The back of her head throbbed when she woke up. She moaned in pain and rolled over, her throat parched.
"Gilbert?" she rasped, reaching over toward the other side of the bed. "Gilbert? Where are you?" She opened her eyes and surveyed the room. It was fancy, and definitely not their bedroom. She bolted up in bed, her head protesting furiously with a sharp throbbing. Oh no. Oh, no, no, no, no. She couldn't be back here. She reached up and cradled her throbbing head in her hands. They'd taken her back. They'd smashed her in the head and carried her back to Sector Ace.
She was still wearing Gilbert's shirt and her shorts and camisole, and she hugged the shirt tighter around her body. Rising from the bed, she marched forward toward the door to her chambers and opened it.
Outside the door were five guards each armed with swords and guns. They all turned toward her as she stood shocked in the doorway.
"What is the meaning of this?" she demanded in her most angry, queenly voice. "Let me pass!"
"I'm afraid that is not possible, my lady," a tall guard said. "We're under orders from the King himself to not permit you to leave."
"And why would he do that?"
"I don't know, my lady. We're just following orders."
"I demand to see the King at once and hear what he has to say on this," Elizaveta fumed. The guards stood and stared and did not move. "Well, go on and get him!" she screeched at one of the guards, who promptly scurried off in the direction of Roderich's office. She slammed the doors firmly. She began to check all the drawers for anything she could use to break out; all the sharp objects had vanished from the dresser, the vanity, the cabinet in the washroom. The mirrors had been replaced and the walls cleaned. Her closet didn't have her revolver hidden in the corner anymore. It housed only her clothing. She sighed and rubbed her face in frustration as she sat down on the bed.
They'd locked her in. Her windows couldn't be broken, and she was on too high of a floor to jump anyway. She had no rope. She had no supplies, only her clothes and cosmetics. How was she going to break out now? And her head was killing her...she needed a couple aspirins.
A knock sounded on her door, and it opened a moment later. Roderich entered the room, his hair styled meticulously and his clothes perfectly pressed and tailored as always. She narrowed her eyes at him as he closed the door to her room.
"What the fuck, Roderich?" she said as soon as the door clicked shut.
He winced. "No need for the language, Elizaveta."
"What the hell is going on here?" she demanded, ignoring his request.
"You're under house arrest."
"So you had your guards seek me out, smash me on the back of the head to knock me out, and take to back to the palace to be locked in my room."
"I understand you weren't exactly going to come willingly because you seemed to be off playing house with the Joker."
"We weren't playing," she retorted. "We were living. I was happy."
"You seemed perfectly happy here, Elizaveta."
"Well, then you have much worse people reading skills than you think you do, Roderich."
He adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat. He took a deep breath. "I think you'll understand way you've been placed on house arrest. You're being investigated for assisting a high-profile criminal escape as well as for treason. Until the investigation deems you innocent, you are not permitted to leave this room. Angelique will be taking care of you. Is there anything you need?"
"Two aspirins and some divorce papers."
Roderich closed his eyes and cleared his throat again in an attempt to keep calm. "I'll have Angelique bring you food and aspirins. Good day, Elizaveta." He turned and exited the room.
She laid face down on her bed. As much as she tried to formulate a plan, all she could think about was how hopeless her situation was. She had no idea or way to escape, no way back to Gilbert, and if she was found guilty – which she was sure to be – then she faced certain death. She'd led them straight to Gilbert, and who knows what they did with him after she was unconscious? He really could be dead this time for all she knew. She tried to keep her cool and stay strong, but she ended up hugging Gilbert's shirt around her torso as she curled into a ball on the bed and sobbed into her knees.
Quiet footsteps entered her room in the middle of her emotional outburst. She heard a tray being set on a surface as she hiccupped out her sobs. A hand hesitantly stroked her hair in an attempt to calm her.
"It's okay, my lady," Angelique said timidly. "His Highness means you no harm."
"I don't give a shit about Roderich," Elizaveta choked out. "That's not what's the matter."
"Do you wish to talk about it, my lady?"
"Have you ever been in love, Angelique?"
"Now imagine for four years you thought he was dead, or at least gone for good. During that time you were forced into a marriage with a man you barely knew. Then, one day, you hear that someone like him is a wanted criminal. So you go and capture him to see if it is him, and when it is, you run away with him like you were supposed to in the first place. And for the first time in your adult life you're happy and free and people like you because you're you and not because you're rich or the Queen. But then you have it all yanked away from you again and you're locked in a room you detest with no means of escape, with no way of knowing how he is and if he's okay, and you're being tried for crimes punishable by death. Do you understand?"
Angelique was quiet a moment. "Yes. I think I understand."
"Well, that's what's the matter."
"You truly love the Joker, my lady?"
"I love Gilbert more than I could ever express."
Elizaveta had calmed her sobs by that point and laid limply on the bed as she stared at the opposite wall. Angelique sat quietly on the bed, contemplating to herself. After many minutes, she stood and whispered.
"There is aspirin and food for you on the vanity, my lady. I wish you well."
The door opened and closed a minute later, and Elizaveta stayed motionless on the bed, her eyes damp and puffy, staring blankly at the wall. The food remained untouched.
Author's Notes: Sorry that it's so short. My beta said that it was all right to have one short chapter since the others are longer. I'll update soon to make up for it!