Gosh, it's been forever since I wrote something. I saw Crusade in Jeans again today and decided to write something for the movie. I still much prefer the book, but as I don't have it with me right now, I decided to throw everything from the book out the window and focus on the movie. Hope I succeeded!
A forgotten, but familiar pain shot through him as the bright light blinded him. Please let it be the right time, he pleadede through tightly closed eyelids. Please let Jenna still be there.
Gradually, the light receded, and he finally dared open his eyes. He couldn't contain a smile at the sight of a crowd of people, still standing in front of him, some with their mouths open. I'm here.
Clutching the vial with pills in his hand, he started looking around for Jenna. Where was she? Judging by the crowd in front of him, he had returned not much later after he had left. So where was she?
"Rudolf!" a scream broke through the muted silence, and with utter relief he saw Jenna running towards him. Guards were running after her, until a dark figure on a horse intercepted them. Thaddeus. He stuck around, then.
"Jenna!" he hugged her as she reached the platform he was still standing on. He held her tightly in his arms for just a moment, unbelievably glad that he had, at least, ended up in the right era this time. But there would be time to think about that later; right now, they needed to get out of here.
"Run," was all he could say to Jenna before Thaddeus, still holding back the guards, yelled the same at them. Dolf took Jenna's hand and, without looking back, ran to the alleyway they had taken earlier. Thaddeus would save himself; Dolf knew he would. For now, though, they had to save themselves.
Once they were away from the crowded square, they allowed themselves to slow down to a brisk pace. There was less people here, but it was still busy, and they managed to melt into the crowd.
"Will Thaddeus be okay?" was the first thing Jenna asked once they had caught their breath.
"He will be," Dolf said confidently. "He's got a horse, remember, and– " before he could finish his sentence, there was a commotion behind them. They turned around to see Thaddeus approach them, minus his horse but otherwise intact.
"Welcome back," he said warmly to Dolf, before pulling down his hood. "I think we are safe."
"Thank you," Dolf said. He looked into Jenna's confused face and decided it was time to explain.
"I came back," he said simply. "I am– " he paused. He had told Thaddeus part of his story, but he had not dared tell Jenna. She was far less likely to believe him than the wordly Thaddeus, and he had more to lose with her, too. Vague answers had kept her satisfied until it had been too late.
He sighed. "I am going to tell you something, Jenna, and I want you to promise me that you won't run or get angry with me. I am telling the truth, I promise."
"What is it, Rudolf?" Jenna asked. "What is the matter?"
Dolf laughed. "Nothing is the matter, Jen! Everything is alright now."
"Where did you go to, earlier? What was that light? And why are you back now?" The questions bubbled uncharacteristically quickly over Jenna's lips.
"Just promise me you will listen to me," Dolf said. "Please, Jenna. I can't…"
"I promise," Jenna told him, a hint of frustration in her voice. "Now tell me!"
"Let's get away from the city first," Dolf said. "We need somewhere private."
He, Jenna, and Thaddeus walked in silence until they reached the city's gates. Dolf decided not to go back to the camp just yet. He did not want to be distracted by Maria, Carolus and the others, nor did he want to answer their questions before he had answered Jenna's.
They sat down on a large, flat rock halfway through the city and the camp.
"I haven't told you everything about where I'm from, Jenna," Dolf started. Jenna stayed still: obviously, this was no surprise to her. "I am from Holland, from Rotterdam, but… but I am from a different time."
"A what?" Jenna asked. Her voice betrayed no emotion.
"Thaddeus knows that Holland does not have any troubadours in boxes, or shoes like I wore, or the clothes I wore. Those things do not exist, now… but they do exist in my time."
"You are from the future?" Jenna asked incredulously. "I know you are mysterious, Rudolf, but do you expect me to believe that? How can a person from the future be here? Why would a person from the future do that? Do you think I am stupid, Rudolf?" Her expression was slowly turning to anger.
"No! No, Jenna… if anything, you are far smarter than I have given you credit for," Dolf replied, starting to panic a little. If she did not believe him, she would never agree to going back with him.
"In my time, my mother works somewhere with a machine… an apparatus that can transport people back in time. I was not supposed to do that, no person was, but I did, for a stupid reason. But I did something wrong and I ended up here, where you met me. Remember how I did not want to join the crusade at first? That was because I hoped that my mother would be able to get me back in my time. But then that storm happened, and I lost my only chance. And after a while, I was starting to be happy here, in the wrong time." He paused for a moment; dare he say it? "Because… because of Maria, Bertho, Thaddeus, Carolus… you."
"I went back to my own time today. I saw my mother again, but I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be… away from you. Not anymore. So I came back," Dolf finished.
Jenna was silent for a long time. Thadddeus alternated between looking at them and looking out at the sea, not saying anything.
"You came back for me?" Jenna finally asked, softly.
"I'll never be happy there, if you are here," Dolf said carefully, feeling a little uncomfortable.
Jenna reached for his hand, not saying a word. They sat on the rock for a while, digesting their thoughts.
"So what now?" Jenna broke the silence. "What do we do now?"
"I told my mother to pick up us in Rome in three weeks," Dolf said. This was where he would have to convince Jenna to take a trip with him again, through medieval Italy this time, bringing her even further away from everything she knew.
"The center of the Colosseum. It still exists, you know."
"Rome," Jenna repeated, a little incredulously. "We are going to Rome."
Her quick acceptance warmed his heart. "You'll come with me?" he asked her, just to be sure.
"Of course I will, Rudolf," she said, looking at him. "What is there for me here?"
Relief poured through him. "I will tell you everything," he promised. "And you will tell me, too? About your life before the crusade?"
A shadow passed over her face. "If you want to, of course," he added hastily. "Only if you want to."
She did not reply, but turned to the Father instead. "What will you do, Dom Thaddeus?" she asked him.
He smiled at them benevolently. "The children need me," he said. "Nicholas' journey to Jerusalem will be hard, and I might be the only one with any sense of direction."
Unexpectedly, Dolf's eyes watered. "You are a good man, Thaddeus," he said warmly. "I know the children will be safe as long as they are with you."
"Just doing God's work," the man replied simply. "Just because one crooked priest had bad intentions with these children, doesn't mean they have been abandoned by God. If anything, God has favoured them these past few months. They have blossomed from small nobodies until individuals, each and every one of them. You have made that happen, Rudolf. I cannot thank you enough for giving them that."
Dolf smiled at him. "They have given me so much, too," he said. "I can't imagine…"
Jenna, sensing that the time for seriousness was over, sprung up. "Let's get back to the children," she said. "I cannot wait to see their faces."
They stood and made their way slowly to the camp, for once not needing to fill the silence.
In three weeks, a young man and woman would stand in the middle of the Colosseum, unmoving even as a group of medieval watchmen tried to chase them away from the fortress that the Frangipani family had made of the ancient building. They would hold tightly onto each other, only looking at the men as they started to come closer. There was no clock, but they would count down the seconds, hoping that they would be in time. Please let it go well this time, the boy would pray to gods he had never before prayed to. Please let us get back.
A dark-hooded man on a horse would approach them then. The men would move apart hastily, trying not to get trampled.
"These children are protected," the man would shout, circling the pair. "Leave them alone." The guards would watch him, momentarily distracted from the man and woman. "These children are protected," the priest would repeat. "They are– "
But he would not finish his sentence. A bright light would appear in the air, twirling around the couple as they stood, still clutched tightly together. The light would move onto them, around them and in them, and in a moment, they would be gone.
Wrote it quite quickly, I wanted to keep write it while the movie was still fresh in my mind. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed!
Also, kudos if you caught the Doctor Who reference. (That is my new obsession these days xD)
Oh, and a quick explanation about two things:
- I know that, in the movie, it seems as if Jenna knows that Dolf is from the future, since she followed him to those steps in Genua. However, I believe they should/would have shown us such a scene, and I was thoroughly disappointed that they didn't show Dolf telling Thaddeus. He is one of my favourite characters (book AND movie) and I would have loved to see his reaction. So that is why I chose for Dolf telling Jenna the story, even if it might seem a little at odds with the movie.
- The site spells Jenna as Jenne, and I've seen it spelled like that elsewhere too, but to me, she's Jenna. I can't explain why, just know that I wrote it like that consciously.