Davis/Panzer, who hath copyrighted HL, hallowed be thy name. Six seasons come, and now are done; Shown once a week as it is in repeats. Give me this day a loan of Methos and forgive my story's discrepancies. As we forgive those who have written badly before us. And lead us not to watch Nightman, and deliver us from Baywatch.
NONE of the HIGHLANDER cadets BELONG TO ME. I get nada dinero for this and I don't intend to do any kind of selling with them. They're here for my own selfish enjoyment and I promise to return them to Rysher (who actually DOES own them) as soon as I'm done with them. Except Methos, he's staying the night.
Thanx to my charming beta reader(s) from the HLFIC lists, and to Kel who ended up as my final one!
Since my official entrance into "HL the series" fandom (not to mention blatant Methos adoration) about two years ago, I have looked for extra bits and pieces to sustain me while waiting for each new ep. Personal pages, Online Libraries and Mailing lists later I cannot tell you how unbelievably SICK and TIRED I am of seeing Methos being the star (along with Mac) of about 7,000 slash fics, and only showing up in romance m/f maybe once in a lunar cycle. Not that they aren't well written, but I'd like to see the ROG with a woman more than once or twice. Any woman. Enter my second most-despised element of FanFiction, the OFC, Original Female Character. Really though, they're all an author has, because you can only put the fellas with Amanda so many times before it becomes monotonous for both the writer and reader.
In my foolishness I tried to fix these problems myself ; no OFC's, and no slash . Of course, I wasn't about to use Amanda. So, I compromised and began to write my own little OFC M/F Methos fic. I figured it'll only take a few days. Yeah, dead on. 6 months later I finally typed "The End" and did a happy dance. It was a labor of love and annoyance and I hope you enjoy it...or at least not want to kill me and/or send me SPAM. That's it, I had to say that. Now read and if you have anything to say...see below.
I have a tendency in this one to change between POV's within the story continuously. And there's long bits of dialogue I couldn't think of a way to condense and keep the same effect so they'retaking up a lot of space just because they're written like they are. Apologies in advance if it gives you a migraine...
All flames ,compliments, religions devoted to me, red roses, book deals, rotten fruit and blank checks can be sent to email@example.com
The peeps will deal with you accordingly....
She was here.
He stayed at the computer, choosing not to hear the front door swing open and then click shut softly. Nor did he acknowledge the sound of his refrigerator whirring to life as someone removed a beer and let the warm Mediterranean air sweep into it. Footsteps on the stairs now, she was home.
Her bare feet made a gentle brushing sound against the sun-warmed floor-boards and her weight made them creak ever so quietly on the steps. Then she was in his study, sunlight making her pale skin luminance and her red hair a fiery bronze. Staring ahead into the screen he could see a reflection of her taking a sip from the bottle and then letting it swing from the tips of her fingers to the precarious point at which it might fall as she crossed the final space between them.
Then he felt her hand touch his shoulder apprehensively, searching for acceptance and forgiveness at her absence for such a long time.
"Adam, I-" she used his old name in a quiet serious tone. It was slightly amusing but he tried to remain steadfast. No woman had the right to have done such a thing to him, especially her. But yet, when she held his shoulder like that, and he could smell the perfume she wore (Lilly of the Valley, a soft, sweet floral fragrance. How like her) and knew she wore her summer dress he liked, and her hair loose and curling like that; and the fact that she was so close....
No, it was to late, wasn't it?
Flash Back- Six months ago
Euna MacAndrew awoke in a cold sweat. The memories of the nightmare still flooding the backs of her eyelids. She sighed and sat up, switching on the bedside lamp and squinting at it's brightness. "Three bloody o'clock." she muttered, reading the red glowing digits on her alarm clock. "How am I supposed to sleep now?"
She decided to take in the cool Parisian morning instead of returning to the landscape that horrified her sub-conscious again. Slipping on a light coloured dress and swinging her leather jacket over her shoulders., she stuffed her keys into a pocket and threw a last glance over her shoulder to the mirror by the front door. A hollow eyed waif returned the stare, red hair mussed and eyes blurry from lack of sleep. She frowned and caught the offending mop into a loose bun with a pair of hair sticks, God knew when she'd be home.
Swinging open the door from her street level flat, she found it was still chilly ; but it was only three in the morning after all. Letting it settle back into it's frame and ancient lock, she wondered what she was doing...a person could be killed at this time of the morning! Thieves, pickpockets, rapists. "Bloody hell." she snapped and pulled the jacket tighter.
She was about twenty-five now, five-ten, long legs and an empty bank account. No need to phone home, it wasn't there. At least, not according to Da.
"If you're an artist, you alone. I won't have another bloody lay-about in my home!"
"But Dadda, I'm good! I have a job with the Manna Theatre in Dublin, and they're giving me the lead in Persephone this spring! Please don't do this!"
"Did I not pay for your education in nursing? Didn't I let you have all those little stupid things as a child ? DID I NOT LET YOU BE A GODDAMMED NURSE!?!?!?"
She scowled incredulously, there he went again. Every time he went to the pub he was enraged at something by the time he got home. Tonight the playbill from the Manna had somehow found it's way to his desk and now that her true job was out, he was furious. He thought she'd been working in the hospital all this time.
Truth was she'd never actually been employed at Mother of Mercy in Crachnairn, rather her time had always been with the troupe and the rehearsals. It was nirvana to be on stage and that blood and trauma of the ER was to much for her. If she would spend the rest of her life behind a desk, let itbe the reception desk in the small but lovely place that was a haven to her. It smelled of costumes and sweat and grease paint. But they were sweeter than roses sometimes.
Walking a little slower in the Paris dawn she shook her head to forget the fighting; the cold fury Da had expressed, the way he shoved all her things into a valise and tossed it onto the tiny patch of lawn outside their small tenement in the poor neighborhoods of the steel workers. She tried to forget walking alone to the bus station, her older brother Patrick mocking her triumphantly from hisbedroom window. The little pig had wanted her out, well she was out.
Even when Mum had run to the depot begging her to come home and say she was sorry. That Da wasn't himself and if she went back to the hospital and was a proper nurse and not some actress tart who disgraced the family, it would all be all right.
Sitting on a cold iron bench waiting for a train to Dublin, she saw for the first time the strain and weariness the slum life of a low-class working wife had tolled on her mother. She realized it was the same mask worn by every woman in her neighborhood, in her town and county.
It was the servitude to husbands who drank the whiskies and stout like water, coming home from a double shift cleaning houses, scrubbing steps or even working with the men in the mills; to houses of latch key children who ran amuck and had no respect. To daughters and sons like Patrick well into their twenties who had no job or home of their own and needed to stay again when room was even harder to spare. To houses no larger than a quarter of an English row-home and twice as dirty.
An Irish family that needed all the money every member could pull in was severely crippled if a child didn't end up in the factories getting the family discount and bonuses. Creativity was to be boxed up or destroyed at an early age, it was the money to stay afloat that mattered most.
Sitting on an iron bench, reading her future in her mother's lined and pained expression, she made her decision.
"I'll write when I get there Mum."
"Do your father a favor, don't." it was a hollow and empty voice that said this. A voice that told Euni to would be the last time she'd hear it if she got on that train.
As if cued by the devil, the hulking cortege of metal and glass pulled up and slowed with a hiss. The doors swung open and Mrs. MacAndrew cast a final hunted look in her only daughter'sdirection.
"You know what you're doing?" a double-sided phrase Mum?
"No, but it feels like the right thing. I'm sorry Mummy, I can't stay here it's-" her last words were silenced with tears and the train whistle. The feel of rough paper surprised her hand as her mother slipped a wad of bills into her half closed fist.
"I was saving it, hoping that maybe I could get away sometime and buy meself a new dress or sumthin...but you'll need it." she hugged her girl tightly and kissed her cheek fiercely."Good luck and Godspeed. Slan libh!
With that she was gone.
That seemed eons in the past now, not the three years it had actually been. In that time the company had been so well received with Persephone that they had taken it on the road. It had been a hit where ever they went. At every new city she would try to call her family.
Sometimes her mother answered and spoke to her as if she was a telemarketer, or Patrick answered and hissed "There's no way for you now you stupid git." and slammed down the phone. If Da answered she'd not eek out a word and it was hung up. She was dead to them, from now on there would be no family to fall back on. Euna MacAndrew was on her own now.
The pain of loosing her only base in the world mightn't have been such a jolt if the play hadn't bombed in Marseilles and the Manna Theatre folded right then and there; Leaving her with a tiny bit of money left and completely stranded in France.
Clinging to what was left of the troupe they moved together to Paris to find a play house to take them. She and the other two women modeled for artists and the five men laboured for construction firms or played garcon in the small cafes along the Champs-de-Elysees. They stayed in a communal flat on the Rue de Monmart reading Shakespeare and Tchekov long into the night. It was a friendly and bohemian atmosphere that seemed safe and even reminiscent of a family for a few months.
Then the jobs became increasingly harder to find. Artists wouldn't take models who were starving and wasting away in front of the canvas. The men were to weak to do hard work and the garcons became too stressed under the weight of translating a language and serving and taking orders constantly for up to fourteen hours a day. It was crumbling.
Then Liam began to busy himself with a daily bottle of cheap wine. The only other woman in the group, and her best friend, Sandra left one morning for a loaf of bread and didn't come back. The group fell apart. No one was happy. Shakespeare gathered dust. Tchekov was a thing to prop up the table with a gimpy leg. Liam became an abusive sot and Sandra's body was found rotting under a heap of trash in the Park. Euna had no choice. One morning she simply packed at five, left her key on the table and shut that door forever too.
It had been harder to leave a place where she felt she had love, but that was gone now. Euna had spent two weeksafter that on the street looking for a flat to rent or share; but it seemd that every apparment building was either crammed to capacity or more expensive than any right minded pauper could afford. She scraped and skimped and pulled toegther all she could and began to search again, this time for for some place, any place that was cheap and roofed. In the middleof her third week she found a small , dingy little flat that barely deserved human inhabitance. Indeed, the rats and roaches barely tolerated the places as it was.
Enua spent four hours haggling with the landlord, a Monsier L'Tangian , a scrubby nasty little man who had sole the place like it was the Louvre. None the less, she had whittled him down to a slightly reasonable prcie and was handed the tarnished skeleton key. The dump was hardly worth themoney she'd paid for rent. Conversions from pound to franc, the rent was obvioulsy to much, but now it was hers. What ever might happen it would be home until her meagre paychecks couldn't satisfy that leech of a man who she paid for the privilegeof habitation.
Furnished with the previous owners things the two room dwelling looked almost bare and transient. As if the owners had gone on holiday and would be back soon to kick this starving banshee out into the gutter where she belonged. Thinking back to the greasy landlord who seemed a little more than shifty ,she supposed that might actually occur.
Her jobs came and went. Only enough to get her from week to week. Paying the bills for water and heat and electricity barely left enough for food. She was a waitress, a vendor, a street sweeper. Her hands were red but unroughend for the moment from her Monday and Wednesday job as a maid in the American Consulate and as a French Tutor to the children of the Amierican employees on mondays and wednesdays for about three hours a day for a small extra dole.
With the passage of time, she began to realize that this would be it for the rest of her life, the theatre was a childish dream that she never should have followed. Scrubbing down the dirty floors of the Consulate, teaching the basics of a forgien languge to spoiled and privilaged amierican children, this was her life. Her dreams of acting were crushed beneith the weight of duty to bills and food for survival. It was an abandoned hope. And the pressure mounted.
Then a few weeks ago, her nightmares started. They were haunting and terrifying. She dreamt she was overtaken by a gang of rough men who cut her until she bled out onto the pavement all that was her. Her name, her identity and her personality went with her rich red blood to be soaked by the cobblestones and locked away in the earth. She scrabbled and tried to pry the stones up but only tore her fingernails away and felt blinding pain. Then she was persued by hounds and ghosts. A fetch of herself tried to hold her fleeing body back and just as she thought she had escaped them they were all about her.
Father, brother, drunken friends and the sadistic punks who had raped and killed Sandra. Slowly the horde closed in on her, a group of four men appeared at the head of the charge. Huge horrible masks were on their faces, each one dressed in ancient armour. They held curved and deadly swords. All but one, dressed in white warrior clothes with a skull mask. He rode a horse as white as himself and regarded her through the dark eye holes of the fearsome mask. The mob halted and backed down to his presecnce, and as her saviour reached to offer her a hand up on to his saddle, a dark shadow fell across hima nd they were separated. Thier companion restrained, the other three riders raised their swords and the gathered crowd howled for her head she would awaken in a cold sweat.
It happened again this morning and had driven her to the pavement outside, hunting for answers to the insane torture she was enduring night after night. Things began to slip within her psyche, the carefully built defenses and walls against loss of all hope began to crack, in the bare light of morning she was loosing her mind. Breaking down. Letting go. Euna was squatting against the inside of the bridge now. Watching the river flow from the distance of about half a metre. It was a dark and inviting blanket. It called her name. She slipped to the edge of the paved walk way and stared down into the brown and black water. A hand slid under it, pulling back a little at the coldness, then sinking deeper. Swirling around. She giggled madly, her hand was like a fish, and it was trying to swim away from her!
"We love you Master!" chirped a hundred women's voices, all clad in taunting silk dresses that barely deserved the name. They moved all around him, each touching him, pleasing him in every way they possibly could. As if in synchrony, they all began to peel the filmy gowns away from their taut and curvaceous bodies. The giggles and coos of pleasure they emitted only made him smile more. He couldn't wait for what was coming next.
In Mac's Barge ( currently unused-used by the Scot) only a stones throw from where the troubled girl was slowly loosing her mind, Methos slept solidly and pleasantly, several cases of beer having met their doom with a lovely antipasto a few hours before, now dreaming of one of his more favoured harems from about one hundred BC. Oh it was a nice warm dream !
The five-thousand year old immortal was still in Paris, living the life of Adam Pierson and Methos combined. Originally it had been his goal to weed that mollusk of a man Pierson out of his system but for some reason, he liked the studious and quiet nature that persona evoked in him. For now he had a flat in the middle of the city. It was near Joe's bar "Le Blues Bar" ( oh how archetype of the old watcher) in case he got thirsty; by the great Bibliotheque d'Paris should he need a book or three; and seedy enough that he could keep a sword without questions being asked. It was slightly slimy, but it was exciting to live with such a dangerous element, and it was home.
The only time it wasn't was a week and a half ago when he lost the flat due to the misplacement of funds (because he forgot to pay actually)and the barge, sans MacLeod or no, became home. Personally Methos thought it was better when the Boy Scout was in Seacouver because it felt more like his own place that way. It was a little cleaner ( he had never really cleaned that apartment ) safer, and perhaps just a tad better than the rat traps Adam could afford. * Maybe I could talk him into selling it*, he had mused sleepily that night before as the boat rocked against it's moorings.
Then a jarring sound came from almost directly outside. He was up in a jolt, the remnants of sleep cleared away like dust from a book's cover. Splashing about and choked cries from help stirred him to run out in his boxers only (sword in tow) and search from the deck of the barge for the trouble.
A young woman was drowning in the water, thrashing as her clothes dragged her down. An immortal? He had felt no signal of a pre-immortal or any form of his kind. She was mortal and she was dying. Not thinking of the hideously freezing (not to mention horribly dirty) water in front of him; Methos dropped Ivanhoe into a concealed spot on deck, took a few steps back then a running jump and a graceful arc into the Seine.
Surfacing next to her, he pinned her flailing arms to her sides, hearing her gasp and sputter with a groggy Irish accent "No, no let me go. I want to die! I can't stay. Maithiar, Neamh!"
"Leave it to the Irish to go on in Gaelic even when they're dying." He muttered as he swam a slightly uneven breast stroke to the wall. Still holding on to her, they managed to get to the sidewalk and up the gang plank. She shuddered with cold and her teeth chattered furiously. He had to get her inside and fast. He nearly ripped the door off it's hinges trying to get in before the cold water that dripped from them both froze him to the spot.
Once inside she stood ,freezing and unconsciously crying in the middle of the long room, dripping muddy water on Mac's hardwood floor. *Oh he'll love this!* Methos' brain bitched silently as he went about helping her out of her ruined leather jacket and to sit on the couch with a blanket around her shoulders. Still she chattered and gaped silently at the empty hearth.
It was going to be a tough job wasn't it?
"All right, look. " he started off in a firm tone, but her wild ice-blue eyes glanced up and locked him in a frantic stare, she seemed crazy. She was paler than a corpse and her lips were almost blue. She was in shock! He had to do something!
"My name is Adam." he said in a rush,, yanking her up and to the bathroom. Pulling frantically at the tiny pearl buttons on the dress, trying to get the sopping garment away from her body before a fever set in. "Euna" she said in a tired rasp as the mess of dripping cloth fell from her and she stood, weakly at best, in her slip and underpinnings. He was alarmed to see this young stranger look so thin and bird-like, her body rent of spare flesh or padding. She seemed too delicate, that he might break her if he touched her.
Nonsense, he thought harshly and reached for a towel. The blue around her lips remained and if anything, became more severe. The rest of it would have to come off. The thought of this made him, Methos, the man of five-thousand years who had most likely bedded more women than Don Juan DeMarco had he bother to keep track, feel guilty. He was no stranger to femininity yet was embarrassed to undress a young stranger who could die or at least drop into a coma. * MacLeod's damn ethics rub off on me and ruin the whole experience!*
"I'm terribly sorry miss Euna, but I-" he shook his head and unsnapped the bra and removed the wet slip, trying not to look as much as possible. As he did this he had been shoving her towards the bathroom and the shower within. Minutes later she was under the heated blast, curled in the fetal posistion on the shower floor, unconciously mumbling jumbled sentances in the Gealic tounge.
"Nil an dara suí sa bhuaileagam, trua mè Dia..." [ I have no choice, pity me God"] Methos grunted frustratedly and stepped in and pulled her out. Themajority of river scum had washed away, and her body's frightening colour ( or lack there of) had dissapated. At least she was going to be physically alright. The thick Turkish towel wrapped around her small frame a few times and he dried her hair as best he could manage. She collapsed in the middle of this process and he took it as a sign she simply needed sleep.
Still very much a cold wet fish himself, he hefted her up, finding her to be exceedingly light, and laid her down on Mac's bed. He tried to hide his distaste as her wet hair hit the pillow and would most likely leave a water stain. *Sie la vie*, he thought, *I'll just turn the pillow over later. MacLeod won't notice the difference.* He pulled the blankets up around her and went to hunt through his duffel bag for a sweater and jeans. As long as she was here, he was up.
He shrugged her hand away, not admitting her presence, but in some respect, not ignoring her either. "Do you realize what you did?" he spun on her, his voice roaring like a gale-force wind. "DID YOU THINK YOU WOULDN'T HURT ME?!?"
She shrank back from his anger. His justifiable anger. "But you knew I'd have to go." she crouched by the door, her arm over her face and her head down as the words came through a choked voice. "You knew I couldn't accept what you'd told me, or what had happened." Euna sank to the floor completely now, engulfed by the sobs that wracked her small frame.
In disgust he snorted and walked over her out into the hall way and down the steps. No!" she cried grabbing for his pant leg as he passed but retrieving only empty air. "ADAM! I came back for you, because of you!" once more her arms gave out and she fell face to the floor deep in misery.
Downstairs Methos stopped at the kitchen and listened to her crying on the floor above. Euni had hurt his heart, had hurt his trust and forgotten him. All this and he still needed her. It'd been his fault, he'd let her get to close and when she discovered the Immortal Truth had been unable-able to accept it. Things had been easier with Alexa, she hadn't known until he told her in Geneva before going after the Methuselah Stone.
It was a moment he would never forget, the respirator had beat out a count of thirty seconds before the dying woman had smiled weakly and held his hand tighter. Alexa had understood. But the dying were an accommodating collective. When she had gone on it was with the whole truth of him with her. Well, the better parts at least. Angrily he banged a fist on the kitchen counter and planted his hands wide apart. Damn her! He could still hear Euna crying. She was in pain.
Good, let the bitch suffer. No wait, he didn't mean that, he meant.... hell, what did he mean? "Dammit!" he muttered and stood up straighter, pacing out the back door. He had to get away, by the Gods may she not follow him there too....
FlashBack-Six months ago
Five o'clock, six o'clock, seven, eight. At nine that morning Euna opened her eyes to bright light filtering through small round windows. The smell of [ could that be food?] something cooking a little farther from her. Sitting up, she noticed that first of all, she had none of her own clothes on, rather a man's T-shirt and boxers; and second, this was not her home ( if she could call the three room pit she regularly occupied a home).
Off key humming alerted her to someone else's presence. * Of course someone else is here, they must own the place!*. Then a young man walked in from off to her right. A handsome man, a lover? That would have been the most logical explanation since she was where she was and he was, well, a man. No, she hadn't been around a man like that since... ever. Euna yanked the comforter closer around her, a stranger's bed and she was in it, a stranger's bed and she was nearly naked in it!
He seemed safe enough though, long lean body, tall with broad shoulders and a well-proportioned torso clothed in a white T-shirt and long-john sweater. Jeans on his muscular legs, but bare feet. She was beginning to wonder how she came to be here... a face that seemed at first glance to be a unattractive, but at a second was an unlikely-likely mix of charm and lust. She wished now that he was a lover, that they had... Looking to his eyes, she saw mirth in their hazel-green depths, and his whole face seemed to be taken up with a smile, the kind you give someone who's been through an ordeal like childbirth or an audit . A handsome man who she didn't know whose bed she was occupying was there in front of her. What the hell happened?
Quickly scanning her memory of last night she remembered coming home from the Consulate, eating her dinner and reading until her eyes closed. The dream, oh God she'd had the dream. She'd woken up and couldn't bear the thought of letting it come back by going to sleep again so she'd gone for a walk and.....
"Hallo, so you're up?" he was talking to her, who was he? When had he shown up? The stranger gave her another warm smile and proffered a plate in her direction. "Care for breakfast?" she shook her head, the last thing she felt was hunger right now. Suddenly the grin stopped and he seemed to change personalities.
"Do you speak English?"
Yes, nod nod.
"Do you remember being out this morning?"
No, shake shake.
"Do you remember me pulling you out of the river?"
No, shake shake.
He sighed a little exasperatedly. "Lets begin again then." he rested the plate on the bed and put out his hand. "Adam Pierson, mi casa es su casa." when she shied from it, he reached over and took her small hand into his own. It was slightly callused but softer than a workman's hands, she had known a fencing instructor who'd had hands like that; dodgy fellow who was always trying to feel up the students and got jumpy when certain people came to his studio.
As Adam slowly shook her hand, a smile just short of laughter came to his handsome features again. It was infectious and she returned it, forgetting that she was rather unclothed-clothed and a bit vulnerable. "Euna MacAndrew, donde es su casa?" touché. Now he laughed outright.
"Euna I've completely exhausted my Spanish, no more eh?"
She blushed at her trick of besting him, and rephrased the question; "Where are we?"
"In a barge, on the Seine, Paris France, Europe, Earth, Milky Way...stop me if anything sounds familiar..."
Now it was her turn to laugh, it felt so good too. " Well, I think have everything but the barge bit down direction-wise." Now she slowed her laugh and looked at him directly. "But _why_ am I here? What happened that I ended up in your bed with your clothes?" a moment of embarrassed panic made her add: "These are your clothes, correct?"
"You really don't remember do you?" an expression of earnest worry for this young thing who'd fallen in the river. Her failure to respond was a no. "This morning ,about four o'clock I was sleeping, minding my own business ," ( he left out the dream he was having for her benefit) "Thinking of ...things, when a _very_ loud splash woke me up. Now, normally I regard these as relativley unimportant, usually the Mafia cleaning up after themselves and what-not." when he said this, she giggled a little. *good, better she have a good mood about this*
"I hear splashings and gurgles and generally unpleasant-pleasant noises, I went out to investigate and, well, you were in the river doing your best not to swim." he watched her reaction, still a blank, the bedclothes were being pulled a little closer though. " Upon which I decided to forego my rule of taking in as little of that muck that passes for water I went in a pulled you out. You were in no condition to go home so I introduced myself, changed your clothes (she winced at this, no doubt embarrassment) and schlepped you to this very bed." her eyebrows shot up and he quickly tacked on " Of course, I couldn't get to sleep and have been up since then."
She took a minute to digest this bit of information, grey/blue eyesfixed on the low beamed ceiling. Euna seemed to be deciding what to do. Methos leaned in a little and offered her the plate once more. " I'd think that you might be a little hungry after all that. Swimming happens to be one of the most taxing sports." his expression was sweet.
"Mr. ah, excuse me, but what is your name?"
"Pierson, Adam Pierson."
"Mr. Pierson, thank you for helping me this morning, but I cannot impose on you any longer. If you'll allow me to change my clothes I'll be on my way..."
She was leaving? No, he wouldn't allow it. There was something about her that seemed to oddly amusing. Endearing. Not to mention the fact that she might be a complete nutcase and could pose a danger to herself and others. "Euna, I don't think it's wisest for you to go quite yet. You're very weak I think from your ordeal."
She was adamant to depart, a determination he'd not expected. "Thank you, but I have a job and a pet to feed. As I said, you've been very kind but I cannot stay."
As she attempted to get up he put a hand on her wrist and drew her eyes to his. "At least let me walk you home and make sure you're all right ?" he tried to keep an earnest expression of sincerity plastered on his face so she wouldn't think he was a pervert. He knew he'd won when she gave a small grin and a nod. "Excellent, but I insist you eat this mess, I actually had some myself and it's not half bad."
"This is it?" he asked incredulously, sweeping an disapproving look over the front of the shanty-like flat. Her had dropped in slight embarrassment.
"Yes, it's my home. For now." as if in an afterthought, she stooped and lifted a cobble to retrieve her key, unlatched the door and ushered him in since he made it obvious without words that he wouldn't go just yet.
Adam seemed disgusted with the sparseness of decor and frigidity of temperature. She looked at his face, it contorted humorously as he tried to think of some compliment for the sorry dump. "It's, uh, very, hmmm, very-"
She laughed. "It's all right, I don't like it either, but it's all I have so there's no excuse." walking through the living room/bedroom to the kitchen she called back to him, "Mr.Pierson, can I interest you in something to drink?"
"Yes , and call me Adam if you don't mind."
Euna was halfway across the floor when her was stopped by a loud clattering. *Oh damn,* she thought * the door's fallen off it's hinges again.* she turned around and marched right back to him, surprise conveyed through every pore of his body. Ignoring his reaction, she gently took the door knob to the back door from his hand and stooped to pick the thing up and re-mount it to the wall. A little banging and the handle went back in as well. She turned back to him and smiled apologetically. "it does that from time to time...it's-"
"A rat trap?"
"Yes, though a rat trap might be to grand for this." Euna walked back to the kitchen again, flipping at the overhead light automatically, not noticing that nothing happened. Then she went to the tap and twisted the spigot knob. Nothing. *Please, not now!* Adam was right behind her, looking over her shoulder at the dry faucet. Then it gurgled and a thin brown stream of muddy water poured out. *Damn, the pipes must be acting up again!*
She turned back to him and tried to keep a cheerful composition. "Look, maybe not right now then? I'm sure-"
"You'd be better off at my place."
He lifted his hands in testimonial innocence. "You have no electricity, your water is barely deserving of the name, you have a tendency to fall into rivers. Perhaps you wouldn't mind staying a few days with me?"
It was obvious she was taken aback. Methos was quick to follow up. "Of course, there is room for two there, and it just appeared to me that you're not doing so well here as you'd hoped. I know that this is odd and more deserving to be in some short story by a single woman with nothing else to do..." she wasn't answering, maybe Euna was more insulted than first appearance? Oh well, no loss anyway-
"I'll do it."
This wasn't like her. She would never have done this if he had met her as late as three months ago. But she had never thought she'd beg in the street for enough money for food and hadn't she done that last week? Remembering her few hours in Adam's home, she could feel the carpet, and the warmth of a heater. Taste food on her tongue and feel fresh clothing on her back even if it was an oversized sweater and a pair of shorts.
She stood in the center of the dirty wooden floor, assessing the shabby furniture and unraveling carpet. The cupboards were empty, they always were. The clothes were washed only when she had enough left over from food and payments. She had no reason to stay and every reason to go. The only way out was with a stranger. He seemed kind enough. But then again, so had John Wayne Gasey to those boys.
Choose an undecided future with a man she had met so strangely, perhaps be a little better off. Or, she could send him away and continue to starve to a proper and moral death in this tiny plaster box in a wall. Alone.
"Would I have to share the bed with you?"
"Of course not! I'm *much* more comfortable on the couch!" he gritted his teeth as he said this.
"Would I have to pay rent?"
A wide grin settled across his features. "I don't really want to take your money." he gave a meaningful look to the un-stable door and the point was made. "Can you clean?"
"I've done it before."
"We'll start with that." *goodbye mattress, welcome back couch. Hello sore back.*
In an hour everything was ready for the move. He had packed her books into an empty crate previously used for a night stand while she managed to replace her things in the worn suitcase that had been her traveling companion for so long. It was with a heavy sigh of semi-finality that Euna managed to pull the front door tightly into it's frame for the last time. A whirlwind good-bye as Adam opened the cab door for her, "Your chariot awaits m'lady."
"Thankyou." she managed without smiling. The least he could do was not joke about this! It was unseemly-seemly enough for her to be moving into a man's home when she wasn't even his lover or friend even, for now he would be kept at bay. Her own feelings were a myriad of questions. Was this right? Would she be safe? Would this last or in a few days or weeks would she find herself crawling back to L'Tangian to sub-let what she had fought for in disgrace and poverty for a second time?
The car pulled away from the curb, headed back to the barge, Adam's strangely soothing baritone a mere undercurrent to the chorus of doubts in her mind. The river became visible in the corner of her eye, then the line of boats docked along it's walls.
"Ah, here we are. Monsieur, ici si'l vous plait." the final steps in her newest journey loomed large ahead.
Once again, he was there holding he door for her, helping her step out as if she were royalty. "Adam, it's not necessary."
Not necessary, who was she trying to kid? This girl was at the edge of sanity only hours ago. She had been going between memories and languages in fits. If ever a person needed some help, it would be this little mortal. Methos hefted the books and suitcase onto his shoulders, telling her to fish the keys out of his corduroy jacket. Oh a look he would most likely get often!
"Chin up Euna, I'll get you a beer once we move you in."
"Ah, a new reason to live."
" Beer? But of course!"
He mentally vowed to keep it as asexual as possible. After all, loony Irish girls weren't that hard to be just friends with. But who knows? She was walking inside like a tourist to a tomb at Luxor, she shouldn't really be here, but since she was now she might as well go further. Ah, this Euna girl might be entertaining after all! He smiled secretly to himself. To bad she wasn't immortal. He could grow to like this one. The way she was becoming accustomed to the rock of the boat. Her feathery touch to each piece of furniture, each object d'art, as if it wasn't acknowledged it would vanish like something imagined.
"You know, nothing here will disappear, you *can* sit down." he said to hopefully ease her tension. Euna was looking at him bewilderedly. Uncomfortable silence. "Why don't I go find those beers?" nodding his head encouragingly. Oh, this would be tough.
Methos set the boxes down and walked of in the direction of the kitchen. Once he was sure she couldn't see him, the Ivanhoe was hidden under a loose board by the cupboard with Mac's spare katana. Innocent or not, there were things she wouldn't understand right now, a sword was one of them.
He peeked around the corner to check up on her. Euna was still where he'd left her, how afraid was she? Methos swung open the refrigerator door and selected two bottle from thier shelves of mates and brusquely marched out into the living room. Setting them down , he was about to take her wrist when he noted she was staring forward blankly and shaking a little. Like a chihuahua?
"Euna MacAndrew!" she snapped out of the stare wildly looking about.
"What? Was I sleeping?"
He shook his head, this did not bode well for the creature. Adopting his most authoritative pose he narrowed his gaze and began in a firm tone.
"Something like that." Dr.Benjamen stepped back into his personality. " Have you ever had seizures?"
"Barring this morning, how do you sleep?"
Euna got to her feet and began to study the book shelves industriouosly. "I don't, really."
"It's time you started." he flattened the palm of his hand against her back not expecting the strength of resistance she gave him.
"I'm not tired."
"That's as belivable as the plot of Showgirls. Look, you take a nap, I'll unpack your things and we'll go out to eat tonight, my treat, all right?"
Oh his stare! If he would use that stare on her more, she mightn't be able to stay here much longer before she would- no mustn't think of that. He was a Samaritan, not an option in the dating pool. But, for some reason she felt more tired than she had been before. Drugs in the beer? Oh for God's sakes stop being so damn cynical! Euna could feel the warm press of his hand, ever more insistent, against the goose pimpled flesh of her back, pushing her in the direction of the bed she had awoken in this morning. The hypnotic voice promising dinner out and such.
Well, maybe she could sleep a little. Shrugging off her jacket andslipping off her shoes she crawled under the down comforter and between the soft cotton sheets. A vague hint of old water rose from the pillow, but it dissipated among the other scents. A saffron and sunflower scent, warm and comforting. Sleep came like a great fog over her senses, Adam pulled the blankets around her, murmuring sweet dreams and good sleep.
Safety. Warmth. She could stay here forever.
"Impossible! How can you even expect me to believe that?" he laughed as they walked home from dinner at the Cafe d'Elodie.
"No no, I mean it, there really is a dwarf hanging himself in back of the forest scene in The Wizard of Oz."
"I don't think so. I've seen it enough, and I never ONCE saw a little man swinging by his neck!"
"If there's a copy lying about, I can prove it."
"Five quid and dishes say you're lying."
"Ten and swabbing the decks say I'm right."
Dinner out tonight. Once a week or more since she'd arrived. He could afford it, he was a professor, a rich man to her. She'd never know it, but he held vast suns of money, in banks and vaults and tombs all over the world. Dinner for a depleted young mortal woman for a few days was nothing. And yet she gave him so much in return!
"I'd never guess you to be a betting man, Adam."
"There are a few things about me that you'd be surprised at."
She quirked an eyebrow as they came to a stop at the door. In half darkness he fumbled the key in it's lock repeatedly, a few colourful curses lacing his attempts. A light suddenly shone down on his hands. She had a small pocket torch, and a devilish smile along with it.
Methos sighed. What a trial. What a pleasure.
Three months since she had come into his life. It felt like days. Three months since there had been unbearable silences he hadn't known to be unbearable until she wasn't there to fill them with the tiny spurts of song and little hummings.
Three months and already he was in love?
No, this couldn't be love. He knew what love was. It was hot and sultry and passionate as, as, as the harems and wives and lovers before. This was more, it was friendship.
The reason they could be close and know so much about one another was because she could trust him to be a gentleman and a friend and nothing more. He could trust her and care for her and not make love to her. But the urge was growing. She swept past him into the living room, switching on the lamps and letting the quiet humming begin.
He loved her songs. The nonsense notes and bars of endless variation. It had started out as Ciade si Don and progressed to become her own creation.
Euna discarded her bag ,coat and shoes by the door to the kitchen. "Are you thirsty?"
She was psychic too.
"Yes, a beer would be nice."
Selecting a book off the shelf Methos idly thumbed a few pages. They were hers, these books. Oh, Mac had kept the one shelf full, but his were never as interesting as what she had brought from the deathly hole of a house he'd coaxed her from. These were tales. Dragons, space, mystic occurrences and harnesses of magic. Like what bards and hedge teachers and old women by cook fires had told in his early years. These were her pride and joy. Her books.
He kept it at chest level, eyes averted towards the kitchen, waiting for her return.
"Here you go. Honestly Adam, I cannot understand how you can put such huge amounts of this stuff away and remain relativley sober."
"Could say the same about you." he retorted, replacing the book and accepted one of the two open bottles. " I found a tape of it, but it's in French."
"Much like everything is here, yes?" she was playfully baiting him. Not now! Oh god if Euna wouldn't stand like that or give him those looks, half lidded stares that seemed on the edge of sleep or unbuttoning his pants. Oh no...not now! He turned his back to her hurriedly and pushed the tape in. He'd have to watch it with her. Sit and be uncomfortable when he could just go for a walk or send her off to bed... He'd have to proceed carefully tonight. Now she curled up on the sofa and waited for him to join her. Oh they were only friends weren't they?
Euna watched Adam open the doors to the tele cabinet. It was the fact that his back(side) was to her and his shoulders seemed that much more broad and muscled in the golden light of those few dim lamps. Three months she had stayed here untouched? It didn't seem right almost. Oh at first he had been earnestly devoted to playing nursemaid. Somehow she had managed to shake him of that within a few weeks. She had progressed beautifully by his standards. The dark circles leaving her eyes, the weary feeling that had plagued her for months was gone days after she took up residence with him. Euna began to feel normal again.
Her first night had been awkward, not knowing what to do when it got dark. Thank God he was a great conversationalist. They had been up most of the night , she being taught the finer pionts of drinking beer from both cans and long necked bottles. By three o'clock she had mastered opening a bottle with her toes. That night had found them some common ground, a great step towards getting to know each other. Around the same time as she was starting in on her second beer of the night ( that was one-thirty am)she asked who he was. In turn he told her his life story.
Adam Pierson had no family anymore. Mother and father died in a horrific fire that took the family factoy down in the space of forty-five mintues when he was a mere six. Niether parent had any surviving relatives , save for his fathers *much* older sister. She, Aunty Brigid, had taken him in after her fifty-second birthday . The old woman had died shortly after hs eighteenth birthday. At that time he inherited the family fortune and had enrolled himself in college, and soon after, having graduated with honours (Methos felt he deserved a little embellishment for the sake of the story) he became a professeur and had beenin Paris since then at L'Universite.
When he said it, it was without much feeling, as if it were scripted. For all her theatrical training, Euna could not keep the same effect,though she tried. Her firm manor lost out when he began to ask questions and she tearfully answerd them. It was as if her pain was his pain, or he at least could relate strongly.
Since then they had progressed into good friends, no, great friends. After all, they were living together! As the time began to fly they soon grew to know each other personally, intimately, but never carnally. It was taboo for the time being.
He had seemed surprised at her strength of character. Her inability to back down. Her steadfast nature that had become known so quickly. If she told him she would go to the out door market for an entire day, she would. No matter how much he protested that she shouldn't tax herself like that, no matter how much he worried for her. Euna had been through worse than what he could imagine. She had suffered enough to feel being on her feet doing something she actually wanted to do was a treat.
That was another thing. For the first few days and weeks she stayed with him, he had been reluctant to even entertain the idea of her working at all. The first day she hadn't shpwn up fro work both places sacked her at once and hired on more of the tread-on populace. Eventually the novelty of not gettin gup at 8 to do somethign monetarily productive had gotten to her.
"I can't spend my days cooped up here you realize." she had declared after the fifth day of boredom. " I want to go out and do something!"
"It's not really necessary, I do make enough as a professor Yoon, and don't forget the family money."
"I'll be happier if I'm busy."
"I'm not asking your permission Adam, but I feel you should at least be able to speak your opinion." the way she had phrased it made it clear there was no room for argument."
"At least find a close place?"
He was faced with a tiny smile that she tried unsuccessfully to hide. "Nothing to worry about, I've already found a place, an English book shop, Shakespere and Company? It's close and they need a bilingual clerk in there to assist the tourists."
So it had become a two-income household. Adam Pierson as the young teacher in the Acedemie d'Paris and his roommate, a clerk in a book shop down the road. They had more to talk about at the end of the day, more reasons to enjoy the off days and the fun they had then.
Euna couldn't remember when she had been more entertained in a place. Every weekend Adam had another gallery or library or cafe or historical place he wanted her to see. They were constant traveling companions, driving his Rover into the countryside to sit on hills and stare at the sky, talking, thinking or doing nothing at all. It seemed natural for them to become what she had thought them to be that first day, lovers. Somehow, they never seemed to get around to it.
Adam never dated, not that he made an effort in finding a woman. Could it be he was a self-imposed celibate?
Could he be gay?
No. She reasoned, he had to strong a reaction when she had made her entrance in the cafe tonight. Usually they would meet at the end of the day and have supper, sometimes on the barge, sometimes in the restaurants and cafes along the Champs. Never was it a formal affair, so why had she worn the skirt? Shock value probably, and it had been worth it. Adam had been speechless at the sight of her, he'd barely been able to form the words that said she was lovely.
Then he'd snapped back to his old jovial self. Pity, it was fun to get the lad a little flustered for once. He was always making her blush with those sly little remarks that were on the edge of suggestive.
Oh he was a trial sometimes!
Tonight he had ordered wine, a good expensive bottle that she couldn't guess was worth more than his entire wardrobe and hers combined. It was in honour of her looking nice tonight. He'd drank to her shoes, she drank to his hair. They laughed and forgot the moment of tension that had been sparked between them for that one instant.
Then somehow The Wizard of Oz was worked into a conversation of Tolstoy and she brought up the fact about the suicidal dwarf. He denied it. She insisted. He paid the cheque and dragged her home, arguing all the way and threatening to watch the movie until he saw it.
Now they were on the couch, sitting in the middle because it was overstuffed. The tin man was beginning to sing about a heart and Adam leaned in to the screen.
"Now look , I don't see anything..."
"Wait for it."
"Lions and tigers and Bears, Oh my!"
"There! Did you see it?"
He frowned slightly, and hit rewind." I don't believe it."
She was jubilant. "Oh believe it Adam dearest, guess who's swabbing decks?" she snickered and took a victorious pull of the lager as he had taught her through rounds of drinking games.
He looked back at her, glaring daggers. "I'm not swabbing decks!"
"Oh yes you are." Euna shot back, leaning forward so she could stare him straight in the face. "You made a bargain, you lost." Her finger poked the end of his nose playfully. " I win."
Adam dropped the remote and grabbed her hand. " I never loose."
She swallowed and kept her eyes trained on his face. It would be a battle of wills? Even at this late hour, she could beat him. She always did.
Methos watched her face for signs of backing down. Oh she was making this hard for him! But what, why bother anymore? Wasn't Euna already as close to him as any woman of his had been before? Hadn't they waited long enough? Time to find out.
The stairs seemed quieter as she descended, not sure if the house was empty now or not. Euna had tried to return, tried to erase the pain they had both inflicted. Damn him if he forgot his own faults! He was in the kitchen wasn't he? She thought she'd heard his movements down there. Now as she turned the corner ready to try another plea, it was empty. Had he left her?
"Please, give me one more chance." she whispered to the powers that be, begging that she be able to squeeze every drop of possibility from this, her last chance. The kitchen was empty, but the door leading to the garden was open; golden afternoon sunlight filling the dark little room.
He had to be out there, please!
Her fingers fluttered on the old jamb, feeling a thousand summer days in the cracked and peeling paint. Tiny steps as quiet as a mouse to find him there, his back to the high stone wall sitting on the flagstones in shadow from the rich warmth. His long legs were bent in front of him, elbows resting on his knees, shoulders sagging, head and neck down, staring at the slabs under him.
He was silent, to torture her, to calm himself. She had to fill the space, had to tell him, to beg him. gaping mouth, the first sentence to come to mind:
"I thought you would stay in Paris after I'd gone."
"The world doesn't revolve around you."
He was silent again, perhaps she hadn't gotten through to him? "Adam, don't lock me out. I hate this, this wall you put up." her voice quavered, the bubble that had risen in her throat a thousand times never meant so much as it did now. "I still love you."
His frame seemed to shake as she said this, but he didn't look up, he wouldn't see her face now. Euna tried hard to stave off another round of tears, but when Adam scowled at the ground andkept his lips tightly shut she buried her face in her hands and turned her body against the door frame in hard shaking tears.
Methos sighed disgustedly. "There's no need for that now."
She snapped her head up from it's bent position and glared at him. "Who are you to judge my pain? "
"The one who bore the brunt of it."
"Adam...please. You must've known what could happen when I found out."
"Yes, but I didn't need the rest of it."
"You let me!"
"You lied to me. I cannot forgive that, not after stressing truth so often before!"
He stood to his full height, crossing the space of the patio to stand in the doorway , mere inches from her face, hands over her on the jamb.
"I am what I am. There's no changing it. Why should I try to explain to you what I don't understand myself?! Who are you to demand truths we cannot tell each other?"
" You are so quick to separate us. Tell me. Do you consider mortals a different race ? Will you discard the next mortal girl as quickly when she asks questions?"
He pushed himself away in disgust, Euna stayed pressed to the door frame, her angry gaze following him. He raked his fingers through his hair, rubbed his neck furiously enough to pull skin away. He was thinking of ways of responding that didn't include killing her. Suddenly he whirled and rushed back to her. He pressed his body to hers and kissed her hard on the mouth. When Methos pulled his face away she had tears in her eyes.
Methos flinched at the loud slam and glared at the wood door. Growling in guttural tones to himself he paced the length of the room , rubbing his hand on the back of his neck in frustration, raking his fingers though his hair trying to decipher what could have gone wrong. Hadn't she wanted this too? Hadn't she worn a dress for him tonight? Hadn't they been playing at this for ages, with the innuendoes and jokes? Or maybe she was gay.
No, the way she'd blushed and let her face show it's pleasure at his reaction to her entrance to the cafe had been proof enough. Maybe she was chaste, or overly self conscious. Or not even attracted to him.
He slammed a fist into his palm. He had no choice. Grabbing his jacket and walking to the door, Methos' over-worked mind decided to go for a walk. When he left he, made sure to shut the door just as violently.
Euna was startled by the sound. She jumped and felt the vibration all through the floors. Slowly, she cracked the door and peeked out. "Adam? Adam!?" The bathroom door flew open in her desperate search for him. He'd gone! She felt hot tears stinging her eyes and a flush creeping up her cheeks. He'd left her, like she'd left them. If only she hadn't reacted like that. Now he had disappeared to God knows where for God knew how long. She fell onto the bed and sobbed uncontrollably.
1 A.M. He'd been walking forever. It had only begun as a once-around-the-block to cool off. But it had become a journey across the city, traversing streets and alleys that he hadn't been down for at least a hundred years. He had cooled off around one. Then began to think about what went wrong. It was really his fault wasn't it? He had kissed her, she hadn't expected it. He'd have to back off. Perhaps buy her a little place in the suburbs, say it was left to him in the family and she could have it. In any case, if there were to be repeats of tonight, she'd have to go. It was that simple. He couldn't be so sure he could restrain himself much longer if she stayed and wouldn't have him as anything but friend. By the time he'd reached familiar walkways and found the river, in his mind he'd already bid good-bye and good luck to her.
When he had opened the door and walked into the dark room he had decided to put the plan into action now. Where was she? Asleep in Mac's bed as always. Oh God, bed. Methos thought for a split second to forget this and flop onto the couch as usual. Instead, he gritted his teeth and walked up the two steps to the landing. A body was huddled under the blankets, a mop of hair barely visible under them. Methos reached to touch her shoulder and shook gently. In a flash she was up.
"Adam!" her face! Even in the minimal light, he could see she'd been crying. Her lips were dark and puffed, eyes blurred and cheeks stained. She was pouting unconsciously. This would be hard.
"Euna, I was out walking-"
"I know! I didn't know if you'd be coming back." she sucked in a deep breath to keep the tears away a little longer. " I was so afraid you were mugged or..or to mad at me to return."
"I'd always come back. This is my house!" They both laughed, instantly most of the anxiety had been quelled. Smiling still, she patted a spot on top of the sheets and he gratefully sat. Three hours of late night walking was hard, even for an immortal. Now they were face to face again.
"Euna, I was going to say that I am very sorry for tonight and if this isn't going to happen again perhaps it would be better if we stayed friendly from a little distance. Now, there is this house out in the suburbs that-"
"You want me to leave?" a trace of fear in her voice.
"No I don't, but after what happened I thought that to avoid this in the future maybe you could stay elsewhere."
"No!" now the tears burst froth, a flood down her cheeks and eyes squeezed shut against them. " Adam I don't want to leave, I didn't mean to refuse you like that. God knows I wanted it so much but if you were just drunk and you wouldn't realize if it was a mistake... I didn't want you to regret this!"
She bawled even harder and slumped over. Its was an inappropriate time but he laughed., he laughed loudly and put his arms over her hunched form and hugged it closely. " I am more than a little experienced with liquor dear, it takes more than a little wine and a beer toget me drunk.... I haven't been really sholcked in a good long time."
They sat for a moment, before she sat up and gave him a hopeful stare. "What I'm trying to say is; everything I have done I have done with a sober mind."
"Then", she snuffled, sitting up to look him in the eyes , their noses almost touching, " You meant it when you kissed me?"
"If I wanted you to kiss me again, you'd do it?"
His voice dropped into a low husky tone, "So long as you let me."
Euna's eyes shut as she leaned forward to him. Their lips met momentarily, shyly. She opened her eyes and looked into his. Dark pools rimed in light green, focused on her. She felt hands on her sides, then wrap one around her back and the other on her neck, cradling the bottom of her skull. He smiled briefly and whispered her name, then closed the tiny space between them. This time the kiss was hungry, more exploratory. His tongue was at her lips, then against her teeth. Then he left her mouth completely and began to trail kisses down her neck....
They moved effortlessly through the night. Liquid and sweet, hot and light. The ultimate bond of friendship forged carried on currents of passion, and intensity, and hope. Exulting in surrender.
Six o'clock, seven o'clock, eight o'clock. At nine that morning Euna opened her eyes to bright light filtering through small round windows. The smell of [ could that be food?] something cooking a little farther from her. Sitting up, she noticed that first of all, she had no clothes and second, this was not an average morning.
Off key humming alerted her to someone else's presence. Adam was humming. Adam was here.
Then he walked in from off to her right, wearing the blue cotton boxers so hastily discarded the night before. A handsome man, a lover? Yes, . A friend. Yes. Last night they had parted and come together again, closer than before and happier too. Euni pulled the comforter closer around her. Her bed, now their bed and she was in it.
He carried a tray of food, more than enough. Toast, croissants, eggs, crepes. Juice, tea, coffee. "Adam!"
He gave a playful smile, " Who else?" and set the thing down. "Are you hungry? I know I always am after..." her eyebrow raised and he shut himself up. Adam shrugged, still wearing that Cheshire cat expression, and admitted himself to the warmth under the blankets with her.
"Here, I have two forks, mind if I eat a bit?" "Go right ahead, I had a feeling this wasn't all for me." she grinned. He was there, next to her, breaking off bits of the toast and feeding them into her mouth. He was alive and healthy and wonderfully handsome and in love with her! Right?
"You know, Yoon, You have to stay here today."
"I do? In bed?'
"Yes." he had a completely serious look now, intent and driving.
"I'd like to keep my love to myself today."
Oh, he loved her! "Do you mean it?"
Adam dropped the macho act and became his usual, accommodating self. "Well, if you want to go out today, I don't mind. But can you stay the morning?"
"No, that you love me."
Now Adam's countenance was shock, he was taken aback by her remark. "Of course I do! After all that torment you gave me last night," he pressed his lips to her forehead, getting a few crumbs of croissant on her, and brushing them off with his thumb. He took hold of her chin, and stared her directly in the eye.
"I don't see how I couldn't!"
She was melting, she was pleased, she was satisfied. Spiritually. But now as he went to take a sip of coffee she put a hand across the top and drew his glance. He understood and set the whole spread of breakfast on the floor. It was going to be a stay at home sort of day after all.
Flash forward - Present
"Don't you leave!" she shrieked as Methos turned to walk out of the gate. "You may out live me but -"
He whirled to face her again, to stare into the eyes of his beloved,his trusted confidant, his betrayer. "But what?! As I recall, you have no right to even *dare* suggest I'd go. Abandoning seems to be your specialty!" Meekly she shrank from his gaze. Euna and turned her eyes down guiltily.
"Nothing." eyes bright with tears she felt a need to cleave to him and beg for another chance. Not something he did with an open heart. " I left because I was afraid of you," she paused and added softly, " Because I was afraid for you."
A breeze blew in off the sea, alerting them to the night cloaking the Italian seaside in darkness. The hairs on his arms stood up in protest to the chill and he moved to a darker, more sheltered part of the garden surrounding the tiny patch of yard. From the inky depths of that place his deep voice managed to speak without breaking.
"I told you then you had, have, no reason to fear my kind. I only live forever." he bit of the end of that sentence, the sad, wry humor stopped short of his tongue.
"You wonder why I go? A lover who might not stay with me not only because I'm too young to begin, but because someday I'll be to old for him? I couldn't stay, for you."
"Don't over play this Yoon , it was the first time you saw-"
"Yes it was that too."
Flash back 3 months ago
On a rainy Sunday a few weeks later, the couple were deeply involved in a game of strip-chess.
"Only you would think of this" she snickered.
"I hear no complaining, and bishop takes rook. The skirt goes." he answered plainly, a plotting smile broadened his face. So far, he had been winning, but Euna was about to re-gain her queen when a rattling knock startled her into dropping a pawn.
She grabbed her sweater and slipped into the long skirt as quickly as possible while Adam went to the door. He cast a wistful look after her retreating form, thinking of what might have been before swinging open the door with a special look of annoyance for whoever was on the other side.
A young man stood in the doorway, white with fright and an envelope clutched in his hand.
"A man told me to give this to you." he said in halting English.
Accepting it, Methos surveyed the overall appearance of the boy. He needed to get away from this place obviously. It held a fear for him.
"Who sent this?" he asked in French. Noticing a slight ease come into the messenger's shoulders.
"A Russian man," the boy replied in his native tongue. " Says he knows you. I have to go, please!"
Methos dismissed the mortal with a wave of his hand and shut the door. He leaned against the wood for a moment and opened the unmarked envelope. A single sheet of paper in neat print type was unfolded:
Immortal named Pierson. I know what you are. Consider youself challenged. Meet me in the empty warehouse on Broduex au Cion tonight at eleven. Bring yoursword.
-Gregor Illya Trovinski
"Oh great." he muttered and crumpled the paper in his fist. Euna came over to him , noting the expression and mimicking one of her own. " What's the matter, who was at the door?"
A moment of silence, he hated to do this to her, " It was just a member of town council. Boat taxes are being raised again. I think it's time to move onto dry land. What do you think of Italy?"
It was like a thousand voices at once. Italy? Move? Leave Paris for yet another country? She stepped back and faltered. " Do we have to?"
Adam replied with a shrug " I've been thinking about it for a few weeks now, why don't we just go down there for a while hmm? C'mon," he put his hands onto her shoulders and began to massage them as he spoke.
"Venice, Rome, wine, beaches, discotheques, wine. Lovely nude beaches with people with amazing - towels..." She laughed and put her hands over his.
"Well, if it's only for a little while; we can come back to Paris can't we?"
She was giving in, pull out the patented Methos-gets-his-way method. " Oh yes, absolutely. Now I know this lovely little town, Anesica, my family has top-priority there. We can get a house no problem. Just think, all the olive oil you can slurp."
Euni made a face. " that's disgusting. When were you thinking of leaving?'
Ah a battle won. This Trovinski character would be facing a man who had moved a few continents away! Surviving was a great thing, MacLeod can have his chivalry and head-endangerment codes any day.
"Well, I was hoping you'd say yes. I happen to have two reserved tickets to Rome waiting for two like-minded individuals to fill those large, disgustingly expensive airplane seats. We can leave tonight!"
"Or tomorrow, I guess. If you really want to wait that long" he began to steer her to the chest of drawrs with her clothes in them. " Just think you can be on your way to a quiet littel warm place with great shopping and , ummm food. Are you getting packed yet!"
Euna picked up an edge of panic in Adam's usually un-ruffled and calm voice. A frown pulled across her face and she asked carefuly: "Why so soon?"
Oh no, think of something quickly old boy, it'd better be good too. "I reserved a villa month ago, forgot to mention it until the notice came yesterday. If we don't get there by ohh, Friday afternoon I loose the lease and it'll have beena princely sum of lire for a piece of paper and an envelope."
"Well, if it's a matter of _cost_!" she rolled her eyes and laughed. "Oh honestly Adam, I do wonder where your head is sometimes!"
"Attached firmly to my shoulders, I can assure you that!"
Flash Forward - Present
"I thought you'd stay back at the room, you needed sleep anyway."
Now she gave a sarcastic laugh and responded darkly: "Think about it dear, a gian beast of a mant comes to your door in the middle of the night and demands your lover. You watch as the man you love retrieves a sword from some bag, then tells you to go back to bed and not to worry ! He kisses you like it might be the last time and goes out. I had to."
"You never did listen, did you?"
"Not when my instinct told me otherwise."
Flash Back - 3 months ago
1 am, departure flight to Rome, Italy in fourteen hours. He knew he was cutting it close but those had been the only tickets he could find that left on the next week that wasn't booked. A warm womanly body by his side and the comforting knowledge that a challenge was avoided. At considerable expense to find a way to kick the tenants out of his villa in a day and a half plus two fist class tickets but nonetheless, he was surviving. And in style too.
They were currently annexed in a quiet little room in the L'Hotel d'Manuela. Getting his beloved Euna to pack and shuffle out to a hotel on such short notcie had been an amzingly difficult endeavor. Almost an hour of coaxing and promising outlandish feats accompishiable only because he loved her (Imagine, she wanted him to go shopping with her and hold her bag! It was a good thing she was so special to him.) And Euna had lugged her cases out to the taxi a whole day earilier than she had anticipated.
He left a note on the counter for Macleod, smuggled his sword from the compartment and to a hockey bag, and firmly shut the door. No one would know and this Russian fellow would find an emoty house and an absent chalangee.
Sighing contentedly in his sleep Methos buried into the balnkets and curled next to Euna's body.Dreams of a certain young Irish woman in little more than a towel and a smile standing on a veranda looking out onto the Mediterranean Sea made him smile in his sleep. A loud and jarring noise from his right side shattered the image into a million pieces.
*I hate technology.* he thought as the veil of sleep began to wash away and the women vanished behind his eyes.
Turning over onto his side, Methos pawed the night stand for the phone without opening his eyes. He dragged it to his ear under the blankets and mumbled something that sounded like a greeting.
"Who ever this is it had better be damn well important."
"Mr. Pierson? Is this Mr. Adam Pierson?"
He groaned inwardly, it was to early to begin playing the part of Adam, he still felt about a thousand and didn't quite catch-up to being thirty until about 9:00 in the morning. He pushed the blankets away and sat up, letting the cold stinging air of pre-dawn wake him completely.
The metamorphosis was complete and he answered in a sharp clear tone, "Pierson here, what can I do for you?"
"I sent you a letter Pierson, I know where you are. Do I have to come get you?"
"Look chap, this isn't the time to be calling around for laughs. I'm bloody tired, bugger off,go to Hell."
"I have hunted you for days. Your house was empty, but you were easy enough to locate in this little city. Be ready Mr. Pieson, your time has come." a thick Russian accent. Methos' senses snapped to attention, Russian like the man who had sent him the letter, Russian like the voice who had called a moment before...
"Immortal named Pierson. I know what you are and you have been challenged. Meet me in the empty warehouse on Broduex au Cion tonight at eleven. Bring your sword."
"Oh God." the other immortal had hunted him down! Cursing the over-booked airlines that couldn't have gotten him out of this country tonight, he literally bounced out of the bed and ran for the chair in the corner, yanking on the jeans and over sized dark sweater taken off before bed ( and more, very much more).
"Adam? What time is it? What's wrong?"
She did not get an answer, because he had flown to the foyer of the room and was fumbling frantically with a zippered sport bag she hadn't ever seen before. Sighing, Euna got up and pulled on a bathrobe while walking out to investigate his reasons for doing a late-night unpacking. Just as she reached the door-way he succeeded in ripping the bag open, and stifled a gasp when he lifted a very real, very dangerous looking sword..
"Ada-" her sputtering voice failed her, but garnered his attention.
"Yoon!" he yanked the thing behind his back and tried to turn her round and lead her to the bed one-handed. Still processing the shock she had dumbly stumbled back and sat on the vacated bed. He planted a kiss on her forehead. "No need to wake up, I just have to go out for a bit."
"Why?" Euna knew he was hiding an entire story from her.
"Oh, nothing I can't handle on my own. " he kissed her again and shifted the sword to his front as he moved to the door. He hoped she would stay there, maybe just let him go. And maybe soccer would become the American national pastime. She was almost running to catch him before he could shut the door. Grabbing hold of his sleeve she made him turn around and face her again. He firmly hooked the sword in it's long-unused loop within the long coat and put both arms around her. He could feel her fear radiating from within that terry cloth robe and body underneath. On some level she understood.
"Promise you'll be careful."
"I will, don't worry , I'll be fine. I promise." he looked to her eyes and remembered the morning what seemed like ages ago now when she had been thrashing about in the river not being able to help herself because she couldn't control the mania possessing her. She must feel the same helplessness now. Pressing his lips to hers in a comforting kiss, he wasn't surprised when Euna wrapped her arms around the back of his head and held on hard. The kiss became a conduit for emotions he wouldn't voice now. It became his unspoken good-bye, after this night Methos had a feeling everything would change.
"I have to leave. Go back to bed, I'll be home shortly."
Only a nod, a tearful and depressing nod. Methos turned and headed out the door.
"Just be careful!"
He paused in the entryway and looked back into the near-blackness of the room." I love you too." then was gone.
No sooner had she lost sight of him than Euna rushed to the bedroom and threw on clothes of her own. Pulling clothes and swinging her jacket over her shoulders, she stuffed her room key into her pocket and threw a last glance over her shoulder to the mirror by the front door. A hollow eyed waif returned the stare, red hair mussed and eyes blurry from lack of sleep. She frowned and caught the offending mop into a pig tail, God knew when she'd be home.
Half a step out something caught her eye, a piece of paper crumpled unearthed from Adam's suitcase as he had been rummaging. It practically unfolded itself.
"Pierson...bring sword....your time has come.... what is this? Brodeaux au Cion, I know where that is." she murmured out loud reading it. In seconds the note was shoved in the other pocket and she ran down the promenade, if she was late than anything could've happened by now!
A few steps out onto the concourse, Euna gasped and hung back. There was Adam and another man. They met in the middle of the street and began walking away from her. No words, just a nod of acknowledgment from both and the men had begun to walk. That was odd.
Yes, she followed. knew what he had told her, but there was something about this she didn't trust Something seedy and evil floated in his aura and distorted her perception. *Not human.* It came hissing into her subconscious. Not human? Not mortal. Impossible!
For about eight blocks she tailed the men until they reached an empty warehouse, one of many that littered the landscape of urban Paris. It was empty and dark inside, Adam's footsteps echoed in the cavernous spaces, matched by his partner. Suddenly Gregor turned on his and shouted into the thick darkness. " Gregor Trovnski. There can be only one!" saying those words he unsheathed a sword from a hidden panel in his long coat, his newly chosen opponent revealed his and responded calmly:
"Adam Pierson, I know."
With an animal roar, the huge Russian went at him with the weapon, slashing as if to dismember the slighter man. Surprisingly Adam defended himself wonderfully, beautifully, with a practiced skill. Making the deadly battle almost like a dance. Trovinski stabbed forward with a clumsy but vicious swing and did Adam leap out of the way but parried with a sideways arc.
The clash of metal on metal sang in her ears as Euna pressed her body to the damp brick wall, hoping to stay out of sight but wishing she could run forward and stop this strange violence. Swords collided again and again, soon Adam had taken the forefront of the battle swinging the sword in a flurry of movement. Just as he was about to sweep the blade in a backwards movement across the bigger man's stomach, the Russian sprang up and circled around, pulling out a hidden blade and slamming it into his opponents lower back as it came available.
"You bastard!" Adam howled in surprise, " You took my move!" and dropped to his knees.
"As I said, there can be only one." the behemoth raised his sword for the deplorable stroke as his prey lay writhing in pain. Euna could stand no more and felt the scream rise in her throat before she could stop it.
She stopped in her tracks, bile lurching from her stomach into her mouth. Trvoniski looked up and saw the frightened mortal standing between shadows, frozen horror and pain plastered to her face. He grimaced and hefted Adam up, making sure she was watching . Maliciously he ran the entire length of his sword through the young man's torso and dropped the corpse to the paved floor with a sickening thud, head lolling to one side before running out into the night.
"Tell you boy-friend we'll continue this at a later date." the other immortal called over hsi shoulder as he ran off into the early morning.
She stayed where she was for a moment, watching the body grow stiller and colder. Hunching over, Euna felt dinner, lunch and breakfast come wailing from her stomach to lay in a steaming pool at her feet. A sound broke her reverie of nausea. Adam was breathing, gasping and choking for air! He was alive?
Euna pulled herself together and stumbled out to him. Yes there he was, eyes shut and pale as a cadaver, but twisting his neck and shifting around. A wash of relief came over her and she went down to her knees and cradled his head in her lap. " Love, are you all right?" she managed in a shaky tone, implying she herself was not well.
In her shaking hands his head wrenched upward, neck straining and the back of his head digging into her lap. Automatically she pulled the front of the sweater up and looked at his stomach where the tip of the sword had come through. But there was no exit wound, jus a hole in the shirt and some quickly drying blood.
This was unbelivable! Euna rolled him over muttering about her being a nurse and needing to look at the gash she had seen him take through the torso. Methos could feel the ruined sweater being rolled up over his lower back, the cold air made goose bumps on the newly healed flesh. Euna made a small choking noise.
"What ..I don't... I mean...Oh God, what happened, I saw a sword go right through you!"
"What are you doing here!." he breathed with a wheezing rasp. Adam was sitting up before her eyes. She felt his hand holding her elbow. She stared, a trickle of tears starting soon becoming a river.
"You shouldn't be alive with the way he stuck you!" Euna's sobs subsided for an instant and she fixed him with a frightened stare. "What are you?"
Methos furrowed his brow in an attempt to put things as gently as possible. He pulled her to him in a comforting embrace and rocked her slowly back and forth. " There are things about me you may not understand." he stopped the narrative for a moment, there would be watchers around. His and who ever had their eye on the departing Russian fellow.
"I can't say anything more here, will you come home with me?"
"You're an alien or something I suppose." she retorted flatly, ignoring the invitation to continue this again later.
Methos gave a half-smile, grim and deathly in the filtered grey light. "In a way. Euna, I'm immortal. I don't die."
"Immortal." she mouthed the phrase quietly, the shock of the night's events had numbed her past much surprise.
"Yes, is that all right?" Methos asked and smoothed her hair. He noted that she wouldn't meet his eyes but bored invisible holes into the concrete floor. Not a good sign.
"Yes" Euna's voice was distant and chilled, also not a good sign." Why didn't you tell me before?" eyes dark as night now looked at him, a face once sweet with a smile was blank and emotionless. She was disturbed by all this and could only be quelled with answers.
"I intended to tell you from the beginning but it always seemed to be buried in what ever else was happening. But, since tonight with Trov-what-was-it and you followed us...and you saw me..you found out anyway..." Methos struggled to make it all sound acceptable, as conscienceless as possible.
"I take it you wouldn't have told me other wise." she pulled his long coat, which he had draped around her as the night got colder, closer to her body defensively. A strange mistrust was boiling deep within her.
"I only wanted to protect you!" Methos held her clenched hands together and looked at her in a way that seemed she could see his soul laid bare. " I didn't want you to be in any danger; those who know usually are eventually." Like Duncan's Tessa, and Anne, and Joe, and Don.
"You wanted to protect me like this?"
"It may not have been the most honest way I admit, but you have to understand, I couldn't be sure you'd not be frightened and go. Not when you we in the state you were in at the beginning." He stood up, swaying a little then catching himself . Euna gasped and reached her arms out from the ground to catch him if he fell. She put them down as he righted himself and offered her a hand up. " Do you still trust me?"
"Should I? Is there anything else I don't know?"
"I promise, we'll talk as soon as we get home." Methos shook his hand in front of her a little "I promise, and have I ever broken a promise?"
Euna gripped it firmly, more so than he had thought she would. "No, but if you try to put it behind us in any way before my questions are answered, so help me I'll make what that man did when he stabbed you in the back look like a massage." low and threatening, she meant it.
"Nothing is stronger than a promise, but if there is something else, it's yours. Please, we have a lot to talk about and a plane to catch in eleven hours, shall we?" he was urging her along and the progress was severely halted when Euna turned and regarded him with surprised disgust.
"You think we're still going to Italy?"
"Yes, I do."
"After all that's happened?"
"Whether or not the fight took place, and whether or not you saw it I want to go, I have the tickets, we should still be going!"
"That's very selfish of you."
"I did just take a knife in the back didn't I?"
He explained as best he could. She was angry, hurt, afraid and then some. With the gammit of emotions she had run, Euna was unsure of herself and of they as a pair.
"You didn't tell me..."
"I told you already, you know why."
He picked up the barely audible rush of breath that signaled a second round of tears.
"Are we done then?" in answer Methos took her hands in his and kissed her knuckles lightly.
"I hope not, do you think we can salvage this?"
She looked at him like he was crazy, " How?"
"There is a house in Italy..." his eyes were fixed on hers with a depth and a hope she could do nothing but accept. If she really loved him, if this could be saved and they'd be happy ever again; then that would be the best place to start.
"I'll do it."
With little less than an hour to go, the pair were packed and waiting in the Paris airport. Bags were checked and now all Methos and Enua had were each other's company in the crowded terminal. Since he had checked them out that morning she hadn't uttered more than 3 words to him. No further explanations were offered to her, and she hadn't suggested they talk.
Uncomfortably, he realized that they would be in a plane next to one another for the better part of 2 and a half hours. Was there time to get up and disappear?
"Euna, will you exscuse me? I have to , er, use the rest room." Not looking up from the book in her hands, Euna muttered, " Go on, I know you're not coming back."
Methos winced and gritted his teeth. " I'm hurt, that wasn't even in my mind."
"Liar." she shot back as he made his way off towards the mens room far off down the corridor.
Once inside he slumped against the cool tile wall of the surprisingly empty lavatory. God, how did she know what he even thought in passing? Methos rubbed the back of his neck frustratedly and looked into the wall sized mirror opposite him. He squinted hard to see inside the reflection. What was it that was keeping him here, when he knew this was a folly of the highest endeavor?
A sound of crowds behind a wall to his left surprised him, looking past his reflection he saw a door he hadn't noticed before. There was an entrance from the other corridor? New possibilities arose within his mind. He could slip out that way and never have to feel the tangible anger she had set firmly in place, never have to explain his past to her, never have to watch what had been perfect die so violently.
Methos locked stares with the creature in the mirror, time to decide.
"You're back? I thought that was it." Euna's voice had a warm tone of happy surprise. He only smiled grimly in return and sat down next to her again. Shifting an english newspaper to the comics and tried his best to forget any sophistication he had so they'd be funny. Then the buzz washed over him.
Snapping the pages shut he stiffend and looked around the terminal. Then the grubby features of one exttremely displeased russin immortal came into view. In his coat was a poorly concealed magnum 4.5, the butt of the gun visible. And he was making his way over to the pair at an alarming pace.
She regarded him with a disgusted look. " Where's your sense of romance Adam, couldn't we have done this in Naples or at leat the Airport in Italy?"
"Shut it Yoon, he's back."
She realized too late what was transpiring.Trovinski yanked out the weapon and aimed it in thier direction.
"He's got a gun!" Methos shouted as loudly as possible. Better fewer mortals get hurt in this exchange. The crowds parted quicker than the Red Sea for Moses in a mass of hysteric screams and pushing, effectivly pushing the opposing immortal backwards into the crowds.
Shots were fired into the air , Methos grabbed Euna's hand and ran for the adjoining luggage garage. They ran into the empty building, filled only with machinery procesing the endless stream of suitcases and duffle bags to thier intended planes and destinations. Euna and Methos crouched down behind a large stack of cases for shipping, catching theier breath and waiting.
" How did you know that was going to happen?" she inquierd in a whisper.
"One of ther perks of living forever." he responded quietly and witha sour note to his tone. " We can feel each other coming, then we know to get ready for the fight."
"Rememebr what you saw us doing that night?" they both inwardly winced at the memory of the indicated night oevents.
" I felt him coming, that's why I wanted to get you out of there, I didn't want you running into him."
She opened her mouth to say somehting wen he turned his head towards the way they had come in,
"He's here." Absently Methos shoved Euna down into the open side of the huge packing crate .In a flash of momentary insight he pulled a gun from the waist band of his jeans at the small of his back. It was made of porcelin to pass through airport x-rays , and painted black.
"Just in case he gets to close." Methos mutterd before shutting the lid.
The his ivanhoe sang out in chours to the Russian's own drawing of sword as the two men came face to face at a distance of ten feet.
"We don't need to do this here." he began but was cut off with a wave of the second immortal's sword.
"Don't try it, you cheat to badly for me to think you'd attend anything planned."
"I could say the same about you."
Gregor's face darkend with rage and he slashed downward towards Methos. Inwardly the oldest immortal was smiling, so this man could be distracted by anger? Excellent, that was a fighter's weakness and if there was some way to expliot it...
"Ha! You call that a swing?"he chided the warrior as they parried and clashed again.
"I call it training, no, mastery. Stop talking and fight!" Travinsky was getting more upset by the innapropriateness of Methos more than anything else. The man was a chatter box, didn't he know he was about to be killed by one of the fiercest killers the Ukranian frontiers had ever known? Apparently not. With each meeting of blades, the smaller man would spout commentary.
"Are you sure [clang] you can do this [clang] today? You seem a little out of practice [crash]."
"I'm able [clash]!" sparks flew as the ivanhoe met and broke the blade of the curved boradsword. They looked at each other and bared predatory smiles.
"I win, get down on your knees."
"I think not." came the retort as a second reserve pistol was brought into view from somewherein the depths of the huge black coat,aimed and fired to quickly for Methos to get out of the way. He was thrown backwards at the impact of a bullet tearing through his chest. Gagging on his own blood that came surging in torrents from his mouth, the sword fell out of his hands and he follwed after, feeling the back of his skull crunch against the concrete.
Genuinely frightend he began grappeling for the small covert gun he kept in the back waist of his jeans and rememberd passing it to ...
"Yoon!" he exhaled desparately as the room grew darker. The challenger's shadow passed over him , a glint of his own sword shining in his eyes.
"There can only be one."
Hand still groping his back, he locked his hand onto the handle of his dagger and withdrew it carefully. There were licks of total dark ensconcing his vision now, time to act!
Methos called on the final reserve of energy in his rapidly dying body and kicked both legs under Trovinski, effectivley dropping him to the floor. Hurling his torso up5wards he arced the dagger arm and buried deep into the Russian's throat until he could feel a notch of bone that had to be the vertibrae.
He heard a scream fade as blood flowed from the gash. The two huge fists locked onto the blade in a struggle to remove it before the opponent could get up and take his head. It was not to be.
The injuries were forgotten in a rush of unexpected adrenaline and Methos grabbed the ivanhoe from where it had fallen beside Trovinski and drew his arm up around his shoulder before hissing between bloodstained teeth: " I...know..." And bringing it down in a clean and powerful stroke.
The head rolled from the body , releasing the cloud of the Quickening. Sparks and lightning flew, blowing out several of the overhead lights fixed in the ceiling of the warehouse and most fo the airport's paower as the essence of the younger man flowed into Methos. He groaned at the force of it, agony and pleasure in un-imaginable measures corsed through every part of his body and lifted him off the ground, emphasizing the pain of the bullet wound and the head injury and then healing them in the same instant. In the end he was dropped to the hard floor unconcious from the mixtures of power and pain, recovering seconds later to sheath the blade and go off in search of Euna.
Bit by bit daylight seeped back into the room and he could hear the sounds of police sirens and evacuation messages blared across the pa system.
"Yoon?" He found the crate and knocked on the top, waiting for an answer. Fearing the worst when none came he flipped open the lid to find empy space and an abandoned gun at the bottom. She'd run, most likely right after he'd put her in there. Dammit!
Sounds of inspection were getting to close for comforta nd he squinted his eyes searching for an exit. Locating one that led out to another hall he dipped forward into the box and pulled the weapon out then ran.
"Monseur! Je peux vous aider ? Il vet d'y avoir un urgences et tu avoir allez!" [Sir? What are you doing here? There has been an emergency and you must leave!] a flight attendant called to him from the opposite end of the hallway. He immediately switched looks from Angry Hunter' to Lost Tourist'.
"Mon appologies Madamoiselle. Mon fiancee...on s'est dispute et je perdu elle...um, I'm not sure what's next!" he added to stall the woman's suspicions.
"Oh, you're English?" she said haltingly. "Maybe your girlfriend is out with the rest of the groups, you'll see her there, non?" the now helpful attendant put a comforting arm around him and with surprising force guided him outside.
There were hundreds of people gatherd on the tarmac of the airport, most of them civilians waiting for flights, others were employees of the shops and other things inside the buildings. Everywhere buzzed camera men and repoters, taking notes and interviewing people about the gunman who had yet to be found. A correspondant with a popular news program in France approached Methos for a "Man on the Street" interview, and was kept at bay by a cold, silent stare perfected for just such offenders of his personal space.
Again and again his eyes swept the crowd for any sign of Euna, but never once did the shock of red hair make itself apparent among the throngs. They were all kept until night fall as each person was searched and questioned by numerous detectives and police men on what the gunman looked like and who had seen him. When he was questioned by a weary older cop he gave the story about a fight with his fiancee and runing through the corridors trying to find her. Each time here peated that she had most likely boarded the plane without him, and was off to Santorini without him. The message was clear, no need to worry yourself with me officer. I haven't seen a thing and haven't been involved.
It was late and the man decided to buy the tale so he could go home. Around ten everyone was allowed back into the airport when the message that they had discoverd a bodythat was suspected to be the described gunman . No one was allowed into the area, but flights could continue. People were re-screend and allowed back to thier gates, planes that had been waiting now took off , others were called back. Things got back under way. Methos had yet to find Euna, but it was apparent to him that she wasn't coming back, where ever she'd run to.
Swift knocks at the batterd steel door. Un hitched locks creaking.
"Mum, I've come home!"
The young woman set down her case and threw her arms around the startled older woman. Reluctantly, her mother obliged and wrapped her own arms around the prodigal daughter. In a way, Catherine MacAndrew was dissapointed, Euna had been the first person in thier family with enough life spark and ambition to go out and make something better of life. Fintain had been horrible to her, and that should have driven her.
Maybe wanderlust peterd out if the disapointments were to great?
Euna should have left this place for good, these slums weren't meant for a creature like her, the drudgery and pain of low-class existence would kill her. They nearly did the first time, and she had returned for a second bout?
"Jaysus child, why are you here?!" Catherine whisked the girl inside the dingy foyer and gripped her arms tightly. " Why did you bother?"
Tears filled her daughter's eyes, " It's harsh out there Mum, nothing is fair. Not even death." Euna collapsed against the woman she'd always veiwed as a pillar of strength within the broken clan. " I'v e seen things, things I couldn't begin to explain or understand..."
Catherine finally accepted the hug and drew the girl to the empty living room. " Hush dear, you're home, I don't need explanations ye can't give. Have a seat." Euna thumped in ot a musty recliner that smelled vaguely of whisky and ciggarettes. It was familiar in a distant way, like the silence of the empty house. A house she couldn't ever remember as empty.
Then it dawned on her, and though the wash of misery she flicked a vacuos stare.
"Mum, where's Da?" she turned the look up to the ceiling and the second story. " And, Patrick?"
Mrs.MacAndrew drew her daughter in close, until they were nearly bumping forheads and whispered in a rebellious whisper, " He's dead!"
"What?!", Euna couldn't belive her ears, nor her eyes as a crazy light of freedom grew in her mother's eyes. "Dead, when?" she asked in a matching tone.
"About a year after you'd gone, cirrhosis of the liver from the gallons of drink he inhaled!" Mum giggled madly. " Patrick wasn't working an' my money from the factory wasn't feedin' us both so he left on the first train to Meath. I haven't heard head nor tail of him since and I know he aint comin' back!" now the older woman lead forward further and gripped her daughter's hands.
"I was nearly ready to commint suicide, bein so lonely and what. But now you're here and we'll have a duck on the table with the checks we get from the hospital!"
With that, Mum leapt up and rushed to the kitchen muttering about a roasting pan for the imagined feast. Hanging her head, Euna burined her face in her hands. So, it was hereditary then. Dada passed on, she'd never say goodbye to him. She'd never have a chance to see if the hot headed decisions made so long ago could be reconciled. God knew Patrick was better as an absentee member of the family; but he'd most likely left when mum showed signs of breaking down. So weak, was that all she could be? An abandoner, a lier, a half crazy member of a dysfunctional family unit?
She surprised herself with the loudness of the shriek, the force behind it, the resilience. In a matter or secinds she was up again and intothe kicthen, where mum had come to rest herself against the fridge, singing the tale of Chu Cullian.
"Mummy, we're going on a trip, let's get you packed." she hefted the old woman up tyo standing and marched her to the big bedroom. Once inside she opened all the drawers and instucted the blithering crazy to put al of her clothes in the suitcases. She noted the dust and grime caked in the crevicesie of the room,and her father's grungy clothes still hanging in thier tiny closet taking up most of the room. He'd been that way in life too.
She phoned over to her aunt's in Kenlow and gave her instructions on the house and how the money from the sale would be deposited in mum's accounts. To pay the billsto her Aunt for boarding.
"Thank you, Aunt Joy. I have some busines to see to, then I'll be home to make sure mum's alright. Can you meet us at the station?"
"Yes Yoony, what a shame about Catherine! We haven't heard from her for a while and we just thought that Matthew was bein a lout again.Didn't think he was dead and she was mad."
There was a lapse in the conversation before Euna could manage "
Please be waiting at the platform, I'll- I'll be there at christmas, maybe sooner." she hung up with a sigh and hustled her mum out to the taxi at the curb, locking up the two story prison of a hovel she'd lived in for longer than anyone would thin khealthy. My life is a series of bad houses and poor luck. She griped inwardly before ducking iont othe cab and heading off to PenStreet Station.
Two women were hugging goodbye on the paltform for the 7:15 to Kenlow. A normal sight, tears and smiles, abgs at thier feet. The tall red-haired younger one must be the daughter, and the beaten down one woth hair like frayed white nylon in a dingy floral print dress must be her, maidservant?
"I'll miss you, Yoony. Promise you'll come see us then, when the holidays come around?"
"I will mummy."
She paused, then gave her mother a pitying smile. "Patrick too."
The oncoming train screamed and hissed to a stop and the doors slid open.
"I'll miss you!" they held each other in a crushing hug. Aunty Joy stepped out of the train to claim her sister. The woman nodded gravely to her niece, and put her arm over her sister's stooped shoulders.
"Yoony!" shreiked Catherine out of the window of thier train compartment to her fast retreating daughter.
"What mum?!" Euna tunred and ran under the window as the huge vehicle began moving sluggishly down the track.
"I have always loved you in that dress, you look angelic in blue." Daughter managed a lopsided grin.
"Yoony, you can't come back."
"I know mum."
"If there is a purpose you were meant to serve, it isn't here, it's far off. Go there and forget us, we aren't worth the memory!"
"But you are!" she tried to answer to the tiny window in the fast departing train,waving until the thing was to far off to distinguish any windows at all.
If there had been any otherplans, they were dashed on the triangular tilework floor of the station platform. There was an un-used ticket to Italy in her suitcase, and a refund of a train ticket enough for passage on the ferry. Euna Bridget MacAndrew had a purpose, and she needed to go home, even if she'd never been there. Home was where ever Adam Pierson was.
Flashback, this afternoon
She was here.
It had taken hours of flight and train and taxi to get to Anesica. It had taken another hour to find the villa Adam had metioned. But, if she was tired or grumpy of even a little mad, it vanished when she was in smelling distance of the ocean coast, and viewing distance of a three-story orange stucco home nestld into the cliffside.
"Here please," she requested timidly to the driver. If anything was more intimidating, it was going into a country full of people who didn't speak you languge and knew it. In a fit of generostiy, the car oulled to the curb of the house, and stopped long enough for her to get out and pay.
When the cab was gone , she turned and faced the arbor of roses growing over the gate. She could only hope he was home.
I never thought you had it in you." he remarked coolly, folding his arms over his chest. " One would assume that quitters like to go home and stay there."
"But I am home!" she moved to him, a dengerous attempt, but one that had to be made. "I told you why I left, and now I tell you that I came back because my home is with you!"
Methos cocked his head to the left and unfolded his arms. "Then you'll accept my immortality, the challenges, your aging when I don't?"
" I'll love you, and go where ever you go." They had come together in the moonlit garden, cool, damp grass pushing between thier feet. Methos brushed a tentaive hand through her always messy curls. "Who are you?" she asked soflty, and placed a hand over his to keep it to her cheek.
"Do you need to know?" thier heads moved closer, noses touched.
"Yes." Euna breathed deeply the heady scent of him, soemthing she had missed deeply.
They made love under the stars, the first of many occasions to come. In different houses and gardens, but always they were together, Methos and Euna. Adam and Euna. Pierson andPierson. Husband and wife.
When she grew older, he stayed, when she became ancient he stayed.When Euna MacAndrew Perison died at the age of 93, her very young husband held her hand till death. He buried her in a small town on the mediterrainian, a far shout from Paris, and an even farther one from Ireland, but never to far to come back to.
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