Notes: Spoilers for 1x7 of The Musketeers.
Athos spent the majority of the following days in her company. She had asked for books and only interrupted her reading when he spoke to her. When confronted with the statement that over a century had passed since her last recollection, she had insisted that he tell her about the fate of the English monarchs and court.
"Elizabeth, tell me about my Elizabeth," she pleaded with genuine concern, and despite his better judgment, he complied. Good thing Aramis was not in the room to object, at every sentence, to his account of the unfortunate fate of the Spanish Armada.
Incredulity, pride, maniacal laughter and sadness. Her face was so expressive Athos could see a whole spectrum of emotions at each chapter of his description of events. If she was a hired spy and an actress, she was impressive.
Alas, the more he investigated, the more he realized that the alternative was a little more likely. Anne seemed to believe without a shadow of a doubt that she was the infamous queen of England from olden times. When questioned further, she took it as an insult upon her intelligence.
"Do you remember anything else from your life before you came here?"
Athos was trying to be as tactful as possible, but the way he phrased the inquiry aggravated her again. She shot him a fierce look of reproach.
"I have told you all I know," she punctuated each word with exasperation and thinly veiled anger. "I know you think I'm mad, but I cannot make up an entire life I have not lived, even if it is what you want to hear."
He nodded and dropped the argument.
Meeting the current English ambassador the following day did not help solve the mystery of her identity as Athos had hoped. He tried to make inquiries about the English aristocracy in Paris, but all he received were evasive answers and suspicion. Finally, he asked outright whether a noblewoman was known to be missing, but the ambassador had no knowledge of any woman of importance going missing.
"You have to eat, Anne." It was the first time he used the name instead of addressing her with the polite 'madame'. She noticed the change, but pushed the plate with bread, cheese and grape he had offered back to him.
"Would you rather I let you starve?"
"My existence has no purpose now, why would I want to prolong this torture."
"You said you wanted to meet the king," he prompted and held his breath for her answer.
"No, I said the king could vouch for me if you let me write to him. But I guess he can't do that now if he's been dead for a century as you say." She snorted when the hilarity of the statement occurred to her.
So she is no threat to the king, Athos thought melancholically. That leaves the other explanation.
As for the solution, now that required a particular leap of faith, and not just on his behalf. From his conversations with her, Athos had concluded that Anne was a highly intelligent and rebellious woman, who reminded him of a certain someone.
"I have an acquaintance that you can stay with, perhaps you can be of help."
"What help could I be to anyone?"
"You can read, can't you? I assume you can also write, so maybe you can assist with teaching." It would require some persuasion, but he could see no other option.
"Teach? Me?" Her incredulity was tainted with suspicion, but there was a sparkle in her eyes for the first time in days.
"Yes. Like I said, I know someone who does. She is staying at a small manor in the countryside and she teaches girls to read and write. I'm sure she'll welcome an assistant."
Anne narrowed her eyes.
"She used to be a countess, yes. Alas, her title and her fortune were stripped from her not long ago, but it seems to make her happy to still teach. She is an extraordinary woman."
"Oh." Anne gave him a lopsided smile and a knowing look that made his ears turn a little red.
"Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to meet her."