NOTES: This is my first "Lost World" story that's been completed. I have a few epics sitting on my hard drive waiting to be finished. This story takes place after Season 3. Malone's back and Finn's still around. Like a lot of people, I've been bothered by some of the attitude Veronica has taken with Marguerite in the later seasons, quick to believe the worse of Marguerite in one episode and then they're very close in another episode. This story began as my small attempt to explain these behavior swings, but what began as a little Veronica mulling piece turned into something that included everyone. There are spoilers for: STRANDED, CAMELOT, VOODOO QUEEN, THE TRAVELERS, PHANTOMS, and TRAPPED. I think I got all of them. Thanks for reading and feedback is welcomed.
I poke at the fire a bit more and add a few more sticks. The flames flare slightly, sparks flying about as the wood shifts. As I peer through the flickering flames towards the other side, I see them. So close together that they may as well be one being. I can't quite hear what they're saying to each other, but I see her roll her eyes in exasperation and the hard set of the line of his mouth. Then she smiles at him, a warm, gentle smile that has become more and more frequent. I see the lines in his face and mouth relax and he returns his own grin. He pulls her closer to him, gently, mindful of her injured side.
I have to look away.
Normally, it doesn't bother me, but on rare occasions, I feel the pang, the sense of emptiness. At first, I never understood why and that's probably what made me so sharp, so critical of Marguerite even after all the times she had proven that she would not betray us. But upon closer examination, when I forced myself to really look deep within after our encounter with the Travelers, I understood why I always think the worse of Marguerite.
Jealous not of Marguerite, but of Marguerite and Roxton.
What they have together.
Odd that I once accused Marguerite of being jealous of me. Little did I know that I was just as jealous of her.
I know Roxton was surprised by my words as we searched for Marguerite after she was taken by Olmec and his minions. I was so quick to think Marguerite had willingly gone with the trickster demon. I was even surprised when those words left my mouth. Roxton and Challenger never mentioned my behavior ever again, especially when Marguerite told us about the ambush Olmec had set up for us. I had felt such shame after hearing that that I felt the need to apologize in some way, but Roxton had stopped me. I remember him gazing at me with just the slightest trace of disappointment in his eyes and saying some things might be best left in the past.
I felt even more ashamed.
Everyone knew Roxton was in love with Marguerite. My God, you'd have to be deaf, dumb, blind and locked away in a cave not to have noticed. True, I could see that it started out as a physical attraction, but at some point, it developed into something more. Something deeper.
I think it was around the time Marguerite nearly got herself married to that boy king. While it was easy to chastise her for getting us into that predicament, it truly wasn't her fault. If anything, I should have been more aware that there was a Peeping Tom hiding in the bushes. So much for my jungle skills.
Actually, I think we all started thinking about Marguerite differently at that time. Her refusal to leave Gawain on his own and at the mercy of Vordred and then stepping in front of the boy to take that knife. I realized that day I may have been wrong about Marguerite. We all may have.
But the look on Roxton's face as he caught her when she fell to her knees. I know fear and I saw it in his face. Fear that he was going to lose her. I don't think he was even aware of it. But it was there.
I thought she didn't deserve his love. Roxton was too good of a man. And while at the time I did start to think that Marguerite wasn't as bad as I originally believed, she still wasn't good enough for Roxton. After all, she was the one who tried to sell me to Jacoba. I figured I was entitled to hold a grudge longer than everyone else.
I also never liked how she treated Ned, though, I can admit that there were times it was amusing. But no, for the longest time, I didn't think Marguerite was worthy of Roxton's love and I'm ashamed to admit, I hoped it was merely some infatuation on his part. Because I thought she didn't love him.
I didn't like the voodoo priestess from the start either, but I could tell that Marguerite was much more upset by that woman's presence. Roxton did go a long way in making a fool of himself over Danielle and I could see that it hurt Marguerite. Oh, she was quite good at hiding her feelings, but I could see it. Especially afterwards, when for weeks, Marguerite avoided Roxton like the plague.
I guess that was really my first concrete piece of proof that she felt more for him than I thought she did.
After that, the signs became easier to see. I could tell that something had shifted between them. Roxton became more obvious, more open about his feelings, and while Marguerite was less noticeable, I could see the signs.
At first, I was happy for them. They were my friends, and I wanted to see them happy. I still do.
But there are times, when I look over at them, like now. When I see the obvious love and devotion between them...love? No, that's almost too weak of a word to describe it. The bond, that connection, what Marguerite and Roxton have between them, its purity...its...its soul, it defies all description.
And I'm jealous because of that.
What woman...no person wouldn't want something like that? To find that perfection, your other half, your soul mate in another? Such a thing is not granted to everyone, but only a chosen few.
And I envy them that.
Maybe that's why I fell so quickly and so hard for Ducart. I'm normally not that stupid. Out of all of us, I'm the most suspicious of strangers, yet I tumbled so easily into Ducart's arms. I guess I was so desperate to find that rare love Roxton and Marguerite have that I was willing to try to find it with anyone, especially since Ned wasn't there. And because I didn't have it with Ned.
His head is bent over one of his journals. He's writing by the light of the fire, probably scribbling down a description of the fight we had today with the Danku and how Marguerite got hurt saving Roxton. The sight of him makes me smile.
But our love isn't like that of Roxton and Marguerite's. I know that. I practically admitted it to Marguerite once.
But then, how many of us are blessed with such a love?
It had been a long time since we were out on the Plateau for more than one day. Camping out together. We'd been separated for so long. First me, then Veronica and then me again. It's different this time, not only because of Finn, but because of how we've all changed these last three years.
I left to go find myself, to find the answers to questions that had lain dormant inside of me for years. I still don't have all the answers. I'm not even sure if I know all the questions. I don't know if I ever will, but I can feel a sense of peace inside of me and that will do for now.
This Plateau has changed all of us, some more than others. I remember when I first met Lord John Roxton, big game hunter and adventurer. I didn't think there was really much beyond the brawn and incredible hunting skills, but I had underestimated him. This is not only a man who could hit the eye of a raptor from 50 feet, but a man fond of Beethoven and who quotes John Donne.
Yes, Roxton has changed. There was always an air of isolation around him our first few months here. Oh, he was friendly and helpful enough. You couldn't find anyone more willing to be a part of the team, but you couldn't really get to know him. I notice when some strong emotion has a hold over him, Roxton's voice gets deeper, sometimes it's little more than a growl. That was how he spoke our first few months here. But it gradually lightened as did his steps and his face. His body relaxed and he seemed happier. And Marguerite was the source of that.
Marguerite. If there was anyone who had undergone a significant change since we came to the Plateau, it would be our enigmatic Miss Krux, or whatever her name is. Even she is not certain. Beautiful and deadly, like some of the dangerous creatures we've encountered here, Marguerite was the last person I would ever choose to be the source of anyone's happiness. But there she was, offering Roxton both compassion and exasperation. Eventually, the compassion won the man over and he fell in love with her.
Oh, she is beautiful, I would have to be blind to not have noticed, but what redeeming qualities did she have? I'm ashamed to admit it that none of us bothered to really find out, with the exception of Summerlee and Roxton. Arthur Summerlee was the first to see it and be rewarded by it. We all saw how differently Marguerite treated the old man and had any of us showed her the same compassion and patience, we too might have benefited from the gentler side of Marguerite much sooner. But none of us really bothered.
At first, given Roxton's reputation and his rather healthy...appetites, I simply thought he was attempting to add another conquest to his list, but I soon changed my mind. There were too many moments when he thought no one noticed as he watched Marguerite. I don't think even he knew at first what emotions were going through him, but I could see them plainly written on his face.
The man was in love.
And with Marguerite of all people!
In the beginning, I could only shake my head and wish Roxton well, hoping he didn't get too burned by the fiery woman, but as the months progressed, I re-evaluated my initial assessment of their relationship. There were too many instances, too many late night confidences I saw them share.
Did anyone else notice that those two never confided in anyone else but each other? Did they even notice that they were doing that?
Veronica had taken point and Finn, who's become almost another appendage attached to Veronica, was up front with her. I was walking with Challenger right behind them. Roxton and Marguerite brought up the rear.
It was a beautiful day. Cool and sunny. We were actually into our second day of a planned five-day trip. Yesterday had passed uneventfully and I guess it lulled all of us into a false sense of security. Roxton barely barked out a warning before we found ourselves surrounded by what I later found out was a tribe called the Danku. They had spears and arrows that weren't much of a match for our guns. As battles go, it was neither our fiercest nor easiest one, but we handled them with relative ease with our weapons and Finn's accurate crossbow shots. Even when we had to fight hand-to-hand, we had a sense that knowing we were fighting together we would get out of this predicament.
It wasn't until the end, when Roxton had just sent two men scurrying into the bushes that it happened. He had his back turned, making sure that the last of our attackers were leaving. Roxton failed to see a Danku in the bushes, aiming an arrow at him.
But Marguerite had.
She had cried out a warning and leapt forward to push Roxton away. Challenger had fired off a shot and the Danku took off after his companions. We turned our attention to our two fallen companions, Marguerite's small body protectively covering Roxton's much larger frame. The sight would have been amusing had there not been that slowly spreading red stain on her side where the shaft of an arrow protruded.
I will always remember the deep, tortured cry wrenched from Roxton's soul as he called out her name and took her into his arms. She was unconscious and couldn't hear his frantic cries nor his pleas to Challenger to help her.
After examining her wound, we were all happy to learn that it was not too dire. The arrow had pierced her side, but it was a flesh wound. No organs or bones were hit and while the loud cry Marguerite let out when the arrow was finally extracted indicated how much pain she was in, she wasn't in danger of dying as long as we kept the wound clean and free of infection.
We had to move to a better spot to set up camp. Even though she insisted she could walk, Roxton would not hear of it and simply swept Marguerite up into his arms and carried her the two miles that led us out of Danku territory and an appropriate camping site.
While being carried was probably preferable to having to walk, no matter how careful he was, I didn't doubt that Roxton jostled Marguerite a fair amount on the two mile hike. However, unlike the Marguerite that first came to the Plateau, there were no recriminations or complaints. She merely, for the most part, kept her face buried in the juncture of Roxton's shoulder and neck. I actually thought she may have passed out, but I could see Roxton talking quietly to her.
I offered to take Marguerite from him. No matter how strong he is or how light Marguerite may be, it must have been tiring carrying her. But I wasn't surprised when he refused. Tight lipped, grim faced, I had no doubts what was going through John Roxton's mind. He was blaming himself for Marguerite's injury. Had it been any of us, he would have felt responsible, but for it to have been Marguerite...
Today I witnessed a small part of a man's soul crumble.
It was not just that Marguerite was hurt, but that she was injured protecting him. If the injury had been more serious, or God forbid, had Marguerite died, I have no doubt we would have lost Roxton too.
Love. Is that word strong enough to describe what I see between those two?
Men have their poets and scribes, but words alone cannot relate what is between Roxton and Marguerite. I feel inadequate to describe it here in my journals.
I can only hope that some day, I too can experience a mere fraction of what Roxton and Marguerite have.
I'm getting too old for this.
After every fight, every flight from danger, every near escape, I think that.
These old bones can only take so much more.
But today, it wasn't the old man who was in danger, but Marguerite.
Thank God that arrow only left her with a flesh wound. We were also fortunate that the Danku don't use any type of poison on their tips as well.
Yes, once again we were lucky.
It's nice to simply sit and rest now. Finn, that never ceasing bundle of energy is stalking around the camp, eyes on the alert for danger. Yes, leave the first watch for the young.
Malone is writing again in that ever present journal of his, though he seems less attached to his books since his return. I'm glad. I wouldn't want the boy to turn out too much like me. Too intent on his work and unaware of life around him. Of the possibilities around him. Like Veronica.
She's sitting near Malone, staring into the fire. No, not the fire, but through the flames. I turn my head and search for what she's watching.
Ah, Roxton and Marguerite.
I have to smile at the picture they make. Marguerite lying on her uninjured side with Roxton curled around her body, like some protective shell. She appears to be asleep, but his head is propped up on one arm and he's staring down into her face.
Thank God those two admitted their love for each other. I really wasn't sure how much more of their dancing around I could take.
Love, ha. Jessie would have a laugh over that. She always said I was blind as a bat about such things. Wouldn't she be surprised to know that even I could see those two were madly in love with each other?
As I'm always fond of pointing out, I am a man of science, but this Plateau has taught me that some things cannot be explained away and one of those great mysteries is love. Admittedly, I never gave love much thought. Oh, I love Jessie, no doubt about it. I love my work. Absolutely no doubt about that.
But what Roxton and Marguerite share, it cannot be explained. There is no mathematical equation or law of nature to explain what is between those two. It simply is. Or perhaps what they have, their love, is the purest of all natural forces. The thing that binds us all together, that makes us struggle to live the next day, to want to endure that struggle. The purest of all life.
My goodness, Jessie would truly laugh to hear me now.
Veronica wasn't joking when she said Malone was a good cook. Even though dried raptor is better than anything I had in the future, it still tastes kinda funky. But Malone did something with it to make it actually kinda good. Like a spicy stew.
It's all quiet here. None of those guys who attacked us earlier lurking in the bushes. Marguerite looks like she's fallen asleep. Good, that should help her heal faster.
Huh, big surprise that Roxton's right next to her. Man might as well be glued to her. Challenger and Veronica told me how those two used to behave. Obviously in love, but doing nothing about it. Fighting and snapping at each other. Well, that hasn't really changed. But heck, I didn't need anyone to point out that they were in love with each other, I saw it myself when I first came here. Anyone with eyes could see it. I just didn't understand why they bothered waiting so long. Life's too short and it can get real short in this freaky place.
Veronica tried to explain it to me. Something about Marguerite's past and these secrets she has. Big whoop. If you really love someone what the heck does it matter? Okay, so maybe you don't like that little part of that person. Like I would really hate it if the guy I loved picked his nose or something. But if I loved him, I'd be willing to tolerate it.
Honestly, these people make it more complicated than it really has to be.
Marguerite's awake now, and she's saying something to Roxton. Geez, that look on his face. Hello? Dial 1-800-OBVIOUS. Yeah, he'd forgive Marguerite if she was a nose picker.
Too close. Too damn close today.
And why did it happen? Because she was trying to save my life.
God Marguerite, I never knew love could hurt so much.
If that wound hadn't been minor, if she had...my mind can't even wrap around the notion.
The despair I felt when I saw the arrow pierced through her body, I've only felt once before. When we were trapped in that blasted cave with coal gas filling it. I looked down from where I was trying to unplug that shaft and I saw her stretched out, unconscious. I didn't know then if she had finally succumbed to the poisons in the air. I couldn't tell if she was breathing.
The seconds it took to scramble down to her side felt like an eternity. And then I lived through another eternity until she woke up, opened those beautiful eyes of hers and spoke to me.
It was like that today. Never mind that the wound wasn't serious. She had been hurt because of me.
I told Death that if my friends, if Marguerite, were taken away from me, I would go on living. I know that's a lie. If Marguerite ever died, I know deep down I would soon follow her. Oh, I wouldn't kill myself, then I would damn my soul forever and never be with her again. But the will would be gone and that's really all that keeps us alive here.
That and my Marguerite.
When I was carrying her in my arms, I felt her tears on my neck. I knew she was in a lot of pain and I was helpless to ease it. I even apologized to her for hurting her with my jostling. But she simply pulled back and looked into my face and smiled. That beautiful, dazzling smile she only gives to me.
"You're the only thing that makes it bearable," she whispered.
God, how can I not love this woman?
"Honestly John, you do have the hardest time keeping your hands to yourself," Marguerite's voice was filled with amusement.
With a start, Roxton realized that the arm draped over Marguerite's waist had wandered further up. One of his large hands had reached up to cup the gently rounded mound of one breast. The heiress rolled carefully onto her back so she could look up at him. Some of the lines of pain had faded away. Veronica had found a few herbs nearby and brewed a tea that eased some of Marguerite's discomfort.
"Sorry," Roxton apologized, but he smiled gently at her. He bent his head and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Force of habit. Feeling better?"
"Yes," Marguerite replied. She looked curiously up at him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he lied, attempting to give her his best innocent look.
Marguerite frowned. "You are simply the worst liar in the world John Roxton." She lightly slapped his shoulder. "Now give."
He took a deep, steadying breathe and contemplated not saying anything. But Marguerite was now fixated on it and she wouldn't let it be until she found out what was bothering him.
"You got hurt today, saving me," he replied quietly. His hand skimmed lightly over her bandaged wound. "If it had been more serious, I don't know..." Roxton stopped, too overwhelmed to continue and he dropped his head, hiding the tears that were rapidly filling his eyes.
"But it wasn't," Marguerite said softly. She reached up to stroke his cheek and made him look at her. "It's only a flesh wound. I'll be as good as new tomorrow. I've had much worse." She couldn't bear to be the source of pain to this man, this good man who felt far too much.
Roxton shuddered; thinking of the 'worse' Marguerite has had and could have in the future. "Marguerite," he spoke rapidly, urgently. "I want you to promise me something."
"What is it?" she asked warily, not liking the tone in his voice.
He looked down into her eyes, pleading for her to understand. "Never, ever, risk yourself like that again to save me."
"I will never make that promise!" she cried out. Out of the corner of her eye she saw their companions look over their way. In a lower tone, she hissed at him, "What the devil is wrong with you? Asking me something like that."
"I will not have your death on me," Roxton growled out. He struggled with some emotion and forced his voice into gentler tones. "Please Marguerite, if you love me, promise me."
She stared up at him in disbelief. "Would you make me the same promise?"
"No-," he replied swiftly without thinking. As soon as the word had passed his lips he knew he had made a mistake.
Marguerite's lip curled back in disgust. "So, you only think selfish Marguerite would make such a promise?" She started to turn away from him.
"Marguerite," Roxton's hand stopped her and she looked back up into his face. "It's not that. It's just that I can't-, I can't bear to see you hurt. And if you died-" He couldn't continue.
She reached up once more to stroke his face. "John, I think that's what happens when you fall in love. It's a two-way street." Tears formed in her eyes. "You said once you'd give you last breathe for me. Don't you know I would do the same for you?"
"Oh God, Marguerite," he whispered, his voice filled with a mixture of anguish and love. He gently cradled her in his arms and felt her arms slide around him. "I love you."
"I love you too, John," she whispered back. "It's as simple as that."