CATEGORY:  Character death, AU

RATING:  PG-13, violence.

DISCLAIMER:  Originally published on Aurora Journals website. This fanfic is for the enjoyment of other fans only.  No money is being made from this fanfic.  No copyright infringement intended.  I'm just borrowing 'em, will return when finished.

SUMMARY:  Have you ever wondered why Jules didn't write about Rebecca as well?

AUTHOR'S NOTES:  Thanks to Lona for again being a wonderful beta reader.  And to the productors, writers and actors of SAJV for giving me a wonderful universe to play in.

Promises

By Olivia Sutton

SAJV fanfic

Written June 2001

Phileas quietly placed the white, red, and pink roses on the grave then straightened. He knew, of course, that lilies were considered the appropriate flower for a death but roses suited her so. And Phileas never flinched from being unconventional, like his cousin. He straightened, contemplating the white marble headstone.

Rebecca Lynn Fogg

1826 --- 1866

I Promise

Tears ran down his face as he remembered her last mission. A mission he had, as had been more and more common for him, shared. But in the end, he hadn't… he stopped thinking and fell to his knees, an anguished cry ripped from his lips, as crystal images assaulted his brain.

They'd been investigating a Prussian prince suspected of espionage. Passepartout had piloted the Aurora, dropping him and his cousin, at separate locations, in enemy territory. Unbeknownst to either of them, however, the assignment had been a ruse. The mission documents-- forged. The Prussians had decided that the Foggs were a thorn in their side long enough, a thorn they meant to extract. Rebecca had discovered the truth but too late. Knowing they were both marked for assassination she had rushed to warn him at their pre-arranged rendezvous.

Phileas sighed, an image he knew would never leave him forming in his mind. He had exited his carriage in the street and seen Rebecca running towards him, hair streaming behind her, "Phileas!" she had cried, "Phileas, it's a trap! Get out of here!"

He had been startled to say the least. They'd only planned on meeting to exchange information. What trap could she mean? he thought, as he automatically scanned the rooftops. Then he saw it, a man, with a rifle, in the bell tower of the church a few buildings away on the opposite side of the street. He rushed towards Rebecca. "There!"-- he yelled, pointing as he ran to her, "The church tower!"-- hoping his warning would be enough to save her.

Next he knew three things happened simultaneously:  he and Rebecca reached each other, the exploding sound of a rifle shot reached them, and Rebecca, her body between him and the assassin had stiffened, then collapsed to the street.

"Rebecca!" he'd screamed. Rushing toward her, he gathered her to him, looking over her shoulder to the wound. The back of her leather suit was dark with blood.

"No!" he cried, then an anguished moan had escaped from his lips, "No! Oh, Rebecca!" Tears were in his eyes.

"Phileas, promise me one thing," she'd gasped, struggling to talk, as he supported her in his arms, sitting in the dusty street with her body resting against his.

"Shush, shush, Rebecca, don't speak…" he mumbled, pressing a hand to the wound in her back. "Quiet now, we'll get you back to the Aurora, Passepartout and I will take you to hospital. You'll be fine…" He continued to mumble to her, not consciously aware of his words, his head on her shoulder.

Rebecca pushed weakly at him with one hand, until she could clearly see his face. "Promise me, Phileas, give me your word, that you will survive this. That you won't follow me--either by direct or indirect means, Phileas. Promise me." She'd looked at him harshly, eyes glazed with pain from her wound, but in full command of her faculties.

Damn, he thought. He'd never been able to refuse her anything, not since she was a little girl. "Rebecca, don't ask me that, please, don't make me…don't make me either promise or lie to you. Not now." He looked at her, with quiet determination.

"No, Phileas…" she gasped in pain, "Promise me you won't end your life because of me, Phil."

He looked into her eyes, nodded, and held her hand. "I promise, Rebecca. I promise to do my very best to survive."

"Thank you," she murmured, closing her eyes.

He moved forward the mere inches between their faces and kissed her then. At first she responded to his kiss, but he felt her weakening. In his mind, he knew she was leaving him and with his second kiss he felt her go. Physically, he felt the spark of life leave as his lips covered hers. But more jarring, their mental link snapped as she died. The calm presence he'd always felt and had identified as her, simply wasn't there anymore. It was-- as if a sound to which he was so accustomed he didn't consciously "hear it" was now absent and in its absence-- noticed.

Phileas picked up her body and returned to the Aurora. The assassin had fled, but Phileas vowed he would find him and kill him.

As Phileas approached the Aurora, Passepartout, on guard in the pilothouse must have seen him, for he came rushing out when Phileas was still a few yards away.

"Miss Rebecca?" He asked, seeing her in Phileas' arms. "I will prepare, water, bandages…"

Phileas spoke softly, "There's no need, Passepartout."

Passepartout looked confused.

Phileas sighed and shifted Rebecca's body, "There's no need because there's nothing to be done. Nothing can be done."

Passepartout looked shaken, then asked, "Master?" in a tentative voice.

With regret, his voice breaking, Phileas said, "I am unharmed."

Passepartout nodded again, then approached, helping Phileas to carry Rebecca the remaining steps to the Aurora.

Quietly, Passepartout opened doors while Phileas brought her to her room on the airship. Passepartout watched Fogg, whose eyes were red from crying. Phileas knelt as he placed her body on the bed.

"Passe…Passepartout?" Phileas whispered.

"Yes, master?" He'd responded in a hushed voice.

"Per..perhaps, water wouldn't come amiss after all? I…I need to clean her."

Passepartout had looked at Phileas carefully.

"It's all right, Passepartout."

Passepartout nodded, then left to prepare water and towels. When he returned, Phileas still knelt at his cousin's side, unmoving, his head bowed.

"Master?" Passepartout said as he entered the room, not wanting to disturb the man, but wanting to startle him even less. Phileas nodded at his valet's appearance and the two slowly cleaned Rebecca's body of blood and dirt. Then Phileas sprinkled her with her favorite lavender perfume. After their ministrations cleaning and perfuming of the body were finished, it had been Passepartout who covered her with a white sheet.

"I'll get them, Passepartout. I will find every last person responsible for this and make them pay," Phileas' voice was menacing.

"And I will help, Master."

Phileas had almost objected. But looking into his valet's eyes, he nodded, "And so you shall."

And they had. Quickly, Phileas made arrangements for Rebecca's body to be shipped back to London and he telegraphed Verne in France. Then, Phileas found the assassin, forced him to admit who hired him, and then broke his neck. Passepartout watched, coldly, then aided his master in finding the Prussian politician who hired the assassin. Together they found and dispatched him, then returned to London.

Upon reaching London, they met Verne, whom they had telegraphed immediately with the news of their success. Verne, who was spending more and more time in France writing, had come to London the moment he'd received Phileas' urgent telegram informing him of Rebecca's death. The young writer received Rebecca's body, while Fogg and Passepartout hunted down her killers.

Verne had helped Phileas with the arrangements for the viewing, wake and funeral, taking care of the man who now, with nothing to do, was in shock. The young man also cried and drank alongside Phileas and Passepartout at Rebecca's wake.

*   *   *   *   *

Phileas rose from his knees but the image of Rebecca falling before him did not leave his mind as he left her grave. He swallowed, regretting his promise for the 1000th time since making it.

As he walked to his carriage, Jules approached. He been watching unnoticed twenty feet away, and noted Fogg still wore mourning black.

"Fogg?"

"I'm…I'm all right, Jules."

"Phileas," the young man said softly, "you've been coming here-- every day-- for over a year. Can't you let go?"

"Could you? No, Jules, I…I loved her, I…"

"She knew that."

"But I never told her. I was so afraid…"

"She knew. Otherwise she wouldn't have asked for your vow. She loved you too, you know."

"I know. But why are you here?" he said, changing the subject. "At first, you came every day as well. I mean, well, at first it seemed, that between you and Passepartout, I was never, ever alone. That's why I told you both what she made me promise her."

Jules looked away, uncomfortable. "I know. And now I believe it," he grabbed Fogg's arm. "It takes great courage…" he stopped and let go.

Phileas' eyes were intense, "I know, believe me. Every day…is a struggle but it's a struggle I've grown accustomed to by now. So, why are you here?"

"Can't I just show my support, Fogg?" Jules said, looking away, then back at the taller man.

"I know you better than that," a tight-lipped grin stretched across his features, taking any sting out of the words. "What do you want, Verne?"

"Actually, I, I did want to ask your permission for something…"

"Oh?" he raised an eyebrow.

"I've got an idea, an idea for a story. But I want you and Passepartout as my protagonists. And there's a place for Rebecca as well."

"Myself, and Jean, yes, Verne. But not Rebecca."

Verne looked at him, quizzically.

"I've read your adventure stories, Jules. They are good, but I…I don't want Rebecca fictionalised like that."

"But future generations would know all about her, what a fitting memorial--!"

"I'd rather have her disappear into the mists of time, than share her with the future. I don't want to think about people I don't even know reading about her and thinking she couldn't have been real." He shuddered. "Besides," he added, "Do you think you could write about Rebecca, without pain?"

"Not without pain, Fogg, but as a way to deal with pain, perhaps. No, make that a certainty. In my own way, I loved her too."

Fogg nodded, he'd long suspected that Verne had had a secret crush on his cousin. "Don't publish it. If you must write, then write. I know it helps you with the pain and loss, but don't publish it. For my sake, please."

Verne placed a hand on Fogg's arm. "All right."

Fogg nodded and smiled, "And Verne? Wait a few years, before publishing that book about me, will you? I'm not so sure I want to read it."

"I…" Verne looked at him, hurt.

Phileas looked away, then back, "Jules…I…" he stumbled over his words.

"What--do you think I'd…strike out at you? Hurt you? Blame you for Rebecca? What?"

"No…no none of those things. But I…the idea of being immortalised in print. It would feel uncomfortable and odd, Verne."

Jules looked at him, with a complete lack of comprehension.

"I'm not sure…I mean, the idea of strangers reading about me, about the Aurora, or Passepartout, it's… Not to mention seeing what you really think of me--how you perceive me. It might be…painful," he bowed his head.

"Oh no, Phileas." Phileas' head snapped up at Verne's unusual use of his Christian name, "I wouldn't hurt you, I couldn't," continued Verne.

"I know," he responded immediately. "That's not really it. It's…look, I can't express it, I…"

"Fogg…"

Phileas looked down, then raised his head to look directly into Verne's eyes, "I don't deal particularly well with hero worship, Verne."

Verne closed his eyes. Oh, he thought, now I get it. Erasmus. Opening his eyes, he answered. "That's not it, Phileas. I want to write a story about you and Passepartout, making a mad dash around the world. Having all sorts of adventures. I haven't quite figured out an excuse, I mean, a reason for the trip, but… it would be an adventure story. And I think I can convince my publisher to let me research it by traveling. And you know how much I love to travel."

Phileas smiled then, a real smile, such as Verne hadn't seen in a year on the man's face. The smile was contagious and Verne returned it with one of his own. "Lunch on the Aurora?" asked the older man, slightly changing the subject.

"Lunch on the Aurora." Verne responded.

"And maybe you would like to use the Aurora as transport for your trip? Passepartout, well, that is, Passepartout and I are getting so tired of dreary London."

Verne smiled another larger grin, and nodded.

The two walked off, arm in arm.

Finis