AN: Here's a little preview to the new sequel, The Healing Touch.
In the nearly two and one half months since his return, Will and Elizabeth had delighted in every second of the happily domestic life they had dreamed of ages ago, but were only now able to enjoy for the first time in their ten year marriage. What they lived daily – and especially nightly – could only be described as bliss, nirvana, ecstasy – or the closest thing to it that any mere human could ever achieve.
But their happiness had been hard-won, requiring a struggle that in their worst nightmares neither one would ever wish to repeat. Will's absence had nearly driven Elizabeth mad, leaving a void in her life that was impossible to fill. Despite the comfort that their son brought her, the many years could not quiet her deep yearning for her husband. She missed him. She longed for him. She ached for him. There was no other way to describe it. The ten years were no easier for Will. Even in the hopeless days of his adolescence, when Elizabeth seemed so far beyond his reach, he could live on the glimpses of and short visits with her he was from time to time afforded. His service on the Flying Dutchman was not so kind, demanding a decade's worth of separation from his other half, his heart, his soul.
Yet somehow they had survived. Their love had conquered every obstacle and brought them back together again on the wings of a green flash and, in that very instant, they knew that every hardship they faced and every pain they endured was more than worth it to bring them to that moment. In the days and weeks that followed, the truth of that initial statement had been proven a thousand times over. They had loved each other back to life and, more quickly than either of them imagined, healed the wounds of the past. The pale, crisscrossing lashes on Will's back and the faint scar upon his chest, the most obvious and permanent marks from their ordeal, had taken on a whole new meaning in the loving comfort of Elizabeth's arms. She'd taken to tracing the faded scars with her fingers, lips, and tongue, driving all painful memories of their creation from his mind. And, within Will's embrace, Elizabeth had nearly forgotten what it was like to ever be alone, each day basking in his tender warmth, each night savoring his heated passion.
However, becoming the united family unit they now were hadn't been without its bumps along the way. Despite their immense love for one another, they nevertheless needed a certain period of adjustment. The changes required of Will proved to be the sharpest: reacclimating to life upon land after a decade at sea, entering into an already established family routine, as well as simply becoming accustomed once more to life as a mortal.
In the beginning, the simplest of things presented a challenge. Though the re-placement of his heart had been instant, his body's transition from immortality had been much more gradual, requiring a full fortnight before such fundamentals as food, water, and rest became as necessary for him as they were for his wife and son. For the better part of those first two weeks sleep completely eluded him, having not actually needed any in the past ten years. True enough, the crew of the Dutchman, participated in a habitual routine of day and night, each enjoying a certain period of rest from their assigned stations, but it was more for a continued sense of normalcy than from any actual need. Though sleep as an immortal was possible, it wasn't something that Will often engaged in, usually spending his hours of respite in his cabin imagining their son, dreaming of Elizabeth, remembering what it felt like to hold her in his arms and – in his more lonely moments – conjuring up images of the two of them lying together, their bodies entwined. Back on land, sleep as a physical requirement came slowly. Often, after making love, when Elizabeth would drift off, Will would wile away the hours watching her sleep, sometimes tiptoeing into their son's room to do the same.
It was on one such night, three day's after his return, that Elizabeth awoke in the night, rolling over to snuggle into her husband but finding only an empty pillow in his stead. Her sleep-addled mind began to panic: Had she dreamt it all? Was Will still sailing aboard the Dutchman, forever bound to the ship? Will, who had returned to their bedroom in time to witness the tragic scene, tenderly called out to her, "I'm here, love", climbing back into bed and holding her for the rest of the night, kissing away her tears.
Such acclimations as these were easily made, coming naturally with time, but the largest, most precarious adjustment – the one that both husband and wife had secretly worried over before their sunset reunion had arrived – was the introduction of Will into William's life. There was no doubt that the boy loved his father and, courtesy of the Chest and the inexplicable connection it afforded father and son, they were not strangers to one another as Elizabeth had initially feared after learning of their son's conception. However, there was a large difference between friendship carried out through daily conversations and shared confidings and assuming the more formidable role of a day-to-day parent. William was in awe of Will and idolized him as a hero, but would he accept him as any everyday father who would tell him to do his chores, enforce a bedtime, and correct him when he disobeyed? Could William come to terms with the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, the champion of his bedtime stories and childhood play, as a mere man who was sometimes awkward, entirely capable of making mistakes, and was rendered helpless after one smile from the boy's mother? And how would this affect the mother-son dynamic that had prevailed in their household for the past ten years?
But all of their fears proved unfounded, as the two Williams Turner were able to make the transition with very little difficulty. Rather than being disappointing, it was enlightening for William to day by day discover all the many ways that his father was normal, human, and fallible. All of the adventures he had lived and the impossible deeds he had accomplished were done by a mere man, one he could one day aspire to be like. And, while it was somewhat discomfiting for all three involved – Will because it was so new and he hoped against hope to meet his son's approval, William for the same reasons, and Elizabeth because after a decade's worth of complete responsibility it was yet a novel, though lovely, concept that there was now someone else to share the reins of parental authority – Will easily settled into the disciplinary role sometimes required of him. In those first few days, when William returned to his old habits of attempting to avoid his lessons or talking impertinently to Edmund, their groundskeeper, who took a dim view on the boy's constant pirate play, Elizabeth resisted the immediate motherly urge to correct the child, instead gently pushing Will to advise and discipline their son. Though a bit clumsy at first, it wasn't long before each adapted to their new roles in stride and father and son became inseparable.
Rather than acceptance and authority, the most challenging adjustment turned out to be the balance of time and simply learning to share one another – for William could've easily monopolized every moment of his father's time, husband and wife needed their time alone together, Elizabeth still wished for at least some attention from William who had been her daily companion since birth, and father, mother, and son also required time together as a whole family.
This all fell into place a few weeks after Will's return with the opening of the new Turner Blacksmithery, a building Elizabeth had bought and prepared during Will's absence in anticipation of her husband's desire to return to his craft. With Will now away during the day, the family naturally settled into a schedule that met all of their needs. In the mornings, Will would attend to his work at the smithy and William continued his lessons under Elizabeth's tutelage, which also provided mother and son their time alone together once his studies were finished. The afternoons found William joining Will at the forge, eagerly learning the art of smithing and sword skills as well as generally bonding as father and son. Meanwhile, Elizabeth used this time alone to go over the books and deal with whatever issues may have arisen with the Turner Shipping, Co. Evenings and Sunday's after church were spent together as a family engaging in a variety of activities from visiting the shore, or playing at swords, to simply reading stories in the front parlor after supper.
The nights, from William's bedtime until sunrise the following morning, belonged to Will and Elizabeth alone and they took full advantage of them, getting to know each other's bodies in ways that their short time together prior had not allowed. True to her prediction of long ago, Elizabeth enjoyed making love in a great variety of locales beyond their bedroom. Ever mindful of the small staff and their young son, they had nevertheless explored nearly every room of the house – as well as the gardens and the beachfront – and christened the new smithy in a manner they both enjoyed much more than the formal opening ceremony. While ten years of celibacy had left them both starved for every manner of intimacy and they made love more often than was thought proper for any decent man and woman – even two so happily married – true to Will's prediction, their passion proved impossible to cool and they spent each night sating the hunger for each other that had grown throughout the day.
One particular result of Will's time at sea proved especially beneficial toward this end. In his term as Captain of the Flying Dutchman, he had come to know various languages, a necessity of talking with souls that had passed on who originated from many different lands. While this skill was of little use in his day-to-day life on land, they both found it had its merits in the bedroom and, to Elizabeth's delight, Will had taken to speaking to her so when they made love – particularly in Italian and French, the two languages which he discovered affected her the most. Due to her background and breeding as a governor's daughter, Elizabeth was able to recognize some of what Will whispered to her as his lips teased her skin but, with the rest, it did not matter the meaning, only the way in which he said it.
From time to time, William would awaken in the night and steal downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water or whatever small snack he could find. Creeping past his parent's bedroom, he often heard his mother's playful giggle or, other times, she would be calling his father's name. Once or twice, he even heard his father cry out as he did when he was demonstrating sword skills and had just made an especially strenuous riposte. On this particular night, he heard his mother referring to his father as "Captain", and could've sworn he heard an answering response of his father's intent of "claiming treasure" of some sort. Shaking his head at the curiosity of it all, William continued to the kitchen and then back to bed.
The Healing Touch:
Post AWE. With the curse finally broken and Will's service aboard the Dutchman concluded, Elizabeth, Will, and their nine year old son, William, find themselves yet again entangled in another of Jack's plots – this one taking them to Europe's shores, promising excitement and adventure upon the high seas.