A/N: Hello all. Readers of Epic Sitch may recognize the protagonists of this story – Pim and Lon appeared in chapter 14 of ES.
KP:1776 is part of the Epic Sitch universe.
My thanks to campy for once again beta and proofreading.
Write a review, get a response.
If you saw it on KP, it belongs to Disney
"Lon! Stop playing around!" Priscilla Possible chided as her companion's breeches fell to the ground.
Zebulon Stoppabilski wondered just what his companion was thinking. "Pim! I cannot believe you thought I did that for fun," he said through chattering teeth as he gathered up his breeches. "'Tis freezing!"
His auburn-haired best friend tried to seem put out, but he could detect a note of fond amusement in her large green eyes. She reached and took his hand, blushing as she did so. "Come, Lon, we must be quick if we are to help!"
Lon was grateful to Pim's family for all they had done for him, the orphaned son of casualties of the French and Indian War. But he couldn't help but question the wisdom of sneaking behind British lines in the early, night-shrouded hours of the day after Christmas to steal a tree from drunken German mercenaries. Of course, the operation was not his idea; it was Colonel Possible who insisted that the diversion would be of great help to General Washington's surprise attack on Trenton. And when Pim insisted on participating in the mission, he joined her. If Pim was going into the field, there was no question that Lon would be by her side. The reason for that was simple – Lon loved the young woman.
He loved her spunk, her sense of adventure, her openness to the world, her beautiful hair and eyes. And he knew she loved him. Yet for all the change sweeping the world in 1776, a Christian girl from a family of the Possibles' standing was not going to be allowed to marry a poor Jewish boy. And since Pim's hand in marriage had already been offered to the local squire, a development that both Lon and Pim found highly objectionable, Lon wanted to spend every moment he could with her before she started her new life – even if it meant participating in a military operation on the coldest night in years.
Pim and Lon quietly made their way to the edge of the cluster of buildings. She turned, looking over her shoulder at her brown-eyed, straw-haired companion. Awkward, but loyal. Easily scared, yet willing to do anything to help her. Selfless. Funny. Happy to indulge her by calling her Pim, and not Priscilla, a name that she hated. Not classically handsome, but attractive in his own special way. Yes, Lon does have his charms, she thought. Especially those large but very cute ears! Pim suddenly found herself unable to stifle a giggle as her eyes focused on his ears. Lon was everything the squire was not. Pim so wished that she were marrying Lon. She knew they would be happy together. But, she reflected bitterly, the choice about her future had been taken out of her hands and made for her by her father. So she treasured every minute she could with her Lon.
She smiled, then hefted a rock that had been secured in hemp and attached to a rope over the eave of an outbuilding, made it fast, then began climbing. Lon quickly followed behind her.
Lon grabbed on to the rope that Pim had made fast and scaled the wall; where Pim had been a study in gracefulness, Lon was all gangly arms and legs, terrified that he'd plummet to the ground and give the two of them away. However, the idea of Pim being captured by drunken Hessians helped him steady himself. He took a deep breath and completed his ascent.
Pim brought a finger to her lips indicating that Lon should be quiet. He nodded his understanding. Following her lead was something he did with ease; Pim had a natural sense of command. She dropped into a crouch and slowly made her way along the peak of the roof; Lon followed behind her. The night air was bitterly cold, which gave them an advantage – none of the German mercenaries had any interest in standing guard outdoors on such an evening.
The young woman came to a sudden stop; Lon, surprised, bumped into her. Pim dropped down to the roof, facing Lon. They instinctively grabbed onto each other – and held on longer than necessary. For the briefest moment, their eyes locked, then they both flushed. Each already knew how the other felt. But this time something passed between them, breaching a wall they had unconsciously erected to protect themselves against disappointment.
They were exhilarated, yet terrified, knowing they both wanted something they believed impossible for them to have. At least, though, they had this moment and they were ready to surrender to their feelings. Pim sighed, closed her eyes, then confidently brought her lips to Lon's.
"Pim …" he said, feeling a joy and excitement unlike any he'd ever known before, as she broke the brief kiss.
"Let us finish this business with the King's soldiers, then we shall take stock of our situation," she said with assurance. "We shall find a way, together."
Lon nodded his agreement; if Pim said it was possible, then it was possible. As far as he was concerned, she could do anything.
Zin Possible led his small party of men into the compound from the opposite direction. Though his attention was on his objective, he could not help but worry about his daughter. It was only with the greatest of reluctance that he allowed Priscilla to participate in the raid. He only consented when he realized that she would come on her own anyway. He then quickly concluded that it was better to work her into the plans so she wasn't accidentally caught in any crossfire. Besides, truth be told, she could be an asset. Zin Possible knew that his daughter was a better shot than most of the men under his command.
Sometimes, the colonel didn't know what to make of his daughter's proficiency with a musket. There was something unnerving about her desire to do such unwomanly things as shoot, run through the woods, and climb. Her almost-wild behavior had scared away any number of suitors. It was only because Squire Mankey's first wife had died in childbirth that he had taken an interest in her; the local grandee sought a woman who could bear him an heir. True, the squire was significantly older than Priscilla. And the once handsome man had grown corpulent and drank so much port that he had a nasty case of the gout. But he was one of the most important men in the county, a prosperous individual who had seemed to know when it was time to give up on the British and throw in his lot with the Patriot cause. He could prove to be a formidable ally – or enemy.
Zin had not lightly pledged his daughter to Ephraim Mankey. He acted out of need. The war had drained the colonel's finances and Mankey had offered to settle all of Zin's debts in exchange for Priscilla's hand in marriage. Marrying her off to Mankey would restore Zin's position and secure his young son's prospects for the future. Zin knew that Priscilla loathed the Squire; that was truly unfortunate. He hoped some day she might feel otherwise about the man who would be her husband, though, ultimately, her feelings were secondary to her fulfillment of her responsibilities. Zin believed that everyone had his or her duty to do. And just as he made sacrifices in fighting for his country, Priscilla would have to make this sacrifice for her family.
Zin Possible scanned the area. He and his party fanned out among the group of log buildings. Quietly, they made their way to the parade ground where the Hessian Christmas tree stood. He looked up to the roofline of the barracks opposite his position and saw Priscilla and Lon. They were now perched atop the structure, surveying the scene; had he looked up but a few moments earlier, he would have been shocked by the sight of his daughter kissing the orphaned Jew who lived with them. Instead, he saw two young people waiting to act. He was relieved to see them on the rooftop; he had sent them aloft to keep them out of the way.
The colonel approached the tree, his men by his side. The Americans could hear singing coming from the barracks. The plan was to quietly take down the decoration and spirit it away. Only after they had gone past the limits of the camp and made it to the edge of the forest would they make noise to confuse and distract the Redcoats in anticipation of General Washington's attack. Unfortunately, as is often the case on the battlefield, things did not go according to plan.
Zin and his men were in the midst of taking down the tree when a Hessian emerged from one of the barracks to relieve himself. Though he had been tippling, the soldier was sober enough to know that a group of rebels should not be gathered around the Scotch pine and that they most definitely should not be taking it down. He called out in German, which startled Zin and his compatriots and brought his fellow mercenaries, some of whom had the presence of mind to grab their weapons, out into the night air.
Pim and Lon watched as events unfolded with lightning speed. One moment, all was going according to plan; the next, things had gone completely awry. They felt helpless as the Hessians leveled their guns at her father and his men. Lon then watched as a determined expression formed on Pim's face. He knew that look. She was going to do something.
Something most probably reckless.
Pim was glad she was wearing breeches, which her father disapproved of. Pim didn't always wear them; she often wore dresses, and quite happily, too. Like most young women she enjoyed looking pretty. But she didn't see why she couldn't dress comfortably when she chose to play outdoors and breeches were a far more practical option for such activity than a dress. Of course, she knew her father thought she should not have been roaming the woods with a gun, hemp and hook, and other unsuitable-for-a-young-woman accoutrements in the first place. She knew Squire Mankey felt the same way. The thought of him caused her to scowl. She knew who she wanted to be with; he had always been right by her side, just as he was now. The thought of Lon and his unbridled confidence in her lifted her spirits and spurred her to act.
She positioned her feet toward the eave, then scrabbled, crab-like, to the edge of the roof. She surveyed the scene, then leaped.
Lon was shocked. The sight of Pim going over the edge distracted him and he lost his balance; his feet slipped out from beneath him, and he began to fall.
Pim landed on top of a Hessian, knocking the man to the ground. She began struggling with him over his weapon. Though she was more agile, he was much larger. And to complicate matters, another soldier was now training his musket on her.
Then, much to everyone's surprise, Lon came over the edge crying out "Piiiiiiimmmmmmm!"
All heads turned to the sound. Pim took advantage of the distraction to wrest the musket free of its owner and Zin and his men jumped their would-be captors. Lon, meanwhile, landed on the head of the man threatening Pim; he happened to be the one in charge of the detachment.
"'Tis fine work you have done," Pim, wearing a radiant smile, said to Lon. "Perhaps the General will give you a commission in the Continental Army."
"You mock me, Pim," he replied, sporting a grin of his own.
Once again their eyes locked. They knew what they wanted to do. But this time they were not alone; Zin Possible and his men were watching. There would be no congratulatory kisses.
"Priscilla, Zebulon, come," the officer said. "General Washington will be expecting this tree in Brandywine."
"But, Colonel. Were we not–" Lon began to say before Pim elbowed him.
"Supposed to meet him elsewhere?" Pim growled. "Yes, but that was until he changed the plan," she added, speaking slowly and emphasizing each word as she stared at her friend.
"Oooohhhhh! Brandywine. Riiiight," Lon said as the meaning of Pim's words dawned on him. "Yes. We must go to Brandywine," he said looking at the Hessians. "Bran-dy-wine. That's where the Americans are."
Pim rolled her eyes, then chuckled. Dearest Lon. He may not be bright, but I do love him so … she thought, feeling both radiant warmth and heart-rending pain. For while she had found the man with whom she wished to spend the rest of her life, she did not know how she would be able to make that happen.
"Here, let me neaten your hair. 'Tis a mess."
"Pim, please stop fussing about," Lon whined.
"I wish only that you look presentable when we meet the General. 'Tis quite the honor," she said knowingly.
"'Tis quite the honor to be here with you, m'lady," Lon replied, trying to sound sophisticated. He drew near to his old friend, who was wearing a robin's-egg blue taffeta dress that set off her auburn hair and green eyes perfectly. "You … you …" he stammered.
"What, Lon?" she asked playfully.
"You are so beautiful," he blurted out before continuing more confidently, "you are the most beautiful woman in the world."
Pim beamed at Lon, treasuring those words. She smiled demurely at him, blushing. In the field and with a musket she was a hellion; but in matters of the heart, she was still a shy girl, despite her boldness on the rooftop the night of the raid.
"Thank you, Zebulon," she said, taking his hands. "To hear those words from you …"
Lon took a deep breath, then brought his lips to Pim's. Where on the roof the kiss had been brief and chaste, this one was slow and passionate. Time stopped for the two young people as they lost themselves in each other.
After they broke the kiss, Pim reached up and caressed Lon's cheek. "Darling Lon. I love you so."
"And I love you," he said, wrapping his arms around her waist before he began kissing her once again. They were lost in the moment when the door opened; they had not heard the knock.
"Priscilla!" a stern voice barked out.
Pim and Lon broke off the kiss and gawped at the enraged figure of Zin Possible.
"You," he said, pointing at Lon. "You will get out of my house. Now!"
"Father!" Pim protested.
Zin ignored Pim and advanced on Lon. "I provide you with a home and food, treated you like a son, and this is how you repay my kindness? You, sir, are a scallywag!"
"B–but, sir, I, I love Pim …" the young man stammered
Zin Possible's eyes narrowed. Pim winced; never before had she seen such a cold expression on her father's face.
"You love her? You would ruin her! You know that she is spoken for!" he snarled.
Lon's jaw tightened and his back stiffened. "Pim is not some thing for you to pledge to another, especially to that Tory Mankey!"
"He ... he is not a Tory!" Zin objected.
"'Sha! Everyone knows that he is a sympathizer. No, sir, he is nothing but a fat scoundrel," Lon said heatedly, "clearly unworthy of Pim."
"A fat scoundrel is more worthy of my daughter than a penniless Jew!" Zin snapped.
"Father!" Pim exclaimed. To see this dark side of her beloved father, a man for whom she'd always had the utmost respect, was painful beyond words. "How can you …"
"Be quiet, Priscilla, and do not speak until you are spoken to," her father commanded.
"No, sir. I shall not be quiet! Not in the face of such ugliness," she answered defiantly.
"Then I shall quiet you," he said before slapping his daughter across the face.
Pim stood there, rooted to the floor in shock. Never before had her father hit her.
Lon was outraged. He pulled back his fist to strike at Zin, but the older man, who was a far more experienced fighter, saw what Lon was going to do and anticipated the attack. He parried Lon's blow, then retaliated with two of his own, the first to Lon's gut, followed by another to his chin. Lon staggered backwards before crumpling to the floor. Pim, shaken from her reverie, raced to his side.
Lon, doubled over in pain, was groaning.
"Say your farewells, Zebulon," Zin said evenly as he turned to the door, "and then be gone, and do not return. For should I ever see you approaching my house again, I promise you will be greeted with a musket ball."
Zin left the room and stalked out the front door. Priscilla's impetuosity, her selfish, girlish foolishness, threatened the fortunes of his family, especially his son's future. She knew the war had taken a deep toll on his finances; that he needed Mankey's assistance to help him through his difficulties. Priscilla was aware of all this. Yet instead of doing what was right for her family, she wished to give herself to a poltroon.
Well, perhaps that is not fair to Zebulon, he thought. Zin was willing to acknowledge that Zebulon was a good-hearted young man who had been a devoted friend to his daughter. Zin had seen the way Zebulon had followed his daughter these many years; but he had never suspected a romantic connection. Instead he had only seen a fiercely loyal companion who abided his daughter's eccentricities. Perhaps Zebulon did have good qualities; that still did not make him a suitable husband for Priscilla.
Zin's jaw was clenched as he made his way to his stable. A friendship that had been a source of safety and security for his daughter had suddenly become a threat to the prosperity of his family. The young man would have to be dealt with. He pondered his options and soon found himself at the front door of the largest house in the village, the home to the man who would be able to help Zin resolve this unforeseen complication.