The cool sea spray felt good against his face as Will climbed the steps to his usual post. The coxswain nodded at his approach, backing over to the other edge of the wheel and overlooking the sea.
"We'll find port soon, sir," the man mumbled, keeping his eyes down. Will repressed an inward sigh. Eighty years he had sailed with these men. Eighty years they had helped him do his duty. For eighty years they had treated him as though he were going to become the dreaded Davy Jones.
Despite having released them from their service aboard, most had stayed with him. It was generally claimed that while they had no loyalty to Will or Jones, most felt it unnatural to leave a ship as fast and as famous as the Dutchman alone and unmanned. Will knew that was not true though. Most of the men, in all honesty, had no where else to go. Jones had robbed them of the remainder of their lives and the families they could never return to again. It was simply easier to go about the life they had been living for so long.
Will nodded, replying, "Of that I do not doubt."
Continuing his movement to the back of the ship, Will leaned against the railing and looked out at the sea. Sunlight reflected across the deep blue in a thousand different directions. Glancing up, Will squinted into the afternoon sun. Already, he had begun to feel the pull of the other world, beckoning him to perform his unending task, to guide the souls.
It was a burden, a heavy burden. With weights he had known, but not at first accepted, that he would bear. Strange as it seemed, it had hurt to have to ferry Norrington's soul across the way. While he had not always liked the man, felt jealous for how close he had come to having Elizabeth, he had respected him. He had known then what final fate had awaited him.
It had begun slowly at first. Gibbs had appeared, moving close to the Dutchman. Will was certain the old sailor could see the audience of attentive listeners, all eager for one of his endless tales. Barbossa had followed close behind. Ragetti next, with Pintel following close behind. Will had been unable to supress a small smile as the two argued over their position, ever the same in death as they were in life. She had been the last to come...
"Ye know you're wastin' time," a voice called Will out of his revelry.
Will turned to look at his father, a stony expression on his face. Yet, whether by experience or simple paternal strength, Bootstrap Bill did not seem to notice. The old sailor wearily approached Will, leaning against the rail beside him with a sigh. Neither spoke for a moment. Will glanced out of the corner of his eye, waiting for Bill to speak. Again, he felt a pain of regret as he looked at his father.
With his deal with Jones broken, Bill had chosen voluntarily to stay with his son aboard. Because of this, he had been granted a prolonged life, but not an eternal one. Already, the years were beginning to gather for their full assult on him. His hair had more grey in it then before, and more lines covered his face. Still, his father remained aboard, stubborn but obediant to his captain.
"No, I wasn't blatantly aware of that fact," Will responded sarcastically, turning back to the sea. He heard Bill let out a light chuckle, a rare commodity on board.
"Ye're too much like your mother," said Bill, rubbing his hands together, "Too kind a heart."
"What heart?" replied Will, "Mine was cut out long ago."
Again he turned back to the sea, allowing the bitterness of the statement settle for a time. Not much time was needed to do so, for the arguement was an old one and the air surrounding it well worn and well prepared to convey it.
"Ye have heart, boy," said Bill, seemingly unaffected by the bitterness, "Heart is what it takes to take in souls nearly gone and give them a chance at life."
Will stiffened, forcing away his feelings.
Turning back to Bill he exclaimed, "I did what was necessary. It wasn't fair or right to leave them there, only to see them again in a night! Mortals deserve better then that!"
"Ye'll have no arguement from me," Bill replied passively, "Ye're de captain. It's your right to use your power as ye will."
Then, leaning in he added in a whisper, "But ye best be careful, Will. There's reason's for the old myths."
With that, the old pirate turned and vanished down the steps. Will remained behind, glancing absently at the sea. Precious minutes passed when the sudden cry of land resounded admits the ship.
Jumping to his feet, Will crossed to the wheel. Taking the spyglass handed to him, he gazed in the direction his coxswain pointed. A grim smile crossed his face as he lowered it.
"Tortuga," he muttered to himself.
Sorry for the delay in chapters. This one took a while to formulate and then the whole new dog and crashed computer didn't help. But, now I'm back, so yeah. Hope you enjoyed.