Jack-Jack had always been different from everyone in his family… In fact, Jack-Jack had always been different from pretty much anyone on the island. When he was younger, people thought it was silly and a little bit cute that he wanted to rule the world, laughing it off as some strange phase that he was going through. All little kids liked to play pretend, right? It wasn’t until he started getting older, and these delusions of grandeur began to increase instead of fade away that it started to scare people. His parents did their best to remain supportive of their “Dark Prince,” occasionally hinting that perhaps using his powers for world domination might not be the best career choice. If he ever caught on to their hints, Jack-Jack would roll his eyes and mutter something about “filthy peasants,” to which neither of them knew how to respond anymore. The first time he had called Helen “woman” to her face, she had put him on restriction, locking him in his room only to be let out for meals and bathroom breaks. She walked in later that same evening to tell him dinner was ready only to find her son attempting to create blueprints for a nuclear bomb. Needless to say, restrictions didn’t seem like much of a punishment for the boy.
His siblings seemed to have a better grasp on the subject than his parents. His sister had always chosen to remain aloof, and so he could never be sure what her feeling on the subject was, but it was better than her constantly meddling in his affairs the way their mother. Dash on the other hand seemed to view the whole thing as one big joke, and often sang his brother’s praises about how he would be a great king. Dash’s antics amused Jack-Jack, and he noted that if he kept that sort of thing up, he might have a place in Jack-Jack’s court as his jester.
Just about everyone else on the island was a little afraid of him. They didn’t like the way he never seemed to smile about anything, or that when he did smile it looked horribly sinister. They didn’t like that in school he wrote reports on Stalin and Castro when he was supposed to write about people he admired, or that he always talked about how sympathetic the villains were in books like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. They didn’t like that he read comic books not for their entertainment value, but to be inspired by the misdeeds of the antagonists. They didn’t like that he papered his bedroom in pictures of Loki, Magneto, The Joker, and Deathstroke. Most of all, they didn’t like the threatening way in which he spoke, always telling people to kneel, or that they were weak, or that when he came into power he would put them in their rightful places, or shouting that they would rue the day they were born on this Earth. No one seemed to like Jack-Jack much at all – No one except Perse.
Perse was the only person who seemed to truly understand Jack-Jack. She was always there to listen to his woes about living with such horrific peasants as he did, gave him comfort and advice when he asked for it, and never shrank away at the sight of him. She was a lovely girl, and had always behaved so to Jack-Jack. He had seen in her almost immediately the makings of a good queen, and had often told her when they were younger that he looked forward to the day they would rule together side by side. Perse had never thought much of it until the Thanksgiving after she had just turned fifteen.
The Parrs, the Hawkinses, and the Funnies spent nearly every holiday together. Their children were all so close, and Sarah, Marlin, and Helen had all become such close friends during their first year on the island, that it made sense to all of them to celebrate together. It was a chilly afternoon, and Sarah, Marlin, and Helen were all busy getting the coming meal ready in the kitchen. Bob and Leland sat in the den talking about work while Jim, Jessie, Violet, Dash, Nemo, and Jane all congregated in the living room to catch up with one another. Sidney felt a bit out of place among everyone else (being so much younger than them all) and so sat alone in the dining room with her mother Dory while the pair of them colored. All was busy and noisy inside the house while Jack-Jack and Perse sat in the back garden, the pair of them bundled up in coats and scarves.
“They’re insufferable.” he grumbled, looking back toward the house as they sat down on a cold, iron bench. “The sooner this wretched day is over, the better. I can’t stand acting civil around so many filthy peasants for so long…”
“Oh, come on Jack-Jack.” said Perse. “Thanksgiving isn’t all that bad, is it? There’s good food, and family… And I’m here.” She gave him a shy smile.
He glanced sideways at her, and managed a small smile of his own. “Yes.” he replied. He slipped off the glove to his right hand and stuck it in his pocket, using just enough of his fire power to keep his hand warm. He took Perse’s left wrist gently in his hand, and slipped off her own glove before placing his palm against hers and lacing their fingers together. “That does make things seem a bit more bearable.” He saw her cheeks turn red and her teeth bite down on her lower lip, but she kept her hand firmly in his. “Someday,” he said quietly as he brushed a lock of auburn hair from her eyes. “You will make a great queen.”
Perse giggled, and shook her head at him. “You say the funniest things, sometimes!”
“But I mean it!” he said urgently, scooting closer to her on the bench, and squeezing her hand tightly in his own. “In a few years when I am of age, I will take my place as the rightful ruler of the island with you at my side,” He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it gently, causing Perse to blush further. “And a year later when you too are of age, we will be married, and you will become my queen.”
Perse’s eyes grew wide. “What?”
Jack-Jack turned around to see Leland standing just a few feet away.
“Daddy!” said Perse, standing up quickly and letting go of Jack-Jack’s hand. “Jack-Jack and I, we were, we were just—”
“—Discussing our future.” Jack-Jack cut in, now also getting to his feet. “And how she shall be a great and glorious queen at my side.”
“Jack-Jack!” she hissed in his ear. “I never agreed to that!”
“Yes you did! Years ago! We spoke of it often as children.”
“I thought we were playing a game…”
“Do you object?”
“Well no, but…”
“There is no way you are dating my daughter!” Leland said, giving the pair of them a stern look.
“Daddy!” Perse said in an exasperated voice. “I’m not a little girl anymore! I’m fifteen! When am I supposed to start dating?”
Leland smirked in spite of himself. “When you’re married.”
“Oh, that’s all right pea— Mr. Hawkins.” Jack-Jack responded, giving Leland a curious look. “I don’t intend to court her, I simply intend to marry her.” By now, the other members of the household had trickled outside, curious to see what all the fuss was about.
“Who’s getting married?” asked Sidney, tugging on Marlin’s hand.
“No one!” said Leland in a panicked voice as he whirled around to look at the now crowd of people standing behind him. “No one is getting married!” He looked back at pointed at the pair of them. “You’re not getting married!”
Jack-Jack blinked and rolled his eyes. “Yes we are.” he told the group in a matter-of-fact voice. “When we’re both of age.” he assured his mother and Mrs. Hawkins who were both looking at him in awe. “Then we will take our rightful places as the King and Queen of the island. You will all kneel before us, and we will begin our crusade for world domination.”
There was a moment of silence in which everyone stared at them. Then, after what seemed an age, Dash finally spoke.
“Aww, and who says gingers don’t have souls?”