Disclaimer: As always - Characters belong to whosoever international law says they do, which for most of them certainly isn't me and I'm content

For those who might be offended - I don't share the view that the becoming the captain of the dutchman means becoming a god or all seeing, if that was the case then Jones would never have become what he did. I therefore don't assume that Will became a god or that he lost his human flaws and tendencies.........

Only a matter of time

It had been ten years of waiting and of painful lessons. Ten years as a man trapped in the world of the immortals; of ferrying those passing on and not being able to go either forward or backward himself.

Ten years of harvesting the time and tragedy and stupidity of humanity, but seeing no more of the whys and wherefores; of knowing the excuses but still not understanding the reasons. Ten years of mortal immortality, of growing pains that should have been spent on things far more forgiving and less important and than the ferrying of the dead. Ten years of disillusion and grief, only rarely leavened with joy, of wanting and needing and knowing there was no way of getting back to where he came from. No way of resuming his own life's journey.

Only the promise of the one day that was waiting for him kept Will going, that and the stocky, never failing, shadow of his father at his shoulder. A debt that had to be repaid and Bill Turner did not stint in the repaying of it.

Yet Bill Turner also knew that it was only a matter of time, for no mortal could sail these waters unchanged, however much he might lock his heart away. Not when life called him back everyday. In the end that one glorious day would not be enough. On that far shore all answers might lie but they never made that shore and they remained what they always had been, men, fallible and vulnerable. Bill Turner knew that Will was no different to the man that Jones had once been, the loss of his love and all he had dreamed, of would work the same poison eventually, even if she remained true. One day there would be recrimination and resentment, one day there would come anger and loss that could not be turned away. One day the corruption would begin.

Each time the sun fell he looked for the changes that would speak of the doom of them all, so far he had not found them but in his heart he knew that it was only a matter of time.

Then came that second day, when the sunset flared green, the day the Dutchman forsook her native waters to return to the land of the living to give her captain his reward. Bill watched in trepidation, the fear growing within him as he realised that there were two figures waiting on the cliffs, and one of them was a child. His heart felt as if it were breaking, for he knew the significance of that small figure for them all.

Just ten years passed and already time had run out.

As Will clasped his wife in his arms, as he bent to give his child that first caress, Bill Turner felt the tremor run through the ship and knew that the Dutchman had felt the change. The heart of her captain was still beating within the chest in which they had placed it that battle day ten years ago, but no part of it belonged to the ship or the duty any more. Once there had been room enough, now there was not, now another had taken its place. The time had come and it would doom them all.

As he watched his son disappear up the cliff path with the two who had waited for him, he wished, for the first time since they had found each, other never to see him again; wished for him to be free, released to the mortal coil that should have been his destiny. Wished that they had not taken his heart for the Dutchman.

As the figures faded from his view he remembered that it hadn't always been this way. There had been a time when the Dutchman sailed without a heartless captain, when she had sailed to a man's command and still been whole. When the duty had been done without a heart locked in a chest. Nothing but Davy Jones hatred of his failed love had changed since that time, and Jones was gone. It must be possible for it to be so again. It must be.

It had been a long time since Bill Turner had prayed to any god, he wasn't sure he remembered how, or even that he had the right, but for his son he would try.

"He's done enough, the time is come. Let him go, let there be another way."

All through the long dark night and the brightness of the day he kept up his silent prayer. Though he wasn't sure to whom it was that he prayed. The crew watched the shore nervously, feeling the unease in the ship, knowing that something was passing, that danger stalked them once again. As the sun's rays dropped low across the sea, Bill Turner saw his son standing at the shore with his wife and son, felt the grief and anger rolling out towards him. Knowing that the time was come and it would destroy them all, drag them back to the pit of Jones creating. In despair he laid his head upon the Dutchman's wheel, closed his eyes and pleaded as he had never done before,
"Please."

The sun sank, the sky flashed green, and the shore was gone.

Bill Turner felt the ship move and sighed, but he remained leaning against the wheel, head hung, knowing that he had failed. William had been torn from his wife and child, his heart surely ripped apart in the parting, and it could only be a matter of time before the creeping corruption began again.

So taken was he with his sense of loss and guilt that it was a moment or two before he realised that the faint beat that had always been in the sound of the Dutchman was gone. The sound of her living heart was stilled. Yet the ship did not feel unhappy or lost, and when he raised his eyes it was see the calm expanse of the eternal sea, the lamps of the soul boats beginning to emerge from the fog.

"So it was you then."
A familiar voice came from behind him. Bill Turner raised his head to face equally familiar eyes.
"Jack!"
"Aye, Jack. It's you I've got to thank for this then is it?"
"To thank for what Jack?"
"For pointing out what was always there to be seen by those who weren't too blind to look."
Jack Sparrow uncrossed his arms and sauntered across the deck to stand beside the wheel,
"For asking for what was always there to be asked for, provided the right person was doin' the asking and in the right way."
"Asked?"
"Aye asked. You did ask did you not? Asked that things could be as they were before Jones betrayed Calypso? That William could be free."
"That I did." He looked around him searching for his son, of whom there was no sign, He turned back to meet Jack Sparrow's narrowed eyed glare, "Where's William?"
"Not among us." Jack snapped.

It dawned upon Bill Turner that no soul boat had been picked up since they had returned. He frowned in confusion,
"Why are you here? How are you here?"
Jack sighed, and shot him a sideways look.
"Ah! So you didn't know, should have realised that would be the case. Like your son it seems, never did think things through properly."
He placed his hand upon the wheel,
"As the Dutchman appeared in a flash of green before me very nose and spirited me from a most enjoyable, if wearing, spat with that female spawn of the devil that goes by the name of Anamaria, to this deck, I am forced to conclude that I have been press ganged mate."
"You're to be the captain of the Dutchman?"
"So it seems."

Bill Turner grinned as he had never grinned in his life and clapped his erstwhile captain on the shoulder,
"That's wonderful! Is this Calypso's doing?"
Jack gave a shark's smile,
"Doubt it mate, she had different plans for me. But there are others, those that even she is powerless against. Savvy? Seems that the power of prayer is not to be underestimated." He cast a worried frown towards the decks, "Which is of itself a worryin' thought. Givin' what some people might pray for where I'm concerned."
He gave Bill a long hard look,
"It was prayin' you did I hope? I've no desire to find meself like Hector."
Bill nodded almost shamefaced,
"Aye I prayed." He shrugged, "but I didn't think there was much that could be done."

A thought shook him and he reached out to grasp Jack's shoulder,
"But what of Will, where is he?"
"With his dearly beloved and their whelp of course. Ship left with him still on the shore."
"But his heart Jack?"
Jack shivered slightly and looked out towards the soul boats now closing on them, Bill remembered that Jack had never been over fond of the sight, or thought, of blood, anyone's blood.
"Back where it belongs I suppose, I'm sure these things have a way of working themselves out. If you lot," he swept a hand to indicate the gawping crew, "could cut it out and him still stand at the helm then no doubt it can find it's way back to where it should be."

Bill Turner stared at his new captain with shadowed eyes,
"But how Jack? Will stabbed the heart of Davy Jones, the duty is his. What happens to us and the ship if he is gone?"
Jack shrugged
"Don't know mate, suppose that depends. But think on this, who was it that put the heart into William's hand eh? Who's sword was it that stabbed it?"
He turned and met Bill's look with a slight smile and serious eyes,
"Who was it who held his enfeebled and lifeless arm, whose strength was it that brought that arm and hand down to pierce Jones heart? William was beyond doin' it for himself mate, it was his hand around the hilt 'tis true, but my arm that drove it down."
He shook his head setting the silver beads shimmering,
"I knew it that day, knew that it was just a matter of time. I might have left the locker but I hadn't escaped, I knew that sooner or later she'd come for me. Was all a matter of time, and finding the opportune moment."
"Opportune moment?"
Jack smiled as the first soul boat came alongside the Dutchman,
"When the right person asked."