Author's Notes

This fanfic is loosely based on the last scene of the "leaked" script, which may or may not be authentic. But if it is authentic, there will be spoilers, so beware! I say loosely because I changed a couple of things, including the dialogue. Also, if you haven't read the script, I recommend doing that first, otherwise I'm afraid the story won't make much sense.

Disclaimer—I own absolutely nothing. Sad, really. All characters are the property of Disney, and I am merely borrowing them until the movie comes out!

Never Let Go

A lone seagull swept across a narrow spit of white sand that stretched into the bright Caribbean sea. Gentle swells, capped golden by the coming dawn, lapped the edge of the shore in quiet, inexorable rhythm. Beyond the shoreline, a verdant forest met the pale sand, lending its wild scent to the briny air as a breeze caressed its treetops. But save for the wind and rumbling surf, not a sound penetrated the sanctuary of the virgin island.

Elizabeth stood silent and alone on that beach. Her slender frame was covered only in a simple, dark undergarment, and she stood barefoot in the surf. The breeze rippled through her hair, drawing it away from her face as she looked, unseeing, to the open ocean.

Dark images of the previous night filled her mind and lent a distracted stare to her eyes. Now that she was safe on land, surrounded by clear, calm waters, it seemed almost incredible that there could have been such a violent storm the night before. But she knew that the events of last night had been real enough. Waves of shock and sorrow swept unbidden through her heart, and she closed her eyes tightly, unable to block the images. Will.

Blades clashing, steel ringing against steel. Cannon fire echoing across the expanse of water as swarms of pirates swung from ship to ship on sturdy grappling ropes. Armed to the teeth with cutlasses and pistols, they met the enemy head on in a desperate push for survival. The pirate forces were falling fast, and still the East India Trading Company had yet to engage all of its ships in the battle. Elizabeth realized that although the pirates were skilled fighters after years of combat experience in the Caribbean seas, they were still vastly outnumbered. And, as if that were not enough, a colossal whirlpool raged in the center of the naval battle, threatening to drag them all down to the bottom of the ocean. Brilliant. Smiling grimly at how ridiculous their plight was, Elizabeth cut down two men in a single, fluid motion and then raised her cutlass to ward off another opponent. Just keep moving, keep fighting, she told herself. And above all else, stay alive. Stay alive for Will. Ducking a blade, Elizabeth raised her pistol and shot yet another soldier between the eyes. Without warning, just as her bullet hit its mark, a barrage of heavy cannon fire rammed against the port side of the Empress. The impact sprawled Elizabeth and several of her adversaries across the deck. Momentarily stunned, she lashed out blindly with her sword as she struggled to regain her feet. Then the ship lurched once more, and she was thrown hard against its railing. A quick glance at the nearby waters told her why the ship had lurched.

It was the whirlpool. It had swept up the Chinese junk and was now forcing it out of control. Already, the Empress was listing badly to its starboard side. The entire vessel started to spin in a large arc, faster and faster. Elizabeth was thrown down once more, and her shoulder slammed painfully into the deck. She spun back to her feet, dispatching another soldier just in time. As she lashed out repeatedly against her attackers, it dawned on her that the Empress was already too far into the current, and there was no way they could wrestle her back on course. They were all going to die.

Another round of cannon fire, this time from the Flying Dutchman herself, struck the Empress. Elizabeth gasped as the remains of several pirate bodies flew past her, dismembered by the cannon fire. Something wet splashed her face, and she knew by the sharp scent that it was blood, not her own. Whirling at a devilish pace, the Empress lurched once more, giving Elizabeth a clear view of the Dutchman. It was then, looking across the whirlpool at the ghostly ship, that she saw Will.

He was on the deck of the Dutchman, kneeling over a familiar looking chest. Elizabeth, shaken from the exertion of battle and the frantic momentum of the whirlpool, couldn't remember at first why that chest was so important.

Then she saw Will pull out his knife and yank the unlocked chest open.

Reality hit. The next few seconds seemed to stretch into minutes of agony. Feeling her heart careen into her throat, Elizabeth screamed silently. Oh, God, no. Please no! It wasn't supposed to be Will, that was never the plan! The whirlpool was forcing the Empress to spin even faster now. She could hear the hungry roar of the yawning center… Will, don't do this! Where is Jack! But she saw immediately that Jack was too far away… couldn't get to the chest, couldn't stab the heart… She tried to scream Will's name, but her shout was cut into a strangled cry as she felt the Empress list once more, this time nearly keeling over. She tore wildly at the railing, never taking her eyes off Will… The Empress was spinning faster than ever… She knew it was only a matter of seconds before it would be pulled into the depths and shattered into a million pieces at the bottom of the ocean floor.

Jack was still too far away… Will had no choice… Don't! Elizabeth stared in horror. Somehow, as though he heard her silent plea, his eyes met hers. As always, they were filled with love for her… Please, no, Will! Elizabeth pleaded. Her ship hovered at the very brink of the abyss… Will drew a deep breath…

And plunged the knife into the chest…

Then came an agonized scream, a scream so intense and pained that it threatened to rend the very heavens. She realized she was the one screaming…

Suddenly, the nightmarish images ended, and she found herself enfolded in strong, comforting arms. She immediately knew who held her, without having to open her eyes, and she clung to him wildly as raw sobs rasped from her throat and racked her slight frame. His hold tightened in response, pulling her even closer, close enough that she could feel his heartbeat against hers. It was all she wanted at that moment, just to hold him.

She realized with a start how strange and powerful his heartbeat now was. It was incredibly slow, steady, and unchangeable, like the cadence of a drum. Like the sea. Thud-thump. A long pause. Thud-thump. She let the deep rhythm run through her, and, gradually, it calmed her sobs and quieted her own heart. When she was finally still, she opened her eyes and slowly pulled back, looking at her husband as if for the very first time.

In a way, she thought, he was just the same as he had always been. But in other ways, he was completely different. There was a timelessness about him now. He seemed infinitely older than when she saw him last, and yet, infinitely younger. His eyes seemed like dark pools in which unexplored depths of wisdom lay hidden, but they shone with a clarity and an innocence just as pure as the day she first met him.

For a long moment, both were still, each drinking in the other, letting the sacred aura of the virgin island wash over them. Finally, Will broke the silence.

"Elizabeth, can you ever forgive me?" He pleaded with a quiet intensity, taking her hands in his own.

She gasped. "Will, how can you say that? You saved me. You saved us all."

"But I should have found another way. I saved you, only to lose you again," he whispered, looking away. Elizabeth silently berated herself for having been so weak. He needed her comfort and reassurance just as much as she needed his.

"You haven't lost me, Will," she said, almost managing a playful laugh. She squeezed his hands, drawing his gaze back to her.

He shook his head, smiling sadly. "No, Elizabeth, how could I possibly ask you to be faithful to me when I can be with you only once every ten years?"

"Elizabeth, I love you," he continued, releasing one of her hands so that he could gently caress her tear-stained cheek. "And that's why I have to let you go."

The words hovered between them.

I love you, and I always will.

But everything is different now.

And we have to let go.

Let go.

At first, Elizabeth made no reply, and her face was strangely unreadable. Then, she pulled his head close to hers and began kissing him deeply. He startled. Then, letting out a low moan, he enfolded her in his arms once more and began kissing her in return, almost fiercely, like a drowning man desperate for air. Elizabeth felt a cold thrill churning her insides. Will had never kissed her like this before. She leaned into him, running her hands over his back as he fervently explored her mouth. They held their kiss for what seemed like a blissful eternity. Finally, she pulled back, breathing hard. There was a resilient sparkle in her eyes now, as she looked him purposefully in the eye, hands rested on his shoulders.

"Will Turner," she said in a reproachful tone, "Did it never occur to you that I might not want to be let go?"

He apparently didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Elizabeth, ten years… I don't want you to have to live your life alone. I can't ask you to wait for me…"

"Whether or not you ask it of me, I choose to wait for you, Will," she replied adamantly. "I would rather wait ten years for you, knowing that you love me, than never be with you again. Fate cannot separate us completely, unless we choose it to," she pressed, searching his eyes.

"What do you choose, Will Turner?" She took a step back onto dry land, a soft plea in her eyes. Please Will… She knew how hard this was for him. A single tear slid down her cheek.

She watched closely as protest, confusion, desire, and finally acceptance flashed across his face. Then, in a wordless reply, he moved towards her and kissed her again. Soft rays of the first morning light caressed the two lovers as they tightly embraced one another. It was a beautifully sacred moment that might very well have to last them a lifetime.


Nine Years Later

Elizabeth Turner stood at the helm of the Empress with a small smile at the corner of her lips. She swept her tricornered hat off her head and let it fall carelessly to the deck as the cool sea breeze whipped delightfully through her dampened locks. She fingered the smooth woodwork of the wheel, a distracted look in her eyes, as she hummed a low tune under her breath.

"Captain?" An Asian pirate at her side snapped a spyglass shut, interrupting her thoughts. "We're approaching her now, ma'am, should be there a'fore noon."

She dipped her head. "Thank you, bosun. Drop foreyard sails and ready one of the longboats. In a lower tone, she added, indicating the longboat, "See to it that she's stocked with plenty of food and water." Although her current crew had proved their loyalty to her in many a past adventure, she had still experienced her fair share of mutinies during the past nine years, and a good captain could never be too careful.

The bosun gave a loose salute and strode away. Good man, good pirate, she thought. She could trust him until her return. Now, where was that boy?

"Will," she called, scanning the desk for him. "Will!" No response. She called his name a third time, and still nothing. Elizabeth let out an impatient sigh. Honestly, although the lad could be the sweetest thing at times, she often wondered whether he wasn't the most 'mutinous' member of her entire crew. "William Weatherby Turner, you come here this moment, wherever you are, or so help me, I'll have you confined to the brig for the rest of the voyage!" She tried to keep her voice fierce, but was unable to stifle a laugh.


Elizabeth startled and bit back a shriek as a small pair of hands grabbed her waist from behind. The crew exchanged amused grins as their piress captain, trying to look as dignified as possible, reached behind her and pulled a tousled brown head into view.

Shaking with laughter, Elizabeth held her son in one arm and looked him in his mischievous eyes. "Heavens, Will! I'll never learn, will I?"

"No, of course not," he grinned, releasing the thick rope he had used to swing down from his hiding place in the rigging. "You wanted me?" he raised his eyebrows, his young face now a mask of innocence.

Elizabeth pretended to glare at him as she ran her fingers through his hair. Oh, he reminded her so much of Will. The open, soulful brown eyes, the youthful features. Even the way he carried himself, and the scent of his clothing.

"Yes, I did want you," she replied. "You see that island over there?" She tossed her head, indicating a low gray strip of land that could now be seen on the horizon.

"Aye," he nodded. "Saw it from the crow's nest b'fore you called me." Elizabeth smiled. Born and raised at sea, her son was almost as observant and experienced a sailor as she was.

"Well, we're going to meet someone there. Do you know who?" she asked in a softer voice.

His face lit up like a candle. "Father!" he cried. "That's the island you told me about, and we're going to meet Father!" He ducked under her arm to join her in front of the wheel. His hands gripped the spokes, and he pressed his small body against the wood, as if by pushing, he could coax the ship to a faster pace.

Elizabeth found herself blinking back tears as the emotions welled up unexpectedly, forming a tight knot at the back of her throat. A myriad questions rushed through her head. What did Will look like now? Had he changed much? Was he still sailing with his father? What new adventures had fate thrown his way? What new stories would he have to tell her? Did he suspect he had a child? Did he still love her?

Yes, came the immediate answer to that last question. Yes, he would still love her.

She remembered the last words they had exchanged before parting, nearly ten years ago.

"I will wait for you," she had promised.

"Keep a weather-eye on the horizon," he whispered. Then, after kissing her one last time, he stepped into the surf, eyes filled with love for her, as always. Then, as abruptly as he had come, he vanished.

And so she had waited. But not alone. She smiled through moist eyes, kissing the top of her son's head.

He looked over his shoulder to grin up at her. "Tell me the story again, Mother, please! Tell it to me from the very beginning," he pleaded.

"Very well," she agreed, laughing. The island was still quite far away, and she would rather keep her son occupied in her story than have him scrambling about in the rigging or playing dice games with her crew.

"Well," she began, "it all started back when I was a young girl on a ship called Dauntless. It was my very first voyage, and I was sailing from England with my father. There was an eerie mist shrouding the ship…" After having told and retold the story countless times to her young son, the words rolled effortlessly from her tongue.

Young Will leaned his head back against her chest and sighed contentedly at the familiar words of the tale. Pressed against the warm frame of his mother, with the ship swaying gently beneath him and a breeze cooling his face, and with the thrilling knowledge that he was about to meet his father, Will Turner, Captain of the Flying Dutchman, for the first time, he honestly couldn't remember ever being happier. When his mother came to the right point in the story, he joined in the simple chorus, and their harmony carried beautifully across the ocean waves.

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me."

The End

So, I hope you liked it! Any comments are appreciated, including negative ones! Also, just in case anybody is curious, here are the main things in my story that deviate from the script...

1. Will is supposed to entrust Elizabeth with a chest containing his heart. But I couldn't bear the thought of Will physically losing his heart like that, so I just gave him an immortal-ish heartbeat instead. Think of Jones' heartbeat when Jack, Norrington, and Elizabeth put their ears to the chest in Dead Man's Chest.

2. According to the script, Elizabeth is actually supposed to wait for Will in Port Royal. But I figured that since she has a ship anyway, and because she really becomes a piress in the third movie, why not have her captain the Empress indefinitely? Having her and her son at sea seems like a more fulfilling ending to me than having her waiting on land.

Thanks if you've made it this far! Read and review, please!