Los Angelus, Summer 2003
I say? " Tara thought numbly as her voice froze, "What is
there to say…oh, dear goddess. " Helplessly, she watched as
Willow sobbed silently on the couch, wishing she could somehow find
the words to ease her pain.
“She’s in shock,” Xander said
softly as he put a comforting arm around his childhood friend.
“Maybe I should bring her upstairs…”
“No,” Willow murmured
into his chest before slowly pulling away. “I’ll be fine, I
just…It’s really you, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s me,” Tara said
softly, cautiously sitting on the couch beside
Tentatively, Willow’s hand reached out and covered hers,
“It’s warm,” she whispered, “You’re really here…”
Tara said, smiling as she delicately tucked an errant strand of
Willow’s hair behind her ear, “It’s me.”
A glimmer of a smile
showed on Willow’s lips, “I missed you,” she said, her voice barely
audible as her fingers curled around Tara’s hand
Tara’s breath caught in her throat. “I missed you
Drawing a ragged breath, Willow let go of her grip on
Tara’s hand. “A lot has happened since last year…a lot has
Tara saw Kennedy shift uncomfortably from the
corner of her eye. “So I’ve heard,” she sighed, “Don’t worry, we
have plenty of time to talk about it.”
“Before or after the
apocalypse?” Willow asked with a wry smile.
“Hey, that’s a
whole three days away,” Tara joked weakly, “Its more time than we
“Which reminds me…” Wiping the tears from her
eyes, Willow looked up at Giles. “Have you ever heard of the light
The light of R’Nathnor,” Giles repeated
thoughtfully, “I believe I may have read something about it in the
Chronicles of Parnoe.”
“…And that would be?” prompted Adam,
raising a quizzical eyebrow.
“A Swiss sorcerer who lived
during the 13th century,” Giles explained, “He had rather ambiguous
ethics, unfortunately. One was never sure which side of the fence he
sat on, if you catch my drift - but he did keep a detailed journal
during his life. The watcher’s council use it as a source book for
medieval artefacts. He was quite fond of them.”
read it,” Willow said, wrinkling her nose, “But I had a nose around
in Wolfram’ and Hart’s library when we waiting for you to arrive and
found a prophecy which mentioned it.”
“Well, from what I
remember, the light of R’Nathnor is a force for good,” Giles
“That makes sense,” Willow said, nodding, “The
prophecy was a little vague but one verse caught my attention, ‘In
the light of R’Nathnor dwells hope,
In the Wolf and the Hart
dwells night. Heed you the call of the flame, Heed the horn’s
might.’…it rhymes better in Latin,” she said, shrugging.
“Only barely,” Adam muttered, shaking his head in disgust,
“Who writes this drivel?”
“A seventh century monk from
Ireland,” Willow told him, “His name was Columbanus.”
explains it,” Adam said, “He was probably in his cups; those
monasteries were bloody depressing places.”
Giles raised an
eyebrow, “Is that so?”
“So I’ve heard,” Adam murmured,
suddenly developing an interest in the cuff of his coat.
pardon me for asking this," Willow piped up, "But who are you?"
“Me? I’m Adam Pierson, a friend of Tara’s,” Adam
informed her cheerfully, “Don’t worry; I’m just a casual
Tara rolled her eyes, “Be nice,”
she said under her breath.
“I thought I was being nice,” Adam
said lowly, his eyes widening innocently.
darkened as she watched the exchange. “Tara, it’s just occurred to
me that I never asked how you’re not dead,” she said, looking at
Adam coldly as she got to her feet.
“Oh, Adam had nothing to
do with it,” Tara said hurriedly, realising what Willow was
thinking. “I’m an immortal…”
Surprise flashed across Willow’s
face. “You mean as in swords and quickening and stuff,” she
“You’ve heard of them?” Tara asked, relief
flooding through her; one less thing she would have to
“Um, yeah, Buffy has a…friend,” Willow said, her
eyes round, “Oh my, so does that mean you have to…you know…” Willow
mimed holding aloft a sword.”
Tara’s smile faltered, “Not
“Oh, right,” Willow stuttered, her face showing she’d
realised what she’d asked.
“Moving swiftly onward,” Adam
murmured, “You were saying something about a prophecy?”
Oh, yes,” Willow said distractedly, “Well, that’s it, really; it was
a little vague, as I said…”
“What I don’t understand is why
Angel never mentioned it,” Giles said as he slowly eased himself
onto the couch.
“He probably doesn’t know,” Willow said, “I
only found it because I insisted on looking for myself. Wolfram and
Hart’s idea of help isn’t very helpful, if you know what I mean.”
Frowning, she looked over her shoulder, and the few employees who
were near enough to overhear their conversation hurriedly scuttled
away, throwing fearful glances at Willow as they fled the lobby.
Puzzled, Tara looked at Willow’s face for clues; she didn’t seem at
all surprised they had run from her attention. It was as if she
expected them to be afraid of her. With a sinking heart, Tara
realised she still didn’t have the entire story.
tell Angel then.” Giles said suddenly, starting to rise from the
couch – only to fall back into it a moment later, his face twisted
“Oh, Giles, I’m so sorry,” Tara said, suddenly
remembering his wound. “I completely forgot you were
Giles waved her apology away. “I’ll live,” he
mumbled, “To be quite honest, I almost forgot myself.”
me give you a hand there, G man,” Xander said, helping him
“Thank you,” Giles said, once on his feet, “I believe
Angel is downstairs, perhaps you could go downstairs and bring him
up to date, Xander?”
“Hey, no problem,” Xander said, “Just
point me in the right direction.”
“The elevator to your left
takes you straight there,” Tara offered.
“Cool, be back
soon,” Xander said as he retreated, “Don’t go ending the world
without me.” Tara grinned; Xander hadn’t changed – although the
eye-patch was a bit of a mystery; yet another thing she had to ask
“Well, now that that’s been taken care of, I think
I’ll go and have a look at this prophecy...” Giles
“I’ll come along,” Adam said promptly.
looked at him questioningly, “I’m not sure if you would be much
“Oh, didn’t Tara tell you? It’s what I do…I’ve a
doctorate in ancient languages, a bit of Medieval Latin won’t be
much of a problem for me,” Adam said amiably.
Tara piped up, seeing the expression on Giles’s face, “He teaches at
“I see,” Giles said thoughtfully, “Well, that
explains a few things…very well; an extra pair of eyes never
“Happy to help,” Adam murmured, burrowing his hands
into his coat pockets.
Tara looked at her teacher
suspiciously; what was he up to? Adam never volunteered; it
was practically a matter of principle for him. She looked at him
pointedly, but Adam studiously avoided eye contact as he listened to
Giles's describe the extent of Wolfram and Hart's library. "At
least Giles looked happy, " she wryly thought, hearing Adam ask
a few pertinent questions as they slowly strolled across the lobby,
"And he's going to be even happier when he discovers how good
Adam actually is... " With a start, Tara realised Adam was going
to make a rather startling discovery of his own; a whole new array
of languages he'd never seen before. She remembered the delight he
took when he came across a language or dialect he wasn't familiar
with and grinned; he'll be like a kid in a candy shop.
are you smiling at?” Willow asked softly.
“I’m just imagining
the look on Adam’s face when he realises that all the languages in
the library books aren’t human,” she whispered, “It’s going to be
“He’s an immortal too, isn’t he?” Willow
Tara nodded, “He’s the one who found me after I
died,” she explained quietly.
“How old is he…it’s just that
Buffy said some of them can be pretty old…a few old them have even
lived over a millennia.”
Tara thought of Amanda, “I’ve met
one,” she said, “she’s….not what one would expect. I don’t know how
old Adam is, exactly. Every time I think I’ve figured it out, he
says something which makes me realise I’m not even
“Why don’t you just ask him,” Willow asked,
“It’s an immortal thing,” Tara said with a shrug.
“They consider it bad manners to ask; some of them even consider it
a challenge. The older the immortal, the more powerful the
quickening, you see.”
“Sounds…dangerous,” Willow said
“It was a bit nerve wracking at first,” Tara
admitted, “It still is, to be honest. I’ve been lucky so far, the
only immortals I’ve met are friends of Adam and they are more
interested in a good meal and some idle conversation than a
“That’s interesting; isn’t it, honey?” drawled
Kennedy as her arms slipped around Willow’s waist from behind, her
eyes flashing defiantly as she rested her chin on Willow’s shoulder.
Embarrassed, Tara studied her feet as a look of sheer panic
crossed Willow’s face. A wrenching pain tugged at her heart as she
remembered Willow’s heart wasn’t hers anymore. She was merely the
ex, calling at an inopportune moment…
“Am I interrupting
something? Adam asked quietly, his eyes watchful as he suddenly
appeared at Tara’s side.
“Interrupting? No, not at all…not
that there was anything to interrupt…no, nothing to interrupt here,”
“I’m so pleased,” Adam drawled, smirking
slightly as Willow’s face went bright pink.
“I thought you
were on your way to the library,” Tara said tightly.
Adam said lightly, “But Giles suddenly remembered Angel’s new
‘guests’ when we got there and he thought the vampire might need a
little slayer strength. I said I’d save him the trip back and tell
Kennedy myself; I don’t want him to strain his injury more than he
“Angel can handle it,” Kennedy muttered defensively,
“Besides; he has the whole of Wolfram and Hart at his
“I’ve no doubt you’re correct but, apparently,
Giles thinks otherwise. Perhaps you should to run over to the
library and tell him differently,” Adam said, an edge creeping into
“Kennedy, honey,” Willow said softly, “If Giles
thinks Angel needs help, you’d better go and see what’s
Reluctantly, Kennedy nodded, kissing Willow on the cheek
before extricating her arms. “I won’t be long,” she promised, before
heading off to the elevator.
“Giles said no such thing, did
he,” Tara murmured once Kennedy was out of earshot.
complaining?” Adam asked.
“Wait a minute,” Willow said, a
frown appearing on her forehead, “You mean Giles never…”
two need to clear the air and now you have a little breathing space
to do it in, I suggest you take advantage of it,” Adam said shortly,
“I’ll see you in a few hours, Tara.”
“Sorry,” Tara murmured
as Adam stalked off, “He can be a bit…direct,
“Kennedy’s not going to be happy when she finds
out,” Willow said worriedly.
“I’ll explain everything when
she asks,” Tara sighed as she slumped back into the couch.
Slowly, Willow sat down beside her. “Why did you leave me?”
she asked timidly, “Was it because of what I did? Didn’t you love me
“Oh Goddess, Willow, no,” Tara burst out,
surprised, “I didn’t even know about that until you told me. I left
because of me…of what I’d become.”
“I don’t understand,”
Willow said softly, “Did you actually think I would care what you
were. I loved you; I didn’t care about anything else. I went out
with werewolf, remember?”
“And if an immortal had come to
town after my head, what would you have done then, Willow?” Tara
said, quietly registering Willow’s use of the past tense.
would have dealt with it - together."
wouldn’t have, Willow,” Tara murmured, “If you know about Immortals,
you know about the game. I couldn’t have asked you to sit by and do
nothing as I took someone’s life…or the other way around. It would
have destroyed you in the end…destroyed us.”
“You don’t know
that, Tara,” Willow said softly.
“Don’t I?” Tara said, “Even
if you were willing to look the other way, would Buffy? Immortals
aren’t demons, Willow, they’re human. What do you think she would
have done if she knew I was chopping off people’s heads?”
lot has changed, Tara, including Buffy,” Willow said sadly. “She no
longer sees the world in black and white…neither do
“Maybe so,” Tara admitted, “But this is now, and that was
Willow sighed. “You’re right of course…oh goddess,
what a mess.”
“The one good thing about a mess is that it can
be cleaned up,” Tara suggested shyly as she felt a spark of hope
springing to life. “Tell me what happened,
Paris, Winter of 2002
“Are you sure
this is okay?” Tara whispered worriedly.
“Of course it is,
darling,” Amanda said, her smile a flash of white in the gloomy
doorway, “I wouldn’t have brought you along if it wasn’t….here, hold
this and shine it on the keyhole for me.”
Tara held the
penlight and glanced over her shoulder at the street uneasily, “What
if someone sees us?” Tara asked,” I mean, I know you said it’s not
really stealing but the local gendarmes are not going to see it that
way, are they?”
”Oh, don’t worry, honey, Adam can afford to
hire you a good lawyer,” Amanda said absently, a frown of
concentration appearing on her face as she twisted a lock pick
inside the keyhole.
“That wasn’t the answer I wanted to
hear,” Tara said nervously, “Tell me again how this isn’t really
“Oh, but it isn’t, my dear,” Amanda assured her,
smiling as a soft click signalled her success, “You can’t steal
something you already own, can you?” Gently, she pushed the door
open and listened for sounds of movement. “All clear,” she murmured,
stepping into the hallway before waving Tara
Cautiously, Tara followed Amanda into the house,
trusting in her fellow immortal’s sense of direction. At last, they
came to a stop in front of a pair of oaken double doors. Putting her
finger to her lips for silence, Amanda slowly turned down the handle
and opened the door a crack, stepping back hurriedly as the mellow
light of a lamp illuminated the thin gap between door and
“I thought you said nobody was in?” Tara whispered
under her breath.
“He can’t be,” Amanda whispered back, her
tone puzzled, “He’s an immortal, remember? If he was in the house we
would have felt him when we entered. Cautiously, Amanda stepped
forward and put her ear to the door. Pulling back, she gave Tara a
reassuring nod before opening the door another fraction and looking
inside the room with one eye. “Oh-oh,” she muttered, hastily pulling
her eye away.
“What is it?” asked Tara
“Nothing….I’ve just changed my mind, that’s all,”
Amanda said, grabbing at her hand to pull her away from the
“You’ve changed you mind,” Tara said incredulously,
“But you said the sword was yours, a gift from your
“Not now, Tara,” Amanda said worriedly, “Time to
“But I don’t understand, why don’t we just get it
“They’ll be another time,” Amanda said abruptly,
tugging at her arm, "Now come on."
Tara dug in her
heels, refusing to budge. “We’re not going anywhere until you tell
me why, Amanda,” she said calmly. “For the last week, you’ve
pestered me to come with you tonight. You told me the sword was of
great sentimental value to you, and you couldn’t bear leaving it in
another immortal’s possession for one more day. Now, when we’re
standing less than twenty feet from it, you tell me you’ve changed
your mind. What is it you’re not telling me?”
darling,” Amanda said softly, “Now is not the time for this
conversation. I’ll explain everything once we get to
“Not good enough,” Tara said grimly, “I want to know
Amanda sighed, “I’m sorry, Tara, I thought he was out
of town when I didn’t see him leave or enter the house today,” she
said softly as she pushed the door open.
Tara bit back a cry
when her eyes took in the devastation. “What happened here?” she
“A quickening,” Amanda said sadly, “Poor
Antonio, he was a terrible thief, but charming in his own
“But I don’t see…” Tara’s words petered off as she saw
the leg sticking out from behind the couch.
him,” Amanda said, following her gaze, “He would have long disposed
of the body if he had been the victor. Come on, time to leave,”
Gently, Amanda led the unresisting Tara from the room and closed the
“Is it always like that?” Tara asked
“I’m afraid it is, honey,” Amanda replied kindly,
“It’s the price we pay for immortality…”
“I’m not sure if I
want to pay that price,” Tara murmured.
“Good, see that you
don’t then,” Amanda said.
Tara smiled humourlessly, “You
sound like Adam, Amanda.”
“No I don’t, honey,” Amanda said
calmly, guiding Tara through the front door, “I sound like an
Los Angelus, Summer of 2003
his head in wonder, Methos watched as the blank pages filled with
Latin text, “Handy,” he murmured as he flicked through the
“Tell me about it,” Giles said, with some aspiration,
“There was a time when I would have killed for a library like this.
You should have seen the paltry resources I had to work with in
“Indeed,” Methos muttered as he sunk into an
armchair and opened the book on the first page. He was three lines
in before he realised something was a little off. “An Irish monk, my
foot,” Methos thought, examining the text.
wrong,” Giles asked looking up from the book he had picked
“It depends on what you mean by ‘wrong’,” Methos
murmured, “This book is in classical Latin, not medieval.
Could this be a copy and not the original words of the
“It’s possible,” Giles murmured, a glimmer of interest
showing in his eyes, “May I see?” Methos passed him the tome.
“Hmm…you’re right,” Giles said aloud, “How strange…”
shrugged, “Stranger than the fact he somehow had foreknowledge of an
event which wasn’t about to take place for another thousand years?”
he asked rhetorically.
“You have a point,” Giles agreed, his
eyes scanning the page before he turned to the next one. “Good
grief,” he muttered.
“What is it?” Methos asked, leaning
forward in his chair.
“There’s a recipe for beer here,” the
watcher said, bemusement showing in his voice.
“Is it any
good?” Methos enquired, curious.
“Not unless you like the
taste of moss,” Giles sighed as he paged through the
Methos grinned, “Depends on the type of moss,” he
Giles raised an eyebrow as he continued to search the
book for the prophecy. “Maybe I should have asked Willow to
accompany us,” he said under his breath as he turned another leaf
“I think she’s a bit too distracted to be of much help
at the moment,” Methos said softly, “She’s a lot on her
“Yes, you’re right, of course…was that why you
volunteered to help?”
“Partly,” Methos admitted, “The other
part of me was just curious….why don’t you try the back pages, he
might have kept his more esoteric writings separate.”
skipped to the back of the book, “Good call,” he said softly as he
suddenly hunched over the book.
Getting to his feet, Methos
stepped behind the desk and looked over his shoulder, quickly
translating the words aloud as he read.
“When the mouth of
When the evil of all appears;
jewel of Al’keron,
Its fiery glare you should
Betwixt the light and dark,
A warrior alone shall
Death shall ride his heels,
And glory shall lie in his
In the light of R’Nathnor dwells hope,
In the Wolf
and the Hart dwells night.
Heed you the call of the flame,
Heed the horn’s might…”
Methos sighed, “Does this make
any sense to you,” he asked, crossing his arms.
first verse obviously refers to our battle with the first and the
closing of the Hellmouth,” Giles explained, “As for the rest; your
guess is as good as mine.”
“But I think yours might be a
little more educated,” Methos countered.
“Be that as it may,”
Giles said, “The fact is, I’m as much in the dark as you
“So what do you suggest we do?” Methos asked,
frustration showing in his voice, “I don’t know about you, but I
would prefer to avoid an apocalypse.”
“Well, I would say our
first priority is to find the light of R’Nathnor,” the watcher
“Any ideas as to where we start looking?” Methos
Giles placed a hand on the book he had been
originally reading. “The chronicles of Parnoe,” he murmured, “I
decided to refresh my memory and look up the pertinent passage.
According to this, the light of R’Nathnor was hidden in an
Methos groaned. “Do you have any idea
how many monasteries they were during the middle ages?” he muttered,
“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
necessarily,” Giles disagreed, “From what I can gather, this is an
extremely power artefact. You may not realise this, but Willow is a
very powerful witch. If we can find a better description, perhaps a
list of its properties, she should be able to locate it with
“I see,” Methos drawled.
“You know, for a
supernatural being, you seem to be extremely sceptical about such
things,” Giles observed, “Why is that?”
“Long years of
experience,” Methos sighed, “I usually find when men mention witches
and demons; they’re actually revealing their hidden prejudices and
fears. I’ve seen too many people die horrible deaths because someone
has accused a midwife of being a witch or a loner of being a demon.
It tends to give one a rather jaundiced view of such
“And you’ve never, in all your years, come across an
entity, or a power, you could not explain?”
“Of course I
have,” Methos admitted, “They are a number of immortals who have
powers which I could not explain, and I’ve stumbled across a few
vampires in my time; but Hellmouths and demons with horns, no.
Though I did stumble across something in a cavern once which
might have been a dragon….”
“A dragon, are you sure?”
Giles asked, surprised.
“Who’s the sceptic now,” Methos said
with a grin, “It was big, it was scaly, it had wings; I challenge
you to tell me what else it could have been!”
surprised, that’s all,” Giles said, staring at Methos suspiciously
over the rim of his glasses. “The last confirmed report the watchers
have of a dragon living in this dimension was during the eleventh
“Fancy that,” Methos muttered evasively, “You must
have missed one then…”
“I think not,” Giles said, a hint of a
smile on his lips, “Dragons tend to be very hard creatures to miss.
How old are you, Mr Pierson…if that is even you real
“Let’s just say I look good for my age and leave it at
that, shall we?” Methos evaded.
Giles sighed. “Let me be
straight with you, Mr Pierson,” he said as he took off his glasses
and started to clean them. “I’ve noticed the influence you have over
Tara, and I have some serious reservations about your relationship
with her. I do have some knowledge of your kind’s culture, so
I realise Tara probably owes her survival to you and your efforts as
her teacher. But we don’t know you, and you have evaded every
question either I, or the others, have asked about your past. As you
may have realised, our lives are not like others, everyday we battle
against forces which would give a grown man nightmares. In a climate
like this, trust is very important and, so far, you haven’t given us
any reason to trust you.”
Silently, Methos listened to the
watcher as he returned to his seat. Tara trusted Rupert Giles but
that didn’t necessarily mean he could. Nevertheless, he could
understand the watcher’s position. To his mind, Methos represented a
dangerous unknown. “Mr Giles,” he said softly, “I’m a very private
man. Not even Tara knows my true age or name and, believe it or not,
this is as much for her protection as mine. I can count the amount
of people who know my true history on one hand, the rest are
dead…victims of the game.”
“Be that as it may, we still need
to know the truth,” Giles said evenly.
reluctantly, “On one condition, what I tell you doesn’t go beyond
this room,” he eventually said, “You are to tell no one, not even
“I’m not sure if I can promise that,” Giles said
slowly, “I’m not the only one who needs to be
“They vampire wants to know, eh?” Methos
muttered, “He and I didn’t get off to a very good start. Mostly my
fault, I’m afraid, I tend to get a bit prickly when I find myself in
unknown territory. Tell me, wouldn’t he accept your word if you
vouched for me?”
“Whether or not I will vouch for you remains
to be seen, Mr Pierson,” Giles said, raising an eyebrow, “However, I
think he might accept that, yes.”
“Well then, I suppose we
should start with the basics,” he sighed, “My true name is Methos
and I have the dubious honour of being the oldest surviving
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