A/N: Just a one-shot about a girl who got taken aboard the Flying Dutchman under Captain Turner's command. Sort of angsty. Ok, pretty darn angsty. If there's confusion let me know what to clear up.
As she emerged into the chilly night air, she took a shuddering breath to steady herself. Even her legs shook, and for the first time since that terrible first week, she found herself clutching the rail helplessly. Was she really about to do this? She felt the knife that she had strapped to her side and realized she was. She had been planning this for too long to turn back just as she committed. And Captain Turner…
Will. He had told her to call him that once, the day that he had kissed her. Of course, it had been a reaction of loneliness, not any real infatuation on his part. She had seen that well enough in his eyes. It had been a sudden thing, spontaneous and not fully intended. He had pulled back as soon as he realized what he was doing; sorrow and apology clear in his eyes. She had returned to calling him Captain Turner, though she still whispered under breath from time to time, as she did now, "Will."
It had been two hundred years since Elizabeth had died. He had said so the last time he had mentioned his past life, and that must have been nearly ten years before. And his son, William Turner III, had died on the seas only twenty years after. It was still spoken in hush whispered of the terrible state of the captain for years after watching his son take a lanterned boat across those eerie seas. She had not been there to see him then, she hadn't even been born for another hundred and fifty years, but she saw it sometimes, when he saw a young boy, or a woman who resembled his wife. She saw the pain he buried so well.
Her hand caught the rigging as she staggered down the deck. She was on night watch, and so alone. At the helm, Dithery barely took notice of her, he was so used to her. She was thankful for that, for had he taken the time to actually look, he would have noticed sheer terror on her face, and that would have prompted unwanted questions.
She took another steadying breath and strode as normally as she could toward the stairs. She stopped just short, turning instead toward the captain's quarters. She placed her hand on the knob, knowing once she had done this, there was no turning back from her second task. She entered silently, not disturbing Captain Turner's sleeping form. She stepped lightly until she stood by his bed. He was so perfect, and her breath caught at the sight of him. Her gaze lingered on the scar that skittered awkwardly around the left side of his chest. Had it hurt badly? Her fingers touched the space just below her collarbone, where the soft pulsing pressure tapped against her ribs.
Leaning down, she brushed a soft kiss across his temple. "Elizabeth," he mumbled.
She stepped back, a knot tightening in her stomach. "Soon," she whispered softly, and he turned back over. She lifted the key from where it was lying on the covers. The string connecting it to his neck she cut with her blade. Then she left, just as silently as she had come, chancing only the time to take one last look at him.
She hadn't realized it was so late. The dawn was coming, meaning that the crew would be waking, Captain Turner as well. She had to work quickly. The location of the chest was well known on the ship. No one particularly wanted any more than their hundred years aboard the Dutchman, and so it was safe. Besides, nearly the entire crew believed the key to be lost. She had discovered the truth of it…
She shook her head. She allowed herself no tender thoughts. She moved quickly toward the chest, turning the key with alarming urgency. And suddenly, there it was, thumping against the corner, just the same as it looked in pictures. She reached out her hand and took it, the other pulling loose the knife at her side. It was time.
"What in God's name do you think you're doing?"
She whipped around. Oh lord, of all people, why him? How could he have woken so quickly? She felt the knife in her hand and knew she couldn't turn back. "Please don't, Captain. You know it's time."
He advanced toward her. "You don't know about time. You don't know how it stretches out before you like a road that never ends…"
She raised the knife, making him stop. "You've reached journey's end, Captain." She licked her lips nervously. "Your wife and son are waiting."
He hesitated at the mention of Elizabeth and William. "This isn't yours to bear."
She shook her head. "No, but it wasn't yours either."
"It gave me a hope. I was dying."
"Won't I? My life is over Captain. We both know that, or I wouldn't be here. No man should be bound to this for longer than his heart can stand. This is killing you in a far worse manner than any death you were about to endure. Let me do this."
"No, I can't!"
"It will be quick. Then you'll be home."
The knife hovered over the heart, and his arguments blurred in her ears. If she waited, she might lose courage. It was now or never. Closing her eyes, she plunged the knife downward. No sooner had she done so than she rushed forward to catch him as he fell. His dying eyes looked up at her. There was no longer sorrow, but the apology was there. And gratefulness. "Thank you," he breathed. And then it was over.
Dithery came in a few moments later when he heard the crying. She was kneeling on the floor, staring at her empty hands. The only clue as to what had happened was the knife protruding from the now-still heart. "Dear lord," he said, crossing himself. "So that's the way of it? He's gone?" She nodded stiffly. "And you…" he made an awkward motion with his hands.
"Not yet," she said weakly. "Soon."
When she fell over, Dithery felt himself losing control of his thoughts. "Part of the crew, part of the ship," he murmured. "Part of the crew, part of the ship."
"Part of the crew, part of the ship," joined the others, appearing in the room. Dithery knelt down and took the knife from the floor. The heart had disappeared. As he lifted the blade, his voice rose. "Part of the crew, part of the ship!"
She woke long after, in the Captain's Quarters. The key was tied around her neck, and a jagged scar marred the formerly smooth space between breast and collarbone. Hesitantly, she placed her hand there. Nothing. Swinging her legs off the bed, she wondered if she had done the right thing. "Thank you," came Will's quiet voice. She turned, but no one was there.
Standing, she laid her hand against the door frame. She could feel the life in the Dutchman, something she never had before. Indeed, the captain understood the ship, and what was more, the ship understood the captain. "Thank you," came the echo again, perhaps only in her head. Smiling softly, she patted the wood affectionately. It had been time. She strode out onto deck.
"Orders…Captain?" The title came slowly.
"We turn at sunrise. We've some work to do on the other side, I can feel it."
She mounted the quarterdeck and looked out at the approaching dawn. Yes, it had been time.