To Everything There is a Season

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Title:  To Everything there Is A Season
Author:  Nubiangeek
Rating:  G
Warning: This is a mushy, gushy love story (the only kind I write)
Disclaimer:  I don't own the characters,  so don't sue me!

He was back in his childhood.  He remembered the intense loneliness that he felt when he was away at school - away from Rebecca and Erasmus.  They accepted him as he was - nothing more,  nothing less.  He could be himself with them.  With Father,  it was a different story.  He was the eldest and as the eldest,  he was expected to attain certain responsibilities - the Secret Service for one thing.  It would be hard for anyone to follow in Boniface Fogg's footsteps - especially his somewhat, inept son Phileas.  

It was Erasmus who was the shining star.  He wanted to join the Secret Service - couldn't wait.  And then when Erasmus died,  there was no one to blame but Phileas.  Phileas loved his brother.  He had loved his friends.  But,  they were all gone now.  Everything he loved - gone.  He was all alone.

"He's still not himself.  What are we going to do?"  Young Jules was very concerned about his dear friend.

"He needs a place where he can be much rested. "  His loyal valet was also very concerned.

"I know just the place.  Phileas has a friend in California that would help us.  It's just the place."  Even while Rebecca suggested it,  each of them thought about the so-called friends of Phileas that had betrayed him.     

"Isn't that a long way?"  Jules asked.

"We have to do whatever it takes."

So,  they set out on their journey.  Passepartout took great care in getting supplies for the trip.  He had felt great sorrow and guilt over the events that took place at the castle.  Having to fight his own beloved master was almost too much to bear.  He would
endeavor to prepare his master's favorite meals during this journey and thus he hoped to relieve some of the guilt that plagued him.

Young Jules had known his friend to be a bit of an eccentric.  He had always taken it in stride.  It had been what had added to his charm.  But the events that took place were far from what had become commonplace behavior.  Jules thought about the fact that Phileas was the only one that had been drugged;  the rest of them had simply let what they thought of Phileas dictate their behavior.  Why didn't they realize that Phileas was more apt to put himself in danger,  a sort of deathwish,  and would never endanger their lives?

"Oh my dear coz."  Phileas had always been her favorite -- her hero.  She saw the pain that he had endured as a child.  She had nothing against Erasmus,  it just seemed that Phileas was always lost.  He had always put her and Erasmus before himself.  Sometimes he risked severe beatings. 

The journey had not been a pleasant one.  Phileas was still not himself.  Rebecca, Jules and Passepartout walked on eggshells around Phileas not wanting to upset an already delicate situation.

As they approached the Pacific coast of the United States,  they ran into a bit of bad weather.  Passepartout had to put down in a small town called Sandy Gulch about fifty miles from their destination.

"We'll have to wait out the storming here."  Rebecca and Jules understood.

"We'll go and get rooms in town.  He'll be more comfortable there,  I think."

While they were gone,  Passepartout made ready by packing their things.

"Hello,  we would like three rooms, please."  They had decided that Passepartout would stay with Phileas to make sure that he was alright.

The hotel manager was eyeing them suspiciously.  He didn't like strangers; although,  in his business, he should have loved them.

"Where are you all from?"  he asked casually.

"We're from England.  We're here on holiday."  Rebecca answered trying to sound as English as possible.

"Here are your keys.  Uh,  what do you need the extra room for?" he asked.

"We have some friends that are coming later.  Can we get a cot put in that room?"  The clerk nodded.

When Phileas and Passepartout arrived,  the clerk was very interested.  This man must be very rich indeed to have a servant and them fancy clothes,  he thought.  Passepartout told the clerk that their friends were already there,  so the clerk gave him the key to their room.

In the night,  the dreams returned to haunt him.  He was standing in the room with the bodies of his friends lying all around.  There was blood everywhere especially on his hands.  He screamed.

"It's okay, master.  Make yourself calmed."  Passepartout wiped his forehead with a wet cloth.  He hated seeing his master this way.  He was usually so controlled,  so strong.  He hoped that this would all pass soon.  Passepartout went back to sleep.  When he awoke the next morning,  Phileas was gone.

It was dark.  He couldn't see.  He could tell that he was in a carriage. Suddenly,  the carriage stopped.  He was grabbed roughly and thrown to the ground.  Then the blows came and kept coming.  The pain was excruciating.  His mind took him back to one of his worst beatings as a child.  He had taken the blame for something that Erasmus had done and his father had beaten him.  Over and over the blows came until he was enveloped in sweet darkness once again.

He awoke the next morning and started walking.  The tenant farmers had set up a little village on the outskirts of the vineyard.  As Phileas walked into the village,  there were stares and whispers.  From what he could see,  there were mostly women, children and old people.  The men were already in the fields working.

Maria had been helping her mother with the wash.  Maria believed that she hated this chore more than any other.  She was different from the other young women in the village.  The other young women had been groomed since birth to follow in their mother's footsteps.  Maria had been sent to a convent school when she was eight.  It was partly because her parents didn't want her to have to go through such a harsh life.  The problem was that now that she was back,  she was expected to learn everything she had missed as a child.  And,  she was to marry.  She barely did the first,  and she had no intentions of doing the latter.

"Ah, Maria,  please concentrate on what you're doing."  She hadn't been and so was not folding the clothes properly. "Sometimes I regret having sent you to the convent school."

Maria knew that it had not been her mother's choice to send her to the convent school.  Her father and mother had quarreled for weeks before her father finally made the decision.  Her mother had always felt that her husband didn't feel that the work she did was worthwhile.

"If you were still young,  I'd send you to convent school as well,  but as it is,  I only have one daughter."

What her father did not foresee was how hard it would be for Maria once she had returned.  The only thing that the men cared about was how well she folded clothes or cooked the meals.  They didn't care that she could speak three languages other than English,  fluently quote Shakespeare and balance account books.  Maria thought that these were fine qualities that any man would be proud of.  It was as Maria was refolding the clothes while standing in front of the window that she saw the strange man walking through the village.  He was dressed in torn clothes,  but walked with the dignity of an aristocrat.  There was definitely something odd about this man.  She decided to go out and investigate.

"Excuse me sir,  may I help you?"  Phileas saw the girl approach.  He wondered why she had approached and not any of the others.

"My name is. . ."  He tried to remember.  He had lost himself.

"Phil - Phillip.  I guess that I'm looking for a place to settle.  Would this be a good place?"  She didn't know how to answer,  so she decided to invite him ion for something to eat.

"You must be hungry.  Why don't you come to our house for something to eat?"  

Phileas said, "thank you,"  and followed.  Maria's mother was not happy to see this stranger,  but she would not withhold her hospitality.    She didn't have to like it, though.

There was bread,  fresh baked from the oven.  Maria didn't make it.  There was also cheese and,  of course, wine.  It was simple,  but nourishing.  Phileas thanked them again and began to eat.  Maria was watching him carefully.  Except for his torn clothes,  he was very well-groomed.  His hair was carefully arranged and his nails were neat and trim.  Something was not right.  Before she could think about it further,  there were shouts outside.

"Fire.  Fire in the barn!"  Both  Maria and her mother jumped up immediately.

"What's the hurry?  Does it take the whole village to put out a fire?"  He had been joking,  but Maria knew that it was a very serious matter.

"This is our livelihood.  If that barn goes up and spreads to the fields,  we die."  Maria and her mother were grabbing pots and pans - anything that would hold water - and were rushing out the door.  Of course,  Phileas followed to see if he could help.

Everyone was running from all directions.  They all had pots and pans as well.  When they reached the scene,  everyone was dipping the utensils into the water and throwing it on the fire.  Phileas organized them to form a line and work together instead of separately.  Phileas went to work in the line when suddenly there was a cry from one of the women.

"Pablo, where is Pablo?  Manuel have you seen Pablo?"  Manuel was crying.

"The last time I saw Pablo,  he was in the barn.  We were smoking his father's pipe."  

So,  that was how the fire had started.  Phileas ran toward the direction of the barn before Maria could stop him.  Inside the barn,  the air was filled with smoke that seared Phileas' throat and eyes.

"Pablo,  can you hear me?"  He was hoping that the boy would hear him and answer back.  He was having a hard time seeing.

"Come on, Pablo.  Don't be afraid.  I know that when I was your age and I did something wrong,  I would hide.  You don't have to be afraid of me.  Come on,  answer me."  Phileas waited and then he heard a faint cry.

"I'm here."

Phileas went straight to the boy and picked him up.  As Phileas reached the open doorway,  the whole roof caved in and Phileas blacked out. 

Passepartout could hardly believe his eyes.  He had lost his master in a strange land and there was no clue as to where to find him.

"Excuse me,  did you see our friend come through here?"  they had gone down to the lobby to ask the clerk about Phileas.

"Who?"  they stared at the man.

"Our friend that checked in with us last night."  The man shook his head.

"The three of you checked in alone.  See here in the registry."  Phileas' name was not in the registry.  They had three rooms and three people.  Passepartout couldn't take it.  He lunged across the counter and grabbed the man by the lapels.

"Damn the registry!  You should be telling us where our friend is now or I'm going to play drums on your head!"  The man snatched away from Passepartout.

"Do you want me to call the Sheriff?"  Rebecca touched Passepartout's arm to stop him from going after the man again.

"So,  what you're trying to tell us is that you don't recall the man that was with us last night."  The clerk looked them straight in the eye and said,  "Nope."  

Jules was exasperated and said,  "Wait a minute!  I have an idea."  He ran upstairs and left them standing there.  A few minutes later,  he came walking back down.

"Phileas' luggage is gone."

"Phillip,  can you hear me?"  Phileas had been unconscious for several hours and Maria feared that they had lost him.  Suddenly his eyes began to flutter and then he was fully awake.

He tried,  first of all,  to recall what had happened to him,  but he could not.  Next,  he tried to recall other events from his life,  but he could not.  Then he came to the realization that he still couldn't remember his real name.  Maria could see the confused look on his face.

"I don't remember. . ."

Maria took this to mean that he didn't remember how the accident occurred.

"The barn was on fire and you went in to save Pablo.  An overhead beam fell on you."

"Pablo. . .is he okay?"  His concern was touching.

"Pablo is fine.  You were right at the doorway when it happened."

Phileas still looked confused.  "Who are you?"

Because the barn incident occurred so closely to the time in which Maria first met him,  she figured that he had forgotten her as well.

"I am Maria.  We met a few hours ago."

"Who. . .am I?"

Maria was surprised when he asked this question.  She had never encountered this kind of thing before.

"You've lost your memory completely?'  Phileas looked as if he were going through files in his head.

"Not a clue."

"Well,  I'll tell you what I know.  Your name is Phillip and you are a stranger looking for a place to settle down."  Phileas took this in and added it to what he already knew.  "Other than the loss of your memory,  your injuries are not serious."  She gave him a little to drink and told him to rest.

Part 2