Disclaimer: *sniffles* Well…no matter how much I wish or beg…they still won't give me the rights to PotC…*sigh* Maybe I'll just have to wait for Christmas and ask Santa…
(a.k.a. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the fangirl)
Chapter 1: Corsets and Rum
"Another horizon…another sunset." Breathing in slowly, the words felt somehow…cold on my lips. It was odd, as the Caribbean was generally a very cheery, exciting place. But it mattered not, a grin tugged at my mouth and I lowered my gaze from the setting sun to the polished deck far below.
Grabbing hold of the sea worn rope to my left, I set my booted foot on the railing of the crow's nest and relinquished my body to the air. I slid down in a flurry, grinning as the wind blew through my hair and ruffled my clothing about, tickling my skin as it rushed by. Landing on the deck, I softened my smile and strode towards the helm, nodding at my crew, who were either scrubbing, mopping, or keeping their eyes on the wide blue expanse surrounding them. It was a calming feeling, having my white shirt whip about me, the air cooling my skin and hiding the small sheen of sweat likely there from today's exertion. The only negative was that the wind caused my hair to frolic about my face; it was just long enough to land in my grinning mouth. My black pants barely stayed on my nearly non-existent hips, and without my belt, would have fallen off without too much effort.
I guess, reflecting on it, that I don't look as I ought to. Well, being a woman and all. My only recognizable trait, as far as I could tell, was the ever-so-slight curves that showed through my aging shirt. But I kept myself bound everyday, as a force of habit, and as a precaution, incase some Redcoat or enemy came looking for 'Captain Ken'.
I grinned madly as I reached the railing, leaning my waist against it, and let my eyes take in the immensity of the ocean, my balance keeping me from falling over or hurting meself.
Here, I am free. No one can tell me what to do, where to go, or how to act, or look. The ocean is freedom, the Dilettante is freedom.
A few of my tawny locks dared a treacherous mission, to do battle with my eyes and mouth. My only response was to blow on them lazily, glad when a strong gust of salty sea air returned, blowing my hair back to it's proper place: out of my way.
This is where I belong. The open sea.
With a bout of delight, I spun away from the railing and twirled for a moment.
How nice it would be for a skirt to sway about me…
What was that? How did that enter my mind?
I shook my head and hoped my delirious brain would regain its senses. That settled, I tapped my foot, knowing that I had a task in mind…but what was it?
"Now…where were we headed?" I wondered to myself aloud. "Oh yes, Grenada!"
I hurried back to the helm and checked the compass. The ever-present grin regained its place and I allowed it; the Dilettante was still on the right course. My gaze drifted over to the small lad holding the helm steady. The grin widening, I clapped the young pirate on the shoulder.
"Good work, lad, keep 'er straight for a while longer."
"Thank ye, Cap'n," the lad grinned.
It took me a moment to take my eyes off him. He had only been on board for a few weeks…and this would be his first docking with us…
So, with only one thing left to do, I set my hands on my hips and put on a stern expression, perhaps looking about as feminine and powerful as I possibly could. Though I don't generally hear the two words together that often. "Just remember to call me 'Pierre' on shore, lad. Savvy?"
He nodded and his smiled broadened. "Yessir! I won't forget, Cap'n!"
"That's the spirit!" The grin returned and I began my jaunt to the other end of the ship, surveying the crew hard at work.
I need rum…
Desperately, desperately need rum…
Letting out a sigh, I found the desire to fill the Black Pearl entirely with rum immeasurably tempting. We were nearly to Grenada, but the rum…
Letting my head rest on the crook of my arm it was difficult not to either drift off to sleep or let the insanity take me.
And to think that one day prior, I was up to my arms in rum…or was that last month? Sighing again, I mumbled angrily to myself about a lack of rum.
"Cap'n, we are ready to dock." Anamaria said from behind me, not so cheery to make me jump, but not quite quiet enough to let me continue to drift off.
So, I lifted my head and nodded. I needed a long vacation…with just some rum and I. "Make sure ye all 'ave ye proper shares of the loot, and then I'll be seein' ye all back 'ere in a week."
"A whole week, Cap'n?" she inquired.
I grinned. "An extra reward for the hard work ye've all been doing." No need to seem too cheery about it all, so I replaced the grin instantly with a stern expression. "Now off with ye, scallywag."
"Aye, Cap'n," I caught a flash of Anamaria's teeth when she smiled and then went back down to the crew.
Now…about that rum…
It was time for Kendra, the scrawny Captain of the Dilettante, to become Pierre, the small French cabin boy of the aforementioned ship. A grin was ever-present as I hurried down to my cabin and I closed the door tightly behind me, locking it as well. I was no fool, and there had been a few too many close calls to my 'decency', whether my crew intended the offense or not.
After stripping down to just my wrap and pants, I dared a glance towards the mirror that stood beside my wall.
The image I saw was beautiful. A bit rough around the edges yet, but still it shined and gleamed even in the gloom of my cabin.
The mirror, that is.
Me on the other hand…I saw little beauty in the scrawny girl that stood before me. Nearly three and twenty, yet I still didn't look a day over thirteen. And that was for a cabin boy, not a woman, be she pirate or noble.
But it was still very pretty…
Yes, the mirror again.
I couldn't believe my luck when the merchant ship I'd raided a few years back had the enormous mirror just sitting there…in plain view! Well, I did have to go all the way down to the captain's cabin, but it was still free for the taking. The captain had the audacity to bring his wife along; I guess she fancied looking at herself.
A small scowl came onto my face as I turned and looked at my profile.
Not that she didn't have reason to like how she looked. At least she had some kind of bust.
Looking down at mine, you'd have hardly figured that I was a girl. But no need to be foolish, so I rewrapped myself, used to the slight tingling sensation as I pulled the cloth tight around my meager female assets. Tying it securely, my mind wandered to my crew's reactions to my proposition of hiding myself as a boy instead of having to reiterate that I, indeed, was a woman pirate captain. My first mate would play the illustrious Captain Ken, and I would watch from the backgrounds, the humble cabin boy Pierre. No one would be the wiser and there wouldn't be quite so much mockery as we got supplies. Plus the redcoats would have so many contradictory rumors about us that they'd never be able to tell which one of us was the real captain. The plan was foolproof…I was just lucky enough to have my first mate be named Kenneth.
But getting back to their reaction…they had all seemed puzzled at first, but laughed a bit, and then as I demonstrated my cabin-boy-act, they did agree that I could bamboozle all but the quickest pirate. The redcoats would definitely be fooled though. I laughed alongside them, ignoring the small pangs for some kind of advice…I suppose a part of me even then wished to be seen as the least bit of what I truly was.
I may look like a boy, well, all but a bit of me at least, but I had a woman's insides. I had a heart, a mind that was still feminine in aspects. Though I suppose my pirate adoptive parents had taken efforts not to leave vestiges of the girl I could've become under other circumstances.
Reflecting more, I suppose it would be worse to look like a boy in high society than on the open sea. Here, I could still prove my salts, and not be disregarded if my hips would be too small to handle giving birth.
A shudder ran down my spine. That womanly responsibility could be left to the noblewomen. I had no desire to see my girth grow so large…nor have to go through the actual process of birth.
But enough of those nauseating thoughts.
I carefully looked over my image. All seemed to be in order. My thin, scraggly hair was held in a loose, low ponytail by a thin black ribbon. My tattered tricorn hat sat jauntily on my head and was just a bit too large, as if I had inherited the poor thing from a father-like figure.
I tightened my belt and checked over my small cutlass' sheath, pulling out the blade and executing a few quick moves before sheathing it, and quickly checking over my pistol. With all that accomplished, I glanced over my bland quarters.
Looks manly enough. Captain Ken's a vain Cap'n.
A smirk replaced my usual grin for a moment as I kept my gaze in the mirror.
But who would dare deny Captain Ken that?
So, with a pivot and a spring in my step, I unlocked my door and headed out, ready to greet Grenada as one of the small cabin boys that manned the Dilettante, the speedy ship of the illustrious Captain Ken.
A beautiful sight greeted me as I reached the deck…there stood Kenneth McKillings, my first mate. Now, there was the image of what a proper pirate captain should look like.
Tall, with a lean, muscular build, deep blue eyes that could turn wild like the sea when enraged, an attractive face, darkly tanned skin, and of course, his dark hair looked regal even after the longest periods of time without washing.
Even now, he took my breath away. But I quickly regained it and smiled, bowing slightly to him, tipping my hat as well. "Ye look fine today, Cap'n Ken."
"As do you, Pierre," the corner of his mouth moved up ever so slightly.
Kenneth was so serious, but I had found a way to break down his wall and make him smile, even laugh on occasion. But I suppose it was beneficial for the Dilettante to have a serious captain in the face of the public…though the ship's own name fit my personality better.
Holding back a sigh, I flashed him an impish smile. His droll expressions really could get irritating after a time…but he still was one of the most attractive men I had seen.
But I suppose, being on a ship for most of your life rather limits the number of men you can see.
Either way, Kenneth was a pleasant sight, to say the least. But he kept his keep as well. He could run up the sails as good as anyone else, and was quite handy with a cutlass or sword.
I suppose my preference of the cutlass came from the fact that I was more familiar with it. I'd only handled a sword a few times, but if things became rough, I would be able to use a sword just as well. My hand would be a bit more shaky, and my strokes a bit less confident, but nothing more.
Sadly, there had been little true competition for the past few years. Either all the swordsman were dead, or had retired. So, it was left to the amateurs and myself. It made plundering a bit easier, but the sword play was so droll…
Either way, I found it a joy to be able to go into port. Going to the land was a rare treat that I thoroughly enjoyed. There was no doubt that I was in love with the sea, but a change of scenery was always pleasant, especially a change in diet. French cuisine wasn't the best thing I'd eaten, but I'd eat it before I'd even think about touching the hard tack that ended up being our staple most of the time.
Keeping my smile at Kenneth, an odd thought-desire-like thing came into being…I wanted…
What was it that I wanted?
I found my body longing to be closer to him…
To breathe in his scent…
To have him smile at me…not just from a joke I made, but from something else…
I chased the invading thoughts away.
Besides, he surely wasn't attracted to me; why would I ever feel the need to do the least bit to be attractive to him?
Kenneth liked the women who wore frilly dresses and giggle and swoon. I doubt anyone would look at me straight if I attempted to act like that. I don't look like a proper woman, nor a proper man.
Just to spite my strange desires, I'd more than likely do more harm to myself physically if I dared to be 'feminine'. All those dresses? Those layers of stifling material in this weather? The corsets?
The vindictive being that created those torture devices should be keelhauled.
I would have no qualms whatsoever in executing the task. Be they man or woman.
A woman? Why in the world would a woman make such a thing…let alone release it to the public?
A shudder ran down my spine at the thought.
Walking over to the railing and waiting to finish coming to port, the thought of wearing anything more than a loose shirt and some pants, boots, and possibly a vest, made me shudder again.
Why had I gone onto this train of thought anyway? Oh yes, my odd reaction to Kenneth's masculine presence.
There's no need to worry anyway. I shouldn't care. I don't need a man, I have the Dilettante and my crew.
Letting out a sigh, I let my mind drift back to when I had first become a Captain…
After having to suffer the people on port mocking me time and time again for being the Captain, yet still looking like a small lad…I had made up my mind to prove to my crew in my actions - if I could not do it in appearance - that I was Captain, and deserved that title.
Because of this, and other factors I suppose, my crew respected me. They still do. A smile came back and I scanned them over quickly.
I had proved myself many a time in battle, and not one of my crew attempted to second guess my authority after our first fight.
My hand tightened on my cutlass' handle. All feared my swordsmanship. My cutlass had seen better days, but I was just as ruthless, if not more so, than any other pirate out there.
My training had been impeccable. Mainly because I had mastered sailing so quickly, so there was plenty of time for me to practice. My teachers were masters of their craft, and I always felt safe under their tutelage.
Another plus…my small size, agility, and quick footwork kept me far ahead of the competition. I hadn't even suffered a scratch since my learning days. And that was an impressive repertoire.
Feeling a swell of pride grow in me, I smiled broader. I was a good captain, not so lenient as to allow them to grow lazy and weak, but not so harsh as to work them to death.
After helping with the docking, I bade farewell to my crew, and my 'Cap'n', finding myself on the streets of Grenada. I had dearly missed this place…but I knew if I stayed more than a week…I would miss the Dilettante with a ferocity unknown to land-folk.
A few ladies passed - of course dressed in the most modern French fashion, which was better than English…which brought us the dreadful corset - and I smiled, tipped my hat, and gave out compliments in impeccable French. The younger of the few smiled and thanked me, while the elder women scoffed and looked away.
I suppose a filthy cabin boy's words don't impress them much. And I hadn't even said anything offensive either. Just a polite 'You look lovely today', and the like.
I suppose French was a skill unheard of in the majority of the pirating world…the majority of pirates didn't bother with the language, and dealt with trade in the best way possible. They either hired a crew member from a French-speaking area, or fumbled their way through it.
My crew was different. Both my first and second mate - by my strong persuasion - were versed enough in French to trade and get by rather well. Even then, certain situations had arisen at times, so as a habit I came along with the trading, to lend my assistance as 'Pierre' whenever necessary. Though I was tempted at times, I had learned to wait for 'Cap'n Ken's' command before I assisted.
Oh look, a lovely little tavern! I do think that I will go in…haven't had a drink in a while. Been too busy on the Dilettante and all…