Disclaimer: I own nothing

A/N: Oh goodness, I quickly wrote this rubbish ages ago and just found it in my files. …Might as well post it here. It was supposed to be like a summary or outline for a larger story that I was writing, but unfortunately, I lost interest.

(Yes, the pirate is Jack Sparrow. Jack/Mirana is the loveliest crossover/crack-pairing ship that ever sailed and I still love it.)

Alice and Tarrant Hightopp's daughter was was a very muchy little girl, full of pluck and spunk and extraordinarily curious about everything, and there was nothing she liked so much as to hear a story. Her mother could spin the most wonderful, exciting stories out of thin air, but on occasions when she was busy or tired the little girl made it her goal to hear a story from every person in the Palace. On any given day a miniature copy of Alice, with wide, startlingly green eyes and reddish-fair curls escaping the ribbons or hairpins that attempted to restrain them, could be seen marching about the palace corridors purposefully, searching for somebody to tell her a story. Thus far, being a general favorite around the place, she had wheedled a story out of everybody in Marmoreal except for a few of the sterner courtiers, the Head Cook Thackery, who spoke in fragments and generally became distracted by a spoon, and the Queen herself, who was busy most of the time and unable to be found the rest.

Thus, on one very rare occasion, when she caught sight of the Queen passing through the corridor right before her bedtime, the little girl wasn't about to miss her chance.

"Hullo, dear. Isn't it your bedtime?" said Mirana, patting the child on the cheek.

"Not yet. I need a story first," the girl smiled beguilingly.

"Were I you, I'd ask your mother- you know she tells the most wonderful stories."

"I can't ma'am; she's still reading in the Library."

"What about your nurse?"

The girl shook her head. "I've heard all of them. …Would you tell me a story?" she wheedled in her very best innocent, sweet voice. A pair of wide green eyes fixed the Queen with a practiced pleading expression.

"Ah, me… Very well, but only one," said the Queen, unable to resist that look.

The child grinned and skipped back into her bedroom, doing a little twirl before springing into her bed and snuggling down between the sheets. The Queen perched regally on a chair near the bed. The little girl clasped her hands beneath her chin and fixed the Queen with an unblinking, expectant expression.

"What sort of a story would you like?"

"Mm… A story about… a lady," said the child brightly.

"A Lady, very well…" the Queen cleared her throat. "This is the story of a Lady and a Pirate. Years ago, before you were born, before the days of the Rule of the Red Queen, a Pirate became shipwrecked in Underland. A lady, hearing of the Pirate-visitor, was naturally curious and intrigued so she took the pirate in and had her people repair his boat." the Queen paused for a moment. "It took quite a while to fix his boat, and during that time the lady and the pirate became more acquainted with one another, and… despite the difference between their stations and knowing that he was a thief and a scoundrel the lady began to like the pirate very much."

"Why? He was a pirate! Pirates are bad people, aren't they? They steal and sink ships, right?"

"Ah yes, they're a bad lot. But perhaps she liked that roguishness?" Mirana smiled and tapped the little girl on the nose. The child giggled.

"He was very charming and intelligent and clever, on top of all that. Silly lady, she thought that perhaps the pirate returned her feelings, but he was such a flirt she was never sure, so she hid her own. Eventually his boat was repaired and he had to leave- he was on a quest to retrieve his ship and find the Fountain of Youth."

"Underland is like the Fountain. Didn't the Lady tell him that?"

"Yes, she did… she did. But he had only two loves: his ship and the sea," the Queen made a very slight gesture that may have been a resigned shrug. "His ship had been taken from him before he arrived in Underland and he was intent on going to the Overlands and getting it back."

"Wasn't the Lady very unhappy that he left?"

"Mm. I suppose she was, yes. But she had ample warning- she knew that he was the flighty sort."

"Did the pirate ever come back?"

Mirana paused for a very long moment before saying quietly, "No, that was many years ago. I suppose he's forgotten all about the Lady by now, and there's no telling how much time has passed in the Overlands… But pirates are a slippery lot, very hard to catch and even harder to predict; who knows but he may return yet," the Queen winked and tapped the child on the nose. "Now, that's enough story for tonight."

"That was very short and it didn't end happily," said the child reproachfully. "You left quite a lot out, didn't you?"

"If you feel it is too short, you may make up your own ending," the Queen rose and made as though to leave.

"Was it true?" the child persisted.

"Who can say? We're all stories in the end, after all."

The child looked puzzled and finally said, "…Could you tell a happier story next time?"

"Ah-ah, now you're just getting greedy! Who said there would be a next time?"

"You did just now, ma'am," the girl smiled innocently.

"Good night, dear."