Absence Makes the Heart Go Plunder

Tale Spin Fan Fic

by Katie Sullivan


Chapter 8



Scarlet slowly became aware of her surroundings, through a haze of pain and fatigue. She was on a boat, judging by the gentle rocking. In a bed. There were bandages wrapped around a large portion of her body, and a faint smell of alcohol in her nostrils, probably used to sterlize her wounds. She was not alone. There was the steady sound of breathing closeby. Whoever it was sounded as if they were sleeping. Far in the distance, she heard people speaking in an incomprehensible whirl of Italian. Her mouth was as dry as she could ever remember it being.

Slowly, she forced her eyes open. All of her blind deductions were true, by the looks of things. The round porthole proclaimed her to be on a ship, and in the bed beside her... She turned to see the source of the breathing.

Don Karnage!

She gave a small start of surprise. What had...? Had they...? Why...? How...?

Then it all came rushing back. The treasure. Baltsaros. The battle. Him.

She relaxed immediately, seeing that he was alive and relatively well. The color was back in his face, and he was covered in clean, white bandages just like her.

The only thing she didn't remember was getting on this ship. Must have been after she fainted.

But she...no, they were safe now. A brief concern passed her mind, if anyone had thought to bring the treasure onboard before leaving Terror Point. She supposed Carlotta had seen to it. Still, the matter seemed of little urgency at that moment. She nudged herself closer to her companion and laid her head on his pillow, her chin on his shoulder. This was the only treasure that really mattered, she decided. And she allowed herself to drift back to sleep, lulled by the thrum of the waves on the hull, and Karnage's steady breathing.





A gentle movement awoke her an indeterminate amount of time later. She found she was still lying close beside her former Captain. He was stirring slowly into wakefulness. The sun had set, but someone had left a lantern by the porthole, casting sharp shadows on the wooden walls.

Scarlet rolled onto her back, wincing at the sharp lances of pain in her thigh, shoulder and both arms. Karnage raised a hand to rub his tired eyes but stopped in mid-movement with a short gasp of pain. "¿Qué pasó?" he mumbled. "What happened?" He turned his head and saw her beside him, and immediately grinned. "You are alive!"

"So are you."

"I must be...the dead do not feel pain," he said with a frown, taking a survey of his wounds. Through the new holes and tears in his pants, he could see a number of bandages, and his chest was practically carpeted with gauze. His face, shoulder and neck bore similar bandages. He glanced around the room for his coat, but it was nowhere to be seen. "I have not seen this place in ages."

"Where are we? Whose ship is this?"

"This is my old cabin on La Paura...Vincenzo Barzini's ship. You are all right?" he asked, turning back to her with a look of concern.

"I'll live...thanks to you. But where did you come from? How did you know...?"

"You will laugh."

"You saved my life. I won't laugh, I promise."

"I had a strange dream telling me you were in danger. I can not explain it. I just knew."

Scarlet gave a small, tired smile. "You came half-way across the world because you had a dream?"

"No. I came half-way across the world because I love you." He put a hand on her shoulder and drew her back to his side. "Scarlet, I can not imagine not loving you. You have become everything to me. When you left, my whole life just seemed wrong."

"I missed you, too," she admitted quietly. "You've become such a large part of my life...and my heart. I've felt so lost since I left."

He traced the line of her head from the tip of her ear to her shoulder, lost in her eyes. She, in turn, put a finger to his mangled ear. "I know how this happened now," she said with a spark of annoyance.

"You have met Carlotta."

"Oh, yes. We've gotten very well acquainted," she said wryly. "And I suppose you just hadn't gotten around to telling me about her yet."

"I was going to. Really. Later or sooner. Pirate's honor."

"Mmm hmm." She lowered a skeptical eyebrow.

"I did not even know she was in existence until a few years ago. Until now, I had only seen her once."

"If she's so insignificant, why couldn't you tell me?"

"Well..." he faltered, searching for words in any language that would explain sufficiently. "It has not completely sunk into my brain yet. Is a very messy situation. Isabella would take the rest of my head off, if I let her," he said, gesturing at his ear. "And...I thought perhaps you would be upset."

"I was bound to find out sooner or later."

"I know, but... What can I say? I am..."

"A pirate?" she finished for him.

"That too. I was going to say 'sorry'. I do not say this many times. But I am."

Scarlet had never seen that expression on his face before. It was genuine...well, meekness. She smiled fondly. "Apology accepted. And I'm sorry, too. I guess maybe I over-reacted before. The Code is The Code, after all, and I did sign it. As for Carlotta, she's a very nice girl. I like her. Although I do wish you'd told me about her before. You can trust me, you know."

"I know," he replied immediately, toying with a strand of her golden hair. The intensity of his gaze made her look away, but he clasped their hands together and locked his eyes with hers. "Come back."

She arched her eyebrows sadly and leaned away. "I can't. I'd have to split up the treasure, and I'd lose face. No, I quit your crew. There's just no way I can come crawling back now."

"Do not be silly, querida. Your leg will get healed. You will not have to crawl."

"I mean, it would be humiliating."

"But I have been thinking in my incredibly smart mind, and I realized...you were not a member of the crew when you found the treasure. So it is yours. You can do with it whatever you are wanting."

"Really?"

"Claro que sí." ["Yes, of course."]

"Are you making that up, or is that really in The Code?"

"No."

"No, you're not making it up, or no, it's not in The Code?"

"Yes."

Before she had a chance to make a disgusted face, he kissed her, and somehow she couldn't bear to pull away.

"Come back to Pirate Island with me. Por favor, querida."

"I just...can't. You can bandage cuts like these," she said, running a hand tenderly across her battered leg, "but you can't bandage wounded pride. I resigned from the crew. I can't sign on again."

He shook his head twice and put a hand softly on her cheek, brushing her hair off her face. "I'm not asking you to come back as a member of my crew. I'm asking you to come back as my wife."

Every muscle in her body immediately tightened, and she pulled back, her eyes wide. "What?" she said numbly.

"Marry me. Te casa conmigo. You make my heart go racing, my soul calm and my life bright. I never want to lose that again. Until I met you, I did not even believe I could love someone like I love you. But I do love you, Scarlet. More than anything. You were right...you are much more than a crew member. Be my wife."

Scarlet blinked, flattered beyond measure, but utterly flabbergasted. "I--I--I don't know what to say!"

"Say yes."

"M-m-marry you?"

Her hesitation began making him nervous. "Scarlet, I want to spend the rest of my life with me. With you. Me. You with me. Us together. Damn, now you've messed it all up! I can't think!"

"Sorry," she said with a nervous laugh. "I just wasn't expecting...I mean, we...until today...so soon after...I just don't know if we should make a decision like this right now. We've been through a lot, and my impulse is to say yes, but I'm not sure if it's just the adrenaline talking."

"Adrenaline does not talk."

"I didn't mean literally," she said an look of fond exasperation.

"This is not a spurt-of-the moment question. Since we traveled to Cabo Orgulloso, I have felt this way. You are someone very, very special. You know I have never told the story of my life to anyone. Not Isabella. Not even Carlotta. You are the only one, and for good reason. I do trust you." He tried to prop himself in a half-sitting position, but his numerous injuries quickly convinced him not to. "I never really knew what my parents were talking about when they spoke of 'soul mates'. I thought it was maybe a fantasy meant to excuse their marrying, with their different species. But now I know what they were meaning. You are my soul mate. I thought it before, but when you were gone...then I knew. It was not chance that we were at the same lunch counter. It was destiny."

Scarlet's face softened, her protestations paling in the face of his adoring gaze. "I just think--"

He put a finger to her lips. "Don't think. Just say yes."

She held on a moment longer, riveted by his expectant eyes. Finally, her heart was too loud to ignore. The fact of the matter was, she felt the same as he did. "You can be so stubborn sometimes," she said with half-hearted irritation. "But I love you. A lot. More than I ever expected to. You've brought so much to my life, and although you can drive me to my wit's end, well...I've been lost without you."

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes."

"Yes!" He triumphantly threw his arms around her, despite the pain, and clutched her close as if she might disappear again. "Te amo, querida," he said softly. ["I love you, darling."]

"Te amo también," she whispered back. ["I love you, too."]

"Para siempre." ["Forever."]

"Para siempre," she echoed.

He tenderly drew her into a long kiss, and no translation was necessary.




On to Chapter 9
Back to Chapter 7
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This story and the characters Scarlet, Vincenzo, Isabella, Carlotta, and Baltsaros are (c) Katie Sullivan and may not be used without permission. Katarina is (c) Kayleen Connell and may not be used without permission, either. Don Karnage, the Iron Vulture, the Air Pirates, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette, Tale Spin and all related indica, etc, are (c) The Walt Disney Company and are used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes only.