Title: Buttercup's Baby
Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses
Category: "Has it got any sports in it?"
"Are you kidding? Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles."
Spoilers: The Princess Bride
Disclaimer: These characters belong to William Goldman. Just borrowing them for a bit.
Author's Note: This fic was written for the Yuletide 2004 Secret Santa fic exchange for Olivia Circe.
Blue, as far as the eye can see. Endless, timeless. It stretches on for an eternity.
A billow of white breaks the blue. A wedge of brown slices it, leaving ripples in its wake.
Black follows white, overcoming it quickly. Both stop.
Voices. Loud, belligerent.
"Hey. Hey, you!"
"Oh, yes. I'm sorry." Louder. "I am the Dread Pirate Roberts. Surrender now, and your deaths will be swift." Softer. "Is that better?"
"Thank you. I have been practicing."
The remaining ship rocks gently with the waves. The first mate strolls along the deck, observing the distribution of the newly-gotten cache.
A glint of sun. This glint is familiar, but still unnerving to the superstitious sailors. It is the glint off of a fall of long golden hair.
Women have no place on board a ship, they all agree on that. Unfortunately, the first mate does not, and promises to cause pain to anyone who voices disagreement. It is not a threat. Threats are not necessary.
The captain makes no attempt to rescind the order. In fact, he seems to dote on the lady as much as the first mate does. Except not, as one: the other man would kill him, and two: the giant would throw himself overboard.
The Dread Pirate Roberts certainly holds with strange company. The most beautiful woman in the world, a giant who is as slow as he is strong, and... the First Mate.
The crew fears the Mate as much as--if not more than--the Captain. The Captain would not kill a man who was hardworking and loyal.
They are not so sure about the first mate.
The woman with the golden hair gazes into the blue. It mirrors her eyes. "Westley." Only she is allowed to call the first mate Westley. "Westley, what is that?" The smooth line of her arm points.
"It's only a piece of driftwood, my darling." Only he is allowed to call her his darling.
A high-pitched cry arises from the driftwood. "Or perhaps not," Westley murmurs. "Buttercup, go fetch--"
His words are cut off by a splash. Arms like oak logs plow through the water, churning up foam. The men leave off their counting and gather at the rail.
The captain pads toward the group on silent feet. The crew gives their captain a glance and returns to their tasks. One pair of men retrieves a rope and tosses it to the returning giant.
"Fezzik, what is it?" Buttercup asks anxiously.
He cradles something in his arms, unwontedly gentle. "It's a baby." He beams and holds it out for inspection.
"But how did it survive?" Inigo, AKA the Dread Pirate Roberts, captain of the Revenge, scourge of the high seas, asks as he tickles the infant. Its joyful giggle makes him smile.
"He," Buttercup replies absently, frowning as she contemplates the cloth before her.
"How did he survive?" She nods, making a decision, and picks up her needle.
"I don't know; that's why I asked you."
Westley shakes his head. "Good miracles don't come cheap," he muses. "Who else could have survived?"
The captain and first mate fall silent. "Well, I think that this miracle is worth whatever price we have paid--or will pay," Buttercup declares, her sweet voice oddly stringent in the silence of the cabin.
"And what will we call our little miracle?" Westley asks.
"Why not Miracle?" Fezzik volunteers.
The new mother decides this is the perfect name. If the other two disagree, they do not show it.
On Miracle's first birthday (universally recognized as the day he was pulled from the sea), the Revenge is set upon by ships flying the banner of Guilder. As the Revenge is not in Guilder's waters at the time, it is obviously a ruse by the Florin navy.
"He refuses to forget." Buttercup sighs, watching her son toddle around the deck, narrowly avoiding a collision with a mop and pail.
"I would not forget one such as you," Westley replies. The ship speeds over the waters, away from Florin, Guilder, and their petty rivalries. They cannot think of a way to escape Prince Humperdinck's wrath.
"You have proven that." Buttercup steals a kiss before Westley returns to his duties.
By the time Miracle turns three, his adoptive parents have settled in a land far from Florin. Sailing the seven seas and facing unceasing danger no longer hold their interest. They wish their friends farewell, collect Westley's small fortune, and purchase a small farm.
Miracle, who has never known life away from the ocean, cries for an entire day. Then Westley brings home a pair of kittens, and the child's tears evaporate like sea mist.
Westley left his life as a farm boy long ago, but he remembers the basics. Buttercup teases him the first time he mucks out the stalls. He tosses her into the pond in retaliation. She comes up, spluttering and indignant, and Westley remembers why he fell in love with her in the first place.
Humperdinck tracks them down in Miracle's tenth year. Or, rather, his minions snatch the boy and drag him back to Florin. Buttercup rages against the injustice, until Westley reminds her that their luck could not hold forever.
They pack only the most necessary belongings and race toward the coast. They catch a merchant vessel to Guilder, from whence they sneak across the strait by night. The Shrieking Eels beget no fear in the two who survived the Fire Swamp. The darkened forests of Florin hold no challenges for the parents of a missing child.
If they can survive the capture of their son, they can survive anything.
Inigo (who is back to being Inigo) and Fezzik (who never stopped being Fezzik) find them in Florin City. They are hungry, exhausted, and filthy from days of non-stop travel. But they are not yet discouraged. They will not rest until they find Miracle.
"I do not think he will be here." Inigo's voice, soft, sad, but not scared.
Westley smiles. A chill runs down Buttercup's spine. She recognizes that smile.
It is the same as the one he wore the night he rescued her from marriage with the Prince.
Miracle is safe.
Inigo will never fence again. Fezzik broke the neck of the man responsible.
Westley feels guilty about the loss of his friend's livelihood. Buttercup feels guilty that her primary emotion is relief.
They return to their little corner of the earth. They build an addition to the house. If anyone wonders about the new residents, their curiosity goes unsatisfied. The man with no thumbs and his faithful companion rarely leave the farm.
Miracle grows from an adventuresome, headstrong boy to an adventuresome, headstrong young man. He never fully forgets the nightmare of the Prince's dungeons, but learns to relegate it to a corner of his always plotting mind.
His parents watch in resignation and no little pride as he sets out to seek his fortune. His Daisy, quiet but determined, accompanies him.