Notes: Complete, one of a set of interconnected ficlets - the links are below.
Character(s): Methos, Charlotte
Summary: Fate will find you wherever you may be - even on a pirate ship in the Caribbean.
Over the Horizon
"They shall miss you," Methos said quietly as Charlotte watched the boat pull away that would carry her stepdaughters, and what servants who had survived the storm that had decimated their ship, to Hispaniola. From there, they would board ship to Spain.
Glancing up at him, her eyes sad, she shook her head slightly. "They knew me less than I would have wished. Their dueña disapproved of my marriage to their father and did her best to assure there was but little affection between me and my husband's children. And in the end, perhaps she was correct."
Sighing, she closed her eyes briefly. "My husband was murdered, Doctor, and some might say the fault lay with me."
"I find that difficult to believe," Methos said.
"And yet, it is true." She seemed to regret her confession, but continued with her explanation, "A swordsman arrived one day; he was as accomplished with a blade as he was arrogant. He offered me insult, insult that my husband refused to forgive. I begged him to let it go, but his honour would not allow it. There was a duel, and Alejandro..." her voice broke, "Alejandro was cut down."
"I am sorry, Lady Charlotte. But the blame does not lie with you; you must know that."
"In the darkest hours of the night, I see the flash of a sword, and then, my husband, his life's blood pooling onto the tiles beneath him. In those times, I cannot do anything but blame myself." She almost whispered the words. Then she looked out across the waves, to the boat that grew ever smaller. "And now, all that I had left of that life is nearly gone."
"A few more weeks, you would have been well enough to travel; you might have accompanied them." It was almost a question.
"There would be even less affection for me in Spain, Doctor Adams. I can not imagine my stepson would be pleased to have his father's widow, the reason for his death, as a member of his household. No, it is better this way," she said firmly.
"Even if you wish it were not," Methos offered softly.
Biting her lip, she nodded. "Even so."
"Had not fate intervened, Spain was your destination, was it not?"
"It was, though I had only planned to stay long enough to satisfy convention and see to settling the children into their new lives before returning to my father's home in England."
She unconsciously smoothed the black lace mantilla pinned to her hair. "Now?" Her eyes became unfocused as if she were looking at something only she could see. "For the first time in many years, I feel as if endless possibilities are before me. Truly, I know not where my path shall lead, but I cannot but hope that the journey will be a remarkable one."
If only you knew. Methos considered the young pre-immortal, his patient, and perhaps one day, his student. He had to admit, he found the lady to be a bundle of contradictions, and good manners warred with his innate curiosity. He decided to let curiosity win out. "If it is not too bold to ask, just how did an English lady become the wife of a Spanish Vizconde?"
She shrugged. "Alejandro and my father were dear friends; despite the enmity of our governments. It was a match that pleased Father."
"And what of you, Lady Charlotte? Did it please you?"
If she were offended by his presumption, she gave no sign. "Alejandro was a fine man, a good father, and I was fortunate to have him for a husband." What she did not say spoke clearer than what she did. "When Alejandro asked for my hand, he had just received a posting from King Charles to the Viceroyalty of the New Granada. I will admit, that just as Alejandro had anticipated, I found the idea of living in an exotic locale such as Cartagena de Indias to be an enticing one." A smile pulled at her lips. "So have no fear, Doctor, I was not compelled into a loveless marriage against my will; rather by my own desire to see what lay over the horizon."
Methos waved an arm. "Then you are in good company here aboard the Pearl."
Laughing softly, she nodded. "Indeed, I must confess, I quite envy Captain Sparrow. To have such freedom; to sail the Seven Seas, to go wherever he might wish."
"And yet, such freedom does not come without a price; very often a steep one."
She did not immediately answer. Then, looking up at him, her clear blue eyes holding both a certainty and determination that seemed to belie the handful of years that she had lived, she said, "Even so, Doctor. Still, it is a price I would willingly pay, were it to be asked of me. But whether that will be or not is in the hands of God."
The Strangest Places
Do No Harm
Hand of Fate
Over the Horizon