I started these one shots when a lot of us were under the impression that AWE was leading to a J/E ending including them having a son. Unfortunately, that is obviously not what we got on-screen. But, I am sticking in this universe and pretending the W/E wedding and Lizzie leaving never happened. You will probably need to read my first one-shot in this universe, "Pretend" to understand this story. I know the ending of AWE with a child has left many with a sour taste in their mouth. But keep in mind, this is a story about Jack and Elizabeth continuing their pirate adventures, not a story about Lizzie sitting around being the dutiful little woman.

This is now going to be a series of one-shots, ending with Will's return for his one day on land ten years after the end of AWE.

I own absolutely nothing. If I did, this is how AWE would have turned out.

I have to say a big, huge thank you to my friend and beta, luvcali76. I hope this manages to lift you out of your J/E depression for a few minutes, my dear ;)

The night wasn't just hot. It was oppressive. It was the kind of heat that sat on your chest like a boulder. When you inhaled, it was like drowning, the humidity was so thick. There was no point in wiping the sweat from your brow - it would only accumulate again in seconds. The crew moved slowly on a night such as this one. But tonight was different, it wasn't just the slowness of their movements, it was the nervous whispers and anxious looks exchanged between them. The silence on deck made the heat seem somehow heavier. But it was the anticipation in the air that hung the heaviest of all. Jack had been sent below deck hours earlier by a portly midwife that had been sailing with them for the past month. She wagged her finger at the bedraggled captain and told him he was doing Elizabeth more harm then good by his pacing and incoherent muttering.

And so, the captain had stumbled into the belly of his ship, Gibbs following closely behind after placing Norrington temporarily in charge of the crew and Cotton at the wheel. Never before had James seen pirates as terrified and speechless as they were on this evening. Elizabeth was the thread that held them all together. Every last man onboard the Pearl respected her, trusted her, and frankly, they all felt an affection for the young girl that was their King and also their captain's partner. Each minute that went by without word on Elizabeth's condition seemed interminable. James had commanded enough men to know that under such circumstances, the crew needed the reassurance of their captain, even if the captain had none to give. So Norrington went to retrieve Jack and hopefully the crew's sinking morale along with him.

James Norrington had seen Jack Sparrow in various degrees of drunkenness. Actually, a part of James doubted he had ever seen Jack completely sober. There was always a bit of a swagger to Jack that couldn't be attributed to simply the roll of the waves. Most days, Jack was just pleasantly content, meaning there was enough rum in his blood to keep him in good spirits. But at the present, Jack was in a state of intoxication that was altogether different from his usual celebratory or everyday drunkenness.

As James descended the stairs, he could see Gibbs and Jack sitting in silence around the crew's dining table. In the center of the table sat Jack's open compass left there haphazardly by its owner. The needle now stood still and steadfast as it pointed towards the cabin where Elizabeth had been laboring for hours. Gibbs glanced up as soon as he heard the sound of Norrington's boots. The older man did nothing to hide his pained expression. Jack, on the other hand, didn't even look up from his bottle.

"Miss Elizabeth?" Gibbs inquired, quietly.

"I don't know anything," was the only response James could offer.

If Jack registered the comment, it didn't show on his face. But Gibbs' usually jolly countenance was twisted and worried. "Blast it," he muttered to himself. Then, as if he suddenly remembered Jack was listening he quickly added, "Birthing takes a long time, Cap'n."

When Jack didn't answer, James was sure the words had gone unheard. But finally, the captain took a long pull off of his bottle and said flatly, "Not this long." In his voice hung a dangerous undertone, one that warned an explosion was looming beneath the quiet exterior. But the rest of his body would not betray him as easily. His jaw clenched and his eyes hardened, the only emotion left on his face was an icy glare which he projected onto the man nearest him.

"Mr. Gibbs, I trust you have something to do," his voice was clipped and steady, the ever-present slur gone. "You are still my first mate, are you not? You didn't retire while I wasn't looking?"

"Jack -"

"That's what I thought," Jack interrupted. "Go relieve Mr. Cotton at the wheel."

Letting out a defeated grunt, Gibbs gave a curt nod. "Aye, sir."

Neither Norrington nor Jack bothered watching the first mate make his way back above deck. The former navy man strode purposefully to the ample supply of rum and, after selecting the bottle that was most full, headed back to the worn table and yanked out a chair directly across from his captain. James knew he would be the next to feel Jack's bite, and the reluctant pirate was more than up for the challenge. It had been too long since he and Jack had sparred and on a night when both of them were trying their utmost to hide their fear, a fight was the distraction James craved.

Jack leaned across the table towards James. But instead of pouncing on his crewman, Jack swayed back and forth slightly, the liquor taking hold of his body. "I s'pose you've been sent here to make sure I don't shoot something. Send the commodore to check on the prisoner, so to speak."

James wasn't going to take the bait that easily. With a roll of his eyes and a snort he questioned his captain, "Prisoner on your own ship? I don't see any irons."

A feral grin spread across Jack's face and his eyes almost glowed with bitterness. "They aren't always required. I've been told where I can and can't be. Sounds like imprisonment t'me."

"I always did like you better behind bars or in irons, anyway."

Not missing a beat, Jack shot back, "Well I liked you better when you were dead."

"Then I take great pleasure in the fact that my very existence causes you misery," his face was set in a grin, but Norrington's voice held a taunting tone.

With that, Jack tilted back in his chair, revealing the pistol tucked-in at his waist. His long fingers drummed against the hilt. "What's say we just kill each other now and end both of our suffering, eh?"

Believing Jack was actually drunk and foolish enough to try it, James kept a watchful eye on the man sitting across from him. "Don't tempt me. I'd gladly shoot you. But I'm not particularly interested in facing the punishment Elizabeth would unleash on me if I did."

At the mention of his lady's name, Jack set his chair upright again and hunched over the table; staring into his bottle as if the wonders of the world lay at the bottom of it. The fight had suddenly gone out of him, and James discovered he much preferred the pompous and threatening Jack to this version that sat before him now.

"She told me the day you came back, you know."

"What's that?" Norrington questioned in an irritated tone, having no idea what Jack was alluding to.

"About the child," Jack answered without ever lifting his head. "She told me the day you found us in Tortuga."

The statement stunned James. He'd never before thought of Elizabeth telling Jack she was with child; never fathomed when the conversation had taken place or what Jack's reaction had been. James could only imagine what his own would have been and he suddenly realized what it was that Jack was afraid of losing - not just Elizabeth, but a child that was both of them. Norrington knew he owed Jack a response but instead took a long hard drink off of his own bottle to buy himself more time.

"I didn't know," was all James could come up with.

"No one knew. She kept it hidden as long as she could. Afraid of what I was going to say, I s'pose." Jack paused and smiled sadly to himself, "Foolish girl."

But then, quicker than a flash of lightning, Jack lifted up his head to reveal a mirthful smirk and James was once again reminded that where Jack Sparrow was concerned, the unexpected was the expected. "There we were enjoying some fine libations and the raucous pleasures of a tavern and then, in walks the infamous Admiral Norrington looking as alive as anyone I'd ever seen who was once dead, and I've known two such people so I'm a good judge." Jack paused and tilted his head as if he suddenly remembered something profound, "Well, three counting meself. Four, if you want to get technical and include Will. No one ever just stays dead anymore. You notice that?"

"Get to the point," James interrupted, not in the mood for Jack's twisted sense of humor.

"Ah yes, well, it was quite the surprise for all of us, seeing you again."

"I remember," James intoned.

Jack's mind flashed back to that night, and to the drink that flowed more freely then the Caribbean waters themselves. "I'd wager you don't remember much considering the amount of rum you consumed."

"Being dead makes you thirsty." As if to prove his point, James took an impossibly long gulp of the rum in his hand.

"Really? Being dead just made me incredibly furious with the girl that made me that way." Jack answered with a grin before taking his own drink.

"You obviously moved past that."

"Yes, well, Lizzie's very persuasive," Jack smiled and James couldn't tell if it was pride or sadness he saw in the golden grin.

"She's a lot of things," Norrington quietly added.

"That she is," was Jack's only response.

Silence returned and James suddenly realized that the sound of cannon fire was preferable to the sound of waiting for news that would not come. His mind kept wandering back to that night months ago in Tortuga. Will Turner had seen fit to return James to the world of the living, but once the admiral turned pirate was brought back to life he suddenly realized he had no life to go back to. And so he sought out the only friends, the only life he had left. Pirates. And what better place to find pirates, especially the ones he was looking for, then in Tortuga.

And find them he did. The crew was gathered around the bar and Elizabeth and Jack were huddled away in a corner, his former fiancée sat curled up in Jack's lap with her head thrown back in laughter while Jack nipped hungrily at her neck. Watching them, James suddenly understood Jack and Elizabeth's longing for freedom; for the pair were, at that moment, freedom embodied. And freedom looked heavenly.

With gritted teeth James reluctantly spoke, "As much as it pains me to admit it, she looked happy that night. She looked like she belonged. She never looked that way in Port Royal."

"Birds don't do well in cages, mate."

James grinned wickedly and titled his bottle toward Jack. "The image I carry with me of that night is your wretched face when you saw me. It almost made being dead worthwhile."

Jack tossed his retort back, "You were quite the picture of loveliness that night yourself, former Commodore, sitting belly-up with a bottle of rum in your hand between Marty and Gibbs looking as comfortable as a pig in shit, and I told Liz'beth, 'now I've seen everything.'" Jack's voice trailed off and he took a breath and then another before continuing. "And she looked at me with that damned siren's smile and she said, 'not quite yet.' And then she told me I was to be a father." Jack stopped and stared straight at James, all teasing and arrogance gone. "Isn't it funny, that was more surprising to me than seeing a dead former commodore turned admiral sharing a toast with pirates."

James had run out of ineffective small talk. And if he didn't slow down, he was very close to running out of rum as well. But the liquor was the only thing that kept him as close to sane as was possible at the moment. He closed his eyes and he drank. Usually he drank to get drunk, tonight, however, it seemed he was drinking just to survive. Jack's voice interrupted the procession of liquid into Norrington's gut.

"I know what you did for her on the Dutchman. I know you set her free and I know it cost you your life."

The blunt admission stunned James and before he could stop himself, James offered up his own blatant honesty. "I'd do it again."

"Of course you would." Jack merely shrugged. "Just like I'd be Krakken fodder again. Lizzie expects an awful lot out of the men in her life, wouldn't you say?"

"It's good for us." James answered flatly.

"She can't die." Jack's voice was as placid as the early morning sea, but his eyes were as threatening as a midnight tempest.

To hear the words spoken aloud made them too real and James quickly answered back, "Get ahold of yourself, Sparrow. She's not going to die. Elizabeth is a stronger fighter than you and I put together."

"Aye," Jack nodded. "With a sword, or a pistol. But this is something she can't parry or shoot her way out of. And," he smiled bitterly, "I think we've used up all of our resurrections."

James wasn't sure if it was the heat, the blasted Caribbean heat, or the cramped quarters but he suddenly felt smothered and trapped. Elizabeth would not die. She simply couldn't. "Childbirth is not going to claim Elizabeth Swann. Not if Davy Jones and the entire East India Trading Company couldn't do it."

"My mother died giving birth to my sister."

Unsure what else to say, James shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Didn't know you had a sister."

Jack's face was hard as stone when he answered. "I don't. She died as well. So you'll forgive me if I don't share your optimism."

"So instead, you'll drink yourself into a stupor?" James questioned, the irony in his question not going unnoticed.

"I knew you'd catch on eventually."

Feeling a sudden urge to beat the condescending look off of Jack Sparrow's face, James slammed his bottle down on the table and lurched forward toward his captain. "You coward. You don't deserve her."

"Jealousy does not become you, James," Jack taunted.

"Is this what she'd want?" Norrington did nothing to hide the contempt in his voice. "You wallowing in your self-pity and drowning in a bottle of rum?"

It may have been the rum, it may have been sheer arrogance, but Jack would not be riled. "I've no idea what she'd want me to be doing right now. Perhaps I should go give her the compass, eh? See if it points to a sail that needs mending. Is that a more useful way for me to pass the time while Lizzie fights for her life?"

"Then give me the blasted thing." His patience had come to an end and James' voice was as raw as his emotions. "Let's see where the compass points when I hold it, or perhaps where it points when Turner holds it. It will point to the exact place it's pointing right now. I can assure you." He was done warding off Jack's blows. James moved in for the kill. "And do you know where the bloody thing points when she holds it? For some unfathomable reason it points to you. So why don't you do something to deserve what has always been yours. Because know this, if you don't there are two men who would gladly kill or die to be in your place."

"I think you already did, mate." Jack's smirk did nothing to hide the menace in his eyes. "And there's no need to do it again. I know what I've got. But don't dare tell me I don't deserve it. I know you loved her. I know Will loved her. And I'm bloody sorry if you still do. But don't delude yourself into thinking that you love her better than me. We're the same, Lizzie and I. And if I lose her, I lose myself. So," the pirate took a deep breath and his detached expression returned, "faced with that prospect, I thought I might drink a little. Or a lot."

"Is that your answer for everything?"

"When we were marooned on that island together, we drank. When we tore across the seas to Isla Cruces, we drank. The night before we defeated Jones and Beckett, we drank. Lizzie and I have good luck when we drink. I didn't see the need to chart a new course."

James was surprised to see that it was not arrogance, but fondness that was etched on Jack's face. Kicking his feet up on the table, Norrington snorted. "Funny. When I drink, I get thrown in a pile of pig shit."

A temporary truce reached, Jack settled back into his chair with a gloating grin. "That's why you're my mangey deck hand and I'm Captain Jack Sparrow."

The sound of feet pounding quickly down the stairs managed to completely shatter whatever tenuous ease Jack and James had found. As if someone had shouted, "attack" both men leapt to their feet when they saw Gibbs bounding down towards them, his face flushed and anxious. Jack seemed anchored to his spot on the floor, unable to move or speak. Norrington, ever the soldier, went on the offensive.

"What's going on? How's Elizabeth?"

Out of breath, Gibbs answered, "She's fine. Jack, you've . . . "

"Fine?" Norrington interrupted. "What does 'fine' mean?"

Ignoring James, Gibbs tried to get Jack's attention. "Cap'n there's . . . "

The sarcasm spilling out of his voice, James continued, "If we don't have news on Elizabeth's condition soon, Jack is going to shoot something and right now, I'm actually willing to let him shoot me just to avoid having to look at his face any longer."

"I'm trying to . . . "

A second stampede came tumbling down the stairs. This time it was Pintel with a giddy Ragetti following closely behind. Grinning from ear to ear, the scraggly pirate yelled out proudly, "A boy! She had a bloody boy! That doctor woman just told us so." Ragetti let out a yelp and the two began to dance around each other only stopping when Gibbs shouted out in complete exasperation.

"I was gettin' to that part!"

Realizing he had once again, stolen the punchline from Mr. Gibbs, Pintel held his hands up in embarrassed surrender while Ragetti smiled and hid behind the larger man. "Sorry," Pintel whispered before the pair turned on their heels and ran just as quickly back up the stairs as they had come down them.

The news seemed to float in the air, waiting to be absorbed. Jack was still unreadable, looking almost the same as the day they'd found him in the Locker - as if he didn't believe any of it was real.

Norrington, however, shook his head, trying to sober himself up and comprehend Pintel's announcement. "She what?"

"You've a son, Jack," Gibbs smiled warmly at his friend and patted him on the back before erupting into good-natured laughter.

Jack Sparrow pondered the statement, still looking as perplexed as ever. "I've a . . . " He cut himself off then pointed in accusation at Gibbs. "You sure it's not a lass?"

Gibbs chuckled and nodded before adding, "Saw the evidence with me own two eyes."

"A son, eh?" At that moment, reality seemed to hit him like a wave slamming against a rock. His eyes cleared and a smile crept ever so slowly across his face. "I have a son." Jack let the profoundness of the statement hang momentarily in the air before he waved his hand and the persona of Captain Jack Sparrow reappeared. "Well then, it appears my luck continues."

Jack stumbled over to James and poked him in the chest. "I told you, mate," his sway and slur now back in place, Jack grinned. "No need to chart a new course."

"Are you going to go see your son or are you going to stay down here drinking with me?"

Jack pouted like a child whose playmate would not cooperate. "Sometimes I wish the whelp had left you in the Locker."

"Only sometimes?" James snapped back. "Because I wish you had been left there all the time."

The atmosphere on deck was now decidedly different. There was music in the air and after Gibbs' proclamation that every man was to receive an extra ration of rum, spirits had lifted even higher. Each man wanted their chance to clap Captain Jack on the back and offer their congratulations, even James emerged from below and seemed to genuinely enjoy the celebration.

The midwife, one Bridie O'Brien a longtime friend and sometimes close companion of Joshamee Gibbs, appeared from behind the closed doors of the stately cabin. Dabbing at her sweat-soaked forehead with the hem of her apron, she gave the men a smile.

Glancing at his chambers, Jack asked quietly, "Elizabeth?"

Bridie nodded, "She's fine, Captain Sparrow. Brave girl, that one. Wouldn't even let out a holler. Your boy worked her hard, though. He'd come out a-ways only to change his mind and head right back up again," the woman demonstrated with a gentle chuckle. "But he came out alright, just had to do it on his own time. Babes will not be rushed."

"I told him that," Gibbs offered up to Bridie taking a place next to her in front of the door. "I told you that, Jack."

"And the child?"

"Strong as the sea, he is, with a wail as loud as gunfire," Bridie assured Jack in her thick brogue.

"And a head full of black hair." Gibbs nodded in agreement. "You should see 'im, Jack."

Jack smiled wryly, "Pretty hard to do, Josh, what with you standing in my way and all, savvy?"

"Sorry, Cap'n," Gibbs muttered as he moved out of the doorway.

The midwife grabbed Jack by the sleeve and gave him a stern point but a warm smile. "Not too long now, Captain Sparrow. She's exhausted, but she declares she won't rest until she sets eyes on you. Oh, and 'tis a mess in your cabin, I'm afraid. Birthing isn't exactly a clean business."

"S'alright," Jack replied with a slur. "Neither is pirating."

Ragetti and Murtogg began a new jig on their fiddles and Gibbs grabbed ahold of Bridie and pulled the giggling woman towards the revelry leaving behind only Jack and a set of doors he hadn't yet worked up the courage to go through. It was only a baby, he reminded himself. Yes, your baby a little voice shot back.

"Not this again," Jack muttered to himself.

"Waiting for something, Sparrow?"

Jack turned at the sound of James Norrrington's voice. "Yes. For a giant wave to come and wash you overboard." Jack answered with a smile.

Norrington merely cocked an eyebrow and stared. But it was all the challenge Jack needed to get him to open the doors.

The light in his room was brighter than usual and there were various twigs and flowers burning in a basin, he supposed to take away the stench of blood which lingered in the air. Briefly, Jack caught a glimpse of the linens soiled bright red and strewn across the floor and he found himself uttering a silent 'thank you' that his lady and child had made it through the carnage. Whom he was thanking he wasn't sure, but he knew it was owed to someone.

"Jack . . . "

The sound of Elizabeth's voice pulled Jack's attention to the bed and its two occupants. To Jack, Elizabeth had never looked more beautiful than she did at that moment. Her eyes were fixed on him, and he could see the longing in them. Her face was flushed and her hair hung in damp clusters around her face and Jack thought it was the closest he had ever seen her hair to his in appearance. With one arm his eager companion reached out to him, clutching at the empty air. But in the other arm she held a small bundle that was swaddled in a clean, white blanket. The linen fell just perfectly so that it obscured Jack's vision of the treasure underneath it.

Elizabeth followed Jack's eyes and without a word, she gently pulled back the blanket to reveal the boy to his father. For a moment, Jack wasn't sure if he remembered how to breathe. The babe was sleeping, his small hands and long, graceful fingers resting underneath his chin. His dark hair and olive skin were a stark contrast to the white blanket and he stood out like a black pearl in a sea of ivory ones. Jack realized Elizabeth was observing him with great amusement and found he didn't care. Tentatively, Jack sat down on the edge of the bed and continued to gape at his son.

"Here's your immortality, Captain Sparrow," Elizabeth smiled.

Jack reached out to grab a tiny hand. "Well he's certainly much more attractive than Jonsey's thump-thump."

Elizabeth grabbed the boy's other hand and curled the tiny fingers around her larger one. "He's so strong, Jack."

"He's bloody perfect."

"He's you."

"Well," Jack grinned in mock modesty, "that would explain the perfection."

Suddenly remembering the hours Elizabeth had spent delivering his son, Jack reached forward and ran a finger down her cheek. She leaned into his touch and he swore he could feel the exhaustion coming out through her skin. Or perhaps it was her strength.

"I'm proud of you, love," his voice was low and sincere.

"You should be," she feigned a pout. "It bloody well hurt."

"Are you alright?" Jack asked, all pretense gone.

"I'm fine, Jack." Propping herself up on her elbows she managed to reach as high as Jack's chin and she placed a kiss on it. But still, his expression was unchanged. It unnerved her to see Jack look worried, and the only thing she could think to do was tease him. Mother or not, she was still a pirate. "Jack Sparrow, worried? Really, this look does not flatter you at all, captain."

He sighed in feigned annoyance. "Honestly, darling, you took a long enough time of it. Next time you're going to cause me this much distress, let me know. I almost ran out of rum."

"Jack Sparrow," Elizabeth stopped and leaned-in for a closer inspection, "are you drunk?" Her smile was gone and a furious glare had taken its place.

He paused for a moment, as if pondering the question. "Not sure. Prob'ly."

"So, while I was in here giving birth to your son, you were engaged in your usual drink and revelry?"

"Liz . . . "

"What?" Her voice began to rise in pitch. "What, Jack? Have you a charming tale of sea turtles to explain yourself?"

Jack raised his eyebrows questioningly. "Would a charming tale of sea turtles help?"

Their child chose that particular moment to awaken; his large eyes as black as the night sky his parents sailed under. A yawn overtook him and he stretched open his tiny mouth causing his mother to forget his father's error and concentrate solely on the wonder in her arms. The exhausted woman sighed and leaned down to place a kiss on her son's forehead.

"I was afraid, Jack," Elizabeth admitted quietly. "I hate being afraid. Fear is weakness."

Jack lifted Elizabeth's chin until he could look directly into her eyes. What he saw was not anger at him, but disappointment in herself. "Fear isn't weak, love. Heroes are always afraid. Only fools aren't afraid."

"Are you calling yourself a fool?"

Mischief danced on Jack's face and he smiled crookedly. "What makes you think I wasn't afraid?"

"Because you're Captain Jack Sparrow," Elizabeth answered with a quivering lip, her emotions about to get the better of her.

Jack simply shook his head. "Tonight I was just a man. A man waiting."

"Waiting for what?"

Completely avoiding the question, Jack looked back down at his son, who was at present grabbing blindly at Jack's hair. "For this lad, apparently. He's got my hair."

Elizabeth sighed and returned her gaze to the baby in her protective grasp. She ran a hand lightly across the silken black waves on her son's head. "I know, he's beautiful, isn't he."

"No, I mean he's actually got my hair." Jack explained, pointing to the charm and lock of hair currently caught between small fingers. "It's the shiny. He wants the shiny." Jack explained proudly. The child still grasping onto his hair, Jack reached into his belt and pulled out a knife. Before Elizabeth even realized what he was up to, Jack managed to cut the trinket from the dreadlock it was attached to, and with a smile he relinquished it to his son. "Anything you want, lad, it's yours." It wasn't an endearment, it was a solemn vow.

"Jack . . . what were you waiting for?"

Nothing left to but simply tell the truth. "You. It's always you, Elizabeth."

"But . . . "

"Because your fate falls to me," Jack answered even before the question was asked. "If you're on the watch I wait for you to come to bed and sink down next to me. If I board a ship before you do I wait for you to cross that gangplank sword drawn. And if I end up in the Locker again, I'll wait for you to come fetch me back." He paused and Elizabeth could see the briefest flash of anger in his eyes. "But tonight I waited and you didn't come. Nothing came. No scream, no cries, no babe. Just waiting. And I thought you'd left without me."

Elizabeth shook her head and reached forward to lay a tired finger at Jack's sternum. She began to lazily trace her way along his collarbone, her finger finally coming to rest against the steady beat of his heart. "I'd never leave you, Jack," her voice deep and strong, she met his eyes determinedly. "But please don't wait for me. We're crossing this world together, not one in front of the other."

"Aye," Jack nodded, "but there are times when I need to test the waters. There are times when I need to go first. And since I've already been dead I figure I should do that first. Reserve us a spot, as it were."

"I don't need rescuing, Jack," Elizabeth answered firmly.

"No, you don't. But perhaps I do. And you're the only one who can do it."

The long night finally caught up to Elizabeth and fight as she may, tears began to pool in her eyes. "Jack . . . "

With a wave of his hand, Jack put an end to the conversation. "Yes, yes, I know, good man and all that. Now, let me have this boy." And with that, Jack carefully plucked the child from his mother's arms. There was no hesitation, no awkwardness. Jack looked as comfortable holding his son as he did holding a sword.

"How did you learn to do that?" Elizabeth questioned, completely shocked by Jack's ease.

"You've met my father. Charming bastard that he is, my poor mum couldn't say 'no' to the man. I've four younger brothers." Jack stood up off the bed cradling the child in one arm.

"Where are you taking my son?"

Wrapping the blanket tighter around the child Jack answered, "I'm taking our son to meet the crew. After all, he'll be first mate in a few years."

"What about Gibbs?"

"I'm sure he won't mind taking orders from a five-year-old."

Elizabeth grinned wickedly. "He already does."

"Sticks and stones, Lizzie," he replied before leaning down to place a gentle kiss against her lips. And then, with part lithe grace and part drunken swagger, he started toward the door; new treasure carefully in hand.

"Jack?" she called after him.

He turned back to her with the most innocent of smiles. "Yes, love?"

"No rum for the baby."

"Can't make any promises."

Trade you some rum for a review ;)