Almost 300 years later... In space.

Will watched in apprehension as a small shuttle landed. Bounty hunters were never good news. Especially this close to Earth. He stayed back and tried not to be too obvious with his staring.

Will swallowed as the imposing figure of Captain Hector Barbossa stepped out of the shuttle. He wondered who the bounty hunter could possibly be after. There hadn't been any new residents to the small interplanetary port station for almost a standard year. He quickly ducked his head and put all his attention on his tool chest when Barbossa's eyes swept in his direction.

After a minute, he glanced over again and blanched to find Barbossa starting directly at him. A slow smile spread across the man's face, and Will's stomach dropped. He hadn't done anything worthy of getting a price on his head.

'Turner!' shouted Barbossa, gesturing for Will to join him.

Will quickly glanced around to find everyone staring at him. There had to be some misunderstanding. If he ran, he'd only look guilty. Would approaching also be an admission of guilt?

'Hurry up, Turner! This delivery won't keep.'

Delivery? A small tremor ran through Will as he slowly made his way to Barbossa, but he held his head high. 'Is something wrong?' he asked. 'Am I being charged with something?'

Barbossa barked out a hearty laugh. 'As I said: special delivery for one William Turner,' he said, pointing his thumb to the shuttle.

Curiosity won over Will's apprehension, and he peeked inside the shuttle. Strapped to one of the seats was an unconscious young man in wrist restraints. A bright red bow had been tied to his hair.

Will turned his confused frown to Barbossa. 'There must be some mistake. I never ordered a contract on anyone.'

'No mistake. No contract. Just an old promise being kept,' Barbossa replied. 'Found this little urchin trying to make off with some ship parts. Figured I'd nip that nasty habit in the bud. He's your new roommate. His name's Jack.'

'I'm not looking for a…' Will trailed off as Jack let out a low groan.

'Ev'ryone needs t' mute it,' Jack moaned.

'Headache should be gone in a couple hours, kid. Welcome to your new home.'

'Didn't anyone ever teach you not to stun children?' Jack asked. He reached up to rub at his head, but his restraints being lied through the arm of his chair only let his hand get part way. He threw a sullen glare at Barbossa.

'You're dumping a child on me?! I don't even know you! Either of you!' Will said, taking a step back. Maybe I should have run!

'I'm sixtee-'

'He's twenty-three,' Barbossa said with a tired sigh. 'I'm not dumping him on you, I'm just asking you to give him a room to stay in for a few weeks. If you two can't stand each other by the end of that, then I'll take him back.'

Will looked from Barbossa to Jack. There was something about the way Barbossa said 'take him back' that put Will on edge and sent a possessive flash up his spine.

Jack licked his lips as his eyes ran over Will. 'Is this some kinda probation? First time offense kinda thing?'

'Preemptive rehabilitation through positive reinforcement,' Barbossa replied.

'Better than an airlock, I guess.'

'I'm sorry, Captain Barbossa,' said Will as quietly as he could manage, 'but I can't be your...your jailer for him. I'm not qualified, for one. And I wouldn't be able to afford looking after him.'

Barbossa waved away Will's concerns. 'You'll be getting a minimal allowance to keep him alive. Bare minimum. If he wants more than that, then he can get a job. He's got marketable skills. They just need to be put to proper use.'

'I was putting them to proper use,' Jack muttered.

'Sir, I—'

'One month with him, and you'll receive a year's worth of wages,' Barbossa said with an air of finality.

Will swallowed back his reply. He glanced back at Jack, who had taken to gnawing at his restraints. One month with a crazy person. It can't be any worse than rooming with Ragetti during school. I could afford to move back home… He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. 'Alright.'

Barbossa grinned and held out a small transponder to Will. 'The key.'

Will took the transponder and stared at it in his hand. His thumb hovered over the unlock button. 'Do I get in trouble if he runs away?'

Barbossa rolled his eyes and turned to Jack. 'Urchin! You run off, and I will throw you out the airlock. Do yourself a favor and stay the night. Give this handsome man a birthday present. He just turned thirty.'

Will spluttered and nearly dropped the transponder. 'I-I'm not—! I don't—! Just no!'

ooo

Will could feel himself blushing as he led Jack through the labyrinthine halls of the station to his quarters. People were staring and whispering. He could only imagine what sort of rumors had managed to spread. He'd already heard the words 'mail order bride' several times over.

And the way Jack was happily whistling while twirling his old restraints was not helping matters.

Will stopped in front of his door and sighed heavily before running his wrist ID over the panel. The door slid open, and he stepped inside. Once Jack was in and the door closed, he shrugged as he looked from Jack to his small one bedroom apartment. 'Well… This is it. Bathroom, my room,' he said, pointing to the two doors opposite the entry. He waved a hand at the kitchenette. 'You can help yourself to food whenever you like.'

Jack moved past Will as his eyes roamed over every surface. It looked lived in, but well kept. A clean couch pushed against the wall; a small table and set of chairs sat on the other side of the main room. A couple frames on the off-white walls faded from one picture of smiling friends and family to the next. He turned and faced Will, his hand in his hips. 'So where am I sleeping? I'm not opposed to sharing a bed.'

'You'll be on the couch.'

Jack trudged over to the couch and dropped onto it. 'I'm guessing it doesn't fold out,' he said as he ran his hands over the fabric. He bounced experimentally on the cushion and moved to lie down. 'Eh… I've slept on worse.'

'I'll see about getting a cot or something tomorrow,' said Will as he moved to the kitchenette. 'If you make a list of what you can eat, I can get that tomorrow as well.'

'Nothing special, though,' Jack said with a sardonic smile. 'No allergies, so I'm good.'

'You don't have to live off bread and water.'

Jack waved off Will and turned on his side, putting his back to Will. 'Don't really care as long as you feed me. I'll be outta your hair soon enough, anyway.'

'Please don't run off,' Will said. He cleared his throat, trying to distract from the desperate tone he'd taken. 'I don't think Barbossa is a man you should be crossing.'

Jack looked over his shoulder with narrowed eyes. 'One month. That's all. You can go back to...this,' he said, gesturing to the apartment, 'and I'll go back to port-hoppin'.'

'Fair enough.'

'Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to sleep. Getting stunned twice in one day takes a lot outta ya'.'

Will nodded and made his way to his room. He gave Jack one more look before dimming the lights.

That night, Will dreamt.