Characters: Methos, OFC, JD
Rating: PG 17
Disclaimer: I know they aren't mine (sigh).
Feedback: Of course! Judith44@istar.ca
Archive: Seventh Dimension, HLGenFanfic, Methosscrolls, anyone who wants it, but ask first.
Summary: Basically fantasy
The Light and the Half-Light
By Judith Hill
The evening was still very young and the music not yet over loud as Methos leaned his back against the bar. The incessant west coast rain had driven him indoors for the evening. He took a long draft from the fancy glass bierstein Joe had brought him from Paris as a present. Joe had had a large, elaborate 'M' engraved into the glass and it was quite a handsome thing. It now lived under the bar, unless, of course, it was in use. Joe had recently brought in a new, local micro-brewery dark ale which suited Methos' taste. He liked it warm, having drunk his ale that way for a very long time. It was his personal opinion that chilling things dulled the flavour.
Behind Methos, Joe was polishing glasses, rearranging things, generally just puttering as long as the crowd was still small.
"How's the stein?" he asked Methos.
"Holds a decent amount," replied Methos. "Nice engraving. German?"
"I think so. Do you know where Mac's gone?"
"Italy. Bet it's not raining there!" Methos said with a distinct note of wistfulness. His pant legs were still soaked from slogging through the rain. He took another gulp, enjoying the slightly bitter taste of the dark, chestnut-coloured brew.
The door to the bar opened and a group of young people came in, laughing, probably come from a movie. As the door swung to, another hand pushed it open and a woman entered. Methos, who had been watching for just such an event, was immediately interested. She was by herself. As she surveyed the room, she slipped off her rain jacket, then walked toward a small table from which she could see the band but be out of the crowd. Methos watched the way she moved, gracefully, even elegantly. She had the full figure Methos preferred. He could not understand the modern preference for starving waifs. And he liked her hair, reddish brown, long, worn loose. Behind him, Joe cleared his throat.
"Down, laddie. There's probably a boyfriend or a husband out back parking the car!"
"I sincerely hope not," Methos replied. As he continued, unabashedly, to stare at the new arrival, she glanced in his direction and their eyes met briefly; then she looked away and spoke to the waitress who had arrived at the table. In that instant, Methos experienced the distinct impression that he had seen her before, but Methos had met so many people in so many places and times that seeing someone he thought he knew was an almost everyday occurrence and he thought no more of it.
The waitress came to the bar and gave the order to Mike, who poured a glass of red wine. The waitress took the wine to the table and bent over to hear something the woman was saying. The waitress turned away from the table and headed straight for Methos. When she got to him, she said, "You have an admirer, Adam. She would like you to join her. Go easy on her!"
Methos turned to give Joe a smug smirk. Aware that the woman was watching him, he straightened himself to walk nonchalantly to the table. In a stage whisper, Joe said, "Were you always this easy?" and laughed.
At the table for two, the woman motioned Methos to sit down and again Methos experienced that feeling of the familiar, of déjà-vu. He offered his hand, which she took, telling him that her name was Rosalind. He sat.
"Nice name. I'm Adam." And he smiled.
'Yes, I know," she said enigmatically. When he seemed surprised she added, "The waitress told me."
"Oh, of course," he replied.
"Do you come here often?" she asked, tilting her head slightly to the side, her hair catching the light. She was aware of Methos' attraction to her and it pleased her to tease him with it. She leaned back and crossed her legs seductively, her skirt falling away from mid-thigh down. It had the desired effect.
"All the time," Methos answered, not entirely sure what the question had been.
From there, the conversation went through the pleasantries in short order, the weather, the boat show on at the arena, the weather, the difficulty of catching a ferry before the rush on Fridays, the weather. Methos chatted about Paris; she had been there. Italy. Been there, too. Another ale and another red wine had gone down before the talk got cosier. Did she have a boyfriend? Was he seeing anyone? In the meantime, the music had been forgotten, the chairs had been edged closer and heads leaned more intimately together. She watched his eyes watching her décolletage. After the third round, enough time had gone by for the sake of decency and it got down to a matter of your place or mine.
Behind the bar, Joe was highly amused. He had a bet on with Mike; Joe said they'd stay until after ten while Mike was sure they wouldn't make it that long. When Methos got up, brought his stein back to the bar, weaving slightly, and asked Joe to call a cab, Joe shook his head and smiled. As he turned to the phone, he handed Mike a ten dollar bill.
The door to Methos' apartment had barely closed before their arms were wrapped around each other. Noisy, hungry kisses raised the temperature even further. Coats fell to the floor, shoes were kicked off. Methos took her arm and pulled her, more enthusiastically than gently, into his bedroom. Tugging down the zipper to her dress and letting it slip off her smooth body, he briefly thanked God for modern underwear; laced bodices, hip rolls and farthingales had cooled many a man's ardour in former eras. She had him out of his shirt in seconds. They fell as one onto the still unmade bed.
Just drunk enough to be completely uninhibited and sober enough to enjoy things to the full, it was some time before their passions, which had been highly charged and energetic, were spent. And as they lay together in the dark, Methos knew one thing: he had made love to this woman before, not once but many times. The feeling of utter familiarity was complete. He knew her but at the same time, he had never seen her before. He did not know her face.
As sleepiness became heavier, he fancied that he saw her face shimmer, change a little, become someone else but when he rubbed his eyes and opened them again, it was the same woman. And yet not the same.
"Are you awake?" he asked.
"Always," she said.
"Do I know you? I mean, other than in the biblical sense?"
'Yes," came the answer.
"When? I mean, where?"
"I have always been with you. I am with you wherever you go. I am your oldest friend." Her voice seemed to take on a sonorous resonance, making it echo in Methos' mind.
"Do you know who I am?" he asked, trying to think past the sleepiness and the alcohol.
"You are Methos. You have made love to me more than a thousand times." Now her voice was coming from inside Methos' head. He could barely see her in the dark and he was having to fight to keep his eyes open. He began to drift.
He stood on a plain which stretched as far as the eye could see. The skies were heavy with oily clouds; the wind chilled his flesh. It was raining. In his hand, which was covered with blood, he held a sword; at his feet lay the body of a woman. Around him he heard the shouts of the attacking horsemen, the screams of the dying and the wailing of children. He was aware of being in the scene but somehow not part of it. In the air before him, a shape was forming, a lightness with the heady odour of roses. The sounds of battle faded and the sweet, delicate strains of soft music filled his ears, although he still saw the people around him, running for their lives, lifting their arms to strike or defend themselves, throwing firebrands into dwellings; oblivious to him, human beings still fought, still died, still shrieked in terror or in triumph. Soft light glowed before him, outlining a human form which approached him, floating, graceful, warm. The form bent down, arms outstretched to the body of the woman. He looked down to his feet. From out of the dead woman, another light grew, took shape and rose to meet the first. The two glowing forms rose silently into the air but before they faded to nothing, he saw a face, a face which looked into his own eyes and smiled.
He was lying on his back, one arm draped across the leather cuirass of the body which lay beside him, his fingers still curled about the hilt of a knife. Air had just rushed back into his dead lungs and he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Someone was working the battlefield, looking for weapons, armour, money and trinkets among the dead. He waited. Further off, someone was shouting orders. A horse and rider thundered by, kicking up mud from the churned earth and splattering his torn tunic. The looter was coming closer. In a few minutes, the looter loomed over him, and his hand shot out to grab the man by the throat. His other hand plunged the knife swiftly into the man's belly, up under the ribs, and twisted. Even as the body fell on top of him, he looked for the light. He had come to expect it now. These last times, the figure was always quite distinct, the face familiar. No longer just a glow, it was now the body of a young woman with flowing hair framed in a halo of light, graceful and seductive. As her arms welcomed the soul of the dead man, her robe brushed his face and his own spirit leapt within him.
It was dark on the beach where the lights of the city didn't reach. He pulled his sword out of the chest of his defeated adversary and watched the man drop to his knees, accepting the inevitable. He saw his ghostly companion appear against the blackness of the night, hair billowing, arms spread toward him. He raised his sword and brought it down with all his might, cleaving his enemy's head from its shoulders. In the seconds before the quickening began, he saw the two spirits rise and he was aware of the yearning in his body, the aching desire in his soul to go with her into the heavens, to be with her forever.
He floated over the abyss of endless space. Before him, luminous, radiant, the apparition beckoned and he felt himself drawn, and gladly, into its welcoming embrace.
"Do you know me now?" Her thought was without sound and filled the void.
"Yes." The thought warmed his spirit and made it sing.
"I love you." The radiance washed over him, filling him with its peace. The strength of her love was infinite; brimming over, his spirit sang its joy.
"I know," whispered his soul.
"What is my name?" The apparition sighed and heaven moved.
"It is Death. Have you come for me?"
"Not yet, Beloved. But I shall never leave you "
Methos was shivering slightly as he woke to a new, gray morning. He was naked, the covers having slid to the floor. He was also alone.
He got up, pulled on a robe and looked round the apartment but there was no sign of his erstwhile bedmate. His sleep must have been very sound for her to have left without waking him. Which did not explain why he felt as if he hadn't slept at all. He showered and dressed quickly. He heated up some old coffee in the microwave and drank it. Unable to rid himself of the images of the night and unable to concentrate on anything else, he pulled on his coat and shoes and went out.
The rain was barely noticeable against his face as he walked up the hill from the harbour front. It was Saturday and too early for much traffic. He had the normally busy streets to himself in the cold, damp morning. He walked through the downtown area to the east side, passing the shrouded forms of last night's drunks huddled on benches and under cardboard lean-to's. Used hypodermics swam in the puddles with condoms and cigarette butts; the street walkers had been replaced by Chinese shop-owners sweeping the litter from their doorways. A police car slowly drew level and drove by. He walked on.
He turned south, away from the harbour, his thoughts still fixated on the vivid scenery of his dreams, if they were dreams. Thoughts of her filled his waking mind, and he was oblivious of the squalid street around him. The dreams had been so many throughout the night, always the same. He killed; she appeared. Always there was the stink of blood and the scent of roses. He searched through his memories. The killing was there; those memories were never very far away. But he did not remember ever seeing any apparitions, any light, anything unearthly. The only emotions he recalled were rage and the killing fever.
Two hours had passed. Before he arrived at the bridge, he turned west again. As he walked back toward the downtown core looming ahead, its buildings indistinct in the mist, his mind still dwelled on the woman who had permeated his dreams so completely. After another hour, he arrived at Joe's, hoping that its owner would be in. He was.
'How's the head?" Joe called out, then corrected himself. "Oh, forgot. You lucky bastards don't get hangovers!"
"I'd prefer a hangover to what's going on in my skull right now," replied Methos. He poured himself a mug of Joe's fresh coffee and sat down beside him.
Joe was doing his regular Saturday morning chores with the books. As Methos sat beside him, he looked at the Immortal's face. "You look like hell," he said.
"Thanks. I really needed that," replied Methos.
"Something the matter? You were getting pretty maudlin by the time you went home last night," Joe said, a worried look creasing his forehead.
"Maudlin? What are you talking about? I had a great time. It's just some freaking nightmares have got to me."
call practically crying into your beer over being alone having a
"Alone? I was with a woman. Joe, you saw me, you called me a cab. And you lost a bet to Mike. I saw you pass him ten bucks."
"Yeah, I passed Mike ten bucks because the Canucks lost again. What did you think it was for?"
"Never mind what I thought it was for. But, you saw the woman! Gracie spoke to her. Come on, Joe, quit kidding. I'm not in the mood for it."
"You were not with any woman, Methos. And you were some pissed off about it!"
"Joe, we were right over there!" And he got up and went to the table he remembered so clearly. He could still hear her voice, her laughter. He remembered her hair, her legs and his intense reaction to her. As he got to the table, he paused. It was here. She was sitting right here, he thought. He touched the table top, tracing with his finger the place where her glass had been.
And he smelled the unmistakeable smell of roses.