He was so confused.
He could have sworn when asking in a well who was the most beloved pirate in all of the Caribbean, it was Elaine that was shown. So why was it that, for the past few months (years? It was hard to tell), he’s been hearing nothing but insults indirectly towards her? He, on the hand, was used to getting insults tossed at him, sure. He was used to having people belittle his intelligence, people mocking his optimism (though he’d argue he wasn’t so much of an optimistic but an idealist, however that was an argument for another day), and ridiculing his appearance. Hell, he was used to people questioning him on getting married at all. He was used to it.
But Elaine? She was the last person that deserved any insults.
She is courageous, strong and always a good twenty steps ahead of everyone. But instead he heard the opposite.
That she was a brute. She was manipulative. She was... abusive.
Guybrush looked over at Elaine and saw that she didn’t bat an eye towards the comments from the sideline as they sat at the bar together, sporting that familiar poker mask of hers and staring down at her drink without so much as a glance towards the others’ direction.
“That Threepwood fella should have dumped her.”
“Shush, they’ll hear you.”
“But you agree, yes?”
“Heh. Obviously. Especially her of all people.”
Guybrush gripped his cup tightly as he overheard the conversation from the table behind him.
“Right? She’s the worst.”
“I wouldn’t have married her.”
“Heh, neither would I.”
Like she’d give either of you the time of day.
“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have married at all. Or at least, not with her.”
How was she not bothered by this?
He jolted from his thoughts as he felt a hand over his, looking over at Elaine who was side-eyeing him with a solemn expression and shaking her head slightly. So she did hear them, he thought. Looking at their hands and saw that his knuckles were turning white with how tightly he gripped the cup. It was a good squeeze away from getting a dent.
“It’s not worth it.” She whispered.
“What do you mean it’s not?” Guybrush whispered back, almost through gritted teeth as she just gave him a small shrug of an answer.
“They’re drunk. They’re stupid. They're trying to purposely get a rise out of us. It’s not worth it.” Elaine answered curtly. “Besides. It’s not like I can’t wipe the floor with them or anything.”
“But you won’t.” Guybrush said.
“I won’t.” She echoed, taking a quick sip. “Because I’m not about to feed into their ideology of me. So relax.”
Guybrush sagged his shoulders. She had a point, of course... still, he couldn’t help but feel a burning anger in his chest as he kept thinking of the unending spew of nonsense he was forced to listen to.
“Y’know what I think? She should have been with that LeChuck fella.”
“Right?! They’re perfect together. A power couple.”
He felt numb with anger listening.
“A power couple that like to physically assault people. True power.”
No. It wasn’t just anger. It was unfiltered rage.
“I would’ve gone to that Flay person, or my right hand over that she-bit--”
Elaine might not need to fight them, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t. Guybrush slammed his cup to the counter and whipped his head over towards them, anger burning in his eyes startling the drunkards and Elaine just slightly. He almost never got this angry, he usually reserved it to one undead pest. But that didn't stop him from feeling negative in the past. Frustrated and irritated, sure, but never angry.
"Don't you dare finish that sentence." Guybrush threatened. "Don't you dare or you'll regret it."
"Oh?" One of the drunkards scoffed, unfazed by his threat. "And what are you gonna do about it? Send out that abuse of a woman at us?"
"Guybrush." Elaine spoke a bit more sternly. "Let's just leave."
"Ya better listen to your ball and chain, blondie." The other mocked. "Be a good boy and maybe you won't get smacked silly tonight."
Guybrush turned around, hearing them laugh and continue to mock them. Mocking Elaine. He didn't need to turn to look at his wife's expression to see that she wasn't in the mood to put up with them anymore as she placed the proper coins on the counter and stood up. He followed suit, but that numbing rage was still lingering as he started to walk alongside with her towards the door.
"God, what a spineless coward. Stuck with that bitch." The drunkard mocked loudly.
He warned them.
Guybrush stopped in his track and turned around quickly, reeling his arm back as far as he could, left hand clenched tightly into a fist and with all of his weight shot forward and heard a loud crack as it connected to the drunkard's jaw, flinging them out of their chair with a crash.
Guybrush stood in placed, his hand throbbing in pain but that fury in his eyes unsubsiding. Before he could tell them to shut up, he felt a fist connect into him, forcing him to stumble hard into the counter as the second drunkard launched at him and began throwing punches. A good portion connected, but Guybrush was able to land a few onto them as well, adrenaline and anger coursing through his veins.
He felt his jacket being yanked and suddenly saw the floor at an alarming speed, feeling the wind get knocked out of him as there was sudden pressure on his chest, and a few hits against the side of his head. It stopped for a moment, letting him catch a glimpse of the drunk on top with their hands balled into a fist. He winced and braced for the next hit when the weight was lifted. Peeking with one eye, he spotted the drunk flung and skidding across several tables, crashing into other patrons.
"Guybrush, c'mon!" Elaine shouted, sticking her hand out for his.
He took a firm hold and with complete ease felt himself lifted, his wrist held tightly by Elaine as she led the two quickly out of the bar.
The town blurred, his head felt heavy, and his chest burned with each breath, but eventually the two were able to find sanctuary in a nearby alleyway. His ears were ringing from the scuffle but he found himself sitting on the floor taking in deep breaths. Or at least, attempt to. He could feel the adrenaline dying down.
Elaine took a seat beside him, panting.
They stayed like this for a while, until eventually their breathing slowed down to a reasonable pace. Guybrush looked to Elaine who was gently rubbing her knuckles, frowning. He knew deep down he was in the wrong. No point in denying it.
He took a painful breath.
"Elaine, I'm..." his heart sunk slightly when she didn't look his way. "It was just, the things they say about our marriage. About us. It... it hurts. I've done so many things and had so many regrets afterwards, but of all my decisions and adventures I've done so far, I have no regrets or second thoughts about marrying you. Because for once, I don't feel alone. Even if the adventure takes us to different places, I know that I have someone I can run home to. So hearing how it was a mistake and all those nasty things about you... it hurts and it's frustrating. But I'm sorry. I should've listened, I just... I just don't know what got over me. I know you can handle yourself, I know that you have a better handle to people like that. But I just... the things they said... it's not an excuse, I know."
Elaine remained silent, still rubbing her knuckles slightly.
Guybrush attempted to pull his legs closer but winced in pain and stopped doing such, instead opting to rest his head on the cool brick wall. "I was a dumbass."
"No." Elaine spoke up. "It’s not an excuse. But I wouldn't say dumbass, exactly." She sighed. "What I mean is, I understand your frustration. I do. However, you're right in that you made a poor decision and you allowed the worst aspect take over. You absolutely lost your cool, which is a bit disappointing since you're not the type to do so."
"I know." Guybrush winced when he saw from the corner of his eye Elaine staring upwards. "It just... I'm not... I'm used to taking the brunt of the criticism between us. But I'm not used to it regarding you. It just aggravates me that they said those things."
Elaine nodded. "I, however, am. Been hearing it since we got back from our honeymoon."
"Huh?" Guybrush looked at her entirely. "B-but that can't be right though. I thought the entire Caribbean loved you."
She scoffed. "The entire Caribbean? Doubtful."
"But it's true! There's this well in Flotsam and I asked who was the most admired and it showed me you."
Elaine just had to look at him to get his thoughts quiet.
"Maybe before I met you, but afterwards? No. They don't love or admire me. They love and admire the idea of me." She explained. "And, truth be told, I got used to it."
"But that doesn't make sense," Guybrush grumbled, "why would you get used to it?"
"Tell me, do you enjoy overhearing others refer to you as the simpleton child who hoards garbage?" Elaine asked.
"Eh-- no, not... no." Guybrush answered.
"But you learned to ignore it, yes? Because you know it’s not true?"
He reluctantly nodded.
"So it's kind of the same thing. I don't enjoy hearing what they have to say about me, about us, but I've learned to tune it out. As far as I'm concern, nothing a bunch of drunkards have to say matters. All I care about is you and me. If you had something to say, I know and trust what you have to say because at the end of the day, that's what matters."
Guybrush clenched his jaw, looking down to the floor.
"That's... not to say that it doesn't hurt from time to time." Elaine then said quietly. "Especially when we’re viewed rather negatively together. And the whole... physical harm one. Those hurt the most."
“So what can we do then?” Guybrush asked quietly.
“Nothing. People will continue to view us as such and we can scream, punch, and fight but that won’t change their perspective.” Elaine answered rather curtly. “However, what we can do is keep moving forward. Whether or not people will remember us for who we actually are is not in our control.”
The two sat in silence for a long time, their breaths finally having caught up with them when Guybrush extended his legs out and sighed.
“Those two back there... they really hate the idea of us together, don’t they?” He bitterly scoffed.
“Unfortunately, yes.” She reluctantly agreed. “Something about us apart is fine, but together? Heaven help them.”
For once that night, the two laughed. Guybrush jumped slightly when he felt a hand over his and looked over at the source, Elaine smiling warmly to him.
“Besides, I don’t know about you, but even though we may not have fans by the thousands, I think it’s rather fun to have them get the idea of us wrong. Makes me feel like we’re under some sort of invisibility cloak.”
“I’m afraid you lost me here.”
“Think about it, they see us as the brute and the dummy, yes? So with that thought, to them, it’s easy to spot us when I either lose my temper or you do something chaotic. However, because they don’t know who we actually are, more often then not they don’t know it’s us when we’re being ourselves.” She stood up and held out her hands for his, gently but firmly holding him as she pulled him back up to stand.
“Meaning?” Guybrush asked, unable to stop a small grin of his own seeing the redhead smirk.
“Meaning we can do whatever we want.”