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Through Time

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1900: Century Park

Their first meeting isn’t really a meeting at all, it’s more of a brief mutual noticing. It happens in 1900, at Century Park, out in the countryside. It’s the first of January, and England wanted to get out among the people briefly, see how his citizens are living. After all, it’s the new century now. He walks past her at the table where the Reverend Toby is handling the drawing competition, glances at her briefly, and continues on his way.

Then the aura of magic around her snaps his attention back to her. She practically glows with it. For that matter, he can’t help but notice that her clothing seems a bit unusual; he can’t fathom what it’s made of, because it’s nothing he’s seen before. The dress had been a pristine white in a former life, undoubtedly, but it’s taken rather a beating; there’s stains and sticky patches and frayed hems. The jacket is actually rather worse. Her hair is a mess, and she doesn't look like she's had the opportunity to bathe in a while. She smiles sweetly at the Reverend - and she actually is rather pretty - and exchanges what looks like a sketchbook for a teddy bear, but he’s not close enough to make out their conversation. She makes her way through the crowd and out into the park, and he realizes that it would be a bit obvious if he were to follow her.


1912: HMS Titanic

The next time they meet, it’s on the Titanic. He doesn’t realize it’s her at first, because everyone’s panicking, because the damn ship is sinking and perhaps there were bigger things to deal with. The aura of magic again forces his attention back to her. The jacket is cleaner, and the dress is virtually pristine, but they're identical in every other way. For that matter, her hair is in better condition and she's cleaner, but she's also virtually identical. They're loading people onto the lifeboats, and a young boy in uniform - he can't be more than sixteen - approaches him cautiously. "Excuse me, sir, but we're loading everyone into the boats. If you'll just come with me-"

England cuts him off, because even if the Titanic does go down, he doesn't need a place in the lifeboats. "No, I'm quite sure I'll be all right on my own."

"But sir-"

"No. I shall wait in the reading room."

The boy nods, somewhat desperately, and moves on to another passenger. England begins to make his way against the crowds to the reading room, where he intends to work on the books he took from the library. Certainly the White Star Line won't be expecting him to return them.

She’s waiting there. She looks terrified, honestly. He sits down calmly, and they ignore each other while he reads and she waits. The ship lurches; she stumbles and grabs at a table to keep her balance.

There’s more sliding and shifting. England finishes one book and continues to another. The terrible sound of metal on metal screeches through the ship, and the deck begins to tilt. The woman’s trying to keep her balance, but she’s sliding; England had the good fortune of picking a chair that doesn’t slide when the ship tilts.

The wind enters, and a sort of cloud forms. A bell rings distantly, but there’s nowhere distant one could be ringing from. England looks up curiously to see the woman in white holding a device he doesn’t recognize, staring at it with desperate terror. She presses a button, and the cloud condenses into a black orb, and she steps in. The orb dissipates, and she’s gone.


1941: World War II

They meet again during the Second World War, while he's briefly staying in Bletchley Park. He's the officer on duty for the after-midnight watch, but until then he'll get all the sleep he can (unlikely to be much, but one takes what they can get). He's aroused by a young man named Cooper, claiming that they've captured a German spy sneaking around.

It's the woman again, much to his surprise. She still has the aura of magic around her, although she looks less put-together than when he last saw her. She's working with an Enigma machine when they walk in, and he's going to have the head of whoever thought it would be a good idea to put her in this room.

She's decoded one of the messages from Black, the one about the African offensive. He realizes the ramifications fairly quickly - she couldn't have done that in such time if she didn't know the codes already, so clearly she works with Black. If she's a spy, so is Black.

The winds rise again, in a way that makes no sense given the weather. He hears a bell chime, and the world goes oddly tense. Besides him, Cooper appears to be frozen. She presses a button on the same device she had on the Titanic, and the same black ball appears; she steps into it and vanishes. The odd tenseness vanishes, and Cooper unfreezes. "She's gone!" he blurts out.


1961: Abbey Road

He sees her on a street in London, in the late sixties. This time she's arguing with a man dressed in black. He doesn't appear to be arguing back, which is odd; he's just humming some music England doesn't recognize. They're standing outside a recording studio, and it's relatively easy to hear the music playing from the room inside. The Beatles are hard at work on their next album within.

England would dismiss it as a lovers' spat, but they both glow with the same magical intensity. He looks rather less battered than she does; perhaps it's just that black doesn't show stains the same way.

A look of desperation and annoyance crosses her face, and she grabs his shirt collar and pulls him in for a kiss. He nearly stumbles before kissing back. England glances away briefly; when he looks back, the man in black is walking away, and the woman in white is staring after him. He looks away again; he can't quite bring himself to watch.


1999: Century Park

They meet for the last time and the first time all at once, at a New Year's Eve party in 1999. It's at Century Park again, except he's probably the only person there who was at last century's party too. She's there. He almost doesn't notice, because she doesn't have the familiar blaze of magic around her, but the clothes and the hair are both in what must be their original condition - and both the jacket and the dress are pristine white, as the ticket specified. There's a man dressed in black, with the same blaze of magic as he had thirty years ago, near her.

She balances on top of the pyramid, holding a sparkler. The lasers flash, and she slides down. When the countdown begins, he starts looking for her; he notices her slip past the pyramid following the man in black, and follows. He can't imagine where they could have gone, because he can't find them.