I had a story request about bunny pirates.. :) I haven't forgotten Umbra or any others, there's a list.. :)
Speedy was paying very careful attention as Cindy was explaining how exactly one ran a pirate ship without two foots about to do the stinky work. Mr Mick was much more interested in finding out when he'd get to play with the wheel. Weasley was up front on the bow, nose to the wind twitching five thousand twitches a minute, clouded eyes mostly closed over in delight.
Maddy bounced up onto the deck, having been helped into costume by one Princess Ivy. Her ears poked up through a pink bandana, mane fluttered in the sea breeze. Ivy, slightly smaller than the lionhead, was perfectly happy to show the younger rabbit how one scurried up and down the rigging.
Speedy finally gathered his crew on the main deck, "Okay, I think we've got it all." He gave his best salute to Sage and Scout, Cindy and Smokey, Ivy and Sir Gregory and the other lagomorphs lurking. "Well, except the rum. Mick, can you find rum?"
"Aye, Aye, Cap'n!" Mickey declared and hopped down the Rum Rabbit's gang plank to head up to one of the many dockside taverns.
* * *
They all stared up at their ship with awe. Cindy had said, in her best 'I'm a diva and you should know it' tone, if you wanted a ship, you just had to want it enough.
"What are we going to call it?" Maddy asked, getting right down to business. "Angel of the Waves is my suggestion."
"That's not very bunny." said Weasley.
"Does it have to be bunny?" Maddy said with a sniff.
"Well, it should.. shouldn't it?" Weasley asked, suddenly unsure. He didn't like to rock the boat. So to speak.
The debate was broken up by Hannah and Harrington's arrival. "Sorry! Sorry! Mamma was all busy late, we couldn't escape!"
"She kept petting us, it was *horrible*" Harrington said with absolutely no protest in his voice.
"Blech!" Maddy said.
Speedy was still staring up at his ship. "Hare today." he declared.
"What, dear?" Hannah said, turning to look at him.
"The ship, we should call it 'Hare today.'" He said, looking over at them.
Glances were exchanged. "Er.. well.."
Speedy sighed, "You don't like it."
"Er.." Hannah suddenly had inspiration, "Well, isn't it supposed to be Racer's ship? Shouldn't HE get to name it?"
"OH!" Speedy exclaimed, "Yes, that only sounds fair."
The girls exchanged a 'phew!' look.
A thump garnered there attention. "Just how far am I supposed to drag all this without help?" Mr Mick called, sounding quite put out. He sat beside a net bag of several bottles.
Speedy quickly put truth to his name and pounded up to help Mick with his haul.
"I'll go get Racer!" Maddy declared and hopped off to the nearest closet.
* * *
She came out almost on top of Princess, she back peddled quickly as the ruler of the roost gave her a dirty look. "Couldn't you have KNOCKED?" Princess asked, eye ridge raised.
"Er.." Maddy scratched under her chin and looked up at the ceiling, "Sorry?" She offered. It seemed awfully silly to her to knock on a closet door, but the old fuddy duddy rabbits had all sorts of strange ideas.
"What do you want?" Princess asked. She felt no need to be polite when the visitor was making absolutely no effort.
"Racer!" Maddy said, bouncing up. "We've got a ship!"
Princess looked for a moment like someone had dropped a rock in her water. "You have a what now?"
"A ship! For Salty Racer to sail!" Maddy tilted her head to one side, "Though, I'm not sure he can sail it to visit Speedy, since Speedy'll be the first mate.."
"Oh this I have to see." Princess said, "Let's round up the boys.." She started to hop towards the patio door.
"Wonderful." Maddy muttered at the thought of the bossy boots coming to.
Princess stopped and looked over her shoulder. "Excuse me?"
Maddy put on her best fake happy look. "Wonderful!" she said and tried to look enthusiastically sincere.
Princess snorted and turned back. "BOYS!" She bellowed, "Get over here, we're going on a field trip. Goldie, Zoey, you two come too!"
There was some scrambling, some mutterings of not having time to pack, groom, eat mid-afternoon-snacks, and worries about being missed. "Don't worry, I've got that totally covered!" Maddy said, patting her magical bunny bag. (Weasley had a roaring trade with the making and selling of them.)
Soon eight bunnies were cramming into a closet to head off to the beach.
All they left behind was one confused cat and seven plush toy rabbits in various states of repose. Humans were pretty slow upstairs, they'd never notice.
* * *
Racer bounced up the gang plank were the rest of the rabbits waited. "A ship! A SHIP!"
"Happy birthday!" Speedy declared.
Racer stopped, "It's not my birthday.."
"We're pretending it is." Weasley said.
"Oh!" Racer bounced and charged around, running up to Benji. "I have a ship!"
"You have a ship," Benji agreed amiably. "What're you calling it?"
"The Lagomorph, of course!" Racer said, running back down the beach and up the gang plank.
"The Lagomorph?" Benji said doubtfully, looking to wear his warrent mates were ambling along, Maddy had hopped ahead to try and get a groom in on Speedy. Speedy, being as nimble as Racer, had quickly dashed up the gang plank after the black lop.
"Its a good name." Hannah said, eyeing Princess. Princess was eyeing her right back. Neutral territory and all, the two alpha female were deciding whether they would get along. Oh, Maddy THOUGHT she was an alpha, but really, she was a hyperactive dustball. Harrington licked his mate's cheek. Hannah nodded to Princess, who nodded back and the two proceeded up the gang plank side by side, Harrington taking the rear.
"Why does no one ever worry about me getting cranky?" Goldie asked Weasley, who happened to be standing there.
"Because you're too nice to be cranky?" Weasley asked hopefully. He really didn't know the pacific north-wet crew beyond Racer and Benji.
"I guess." Goldie huffed and turned to where Benji and Winston were digging madly in the sand. If they weren't careful they were going to get a double nip when they caught Zoey and Chico in the spray of silica. "Did you need a paw up?" She asked Weasley.
"Naw. I sound map pretty good. I'm just waiting for Mickey to get back. He said he had to get something we couldn't sail without.
"Hay?" Zoey asked, coming within range of the conversation. Chico was giving Benji and Winston dirty looks as they continued to send sand every which way with their digging.
"Nono, we have lots of hay, and craisins, and pellets, and salad stuff, and water, and rum.." Weasley shrugged, "I don't know what he's gone for, in all honesty."
Racer appeared at the top of the gang plank. "Guys! This is great! Get up here!" He disappeared again.
"You heard our captain!" Zoey said with amusement, scarpering up the plank with Chico close behind.
Benji sighed and gave up on the digging, Winston started to put the sand back where they'd found it. "Oh leave off, tide's coming in, the sea'll do that." Benji said.
"Still seems a bit rude.." Winston said doubtfully, looking over his shoulder as he hopped towards the ship. "We made a mess, shouldn't we clean it?" he wondered.
Benji did a half-hop-binky, "Its the same as the two feet and litterboxes. Its its job to clean up after us."
Winston still didn't look convinced but followed his friend up the gang plank.
Zoey and Chico stood and waited with Weasley, they didn't want the old fella falling off the plank. While they could all swim, none of them liked it.. and getting their fur dry, not to mention getting the salt out, would be a right pain in the tail!
Mickey finally showed up with a pile of black material in his mouth. "Mffff grft drrr fwrrg!"
Zoey looked at Chico, Chico shrugged at Zoey.
"He got a flag." Weasley said, quite apt at translating his best friend's "talking with mouth full" to comprehensible words.
"A flag of what?" Zoey asked.
"A jolly roger!" Chico exclaimed.
Mick nodded, almost tripping over the flag. The two younger fuzzies ran up to help him and all three made extra noisy hops for Weasley to follow.
* * *
It had taken them a while for everyone to get sorted and everyone in place and in job. Well, everyone except Weasley. He was at the front of the boat scenting the wind. Zoey and Maddy had settled up in the bun's nest, Mr Mick was at the wheel with Racer watching (claiming he was learning how it was done, but really he was just enjoying his friend's fun too much to interupt), Goldie was nibbling and braiding line (rope, to the landlubbers, she'd explained to Princess.) Princess was lounging in a hammock with Hannah while Harrington was going over the sea charts with Mr Mick. The rest were doing whatever sea duties Captain Racer could think of. Some of them were a bit silly.
"I smell cat," Weasley said, awfully confused. He turned to call up to the quarterdeck. "I smell cat!"
"Cat?!" Racer repeated.
"His nose is never wrong." Mr Mick said firmly, though he was wondering about his friend's sanity. Maybe all the salt and water and seaweed had rotted his nose?
"SAIL HO!" Maddy called from the bun's nest.
"Let's go talk to them!" Racer said.
"DID YOU HEAR ME?" Maddy yelled.
"YEAH, WE HEARD YOU!" Princess called back before muttering in a rather unladylike manner, "Half the ocean the freaking ocean heard you."
"We're pirates! Do we really go chat up with the neighbours?" Mickey asked.
Racer shrugged, "We're friendly pirates!"
Mickey wasn't quite sure such things had existed, but there was always time to introduce such.
"Maybe it's your friends from the Rum Rabbit?" Winston said, coming up to join the other two.
"Naw. They were waiting on their two foots to come into dock. There's two Rum Rabbit ships." Mickey said, eyes scanning the horizon, finally seeing the fuzzy grey blob the girls had spotted. He turned the wheel to send the ship thatta way.
"Two?! Doesn't that get confusing?" Racer asked.
Mickey rolled his eyes, "Only one's a ghost ship, how confusing can it be?"
"Gh-Gh-Ghost ship?" Racer asked, wide-eyed.
"Sure. All those buns have been to the rainbow bridge." Mickey wasn't quite sure what the big deal was. Everyone knew you couldn't keep a rabbit somewhere they didn't want to be. "Which is why they have rum and dandelions but no bad hay." He shrugged, "How else would Cindy keep stealing Captain Jack's hat? Well, sometimes she hires ninja mice and gerbils, but for the most part.."
Racer and Winston exchanged a look and shuddered in unison.
The ship sailed closer and closer to the sails they'd spotted on the horizon. As they got within distance to read the name (a practise not actually practiced in the pirate era, Maddy was happy to point out knowingly) they saw it was called "The Lollipop" and was manned by .. cats.
"Cats don't like water!" Mick said with a thump.
Cat hearing being every bit as good as rabbit, got him a bit of a hiss snarl back. "We like FISH just fine!"
The two ships pulled up broadsides and the two Captains approached their respective gunwales to chat. They were discussing what goods they had they could share or swape when a cry came up from the Lollipop. ("It's a good ship!" Captain Katie had said defensively.) "THAT'S the rabbit who chewed our daddy's cords!" A black cat was pointing straight at Mr Mick.
"What?!" Katie cried, turning to glare at Mick. "You better have a lot of salmon, mister! Er, I mean, mate!"
"Er.." Mick looked about. The rabbit crew looked torn; on the one paw cords were meant for chewing, on the other.. shouldn't they punish someone who committed a crime? But what if it wasn't a crime? Apparently, the cats thought it was, but everyone knew cats weren't sensible creatures!
"Hand him over!" Cried another black cat, "We'll only chew on HIM a bit!"
Speedy thumped. "No bun chewing! BAD CATS!"
Maddy nodded, running down the ratlines to Speedy's side. "YEAH! We don't hand our friends over to stinky cats!"
Katie drew herself up to her full height, tail lashing. "Stinky?! I bathed just an hour ago! YOU'RE the stinkies!"
"Uh.. guys.." Mick was thinking this may be a good time to just hide or something. He really didn't want to get chewed on by cats, but he also didn't want to get all his friends in trouble.
"You're a CAT!" Racer replied. He wasn't quite sure why this would be an insult, but KB always got very offended when Princess said it like that.
Katie looked startled, "Of course I am. Cats are the greatest creatures to ever paw the planet!"
A shipload of rabbits stared at her. "You're crazy." Hannah finally said. Everyone knew rabbits were better than CATS!
"Uhm, they have the better ship.. for combat, anyway." Benji said very quietly. "We're faster, but they have more guns.."
"We don't need no stinkin' more guns." Chico said, earning him a confused look from some.
"This means WAR!" Captain Katie declared. "Well, in the beat them up a bit and let them get away sense, no one wants to actually SINK anything." She added as an afterthought. "You guys don't like swimming either do you?"
"Not in the least," Racer agreed.
"NO WAY!" Sammy, one of the black cats, protested. "Dunk the wire chewer in the drink!"
"Actually.." Katie said, "That might be a fair way to sort this out. Give whatshistail a dunk in the ocean, make him shiver for a while? Wouldn't that be fair?"
"NO!" Yelled Mick. Didn't that silly cat realize how long it took to dry a thick coat like his?
Racer sighed, "You heard my first mate."
"I thought Speedy was his first mate," Harrington whispered to his mate.
"We're all his first mate." Hannah whispered back.
"FINE! To the dunking!" Captain Katie declared. "Hoist the main sail, man the guns, load the cannons.. put DOWN that halibut, 'Bob! There'll be time for noms after!" None of the cats really knew what she meant, which was fine, she didn't really know herself, but they all managed to scramble to prepare the ship for battle.
Over on the Lagomorph the buns scrambled too, Princess issuing orders. ("To save Racer the stress. A Captain shouldn't be stressed!") Hannah and Harrington loaded the cannons.
The cats were faster on the draw and cat litter, used apparently, sprayed across the ship.
"EWWWWWWW!!! Its in my mane!!" Zoey protested, shaking.
"Ack!" Chico said, running up the lines to save his bondmate, trailing falling litter out of his own thick, long, fur.
Goldie let out a wail as she got hit broadside, Mick ducking behind the podium the wheel sat on was the only rabbit spared.
"FIRE!" Princess yelled.
Benji, Winston and Speedy fired their cannons, sending balls of embroidery thread flying to the other ship. ("I always keep a few in my bag in case of emergency!" Hannah had explained.)
The cats immediately forgot what they were doing to go chasing after the balls of thread. "Furl to the main sail!" Princess yelled, "Or whatever the 'drop it to the wind' command is!"
The bunnies ran to and fro catching sail to wind and lurching away from the cats.
"Dangit! GUYS!" Captain Katie pounces on the nearest cat to chomp their ear. "Forget the string!"
"Forget the string?!" Keisha protested loudly.
"Er.. well.." Katie pawsed. The rabbits were getting away. "You know, you could just use the closety system thing to go visit that rabbit later." She pointed out to Sassy. "They did teach me how to use it.."
"Ooooh." Sassy said, already seeing the possibilities.
"Okay crew! Back to fishing!" Captain Katie ordered as the rabbit vessel sped away.
* * *
It seemed hours before the cat ship was lost to the horizon and they were safe in the deep blue once more. "Hey guys, sorry about all that.." Mick toed at the deck.
"Pffft. Cats are crazy." Racer said, "Every bun knows that!"
Weasley said, "Yeah, crazier than females." He then jumped with an "OW!" as Princess bit his tail.
"Blind or not, old fart, show some respect." She said primly.
"Yes ma'am." Weasley said quietly, deciding now would be an excellent time to clean his face.
"Break out the cranberry cider and the oat hay!" Captain Racer declared, "Its a victory over the feline menace!"
"Yay for Captain Racer!" His crew cheered.
In fact, they were so busy cheering, he ended up having to go get it himself.