Welcome to the final chapter of PVP. Thanks to everyone who stayed with me on this journey. I hope this ending is satisfactory, but you haven't seen the last of me or these troublesome mice. Starting in March, I'll be working on a new AU story with the Sensational Six and more - The Scarlet, a (very) loose retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Anyway, big thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed. Biggest thanks goes to Lies (my glorious editor) , Ange (the co-creator of this world), Cici (designed and inspiration) , Elera (my awesome friend) and countless others who gave me their support.
Alcatraz hadn't changed much since Mickey had nearly gone there last time. It was still a cold, desolate island in the middle of nowhere, since it was supposed to be a place where people sent pirates so they could be forgotten about forever. Today was the exact opposite. All eyes were on the island, with dozens of ships in the water and in the air going around the world renowned prison. A meeting was happening inside that hadn't been heard of in years, and everyone wanted to listen in on it. On this mutual territory, the rulers of the four kingdoms were deciding the fate of piracy.
Mickey and Minnie had been pulled from the cold water and rescued, and their injures had been tended to. Magica's body couldn't be found, but her vile deeds were exposed and the world did not know how to move on. Mickey and Minnie were undeniably heroes, but he was a pirate, and she was a discharged private who had illegally used her weapons. Then there was the matter of all the pirates who had helped during the second race attack. The public called them rogue angels, but they were still sentenced to death if they were caught. In the weeks of cleaning up England, protests cried out every day for Mickey and Minnie's release.
Rourke and Helga had been broken out of their brainwashing, yet they still remained adamant about their execution ideals. With the public threatening riots and the governments absolutely confused on what to do, it was finally decided that the leaders of the kingdoms would meet to discuss what to do with the mice, and following that, what to do with all pirates. It was approaching February by the time the meeting took place, and those outside of the prison seemed united in holding their breath.
In the middle of Alcatraz was a wide room, normally reserved for the executions, but it had been refurbished for the occasion with tables and chairs to accommodate all the guests. The first side had members of the Kingdom of Britain. Captain Amelia and Jane stood side by side while Daisy, Horace and Clarabelle hovered around them nervously, keeping their distance from General Rourke and Helga. Prince Edward and his wife Nancy stood in the middle of the armed officials. Then, one by one, each kingdom's rulers entered, quietly taking their place at their own sides.
From the Kingdom of America, Goofy proudly strutted in with Millie hanging on his arm. The duo cheerfully waved to their friends, though they still had trouble adjusting walking in those long royal robes. Ezekiel walked behind them, looking older than ever, and now needing a walking stick to aide him, but he was not being left behind if he could help it. They were followed by several members of America's N.A.V.Y. and A.R.M.Y., the majority of them stoic and cold compared to their smiling rulers.
Once they had settled, the Kingdom of Africa came after. King Simba, his wife Nala, and their young princess Kiara were silent with each respectful step they took. They all bowed their heads dutifully, though their advisors, Timon and Pumbaa, found it difficult to keep quiet as they chatted amongst themselves about the differences between their kingdoms. Simba shot them a look to try and make them keep it down, but he wound up smiling at them instead. They were also followed by their own N.A.V.Y. and A.R.M.Y. equivalents, some of them towering over their mighty king.
The Kingdom of Asia was the last, but they had the least amount to bring with them. The King was often simply called the Emperor, due to respect of his kingdom's cultural origins. He had no wife or child, but there were rumors he planned to hand down his dynasty to a female warrior. In any case, she wasn't among his guards. He only had members of the A.R.M.Y. around him, and they were an unusual sight, with some short, some fat, some lean, and all of them ready to pick a fight until their General, Shang, cleared his throat and they all went rigid. With all four kingdoms in attendance, there were only two more people they needed for this meeting. Everyone watched the entrance for their arrival.
A warden led Mickey and Minnie in, and Daisy had to be grabbed by the arm so she wouldn't yell out in anger. Both of them had been handcuffed, and while none of their friends approved of it, they had to hold their arguments for the sake of a civil discussion. Since Minnie had been stripped of her uniform, she was now wearing a simple red dress that had seen better days. She had planned on saving it for a special occasion, and now was a good one as any. Neither mouse showed a trace of fear, keeping their heads held high as they were led to the middle of the room. Whatever was going to happen to them, they were satisfied in knowing they would face it together.
Edward was the first to speak up, rising from his table. "If I may… are the handcuffs necessary? I sincerely doubt either of them proposes much of a threat." Murmurs rippled through the people, but no one objected, save for Rourke and Helga's matching scowls. The warden knelt down to unlock the cuffs, and Minnie was quickly checking Mickey over to see if it had caused him any pain. He whispered a few soothing words to her, stroking her cheek with two fingers, and then lightly grasped her hand. Judging by the tight return of her hand, it would take a force more powerful than any of these governments to separate them now.
The Emperor now stood, his hands hidden under the folds of his robes. "After the World War, our elders decided that in order to keep the peace between our kingdoms, we would all stand together against one common enemy. Piracy was then deemed punishable by death, and since that time, this method has never been called into question. But now…" He sighed, motioning to the prisoners in front of them. "… The times have changed in a way no one could have ever predicted. The greatest threat to our lives was not piracy, but a madwoman who subverted the laws for her own twisted desires. Were it not for the brave actions of these two, I shudder to think of where we would be. Yet our laws, the laws we made in order to protect the lands which these two fought for, decree that they should be punished, and put to death." He lowered his hand, and though it was difficult to tell at first, some guessed that he had balled a fist under his colorful clothes. "I feel, in order to better understand the real weight these two have had on us… on everything… that they should speak of their experiences, and how they came to help us."
Mickey and Minnie exchanged a quick glance, and squeezed each other's hands, instilling confidence where it was needed. They spoke of the year that changed their lives, starting from Mickey getting the assignment to rob the museum. They took their turns to fill in gaps of the story, though Mickey enjoyed some exaggerations here and there, especially pertaining to his own heroism. Not once during the story telling did they let go of each other. No one dared to interrupt them, and soon everyone was invested in the almost impossible tale. Minnie stood in place, retelling details in a calm and civil manner, while Mickey tended to gesture wildly with his body, even imitating some voices and getting a laugh out of the less serious audience members. As it wound down to the final battle, Mickey reeled himself in as he recalled the terrible feeling of when he thought had lost Minnie, and Minnie had to close her eyes when the vivid imagery of the sword going through Mickey's body came to her mind. When they finished, Mickey had an arm around Minnie's shoulders in an effort to protect her from her own memories.
The silence in the air afterwards threatened to choke them all, so it was Simba who was next to rise. "No one can deny your bravery, and it would be impossible for us to imagine what you've been through. But whatever decision we make here could set a dangerous precedent for all pirates. I don't think we can make a special exception for you, and then do nothing about everyone else who commits piracy."
Minnie swallowed, but then shrugged off Mickey's arm, needing to stand up proudly on her own. "Your highness… everyone… we're not asking you to give us a special privilege."
"Actually, I'd like that." Mickey got a heel to the shin for that remark, and shut his mouth quickly.
Minnie coughed lightly, resuming. "Yes, we both committed crimes. What pirates do is inherently wrong. But by having this law that never gives them a chance for redemption is making them into another species entirely. I've learned so much about them during this time, and sometimes piracy is not a choice." She could feel Ortensia behind her, lightly jabbing Minnie to make sure the story was told right, and she envisioned the entire Mousketeer crew around here, hearing her words of hope and redemption. "We live in a society with major divides between the poor and the rich. When you can't afford to feed yourself or your loved ones, you resort to stealing a piece of bread, robbing a store, and then it escalates because no one will help them or give them a chance. Piracy is grand scale theft. The minute they step on a ship and take what wasn't theirs, they have hung the noose around their neck… and all for doing what they have learned since childhood. What right do you have to kill them when they have no other alternatives?"
"That's outrageous!" Rourke banged his hand on the table, startling those around him. "You're blaming us for his crimes? Are we just supposed to babysit every single member of the poor to make sure they don't turn out like him?" Edward tried to cut him off with a harsh snap of his name, but the General went on, undeterred. "I offered Oswald Rabbit a chance to turn over the crew, and he wouldn't! These criminals have a sick hold!"
"It's called a family, ye fool!" Mickey's anger was easily riled, growling at Rourke. "And I won't give 'em up either! I told 'em not ta come and get me when I knew I had ta be with Minnie at all costs! I don't give two licks about all them other pirates in the world… I'm sayin' right here and now that if I get the chance, I ain't ever gunna steal again! I'm givin' up me old life fer a new one, if I'm allowed ta have it!" He grabbed Minnie's hand and held it up in declaration. "I will do anythin' fer her, except give up me family, and I'd never ask any of ye ta do the same!"
Rourke was ready to rant again, but this time it was Amelia who cut him off, choosing to stay seated. "I find we can believe him in that regard. Given his vow to never kill, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that were we prisoners aboard his ship, he would not have us disclose the names and locations of our partners." Mickey nodded to show that was what he had meant, so Amelia went on. "Captain Mickey, if you mean what you say, what would you do with this chance? Would you really stop your criminal ways? What would you do then?"
"Aye." Mickey lowered Minnie's hand, and swung it softly between their bodies. "I just wanna be with her. That's all." He smiled at her, and Minnie's cheeks pinked. She cast her eyes away shyly, but then her eyes gleamed with an idea. It was a spark, a brilliant spark, and she became so absorbed in the idea that she missed the continuing sweetness that Mickey poured on. "Make her happy, give her a good life, protect her… all fer her. She's all I could ever want. Me crew will be fine without me, they're strong… and I don't need money, or ships, or even adventure. I can't think of a better adventure than bein' her husband."
Some females cooed at the sentiment, and there was an occasional eye roll. Shang bowed to the Emperor before adding his own input. "That's… all well and good, but it doesn't erase what you've done in the past. Minerva, you can easily enough be allowed back in the N.A.V.Y. for your actions, but are we honestly supposed to do absolutely nothing with Mickey? You're asking us all to turn a blind eye to crime. No matter how good your intentions are, we can't just let him go."
Minnie was jarred out of her thoughts, and spoke with strange elation now that she could voice her idea. "I might have a solution! I mean, I think I do… I mean… well!" She took a deep breath to calm herself. "And not just for Mickey, but for all pirates. The big issues here are chance and redemption. What if we gave Mickey… a job in the A.R.M.Y.?" This immediately bought a loud reaction from all four sides of the room, and even Mickey looked befuddled at the offer. Minnie spoke rapidly and loudly to try and fit in the rest of her logic. "His knowledge of how pirates work can be a great asset, and I've seen him in action, he's an amazing fighter! And we can offer this to any pirate who is ready to turn over a new leaf. If we take the threat of death away, the battles between us and pirates will less life threatening!"
"Do you have any idea what you're asking?" Helga nearly knocked over her chair as she stood up. "That's giving a free pass to all pirates!"
"I'm not saying that!" Minnie knew her idea wouldn't be welcomed, but to be met with this much anger was worrying. "Of course there would be restrictions, and tests, and things for them to pass to prove their worth, but…" She stopped speaking when she noticed Goofy, off on his side, raising his hand like a schoolchild. When she looked, all eyes followed suit, and their arguments with each other settled down at the sheer absurdity of the sight. Come to think of it, why hadn't Goofy spoken a word since this began? He didn't even seem the lightest bit unnerved, and any arguments that had come from his table had come from Ezekiel and the guards. Once all voices were gone, Minnie hesitantly asked. "…Yes, Goo – er, your highness?"
Acknowledged, Goofy lowered his hand. "Gosh, I like yer idea, Minnie." He grinned, his buck teeth prominent. "I think it's swell, and I wanna do it. I'm sure if we all put our heads together, we can make it work out. And if ye fellas don't agree, and wanna kill me pal Mickey… well then, I'm just gunna have declare war on all of ye."
So many jaws dropped at this threat that Minnie wondered if they should all follow the same dental plan. Though Goofy was showing off a sunny disposition, there was no indicator that he was joking. Even Millie was stunned, her hands frozen on her big belly. Everyone was so outraged that they couldn't decide what to say first. Simba stormed out from behind his table, despite his wife trying to tug him back. "Have you lost your mind? We kept up these laws just to keep the peace between our kingdoms, and you're willing to go to war over his life?"
"Aye." Goofy didn't flinch, nor did he show any frustration. He began to adjust his ever sliding crown as he spoke, ignoring all the hostile tension. "If it weren't fer pirates, I wouldn't even be around. Pirates ain't some scary creatures from fairy tale books. They laugh and cry and bleed and do everythin' ye do. No one is perfect… when people do somethin' wrong, they should be punished. But a life is a long time ta live… can one person be branded ferever, even if they're real sorry? Ain't this whole thing at least worth a try? How long is a law allowed ta last befer we're allowed ta question it?"
These questions were met with uncertainty, but no one could deny the truth his simple words brought. The solution wouldn't be decided right away, but at least now their goals were being pushed together in a single path. Edward moved his hands down in a gesture to make his standing generals keep their seats, and rose in their place. "Before we get started on fixing this… there's still one person's opinion we need on this arrangement." He looked at Mickey, who was surprised to be looked at. "What say you, Captain Mickey? For this woman, and for the future of fellow pirates like yourself… would you take a place in the very organization that hunted you down? Will you join the A.R.M.Y.?"
Minnie was afraid to see Mickey's face as he made his decision, but she forced herself to look. Mickey was smirking.
"I am going to kill that bilge rat." Minnie hissed, two long months later. "I'm going to find him, arrest him, kill him, and then make sure he never does this again."
"Give him a few more minutes." Daisy chirped behind her, rubbing Minnie's sleeves to offer some minimal comfort. Because of their close proximity, Minnie could feel Daisy's stomach, and wondered if it was growing since she had last looked at it. "If he doesn't show up by then, I'll be more than happy to put a bullet between his eyes."
"Oh, Daisy, you're the best maid of honor a girl could ask for."
Despite how late the groom was, no one could call the crowd at the church anxious. Once they understood what had happened, it had become a source of amusement, and chuckles could be heard back and forth between the pews. It just seemed to fit Mickey that he would be late on his wedding day, since he was the first one who proposed over a year ago. Some even began taking bets on when he would arrive, because there was no doubt he would arrive. It was just a matter of him being distracted, and he'd get there eventually.
"I'd say she should get him a watch, but he'd probably pawn it for the cash." Drake dryly commented, and tried to nudge his daughter awake, despite how cute she looked snuggled up against his arm. Morgana tried not to laugh, but with each passing sarcastic comment Drake made, it was getting more and more difficult to hold back. This was preferable better to the sobbing mess Launchpad was, though. It was even embarrassing his girlfriend Donna. Who ever heard of crying before the wedding?
"You should check out the spread they have for the ceremony afterwards." Donald exchanged a grin with Horace, though Horace could just as easily been grinning at Clarabelle standing with Millie in their lovely bridesmaids dresses. "I hear he somehow convinced her to get rum flavored cheesecake."
"Aw gosh, I haven't had rum in ferever!" Goofy whined, using his arms to lull his infant son back to slumber. Instead, baby Max wanted to keep playing 'how long can I hold onto daddy's ear', and he had the high score. Goofy looked behind him, exchanging a look of understanding with Delbert and his wife, whose own little ones were having a difficult time being settled. Several of the N.A.V.Y. girls who were invited kept staring at Amelia, in disbelief that their Captain – General now, as new laws had come with new promotions – had the capability to smile so beautifully. Jane sat with him, still a Captain but content with it, and was able to ignore the children's cries due to a letter she was writing. She wanted to inform her father about all that happened before she joined him on his jungle expedition later in the year.
"If they keep me waiting any longer, I might just start charging them." Scrooge growled under his breath, impatiently tapping his cane to the floor. Goldie tried to snatch the cane out of his hands, which resulted in another argument, which then resulted in them sappily cuddling and kissing. Ducksworth took the chance to keep the cane away from both of them, and Ms. Beakly thanked him before trying to lift up Ludwig's spirits, as he was still upset he wasn't allowed to bring his automatic rice thrower. You set one library on fire and you're set for life, how unfair!
The door slammed open, and no one was surprised to see the green-clad uniformed mouse stumble his way in with a panic. He stopped several times to shake hands and thank them for coming, including the hands of Minnie's parents. Had they known their daughter was so unhappy in her engagement to Mortimer, they would have put a stop to it. Minnie may have known that on some level, and they had made an excellent shield to use for denial. Now they were happy to see Minnie was living for herself, and not for them, and this knowledge had given Minnie's mother enough strength to come to the wedding instead of being stuck sick in bed. Now, looking the healthiest she had ever been, she sat with her husband, holding mewling Figaro in her hands.
Mickey made it to the altar, sweating profusely and saluting nervously to the owl priest. The holy bird waved off the gesture, and opened the book laid out before him, starting the ceremony. Minnie and Mickey held hands, and Minnie whispered angrily to her future husband. "Where were you? What took you so long?"
"I'll explain later." Mickey tried to smuggle something into his A.R.M.Y. jacket, but Minnie caught sight of it.
"… Is that my father's pocketwatch?" Minnie yanked his arm in closer, trying to keep her voice low but also keep the same aggravated tone with him. He wouldn't learn unless she used the tone.
"… Old habits. Sorry." Mickey tried to smile at her, and offered a press of his nose to her cheek to get rid of her frown. "Aw, c'mon, I'm here, aren't I?"
"Why am I marrying you?" Minnie kept her eyes forward, keeping her pouty face in place.
"Cause… ye love me?" It was an answer he was confident in, so his expression was brighter.
"… For some reason, yes." It did the trick, and she was returning his smile through her veil. The wedding dress this time had been her own choosing, and in her opinion it was far prettier. Instead of fake flowers sown in, this one was designed to look like she was embedded with white feathers. She asked the tailor specifically for turtledove feathers.
"Do you, Minerva Mouse…"
She did. He had irreversibly changed her life for the better, helping to open her eyes that she didn't even know were closed. Thanks to him, she had a true sense of worth, and understood the world as a whole better. He was definitely going to make more mistakes and cause her more grievances, but she would take each one of them head on and love him all the more for it. He was not perfect, nor did he try to be, and for this he was wonderful. He was only Mickey, and that was what had been missing from her life.
"Do you, Michael Mouse…"
He did. He had gone from a life of aimlessly going from one hunt to the next, never appreciating the present or the future until she had given him a reason to fight. He was now a full, complete man, with purpose, drive, and happiness he had thought always denied to him. He was no longer Mickey without Minnie, for they were as much one heart as they were one life. She was all his. Those were his lips to kiss, his hands to hold, and his future to spend as happy as he could make it. Truly the wedding was only for show, for they both knew they were bound together by something beyond pages in a book, beyond perhaps mere mortal understanding.
When the time came to exchange rings, Mickey wistfully noticed that Minnie had kept the stolen engagement ring. She caught this too, and ducked away from his knowing leer. By now, even the snowy owl could not help but join in on the smiles that held the church together. "By the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride."
Mickey lifted her veil with utmost delicacy, as if afraid to shatter this dream. To his relief, she was real, this was real, and those tears dropping down her petite face were real as he brushed them away from her cheeks. Most everyone expected Mickey to dive right into the kiss and flash off a proud perversion, in a way showing off what was rightfully his. He never got the chance. Minnie dove at him, throwing her arms around him, seizing his mouth in one whole take. Mickey was so overpowered that he nearly fell back, and had to grab onto Minnie to keep them both steady. He wound up having to lift her off the floor a few inches, which was an easy task given how light she was.
It was Daisy who laughed first, and then Clarabelle, then Millie, then their loves and their families, and in a wave of ripples, all those sitting in the pews stood up in thunderous laughter and applause. By the time Minnie pulled back from the kiss, which of itself seemed to last an eternity, she found herself looking down at Mickey, and she burst into giggles. Mickey laughed as well, their noses rubbing together, and faintly, he could hear Minnie telling him in-between giggles that she loved him, loved him, loved him. Everything was perfect.
Of course, perfect never lasts, and why should this moment have been any different? A sudden loud boom erupted from outside the church, and many recognized the sound as cannon fire. Panic and question rose, and Ludwig was the first one to make it to the stained glass windows to see what the problem was outside. He gasped, and then flailed his arms in urgency. "Pirates!"
Mickey promptly put down his wife, who turned on him in a second. "Pirates? Was that what made you so late?"
He brushed down his official uniform, less ashamed than before. "I got a job ta do now, don't I? Since Mortimer's lost all his money, he's tryin' ta goad me old crew holdin' him hostage so he could split the profits. I was tryin' ta rescue the loon, then I remembered what day it was." He wasn't even deterred by Minnie's puffy cheeked pout. "Oh, like ye weren't expectin' anythin' ta happen either?" He pointed at her feet, and after a moment, Minnie pretended to be reluctant about lifting her dress, revealing that she had been wearing her steam-powered roller skates this entire time.
"Just don't slow me down." Minnie clicked her heels together, bringing the skates to life. Perhaps they could convince some of Mickey's crew to give up piracy and start a new life as the new laws now could provide, but she was rather looking forward to seeing how they were all doing after she kicked their butts.
"Wouldn't dream of it. Just leave the Rabbit ta me!" He had a vow of not killing. He did not have a vow of not beating up stupid rabbits illicitly marrying his sister and proving who the better man was.
The two mice then started running, eager to prove their merit to the other. Minnie haplessly tossed the bouquet behind her, which Clarabelle caught by complete accident as she helplessly squeaked to her squealing friends. Spring had started, and the sun was shining brightly as the two privates took to battle. Minnie had gotten the hang of her skates, and despite the length of her dress, found it easy to fly into the air to launch an aerial attack on the criminals.
She looked like a turtledove – a white bird in the sky, finally free.