Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Disney/Cinderella/Beauty and the Beast/Brave/Pocahontas/Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs/Sleeping Beauty/Alice in Wonderland
Character/Pairing: Cinderella/Snow White, Belle/Merida, Pocahontas/Aurora, Alice, Dinah, Gus Gus
Challenge/Prompt: whatif_au 12: Stranded/Lost AU
Warning(s): Mentions Real!Disney
Word Count: 1,744
Date Written: 20 March 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Dinah, no!” Alice cried, chasing after her kitten. Royal figures exclaimed in surprise as the small, fast kitten bolted through their legs with Alice right behind her. It wasn’t until Alice came to an abrupt stop, however, that Alice was finally able to catch her. “How many times do I have to tell you,” she demanded, exasperated, “Gus Gus is not to be chased or caught?! He -- Well, he may be a mouse,” she admitted, “but he’s a sweet, talking, intelligent mouse! Isn’t that right, Gus Gus?” she asked the tiny, trembling mouse now hiding in their leader’s palm.
“For shame, Dinah,” the Queen chastised the kitten, waving her finger in the cat’s face.
Dinah slapped at her finger. Alice gasped in shock, her face going whiter than her apron. “Dinah!”
To her immense surprise and relief, Cinderella merely laughed. “It’s fine, Alice. She’s just being a kitten. But do try to keep her away from my friends, won’t you?”
“I do try, Your Highness,” Alice said obediently, holding her kitten close to her chest and curtsying.
“That’s all I can ask,” Cinderella said approvingly. “Animals will be animals after all.” She looked up at the sound of laughter and smiled as a bear cub batted his paw at Merida’s waving, flame red curls. “All animals follow their nature.” She lifted her head and scanned their horizon. “We may do well to follow their example.”
“Ah would, Yuir Majesty,” Merida called, “if yoo’d let me hunt.”
“There are plenty of ways to survive on this island, Merida, that does not require taking other lives.”
The mouse in her palm miserably whispered something. “What’s that, Gus Gus?” she asked, lifting him up to her ear. He climbed into her hair and whispered the words again. This time, they were punctuated by a loud rumble of his tiny tummy. He pressed both hands to it as Jacques laughed. “Jacques, it’s no laughing matter,” Cinderella sternly told the other mouse. “You’re hungry too.”
That quieted the other mouse, and Cinderella sighed. They were all hungry, but so far, every day, Pocahontas, Aurora, and Snow White had come through with plenty for them all to eat. She didn’t know how long the fruits and berries they were finding would last, however, and feared that they may eat end up having to take lives to survive. That was not something she could do, but she could not keep forbidding the other women from doing so if it proved to be the only way they could survive.
“Look what I found roaming the hilltops today!” Belle called out.
Cinderella looked in her direction and broke out into a wide, beaming smile. What was Pocahontas saying just this morning about prayers being answered? “Gus Gus, look!”
“I-it’s a goat,” the little mouse squeaked. “C-Can’t . . . “ He paused, suddenly uncertain.
“Go ahead,” Cinderella urged him.
“I-Isn’t there su-such a th-thing as go-goat m-milk and . . . and cheese?” he asked hopefully, his tiny voice growing louder and more high-pitched with each new word.
Cinderella’s smile grew. “Yes,” she answered quite happily, “there most certainly is.” As Belle grew closer, Cinderella noted that she was leading not one but two goats on tethers she’d made from the long ribbon that had previously held in place her hair, which she had been ordered to grow out in the last couple of years. The mere reminder that she had been instructed to grow out her hair to appear more beautiful reminded Cinderella of their previous leadership and how much she and her friends had been aggravated by having to succumb to a man’s idea of what they should be. Being role models for children was respectable, but having to also appeal to the idea of what young men found beautiful most certainly was not, especially as (mostly) married women.
She looked again at the goats and tried to shy away her own frustrations. “Were there more of them?”
“Yes, but -- “
“Don’t worry,” Cinderella said with a smile. “We won’t use them for meat, but it also will not tire them out as easily if we use more than just a couple for milk.”
“Now that’s something Ah can get muh hands intae!” Merida cried jovially, bouncing to her feet.
“In the morrow,” Cinderella instructed her.
Merida flounced back down with a pout, but there was the bear cub, waiting to distract her and play with her again.
“Let them get used to us tonight. Belle, you’ll be in charge of gentling them.”
Belle smiled brightly. “That won’t be a problem, Your Majesty.”
“I know. You do rather have a way of creatures.”
Belle’s smile turned to a triumphant grin. “Some might say gentling beasts was my speciality.” She looked thoughtfully over at Merida, who was now ignoring them while tousling with the orphaned bear cub they had found on their first day here.
Cinderella’s brow creased with sudden worry. How many days had they been here now? She’d have to check the lines she drew in the dirt every night. Mulan and Ariel had yet to return from scouting to see if they could find help, and she wondered what had become of them. She hoped their friends were all right.
“It’s almost storytime,” Belle remarked, settling down onto the grass and simultaneously stroking both the goats’ heads between their horns. They bleated and bumped against her palm, clearly wanting more of her loving caresses.
“Here they come,” Cinderella announced as she spied three figures moving toward their campsite. She breathed in relief as she noticed that all six baskets were full. They would eat well again tonight and in the morning.
“Our animal friends came through for us again,” Aurora announced as soon as the three gatherers were close enough to be heard by their Queen.
Meeko skirted around the three Princess’ feet and grabbed as many berries as he could hold the moment they set down their baskets. “Meeko!” Pocahontas chided him. “That food is for all of us!” Meeko looked up at her with innocence, his little cheeks full to bursting and his black paws dyed a dark blue.
Cinderella laughed. “It’s fine, Pocahontas. I trust there are more where these came from?”
“But if we keep raiding it every day -- “ Pocahontas’ face grew worried as she gazed back in the direction from whence she and her team had just walked. Cinderella knew well of her friend’s concern for the destruction and overuse of the forests across the world. “Perhaps I could start to plant some food tomorrow, Your Majesty?” she asked, looking back at Cinderella.
Merida instantly looked up. “That’s somethin’ Ah could help with!”
Cinderella nodded. “Very well. Tomorrow, Pocahontas will stay here, and Merida and she will start a few gardens. It is also your day to rest, Aurora.”
“I’m fine -- “
“I insist,” Cinderella said, cutting her off. “Belle, your primary concern will be the goats. Alice, you can join Snow White and myself as we gather food tomorrow.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Alice murmured with another curtsy.
“Now can we eat?” Gus Gus squeaked from Cinderella’s blonde hair piled on top of her regal head.
Cinderella laughed. “Yes, Gus Gus, now we can eat!” Once the food was divided, and Pocahontas had led them in giving thanks to the Spirits for the day’s bountiful harvest, the ladies began to talk about their day. They laughed, too, as they watched Meeko and the bear cub chase each other in circles. Percy soon dozed at Pocahontas’ feet, and Flit settled in on her dark shoulder.
When they had finished their meal and were settled around the fire Merida had built, Belle began the night’s story. The other Princesses, Alice, and the animals all listened with rapt attention at first, but soon they began to doze. Aurora’s head rested on Pocahontas’ other shoulder. The bear cub snored at Merida’s feet. Snow White and Cinderella laid together.
Cindy could feel the mice nestled in her hair as she, out in the open, cuddled in her true lover’s gentle arms. In the back of her mind, she knew she had not yet checked the strokes she made each day in the sand down on the beach, just beyond where the tide would reach, but she could do that at first light tomorrow. At times like this, it was almost hard to care how many days they had been out here since the cruise ship had crashed.
Cinderella tried not to think about the lives that had perished in the destruction of the ship and the unexpected storm that night. She tried not to think of the dying screams of all the friends and fans they had lost. And with Snow White holding her close, it was easy not to think of such horrid things. It was easy, too, not to worry about what could be keeping Mulan and Ariel from returning from their treks over the land and through the ocean relatively to find help. It was easy to want to stay right here forever. Cinderella hid a long yawn behind her hand as her eyes slid shut. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all, to stay here, where they could truly be free and happy, forever.
Snow White kissed her love’s head as she fell asleep, then closed her eyes and gave in to the pull of unconsciousness herself. As she fell asleep, she thought again of the Dwarves. She dearly missed her adopted brothers, but they had taught her well how to survive in the wilderness. Even now, she was well aware of the tiny, Dwarf-crafted knife hid in her shoe. Thanks to them, she was able to protect not just herself but these fine women and the animals who had come into their care from whatever might come to try to harm them in this strange, new land.
“Taking first watch?” Belle whispered after she’d finished her story and noted that everybody else was asleep. Her eyes met Merida’s across the campfire, and in her Scottish, green eyes, she saw the thrill of an animal not yet tamed.
“Don’t Ah always?”
“Yes, but we’ve gone many nights without any danger coming to us.”
“There’s always a first.”
“Agreed, but you could do other things while you wait and watch.” She stood, leaving the sleeping goats, and approached her on silent feet.
“Like whut?” Merida asked, looking up puzzledly.
“Like this,” Belle whispered and kissed her as the flames leaped higher.