Time and the Trickster
Chapter Three: Mission in Time: Her Angel
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or any of the spinoff material and I gain no income off of this story, just the satisfaction of playing with the characters.
Rose was frozen in shock for roughly thirty seconds before Matilda inspected the blade again and took a deep breath. The older woman moved towards the staircase with a determined expression which spurred Rose to action.
"Matilda stop!" Rose shouted as she moved forward, pulling up the hem of her dress.
Matilda looked over at her with wide eyes before she rushed to the stairs at an alarming pace. Forcing herself to move faster, Rose rushed after the woman cursing the uncomfortable and restrictive dress that gave Matilda an advantage. The older woman pulled ahead of her and rushed through a heavy wood door. It took Rose only a moment to realise that it led to Jane's bedchamber. The door slammed shut and Rose heard a scream in the time it took her to reach the door. She grabbed at the handle and tried to push the door open, but Matilda must have blocked the door. Rose grunted and pushed her weight against the heavy wood enough to force it open a few inches.
"Help!" Jane's voice shouted from the other side.
Adrenaline rushed through Rose at the frightened voice and she slammed her body against the door again. It opened a few more inches and Rose leveraged herself into the door frame, pushing as hard as she could to open it a little further. A wooden chest had been pulled in front of the door and Rose quickly jumped over it as she searched the room for Jane.
Lady Jane was frantically ducking away from Lady Matilda as the woman swung the dagger wildly. Judging from the open slice on the bed Jane had woken up just in time to avoid the first attack. Rushing forward, Rose jumped across the bed to put herself between Jane and Matilda. The dark haired woman stepped back in alarm as Rose summoned her sword and raised it front of her, disregarding the possible consequences.
"I will not hesitate to use this Matilda," Rose announced coldly as she met the brown eyes of the lady in waiting. "Drop it now."
There was hesitation in Matilda's eyes but a moment later she launched herself forward at Rose, slashing at her. Rose caught Matilda's arm with her left hand and slammed the woman's arm against the solid wood bedpost. Matilda gave a cry of pain but didn't drop the dagger. Rose slammed her arm against the post again while bringing her sword up threatening. The knife fell to the floor with a clatter. Jane darted forward and grabbed the dagger as Rose turned Matilda and shoved her away.
Rose calmly watched as Matilda backed away from her with wide eyes. Jane moved forward to stand next to Rose, her grip tight on the dagger. Then Mistress Ellen rushed into the room, nearly tripping over the trunk. A guard followed her in and Rose stepped in front of Jane as the girl was only in a nightdress.
"Are you alright?" Rose asked softly.
"I am fine," Jane replied as she caught her breath. "You saved my life."
"What happened here?" Ellen asked, her eyes darting to the sword in Rose's hand and the shaking Matilda.
"Matilda just tried to kill Lady Jane," Rose said glaring at the woman in question.
"A treacherous Catholic?" Ellen hissed, moving towards Jane protectively. The guard moved behind Matilda and Rose risked a glance back at Jane who moved closer to Ellen.
"I am no Catholic," Matilda informed them as she straightened up. "I'm a Protestant."
"One of my own?" Jane asked with confusion. "Then why?"
"Your death would have inspired thousands to rise up against Mary," Matilda insisted. "But now she will simply lock you up and then one day she will have you quietly executed when you could have died a martyr."
The guard grabbed Matilda and Rose turned to Jane. The girl had a frightened, but horribly thoughtful look on her face. A shimmer in the corner of her eyes made Rose's gaze drop to the dagger that Jane was still clutching tightly. The metal was almost glowing silver giving off a strange aura. No one else seemed to notice and Rose's heart jumped as she recognised the object that was changing history.
She had been so wrong to think that the change would be Jane's life with a new royal lineage overseeing England. It had never been about Jane's life, only her death. Rose's eyes went back to Jane's pale face and she had to instantly look away. The girl was only sixteen, but it seemed that her death couldn't be prevented even by the Chronosteel.
"You weren't supposed to die tonight," Rose said softly as her eyes went back to Jane. "I was sent here to save you."
"You haven't saved Lady Jane," Matilda hissed in a blend of rage and resignation. "You have condemned her to die like a common traitor. Forgotten and alone."
Jane nodded to the guard who pulled Matilda from the room. The young girl said nothing as she turned and walked out the door. Rose glanced at Ellen who had started to cry softly. She touched Jane's nurse on the shoulder before she followed Jane out of the room.
Rose found Jane back in her reception room standing in front of the fireplace. It was burning low so without a word Rose moved forward and collected a few of the waiting logs. Stepping back, Jane gave Rose room to come closer to the fire and watched in silence as Rose carefully added the fresh wood. She examined the flames for a moment before spotting a few fireplace tools and used one to push the logs back into the surviving flames. Thinking of a movie she'd seen, Rose poked at the embers and smiled when the heat intensified and the wood caught fire. Not too bad for a Londoner who'd never bothered with a fireplace before.
Moving back from the fire, Rose waited patiently for Jane to say something. The look on the girl's face was heartbreaking as the girl had given up trying to hide her fear.
"I am afraid of what the morning may bring," Jane finally admitted in a shaky voice. It was clear that the girl was only just holding back tears. "I fear I do not have long for this world." Jane took another shaky breath and a few tears ran down her cheeks before she covered her face. Rose didn't move from her spot. "Forgive me," Jane gasped. "But I feel so alone."
"You're not alone Lady Jane," Rose assured her as she stepped closer to Jane. The girl turned to Rose, her eyes wide. "You have me," Rose promised.
Jane opened her mouth to answer, but Ellen walked into the room drawing Jane's attention. "Ellen, has Lady Matilda been secured?"
"Yes Jane," Ellen answered with a sorrowful expression. "So have we. The palace is surrounded by Mary's guards."
Jane turned away from Ellen towards the fire again. "Then I was right, the end is not far away."
"Can't we just tell Mary the truth?" Rose asked a hint of desperation in her voice. "You were used by King Edward and your family. You didn't want to be Queen."
"I fear Mary still sees Jane as a threat," Ellen said softly. "If she is to restore the Catholic faith she will not want Jane fueling the Protestant cause."
Both Ellen and Rose looked over at Jane who stared into the fire for a moment. Then the girl took a deep breath and turned to look directly at Ellen. "You may go now Ellen," Jane told her with both sadness and warmth in her voice. "Try to get to safety."
The woman nodded and turned away from them, leaving the room slowly. Rose watched the figure go and noted her shaky shoulders. She doubted that Ellen would go very far from Jane and was merely leaving to grieve. Once Ellen was gone Rose looked back to Jane.
"Somehow I knew when Father brought me here to be crowned that I would not leave," Jane confessed as she looked everywhere except Rose. "This castle is my palace, but now it is my prison." The girl struggled for a moment, taking several shallow breaths to hold off her tears. Rose was silent unsure of what she could possibly say. Then Jane turned to Rose and forced a small smile on her face. "As I am no longer Queen you may return home if you wish."
It took Rose a moment to process the words and her eyes fell on the dagger that Jane had discarded on the small table near the fireplace. "You're right," Rose agreed. "I could go home so easily." The dagger shimmered to Rose's eyes once again, almost calling to her, but Rose shook her head. "But I'm not going to. Not yet, not while you still need a friend."
Jane's face was sorrowful, relieved and happy all at the same moment as a watery smile took over the teenager's face. She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Rose tightly. Rose returned her embrace, gently stroking Jane's loose hair. A few moments later she felt and heard Jane begin to cry softly, releasing her sorrow at last. Rose desperately wished she knew what to say, but what could a person possibly say to a teenager girl who knew she was going to be a prisoner for the rest of her life until she met the executioner. Rose didn't know who long Jane stood there in her arms crying before the young lady pulled back and wiped her tears away. Jane gave Rose a soft smile before she glanced at the doorway and then down at her nightgown.
"I will not be sleeping any longer this night," Jane sighed. "Would you help me dress?"
"Of course," Rose replied with a nod. "But I'm afraid that you'll have to lead the way."
Jane chuckled and reached for Rose's hand, clutching the older girl's fingers in a way that betrayed her fear, but also her determination. As Jane lead Rose through the hall, she was amazing at the great dignity of the girl. She had no idea what Mary was truly like, but at that moment Rose could not imagine she could possibly be more regal than Jane.
It did not surprise Rose that they found Ellen in the wardrobe room, sitting in a chair in the corner. The woman looked up at them as they entered the room, tear tracks on her face, but the woman's grief seemed beyond that. Ellen rose from her chair quickly and took Jane's hand to lead her back behind a screen.
"I'll see to milady," Ellen said with a soft note in her voice. "Just as I always have."
Rose nodded in understanding and stepped back. Her eyes fell upon her bundle of clothing on the table and she considered her options for a moment. The White Guardian had said that there were three points in time and when Rose touched the dagger she'd be transported to the next location. A Tudor dress, however, beautiful would not do. Glancing back towards the screen that hid Lady Jane and Ellen Rose nodded to herself and grabbed her clothes.
"I shall be in the reception room milady," Rose informed them. "Awaiting your return."
"Thank you, Lady Rose," Jane answered gratefully.
Rose ducked into the next room over and carefully shed the elegant dress and jewellery. She retrieved her mobile and changed back into her jeans, feeling a great relief at the ease of movement they gave her. Rose double checked that she had everything that she had come with before gently draping the dress across a chair. Despite the fact that Mary would be taking over and Rose now carried a deep anger towards the next ruler the dress was still too lovely for her to throw in the fire.
Returning to the reception room, Rose glanced back at the dagger which shimmered again. She was more completely confident that she was only one who could see it. "Just wait," Rose whispered. "I'll go soon, but not yet."
Rose pulled out her mobile and her finger hovered over the speed dial for the TARDIS. She wanted to call the Doctor and beg him to take Jane away, but she knew better. The Doctor had explained about fixed points in time and Rose now had a sinking feeling that Jane's death, one way or another, at the age of sixteen was one of them. Of course, there was a tremendous difference between knowing about fixed points in time and being confronted with one you desperately wanted to change.
Rose took a chair from the side of the room and pulled it over in front of the fire, hanging her trench coat over the back of it. She sat down and stared into the fire for a few minutes before she stood and pulled another chair over for Jane. Rose shifted the small round table where the dagger waited between the two chairs and within easy reach.
Footsteps at the door made Rose turn towards it. Jane stood at the threshold wearing a white gown that was heavily embodied with a grey-blue bodice. Around her neck was an elegant necklace, a dark sapphire mounted in a round golden setting that hung from a heavy golden chain decorated with more sapphires. Jane's hair was piled up on her head with a simple white and gold headdress. She stood from the chair and smiled at Jane.
"How do I look?"
"Very becoming milady," Rose told her with a smile even as Jane's eyes took in her own new appearance. "How do I look?"
"Different," Jane replied slowly before she smiled, "But it suits you." Rose motioned for Jane to sit in the waiting chair. The younger girl did so with a smile and turned her attention fully on Rose. "You said something odd earlier," Jane said once Rose was seated again. "About being sent here?"
"Yes I did," Rose agreed as she looked over at Jane. "I was sent here on a mission."
"On a mission to save me?" Jane questioned with a slight tilt of her head.
"I wish I could really save you," Rose confessed sadly. "Not just from Matilda, but from all of this. From what's to come, but I can't." Rose shook her head and swallowed.
Jane reached over and touched Rose's hand which was on the armrest of her own chair drawing Rose's eyes back to her. "We each have a path that we must tread and this is mine. I hope that I will be remembered even though I was Queen just nine days."
"Of course you're remembered," Rose promised with small smile. "You'll be remembered for hundreds of years to come."
"You say that with such strange certainty Lady Rose," Jane observed with a small suspicious smile as she studied Rose.
"I am certain," Rose replied with a secretive smile. "You'll not be forgotten. That is the truth."
Jane's eyes searched Rose's face in silence and Rose met the gaze calmly. "How is it that you seem so wise?" Jane questioned. "Is there something you're not telling me?" Jane paused and seemed to consider her next question for a moment as Rose looked into the fire. "Are you truly of this world?"
Rose chuckled and turned back to Jane with a small smile. "Of course I am Jane."
She got the feeling that Jane didn't believe her. Jane shook her head before saying, "Whoever you are and wherever you are from I am grateful that you came. I would not wish to spend these last hours of freedom with anyone else."
Rose smiled in response to the sentiment and they stared at each other in a peaceful moment before Jane turned and picked up the box that Rose had given her only hours before. Jane opened it and pulled out the necklace that Rose had presented her with. It was simpler than the one Jane was wearing with a larger and lighter blue stone and a pearl chain.
"I think this goes better with my dress," Jane observed with a smile. "Will you help me?"
Rose stood from her chair and moved behind Jane to undo the latch of the necklace. Taking the pearl necklace from Jane, Rose set aside the necklace and gently placed the pearl necklace around Jane's neck and fastened in the back.
"Thank you," Jane said as she touched the blue stone with a smile. "I have a fondness for pearls."
"Then this one is better suited," Rose agreed with a smile before she moved to retake her seat.
Jane caught her hand to stop her before she picked up the elegant sapphire necklace that Rose had set aside. Jane smiled up at Rose and said, "I would like you to have this."
"Jane," Rose gasped as she looked at the elegant necklace. "You don't have to do that."
"I wish to," Jane insisted warmly. "All but you and Ellen have deserted me. It is strange that in my last hours I would meet such a friend. I accepted a necklace from you and want you to have one from me."
Rose swallowed and took the necklace from Jane's hand. She studied it and frowned at the small clasp at the back of the sapphire pendant. "What's this?"
"It detaches," Jane answered with a laugh. "You can wear it on a different chain or as a brooch that way."
"Oh," Rose said as she sat down in her chair and fastened the necklace around her neck. It was heavy, but strangely comforting even if it probably looked extremely odd with her blue jeans and black long sleeved scoop neck. "Thank you, Jane."
"Promise me that you will leave soon," Jane begged, suddenly serious. "It is too dangerous for you to remain."
"I said I'd stay by your side," Rose replied. "I meant it."
"They will arrest you too," Jane insisted.
"You don't need to worry about me," Rose reminded her with small smile. "I can look after myself."
"With your sword?" Jane asked curiously. "That weapon just appeared in your hand."
Rose was spared from having to reply by Ellen entering the room. Jane looked over at her old nurse in fear and rose to her feet. The Lady Jane and her nurse stared at each other for a moment later before Ellen managed to speak.
"I'm so sorry Jane," Ellen said. "Queen Mary has ordered that you be taken to the keep to await trial." Ellen was holding back tears as she added, "You must come now."
Jane's eyes were damp, but she managed a small smile for Ellen. "Do not fret Ellen. I've done my living and I am ready for something far more important." Rose stared at the girl. "I may go to my death," Jane breathed as she took Rose's hand and looked at her. "But it will not be in vain." Jane took a deep breath. "Tell me again I am not forgotten."
"I promise you," Rose managed to say as she held back her tears. "Not by your people, not by history and never by me," Rose said as squeezed the girl's hand.
"Goodbye Rose, my friend. It is time for me to leave you now."
"And for me to leave you," Rose whispered. "Goodbye Jane," Rose said before she leaned forward and kissed Jane's forehead.
Jane nodded to Rose and moved away to join Ellen who took her hands with a sad smile. Rose watched them for a moment before she pulled on her coat and put her hat back on. Looking over at Jane, Rose managed a smile and picked up the dagger. She met Jane's eyes as the time window activated and she vanished from the Nine Days Queen's sight in a flash of white light.
"Tis witchcraft," Ellen gasped, but Jane smiled.
"Lady Rose is not of this world, but she is no witch Ellen," Jane said with a knowing smile. "She is an angel. I suspected as much." Jane's smile softened. "And as angels speak only the truth I know I do not die in vain."
Ellen smiled and touched Jane's shoulder as the teenager straightened up, a look of determination and great dignity on her face. Jane nodded to herself and gently touched the necklace around her neck before she turned to the doorway and left the reception for the last time.