A lot of people have asked us how Methos got into our universe. Unfortunately, the author of that tale has never posted her story. However, it's a pivotal story to our AU canon. This is one attempt to add to that story and maybe fill in a few blanks without stepping on any toes <g>. For those of you that follow the series, this story is set before "Home for the Holidays".
Thanks to my fellow BT authors and to April for beta reading. A special thanks to all of you who have sent such great feedback, it's why we keep writing.
Since we've gotten so many questions on the universe, we set up an announcement list on eGroups. You can find it at http://www.egroups.com/group/BloodtiesArchivist We'll try and post when new stories have been posted and when the archive has been updated.
This is my first attempt at writing in first person. It just came into my brain this way, so I went with it. Triona and Methos can be damn pushy.
Thanks for reading!
Candle in the Window
He was going to leave. I knew he was. Oh, he'd deny it, but in the end, he would go. He'd tell me it was for the best, that he didn't want to hurt me. I wouldn't believe it, but I'd pretend I did. To save face, out of pride, just because it was easier than fighting for something that didn't exist and never would.
It had been a temporary madness. Both of us needing something; something warm and human. And in those few moments of love or lust or whatever it had been, trying to forget what the choices we'd made had cost us.
Methos had shown up on LaCroix's doorstep, and into my life, almost a week ago. Perhaps I should say Adam Pierson showed up. I won't deny it; I'd found the obvious appreciation in his eyes as he watched me more than a little compelling. Not to mention the little frisson of fear that tickled at the pit of my stomach at the thought of what LaCroix would do if I were to ever act on any of the thoughts that meandered through my mind.
Imagine my utter shock when LaCroix encouraged my attraction to his old friend. Knowing that I couldn't act on my fantasies had made me feel safe. Look but don't touch. But I was being given permission to touch as much as I wanted - at least for one night. Some repayment for a debt that LaCroix owed Methos. I should have been horrified, or at least a little miffed, at being treated so. But I wasn't. I'd found myself actually considering it.
Once I'd decided, 'Adam' had been the reticent one. He seemed to suddenly have reservations about collecting his debt. But I wanted this; wanted him. In the years I'd been with LaCroix, I'd secretly wondered what it would be like to be with a mortal lover. I'd never had much luck with the opposite sex when I was younger and then I'd never had time once I became my cousin Stephanie's guardian after the death of our parents.
Once I'd convinced him that it really was okay, it had been everything that I'd ever wanted. He'd been tender, thoughtful, and had made me feel like I was the most special woman in the world. Of course, an accident with a melon knife the next morning made me realize he wasn't quite the mortal lover of my dreams. But it didn't matter. Not even LaCroix being difficult when Methos wanted to stay mattered. All that did was the way he touched me, the way he made me feel.
And he had wanted to stay; in the beginning. I wasn't sure what he'd said to make LaCroix agree to the outrageousness of his proposal, that he should stay on beyond the one night that satisfied the ancient vampire's debt to the Immortal. But agree my Master had, making me feel a joy that was fresh, new and untouched by cares or worries. It had been a week that would warm my heart the rest of my life, however long - or short - it might be.
And now he was going to leave. How could I have fallen in love with him? How could I have been so stupid?
I watched him for a few more minutes, wanting to hold onto the illusion for just a while longer. But also knowing that the look in his eyes, as he stared at a smooth, water polished stone in his hands, would never be for me.
"Who was she?" I asked, finally stepping into the room where Methos sat, alone with memories of someone that I desperately wanted to hate.
Surprised at the sound of my voice, he looked over at where I leaned against the doorframe. He closed his fist around the stone as if to hide it from me. But he couldn't hide his eyes. Couldn't hide the look of loss and love that filled them.
"What do you mean?" he asked with seeming nonchalance.
I moved farther into the room, nodding towards his closed hand. "The woman that makes you so sad. The reason you look at that stone like it's every memory you have of her."
He looked away. I thought for a moment that he wouldn't answer. "It's not what you think," he finally said, his voice strained, emotion reigned tightly in.
I shook my head. "No, it's exactly what I think." I covered his fist with my hand. "You're going to leave because of her."
"Triona," he said, beginning the expected protest. But I was ready for it. Ready for everything.
I stopped him. "It's okay, Methos. Honestly it is." Now was the time to play my part. I was good at pretending. He'd believe me. No pesky blood bond to give me away. "I long ago gave up any fantasies I may have had about true love."
With his free hand he pulled me down into his lap. I didn't want to be there. It was too close, and far too intimate. But I didn't want to make a fuss either. In the end I relented and let him hold me. Tried not to remember what his body felt like against mine. Blocked out the feel of his hands against me, his thighs pressing into mine.
"You shouldn't, you know," he said softly. "Give up on true love. It's the only kind you deserve." His fist opened, revealing the stone, almost totally smooth but for one jagged edge. He'd held it so tightly that it had cut into his hand. I watched as the small cut healed before my eyes.
"And this is where you tell me that you can't give me that love." I closed my eyes, reminding myself of the part I'd set myself. "Methos, please, there's nothing for you to be sorry for. We didn't make any promises - to ourselves or to each other. You needed something when you came here. And I needed something too. We gave each other whatever that something was, didn't we?"
He kissed my cheek, sensing somehow that it was all I'd allow, all I could stand. "We did," he said simply, softly. "I should have never come here. Should have never stayed."
This declaration stabbed at my heart. "I'm sorry you feel that way," I said, knowing my voice sounded stiff and formal. "Sorry that you regret the time we spent together." I forced back the tears that pressed against my eyelids. I wanted to get up, didn't want him touching me. It hurt so much. The pleasure of his hands was turning into a burning pain that I couldn't bear. I must have made some move to do so, because Methos' arm tightened around me.
"No!" he protested. "I didn't mean it that way, Triona." He seemed genuinely distressed. "The only regret I have is hurting you, misleading you...misleading myself. You deserve so much better. Better than me, better than Lucien. I should have left the moment I realized that this had become more than a way to inconvenience Lucien. But I didn't because you made me feel alive. And I've felt dead these last weeks." Once more that pervasive sadness laced his voice.
Taking my chin in his hand, he gently turned my head to look in my eyes. "I could never regret making love to you," he said as he pressed his lips against mine. This time, I let him kiss me, knowing it would have to be the last time. I allowed him in, our lips and mouths seeking that connection we both felt but that was to be severed. I wanted to remember the taste of him, the feel, the scent of him.
My heart was breaking, for that's all the feeling that swept over me could be. I gently pulled away and stood up. This time he didn't try and stop me. I think he was relieved that I was being so civil about the whole thing. I licked my lips, taking a steadying breath before speaking. "Before you go, please tell me about her. I'd like to know."
He nodded, not denying that he was indeed leaving, once more looking at the stone. "Her name was Alexa. She found this rock on a beach in Santorini and gave it to me, joking that rocks, at least, must make me feel young."
I smiled a little at that. I had no idea how old Methos really was, other than older than LaCroix, but that was old enough. I waited for him to continue, somehow knowing that this story didn't have a happy ending.
He stood up, looking at the rock one last time before shoving it, and his hand, deep into his pants pocket. Taking a deep breath, he finally told me, "She died; cancer. No cure."
I nodded. What could I possibly say? I was sorry? I was alive and Alexa was dead. Now Methos felt what? Guilty that he slept with me, or guilty that he cared? I couldn't fight a dead woman. I wouldn't even try. "It wasn't long ago." Somehow my question became a statement.
"Too long but not long enough..." he began.
"But not long enough to be doing what we've been doing," I finished for him. "Please don't say you're sorry, Methos," I said, pleading and hating it.
He started to say something, then thought better of it, shaking his head in frustration. Instead, he walked to the door. I wanted him to go; I wanted him to stay. Stopping in the doorway, his back to me, he said, "I won't say I'm sorry, but I won't say goodbye either."
"No promises, Methos."
"No promises, Triona," he agreed. "But we will meet again. You and I both know it. Time, a little of it, and then we'll see. Will you give me that?" he asked, turning back to look at me with those beautiful eyes that I would happily drown in.
I thought that I would give him anything he asked for, do anything he wanted. But what I said was, "You know where to find me." I smiled, reassuring and caring.
"Yeah, I know where to find you," he agreed. He gave me his own smile and I thought my knees would buckle. I put my hand on a chair back to keep me steady. "Keep a candle burning in the window for me."
"I will," I whispered. "Be well, Methos."
He nodded once then turned, striding out the door.
I held my hand out in a futile gesture to stop what had already happened. "I love you," I whispered to the empty room. "God help me, I love you." Now he was gone. Now I could stop the play. The tears I'd been fighting finally won and ran down my face unchecked. I didn't know if I had the right anymore to pray, but I pray I did. "Please, God, bring him back to me."
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