Disclaimer: The Moulin Rouge is not mine. Never has been. Never will be. Ralph Waldo Emerson is a real person, so I guess...I don't own him either? I didn't make him up, anyway.

Chapter 8: Nothing

"Nothing!" Mistress Thresher cried angrily when she arrived at the address Christian had given her earlier. "I don't think that's possible – there must have been fifty employees working last night and not a single onesaw her leave? Someone is lying." She said darkly.

The anger was as much at herself as whoever was lying to her. As a former innkeeper and gossiper, she prided herself at being able to sift the truth from lies and rumors. And yet, though she was sure at least one of the people she'd questioned must have been concealing something, she had no idea who it could be.

Christian sighed, obviously disappointed. "Now what?"

Mistress Thresher paused. She'd hoped that something would be discovered during her questionings and had been optimistic enough that she hadn't thought any further than that. "If we assume that the Duke is the one who kidnapped her - "

"Well, who else could it be?" Christian interrupted. "You said he was there that night."

Slightly sternly, Mistress Thresher told him, "We don't really know anything right now except that she's missing. Yes, the fact that the Duke was there does point to him. But there are plenty of young men trying to find her – the Star's Searcher's, they call themselves. You know this?" He nodded. "Some of them are doing it just for the adventure, but we can't assume they're all honorable." Christian nodded again, more discouraged.

"However, if we assume it wasthe Duke, then that's something. Do you know his name?"

"I think Zidler mentioned it once, yes..." answered Christian slowly. Mistress Thresher waited impatiently as he tried to remember. And disapprovingly – if Christian's story was to be believed, he had spent a good part of the summer in close proximity to this Duke and only once heard his name? He'd been in love, yes, but that was no excuse for being so oblivious. "William … William Cavendish." He finished eventually.

"All right. In that case, we can try to find him." Mistress Thresher stood decisively. When Christian looked ready to follow her, she hesitated. "On second though, Ican try to find him."

"What? No, I'm coming - "

Mistress Thresher cut him off sharply. "It won't do Satine any good if he kills you, whether she's with him or not."

Slowly, Christian nodded. "Are you sure you can find him?"

"Well, he isa Duke, by all accounts anyway. As long as you got the name right - William Cavendish, right? - I'm sure a few questions to the right people will get me an address." She said. "I'll see if she's really there and then, if she is, we can figure out a way to get her."

"We?"

She sighed. "Yes, we. Of course."

Scscscscscscscsc

Satine awoke the next morning when Susan arrived with her breakfast once more. The maid expressed her delight that at least some of the food she'd brought the night before had been eaten. "And how art tha' feeling this mornin'?" She asked cheerfully. Sometimes, Satine thought, people could be toocheerful.

She didn't answer, only ate the food in silence. Susan waited for her to finish, at the while trying to make conversation, chattering about nothing. When she finally left, Satine was relieved. It wasn't that she didn't like the woman – in other circumstances, she was nearly sure they'd have been friends – but she wanted to be alone.

Her desire for privacy didn't last long. Like the day before, she had absolutely nothing to do. Less than an hour since her breakfast, Satine found herself wishing that Susan would return. Just for something to break the silence.

Something to break the silence. Satine began to hum quietly, then opened her mouth and sang a single note. Her voice cracked halfway through and she coughed. She tried again, this time producing a clearer sound. "And there's no mountain too high," she sang softly. "No river too wide. Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side …"

Her voice broke as she tried to fight the tears that had suddenly sprung to her eyes. "I'm singing, Christian." She whispered. "Where are you?"

For the next few hours, she sang through every song Christian had written at the Moulin Rouge. When Susan finally returned, with lunch, she was back to Come What May. "Until my dying -" The door opened and Satine stopped.

"Oh, please don't quit on my account!" The maid said quickly. "Tha' has a very beautiful voice. Pretty song as well. For some reason, it sounds familiar. I canna think o' why though." Susan paused, looking puzzled for a for seconds, then she set the tray of food on the table. "I suppose tha's singin' to keep tha spirits up?"

"Not exactly."

"Why then?"

Satine hesitated, not wanting to say that she had the vague notion that singing Christian's songs would somehow call him to her. "I'm bored."

"Bored?" Susan asked, sounding surprised. Then she looked around the room. "Eh! There's not really much to do here, is there?"

"No, there isn't. I am bored out of my mind." She said, trying not to sound too sullen. "I've been kidnapped and locked in a room by a man I don't know, for a reason I can't fathom, for an indefinite amount of time – and he can't give me something to do with my time? Is this some form of torture? If so, it's working."

Susan looked taken aback. "Well, what would tha' like to do?"

"I don't know. I don't care. Sew, read – if you have a typewriter, I'm sure I could put it to some use." Perhaps not anything like what Christian could do, but nonetheless. "Something. Anything."

The maid nodded hesitantly. "I'll see what I can do." she said and left the room.

Satine didn't have very high hopes, so she went back to her singing as she stared out at the English countryside – watching out the window, perhaps trying to see whether Christian was really coming. However, not fifteen minutes later, Susan returned, this time carrying a pile of books.

"My master said there's no more reason to let you die of boredom than there is to die of hunger." She said, setting the books on the table. As she retreated once more, Satine barely had the presence of mind to thank her. She hurried to the table.

The books were on a variety of subjects – it appeared Susan had simply brought the first ones she could find. Philosophy, history, and even a book of poetry. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." She mused out loud, picking up the last. "Wasn't he American?" Interesting that her kidnapper - who was, as far as she could tell, upper class British - would have a book of poetry by an American. Or any book of poetry, for that matter. He didn't really seem like that type.

Absently, she flipped through the book; it fell open to a page where a folded piece of paper had been put. Curious, Satine unfolded it. And nearly dropped it as she read what was written there.

A/N: I couldn't figure out whether Ralph Waldo Emerson's poetry was famous in England - or even whether he wrote books of poetry. I know he was a poet, and how else can poems be complied, unless it's in a book? But when I looked him up, all I could find was his books of essays. Oh, and I've somehow lost Secret Garden in the past two months, and Susan's accent has probably suffered for it.

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