Chapter 9: The Alliance
I don't own Kim Possible or Pirates of The Caribbean. All copyright goes to Walt Disney, Mark and Bob, Ted and Terry, and everyone else who worked so hard on these two marvelous franchises.
It was nearly an hour after Ron's departure that James and Joshua were able to settle their thoughts and begin forming their plan of action. Both felt rather sorry for the young man, knowing what agony he must be facing, as he had been Kimberly's acting best friend for nearly a decade, and obviously cared, much farther than either would care to speculate (especially Mankey). But if they were facing the Black Pearl, then they would not be taking any chances on stupid plans that entrusted the fate of their beloved young woman to the likes of Jack Sparrow, a man who had not but a day ago, taken her hostage to save his own life.
No, far too risky. To ask for Sparrow's help was to pour salt on a wound, and both were far too proud to do so.
Mankey traced a sextant over his desk map and moved it across the Caribbean Isles, like a pair of miniature metal legs trekking across the broad sea and small patches of land that dotted the paper. The young man's eyes remained focused on Port Middleton and surrounding islands, trying his best to envision which direction the ship would've most likely gone.
If I were I pirate, he thought, and Josh did not put himself in a pirate's shoes very often, and I had just attacked and nearly defeated the most prided island of England's colonies, where would I go?
And it seemed that the Commodore could indeed think like a pirate, or so he thought, because only one place came to mind.
He swerved the sextant on its side as it reached the shores, where the clusters of islands began and the Caribbean Sea momentarily ended, then used it to stab down on a single slice of land, the sharp leg poking through the fragile paper.
"There! That is where we shall start our search!" Mankey exclaimed suddenly, still holding the device down as he stood from his chair. James, upon hearing the young man's revelation, moved from his spot on the far wall and joined the Commodore to look at the map.
Josh, an expression of hope returning to his face, quickly pulled the sextant free from the map, leaving a small puncture in the name of the island he had come to, but having only stabbed the center of the "O" in the word, it was still readable.
Governor Possible gazed at the island for a long time before looking up, locking eyes with Mankey.
"Tortuga?" The question seemed fairly obvious, but James couldn't help but feel that this choice of island was a little obvious anyway.
Nevertheless, Josh nodded, clearly too hopeful to think otherwise. "Aye, Tortuga. I have never met a pirate who resisted the drunken sin of that town, and chances are, that is where we will find our feared 'Hell-born' captain and his demonic crew."
He took a moment to cast a glance at Hector and Martin. Whether he was thankful for the information they had provided, or scolding for passing along those old fish stories about the Pearl to the other soldiers (he had heard them, rest assured, he had), neither could tell, and the commanding officer would never reveal the true nature.
But James seemed skeptical. Tortuga was not far from here, perhaps a fort-night's journey by ship, and perhaps the most obvious hiding place for any pirate. The East India Trading Company, partnered with the Royal Navy, had been quietly smothering the threat of piracy from within the town, and it was quickly becoming one of the worst places for a buccaneer to take refuge. There were hired spies and disguised soldiers lurking around the filth-infested streets and houses, poised to arrest and even kill any pirate wanted by their superior others.
Surely the captain of the famous Black Pearl would be smarter than to throw himself into such a bad mix. In fact, something kept telling James that he was, and that Tortuga was the overall wrong place to go. Perhaps the Governor would've brought this up too, had he a better plan. But sadly, he didn't. He could not think of another island that would make more sense, even if this one made too much sense.
Still, with little to go on, did he have a choice?
After looking down at the pirate town for another block of time, James again glanced up to Mankey and nodded in unsure agreement.
"Very well, then," he stated with false confidence, "we set sail for Tortuga by nightfall."
"And I will accompany you."
The voice broke through, and did not belong to either of the men, nor did it belong to the two young soldiers.
All four turned to the doors, once again opened, this had somehow gone unnoticed in all the debate. They looked into the hallway, and first, Hector and Martin's mouths fell open in shock, then James and Josh were quick to repeat the motion as a slender figure walked softly into the room, her hands folded in front of her.
She smiled at their reaction, but only faced the governor. "Yes, James," said Anne Possible confidently, "I will be joining you this time, like it or not."
Zita hadn't argued when Lady Possible dismissed her from all duties for the day, in fact, she had been almost pleased. Exhaustion from a haunting, sleepless night was slowly beginning to take her over, tending to things and helping with the repairs in the mansion would be too much for her wary body to take.
Besides, she couldn't bear watching the Possibles weep over their missing daughter, not when she knew she could've done something to stop it.
She leaned over the side of the now battered fort, set against one of few walls that had survived the attack. She stood at the very place where her mistress… her friend, had stood a day ago, trying to catch her breath. Now Zita struggled with hers as she looked out over the ocean, the water so calm, starkly contrasting the events and outlook left from the night before.
The memories flashed into her mind so often now, it made her sick…
At the sound of the door handle being forced open by the attacking pirates, Zita let out a scream, but Kimberly was quick to calm her.
"Okay, Zita, here's what I need you to do. Hide, I'll distract these two, and the first chance you get, run, find my family, and all of you head for the fort!"
"I'll be fine," Kimberly said, but this left the maid in no reassured state.
Zita was about to protest again when she heard the lock begin to break. Kimberly was taking off toward her bedroom once more before the other girl knew what was happening.
"Just follow my lead!" she yelled.
And Zita had done as told.
"And what about Kimberly?" Mrs. Possible asked.
"Kimberly's headed for the fort, I told her we'd meet up there." Zita lied, forcing a smile on her face.
It's my fault, she thought coldly as the memories faded again, only to surface back and replay. Tears beginning to form in her dark eyes. I had the chance to stop her, and I didn't. I let her go, and now she's gone. I led my only friend to her death.
She broke into a horrendous sob, hiding her shamed face behind her hands and letting her tears fall through her fingers, into the waiting sea that churned below her.
Now, had Zita been less pain-struck, she might've taken a moment to check on James Jr. and Timothy, better known as Jim and Tim. While Mrs. Possible had gone off to discuss a serious matter to James, she had left the twins in Zita's charge, trusting them not to get into any mischief, though she seriously doubted that they wouldn't.
And as usual, Mrs. Possible was right. For while the young house maid coped with inconceivable guilt, the two boys were quick to sneak off, slipping inside the fort while no one was looking.
Joshua was the first to catch his breath as he voiced the opinion going through every one of his comrades' minds, facing the honorable Lady Possible with a shocked but stern expression. His head was still buzzing with confusion, but he was pretty sure he had just heard the governor's wife say she wanted to join them on their rescue mission.
Anne remained defiant, eyeing Mankey with an intent look, something she knew he hated.
"And why ever not?"
It was a simple question, but to any man living in the late 1600's, it was a stupid question as well. Their were many reasons why one didn't bring a woman abroad, most of which involved bad luck and old sailors' witch-craft tales. Mankey didn't believe a word of them… but he had seen too many weird occurrences at sea to not have a slight smidge of doubt.
James shared this concern, as well as others about his wife, so he could not help but voice them before Josh could begin.
"Anne, the sea is just no place for a woman..."
"So you say," she snapped, cutting him off. The coldness in her tone became softer when she saw that he was listening, "but I will not be left behind this time, James. This is my daughter..."
"I understand," Governor Possible said, knowing all too well the feeling that was going through his wife's head. "But if you come, it'll only-"
He stopped abruptly again, caught between his words. Anne had made him pause again, but with a different tactic.
Before the group of men, she wore what was reported as the single-best Puppy Dog Pout in the history of Possible women, with her blue eyes glossy with tears and her lip quivering enough to make even the blackest hearts break.
And of course, it was more than enough to break James'.
Right outside the office, leaning into the open door left by Lady Possible, was a pair of twin boys with light brown hair. Having surpassed all the guards within the fort all too easily, they had quickly located Mankey's new office and taken advantage of the open door to eavesdrop on their parents.
As they watched James Possible fall unwillingly to his wife's plea and beg the Commodore to understand the situation, the boys pulled back and stood next the wooden wall, eyeing each other in a way that Kimberly used to see quite a bit, and knew that they were thinking up a plan.
"Mom's going to join Dad on the ship," said Tim.
"You know what that means, they'll leave us with Zita's family," continued Jim rather sullenly.
There was a moment of silence between the two as they continued to think. It was the twin in red who first raised his head, eyes widening with the appearance of an idea. It didn't take long for his brother, through the magic of their twin mind link, to come with the same idea.
"Unless..." began Jim slyly.
"... We totally stowaway?" Tim stated with a devilish smile.
"Hoosha," Jim said.
The boys shared a freakishly identical grin, and then shook hands in agreement to the plan already forming in their heads.
The blistering, tropical heat of the afternoon had only just begun beating down on the island when Ron had finally found the person he'd been searching for; Junior. Locating him had not been easy amongst the mass destruction and crowding townspeople, but eventually, he found the young Lieutenant at the docks, helping crewmen make ready to sail the Interceptor out in search for Kimberly.
Normally, Ron would never have bothered with the late Commodore's son, but this was a matter of emergency, and Junior had something that the blacksmith needed; access to the island's prison.
As the two men returned to Fort Charles, Ron did his best to focus on the Lieutenant's constant prattle, as opposed to the task at hand.
"…So I said to him, "But, Sterksley, there is no ship in the harbor!", and you should've seen the look on his face," Junior said, then laughed in memory. "Oh, I swear to you, Mister Stoppable, the only time that man isn't drunk is when he's asleep! You know, one of these days the Commodore is sure to kick him out of the Navy all together!"
"You don't say," replied Ron, only half listening as he planned out what he was going to say when he got inside the prison hold.
As he talked, the Lieutenant had led the young man down into the fort, through a series of hallways that wound deeper inside (and thankfully, not passed Mankey's office). Ron had to awe at how well he seemed to know the corridors, without even thinking about it. Certainly impressive, especially considering it was Junior.
At last, after one more flight of stairs and another riveting tale of Junior's adventures on night patrol, they came to a single locked door at the end of an unusually long hallway, and stopped. The Lieutenant looked at Ron with an expression of doubt.
"Are you sure you want to go in there? I mean, all that's left is some rubble and that pirate, Jack Sparrow."
The blacksmith nodded. "That's what I'm counting on. There's something missing from my master's shop and I need to make sure Sparrow didn't stuff into his coat pocket while I wasn't looking." A lie, of course, but how else was he supposed to get in?
Junior was pretty sure that they had searched Sparrow before locking him away, but he really needed to get back to the harbor before the Commodore discovered his absence. Without another word, he dug the metal key from his pocket and jammed it into the lock on the door. Ron watched with anxiousness as the key was turned and the lock clicked metallically, signaling that his plan had, in fact, worked.
The Lieutenant pushed open the heavy wooden door, then stepped aside, leaving room for the younger man to enter.
"Please close the door when you're finished, and if Sparrow gives you any trouble, there are soldiers throughout the fort who can help…"
"Don't worry," said the blacksmith confidently, "I think I have it under control." He gestured to the gleaming sword strapped to his belt.
As Ron stepped inside the prison hold, he heard Junior begin walking back to the exit. Perfect, and not a soldier close by; this meant he could speak with his pirate 'friend' without interruption.
A few cells away, Jack Sparrow was still working on the matter of escaping. He had given up on getting the keys, and tricking one of guards into giving them to him. And after several other stunts he'd tried over the course of the morning, he discovered that none of his usual plans seemed to work here, which wasn't good. The more time he spent trying to escape, the less time he had before the Commodore would string him up like a dead chicken.
Quickly running out of ideas, Jack resorted to the oldest trick in the book of escaping prisons; he picked up a rather sharp bone off the floor of his cell, and slipping his hands through the bars, jammed the pointed end into the lock and desperately began trying to pick it.
"Please…" he muttered uncharacteristically, praying under his breath for the first time in what felt like forever.
And that was when he heard the footsteps approaching.
Jack was quick to toss the bone aside, falling back into the cell rather ungracefully.
He lay back on the straw covered floor, waiting to see the likes of the Lieutenant, or those two bumbling soldiers who followed the Commodore everywhere, or even worse; the Commodore himself.
But was relieved, and surprised, when it turned out to be none other than the young blonde haired townsman whom he had dueled with. The boy stopped in front of the cell, gripping the sword strapped to his belt as his eyes flashed with seriousness, By the look of things, Jack could tell this was no friendly visit.
"…Sparrow." Ron said after a moment of silence.
The pirate did not bother sitting up, replying in a tone that mocked the blacksmith's. "…eunuch boy."
Ron's face flushed into a shade of angry red. The second time he'd been called that and he still didn't know what it meant.
But he swallowed whatever retaliation he was brewing in his mind, considering that the matter in hand was far more important than his pride.
He continued in a tone that lacked the usual distaste that came with speaking with Sparrow. "I need your help."
Jack was rather surprised again, but hardly left at a loss for words. He was convinced that everyone, at some point in their lives, would need his help in one way or another.
But that didn't always mean he was willing to give it.
Jack lazily supported his head on his right arm and pretended to examine the blackened fingernails of his left.
"Do you now?" he answered in a half-interested, and very bitter, tone. This boy was the main reason he wasn't lying on a beach on some far-off isle right now.
Ron had pretty much expected this much from the pirate. As relationships go, he and Sparrow weren't on the friendliest of terms, but something had to convince him otherwise. As he Sensei once said, "Every man has a weakness, and the ones who think themselves above such things are they themselves most prone to it..."
And as far as he was concerned, Ron knew Jack Sparrow's weakness.
He took in one last breath before continuing, as though he was diving into deep, dark waters. That's how it felt to him too.
"It's about the Black Pearl," he stated, his voice nearly cracking and almost giving away his apprehensiveness.
Now Jack was interested. But he didn't dare show it. Instead, he continued vainly looking at his nails, in case the boy was just here to mock him for the stories he'd weaved to the soldiers and prisoners.
"Yeah, what of it?" Jack answered in a bored way.
Still unsure of what he was about to actually do, Ron bit his lip before speaking.
"I... I need to know where it makes port." If he had any knowledge about pirate ships, he knew that they always had somewhere to go back to after raids. A bit of a secret lair, if you will.
Inside his cell, even if the boy couldn't see it, Jack had already put together the pieces in his mind and understood what Ron was planning on doing. He also understood that it was utterly crazy.
Hmm... maybe I underestimated this one, the pirate thought with an inward grin.
Jack suddenly sat up, his legs spread out on the ground like a toddler just learning to lift itself.
"Where does it make berth? You haven't heard the stories, have you, lad?"
Ron sheepishly shook his head.
The pirate smiled devilishly and drew in his legs, speaking as though he had spoken this tale a thousand times before.
"Captain Barbossa and his crew of miscreants sail from the dreaded Isla de Muerta. It's an island that cannot be found... except by those who already know where it is."
"That makes no sense!" Ron shouted suddenly, only just forgetting that this meeting must be kept secret.
The words meant almost nothing to the blacksmith, other than the fact that "Isla de Muerta" was Latin for 'island of death' (he had Kimberly's superior language skills to thank for that), it sounded like nothing short of senseless gibberish from a part of a sailor's drunken song.
He quickly lowered his voice as he continued. "I didn't come here to listen to old wives' tales, Sparrow. Where did it go?"
Jack heard the desperation in his voice. This boy wasn't just after Barbossa for ransacking the town. There was something personal about this little vendetta of his... but what?
"And why ask me?" the pirate questioned, ignoring the question as he lounged back in his cell once more.
The young blacksmith was suddenly at a loss for words. He wasn't sure why he was doing what he was doing, why he was taking such a terrible risk. To put his hands in the fate of a pirate who could (and had tried to) kill him so very easily.
He hated Sparrow... but, he loved Kimberly. With every fiber of his heart and soul, he loved her, and he'd join Davy Jones' accursed crew before he saw her die at the hands of anyone.
But Ron would never admit that to the likes of Jack; he could barely admit it to himself.
So instead, he went with the backup answer.
"Well, you're a pirate, and..."
Liar, thought Sparrow. He had to get the truth out of this boy somehow, and making him mad seemed to be effective...
"And you want to turn pirate yourself?" Jack mockingly asked, admiring his fingertips again.
This seemed to set the blacksmith off.
"Wha- No!" he shouted again, eyeing his companion with annoyance. Become a pirate, of all the appalling...
And then Ron saw the look Sparrow was giving him. It basically said, "Well, what then? We're losing daylight and I don't have much longer to live."
He sighed heavily, grabbing hold of the cell bars and pulling himself closer so only Jack could hear him.
"They... they've taken Miss Possible."
There, he had said it. And Jack wasn't surprised by this statement either. Always about a woman... he thought with a roll of his eyes. He was pretty sure he knew who this Possible girl was; the pretty redhead he'd met with yesterday…
And then suddenly, he couldn't help but get that feeling again. That he had seen this boy somewhere else... a long time ago.
He shook the weird vibe for a moment and finally replied to Ron's admission.
"Well, lad," Jack stated, "If you're intending to brave all, hasten her rescue and win fair lady's heart... "The last words struck a cord inside Ron quite suddenly.
"You'll have to do it alone, mate. I see no profit in it for me," he finished speaking with a rather greasy smile.
But none of this seemed to dishearten the young hero-to-be.
"I can get you out," he answered plainly.
Jack scoffed. "How so? The keys are with ol' Bingo-Was-His-Name-O." At this, he gestured to the far side of the room, where a doggie door had been set inside the wall. No doubt, that was where his snarky poodle friend had slunk off to since last night.
But still, Ron never missed a beat. This was exactly what he'd planned in his head.
"I helped design these cells with my master, and I know for a fact that there are certain weak spots," he said in a rather know-it-all tone, rare to hear from the mouth of Stoppable. "With the proper leverage and a little bit of strength, they come right off!"
Now why didn't I think of that, wondered Jack, but then, that familiarity sparked again. The resourcefulness... the surprising amount of brains...
And this time, it clicked in his head... but that was impossible. He was far too young to be... but Jack had to know.
The blacksmith saw the pirate thinking, hard, about something. Whether he was attempting to understand what had just been said to him, or something else, Ron couldn't be sure.
"What's your name?" Sparrow asked suddenly
The question caught the younger man off guard. It seemed odd, after all this talking, to simply ask someone's name. But he would not question the man who could very well lead him to his best friend.
He smiled. "Ron; Ron Stoppable."
Jack got quiet again, longer this time. Who knew a name could be such an important thing to a pirate?
At last, his voice cracked through the silence. "Well, Mr. Stoppable," he started almost jovially, lifting himself back off the floor and standing. "I've changed me mind. If you spring me from this cell, I swear, on pain of death, that I shall take you to the Black Pearl and your bonny lass."
Ron grinned ear to ear. "Great!"
Jack nodded in agreement, though it seemed that he had something else on his mind. The pirate was quick to shake the boy's hand, sealing the deal.
"Yes, great. Now, get me out," he said dryly. In truth he was still thinking on his new ally's name, and a new plan... a fantastic plan, was already beginning to form inside his head.
Thanks to reviewers Darth Comrade, Invader Johnny, Josh84, Ace Ian Combat, reader, and Marcus S. Lazarus for the awesome reviews! Sorry for the long wait, everyone.
I would also like to formally thank everyone who voted for my in the Fannie Awards back in spring, and naming this story as Best Crossover. I have never been honored more.
Any errors you may have seen, please tell me!
Next chapter: Jack and Ron set out to rescue Kimberly, while she discoveres an amazing truth about one of a crewmates.