Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, I'm just having a bit of fun with them.

This is my first attempt at Pirates with very little Will/Elizabeth…I attempted to put some of Jack's swagger in his thoughts, but I figured he would think a bit more coherently than he speaks (just a small bit) ;-)

Living With Meself

"It's not about livin' forever, Jackie. It's about livin' with yerself forever"

My father's words echo from each corner of me brain as I attempt to guide the makeshift parachute out of the way of the disappearing maelstrom. The clouds are lightening; It seems Calypso has finally gotten what she wants. She certainly reacted the way I though she would—truly a woman scorned's fury is something Hell hath not…

I feel Elizabeth inhale deeply and tighten her grip around me as we begin to descend to the sea. The poor girl has been through Hell today, and now all we can do is wait. Wait to see if the legend is true, wait to see if we can defeat Beckett and defend our way of life as we've always wanted. Me mind is racing a mile a minute we slowly swim through the water and back to the Pearl. I glance at Elizabeth and, though she is soaking wet from the sea and the storm, I can still tell which streaks on her face come from her tears.

The Pearl is still a ways off, and I know that Elizabeth isn't up for much talking right now—not that we really can while we're swimming—so I begin to relive the past few days in my mind.

Everything. I wanted everything. To be the last pirate, to be an immortal pirate, to be free to roam the seas for eternity…and in the last hour, all that has changed. If I still want to do all of that, I'm going to have to find a different means because the current position has been recently filled by one William Turner, the husband of said distressing damsel swimming alongside me.

At least if all goes according to the newly instated plan, that is.

It's funny how things turn out. As per the original plan, I had successfully ended up aboard the Dutchman. Thanks to Elizabeth and Will's excellent eye-reading and non-verbal exchange at the parlay, the three of us were able to achieve the ultimate goal. I had already told Will that to solve his troubles with Elizabeth, I would gladly take his place and get rid of Jones. I hadn't exactly worked out how ferrying souls would factor into my eternal life on the sea, but first things first…So the Pirate King herself (also my doing…I really do know what I'm doing most of the time, it's shocking how people are always so surprised) offered me up for exchange so that I could have a chance to dispatch Jones meself.

Once I figured out how to escape the brig, thanks to Will once again, I had one mission—find and stab the heart. I easily got the chest from its lackluster guardianship and then realized I needed the key. What good would having a chest be if I didn't have that which unlocks it, o'course?

It always comes to battles when it comes to pirates. Honestly, I could talk my way out of anything except for when it comes to Jones. Rain didn't help any, either. Of course, had the mutinous miscreant who deigns to call himself captain of the Pearl not double-crossed us, we wouldn't've had to deal with Calypso's storm to begin with…but that's beyond the point. After some sharp shooting on my part and fate being on my side, I successfully retrieved both the chest and the key to unlock it. Just as everything began to fall into place, it all began to change.

We've reached the Pearl now. I help Elizabeth climb aboard and I follow her, determined to make sure that the new plan goes…er…as planned.

I can vaguely hear Mr. Gibbs telling me to run away, but me mind is still racing and I'm not really focused on anything but the armada in the distance. Tradition. He's called it a tradition. The tradition to run away. The tradition to give up—to run and save meself. But I've realized today that it's not always about meself. Sometimes, just sometimes, it has to be about others.

"I've never been one for tradition…" I say, half-dazed and half- hoping. The Dutchman should have come back up by now. It should have a new captain, William will surely be on our side and he will help us overtake the Endeavour. Beckett will never see it coming, he doesn't know that Jones is gone—he's all about business, he knows nothing of loyalty. Not that I'm much one to talk, but hey, I'm learning. Either way, he's predicting dishonesty on my part, but not Jones—he thinks he still has leverage on Jones.

He's not countin' on an honest captain when it comes to the Dutchman. But, should the blasted ship surface….any time now, William, by all means…that's exactly what Beckett's going to get. A good man—a good pirate. I only hope that losing my immortality was worth it. He's taking too long. What to do if it doesn't work, how to get out of it, where are my blasted advice-giving body doubles when I need them….?

Once again, I hear the faint buzzing of Barbossa telling the others to sail away from the armada and all I can think to do is shout out to the crew to belay the orders. Will he ever shut up? No one thinks I have a plan, no one has any idea what's going on and I don't have the time nor the patience to disclose that information just yet.

"Belay! Belay! Stow! Stow! SHUT IT!"

They're infuriating.

Wait. Is that? It is. The Dutchman is resurfacing on the horizon. I cast a quick glance at Elizabeth, who has been silent ever since we got back on the Pearl. She is looking to the Dutchman with bloodshot, yet hopeful, eyes. I feel me heart twist inside me, hoping that everything has worked out, for her sake as well as me own. The water is running down the sides of the decrepit ship now—all that's left is to make sure they have the proper captain.

I can't see what's going on, the Pearl is too far away, but the voice is unmistakable. I hear young Turner call out to his crew to be ready on the guns—he is the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. I cast another quick glance in Elizabeth's direction and I see her face light up. I, too, cannot hide my smile as I realize we can take the next step in the plan of action.

"Full canvas!" I yell to the crew. They immediately respond, and I know that Barbossa has finally caught on. We immediately begin to make our way to the Endeavour, parallel with the Dutchman. How I wish I could see the look on Beckett's face.

As we surround the Endeavour, I give the order to fire without even attempting to mask my satisfaction and pleasure. The cannons begin on both sides—the enemy doesn't even attempt to fire back. Watching the cannons blow into the ship my mind begins to wander. I know the battle will be won—once the armada sees their flagship sink beneath the water, they will not want to fight. We have won a battle that seemed impossible an hour ago.

An hour ago. Everything was different an hour ago. I feel like an entirely different breed of being. Everything was going according to plan. I got the heart. I had the heart in me hand. But I wanted Jones to know what I was doing. I wanted to see him when he realized his time was up. I made my way to him, stopping short when I observed the scene before me. Will was on the ground to my left and Elizabeth lay to the right, both seemingly unable to move and attempting once again to communicate wordlessly with each other. Unfortunately, Jones saw it. He could recognize it, and I knew that he would take the opportunity to mock them.

I knew the moment was coming, but I knew I had to wait for the opportune one. I saw him hobble to Will and ask him if he feared death, and I knew my time had come.

"Do you?" I asked simply. He turned quickly, and not even his tentacles could hide the shock in his face. I relished it, knowing that I was about to become immortal. Invincible.

"Heady tonic," I said, "Holding life and death in the palm of one's hand." I smiled, holding the broken blade inches above Jones' beating heart.

He called me a cruel man. He had no retaliation. He knew his time was up. Checkmate. There was nothing he could do.

"Cruel," I said as I prepared myself for the blow, "is a matter of perspective."

"Is it?"

I began to laugh to meself as the blade made its way towards the heart. But then, most unexpectedly, Jones turned his back to me and drove a sword directly into William Turner's heart.

My breath caught in me throat. It changed everything. There were no coherent thoughts in my head, just fragments. I couldn't stop them. I had no idea what to do.

Will. Heart. Stabbed. He's stabbed him. He's dying. Heart. Beating, it's still beating. The right thing. The moment. Live. Live with meself. Will. Dying. Me. Living. Will—Living? Live. He could stab—but then—I can't be—but Elizabeth…they love each other. So close. I was so close. I could have…but now…heart. Decide. Do the right thing. The right thing. Time's run out.

I heard Elizabeth's voice echo in my head.

"You'll want to know what it tastes like…."

"You're a good man…"

It had to be this way, I knew it. Jones thought me to be dishonest—he counted on it. He let himself get distracted. I quickly made my way over to Elizabeth and Will. She was crouching over him, sobbing and trying to keep him awake. It had to be that moment. I made eye contact with her and she suddenly recognized what I was about to do. Will was too weak to grab the hilt, so I picked his hand up off the deck and helped him hold it. I knew he had seconds left, so I quickly helped him plunge the blade into the beating heart.

There was no time to dwell on my decision, no time to wish I had done differently. Deep down, though, I felt a warmth spread within me—I had done the right thing. I knew I had. I also knew that Elizabeth and I had to get off the ship as quickly as possible. I pried her away from Will's limp form and pulled her away with me to safety.

And now, here we are. The battle is won. I hear Marty call out that the armada is turning away, and I look to confirm it. Indeed they are. I allow Gibbs to throw my hat, and once again, I cannot hold back me smile.

"…Now go and get it." Now me smile is a smirk, and I breathe a sigh of relief. After the initial hubbub, I notice the crew readying the dingy for Elizabeth. She must bid a painful farewell to young Turner before he begins his duty, and she will not see him for ten long years. I frown slightly, wishing that the plan would have gone accordingly, but then again, had it not been altered we would have lost Will forever. I know she knows that as much as I do, but I know it must still be unbearable.

As per tradition, the crew lines up to bid farewell to Elizabeth as she crosses to the dingy. I waltz over to the rail and wait, determined to have the last word. I hear Barbossa address her pointedly as "Mrs. Turner."

They got married? When did that happen? It seems I did make the right decision then. Lord knows what Elizabeth would have done if she lost her husband before her wedding night. She told me once how badly she wanted to be married, there'd be no living with her if it didn't work out. Luckily, it will—to an extent.

Suddenly she is before me, and she pauses to say goodbye. I open my mouth to make some witty remark, but she beats me to it.

"It would never have worked out between us."

Full of surprises, that Miss Swann. Or Captain Swann. Or is it Captain Turner now? That's just confusing. I can't do anything but smirk.

"Keep tellin' yourself that, love."

I am thankful she resorted to something light and unemotional. It keeps the brevity of the situation at bay, something that I have never been good at dealing with is scenes of emotion. I feel like I am going to get off free and clear, but then I see a different look pass across her eyes.

Suddenly, I see Elizabeth Swa—Turner in an entirely different light. I've grown fond of her, I hate to admit. She's infuriating and insufferable and, one thing that kills me to say, she's right: she told me once that she and I are very much alike, and it's true. She's always right. I've grown to respect her, and, now that she's married to an immortal captain whom she won't get to see for awhile, I'm going to have to look out for her. Not that she needs it, o'course. But someone's got to make sure she doesn't crash her new ship into some…who knows.

She comes toward me for a hug, but I can't resist getting the last word in. Plus, like I said, I don't do well with scenes of emotion.

"Once was quite enough," I say as I put up both my hands. She smiles and takes a step back before taking a deep breath and simply saying "Thank you."

It's a loaded thank you. Deep down, I know she's thanking me for a lot. For saving Will's life. For saving her own. I think about the times I've seen her in distress recently and I can almost forget that she killed me. Almost. I saw the look on her face when she realized her father had been killed, I saw her despair, and I knew, without consciously realizing it, that she could not survive without Will. That's why I knew it was the right thing. Instinct. It's what we pirates pride ourselves on. She needs him, and she deserves a chance to be with him, even if it's only once out of every ten years.

There's more than one way to live forever. I can figure that out on me own later. But at least now I know that my conscience is clear—that I can live with meself forever.