Author's note: written for Lady Lunas of the BlackPearlSails group, as part of this year's Secret Santa challenge.
"Merry Christmas, darling," said Will Turner, handing his wife a box wrapped in dark green silk.
Elizabeth took the box with delight. "Will, you're too sweet. What is it?"
"Open it, you'll see." He rested his elbows on his knees, watching her as she untied the scarlet ribbon with careful fingers, folding it aside. "I don't know why you keep all those bits," he said.
"I like to. They all have memories." She shot him a smile before bending again to her task. The green silk lay pooled in her lap, and she picked up the box and opened it. "Oh!"
Will stood and came over to her. "What do you think?"
"They're gorgeous." Elizabeth picked up the strand of pearls and ran them through her fingers. "Although I'm surprised they're not black."
"Because of Jack?" He took the necklace and undid the clasp. "Lift your collar, I'll put them on for you. I did think about black pearls but, you know, I think white suit you better. And we're not in Jamaica anymore. Days of pretending to be pirates are behind us."
"Aaarrrr," said Elizabeth, with a smile. She rose, and turned to face him. "Do they suit?"
He surveyed her. The creamy-coloured pearls gave her skin a warm glow that the small fire in the hearth only heightened.
"Very well," he said, honestly. "You look far too fine to be a blacksmith's wife."
"You look far too fine to be a blacksmith," Elizabeth returned, fingering the lapels of his new Christmas coat. "But then you're a very fine blacksmith, and a very fine husband. And I love you."
He kissed her. "I love you too."
Norrington signed the parchment, put down his quill and stretched. Outside the window, the Caribbean sun shone bright. It was Christmas Day.
He put on his wig and checked his appearance in the small mirror propped on a shelf. All was in order, and there were yet two hours before his presence was required at the fort Christmas dinner.
Leaving Port Royal's harbour, Norrington set out along the seashore, the soft sand giving way underneath his boots. There was no one around, and so he took off his coat and walked with it slung over his arm.
It was a lovely, balmy day - warm, yet not stifling. Overhead seabirds wheeled and cried, and the waves lapped gently at the beach. Out at sea Norrington could just see the sails of a few fishing boats and a couple of merchantmen, beating out towards open ocean.
He checked his pocket watch and considered how long he ought to be giving himself before turning around and going back towards Fort Charles. There was time yet, and Norrington sat down on a rock and contemplated the ocean. He wondered what Will and Elizabeth Turner would be doing on this, their first Yuletide back in England. It would doubtless be cold, probably snowy; he imagined them in a warm cottage, with a fire burning. Would there be a child on the way by now? What would she be wearing?
He shook himself. No point bemoaning what was never to be. Far better that she be happy. Being the wife of a naval commander was no life, even for a girl who thought she loved the sea.
From the town, the church bell rang. Norrington rose, and turned back towards Port Royal. Time to be seasonal, for the sake of his men, many of whom would also be missing sweethearts on this Christmas morning.
As he glanced for a last time out to sea, he thought he caught a glimpse of black sails on the horizon. But when he looked again, they were gone.
"Right, you lubbers!" Jack Sparrow surveyed his ship and his crew. "Now, I know you don't all celebrate Christmas, exactly; but just for once let's forget that, eh? Let's celebrate a bloody wonderful year instead."
The men cheered, loudly.
"Since it's been such a good year," Sparrow continued, raising a hand for silence, "there's plenty o' rum to go round. Or ale, if you're so inclined. And I believe Cook's rustled up something a bit special, given that we took that mutton and pork from the Frenchies last week. If I could call on Mr Johnson to get out his fiddle then we'll have quite the party."
Johnson was indeed not averse to getting out his fiddle, and soon, with barrels of rum and ale broached and the cook bringing out great platters of meat and fish and vegetables, the party was in full swing.
Sparrow made his way through the crew, speaking to most of the men. They were all in buoyant mood, for it had been a good year - plenty of loot bagged, only a few lives lost - and they had no complaints.
Someone handed the captain a cup of rum, and he toasted his men and continued on his rounds.
He found his first mate seated alone on a coil of rope by the foremast, watching the festivities, and he settled down alongside.
"Ain't going to dance?" he asked.
Anamaria looked down at him. "Dance?"
"To the music, love. It's Christmas."
"I do not dance."
He looked up at her. "But you must. You'll break me heart if you refuse!" He attempted to flutter his eyelashes winningly.
Anamaria shook her head in scorn. "You look ridiculous, Captain."
Sparrow stood up, and seized her hand. "Well, if I can't persuade you, I'll just have to order you. Come and dance. You know you're the only lass for me."
She raised weary eyebrows.
"You know that is not true."
"You and Pearl, then," Sparrow amended. He pulled. "C'mon, dance!"
With a sigh, Anamaria gave way, and he towed her across the deck and into the midst of the dancers. And they were away, whirling, spinning, laughing; because it was Christmas and they were free.