Set Sail

By Franki Lewandowski

Genre: Romance/sympathy

One shot

James, Mr. Centipede, Miss Spider and "James and the Giant Peach" belong to Henry Selick and Roald Dahl

Story belongs to me

Disclaimer: As my second JatGP fan fiction, it was a little awkward working with the bugs for a change. This was one features my two favorite characters from the film, Mr. Centipede and Miss Spider sharing their backgrounds with each other before the peach reaches New York. Many of what they talk about is based after old ideas I had for JatGP fan fiction.

"C'mon, c'mon, stay focused," Mr. Centipede said, steering the stem of the enormous peach north. How he wanted more then anything to go below, kick back and eat something. Yet he knew his procrastination was what got him and his crew in trouble in the first place. Besides, one of the others was sure to come up and scold him if they found him slacking off, so he kept steering. It was so hard not to think about food though when you have to drive it all day. Being a pest who was always hungry, even when he shouldn't be, it was an urge that drove him mad.

Centipede looked around him, hearing nothing but the calls from the seagulls and some banter below. "Eh, they won't notice if there's just one bite along the stem." Gradually leaning down, Centipede prepared to take a huge chunk out for himself.

"But I am feeling much better. I'm not that cold any more." Young James suddenly appeared out of the entrance with Miss Spider behind him. Centipede stopped what he was doing and went back to steering the peach.

"Now James," Miss Spider said, "you knew zhat if you stayed down zere any longer you vould have freezed to death. A boy like you needz sunlight."

"Well, alright." A few days ago James had gone along with Miss Spider to rescue Centipede from a crew of undead pirates. As insects they were perfectly fine after the incident but James became ill from the freezing water. At the moment James was wrapped in a black and orange blanket, still shivering but by the look on his face was unfazed by his cold. He had in his hands the new york travel book he always carried with him, with a magic illustration of their peach that got closer to the spot that read "New York City" the further they want on. Every time a large change in the picture occured he'd alert the others, mainly Centipede who had to steer them along.

"Hey Jimmy," Centipede said as James walked by, "feelin' any better?"

"Actually yes. Right now I'm trying to figure out what course we're on. The travel book shows the peach but it looks as though we're stuck rather then heading to New York."

"Don't cha' worry kid, I've got us back on track. Me and this little beauty," Centipede said tapping on the compass that hung from the peach stem.

James smiled at him and walked onto the fencing acting as the fruits railing. Centipede turned around ready to continue on when he bumped directly into Miss Spider's pure white face.

"Here," she said pulling a mound of peach flesh from behind her, "you look zort of hungry."

"Oh thank's Spidey! You're a life saver!" Centipede exclaimed swatting the peach flesh away and devouring it in one bite.

"Could you pleaze not call me zat?" Spider said rather hastily.

"Sure thing Angel Fangs," Centipede replied. Spider rolled her four eyes and walked away. It seemed as though she was heading towards the railing but apparently wasn't. She stopped half way there, looking at the blue sky in front of her. Curious as to what she was thinking Centipede decided that now was the perfect time to strike a conversation. "Worried that New York ain't what it's cut out to be Angel fangs?" he asked.

She replied with a slight head motion. "Well don't, you'll fit right in. Everybody there looks like they're in a bad mood."

Spider turned her head, dissatisfied by his comment. "Vell, a veek ago I would've never pictured myzelf flying on a giant fruit across the ocean. My only vorry vas staying alive."

"Nothin's changed then. Incase you don't remember we almost became popsicle sticks a few days ago."

"Yez, but it doesn't feel zee same when you're one inch long. Zee more vulnerable you are the lezz dignity you have."

"Lemme guess, Spiker and Sponge made ya' think eh?" Centipede said.

"Yes, zat and all the people they've taken me," Miss Spider added in a soft tone. She briefly paused in a somber manner as though she was thinking about someone, "I vish he vas here."

"Who? Your dad or somethin?"

"No, my husband."

Centipede then choked on the cigar he lit and gasped for breath. "Whoa *cough* ya…never told me there was a *cough* Mr. Spider…"

"Vell, not my husband persay," Spider said shyly. "More like a sweetheart."

"Oh sweetheart, that's ugh…that's fine with me," Centipede stuttered.

"I remember all zee day's we spent in the attic together. So many dark hiding places. So many old cobwebz to our selves. All zee foods he'd bring back for us to eat. Flies, mosquitoes, crickets, caterpillars, stitckbugs, ladybugs, centi-"


"Oh, nothing," Spider quickly added. "You understand. I vas nearly a 'Mrs. Spider'. Wee settled down, us and our beautiful egg sack in the attic together."

"Where's this 'perfect husband' now?" Centipede asked in a jealous voice.

"I'm getting to that," Spider said with limited patience. "One day I vent out to get our breakfast. I forgot zat Spiker and Sponge were going to clean out the attic that morning. Vhen I got back…our web was destroyed and zee eggsack vas…all over the floor. I had vorked so hard and…then I found him…"

Before Centipede even had the chance to realize it the arachnid was crying to herself. She wasn't wailing or even making a lot of noise but it was obvious by the way she paused and her hunched expression that she was in distress. After hearing that brief explanation Centipede felt terribly guilty for such a question. Was it the reason she preferred being alone or why she wasn't interested in making friends? Who knows. No matter what even a pest has a heart and he couldn't watch her cry any more.

"Ey' Spidey it's alright. None of that was your fault was it?"

"No," Spider sighed whipping her tears away with her bandana.

"See, things aren't all bad. Besides, if you ever met them' old hags again you can make em' pay for that little incident. I wouldn't mind helpn' you out either."

Miss Spider smiled and turned in Centipede's direction. The Brooklyn-raised insect casually leaned against the peach stem to relight his cigar. "Vell?" Spider said out of nowhere.

"Well what?"

"If I have something to share chances are zee 'commodore' does to."

"What? Ya' wanna know bout' me? What would ya' want to know?"

"Vell, how exactly did you get from New York to England makes for a good start."

"That would be Brooklyn actually," Centipede corrected. "Eh, I hoped a boat. Nothin' else really." Centipede knew that wasn't the end of things just by the look she gave him.

"Zhere has to be more it zhen zhat. Do not, how do you say, pull my leg."

"Fine," Centipede began. "See the life of a pest is always tough, especially in the heights. So many cut throat bugs n'all. Even when I was Jimmy's age that was the way of the world. Just me, my ma, and two hundred brothers and sisters back then."

Spider nodded with interest, amazed by the reality that Centipede had a family at all and wasn't kicked out at an early age.

"Aw, my ma." Centipede said with a smug grin, "She was one given' lady. Taught us everything we needed to know when living on the streets. There was one thing about my ma though that got on my nerves. Ma wanted all of us to grow up and be 'big-bad-news centipedes. The tough guys, ya' know? The kind who'd give ya' a bite so hard you'd be in pain all week. Problem was I never wanted to take things so serious, so I ran for it. I hit a ferry and was off to the big apple."

"You…ran away from home?" Spider said. "Did you ever once think of vhat your mother thought?"

"Ey' I'm sure she wasn't too upset," Centipede said trying to hide the guilty face he made.

"Vell, no offence but zhat doesn't answer my original question."

"I'm getting' to that. To more of my surprise, I wasn't headed toward New York. No, I hitched a ride to England instead. And not just to England, but stowed away in the luggage of the two craziest bags in the world. I gotta say, it was nice nearly losin' half my arms the minute I step into my new home."

Spider laughed at his snide remarks, this time a bit louder then her usual chuckle. As a pain in the abdomen, but he made for a good laugh. "Excuse me," she said embarresed.

"No problem, I like it when you laugh any way," Centipede said.

Miss Spider perked her head up and blushed, "vhy, zank you Mr. Centipede." The bohemian spider dare not mention that was what her sweetheart said to her the day they first met.

It didn't seem to matter to Centipede that much any way. He stood there looking at her with a slacked jaw. The fumes of his cigar blowing away in the ocean breeze.

"Say, Spidey…I mean, Spider," Centipede said rather awkwardly. The use of her actual name getting her full attention. "Are you-"

"Miss Spider," James's voice called out. Neither insect realized it but as they were taking James had come back on the main deck and was now half way in the entrance. By the looks of things he hadn't heard any of what they were talking about.

"I think I need to explain some things to everyone below. It's just something about the map is all."

"Coming James," Spider said ignoring Centipede and walking towards the entrance. He put a hand out to get her attention but Spider barley noticed. Half way through the entrance she looked up and smiled at him.

"Relax, we'll talk about zis some other time," she assured with a wink.

"Well we can but you just told me all that and-"

"Shouldn't you be steering zee peach commodore?"

After an incredibly blank face, Centipede hopped back to the peach steam and pushed it forward. Hopefully they hadn't wandered to far off course. "You won't tell Hoppy or any one down there I was slacking would you Spidey?"

Spider smirked, her yellow eyes glistening just before she closed the entrance, "my lips are zealed."