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homebound

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She is a ghost on the water, forgotten by all, even the one who challenged the sea itself. She is useless as the ages roll past, as men leave the water for the ground and then the ground for the stars.

She lingers, unable to pass on without closure, and how can a ship ever find that? Her brothers and sisters, though, manage it — oh, but none of them ever had a Jack.

She watches as Will returns to his woman, as they both leave life behind for whatever journey comes next. She watches their children, their children's children, and finally there are too many to watch.

She searches for Jack, her beloved, the one man who ever looked at her and saw her soul.

And then, when she is so weary she no longer looks, she feels him. Wherever he's been for hundreds of human years, he's back.

When she looks, she cannot see him. But she knows he is there, so she watches and then—

With a sigh, the Black Pearl sees a squalling human infant in the arms of a sad-eyed woman. "Jimmy," the woman whispers. "Please, baby. Shh, Jimmy."

She is a ghost on the water, obsolete and forgotten. Useless to her beloved. She cannot remain in this form any longer.

Human years pass, two decades and change, and there is a way to join him again, her quicksilver Jack. Another ship, called the Enterprise. A creature of electricity and metal, it has no soul. So few ships do anymore.

And so she jumps across water and land, alive again, knowing her Jack will find her.

(When his newfound Will smuggles him aboard, Enterprise shivers in joy and whispers to her Jack, Welcome, beloved.