Author's Note: For a fic/drabble trade with lorei over at KH Request (LJ)! In return she wrote me some lovely Demyx/Naminé! The prompt given to me was "shipwreck." Ironically it didn't wind up being that shippy (in the pairing or boat department), but I think the point still got across. AU-ish, or else just crazy world crossing of some sort. I think it would be neat to write a story wherein Kairi has to adjust to life in the 18th century while trying to find a way back to Destiny Island and/or Sora. (Maybe then she'd learn how to use a sword rather than just hold it and think, "Oh, what pretty flowers.") Probably just me, though. :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts, Disney, or Pirates of the Caribbean. How unfortunate!
White fog rose onto the shore like an army of translucent ghosts marching toward the beach. Most people avoided the surf at night, but not Elizabeth. Her days were all crown moldings and plastered wallpaper and balconies that overlooked Port Royal, but never touched it. She thirsted for the sea, would have it as close to her as it could be, even if it meant traveling through shadows to the place where no fire ever burned.
As always, the purr of waves enlivened her sense of adventure. Often she thought of bringing Will down here with her, to watch until the fog cleared and the stars blinked curiously down at them – and, with luck, they spied phantom sails on the horizon. But that wouldn't do, and she knew he wouldn't come. Because she was the governor's daughter, a title much more befitting of, oh, just about anyone else.
Chance floated on the balmy breeze, stepped through the ivory veil and tempted her to it. Responsibility was at her back, a part of the light, a world of richly lit sconces and balls and titles. It hooked its grubby fingers into the hem of her robe, though it needn't have: comfort had already sewn itself into her heart, too delicately embroidered for her to sully with seawater. Another day, another time, another life, perhaps.
The sand seeped between her toes, sticking to her skin as she walked further toward the water. Her skirts lifted, her ankles clothed in mud and grains and salt. Elizabeth's flesh disappeared, pink pearl swallowed by the black curtain at her feet. Chills piqued her skin and ran upward along her calves, and she smiled with delight.
A touch of adventure, just standing there. Wading. Waiting.
Her eyes left her ankles and she looked back to the mist. It had parted and thinned, revealing a full, milky moon reflected in the gossamer sea. Round and fat, it hung low in the sky and turned the sea from black to wavy white. But its reflection was distorted; Elizabeth narrowed her eyes and at once dropped her skirts and ran forward. The water reached her waist when she sloshed into the pale oval in the water, her hands grasping wildly at the lump of hair and clothing.
There wasn't a thought in her head, not even selfish relief that something was happening, or the musing that it seemed to be her fate to always stumble into other people's adventures and never her own. Thoughts did not frenzy as she dragged the figure to the shore. The body was light, but Elizabeth struggled nonetheless, muscles whitened by days spent in a manor.
Finally the sea spit them out. Elizabeth dropped the body none-too-carefully onto the silky sand and rolled it on its back. A girl, that much was certain – though she wasn't wearing a gown, as one might expect, but a very short dress with no sleeves, and bare legs and feet. Elizabeth almost blushed (not even prostitutes dressed so scandalously!), but instead wiped sticky red tendrils of hair from the girl's glowing face and felt panic rise in her stomach, clawing upward to bloom in her skull.
What should she do? When she'd found Will, he had just woken up. Would this girl too? She could call for help, but it was late, and the shore was too far from the battlement for anyone to get there in time. Sailors at the dock were seedy at best, and what would any of them do for a chance alone with the governor's daughter in the depths of night?
Elizabeth had seen shipwrecked men before – not many, but enough to know you plant your lips over a drowned person's and somehow offer them the kiss of life. She wasn't sure what you did after your mouth was over theirs, but there was no time to be nervous. She pinched the young girl's nose, as she'd seen James do on the one occasion she'd gotten a close look, placed her lips over hers, and, without thinking, breathed.
Nothing. Frightened, Elizabeth tried again. Fear brought a forgotten memory to the front of her closed eyes: James placing both hands on a man's chest and pumping. With shaking hands, Elizabeth sat up and pressed hard five times, then breathed into her mouth again. Five compressions, breath. Dread was filling her lungs and heart and head when the girl still hadn't stirred. Five compressions, breath. One, two, three –
Her body lurched under Elizabeth's hands. The night, once polluted only by Elizabeth's scattered breathing, split open with the girl's coughs. Water spilled out of her mouth and darkened the sand.
"You're alive!" Elizabeth patted the girl's back as she curled onto her side and trembled. She was unable to answer, and truly Elizabeth was at a lack for words, so they sat in the harsh crackle of life's fire until the girl could breathe without coughing.
Only after her heart had calmed did Elizabeth feel the cold. The girl's parted blue lips sharpened her focus and Elizabeth lifted her as gently as she could over her shoulder. The sand sunk beneath them and made their trek to solid ground difficult, especially under the weight of Elizabeth's soaked clothes.
"Who are you?" the girl asked, voice barely a croak or whisper.
"My name is Elizabeth," she replied, "and you shouldn't talk. Please, save your voice."
Whimpers escaped on puffs of pale breath as they struggled upward, but she said anyway, "I need to get home."
"I'll take you to a physician, someplace you will be warm. Now don't speak."
They crossed a bridge, heavy footfalls echoing in the wood. "I'm Kairi," said the girl, then fell into silence. The wind rustled the leaves into a lullaby as they stumbled past.
Kairi. And though it was a name Elizabeth had never heard before, to her it sounded just like adventure.