Well, here it is, the last chapter of What Dreams May Come. It's kind of an epilogue of sorts, and I was considering doing a bit more, but I figured it's probably best left here (too much epilogue can ruin the effect of the story, in my opinion... Harry Potter cough cough) At any rate, here is the end. Please read and review!
And, no, much to my chagrin, I still don't own any of this. (WHY?!?!)
24. The Captain of the Flying Dutchman
Elizabeth and Jamie had started down towards the beach the moment they saw the Flying Dutchman appear on the horizon. Elizabeth could feel her heart pounding as she stumbled down the steep hillsides, and was not sure if it was from running or from nerves. Jamie was wearing a look of excited bewilderment – she knew that he was still trying to figure out if the ship that had appeared with the green flash had really appeared out of nowhere, or if he had just not spotted it before.
When the pair arrived, panting, on the beach, however, Elizabeth was shocked to find that the Dutchman was nowhere to be seen. She peered up and down the shoreline in bewilderment, trying to figure out what had happened, when a hand on her shoulder made her turn.
'Will!' she gasped, staring into her husband's warm brown eyes for the first time in ten years. With a shy smile, he leaned forward and kissed her – after a moment's hesitation, she yielded to his embrace.
'Will, this is Jamie,' she said, breaking away from the kiss and beckoning their son forward. Jamie looked up at the man he so resembled and said softly, 'Hello, Dad.'
'Elizabeth…' whispered Will, looking from his son to his wife in growing delight before kneeling down and hugging his son to him for the first time. 'You named him James?' asked Will as he rose to his feet, his hand still on Jamie's shoulder.
Elizabeth nodded. 'James William Turner,' she explained, a warning glance cutting off the next question Will was about to ask. 'I thought that "William Turner III" was a bit much.'
'I agree,' rasped a familiar voice from behind Will.
'Bootstrap?' said Elizabeth in surprise as her father-in-law stepped forward and took her hand in his.
'Elizabeth,' he replied. 'Glad to finally get the chance to meet you.'
'We've met before…' Elizabeth reminded him, stiffening at the memory.
'Aye,' sighed Bootstrap, 'but I wouldn't want you to remember me for those moments. I wasn't in my right mind, I did a terrible thing that I never would have done otherwise…'
'Yes, I know.' Shaking all memories of that night from her head, Elizabeth managed to smile at Bootstrap, before turning back to Will. 'Will, what happened to the Dutchman? Will she be returning for you?'
A strange look flashed in Will's eyes, and he shook his head slowly. 'No, she won't be. I won't have to leave at the end of this day, Elizabeth, I won't have to ever leave you again. I'm no longer the captain of the Flying Dutchman.'
Elizabeth's eyes widened in shock. 'What?!'
Will nodded. 'He stabbed my heart,' he said, more to himself than to Elizabeth. 'But instead of dying, Calypso brought me back to life.'
'James?' Elizabeth whispered. When Will nodded, she felt her legs weaken beneath her, and she clung to Will for support, letting the tears course down her face as she realized the sacrifice James had made for her, to end the conflicted feelings she felt in her heart. Will, although not understanding exactly why she was so upset, held her close to him and let her grieve.
'What will you do?' she asked finally, looking up at Will through glistening eyes.
Will shrugged. 'Open up a blacksmith forge again, I suppose. I've had quite enough of pirates to last me a lifetime.' He turned to Jamie, drawing forth the sword he had made for James Norrington so many years ago. 'This is for you,' he said, placing it in Jamie's hands. 'I asked Norrington if he wanted it back, and he said that I should take it, there was someone on shore who would probably want it more.' Jamie stammered his thanks, still staring in startled excitement at the sword he now gripped.
Elizabeth smiled at her son, then took Will's hand in her own and began to lead him up the shore, Jamie following slowly behind. 'Let's go home,' she said simply. 'Bootstrap?'
The old pirate was gazing at the family with sadness in his eyes. 'I can't come with you,' he said. 'I've lived far past my time, and only came ashore to meet my grandson and to wish you two well.' He sighed. 'I'm ready to go now, William. I think I've paid my debt to you, and the Waters of Oblivion wait.'
'Father…' said Will, striding back to where the old man stood and embracing him. 'I'll miss you.'
Bootstrap smiled. 'Best of luck to you, my boy.' He stepped backwards into the sea just as a wave crashed over him, and was gone.
Will sighed, and turned to where his family was waiting. The sight of them, the knowledge that he once again had a home and a family, caused happiness that he had long forgotten existed to well up inside Will. His brown eyes warmly glowing, he again took Elizabeth's hand, and allowed her to lead him to the place that he would finally be able to call home.
The bottom of the sun was scraping the horizon when the last of the Dutchman's crew clambered aboard the ship, excitedly comparing stories of what had befallen them on their day on land. As the ship turned and sailed towards the setting sun, only one figure was not taking part in the boisterous laughter of the crew. The Dutchman's new captain was leaning against the railing of the ship, staring wistfully off across the sea. His crew had decided to go to Tortuga after they left the island on which the Turners lived, and James, not wanting to get on bad terms with his crew on his first day as captain, let them go ashore with good grace, opting to stay in his cabin and mull over his thoughts.
'Captain Norrington?' said a voice behind him – James turned to see one of his new crewmembers standing anxiously behind him. 'Sir, most of the crew have decided to stay on with you, but Bootstrap Bill is gone.'
James nodded. 'I gave him leave to go.'
'Well, sir,' continued the young sailor, bobbing up and down slightly on his toes, 'the problem is, we now have no helmsman.'
'True,' replied James with a slight frown. 'Well, since we have need of a new helmsman, would you like the position?'
The sailor smiled nervously. 'Really, sir?'
'Really. May I ask for your name?'
'Robert Green, sir. I used to be helmsman, sir, with my old crew, before we went down in a storm about two years ago, sir.' He stopped bouncing for a moment and leaned forward as if he was about to tell a secret. 'Truth is, sir, I told myself that if Captain Turner was ever replaced, I'd go and drink from the Waters, sir, as Captain Turner was the best captain I could ever imagine having, but, even so, sir, you seem like a good enough captain, so I'll be staying on until I see fit to leave, if ever, sir. Were you ever a captain when you were alive, sir?'
James blinked. 'Oh, yes, yes I was,' he said. 'Commodore and admiral, too.'
Green smiled in delight. 'An admiral! Well then, sir, I'll wager you'll be a good captain indeed, sir.'
'Thank you,' said James weakly, hoping very much that he'd be able to live up to Will's high standards. 'Well, to your position, Mr Green.'
Smiling and bouncing up and down with excitement, Green rushed over to the helm. Rubbing his temples and hoping that no one else would feel the need to talk to him for some time, James told his lieutenant that he was feeling a bit under the weather due to the fact that his heart had just been cut out that morning, and excused himself, leaving the lieutenant in charge for the night. As he started down the stairs to the cabins, James felt the ship dive down to the netherworld in a bright flash of green light.
It was strange not having a heart. James knew he was still breathing, but missed the familiar rhythmic pulse that usually accompanied it. He had hoped that without his heart his emotions would have lessened, but found to his chagrin that this was not so – every time he was foolish enough to let his mind drift towards thoughts of Elizabeth, he felt a pang that almost made him wish that he had chosen the easy route and drunken from the Waters of Oblivion. It was hard knowing that he would never see her again… or only see her once more, James corrected himself, when it became his task to ferry her to the Locker. He briefly entertained the idea that she might join his crew, but knew that it was an unrealistic, fleeting hope – she would be older, her love for him would have faded with the passion that youth allows, her heart would have returned completely to Will and he, James, would be nothing but a distant memory. Sighing, James pushed open the first set of doors he came to and found himself in the room where Davy Jones had kept his organ.
James had to give it to Will – he had kept the whole ship much cleaner than Jones had. The walls of the ship were once again plain, clean wood, the sails were a standard white and void of strands of kelp. Likewise, the organ was no longer covered in seaweed and other aquatic creatures – it had reverted back to a deep, glossy wood, and its pipes were a polished silver. Still thinking of Elizabeth, James pushed open the lid of the organ and absentmindedly played a scale, somewhat regretful that he had forgotten every single piece he had learned on his mother's clavichord as a boy. Doubting that he would find anything, James opened the seat of the bench and found inside of it a single sheet of music written in a thin, spindly hand that James did not recognize. For Calypso, it said at the top. James closed the bench and slid onto it, placing the music on the organ. Taking a deep breath, he began to play.
The music filled the room with a powerful grief, the kind of mournful longing that could bring a person to tears. James thought that the wistful melody sounded a bit harsh on the organ – it would have better suited a delicate instrument, like a music box. He worked his way through it once, and stopped, hoping his playing had not bothered anyone.
For some reason, James felt slightly better, as if the music had turned the loneliness and sorrow he was feeling into something tangible; he was a bit surprised that a man like Davy Jones could have been capable of feeling such pain and turning it into such wonderful music, but then again, he had cut out his heart to try to rid himself of that pain. James shook himself. He knew that he would have to focus on the task at hand, and not Elizabeth, unless he wanted his despair and grief to seize control and force him to do angry, vengeful things. Just as Davy Jones had done. Just as James himself had once done. He knew it would take time to come to terms with his loss, to the fact that Elizabeth was not his and never would be, but he was willing to try, willing to overcome the lonely years that lay ahead, armed with nothing but a promise and the memory of a freely given kiss.
James placed his hands back on the keys of the organ. He was not very good at sight-reading, but he had an eternity aboard this ship to learn to play the piece right. The sounds of his crew shouting and joking wafted faintly down from the deck, and James resolved to acquaint himself with them all the next day, to earn their trust and their respect over time, and hopefully to one day be as highly regarded as even Captain Will Turner had been. With the ghost of a smile on his face, James began to play. For you, Elizabeth, he thought, and allowed himself to be swept up into the music.
And yes, for those of you who are wondering, the sheet music that James found is for the music that Davy Jones is always playing on his organ, which is the same music that plays from the music box lockets that he and Tia Dalma both have, which is also track 3 ("Davy Jones") on the DMC soundtrack. I absolutely love that music (it's so pretty, but sad at the same time!), and, as a musician, wanted to end on a slightly musical note, so I threw that in.
Wow... it's going to be hard leaving this story behind. I think I'm over James's death (somewhat - we'll see how I react when AWE comes out on DVD), but I still will really miss writing this fic. I suppose I'll just have to start on something else, then, won't I?
Before I shut up, I also just want to thank everyone who read and reviewed all the way through this story - I really appreciated all of the input you gave me, and I'm really sorry that I was too lazy to change some things (please forgive me!) I had so much fun writing this story, and your feedback made it all the more fun - I'll miss hearing from you! Again, my eternal thanks to you all.