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POTC: Cats Lurk Diminished (Elizabeth)

For starfishchick, who requested a Pirates of the Caribbean ficlet featuring Elizabeth.

Title: Cats Lurk Diminished
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Pirates of the Caribbean
Character: Elizabeth
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Is utility the one criterion for creation?
Notes: Set after the third movie



It was Mistress Ching who first recognized Elizabeth's state, two and a half months after Will had disappeared below and beyond water's grasp.

While, as Pirate King, Elizabeth had not felt the need to call the brethren to court, as Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, she often crossed paths with Ching, both on earth and ocean. In this instance, her Empress had just defeated two British smugglers when Ching's majestic junk had hailed.

Fresh from the uneven battle, Elizabeth shed her bloodied jacket and trousers and donned the gown Ching would doubtless expect. She took a steadying breath as she arranged the items on her desk--the fight had been more tiring than she expected. She quelled the desire to curl into a chair, and when her cabin boy knocked on her door, she called out, "Enter," and stood proud.

Mistress Ching swept into the room, accompanied by two grim-faced men--one a steward and one a consort, though Elizabeth had never determined which was which. "A fine battle, I am told." Her chin inclined slightly, a signal Elizabeth recognized as deference.

"A fine crew, and a gift from Calypso." Elizabeth pitched her voice low on the name. Her cabin boy entered with a tray of refreshments, and Elizabeth breathed out, relieved, when he managed to set it down with grace before he exited.

Ching glanced at her men for a brief moment, and they followed after the cabin boy, soundless.

"Tea?" Elizabeth offered, and she began pouring in assumption. It was part of the loot from the recent battle, fine and freshly spiced. The fragrant steam eddied, then rose to caress her face. Elizabeth breathed deep, then gagged.

Ching cleared her throat, and Elizabeth stepped back, composed herself.

"I'm sorry," she bit out, choosing courtesy over pride. "I find myself slightly under the weather this afternoon."

"My dear," Ching said, and the expected condescension was overlaid with amusement, "is this the first time that has happened?" Her eyes tracked over Elizabeth, and her smile was discomforting.

"I don't understand," Elizabeth said.

"When I was your age," Ching replied, "I made a choice."

Wary, Elizabeth seated herself, and gestured that Ching should do the same.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Maxine Kumin's The Poets Observe the Absence of God from the St. Louis Zoo. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
liminalliz
Dec. 17th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
NO NO, MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was absolutely fabulous; a perfect window in the wiles of piratical females! MORE! MORE!
starfishchick
Dec. 18th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Dude.

This is wonderful, so so well done! Hooray!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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