Disclaimer: I do not own Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Assassin's Creed.
Brief flashes of short scenes fade in and out of the mist in slow succession, at just the right speed for comprehension. The viewer remains firm in the knowledge that she is Robin Grey, yet views it all from her ancestress' eyes.
The deck of the Siren Princess appears first, pulled up to that of another ship. The other ship is enormous, bearing five sails, and heavily armed. Captain Sparrow is leaning on the Siren Princess' rail. He is having a loud, cheerful conversation across the gap between ships with an older man with a weathered face and stringy black hair who the Captain refers to as 'Bootstrap.'
From inside the forecastle of the Siren Princess emerges a younger man with dark brown hair covered by a headcloth similar to Sparrow's, handsome in a distant sort of way, with piercing dark eyes. He leads a shadowy version of the former Captain Kerry. They walk across a gangplank set up for the purpose between the ships. The younger man sends Kerry first, then pauses at the rail to affectionately shake hands with Sparrow. They exchange a few words; Jack reassuringly pats his belt where the Fountain water is. Then the other man turns to give a polite nod to Vanessa/Robin, and follows Kerry across the gangplank.
This scene is overwhelmed by blue mist, and another takes its place, the pleasant female voice assuring "Fast-forwarding memory to a more recent one."
Vanessa/Robin stands clutching a bouquet of tropical flowers in sweaty palms. She wears the dark blue silk dress Adam presented her with on the island, miraculously recovered after the Swifts' unexpected vanishment from the inn at which they stayed in Port Royal. Edward smiles from beside her; he is dressed in a new set of clothes.
"Ready?" he asks. Vanessa/Robin nods. Edward adds, "You've never looked lovelier, Nessie. And I could not be giving you to a man more worthy of you."
"Papa," Vanessa/Robin asks, "When you decided to take us to the Caribbean all those months ago, is this what you pictured for us?"
"Hardly," Edward chuckles. "What do you take me for, daughter, some sort of soothsayer? No mortal man could have foreseen this future."
There is a tap on the closed double doors beside them. Vanessa/Robin smiles nervously at Edward and takes his arm. They position themselves in front of the doors, which are then thrown open before them. The chapel revealed within is simple and small; there are very few witnesses seated in the pews. There is only one musician: a flautist, at Adam's special request. This is an event of little import to the town of Port Royal, as the Swifts and the former Leviathan are still relative newcomers despite having settled in a small house within the town proper nearly two months before. Vanessa/Robin doesn't mind having so few people see her wed. There could be two or two hundred present; what matters to her is that this day has finally arrived.
She smiles with unrestrained joy when she sees Adam waiting at the end of the aisle. Vanessa/Robin fancifully imagines the light in his green eyes dancing along to the flute music. So different from when those eyes were blank and bottomless pools.
Edward hands her off to Adam, and the minister begins: "Dearly beloved…"
The rest of the words are lost as this scene, too, fades, and another voice overtakes the man in robes: "Fast-forwarding memory to a more recent one."
Yet another scene comes into focus through the mist, heralded this time by a rap of knuckles on wood. Vanessa/Robin comes alert from where she has been dozing in a chair and heaves herself up to answer the door. She wishes her father or Adam were there, but Adam is off working and Edward is in his workshop in the back yard of the house. Even on the periphery of her vision, it is obvious to the observer in Vanessa's mind that she is pregnant, and heavily so.
She opens the front door to a thin man with a sharply hooked nose, clutching a thick envelope and dabbing at his forehead with a handkerchief. He is obviously not used to the Caribbean heat, and is dressed in much better quality than anyone in the du Gris' neighborhood. Vanessa/Robin offers a friendly smile while she waits for him to state his business.
"Pardon me, madame, but is this the residence of Monsieur Adam du Gris?" he asks with a French accent much heavier than any she's yet heard in Port Royal.
"Indeed it is. I am Mrs. du Gris, his wife. Please, come in."
He ignores her request. "Is the gentleman in question at home?"
"I'm afraid not; he is out on business at the moment." Adam has become a fisherman, in the local waters only so that he is home each and every night. He is praised for his almost miraculous ability to bring in a catch even when others' nets are empty for miles. "He will return this evening. But please, come in. You are welcome to wait for him here, or to return at a later time, whichever is more convenient for you."
"Thank you, Madame, but I must reluctantly decline your kind offer." He hands her the envelope. "Please give this to Monsieur du Gris the moment he arrives home, and then be so good as to ask him to meet me at the Grand Dolphin Inn once he has read its contents." The man makes 'Dolphin' sound like 'Dauphin.' Vanessa/Robin suppresses a smile.
"Thank you. I shall." She nods to the man, as a curtsy of any sort is impossible in her condition.
"Be certain that you do. It is of utmost importance." The man pauses. "As the lady of the house, you are free to examine the contents of the letter as well." He nods to her and strolls off down the street.
Puzzled by his manner, Vanessa closes the door and opens the envelope. One paper, written in French, she passes over. The other is in English, which is decipherable for her. She spends several minutes parsing over it, and then nearly drops it in shock.
Edward comes rushing in. "What is it, Nessie? Is it your time?"
"No, Papa. This…" She holds out the notes. "Adam's family in France. They found us, and sent someone to tell him he inherited. There's a plantation on the island of Martinique…it's ours."
Robin had a smile on her face when she opened her eyes. Kyle grinned at her as she sat up.
"That was amazing!" he exclaimed. "I was just trying to cover some ground when I did all that fast-forwarding. It was like something was guiding us to exactly what we needed to see from Vanessa's memory to finish her story."
"It did clear everything up, didn't it? I didn't have any control."
"Must be Vanessa watching over you."
"Maybe." Robin considered. "I remember you saying once that Vanessa married a plantation owner. That was Adam, wasn't it? His name was on the record as her husband."
Kyle nodded mutely.
"You knew all along they were going to get married. Ever since Adam told Vanessa his name." She couldn't help the slight accusing tone her voice was taking. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Yes, I guessed things were going to work out between them. But I couldn't believe it at first. How could the Leviathan turn out to be a plantation owner? I was as curious to find out the end as you were." He paused. "I was going to tell you how to look it up before my father let you go."
"I guess I appreciate that. What else did you find out?"
"Just basic life statistics. Adam and Vanessa had four children. They died within days of each other, in 1803. The family stayed with the plantation for several generations before finally selling it and moving to the United States after the Civil War. That's when they Anglicized their name from du Gris to Grey."
"Then I'm a direct descendant—of both of them."
"Through the male line. That's all we knew, really. But your ancestors have been rich for quite some time."
"Do you know if they ever contacted your family? The wife and child Captain Kerry mentioned?"
"No idea." Kyle shrugged.
Something occurred to Robin. "If you had known, could I have watched the whole thing from Adam's perspective rather than Vanessa's? That would have saved you a lot of time in finding the Fountain."
"Probably, but I don't think it would have worked, based on the experimentation we did before we brought you in. Syncing with an ancestor of the opposite gender is almost impossible. Other subjects—people—we tested, said there was always a lurking sense of something wrong, something off, when they were females synced with a male relative, and vice versa. The link could never be maintained for more than a few minutes before the person's brain started to reject it. And that's dangerous, as you know."
Robin shuddered, remembering her earliest encounter with the Animus. "My poor brain might not have taken too kindly to transforming into a giant shark, either."
"True," Kyle chuckled. Both of the sobered at the same instant when the thought of a giant shark led them to the logical conclusion: Russell.
"Listen, Kyle…" Robin said hesitantly. "I really am sorry about your dad. I never liked him, but he was your dad, after all."
"It's all right. At least…he has a chance to come back. Not like Mom…" He trailed off for a moment, then seemed to collect himself. "Anyway, if he finds something to tie him to the mortal world in the next ten years, maybe I'll see him again. Someday."
"And he may be a better person when he comes back. Adam managed to regain his humanity, even after almost ten years," she reminded him.
"With Vanessa's help. She was his tie to the mortal world, and when she said she'd never leave him…" He trailed off as an idea occurred to him. "That must be what Calypso meant when she said she couldn't bind me, despite the Carey family debt to her."
"You mean, me?"
"You did say you loved me before we went into the cave," he reminded her. "You did mean it, didn't you?"
"Of course!" Robin exclaimed. "You're…there's nobody like you." She put her hands on her hips when she saw his grin. "You know that. You shouldn't fish for compliments."
"I wasn't!" he insisted. "I was just testing my theory that you saved me from forced service to the Sea Goddess."
When he put it that way it was hard to be mad at him. Robin hid her smile, however. "I resent being treated like the end result of some experiment of yours."
Kyle mimicked her gesture. "No, you don't. Now who's fishing for compliments?"
"You—" Robin felt her face flush. He'd read her like a book, as usual. Life with him in it was never going to be boring.
Kyle didn't wait for her to come up with something to say to him. He hopped to take a seat on the Animus table beside her, put his hands on either side of her face, and kissed her. A small part of Robin wanted to object, but the rest of her was too happy and surprised to do anything to change the current state of affairs. Robin had been kissed before, most recently by Adam while she was synced with Vanessa. That kiss came close to this experience, but it paled in comparison to being able to kiss back exactly as she wanted to, and to respond to Kyle of her own volition. For his part, despite his original initiative Kyle seemed almost hesitant at first. But he soon warmed up and their kisses became more and more enthusiastic.
They came up for air after a few minutes. Robin tried to flatten her hair where Kyle had been running his fingers through it. Kyle himself leaned back, looking almost dreamy. "I've wondered since college why some people seemed obsessed with kissing, even when other people were watching. I think I finally get it."
"You were thirteen when you went to college, and the girls were all five years older," Robin pointed out. Then a thought occurred to her. "Don't tell me—that wasn't your first time, was it?"
Kyle nodded, his cheeks slightly red. "I never had time for girls when I was in school, what with one thing and another. Then once I was out of school I realized I didn't know any girls, and had no clue how to attract them, either. Nor did I want the type that would only be interested in landing the heir to my dad's company. So I decided not to bother. Mom had me helping people out of the car and pulling seats out since I was little—that much is instinct to me now. But I've never really dated. Or kissed anyone."
"For a beginner, you're not bad," Robin said with a chuckle. "And as for dating, the last one I had was my senior prom. After I left Yale, I couldn't trust anybody enough to let them get closer than a casual drink. We'll have to figure this out together." She ran her hands through her hair, messing it up even more. "And I have to figure out how to introduce you to my parents, once they figure out I'm no longer in hiding. Which won't take them too long."
"I think you should save that worry for a later date. Now that we're finished here—we are, aren't we?"
"Yes, I think so." Robin slid her palm over the cool Animus table. Vanessa was still very prominent in her head, but there was also a sense of closure as well. Her ancestress had found happiness, and Robin thought maybe she had as well.
Kyle slid off the table. "Good. Now that we're finished here, we both have a lot to take care of. I have to figure out what to do with dad's company, now that he's gone. That's sure to take a lot of work."
"You're up for it. I'll do my best to help you; I learned a couple tricks from my dad over the years that might be helpful." Robin glanced down. "What about the Animus?"
"All of this is going into storage. Someplace secret, of course. I don't want to risk technology like this falling into the wrong hands, after how it was used by dad and Abstergo. It could be useful for actual scientific research into genetic memory, but until we find some trustworthy people to work on it, it's going to disappear."
"That sounds like a good idea." Robin smiled at the plural. He made them sound like a real team.
"You have to work things out with your job, and all of the fun fiasco that's likely to be," Kyle continued. "I'll help as much as I can, of course, but we're both going to have to work to keep words like 'kidnapping' from entering the dialogue. If you'd rather I didn't go to jail, that is. I understand if you want someone punished for what's been done to you."
"Are you kidding? The people who needed to be punished for that already have been, and better than any judge could come up with. I would like you to apologize to Miles, my bartender friend, and see that he gets some sort of restitution."
"Consider it done."
"As for the rest of it, not hiding from my parents means I can take a more active role in working with the dolphins, if I can get my job back. If not, I can always try somewhere else." She paused. "I would like to stay in the Caribbean rather than move back to the States. At least for awhile. I'll find an apartment again, and—"
"You could always live in one of my dad's places. He has several scattered around the islands. I can't use all of them," Kyle offered.
"Thanks, but no. I still like to earn what I get. I can manage."
"I'm going to have a hard time roping you in, aren't I?" Kyle asked, almost to himself.
"Just because I've fallen in love with you doesn't mean I've changed everything about me overnight. Having someone else in my life as close as you will take some getting used to. I'm just giving you fair warning. But trust me: I know this is the real deal. I won't disappear on you, Kyle. Ever."
"I know that. How else do you think I escaped Calypso's curse? If what we have were something less than permanent, I might have fins and fangs right now." He glanced at his hands, which seemed to remind him of something. "At least the Fountain seems to have worked its wonders. It will take a few more tests, but I may be cured of my gluten intolerance."
"That's great news!"
"I look forward to seeing if real wheat tastes better than the synthesized variety."
Robin thought back to their meals at the conference table. "Maybe not better," she mused. "Just different. I don't think you'll mind the change too much."
"It will definitely make eating out a little easier."
"Speaking of which, it's getting late. Is there any point in going down to the rest of the island tonight, or can you stand one more night sleeping on the table?"
"I can handle another night. Your pillow was a big help. The business of getting back to real life can wait until morning. In the meantime, we can order out…and maybe watch another Indiana Jones while we eat. As our official first date, if you want."
"That actually sounds fantastic. What kind of food did you have in mind?"
"Is pizza all right? There are pizza places everywhere, and I can get one of my dad's—my—somebody, to pick it up."
Robin agreed, pretending not to notice his stumble. She waited until the pizza was ordered and one of the staff delegated to get it at an appropriate time. Then she said, "You know, while we're waiting, there's one thing we never got to do."
"Choose music for that animated clip we made. You know. The ballroom one."
"Oh, right. That." Despite his words, it was clear he'd known what she was going to say from the moment she mentioned something unfinished. "Sure. We can do that now. Give me a minute to bring everything up."
He down in front of his computer and began clicking on icons. First the ballroom scene, and then their created characters of one another, appeared on screen. Kyle clicked the "play" button on his command toolbox, and they watched the figures whirl around the dilapidated ballroom again.
"Nothing too slow," commented Robin. "They're moving relatively fast."
"Got it." Kyle called up another toolbar. This one had a long list of songs. Robin scanned over his shoulder as he scrolled through them. A few times one would stop to suggest a song, and the other would reject it. Once or twice they listened to a clip before moving on by mutual agreement.
"How about this?" Kyle asked, highlighting a song. "It's relatively old—early 2000s."
"I've never heard it," Robin admitted. The song was called 'It is You I Have Loved.' Kyle clicked on it, and Robin was immediately taken with the opening flute melody. The tempo seemed right, and she liked the lyrics. It seemed to fit the pair of them, as well as Adam and Vanessa, whose story had carried down echoes from the past to shape what had happened more than two centuries later.
"It's no more mystery, it is finally clear to me,
You're the home my heart searched for so long.
It is you I have loved, all along."
"It's perfect," she declared. And indeed, when Kyle had played the song along with the dancers, only a few minor adjustments to their movement was needed to fit the song exactly.
"You're right." They watched their characters spin, and for a moment Robin was in the ballroom herself, confidently dancing on Kyle's arm. Well, maybe someday in real life they'd dance, though likely not in a gloriously decayed mansion.
Then, abruptly, the pizza arrived. Kyle saved their creation and flipped to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Robin was disappointed, but only for a few seconds. It was impossible not to be sucked into Indy and his exploits. Real life would return tomorrow with a vengeance, but for now Robin could enjoy the moment, knowing that she and Kyle could face whatever came as a pair.
"Is Indy going to chase a truck down on horseback again?" she asked.
"Shhh. Wait and see," said Kyle. "Why do you want to know, anyway? The future's more interesting when you don't see it coming."
"You're impossible," grumbled Robin. Then she thought of a better argument. "The past can sometimes be used to predict the future. After our recent experiences, you can't deny that. So am I right?"
Kyle looked heavenward. "You're too good. But even so, things usually don't turn out the way you expect."
Robin couldn't argue with that. "Too true," she said, and took another bite of pizza.
Author's Note/Oscar Speech: Well, there you have it. The end, two little words that finish it all, after over a year. I never expected it to take this long when I started (nor did I expect Will and Bootstrap to make a sudden cameo in the end, but that's the way the cookie bounces sometimes in writing). People have come and gone since I began; hopefully a lot of you who started out with me are still here. This is the longest story in terms of word count I've ever written by myself, and probably the most complicated by far. Juggling this many main characters has been an adventure, and trying to make sure all four, plus the supporting cast, were fleshed out and believable with proper motivation (the consequence of taking writing classes) was fun. My main cast was distinctive enough that I never got them mixed up with each other. I still can't decide which is my favorite pair, they were each easier and harder to write in turn. My affections tended to flip flop depending on who I was writing at the time, Vanessa and Adam or Kyle and Robin. I think my main guys were the hardest to get a bead on, Adam because of course he's the Leviathan and doesn't really remember humanity, and Kyle because he's a genius with an IQ count waaaay over mine. Plus they're guys and I'm female, and as Kyle points out in this chapter there are certain amounts of brain functionality that are just generally incompatible. But I digress. Moving on...
Where to go from here? My well of unique Beauty and the Beast crossover ideas has pretty much run dry. Which is probably good, judging from the relatively low amount of response to this fic compared to my others. Not that I don't greatly appreciate those who did take the time to read and review! I just get the sense that people are ready for something else. I've got a few other ideas for fanfics I'm batting around in my head, two Beauty and the Beast (inside the Disney version universe but probably alternate circumstances rather than canon), and one Danny Phantom. I have a lot of time this summer, so something may get started before I head off to grad school in the fall. But enough about me! It's all about you, after all!
Acknowledgements! Let's get this party started:
Cywyllog: You know you're awesome in 100 million different ways, so I'll just reiterate for the record. You are super, uber awesome. Not only did you put up with me plotting for an entire year, but you also read every chapter before I posted AND corrected my Jack Sparrow speech because I'm just not obsessed enough with his amazingness to get it right. Oh, and Mordred, who always gets an acknowledgment in this section at the end of a story because he, like his charge, tolerates me. A fact for which I'm grateful. Miss you both very much. Why is college only four years long?
Samara Raine: You joined the voyage relatively late, I think, but your review of chapter 21 was possibly the most touching I've ever recieved in my life. My writing process as it developed has become very visual; I see everything in my head and then attempt to convey it on paper so that my readers will also be able to see precisely what I am seeing. The fact that I was able to do this for you as well really tells me how far I've come as a writer. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you were satisfied with the long-awaited kiss in this chapter!
RhiannonAmidala: You were one of my most consistant reviewers. So sorry this story finally has to end, but I always enjoyed hearing from you.
shortstef: As I said at the end of Hero, thanks for reading! Your 'The Beautiful and the Beastly' was one of the earliest Beauty and the Beast fanfics I ever read, and it really got me hooked into the fandom. Any possibility of finishing/reworking The Chip Chronicles? I hope so!
Blackgrrl192, summer_star, Tuima, megaman51, princess of tennis, and teardrop456: You get a section to yourselves because you reviewed five chapters or more. Thanks a lot! Your feedback meant a ton, and really kept me motivated to keep writing, even in the long lulls between chapters, because I didn't want to let you down. I hate it when people start out a promising fic and then drop it in the middle for reasons other than they want to rewrite/improve it and then repost. So thank you for being my motivation to keep up with this one!
TrudiRose, BookRose, Jeruselum, and Annie Forest: You all reviewed more than once. All four of you know me from previous fics, so thanks for checking this one out! Haven't heard from you in awhile, hope you're still reading and you like what you've seen. Trudi, you are probably one of the most renowned writers in the Beauty and the Beast fandom (everyone should read her stuff who hasn't yet!), so having your feedback even on a few chapters meant a lot.
Damian, Erisah Mae, Answer, CartoonJessie, Xoroth, simplegrl007, and J.C. le Mysterieuse: Thanks very much for the reviews! Damian, as I've said before I love your Beauty and the Beast/Fairytales series. Joshua has to be one of my favorite fictional characters, hands down. Good luck with your wedding this month! Jessie and Isabella, we miss you both on Bittersweet and Strange (a forum for lovers of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, for those who don't know). Simplegrl, I did enjoy your guesses as to where I was going with this fic, way back in chapter 9. Some of the ending even I wasn't clear on back then! If you're still around, let me know what you thought of how it did come out.
I think that's all the human acknowledgments. Let's see: song, book video game and movie references (of which there are a lot). I don't own any of these things, they belong to their respective artists/creators/those who paid for them. Books: Hobbes' Leviathan, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and McGuire's Wicked. Movies: Disney's Beauty and the Beast; Pirates of the Caribbean 1 though 3; Star Wars 1 through 6; Transformers 1 and 2; Iron Man; Lord of the Rings 1 through 3; Toy Story; Stardust; Indiana Jones 1 through 3; and the Princess Bride. Video games: Assassin's Creed and Oregon Trail. Songs: Carrickfergus, a traditional Irish ballad; Be Thou My Vision, an Irish hymn; My Heart Will Go On from Titanic, performed by Celine Dion; It is You I Have Loved from Shrek, performed by Dana Glover; So Close from Enchanted, performed by Jon McLaughlin, and A Moment Like This, performed by Kelly Clarkson. Whew. I think that's it. Copyright bases covered.
So keep a weather eye on the horizon and see what I come up with now that this monster's over with.
Over and out,