This is it guys, it is the last chapter, and I am SO grateful for those who reviewed, especially Alpine Sheep an Marguerite. Check out "Armand and His Angel" which is ALMOST done as well! Check for a one-shot on the 14th, because we all know that is Bastille Day! If you still haven't reviewed, don't be afraid. I want to know what you thought about the end, which is pretty crappy. I got into this one A LOT, so give me feedback, since I deserve it so much, *wink wink*
Madam D'Augne nodded and smiled, following Lady Blakeney. The request to tell her story was unnerving, but in front of a fellow Frenchwoman, she felt safe and complacent. She talked in French to her Annette, who as more at ease in her native tongue. Pierre perked up, since he could understand all that was being said. He had never been taught English, and so far, he was the one in their family who struggled the most with emigrating.
Lady Blakeney and the man next to her lead them to a group of lively young men standing or sitting around a few couches. A glimpse of a laughing face made her gasp and stop in her tracks. A face she recognized, one of the men who had helped her settle in an apartment in London, and left her with a meager, weekly allowance. The apartment was small and rough, but the owners were kindly people, and anything was a step up compared to their prison cell. Looks from the five gentleman standing were drawn to Lady Blakeney, and then to her. Their eyes all widened simultaneously, and they kept glancing to a man on the couch, still out of sight. Madame D'Augne had a suspicion of who it was. They were looking for directions from their leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel. What had she just done?
The man stood up, tall, with blonde hair, and dressed in a light blue, expensive outfit. She almost didn't recognize him, but after he had kissed Lady Blakeney's hand, he looked to her with piercing blue eyes, somewhat hidden by his drooping eyelids. She remembered him telling her that there was nothing to fear when she was with him, and his eyes were the main factor that made her trust him, so she need not be afraid now.
"Kensmorth," he nodded toward the gentleman, "And who is this?" His voice was drastically different, more drawn out, and a smile played on his mouth, but she could see he was nervous.
"Sir Percy, this is Madame D'Augne and her children from Paris. Madame, this is my husband, Sir Percy Blakeney." He bowed to her and kissed her hand, before nodding to Annette and Pierre. She could distinct the tiniest bit of trembling in his hand when he took hers, and he flashed his eyes to his wife in anxiety, masked a bit, but still there. He met her eyes and then looked to Lady Blakeney pointedly. Madame D'Augne was not talented in the gift of mind-reading, but she assumed he was trying to tell or warn her of something.
"From Paris? It seems they are all emigrating from that demmed city. Couldn't stand the blood, eh?"
"I, ugh..." Why was she stuttering like an idiot? "Of course, it is unbearable there."
"Percy," Lady Blakeney turned to her husband, "she was saved by the Scarlet Pimpernel himself! Since you know nothing of him, Madame D'Augne is willing to tell of her rescue-"
"I think not," Percy drawled.
"And why not?" The Lady's face fell in disappointment, and turned to annoyance. Percy opened his mouth to speak, but was immediately interrupted by his wife.
"Forgive me Percy, but I understand now-you are tired." she sneered, "I have just forgotten how weak you English gentlemen are."
"Sink me boys, my wife has grasped onto a gentleman's way of life quickly!" Percy laughed. Madame D'Augne shifted her feet, along with the rest of the bystanders. "It consists of hunting, a party or two, and then sleep!"
"What about your pursuit of fashion? Is that not part of your 'Gentleman's Lifestyle'?"
"Zooks! How have I forgotten? It must be my worn-out wits," he commented lazily, his eyeglass in hand, "which are dull already. I am sore company, so excuse me, as I retire now." He bowed and started to turn away.
"What about the guests?"
"M'dear," he looked back at her, "they are enchanted by you already. They will not mind if I am absent." As soon as he was out of earshot, Lady Blakeney huffed.
Madame D'Augne backed away, "I think I will leave now. I have intruded-"
"No, no Madame. Come, tell me what happened."
"I'm sorry, milady. I shouldn't have come."
"I will escort her out Lady Blakeney," A smiling man stepped forward. Madame D'Augne remembered him. He had helped her escape out of the prison and to the Scarlet Pimpernel, dressed as a soldier, whom had been called, Foullkes. He had also helped house her and he was the one who came weekly with her allowance, or sent letters to her with his signature if he wasn't available.
I'm sorry," she whispered to him once they had neared the house.
"I thought I strictly told you to stay in conspicuous circles, not ones as grand as this," he gestured to the guests behind them. Pierre tugged on her hand.
"Are you going tell him of the man who came to us?" Pierre asked in French.
"What man? " Foullkes replied in the boy's native tongue.
"A man," Annette put in, "came to us with an invitation to come, and paid Maman to take note of the guests. He even gave me one too!" She pulled out a coin with a beam.
"Did he tell you his name?"Foullkes asked. There was clear concern evident in his features.
"No," Madame D'Augne answered. "He had brown hair. He was rich. Pudgy hands. A bit of an accent."
"Was he Austrian?"
"Do have an idea?"
"Perhaps. I must speak to the Scarlet Pimpernel and discuss this with him. For now, do not speak with this man unless the Scarlet Pimpernel corresponds and tells you to.
"I am almost certain he was Austrian," she confirmed. Her hands grew sweaty. "What do I do with the money?"
"Don't spend it yet," he ordered, "if the man wants it back for you not fulfilling his deal, you will be able to return it." She nodded, feeling quite dreadful for her base actions.
"I am terribly sorry, I did not mean to be such a nuisance to your leader."
"It is alright Madame. As long as you are faithful to the man who saved you and your daughter."
"Of course. Goodbye good sir."
"Goodbye, Madame. Pierre, Annette," he nodded to the children and walked into the mansion. She turned for a moment to watch Lady Blakeney, laughing and conversing with the men. How, or why, did Lady Blakeney not know? The Scarlet Pimpernel was Sir Percy Blakeney, her very own husband.
Marguerite knew she would suffer. Words said cannot be taken back, or ever forgotten when one insults a man such as her husband. His whole manner was evident of his hurt, his indifference, his true feelings cloaked by inane habits, which he had seemed to adopt permanently. Looking across from him over the table, she felt that this was her last chance. He would leave on another trip soon enough, as he claimed that had been part of his lifestyle. She would never feel as apprehensive about the way their relationship was heading towards. She watched him for a few moments, him playing with his gourmet food.
"Sir Percy?" She used his title, it just felt more formal, now that he called her "M'dear" and"Madame" all the time now. She could not recall the last time he had called her Marguerite, or even his treasured nickname for her, "Margot." A tiny part of her hoped he would say it now.
"Madame?" She was crushed, but she shook her head, because she couldn't get her feelings hurt over him calling her a certain name. She was stronger than that, did not need him to say anything, he just needed to listen now, God help him, and understand her situation.
"You are my husband."
"I am aware of that m'dear," he smiled with amusement.
"Let me finish-you are my husband, and I am your wife." He looked her in the eye, for one instant looking serious, but then good-humored again. "Married couples shouldn't have any secrets between them, but alas, I believe we do."
"I agree," he said pointedly.
"For instance, I had no clue about Mary-"
"I do not want to speak about her at the moment."
"And I do not wish to speak about the Marquis de St. Cyr, but I must, if I am to be truthful with you." He was silent, inspecting his fingernails.
"I suppose you have heard the details of his death?"
"And that you were involved in the undertaking?"
"The Marquis was a horrible man, Percy," she defended herself.
"He was my friend." He looked up at her, his voice cold, but his countenance stiff and he looked normal, asinine, a stupid, half-shy smile planted on his face.
"In fact, he had my brother, Armand...he was..." She could not choke out the rest. "He is prejudiced against people like me and my brother. There are consequences men like that face when they treat others as if they are not human. I can say, that I am not sorry that he is dead." Percy's eyebrow raised and his eyes took her in.
"He was prejudiced, you mean," Percy looked up at her through hooded eyes.
"Yes, but is that all you heard?" She didn't wait for him to answer, "He also was plotting with Austria. Did you know that?"
"Yes." He leaned back in his chair and stared down at his lap.
"Well, I can't say I am sorry for turning him in, but that would be lying. I didn't mean to turn him in though, or his family. They did not deserve to die. I was tricked-"
"Interesting story, m'dear, but one that I have heard from others before." He stood and left. Marguerite sighed, and twiddled her fork. Had it been really worth the breath to explain? He did not want to hear her story, since he had assumed already knowing what happened. Her emotions were high, she had gotten away with her feelings, and she had told him some things she wouldn't have normally said when trying to make a man love her again. Perhaps, Percy didn't love her, or if he did, it was snuffed out now. Someone rich and dull like him couldn't love anyone but himself, she knew that now. She suffered, now that she realized Percy-he was not who she believed him to be. Their marriage had been huge mistake, and she was stuck with this man, who was not a lover of any kind, who would not ravish her, hold her when she needed it. He would no longer kneel at her feet, as if she was royalty, and he, her slave. That was the man she wanted now, but he was not there, he had never been there, and never would be.
Percy sighed as he shut the door. There was no doubt in his heart now, his wife had just confessed to being a cold-hearted murderer, in a sense. She admitted to turning in the Marquis de St. Cyr. When she had said she was tricked, he couldn't sit there another moment. It was an excuse, almost a lie straight to his face. A woman as brilliantly clever and perfect as Marguerite St. Just could not be tricked into doing anything. He loved that woman, a dream, Margot. The woman telling him her deepest hatred for another and avenging her brother for some small disagreement between the St. Cyr family was a woman he no longer knew. Who had been transformed by the Revolution into a murderess, unable to love anyone,not even him, and he didn't want her to. He was horrified by Lady Blakeney; he could not love her, not when she was like that. He quickly strode to his study, and opened the door, satisfied to see a middle-aged woman sitting in the chair across from his desk.
"Sir Percy," she stood and bowed. Percy only nodded and went to his desk, sitting in his comfy chair.
"There was a woman who attended my party today, a former French victim of the guillotine. She was paid by an Austrian in her London home to find the Scarlet Pimpernel's identity."
"Did she find out?" The woman leaned forward expectantly.
"Indeed she did, but she realized how foolish it would be to tell."
"Good." She contemplated, "Does your wife-"
"No, she does not suspect. She just found out about this 'hero" he smiled lazily, "a few days ago. She can hardly be on my tail yet."
"In the few days I observed her, before you dismissed me and had me work for you privately, I could tell she had a bright mind. She is very perceptive. She will eventually put two and two together."
"I know, but for now, we should avoid any possibility of her finding out through the people the League rescues. I have learned my mistake. I will not ever disguise myself to the point where anyone can recognize me again. It seems I cannot avoid the grime, the wigs and fake noses," he laughed. Those, however dirty, seemed to be the best fun he had.
"What will I do about this woman?"
"It is not about the woman, but the man who hired her. I have suspicions of who it is. A man, from Austria, the Baron de Batz, has been trying to save the royal family, and is furious that I have not responded to his requests for help, he even called me a coward once."
"Through a letter. He gave it to my men when in Paris a few weeks ago."
"What do you want me to do?"
"If you could." he smiled, "See if he is London at the moment. That is all, and tell Madame D'Augne, that the Scarlet Pimpernel says it is alright to spend her money."
"Of course, milord." She stood up to go.
"And Dorothea," she stopped, "remain inconspicuous and careful, I have known you all my life, I don't want anything to happen to you."
"I'm in England. I don't see what danger could ensue me here." Dorothea left the study, leaving Percy by himself. He looked out to the gardens from his window, seeing his wife striding the pathways by herself. Just hours before, she would have been accompanied by gentlemen of all age, swooning over her good looks. Only he knew the extent of her character, they would be as horrified as he was. Perhaps it would have been better to have married Mary de Courcy. She wouldn't have liked him ever, but at least she had not caused a family's death. He rewarded this woman, his broken shrine, with an abundant amount of tribute and worship, which she hardly deserved to recieve, as she had fallen from heaven, and down, to the Earth.