathery tail thumped against the carpet.

"Lysander," Jack repeated, grinning. "That's a name and a half ta live up to, lass. But with such parentage, I expect you'll do it justice."