The choice had been taken out of her hands.
It had happened so quickly. Events spiraled out of control. Will was fatally stabbed. Jack rushed to him, clenched the other man's nerveless fingers around what remained of his sword, helped Will thrust the sword through the heart.
So fast. And then it was over. Jack had pulled her away, caught her in his arms, and in typical Jack fashion had used one of the Dutchman's sails as a parachute and taken them away from it all.
There was no choice left to her. Will was the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. She could not travel with him where he was to go. For someone who had had a hard time making up her mind, this made it very easy.
"He deserves one night," she murmured, almost to herself.
"And then?" Jack's voice was quiet, but curious.
She stared out at sea, knowing the longboat was being readied. "Yes." She needed to say no more than that. Jack's face broke out into a grin and, bowing slightly, he left her to her thoughts.
The one night was over quicker than she could have imagined and she found herself bidding farewell to Will. They would not lay eyes on each other for another ten years, and then for only one day. She couldn't help but feel somewhat guilty. She had brought this down on his head, she with her fascination with pirates, with her inability to make up her mind, her pushing them into a war that ultimately ended with many deaths, including Will's.
But somehow it all worked out. Will would have her for that one day. When he could let his duties lie for a night, they would be together.
She rowed the longboat back to the Pearl, strong arms carrying her quickly to the destination. Years of swordfights had added muscles to her thin frame. Jack helped her back onto the ship and others rushed to tie down the boat before they set sail again.
He didn't let go of her hand as he led her further into the ship. "And so now?"
"The next ten years are yours." The words were quiet, nearly a whisper. Jack had to lean closer to catch them.
She had the choice taken from her. Will or Jack? That question had plagued her mind ever since she had met Jack, ever since they had kissed, ever since the compass had started to point to Jack instead of Will. The choice was no longer hers to make and she liked it that way.
Will would get his one night every ten years. There was no way to break the curse, no way to allow him to end his important duties as captain of the Flying Dutchman. A touch of destiny...his life was never meant to join with hers in the way he had thought it was.
And Jack? He had her for the remaining time. It hardly seemed fair to Will, but it was what the Fates had decreed.
With a smile, she let Jack lead her toward his cabin. It was a beginning of a new life for her. Freedom...