Mighty Pirate Instincts
By J. Ferguson a.k.a. Timeless A-Peel
Disclaimer: I don't own Tales of Monkey Island, the Monkey Island series, nor the characters of Guybrush Threepwood, Elaine Marley, LeChuck, Morgan LeFlay, or D'Oro. They're the property of LucasArts and Telltale Games. This story is for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement intended
Timeline: Set in the last moments of Tales of Monkey Island, Chapter Four: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood. If you haven't played to the end of the end of that chapter, I recommend you stop reading right now. Here there be spoilers.
Author's Note: I'm very new to the whole Monkey Island franchise, but I've been playing Tales of Monkey Island the past month and really fallen in love with the characters and the writing. There's so much humour in there, but also a lot of darker touches, and together they've drawn me in. Guybrush Threepwood is responsible for a good chunk of my love for the game as well. If there are two ways of getting me to love a character, giving him a name half-inspired by a PG Wodehouse character, and some excellent voice-acting (this time by the wonderful Dominic Armato, who has now been added to my all-time favourite voice-actors list) are good places to start. On top of all that, there's a great pairing in the form of Guybrush and Elaine, a relationship with some wonderful depth to it, and a little bonus in the form of Morgan LeFlay, a wonderful little enigma all to herself. And the plot hasn't been bad, either. Chapter Four actually made my jaw drop a couple of times, though, with some incredibly dark, angsty, brave moves, and those are what spurred me to scribble this short bit after I finished the chapter. I'm sure everything will work itself out, but man, what suckerpunch to the gut.
Because I haven't played any of the other games, nor have I ever written for these characters, I'm probably not doing them as much justice as someone with a knowledge of all the games would. Be kind. I have enormous affection for these characters already, and I'm about to start The Secret of Monkey Island, and I'm hoping I'll get to know them even better. Enjoy this piece! Reviews are much appreciated!
He'd been right about LeChuck, but he hadn't wanted to be this right.
The double-crossing pirate's blade sliced through him, in through his stomach and out his back. Guybrush Threepwood, soon-to-be-late Mighty Pirate, stared at it blankly. Oddly enough, it didn't hurt. Not really. It had hurt more when Morgan had lopped off his hand. But he'd actually watched that. The whole of his attention had been focused on the fight and its consequences, and it had felt real as a result. This didn't feel real. This felt like a dream.
He wondered vaguely, as he felt something warm and sticky seep out of the wound, if he'd see Morgan soon, wherever she'd gone; if he'd join her in some sort of pirate death waiting room on the way to heaven. Wait, his faltering brain cut in, Morgan LeFlay wasn't a pirate. Did those pesky semantic differences matter on the big ship in the sky? He hoped not. It'd be nice to have at least one friendly face in the afterlife. Although, knowing Morgan, friendly might be the wrong word. Could she sell him out to someone on the Other Side for a shinier halo or something? They didn't do cash transactions up there as far as he could remember, but then he'd always been practicing his duelling when he was meant to be paying attention in Sunday school. The memory made him wince. That whole 'pen is mightier than the sword' thing may have been figurative, but it sure held true when he'd accidentally taken little Billy's eye out. It must have been akin to losing his hand for the little guy, and Guybrush felt an extra pang of retrospective guilt. Billy had gotten a glass eye in the end, though, and gotten some major popularity points out of it, to the point that Guybrush had considered taking his own eye out as well—after all, glass eyes were piratey, right? D'Oro thought so, anyway. But Guybrush was less-than-enamoured with the whole missing body parts things nowadays. Hooks were handy for picking locks and everything, but you could carry a lockpick around in your pocket if you needed it. You couldn't do the same thing with a hand. Even he wasn't going to carry one of those around in his pants. At least in heaven, Morgan wouldn't be able to lop anything else off. At least he hoped not. That whole non-corporeal thing had to put a stop to that, right?
Did pirates even go to heaven? Or pirate-hunters? Funny how he'd never considered how his chosen profession would look to the man upstairs. He'd just liked the lifestyle—the wind in your hair, the spray in your face, the grog in your belly—real grog, not that 'light' garbage Elaine was so keen on. He'd never set out to be really evil, though, never done anything seriously wrong. Oh, sure, he'd lied to a few people, or bent the truth, maybe taken some stuff that wasn't officially his, but hey, everyone did that, right? Some of them made good careers out of it, too. Lawyers, used-car salesmen, politicians--not just pirates. And he certainly hadn't done anything as evil as LeChuck.
LeChuck. His instincts had been right. It just seemed to good to be true, him becoming mortal and turning over a new leaf. Playing dumb when it came to puzzles, saving all those monkeys. Curse or no curse, no one turned around that quickly. But it was so easy to mix up 'instinct' with jealousy, and LeChuck had turned out to be one of those buff pretty-boy pirates when he'd turned mortal. There was no way Guybrush would ever be able to compete with him in a body-building contest—or a build-pretty-much anything contest. But Guybrush had always thought he made up for with brains what he lacked in upper body strength.
Funny how brains didn't make much difference when someone put a sword through your belly.
That was why instinct was so important for a Mighty Pirate like himself. You had to be able to make decisions on the fly, with very little in the way of sober second thought, or, if he'd been into the grog, sober thought at all. He always thought he'd been pretty good at sizing people up. I mean, everyone got it wrong once in awhile. No one was perfect, right?
He certainly hadn't been this time around. His instincts had been leading him astray at every turn. First he'd thought Elaine was falling for LeChuck's charms, and biceps, and really thick luxurious beard, which Guybrush kind of envied since he really had to struggle to grow his own, and—
Wait! He didn't want to spend his last moments thinking about his beard, did he? What kind of Mighty Pirate thoughts were those?
Dwelling on his bad instincts and screw-ups wasn't exactly inspiring, though. He tried to wrestle his way back on the tracks of his old train of thoughts. Elaine. That's right. He'd sworn she was going to double-cross him for LeChuck, but that had been jealousy clouding his thoughts. And then Elaine had persuaded him that the former Ghost Pirate was a changed man, and she'd pouted and pleaded and made those puppy-dog eyes and promised all sorts of things that he knew for a fact could make an evening in the captain's cabin verrrry interesting indeed, so he'd gone against instinct and decided to trust LeChuck. Boy had his libido gotten him in trouble this time. How could he have ever believed LeChuck was on the up-and-up? And the Voodoo Lady. Well, he'd been pretty, kinda, almost sure that she was on his side. Sorta. But then LeChuck had burst into that courtroom with her journal, and that theory had gone straight to Davy Jones. He'd switched allegiances to LeChuck, because instinct seemed to guide him that way, but that had turned out to be a wrong move. He still wasn't sure if that cleared the Voodoo Lady of all wrong-doing. LeChuck hadn't mentioned what happened to her when he broke out of his cell. Guybrush had the feeling she'd be all right, but hey, his gut feelings weren't counting for much lately.
And then there was Morgan.
Well, his first instinct about Morgan had proved to be right. At least, sort of. I mean, it was hard to form favourable impressions about people who attacked you with swords and lopped off appendages. But she wasn't a bad kid in the end, and she'd died trying to put things right—Guybrush had never expected that. He certainly hadn't expected to feel his heart break at the sight of Morgan dying on the floor of De Singe's lab, either, her own sword skewering her the way that LeChuck's was currently shishkebabing him. He could never imagine loving anyone but Elaine, but he couldn't deny he felt a good deal of affection for the late privateer. She'd shown her true colours at the end, and proven herself a good friend to boot. There would be nobody to avenge Morgan now, because he'd been too stupid to follow his original instincts about LeChuck. Morgan was the ultimate lone wolf. She had no one but herself to fight her battles for her. He'd been her last shot at redemption, and he'd blown it.
LeChuck withdrew his blade and Guybrush felt himself fall to the ground. The impact only brought him back to reality part of the way. Everything was blurry and surreal. He saw LeChuck approach La Esponja Grande and start to reclaim his old voodoo power from it, drawing the sickly green ooze back into himself. Guybrush's eyes were heavy, and he let them wander blearily downwards to examine his own torso, and the blood seeping through his shirt. For the first time he felt pain, real pain, a searing, burning pain, worse than the one he'd endured by putting his tongue to the Fugu Jolokia pepper. His whole body felt as though it was on fire, the sort of heat that had permeated his wrist when Lefty had gone. Hell, even his own stupid hand had betrayed him. Good help really was hard to find.
He groaned and closed his eyes again, then opened them to see a reddish blur. At first he thought it was the pain clouding his vision, but then he blinked, and all became clear.
He'd always known Elaine was the woman for him, all those years ago, when she'd caught him stealing that stupid statue from her mansion. His instincts had been dead-on that time, and not once had he second-guessed his decision to make her his wife.
But oh, his instincts had been failing him even when they came to her, lately. He'd thought she was succumbing to LeChuck's advances. Jealousy was a proven cure for rational thinking. He'd had an unpleasant inkling that perhaps she'd love him less without his hand, as though he were less of a man, let alone a Mighty Pirate, without it. But most of all, in the face of everything that had happened, he was worried that he wasn't good enough for Elaine after all, even if she'd never told him as much.
Well, okay, maybe she had a couple of times in the last few weeks, what with the whole red-eye-and-bloodlust pox-induced rage thing, but he had always known deep down that she wasn't actually saying those things, that she wasn't in her right mind. Didn't mean they didn't hurt, though. It didn't mean that old, long-festering insecurities hadn't suddenly found themselves ripped to the surface, raw and exposed, and that they hadn't gotten a little push by his own pox. But he'd been so happy to see that sponge cure her of the pox, to see her skin clear to its natural peaches-and-cream complexion, and her eyes lighten to a warm green emerald, that he'd forgotten all about those misgivings. All he'd wanted in that moment was to be in her arms. And now he was, no thanks to his Mighty Pirate instincts. Elaine had her hand on his chest, and he could see the pain in her eyes, so great that it overwhelmed his own. She was so close he could smell her, a hint of strawberries in her hair, mixed with old grog and sweat from her duel with Morgan in Club 41, and various unidentifiable scents from her time scouring the jungle following Stan's useless map. Tears were falling now, sliding down the now-perfect alabaster skin and dripping onto his blood-stained shirt. How could he have ever doubted her? How could he ever have trusted LeChuck? He felt anger welling up inside. Elaine had been taken in by his whole "reformed" act. It had been up to him to be the sceptical one, not all buddy-buddy after one so-called Voodoo Lady journal. Who knew if that thing was even legit?
He couldn't stay angry for long. It took too much out of him. Now all he felt was weakness, and the blackness threatening to take over. There were so many things he wanted to say, so many conversations they were going to have when all of this was over. Not once had he doubted that he'd find her again and cure her of the pox. But he'd never counted on not surviving long enough afterwards to say them.
And he'd never counted on leaving his Plunderbunny a widow at such a young age. Who was going to save her from her own fiery temper if he wasn't there? More importantly, who was going to protect her from LeChuck?
Well, if there was one thing he know about his Elaine, it was that she was capable of handling herself, more so when she was upset. Guybrush wanted to say a lot of things, but instinct told him that it would be best to set off his wife's temper than murmur sweet nothings. He had failed Elaine, more than Morgan, or the Voodoo Lady, or anyone else on this stupid island. Maybe he wasn't good enough. Maybe he hadn't been the man she deserved in life. But hell, he could finally do right by her in death. If he couldn't save her, her own moxie would. So, instead of saying all the things his sputtering heart yearned urged him to say, he gasped the words that would have her in fighting form in seconds, because that was about as much time she would have to recover from his death before she had to set about preventing her own.
And then Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, did the hardest thing he would ever do. He let her go. And he let the darkness take him.
I'm sorry, was his last thought, I wasn't mighty enough for you.