Disclaimer: I own none of the POTC characters and only wish that I had been clever enough to create them.

This is my first fanfic. In fact, it is my first fiction story period. Please be constructive in reviews.

Damnation. Why did he have to choose tonight of all nights to take an evening stroll and stop at the club for a nightcap? If he had just stayed at home and worked on those reports, he would never have overheard the conversation. He would never have felt the obligation to interfere. He would never have made what would no doubt turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life. Damn his overdeveloped sense of honor and duty! Yet, he owed it to Jonathon. Jonathon had been an excellent crewman, an even finer friend, and had died at far too young an age. Damn Jonathon to hell for getting him into this mess.

Lily cast an annoyed expression at the woman hovering by the door. "Stop dithering and come in, Alexandra. You're late and once again inappropriately dressed. Well there's no time to change. You've kept us waiting long enough. Sit down. We have much to discuss."

Alexandra, who had never been accused of dithering in all of her twenty-eight years, came into the front parlor and took a seat. Really she hated this room. It was as if there had been an explosion of taffeta, porcelain, and ridiculously spindly furniture. Everywhere you looked there was some ugly knick knack but of course not a single book to be found. Alexandra wondered if Lily was once again using the "royal we". Lily was fond of doing that, even though she had no more royal blood in her veins than did the pig they'd had for dinner last night. As she was contemplating this humorous thought, a movement in the far corner of the room caught her eye. Commodore James Norrington stepped forward bowed and murmured, "Good afternoon, Miss Hamilton. You've been out riding I see. I trust that you, as per our last conversation, refrained from jumping the hedges at the Willington's estate."

Alexandra felt the beginnings of a flush at these words. Damn the man. He was always catching her out whenever she did anything remotely unladylike and making her feel like a grubby silly child. Did he have spies everywhere whose only job it was to report on her activities? Fanciful thought but it had crossed her mind on more than one occasion. However, in this case, it was probably an educated guess given the state of her hair and the tear in her riding outfit. Well she refused to be cowed by the dratted man. "No, Norrington, I have not refrained from one of my favorite pursuits. Why should I when the only risk run is to my own neck? What are you doing here?" These last words came out more antagonistically than she had intended but if truth be told she was nervous. Sensing that Lily was up to no good, Alexandra had avoided her request for a "little chat" for the past few days. Lily's unusually jolly mood today combined with Norrington's presence could not add up to anything good for Alexandra.

"Manners, Alexandra," chided Lily with an artificial laugh, "manners. Now, would you care for some tea?"

"I'd prefer a whiskey and soda. Somehow I sense I'm going to need it after this discussion."

From the Commodore there emerged a noise that sounded halfway between a laugh and a cough and Alexandra was surprised to see what appeared to be a smirk quickly flicker across his face.

Lily made a little moue of annoyance and simpered to Commodore Norrington, "I don't know where she developed this outlandish sense of humor. Perhaps her father? He was always a rather unusual man in his tastes." The eyes she flashed at Alexandra were cold and hard. "Enough of this silliness. The Commodore is a busy man and we shan't waste any more of his time."

"I don't wish to be discourteous dear mother but why is the Commodore here? I had thought that this was to be a private conversation. Surely what we have to say to each other is better kept amongst only the concerned parties."

Looking back on that moment, Alexandra realized that she should have known that Lily was about to turn her world upside down. Lily had had that cat that ate the canary expression that she reserved for when she gave Alexandra particularly unpleasant news.

"But darling daughter, the Commodore is very much a concerned party," Lily purred with a malicious smile, "After all, what else would you call your fiancé?"