EDIT JULY 2008 I have a habit of going back to stories and chapters I have written and posted to correct and tweak anything that might need it. Since I started this story a year ago, I've gone and done it quite a few times, but haven't gotten around to reposting it. But just recently I've started reading POTC fanfiction online again, and decided to start work on this again. I still haven't thought of an ending per se, though, so I honestly can't tell you for sure if this will ever be finished. Who knows? All I can promise is that I won't ignore it.
Now it's time for me to shut up. :)
As everyone here knows, I own nothing and make no money at all from this.
As her son skipped ahead of her, singing the song she had sung herself as a child, and which she had taught to William almost as soon as he could speak, Elizabeth approached the edge of the grassy bluff overlooking the sea. Shipwreck Island was visible a few miles away to the east, once an active volcano, now a lush, mountainous island that housed the most secret pirate headquarters in the Caribbean. The gigantic sun was sinking quickly beneath the horizon, which was, at the moment, completely empty of any ships.
She reached her son as he finished his song, and as she came up alongside him, he glanced up at her with a hopeful, worried expression. She knew he was wondering if the man he would soon be meeting would be as great as he was in the stories his mother had told, which was all that had sustained him in the nine long years he had been alive without a father. Uncle Jack's stories had been a bit more exaggerated, where William Turner the Second (or The Whelp, as he was affectionately known to Uncle Jack) usually took second place to Uncle Jack himself in whatever situation they had found themselves, in that particular story. William felt the butterflies in his stomach even after his mother had smiled down on him, reassuring, but just as worried.
Elizabeth pulled her son closer and put her arm around his shoulder, not only to comfort him, but to give her a little support, as her knees felt weak with anticipation. Feelings of hope and uncertainty fleeted though her as she stared out to sea with her son, her miracle, her beautiful last parting gift her husband had left her. She didn't dare blink as the sun crept closer to the horizon. Finally though, as the last of it disappeared, a bright flash of green shot across the water and through the sky, and a ship appeared in the distance, close to the point where the sun had sunk beneath the sea.
Elizabeth let out the sigh she hadn't realized she had been holding in and looked down at her son, who smiled back at her breathlessly, awed at the magic he had just seen, and what he knew it brought with it. The Dutchman was still too far away to discern anyone on board, but it was approaching the shore quickly. Elizabeth, her heart quaking and full to the brim of giddy anticipation, suddenly turned to William and said, "Let's go down to the beach and meet him!"
Without a second word, they started to run.
Captain Will Turner stood in the crow's nest of the Flying Dutchman and scanned the shoreline for the sight any people. His eyes, which had grown much sharper as an immortal collector of lost souls at sea, could see the outline of a person on top of the bluff overlooking the same beach he had departed exactly ten years ago. At this distance he could barely make out a long skirt blowing in the wind. Something in his gut told him, it's her. He grinned widely and reached for his telescope, only to realize that he had left it in his quarters. Looking again to make sure the figure was still there, he quickly made his way down to the deck, where his father was waiting.
"I thought you'd be wantin' this, Captain," the older man said with a slight smile, and handed his son the stray telescope. Will smiled back at his father and took it, but with a sudden wrenching pang of sadness and loneliness, as he realized that it would be at least ten more years until they saw each other again. It had been agreed among the crew, and supported by Calypso on one of her visits in corporeal form, that Bootstrap would be taking Will's place as captain of the Dutchman.
"It was always in my blood to die at sea," he had said when they were discussing this, "Why shouldn't I have a turn at helping those who have already been lost to it before going myself? Much as I'd like to stay with you, lad, I wouldn't much know what to do with myself on land…" Will had understood, but it was still difficult. Theirs hadn't exactly been the easiest relationship, but throughout the last decade, the two men had grown closer than they both could have ever expected.
Bringing himself back to the present, Will took the telescope and focused it back on the bluff, but the figure was nowhere to be seen. He felt the bottom drop out of his stomach as he frantically searched the bluff and the shore.
"She's gone…" he choked, "she was just there – where did she go?"
"She's there," his father said calmly, "Don't doubt it. She's on her way."
By this time, the Dutchman was close enough to shore for Will to swim the rest of the way, as the longboats were bound to the ship just as strongly as the crew were, in this realm of the living. Will put the telescope away, willing himself to be comforted by his father's words. The older man gazed at his son solemnly, but with a dark warmth in his eyes. The time had come.
"Father…" Will hardly ever called him that; usually it was "Mr. Turner" or "Bootstrap". Now though, he felt a little lost and uncertain, harkening back to how he would always feel as a child when he knew his father would soon be leaving on a long journey. At the moment, he was unable to put into words the thoughts and memories flashing through his mind, "I… I don't…"
"—Hush, now," Bootstrap said, as soothingly as if he were speaking to a troubled child. Will saw his father's expression and suddenly realized – Bootstrap knew – he understood everything, and he felt the same way. Suddenly there was no need for words anymore. There was a pause, then…
"I'll see you in ten years, lad. I'll stop by to visit, and then I'll be on my way."
Will nodded speechlessly, and drew his father in with a fierce hug. Bootstrap reciprocated, and with a last glance on the ship that had been his home for the last decade, and with a final look to his crew and to his father, Will threw himself overboard.
As soon as he hit the water, a voice sounded loudly and clearly in his head – familiar, eerie, distinctly Jamaican.
You have fulfilled your oath, William Turner, and made me proud to have had you in my service. De Dutchman releases her hold on you. Go, be free wit dose whom you love.
Will broke the surface, sputtering and in shock, for when the voice finished speaking, a strong, nearly forgotten sensation was felt in his chest. His heart was returned to him, pumping blood to all corners of his body, making his joints tingle with warmth. He struggled in the water for a moment in surprise, reveling in the feeling of something as simple as a pulse. He laughed aloud as he realized - It's over… Elizabeth is here, and she's waiting for me… He quickly swam to shore, all the time looking anxiously for his wife.
He was just able to feel sand underneath his feet when she came around a dune towards him, from a path leading up to the top of the cliff. Elizabeth Turner might have been Captain of the Empress, Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, and Pirate King of the Brethren Court, but right now she had probably forgotten her own first name as she ran across the sand towards her husband. In the split second Will had for any coherent thought, he noticed that her hair was lighter - bleached by the sun, her skin was tan, her dress was well-worn, and her face was just as breathtakingly beautiful as he had ever seen. After that, he was automatic to what he saw and felt.
She ran to him, practically flying across the sand, and he was pulled to her just as strongly out of the surf as if by some unseen force. He would have called to her, but his throat had closed up at the sight of her. She filled his entire vision as she approached him, calling his name, laughing, crying, and finally throwing herself into his arms – nearly knocking him over, as his knees suddenly felt like the strength had been taken out of them. Will could do nothing else except hold her tightly in his arms and breathe her entire essence in. He closed his eyes against her shoulder as he enveloped her in his arms, one hand tangled in her hair, the other arm pressing her to him, soaking her in saltwater, almost willing their two bodies to melt and become one. Thank you… Thank you… he thought – to Calypso, to Jack, to his father, and especially to Elizabeth – for letting us have this moment. He had to look her in the face now; he opened his eyes and saw her euphoric expression, her face streaked with joyful tears.
"Elizabeth…" he whispered hoarsely, "Elizabeth… you waited…"
She laughed aloud at him, her smile electrifying.
"Of course I did… oh, Will!"
And they kissed.
The weakness Will had felt in his knees since he had reached land suddenly evaporated, and was replaced with a surge of energy that shot through his entire body. He lifted his wife from the ground and twirled her around and around in the surf, both of them laughing giddily like they never wanted to stop. They were completely lost in each other until Will noticed something out of the corner of his eye, and stopped. There was a boy standing a few yards away, who was looking at them with an expression of fearful wonder. Will froze and stared into wide brown eyes that perfectly matched his own.
As William and his mother made their way to the beach, she soon outstripped him as she caught sight of the man swimming to shore from the Dutchman. William ran after his mother as he saw her fly across the sand to meet him, finally losing herself in his embrace. The man was tall, dripping with seawater, with tan skin and dark brown hair, and with a sword and boots and bandana just like his mother had told him about in her many stories. He was laughing euphorically – he had the largest, warmest smile William had ever seen, and the boy watched with motionless awe as the man embraced his mother. He stopped a short distance from them as they spun around and around, laughing and kissing. William was stunned – he had never seen his mother act like this in the nine long years he had been alive.
Finally the man caught sight of him, and William froze. The man froze as well, and both of them stared at each other until his mother spoke to the man with barely-composed delight:
"Will… this is your son."
As Elizabeth spoke those words, Will found himself unable to move.
He had never even considered this as a possibility during the ten years he had been at sea – what were the odds Elizabeth would become pregnant after only one day together? He had convinced himself that it couldn't have happened, but he was now trying to comprehend the fact that he was, and had been for more than nine years, a father. But he couldn't consciously grasp the idea at all – all he could do was look on the boy that so much resembled both him and Elizabeth, staring back at him in frozen hope.
"My son?" Will faltered, barely audible, and took a step forward.
"I named him William," said Elizabeth, stepping towards her son – their son – putting her arm around him proudly and reassuringly. "William John Turner the Third."
Will's face suddenly broke out in a huge smile, and he took another small step toward William.
"Oh, my God…" he whispered breathlessly, biting his knuckle, "Oh good God…"
William suddenly escaped his mother's grasp and ran towards his father – the elusive, almost fictional figure from his mother's stories, seemingly having broken free from imagination into stark reality. This figure he had loved from a distance, known only in his imagination, had finally come to life, manifesting himself here on the beach.
Here was his father, smiling at him.
Speechless, Will bent down to catch the running child and swept him into his arms, into the air. He spun around and around with him, just as he had done with his mother a few moments before. He kissed his boy's cheek, his facial stubble tickling him, and William laughed. Will had never felt joy like anything before in his life as he did when he heard his son laugh.
Finally he just held William aloft in his arms, glorying in the sight of him, aware of Elizabeth standing nearby, tears silently running down her smiling face. He belatedly realized that there were tears streaming from his eyes too, and William wiped them away with his sleeve.
"My son…" Will said simply and in awe, grinning at him.
"Papa," William said, grinning back.
"My son!" Will said again, playfully, loving hearing the endearment coming from his boy, his own child.
"Papa!" William shouted, joining the game, loving it just as much.
Elizabeth made a nose that sounded halfway between a laugh and a sob, and they looked to her, and moved to include her in their embrace. The three of them stood locked to each other in the oldest trinity known to humankind – mother, father, and child.
Finally, as the tears and the laughing passed, they just stood together on the beach as it grew dark, not saying a word, not wanting to disturb the moment. They watched the sea, now empty of the Dutchman, their hearts full of each other, swelled with love.
As it began to grow cold, Elizabeth looked to her husband and son.
"Let's go home," she said.
Will felt a vastly warm feeling swell in his heart. He was home.
"Yes," he said, holding his family close, "Show me the way."
And they started up the bluff.