The warm spray hit Will's face and clothing. The torrent of wind surrounding his ship cooled the sweat on his neck and arms.
The man breathed deeply and smiled, dipping his tanned head backwards to catch the first light of the sun. His sun- the sun of the world he had been born in and almost died in more times than he could count on his fingers.
He had spent the last ten years under a different sun. Sometimes its warmth on his back felt so familiar, he almost forgot, for a moment, that he was sailing foreign seas: the seas of the dead.
During the day, he and his father caught the winds in old canvas sails, greyed with age. They landed on many islands and explored the land under Davy Jones' reign. Sometimes they would find a lost soul, abandoned in a hellish wasteland much like the one Jack Sparrow had known. Weary wanderers found solace on a ship they had once feared more than death.
As soon as night fell, Will's contracted job began.
He knew the way, by instinct. The gates of the afterlife tugged at the place where his heart should have been as surely as if he had tied a string between the two points.
The dark sea would light up with a million lights. Tiny boats drifted in the wake of the shadowy Flying Dutchman. He was the shepherd, and night after sleepless night he led more of them home.
The steady rise of the sun made Will's heart burn. He turned his face to the brown cliffs in front of him, and his eyes searched the waist-high grasses for Elizabeth. He saw her after a few moments. The proud outline of her body glowed in the sun, easy to see from her fearless perch at the edge of the precipice.
Will tightened his grip on the mast and straightened his back, breathing deep. He felt older, and a deep tiredness had entered his body as soon as he had returned to life. He wondered if he looked the same.
He wondered how much the years had changed her lovely eyes, and if she had lost the last of the childlike curves in her face.
He remembered the feel of her body under his chest and in his hands. He sighed and shook his head with a smile. There was some unfinished business they would have to be attending to.
The minutes passed by slowly as the sun rose and the sea carried him closer to the shore. Will squinted his eyes as he looked at Elizabeth. A smaller figure had become visible at her side, barely taller than the hardy grass. He laughed aloud, feeling salt in the wrinkles near his eyes.
Will Turner smiled and kept smiling. He could smell the sea and feel it on his body and in his blood, he could hear it and taste it. He lived for the sea, and since his father had finally gone to his eternal peace, he had had no one for company but the sea. It was all he could touch with his senses.
But now a feeling had risen above it, wrapping around his taut and expectant body, and he reveled in its fierce joy. For the first time in ten years, he could feel his heart beating.
The wind carried the cool scent of earth with it as Will brought The Flying Dutchman onto the bank. The sand under his feet felt different, more real than on the other side. He fought the impulse to fling himself down and simply feel the way it felt to be alive.
The young Captain easily found the trail up the cliffside. His gut raced around every corner before him, coming back to him when he would round it and find it empty before racing ahead again. He could feel her in everything he saw.
At last, he emerged from a tunnel of wind-toughened trees into a field, and Will could see Elizabeth in front of him, her face still turned towards the sea.
Will's heart caught in his throat. The grasses hissed around him; over them he thought he heard the sound of singing. Oh, he wanted to stay like this forever, memorizing the pull of the wind on her faded calico dress, and the tilt of her head. But he also wanted...
The singing stopped, abruptly, and then the boy was running for him, all tanned skin and brown eyes and his mother's full roguish smile.
"Father! Father!" And he was in Will's arms, his mother momentarily forgotten.
Will laughed, touched the boy's chin, his cheek, traced the contours of his smile. A grave happiness nearly brought tears to his eyes. He looked up and caught Elizabeth's gaze as she walked to him.
She looked like a Queen. There was dirt on her hands and her cheek, and the tan he remembered, as dark as her hair, had mellowed. Her eyes were dark with emotion.
He swallowed, putting the boy down and his hand on the child's head, his fingers in his hair. He kept his eyes on Elizabeth. "He has your eyes."
She smiled a little. He could see pride in her eyes, round and full like a doe's; but deeper, and capable of being shuttered up so tight. But not today.
"His name is Caleb."
Will surveyed the boy again, once more feeling something strong rising in him. "Is he named for someone?"
Elizabeth laughed through her nose and looked at Caleb fondly. The boy stood in front of the man he knew to be his father, a father he had been waiting for his entire life, and he felt no fear.
"None at all. I thought he deserved a fresh start."
Will laughed, his hands at his sides, so happy he hardly understood the reason; but he was home. He had a son. He had Elizabeth, and she had started to laugh too, her head thrown back. Will strode to her without feeling himself move. He pressed his arms against her back and felt her laughter in him; he smiled against her jawline and held her.
Elizabeth tilted her head up to meet his eyes. He looked more solemn to her, his eyes dark and harder, somehow. There was a fierceness she had never seen in him when they had been children, but which she had watched grow and become a part of him since those string of events that had forced both of them to find courage inside.
A courage which had manifested itself in her like a proud flame, but which she suspected ran deeper in him than she would ever know.
Will touched her face. She covered his hand in hers and turned to their son. "Caleb, take the baskets we picked into the house. We'll follow in a while."
The young boy understood, with the strange intuition of children, that his parents had things they needed to say which weren't privy to his ears. He nodded, gifting his father with a smile before he ran down the sandy path.
Will watched him until the disappeared around the corner. Then his eyes found Elizabeth's again. He watched her intently. His fingertips traced the curve of her neck, buried themselves in her hair. His lips covered hers and he felt her press against him, the warmth of her body soaking into his skin.
He broke away from her gently to whisper in her ear. "I'm free," he said hoarsely, speaking in a sort of rhythm with her hastening breath. "Free. I'm..."
He ended on a sigh as the air left his lungs, Elizabeth's mouth on his neck, spreading warmth in a trail ending below his ear.
Will followed her to an island of sand in the middle of the beach grass and kissed her, the warm sand like silk under his brown arms.
He was home.
One: Much thanks to Jabraille and TZA of the PPC posting board, whose short conversation about Will and Elizabeth reuniting and 'shagging like rabbits,' and also the line 'He has your eyes,' being the inspiration for this story. XD Inspiration comes in strange ways.
Two: 'At World's End' had the real resolution of Will's curse left out of it. The two writers, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, had intended to explain it like this:
If Will returned home after ten years and found his true love waiting, he would no longer be bound to the Flying Dutchman, and his obligations as the farrier of souls lost at sea would be broken.
The reason Davy Jones cut out his heart was because after ten years, he came home and Calypso was not waiting for him, thus dooming him to be the Captain of the Flying Dutchman forever.
However, in Will's case, Elizabeth was waiting, so he is free.
If you Google Terry and Ted, you'll find 'Wordplay,' which is their site. They explain all of this in the forums.
So, yeah, according to the writers they get their happily-after-ever, and that's good enough for me.