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Posted as [livejournal.com profile] serenissima, June 29, 2007 for the New Year's Resolutions Challenge in [livejournal.com profile] yuletide.



Title: And I Only Am Escaped Alone To Tell Thee
Author: serenissima
Recipient: The_RCK
Fandom: The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne
Rating: G
Summary: It is the one gift he can give them, the happiness they deserve.
Written For: New Year Resolutions 2007


I

Of course, it was Rebecca who was the first to realize how much things had changed, and fittingly, she was the first to leave. Despite all their efforts, the influence of the League of Darkness increased over the years, until at last it became clear that war was inevitable. And then it began, as Count Gregory instigated the Franco-Prussian War, which swept Europe, culminating in the Siege of Paris. Barricaded with the bohemians in the Quartier Latin as violent skirmishes occurred in the streets, the four of them debated what to do. The Phoenix, their erstwhile Cardinal's Chariot, had returned to them again, folded through time and space and the fifth dimension. With the League now aware of its awesome potential, there would be only one way to keep it out of their hands - someone had to captain it, travelling with it through time and staying with it to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Having come to this conclusion before anyone else amidst the heat of the battle, Rebecca chose to act before any of the rest of them could move. She embraced Passepartout, kissed Jules lightly on the forehead and Phileas hard on the mouth, and then ran for the machine. A moment later, it flashed out of existence, never to be seen again.

And somewhere in the future, a beautiful woman steels herself and steps out into London of the twenty second century, eager to see if the light has finally triumphed over the darkness...

II

Once she was gone, it was only a matter of time for Phileas. It did no good for Jules and Passepartout to remind him that she wasn't dead, and that to the contrary, she would live a long and likely adventurous life. She was stranded in time, and could never return to them, and that was a good as dead as far as he was concerned. There was little melodrama to the matter, for he was nothing if not an English gentleman to his very bones, but after that battle, the life, the spark went out of him forever. He'd once said that "Without her, there is no light." And so he remained in the shadows. Perhaps surprisingly, Phileas resumed his place with the British Secret Service, soon displacing the rather ineffectual Chatsworth as its head. He was a compelling leader, and devoted its entire resources to the elimination of the League of Darkness. Jules had been busy disabling the reality warping dimensional engines on the Icarus at the time, but he was given to understand that Phileas had, at the end, dismembered Count Gregory with his bare hands in an act of brutal savagery and vengance, shortly before he drove the wounded vessel into a cliff and destroyed it in a fiery explosion.

And in a quiet grove, in a disused corner of Regent's Park, there is a simple stone plinth in the centre of a reflecting pool. On it is carved a name, and the motto "Fiat Lux"...

III

Passepartout, ever loyal, ever cheerful, paid perhaps the greatest price of them all. Jules had little doubt that he would have stood by his Master to the bitter end, had Fogg not charged him and Jules with the responsibility of ferrying the League's prisoners and the remaining British agents to safety in the Aurora. Having fought their way off the disabled Icarus, it was Passepartout who steered them through the carnage of the air battle over the Channel, guiding the Aurora to safety before collapsing from blood loss and the injuries that would leave him crippled for life. Having no heirs, Fogg had left the bulk of his fortune and the Aurora to Passepartout, but that was poor compensation to a man who would never walk unaided again. He retired to the South of France, where the weather is warmer and his wounds do not ache so much. Jules sees him sometimes, when he comes up to Paris. They meet in the café over a cup of very good coffee and talk of modern politics, scientific inventions, or Jules' latest novel. They never discuss the past or their adventures. It is still too painful for them both.

And in Avignon, in the Maison des Mechaniques, the scientist, inventor and ingénieur Jean Passepartout stands, slowly, with the aid of his automaton servants and makes his way out to the balcony. He has heard the rumour of a great war between the royal houses of Europe. There is an east wind coming....

IV

Following that last great battle, it seemed for a while that nothing would ever be right again. We had won, true, and the League was finally and utterly destroyed but the cost seemed too great, too high. I returned to Paris, now independently wealthy, and although I resumed my writing and inventing, nothing seemed quite the same. I had seen beneath the skin of the world to its hidden architecture, beheld its dangers and horrors, tasted its joys and delights, and yet I could speak of my secret adventures to almost no one. So I began to weave them into my tales, a hint here, and a reference there. And then, it came to me that I might yet save my friends from their fate in some small way - not in fact, but in fiction. I would create for them the ending that they should have had, and it would be the one that people would remember. True, I could not refer to Rebecca by name, but perhaps I could recreate her as a foreign princess. She had always loved the East. Likewise I could include Fogg's foibles and Passepartout's humour, but change things just enough to make them legends. And these legends would triumph.

And in Paris, an older, wiser, and sadder Jules Verne sits down before his desk to write what will be his greatest and best loved story - a tale of adventure and danger and wonder which, against all the odds, will have a happy ending.

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