Title: "Will-O'-the-Wisp"
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean/Horatio Hornblower
Characters: William Turner, William Bush, (Elizabeth Swann mentions)
Pairings: Willx2
Written: 2 November 2009
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own PotC. If I had...Gillette would have come back, Groves would have been a decent character in AWE, and Norrington never would have been OOC in DMC. And then there's the issue of Norrington in AWE, too...
Spoilers: AWE, possibly some for the latter half of the Hornblower books.

Summary: Response to a challenge by Jack on Aztec Gold. The challenge was for a Will Turner/William Bush pairing (which is rather mild in this). Not an happy ending fic.

Notes: This story contains slash, so if you do not like that, then please, do not read it.

To the story....


The journey across the waters at world's end is at once both tranquil and fraught with peril. It is a dichotomy that puzzles very many, for while they may assume and say that once dead, it would only make sense for the wandering souls to by and large feel peace, and to be in an atmosphere that promotes such, the truth is, were not for the dangers then there would be little need for any to ferry the dead, or to escort them to their final harbour. One from which they would never return.

For those who are not native, or at least naturalized or accustomed to this in-between world, then it can be quite jarring to stand on a ship and see that the vessel rests upon a bed of glass, yet, somehow it tosses and heaves as if it were sitting upon the restless sea of the mortal realm.

The two occupants of the Captain's cabin on board the Flying Dutchman, had long since become used to such a bizarre state of affairs. They hardly blinked as cutlery would occasionally roll or move with the vessel. Apart from quietly eating their meal, there was little of note going on between the two, silent as, pardon the pun, the grave, as they were.

The taller of the two had a mop of curly brown hair, bereft of hat, and wore a naval coat that was already several decades out of style in the mortal realm. His blue eyes would ever so often lift up from the food they were gazing upon, and study the other man in the room. His clothing by comparison, was more out of style than his companion's, and looked more as if it belonged in an illustrated fantasy about the buccaneers of days of old. He wore his dark wavy hair swept back from his face by a green handkerchief, and his own dark eyes never once broke from where they seemed to stareā€”a point that was surely not in the same room as he.

There was an easy and affable silence between the two, one bred by many years of shared work and intimate quarters. The two did not often feel the need to engage in conversation, as after so many years, so little changes, and the topics for conversation dwindle, until everything has at last been said. Almost everything.

"You're quiet tonight."

Brown eyes focused on the man across from him, bringing the captain back to the present time and space.

"We're quiet nearly every night. What's on your mind?" he asked, bringing the silver utensil and its food to his mouth.

"You're not usually so distant," the officer observed.

The captain let something akin to a sombre smile grace his features, "I suppose not, Bush."

The officer, correct in his assumptions, was ready to let things lie as they were, if his Captain did not wish to discuss things further. Bush considered himself a man of few words, and as the years past, he had gone so far to the point that he almost never spoke unless addressed, or when orders needed to be given.

"I've been considering leaving," the Captain said.

Bush put his utensils down and leaned back in the chair to observe Will.

"Will you be able to leave?"

"I don't know," Will answered.

"You haven't tried," Bush said, a slight questioning tone to his sentence.

"The Flying Dutchman needs a captain," Will said, simply.

That presented a whole set of problems, Bush thought. Ones which he was sure Captain Turner was very much well aware of. As crewmen, they were free to leave the ship when they reached journey's end, and pass on with the others who they guided, but not so for the captain. Bush had been on long enough to learn the story behind Turner's ascension to captain, and a good amount of it came straight from the source.

"What happened to Captain Jones?" Bush asked, a question he hadn't held any curiosity as to its answer previously, but given their current thread of conversation, it was an answer that would have direct consequence upon any further actions.

"He's dead."

"But?" Bush prompted.

"Does he live on with the others?" Turner shook his head, "I do not know."

"You miss her," Bush said. Turner had never brought up his feelings for his wife, not unless prompted, and Bush in return hardly ever brought her up, knowing her to be a painful wound for his captain. He did what he could to distract his captain's dwellings on her.

"Without Elizabeth, or the chance to see her again, I am not sure there is much point in continuing," Turner said finally.

Bush looked away quickly, and then back, carefully avoiding the gaze of his captain.

"I am sorry we haven't found your friend," Turner said.

"It is of little consequence," Bush said, "I'm sure it means that he is happy."

"I wish Jack hadn't helped me stab Jones' heart. At least I would be with Elizabeth now. Not all of us aspire to his goals."

Bush nodded.

"To happy endings," Will said, solemnly.

"To ourselves," Bush said.

They both continued their food and drink in silence.