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Recipe for Disaster

by Melusina


Fandom: PoTC    Rating: PG-13    Pairing: Jack/Will/Elizabeth    Full Header


Elizabeth hummed to herself as she cut the lard into the flour.  The dried cherries had soaked all morning, and then been boiled with sugar to make a thick syrup; the filling was cooling now while Elizabeth mixed up the pastry.  Before she could roll out the dough, Estrella poked her head in the kitchen door, announcing Governor Swann's arrival.  Reluctantly, Elizabeth dusted her hands on her skirt and trudged into the house to greet her father.

"Elizabeth, my dear, you look. . ."  He paused and took in her flushed face and the damp curls that had slipped from her coiffure.  "That is, there's flour on your nose."  He handed her a handkerchief.

Wiping at her nose, she said, "I'm sorry, Father, I didn't expect you.  It's Will's birthday and I'm making him a pie."

"Yes, I know.  Actually, I stopped by to show you what I've bought him for his birthday.  I'm quite pleased with it."  From his pocket, Swann produced a gold watch, hanging on a delicate chain. 

Of course the extravagant gift must be oohed and ahed over, its intricate workings examined and wondered at.  Elizabeth privately thought it rather impractical of her father, but it was kindly meant.  The pie was forgotten until John toddled in (his nurse nowhere in sight) and embraced his grandfather, leaving sticky red handprints all over Swann's white wig. 


The little devil had eaten every bit of the filling, and so Elizabeth was forced to start over (after sending John and his guilt-stricken nurse to the Norringtons' to play with baby Kate).  There were no more cherries, but there were just enough apples for a pie.  Peeling them was tedious work, and she nicked her thumb on the knife, but she continued on.  Will did love pie, and she wanted to do something special for his birthday.  Finally the apples were all cut up and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon; she neatly crimped the top crust to seal it and slid the pie into the hot oven.  While it baked, she changed into a clean dress, certain that Will would be home soon. 

The kitchen was in disarray, between Elizabeth's baking and the cook's efforts towards supper.  When the pie was done, there was nowhere to set it but the windowsill.  A moment later Elizabeth saw her mistake, but it was too late to remedy it. 

"Peaches!" she shrieked, as a swipe of the cat's paw sent the pie flying out the window.  Startled, the cat leapt after it and disappeared in the garden.  Looking out the window, Elizabeth could see apples and piecrust scattered amongst the mint and the rosemary.  Swearing a particularly unladylike oath, she went to retrieve her pie pan.


The hour had grown late when Elizabeth finally removed the third pie from the oven.  She'd used the last of the preserved peaches, which she'd hoped to save for Jack's next visit (he was particularly fond of them), but the pie smelled delicious and looked beautiful.  Will would certainly enjoy it, and perhaps Cecilia's sister in Boston would send more of the peaches soon.

This train of thought led Elizabeth to wonder where Will had gotten off to.  He'd had an appointment with Norrington earlier in the day, but she'd expected him home several hours before.  It was long past time for supper, although there was no meal (Elizabeth had banished the cook from the kitchen, so she could make the third pie), and John had already eaten his bread and milk and gone to bed.

Too tired to worry much, she left the pie cooling on the kitchen table, and stretched out on the settee in the parlor.  She'd hear Will when he arrived, and they could have pie for supper.  Before long she'd drifted off to a restless sleep, and was dreaming that she was stuffing the cat in a piecrust, all the while singing "four-and-twenty black birds baked in a pie."

She was awakened abruptly by a distant crash.  Following the sound of drunken laughter, she stumbled into the courtyard.  Through the open kitchen door, she could see Will and Jack sitting on the floor, the smashed remains of the peach pie between them, their faces and hands covered in the sweet filling.  As she watched, Will scooped up some pie and fed it to Jack, who assiduously licked Will's fingers clean.

"Hold up, you've got a bit on your chin. . ."  Jack leaned forward and swiped his tongue across Will's face, and Will pulled him forward to give him a sloppy kiss.

Really, could they be more predictable?  Elizabeth supposed that Jack thought he was being very cunning and seductive (further evidence -- as if she needed any -- that strong drink made fools of even the cleverest men).  She couldn't help but laugh at the dazed look on Will's face, which of course called their attention to her. 

Will smiled guilelessly and said, "Look who I found on my way home!"  He stood and reached for her, but she neatly dodged his embrace.

Jack stood and held out his arms as well.  "Elizabeth!" 

She put out her hands and stepped back.  "Donít touch me!"

"Don't be like that, love. . .We just had a few celebratory drinks -- it is his birthday!  We never meant to harm your pie."

Will interjected, "Which is delicious!" as Jack continued, "Just a little accident. . ."

He draped an arm over Elizabeth's shoulder, leaving an orange handprint on her sleeve before she could jerk away.  His voice dropped to what he probably thought was a confidential tone.  "Your boy's none too steady on his feet when he's been drinkin'."

"Me?  You're the one who knocked it over, waving your arms about!"

"Ah, um, perhaps that's so. . .It's a tight space - hardly enough room to turn around good. . .It was a very pretty pie."  Jack surreptitiously licked the corner of his mouth.  "And particularly toothsome, even after the, er, mishap. . ." He put his hands over his heart with an exaggeratedly hangdog look "How can I make it up to you, milady?"

Laughing, Elizabeth again stepped away from his open arms.  "Don't touch me -- you're all sticky!  I forgive you both, you drunken fools, but I'm not coming near either of you 'til you've had a bath."

Perhaps Elizabeth should have predicted that they would pull her into the water with them.  But wet was better than sticky, and she had to admit there was something enticing about the rivulets of soapy water trickling down Jack's golden back.  However, three in the tub was a tight fit, and in the end, they found the bed more accommodating.  Jack and Will were both delightfully contrite, and they made it up to her in a thoroughly satisfactory manner.  Elizabeth even agreed, in a moment of blissful imprudence, to bake another pie in the morning.


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