"When is it going to be?"
Yuna looks down. "Whenever he's ready. He just, wanted to--" say goodbye. "See you first."
Nita nods, sighs. "Yeah. We talked. Is -- would it be okay if I was there?"
They go out together.
The lake is almost completely iced over now, except for the patch around the pirate ship on the distant shore. She can see Jack standing behind the wheel of his ship, a tiny proud figure, almost inseperable from his ship. She's not thinking about the ice. She's not thinking about Nita, as she leaves the young wizard on the shore. She's not thinking about Jack, and how he may feel about her hereafter. She's in the moment, completely present in the present.
She takes her first step out onto the ice, and then the next, slow and steady; as she walks forward, her sleeves and hair begin to stream backwards in a wind that doesn't stir the branches of the trees or the heavy drifts of snow around the out-buildings. It does bell out the sails and rigging of the Pearl, though, and Jack Sparrow's innumeral beads and braids rattle with hers, and the flames of the candles and torches burning aboard flare silver-white.
(The lamp Merriman gave the pirate burns steady and unchanging, but somehow brighter, casting all else into mortal shadows.)
She can feel the lights beneath the ice, although she isn't looking down; spots of drifting color shining up, hazy with the refraction. Ed is circling, circling, as he always has, and with each pass he is diminished, a little more of that vital light released. It trickles out into the substance of the lake, but more and more of it is with her, following her, a pathway of light behind her as she steps out.
(And from the rails, and the decks, and the masts, and the rigging, and the wheel, and the tips of Jack's hair, light begins to rise as well; St. Elmo's fire.)
Step by step, and now the dance begins, the slow, dreamy passes of her hands and the graceful sweep of her staff, the twirl and pomp and circumstance of the ancient funeral rite. The pyreflies swirl and dance with her and the shadowy reflection matching her step for step in the ice.
She begins to pick up speed, reaching out into the infinite. She's not sure if she'll be able to touch (Timeheart) the Farplane from here, and at first, she's not sure if she does feel it, but then--
(There's stark shadows on the snow, in the evening light, clean slices of black and white, and if there's a shape to them, a someone, Yuna doesn't see it. Because the door is open now, and it's just her, and him, and the dance, and--)
There's nothing beneath the ice now but a galaxy of light, turning and turning, and her boots move over the surface with a speed that should be impossible on the slick surface. The Black Pearl, now deeply stirred but still unmoved by the wind of the Farplane, anchored in dreams, is shining now, a three-dimensional sketch of a pirate ship in light and shadowy substance, red and yellow and blue and green and silver.
Voices on the wind call, siren calls of rest and open seas, beyond this closed horizon. For Jack and his ship, it's only a beckoning suggestion; for the Master Shark, an imperative, the call to die now as irrefutable as the call to feed and kill, the old, old call of blood in the water and distress on its way to being ended.
Cracks begin to form, the smooth ice splintering, and the waterspout rises up, lifting her on the frothing, shining surface of a pillar of water and light.The pyreflies begin to pass by her, no larger than usual but in the thousands, millions, and all for one spirit. She can feel him passing, the enormous, brutal, inhuman mind, cold and cunning and ancient and utterly different.
There are no regrets in him, but there is the weight of long, long memory and the responsibility of a role that has never been a role at all, and she shoulders it, however briefly, and the wake of his passing is staggering.
(you, young and never loving)
She's crying. She always cries.
(I, old and never loved)
She weeps for the Master Shark, and moment by moment, memory by memory, spark by spark, she sends him on into whatever deep seas lie beyond the mortal worlds. She's walked in the waters of the river whose headwaters border on that starry sea, in the Ninth Precinct of Death, and that's where she leaves him, to be carried by deep currents into the Heart of the Sea itself. Into Timeheart.
She walks back to the shore, leaving shining footprints on the briefly solid surface of the lake with every heavy step, and sinks to the ground there.
And that's that.