Title: The Curious Transformation of Miss Alice Kingsleigh
Fandom: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
Characters: Alice, Tarrant... and Captain Jack Sparrow!
Genre: General, Humor, Romance, Crossover
Summary: Rascals, scoundrels, villains, and knaves. Sequel to But We Got Rum.
The Curious Transformation of Miss Alice Kingsleigh
Rascals, scoundrels, villains, and knaves.
. . .
"When you insinuated that I might one day meet a pirate, I never realized that you were referring to yourself!"
Jack smiled, catching the hilt of Alice's sword with his blade, metal clanging noisily over the chaotic din of the besieged Wonder. "Pirate, love," he crooned. "It wouldn't have been very pirate-y of me if I had admitted to being one, would it?"
Alice scowled, parrying furiously. "At this point, I must insist that you cease addressing me in such a familiar manner."
She lunged, thrusting for his neck. Jack raised an eyebrow as her blade snaked past his cheek, close enough for him to feel the wind from it. "You do know how to handle a sword, lassie."
"I had a good deal of practice battling an extraordinarily ugly beast."
"Then you must be pleased that this time around, you're fighting a handsome devil instead."
"Hardly," said Alice. She spun and tried to swing her sword at his head, but nearly tripped over the hem of her own skirt instead. What a bother these things were. She resolved to procure some battle-ready trousers at her earliest convenience.
At this point, Lord Ascot's guardsmen finally emerged from the lower cabins, waving their muskets frantically. Gunshots filled the air, but before they could get the upper hand on the pirates, Jack had leapt away from Alice and arced his sword through the air. In an instant, all of his men vanished from the deck, and before Alice's despairing eyes, the Black Pearl was already pulling away, mast proud, her unfurled sails bloated with favorable wind.
Jack appeared at the side of his ship. "Fastest vessel in the Caribbean, darling," he called back at Alice. "Save yourself some trouble and give it up."
Alice rushed to starboard and leaned over the edge of the bulwark. "Well, I'll let you know one thing," she shouted. "I never believed a word of that story you told about the Fountain of Youth!"
Jack slapped a hand over his heart and made a highly tragic expression, which cracked away into a roguish smirk as he disappeared from the Pearl's railing.
. . .
Night had fallen over the ransacked Wonder and her demoralized crew. Alice stood at the brig's railing and stared down at the dark, silent water, the picture of romantic despondence, a woebegone Victorian heroine in the truest sense. A slow breeze rifled through her hair morosely.
Presently, a brilliantly blue butterfly landed on her shoulder. "Absolem, whatever shall I do?" she said, putting her head in her hands.
The butterfly gave her a look of arch disdain. She swatted at him crossly. "Oh, do behave."
Absolem fluttered away from her, and landed delicately on the railing. What passed between them next was a moment of eloquent silence.
"Now that's a little better," Alice said, finally. "But I suppose I must first find myself a tailor."
. . .
Before the soles of her boots had even warmed to the soil of Tortuga, Alice had marched into that small tavern of not-so-long ago and struck Jack full across the face.
"I may have deserved that," he mused, rubbing his cheek.
"You horrible, horrible man," Alice said, shaking with anger. "There are simply no words to describe the appalling depth of your horribleness."
"I am a pirate, if dear Miss Kingsleigh has forgotten," said Jack. "Pillage and plunder, rifle and loot—'tis the very meaning of my existence."
Alice set her jaw into a firm scowl. "I should have you arrested."
"You could try, love, but I think you may find that to be a more difficult venture than you might have anticipated."
"Well, this at least is entirely within my power to accomplish," she snapped, and casually tipped over the bottle of rum on the table before them.
"Not the rum!" Jack wailed as his precious Water of Life spilled to the floor. "Not the rum, oh, oh, not the rum."
"Serves you right," said Alice. "You probably bought that with money gained from selling our cargoes!"
Jack shook his head sadly. "How you besmirch my honor, poppet. A pirate never pays for his own rum, savvy?"
The bartender narrowed his eyes, and began to crack his very prominent knuckles menacingly.
"…unless of course the rum in question is of an especially exceptional quality, such as the variety found at this here very fine establishment."
A big, swarthy man appeared suddenly on her left. "Is this blackguard pesterin' you, miss?"
"Well, no –" Alice began, but was cut off when another man materialized at Jack's side, growling in drunken rage. In five seconds flat, a bottle had been smashed over someone's head, and the room had erupted into pandemonium, proving that it was not only Jack who valued the medicinal qualities of Tortuga's rum.
Obviously she hadn't thought this adventure quite through. Obviously.
There was only one thing to do, Alice decided, and ducked under someone's massive arm, weaving her way to the exit. How about that. Trousers really did improve one's mobility.
. . .
When the loss of his hat finally became apparent, Jack's cries of anguish were, reportedly, heard throughout the port.
. . .
Heavy footsteps sounded on the wooden pier. Alice put down the telescope and turned to face her visitor. "Well, look what the cat dragged in."
Jack's trademark sneer seemed somewhat more strained than usual. "I do believe you have a little something of mine."
Alice planted her hand on her hip. "And I do believe you have my cargoes."
"You've got to get past that, love," Jack said solemnly. "It's been how long now? A month?"
"Six days!" Alice exclaimed. "And what difference does it make how long –"
Jack tossed her a rolled-up scroll.
"What's this?" Alice said, puzzled.
"It's a map," Jack said dryly. "As an apology, I will impart to you a bit of us pirates' insider knowledge. Depicted there are some of the least known trade routes in the world."
"And what am I to do with them?"
Jack's mouth lifted into a cockeyed grin. "Isn't it obvious? Follow them, and in no time, you'll make back twice the amount of goods I, uh, borrowed." He held out his hand expectantly. "Now, Miss Kingsleigh, my hat?"
. . .
While the great Captain Sparrow enjoyed an emotional reunion with his beloved headwear, Alice politely averted her eyes and returned to her contemplation of the sea. Through the lens of the telescope, she gazed out at the faraway horizon, veiled behind a nacreous curtain of sea mist.
"Going home, love?"
"Yes," Alice said distractedly. Dear green England, how she missed it so—but beneath that, there was another ache, a knot of longing whose name she could only vaguely place.
Jack sighed softly, and adjusted his hat so that the brim fell low over his eyes. "Well, I must admit that you look rather more distinguished wearing it," Alice conceded.
There was a whisper of movement, and Alice only had time to catch the white flash of Jack's suspiciously sharp canines before his warm, peppery lips were on hers, brown fingers cupped to the curve of her cheek. Immediately, all the blood in her body came to a boil and rushed to her face.
He broke the kiss as suddenly as it had come, and scooted back to put a relatively safe distance between them. Alice's mouth hung parted in shock. She wanted to yell, "How dare you?" or possibly, "Why on Earth did you do that?" but all that came out was a mumbled, "Nghrgh?"
Jack chuckled. "Yes, that is precisely the reaction I was going for."
Alice swallowed, hard. "For the love of God, why?"
"Because I wanted to," he said maddeningly. "And when you want to do something and are presented with a prime opportunity to do it, what reason is there to let it slip?"
"That's a terrible line of reasoning," she sputtered.
"Pirate, love," Jack said, hopping off the pier. "And now I must away." He waved his hand in a majestic arc. "Fare thee well, lovely Miss Kingsleigh, and know that you will always remember this as the day that you almost captured the heart of Captain Jack Sparrow."
Alice threw her telescope after his retreating head.
. . .
When she returned—and of course she did, there had never been a shred of doubt—it was as if she hadn't been away even a day. It felt like coming home, and in a way, it truly was. Alice flew down the familiar green hollow, the pearly blue mist of Underland chasing at the fluttering hem of her skirt. The air smelled just as she remembered it, damp and mossy and spiced with an oddly tropical undertone, soaked with invisible magic.
She was back! And proper-sized, too!
Tarrant was the only one at the table when she finally broke through the wall of trees. From inside the mansion, Alice could hear Mallymkun and Thackery bickering over some matter of terrible import—quite likely, the amount of saffron one should or should not add to onion soup.
Those bright green eyes turned to her tranquilly, calmer and gentler than she had ever seen them—had ever known them to be capable of being. A snap of breath caught sharply under Alice's breastbone when his lips paused and curled into a beckoning smile.
Up close, Alice thought feverishly, they didn't really look all that similar, not all that similar at all. Jack's sloe-dark eyes never held that soft, tender light when he looked at her. (No, Jack was more liable to look at Alice like he was undressing her with his eyes.)
Not the same at all.
"Did the big blue sea wash away any of your muchness?" Tarrant asked, laying down his cup.
"Quite the opposite," Alice said, pulling out a chair to his right. She paused for a moment, and bent to place a quick peck on Tarrant's lips.
It was terribly difficult to suppress a satisfied grin when she saw his electric eyes flaring wide in amazement.
"As you can see, my supply of muchness is not only very much intact, but appears to have increased in quantity," Alice said, taking her seat. "How's that for a voyage?"
"Why?" Tarrant said, blinking slowly as though caught in a daze—a spell.
"Because I wanted to," she said, covering his hand with hers. She turned her palm and twined their fingers together. "And when you want to do something and are presented with a prime opportunity to do it, there's no reason to let it slip."
For a moment, Tarrant seemed at a loss for word (what a rarity!). Then he shrugged helplessly and said, "My darling, you always had all the best arguments."
With that, he squeezed her hand lightly, letting his warmth flow out into her. It was quite curious, Alice thought, but the smile on her lips had a definite pirate-y edge to it.
Curiouser still, it felt perfectly at home there.
. . .