Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I own no one Lost World.
Summary: Marguerite spends some time alone with her thoughts.
Spoilers: Camelot, Prophecy, Resurrection, Barbarians at the Gate/All or Nothing, Tourist Season, The Outlaw, and Survivors are all mentioned. Takes place before "Into the Fire."
Author's Notes: Thanks as always to my beta, Kate.
"So, anyone have anything special planned for today?" John Roxton asked his companions as they sat around the breakfast table.
"Veronica and I were going to do the laundry today, but with this rain that's kind of pointless," Ned Malone answered, gesturing to the steady downpour outside the treehouse windows. "I think I'm going to work on getting my journals in order."
Across the table Marguerite Krux rolled her eyes at the journalist's response but said nothing. "I was hoping to get out to those caves you and Marguerite discovered last week, Roxton," George Challenger said. "However, I do have several experiments in the lab that I can work on while I wait for the rain to stop."
"I can always use this time to work on my painting," Veronica said when Roxton looked over at her. "We've been so busy lately, it's been a work in progress for weeks now."
Roxton smiled and turned his attention to the woman sitting next to him. "Marguerite? What about you?"
"You mean to stave off suffocating boredom while being trapped inside such close quarters with four other people?" the heiress retorted.
"Something like that," Roxton responded, refusing to let Marguerite's sharp tone get to him. "Besides, close quarters aren't really such a bad thing now are they?" he teased, winking at her.
Marguerite smiled despite herself before turning to look out at the pouring rain. "Looks like a good day to catch up on my reading," she replied, rising from her seat at the table. "I'll be in my room."
Inside her bedroom, Marguerite kicked off her boots as she headed to her bed. She leaned her pillows up against the headboard and settled back against them, pulling her covers up around her to get comfortable. She picked up the book on her bedside table and was soon engrossed in the novel.
A while later Marguerite set her book down and stretched lazily. "Definitely the perfect day to stay in bed," she muttered to herself, glancing at the steady downpour outside of her window. It was days like these that she especially wished for a way off of the plateau. "At least in London the weather wouldn't have so much control over what I do from day to day."
Her mind filled with thoughts of London, she retrieved the sketchpad and a pen from her bedside table. "I would have to have something suitable to wear," she murmured as she began sketching a design on her paper. Something sophisticated to show the worldly traveler she was, she decided to herself. She added a hat and shawl as accessories to the dress on the paper. "Of course, it's not like there's a decent dressmaker anywhere around," she added, idly tapping her pen against the paper. True, she did have a talent for sewing that she preferred to keep hidden, but it would require much more skill than she had to create such an outfit.
We'd all need something to wear, she thought to herself. Especially Veronica. She laughed softly to herself at the thought of the spectacle Veronica in her jungle garb would make in London society. If Veronica even agrees to leave the plateau and come with us, of course, she added to herself. And she was certain that wherever Veronica decided, Ned would be with her.
Not the case with Challenger, of course. Marguerite knew how anxious the scientist was to prove to the Zoological Society that he had been right about the existence of the plateau. She knew he would be in his glory relating their adventures on the plateau and the scientific discoveries he and Summerlee had made there.
*And what about Roxton?* a little voice in her head asked. *What would become of him once you all returned to London?* He would probably return to his estate and his mother, Marguerite thought to herself. Take his position as Lord and overseer of the manor, marry some suitable young debutante, and raise an heir or two.
But where did that leave her? Marguerite tried to ignore the sharp pain in her chest at the thought of Roxton not being a part of her life anymore. In the last two and a half years he had become so important to her. He was the strong, solid, stable presence in her life. And so much more. Without him, she knew there would be a terrible void in her life and in her heart.
She still found it difficult to believe that she had let a man come to mean so much to her. She, who had always schooled herself in being independent and aloof from others, had allowed this man to penetrate her defenses and worm his way into her heart. Having him near had become as natural as breathing to her, and she wasn't sure what she would do if they went their separate ways.
True, they hadn't started out this way - she smiled fondly to herself, remembering their first kiss, which had ended with her sharply biting the hunter's bottom lip - but over time their lives had become intertwined with each other's. Roxton had become an integral part of her life, always there to support, comfort, and protect her.
She had called him her knight in shining armor when he had killed Vordred after the evil vizier had hit her in the chest with the dagger meant for Gawain. She had never taken her eyes off of him, even as she sank to her knees in pain and he killed the man responsible. She had gratefully fallen into his open arms, finding peace in his soothing words and caresses until unconsciousness had claimed her. He had been her champion as well as Gawain's that day. Truly, though, she knew that this man could and would be her champion in every area of her life if she let him.
He certainly did try, she thought to herself, remembering the time they had been captured by Kaysan and his gypsies. The man had been ready and willing to lay down his own life to save Marguerite's. He had been prepared to die just so she might live. Marguerite had never known anyone like that, certainly no one who would be willing to do that for her.
"Either way, I'm dead," Roxton had said to her. But he had been so determined she would not share in his fate, not if there was anything he could do to stop it. Including sacrifice his own life for hers. He had begged and pleaded with her to kill him and save herself, but she had refused, knowing there was no way she would be able to do such a thing. Not only had she seen it as a poor trade - her life had nowhere near the value of his in her opinion - but she knew she'd never be able to live with herself if she were to cause him any harm.
Even as she had stood before him with a gun pointed at him and Kaysan guiding her hand, he had still tried to convince her to go through with it. There had been no hesitation or fear in his voice or face. He'd only cared about keeping her alive and making sure that she wouldn't harbour the same all encompassing guilt he himself had felt after William's death.
Thankfully, Malone had shown up in time to prevent the execution and had miraculously managed to kill Kaysan and save all of their lives. An icy fear gripped Marguerite's heart when she thought about what could have happened if Ned hadn't shown up when he had. She had been awakened several times - sweating, her heart pounding wildly - by just such a nightmare. Marguerite shivered. The thought of losing Roxton was terrifying, and not something she wanted to think about.
She had thought she'd lost him forever when the Norse warrior had run him through with her sword and killed him before her eyes as Marguerite could only watch helplessly. Only moments before, she had known such comfort and security in the warmth of Roxton's embrace when he had suggested sharing "body heat." She smiled at the memory of being so safely wrapped in Roxton's arms. However, that security had been torn from her in the span of only a few minutes. She'd been unable to do anything but scream out a warning to him. A warning that had come too late as she watched the Norse woman stab and kill him before her eyes, killing a part of Marguerite along with him.
A deep despair unlike anything she had ever felt before had consumed Marguerite as the warriors had carried her off, leaving Roxton's bleeding body behind in the snow. Relief so powerful it had almost knocked her out had coursed through her veins when he had later appeared at the altar and saved her from being sacrificed by the warriors.
Later, after they had defeated Osric and returned to the treehouse, she and Roxton had had a conversation she would never forget. She'd tried to comfort Roxton by reminding him that he had a pure soul, while hers on the other hand was "a little worse for wear." Roxton's response had caused her heart to skip a beat and a happy thrill to run through her. He had promised her that he would "always be around to set [her] straight." A smile touched her lips - she had a feeling John had really meant what he'd said and that he would do whatever he could to keep that promise. And so far he had kept that promise, regardless of seemingly impassable obstacles that had been thrown before them.
When Tribune had thrown that grenade and blown up the bridge while Roxton and Challenger were still on it, Marguerite had honestly felt her heart stop. She and Veronica had raced to the edge of the cliff only to see Roxton and Challenger hanging on for dear life, just out of their reach. When Veronica pointed out that they couldn't reach the men, Marguerite was determined that they would pull the whole damn bridge up if that was what it took to save Roxton and Challenger. They never got a chance to try, though, as seconds later, before Marguerite's horrified gaze, Roxton's grip slipped from the bridge rope and he and Challenger plunged hundreds of feet down into the water. She and Veronica had made their way down to the water's edge, but the only trace they were able to find of the four men was Roxton's hat.
They had found Challenger - or rather, he had found them - when they'd been caught in a trap he had set. They'd rescued Malone next and Marguerite had flatly refused when Challenger had suggested setting up camp for the night. There was no way she would be able to rest until they found Roxton. She'd refused to believe he could be gone. She couldn't have lost him, not now. He'd promised he'd always be around, he'd told her he cared, he couldn't have just disappeared.
Her emotions had quickly gone from blind hatred at the sight of Tribune to overwhelming relief when she saw Roxton alive and well again. She had begun to express this relief to Roxton when he asked if she'd missed him, but Challenger had interrupted them before she'd had a chance to confess just how worried she had been about him.
Not that she was positive that she would have come right out and told Roxton how much his disappearance had terrified her. The emotions the man evoked in her were still something new to her, and she had a hard enough time dealing with them herself. She didn't even really know how to begin going about sharing these feelings with Roxton. She may not have been ready to share her feelings with Roxton at that point, but she had a feeling that on some level he knew. She'd always prided herself on being able to hide her emotions, but Roxton had pulled down so many of her walls and made hiding her feelings more and more difficult as time went on. Her façade of the cold, heartless heiress who cared only for gems and finding a way back to London had begun to crack, thanks in no small part to Roxton's efforts to win her heart.
When the Dillons and their helicopter had crashed into the windmill, Marguerite had been excited by the possibility of a way off the plateau in the helicopter. However, she had quickly come to realize that the helicopter wasn't as much of a Godsend as she had originally thought. Not only would it most likely return to a time 80 years in the future, but there was not enough room in the helicopter for anyone other than the Dillon family and their pilot. At one point it had looked like the Dillons weren't going to make it make to their helicopter in time, and Marguerite had made a quick decision and hopped into the helicopter herself, ready to take their place.
She knew the others had probably all thought that she was glad the Dillons hadn't returned in time so she could fly off with the pilot in the helicopter. The idea of returning to London had been part of her decision, but that certainly wasn't all that had been involved in making her choice. Really, her logic was simple, at least to her. She had known Roxton would not return without the Dillons. If he did return with them, she would have to get out of the helicopter to give the family their rightful place. If he didn't return, well, it wasn't something she wanted to think about. But if he didn't return with the Dillons there would be plenty of room in the helicopter, and she would take advantage of that. Because honestly, she couldn't see herself surviving day after day on the plateau if Roxton wasn't there beside her to argue with her, comfort her, talk with her, and just generally make her feel safe. She really didn't think she'd be able to get through life on the plateau without him there. The excitement she felt at the possibility of leaving the plateau and returning to London was nothing compared to her feelings when she saw Roxton break through the tree line with the Dillons close behind him. And even though she had grumbled about getting out of the helicopter, inside she was flooded with absolute joy that Roxton had returned to her unharmed.
After all, hadn't Roxton later confessed to her when he'd thought she was unconscious that he wasn't sure he could leave the plateau without her? Thinking of his words and the tender kiss on her forehead that had followed them brought a soft smile to her lips and a warm glow filled her. He'd been telling the truth, she was almost certain of this - after all, why would he lie when he thought she couldn't hear him? And it had both thrilled and frightened her a little to know that she meant so much to him. He'd refused to believe the lies Adrienne had told him about her and swore he would not let Adrienne and Maplewhite kill her and Challenger.
Back at the cave he had not wanted to let her and Challenger face the ghosts alone, but Challenger had insisted that it was the only way to defeat the spirits. He'd been dead set against it and ready to keep her with him by physical force if necessary. It was then that she had confessed to him that she hadn't been "asleep the whole time" he was talking to her. A look of understanding had passed between them and he had finally, reluctantly released her and stepped back to allow them to enter the cave alone.
Later, Veronica had told her that she'd had to drag Roxton bodily from the cave after he'd charged in after Adrienne and Maplewhite, demanding that they take him instead. Marguerite had been stunned that Roxton had once again been willing to lay down his own life to save hers and had been unable to respond to Veronica's revelation.
She shouldn't have really been surprised by John's actions - Lord knew he'd saved her life on many occasions - but it was still a very different thing for her to be surrounded by people who honestly cared about her. She knew she'd changed a great deal since she had first come to the plateau - and definitely for the better, she believed - and she knew she owed a lot of that to the people around her. Especially John. She felt that he really did bring out the best in her; being around him brought out a gentler, caring side of her that she had thought was long dead. But thanks to Roxton, she had discovered that it wasn't. Being around John made her a better person, willing to make sacrifices and drop pretenses to help those she cared about.
She thought back to the time she and John had wandered into that small English village. They'd both been arrested because of Marguerite's resemblance to the masked bandit of the village. Roxton had managed to escape, but had given up possible escape when Edgar Grey had threatened to shoot Marguerite. A lot of good it had done them, Marguerite thought, the memory of Grey setting her teeth on edge. Roxton had put down his gun and surrendered and the bastard had shot him anyway.
She could still vividly remember the terror in her heart as she watched Grey shoot Roxton. She had struggled furiously with Grey, desperate to get to Roxton, but was unable to get to his side until they had been unceremoniously thrown back into their cell.
Roxton had bravely tried to reassure her that his wound wasn't so bad and that they just needed something to cauterize the wound. Marguerite had approached the bars, demanding help from Grey and his thugs, but Grey had smugly told her she was in no position to demand anything. Marguerite knew what he wanted and she'd immediately dropped to her knees before him, giving up any pretension of pride without a second thought, to beg him for anything that might save Roxton's life. He'd sneered at her about begging for "the life of a scoundrel," but for once she had refused to take the bait, instead silently praying he would not ignore her pleas. He'd ordered cauterization instruments brought to the cell, but Marguerite's relief was short lived when Grey informed her that she would have to do the procedure herself.
She'd sat on the bed beside John, fearfully eyeing the cauldron and hot poker. "I can't," she'd told John, ashamed of her inability to be strong for him. But he had told her she could and she'd pushed aside her own fears as he tried to make her feel better about what she was about to do while he coached her through it. She'd apologized for the pain she knew she would inflict, hating that she had to be the cause of any more pain for him. He'd tried to be brave, holding in screams of agony that brought tears to her eyes until he had blessedly lost consciousness.
She had sat awake by his bedside while he was unconscious, watching for signs of infection and silently praying he would come back to her. Intense relief flooded her body when he finally awoke, telling her about a dream he'd had in which she had been feeding him grapes.
Roxton told her she had saved his life and in typical fashion she had tried to brush it off, reminding him that he'd promised to save her life. But the way he'd looked at her with his warm, loving gaze, she'd been unable to lie when he'd asked if that was the only reason. He'd gently pulled her into a tender kiss that she had gladly returned. Even under the circumstances, Marguerite had felt such ha sense of completion when their lips met and a feeling of total security in his arms. Things had changed between them at that moment, leading to a more comfortable familiarity, a bond between them that she cherished more than she did any of her gems.
A sudden boom of thunder outside of the treehouse brought Marguerite out of her warm reverie with a start. "Calm down," she scolded herself, one hand over her thumping heart. "It's only thunder." Rolling her eyes at her own foolishness, she looked down at the piece of paper in her lap and gasped softly. The paper that had started out with only a drawing of her and what she would wear upon their return to London was now covered with the words "Lady Marguerite Roxton."
"My own hand turned against me," she murmured, smiling softly at the words before her.
"Marguerite?" Marguerite gasped and looked up to see Roxton standing in the doorway to her room. "Marguerite, are you all right? You look a little flushed," Roxton said, beginning to walk towards her.
Marguerite put up her hand to stop him. "I'm fine, John," she said, tucking her knees up more closely to her chest to hide the piece of paper on her lap. "Really. Was there, um, something you needed?"
"I just wanted to tell you that lunch is ready," Roxton said, peering at her closely. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I feel absolutely fine," she assured him, trying to cover up her unease with a smile. "I'll be right out, I just need to take care of something quickly."
"All right." Roxton still didn't look convinced as he began to exit her room.
"Oh, John?" He turned. "Save me a seat?"
He gave her his familiar slow grin and Marguerite couldn't help smiling back at him. "Always," he replied. He winked at her and walked out of the bedroom.
Marguerite sighed and looked down at the paper before her. "Now, to get rid of the evidence," she muttered to herself. She picked up the paper and began to tear it but something stopped it. She looked at the words on the paper again and knew she would never be able to tear this up. "You're getting far too sentimental in your old age," she chastised herself as she folded the note into quarters and stood from her bed.
She glanced around the room looking for a hiding place and her gaze fell on the jewelry box on her dresser. "Perfect," she said to herself. "They all know to stay out of there." She lifted the lid on the jewelry box and pulled out the necklaces and bracelets, sticking the note in the bottom of the box and covering it with her jewelry. She took one last look around the room to make sure everything else was in place then left to join her family, her heart's desire hidden safely beneath objects of far less worth.