Disclaimer: I do not own anything or anyone associated with Pirates of the Caribbean.

Author's Note: First and foremost, this story contains massive spoilers for At World's End; read it at your own risk.

Second, I'm sure that there have been a hundred stories just like this one already put on this site. Any similarity (beyond general plot) to another story is merely coincidental. I don't read PotC fanfic. I just needed an outlet for what I felt after this movie.

Lastly, I know that there has been controversy over the curse. I tried to write this in a way that works whether you believe it is lifted or not, but I think it leans in one direction. I'll let you decide which one that is. Thank you for reading.

Ten years was a long time.

To be honest, Will Turner was completely under-qualified to be captain of a ship. Not that his crew really had a choice about their captain. Will stabbed the heart; Will had to be captain. Even if there were other men who had been there for nearly a hundred years. Even if some of those men had been captains of even larger ships than this one. So on the other hand, Will did have the only qualification that mattered.

In his old life, Will was a blacksmith. Most of the time, he missed it. He had been good at his job, and he took pride in it. Still, with a few alterations, his career as captain of the Flying Dutchman would have been quite pleasant. He missed land and he would like to be able to return to it more than once in a decade. Howeve, much more than that, what he really missed was Elizabeth. The one thing that made this tenure unbearable was not seeing her.

Ten years was far too long to expect someone to wait.

As it was, being captain of the Flying Dutchman was not horrible. It had given him a chance to get to know his father, and that meant a lot to him. Growing up, he had always wanted to know his father, and though he had long since resigned himself to the fact that his father was dead, that desire had never gone away.

When he became captain, the entire crew was given the option of passing onto the other side. They all were free of their debt to Davy Jones. Some chose to leave, but many stayed on. They had joined the crew because they feared death, and they still did. Because they knew that they were free to leave when they wished, being part of the crew was no longer considered a sentence. From time to time, a newly dead passenger would ask to join the crew in order to forestall their judgment, and usually Will would allow it.

When he got to land, would she be there?

Will and Elizabeth had almost been happy once. They were supposed to get married and live peacefully in Port Royal, growing old and having children. It almost happened, but their wedding was ruined because they had the misfortune of knowing Captain Jack Sparrow.

Fortune had little to do with it actually. Will had sought out Jack for help in the beginning, and without him Elizabeth might have died. Because of that, Will had saved Jack's life at the gallows and started this whole mess.

Then he and Elizabeth were almost happy once again after that. They were married in the middle of a battle. It had seemed so urgent to him that they be married then. On some level he must have realized how destiny had touched him and that he would not survive that battle. If he had, they would have had that life they envisioned, but he did not. Still, he was her husband, and that offered some solace.

Part of Will hoped that Elizabeth would not be there on the beach when he returned. The part of him that had surrendered to his fate hoped that she had met someone else and that she was happy. He could not stand the thought of her spending her life waiting.

There was another part of Will, though. There was a part that needed her to be there, that needed to know that he had something to come back to. If she were not there, Will would not take the path of Davy Jones; he was sure of that. Nevertheless, this part of him understood how Calypso's betrayal had turned Davy Jones into a monster.

Exactly ten years had passed since the last time Will saw Elizabeth. It was time to go back. Will stood at the helm and steered the Flying Dutchman to the island, their island. At first, he could not see much more than a mass of land. Then he saw figures, but he did not get his hopes up. Not until he was able to make out her face.