Notes: This story takes place
during one portion of a day in the episode Forgive Us Our Trespasses. I’ve
never inserted a scene into a Highlander episode before, so this is a
new thing for me and we’ll have to see how successful my attempt
was. It’s also been a while since I’ve written anything that
takes place over this particular time period in this series of stories.
Most of the stories I’ve written in this section of the timeline I did
back in 1997-98, and hopefully, I’m a better writer than I was back
then if nothing else. I’ve tried to match the mood between this new
story, and those I wrote nearly ten years back. This takes place before
Turning the Page,
and is something of the lull before the storm. Lots of bad stuff awaits
them, but they don’t know that yet.
Some of you may remember I was on a Japanese Death Poetry kick a few
months back. Well, a lot of the mood of this story is the result, along
with including pieces of said poetry as part of the story, and the
title. All the poem notes will be at the end of the story.
I was writing this during the discussion of FUOT on my LJ, and came to find I
had a fairly different take from everyone else on what was going on
between Duncan and Methos and their relationship at the time. Not that
that was too much of a surprise! Thank you to everyone who participated
in that discussion. It gave me so much to think about as I was writing,
and it definitely made me feel like I’d written a stronger story
because of it.
Only Triona belongs to me, no one else does. But we all knew that,
Many thanks to Ninajabe and Tammy for beta reading!
If you enjoyed the story, please let me know. It’s nice to know people
are actually reading :)
Like the morning
was my love.
And since we
I dislike nothing
As the breaking
light of day.
~ Mibu no Tadamine
“What the hell are you doing here, Triona?” Methos demanded, standing
in the doorway of his Paris apartment.
With some effort she bit back an angry response, glancing at Amanda,
who was standing just behind him rolling her eyes and making strangling
motions with her hands. Taking a deep breath, she pushed past him. “I’m
selling Girl Guide cookies! Any more stupid questions?”
The door closed none too gently behind her. “Very amusing.”
Amanda came over, kissing her on the cheek. “Hey, honey.”
Hugging the older woman, Triona whispered, “I see he’s in a mood.”
She laughed softly. “You could say that.”
Grabbing Triona’s arm, he pulled her around, the two of them facing off
with matching glares. “You shouldn’t be here. We had an
“No!” she cut him off. “You and Duncan had an agreement! I don’t recall
being consulted, let alone agreeing, to this ridiculous arrangement!”
“I think that’s my cue to go,” Amanda said. “You two have fun!”
He shot her a look. “Amanda---“
“I’m not going to rat you out to Duncan!” With a smug look, Amanda
added, “especially since this was my idea!” Before Methos could
muster a response she waved cheerily. “Call me about that little
problem, darling!” And with that she was gone.
The sudden silence was deafening. Triona’s earlier bravado had faded
into nervousness. She’d known he was going to be irritated with her for
showing up on his doorstep, but she hadn’t expected anger. Maybe
letting Amanda talk her into this hadn’t been the best idea she’d had
lately. And maybe her deepest fear had every reason for being; that
thought whispered its way across her consciousness like so much poison.
She’d been miserable in the weeks following Duncan’s ultimatum that
Methos stay away if Duncan were to continue as her teacher. Not just
because of his conditions, but the tension and stress that had resulted
from Methos and Duncan’s estrangement. It was like a weight dragging
them all down. So when she’d told Amanda how unhappy she’d been when
the two had met for dinner a few nights before, it hadn’t taken much
for the older Immortal to convince her young friend to do what Triona
wanted -- not what the two men wanted.
Sighing tiredly, she rubbed her eyes. Well, there was no help for it.
It was too close to dawn for her to leave now -- not that the timing
hadn’t seemed like the perfect plan before. You’ve been hanging around
Methos and LaCroix too long, she chided herself. Getting just a tad
manipulative, aren’t you? Pushing aside her lecturing little voice, she
took off her coat, tossing it over a nearby chair. “I missed you
too, Methos,” she said with an edge she couldn’t quite soften. Instead
of looking at him, she stared fixedly at the metal sculpture in the
“Come here, Triona,” he commanded softly.
Briefly, she considered ignoring him, but thought better of it. She
didn’t want to fight with him, not now. Complying, arms wrapped tightly
around herself, she looked up at him defiantly. “If you’re going to
yell at me, then go ahead! But I’m not sorry I came!”
Shaking his head resignedly he pulled her to him sharply. “You
shouldn’t be here.”
“So you keep saying,” she replied with an attempt at nonchalance.
Triona could feel how tensely he was holding himself.
“Duncan doesn’t scare me! What’s he going to do? Glower at me?”
He laughed, but it wasn’t a happy sound. “That isn’t what I want to
hear.” His hands tightened around her upper arms.
“Well, life is full of little disappointments, isn’t it?” she sniped.
She wanted to wrest out of his grip, but forced herself to calm. It
wasn’t as if she hadn’t had plenty of practice controlling her emotions
over the last few years. Forcing out her breath, she made herself relax.
“And what about me, Triona? Do I scare you?” The hands tightened a
Looking him straight in the eye, she asked in return, “Is that what
you’d like? To drive me away too?” Something flashed in his eyes, and
then he was pushing her away, stalking across the room. Nearly
stumbling at the unexpectedness of his action, she clenched her hands
into fists, eyes following him. “You should know by now, I don’t
frighten that easily!”
His hand paused on the wardrobe door. “And you think that’s a good
thing?” Again, the humourless laugh.
Years spent as a mortal in the Vampire community had left her with a
very high fear threshold. She knew very well that Methos thought she
hadn’t even the sense God gave her when it came to walking away from
situations that anyone else wouldn’t have even approached in the first
place. When it came right down to it, that was the story of her life.
Opening the wardrobe, he pulled out a pile of clothes, quickly
dressing. Triona stayed where she was, watching him silently. Finally
she said, “I certainly didn’t expect my presence to drive you out of
your apartment.” No, you expected many things, but not this. Fool.
Catching her gaze briefly, he hung his head, arms akimbo. “It’s not
“Isn’t it?” Her voice shook a little. She’d hoped they’d moved past the
events of the last year. Obviously, she’d been wrong. The last weeks
had brought the inescapable realization that this arrangement with Mac
suited Methos quite well. Keeping her out of the way so he didn’t
have to deal with her for as long as possible. But she couldn’t live
her life like this anymore. If this was the end, then Methos needed to
tell her so, once and for all.
“No, it isn’t. I just have to be somewhere.” Sighing, he moved closer.
“We’ll talk when I come back.” Still, he wouldn’t meet her eyes.
Something was going on -- what was he hiding? “It’s something to do
with why Amanda was here, isn’t it?” she demanded. “The ‘little
problem’. Whatever it is, it’s something that’s just happened,
otherwise she would have never convinced me to come here tonight.”
“I need to talk to MacLeod,” he finally admitted.
“You need to talk to Duncan? You haven’t seen me in weeks, but you need
to see him right this instant? The same Duncan who has treated you like
a pariah?” Shaking her head, she demanded, “What the hell is going on,
He eyed her appraisingly for a few moments before deciding to tell her
what she wanted to know. Eyes widening in disbelief as Methos explained
the situation with Stephen Keane and Amanda’s concern that Duncan was
going to get himself killed, Triona sank into a nearby chair. “So I’m
going to go talk to the pig-headed Scot and try and make him see
reason,” he finished.
“You’ve lost your mind! That’s it isn’t it? The stress of the last few
months has addled your wits!” She shook her head, trying to
process what he’d told her.
“Why? Just because I’m going to talk to him?”
“No, because you know as well as I do that it’s pointless! And if you
know that, then you have something else in mind, and you’re insane!”
Jumping out of the chair, she started to pace around in circles.
“You’re borrowing trouble, Triona!”
“The hell I am! No, never mind!” she forestalled his reply. “You want
me to believe that, then fine, but tell me why you even care? Why,
Methos? You are the last person to put yourself in the middle of
someone else’s problem, and yet here you are, ready to do just that.
And for what? You don’t owe Duncan anything!” What on earth had
possessed him? This wasn’t normal, not at all. But nothing had been
normal since that morning she’d walked into the sitting room in Ontario
to find him with LaCroix, drunk and lost. The morning he’d stopped
being Adam Pierson forever.
“Don’t I?” was asked with no emotion, the words hanging in the silence.
“No!” That one word exploded from her, all the fear and anguish she
felt held in it. “Why are you doing this to yourself? What have you
ever been than a friend to him? Dear god, you left Alexa’s side when
she was dying to help him! To save him from himself! When the hell did
Duncan MacLeod earn the right to be your judge and jury?” She turned
away, hands at her sides, fingers held like claws. “And just when did
you decide he should be?” Triona’s voice broke on the last.
She shivered in the blooming light of the dawn – his chill or hers? She
couldn’t tell anymore. If she walked into the shaft of light moving up
the windows across from her, the chill would be gone. Then she would
burn. But it would only be a fleeting sensation. She would heal, and
the chill, the cold, would return once more. With great effort she
forced back the desperate thoughts, looked away from the sun’s
Finally, his words pulled her away from where her mind had
strayed. “He let me live, Triona.” Now he stood right behind her,
his voice so quiet that it barely brushed her senses.
Trembling, she could feel his breath against her hair. Never had she
been more thankful she didn’t share a mental bond with Methos as she
did with LaCroix. The intensity was smothering enough as it was.
Feeling it, experiencing it, would have surely broken her. She wasn’t
“Cassandra would have taken my head.” His hand rested now against the
back of her neck as he leaned in, lips brushing against her hair. “He
asked for my life.”
Choking back a sob, she fought the urge to pull away. It was like
suffocating. His nearness, his touch; there was nothing she could say.
There weren’t the words for this, nor would there ever be. Now she
leaned into him, letting out her breath slowly, closing her eyes as his
arms slipped around her, holding her as if she might break if he held
her too tightly. The steady beat of his heart against her back calmed
her. For just a moment, she could forget reality and hold him
close to her soul.
Then he was turning her around, tilting her head up, searching her
eyes. “Do you still trust me?” It shocked her to realize he didn’t seem
to know the answer. “I know you love me, but trust? Can you still trust
She wanted to scream, furious at him for asking such a thing. But
instead, she replied with a simple, “Yes.” There was no need for her to
consider her answer – it had never changed. From the moment she’d
opened the door to see him standing there that first time, through
every grief, every sorrow, till this moment, the answer had only ever
been yes. Holding her gaze a few moments longer, he finally nodded, as
if accepting what she said. Whether he truly did or not, she had no
real idea; could only hope it was so.
As if by some silent accord, they parted. Triona once more sat in the
chair she’d vacated only a few minutes before, while Methos picking up
his sword, went to the closet, pulling out his coat and placing the
weapon in its harness.
“He won’t thank you for being a busybody, you know.” Her voice sounded
normal now. Calm, matter-of-fact.
This time when he looked at her, he seemed more like himself, a smile
half-forming on his lips. “I’m sure he won’t; he’s too much of a pain
in the ass to appreciate my wisdom.” Now he really was smiling. He went
to the front door, pulling it open. “Try and keep yourself amused while
“Methos!” She stopped him, running across the room to hug him fiercely.
“Don’t be long, okay?” That was all she said, knowing that he already
knew all the things she didn’t say; couldn’t say.
Nodding, he kissed her softly, smiling as he walked out the door.
She stared at the closed door for a time before purposefully turning
away. Wandering absently around the living area, she ran her fingers
across the furniture as she passed. Everywhere there were piles of
books and journals. If Methos wasn’t reading, he was writing, and
everywhere he went he left the evidence of his favourite pastimes
strewn in little piles all over, like fallen leaves in autumn. Picking
up one of the brown leather-bound books, she let it fall open, scanning
the pages. If it was written in a language she could actually read, she
was free to do so. Triona knew that Methos saw it as a sort of game
between them; motivation for her to learn new languages so she could
read his journals. So far he hadn’t succeeded. French, Latin, and
Japanese, in varying levels of competency, suited her well enough for
the moment. This however, she couldn’t read – some sort of Greek she
thought. Flipping a few more pages, she came across two photographs,
face down, with words in Japanese written across them. This she could
Her father’s company had assigned him to their Kyoto office when she
was ten, and they’d lived in Japan for the next five years before
moving back home to Vancouver. In college, she’d continued to study the
language. When she’d started working, several of her clients had been
based in Japan, and she had spent a great deal of time traveling back
and forth for several years. While she spoke the language quite well,
reading the characters was more of a challenge. She picked up the first
one. It was a poem, one she recognized:
‘Alone in bed
image clearly comes--
can see her long hair,
the touch of my palms.’
She turned the photo over. “I didn’t even know he had this,” she
whispered into the quiet. Amanda must have given it to him. It had been
taken several months ago, just before everything had gone to hell.
Duncan had invited them all for dinner, and Amanda had a new camera
that she was intent on playing with. Methos had threatened to take it
away if she didn’t stop flashing the wretched contraption into his
eyes. Triona and Duncan, a little tired of the flash themselves, had
applauded Methos on as he made good on his threat. Amanda pouted and
wheedled, but she didn’t get her camera back till the end of the
evening. While Methos had possession, he’d taken a few pictures
himself, except much more quietly, and without the flash going off.
This photo was of her in profile, leaning against the wall, staring out
the window into the dark. She hadn’t even realized he’d taken it.
Laying it back on the pages of the journal, she picked up the second
photo, translating once again. Another poem:
‘Whom then are there now,
my age (so far advanced)
can hold as friends?
not friends of former days.’
Her throat tightened as she turned it over. This time it was a group
photo: Duncan, with Amanda on his lap, Triona sitting next to them, her
legs tucked under her. They were all laughing; a moment of friendship
and joy captured. Would it ever be that way again? Shaking her head,
she blinked back the tears that threatened as she placed the photo back
the way she’d found it, closing the journal and setting it back on top
of the pile. Fitting she supposed, that the only outlet he seemed to
find for his grief was in the written word. Now she truly understood
LaCroix’s words just before she’d left for France….
Ontario, Canada, a few months before
“He is just a man. For all his great age, he has a man’s sorrows, a
man’s hopes, and a man’s fears.” The sound of his voice melded with the
wind that blew off the lake.
She didn’t turn, just nodded, wrapping her coat tighter around herself
as she stared out over the water. It wasn’t a surprise that LaCroix had
come to her here. It was impossible to shield the tempest of her
emotions from the ancient vampire, so she hadn’t even tried.
The last day had been exhausting, beginning that morning with the
unexpected discovery of Methos sitting with LaCroix. Then came the
revelation of his past, why he’d sent her back to Toronto, what had
happened over the last few weeks. His grief over having had to kill his
old companion Silas, and Duncan’s seeming inability to accept his past,
letting it overshadow their relationship here in the present. He’d
fully expected that she would react similarly, and that expectation had
made her weep inwardly for his hurt. But outwardly, she’d carefully
erected a visage of calm, not letting her own uncertainties touch her
reactions. In the years she’d known Methos, he’d slowly, almost
imperceptibly, thrown off ‘Adam Pierson’, but the remnants had still
been there, enough so that the realization this morning that Adam was
truly gone had been one she was still grappling with. She’d left
Methos, who had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep in the hours
just before dawn, needing time alone in the cold and wind to try to
settle the worry and sorrow that plagued her thoughts.
“That’s why he came here; because he is only ever Methos to you.” It
was the truth. One she accepted. But it still hurt, knowing that he had
come here seeking refuge in the comforting familiarity of his
relationship with the ancient Roman vampire -- that her presence had
been secondary, if even that. In fact, he hadn’t even wanted to see
her, had said so. But LaCroix had had other ideas.
He didn’t deny her words. Instead, he said, “I know you have long
wondered why he has never fully let you into his life, but it was not
my tale to tell. I was never able to convince him that he could reveal
all to you, that he was safe here with us. His fear was that even if
you accepted his past, that he would lose your trust.” The vampire
placed a hand on her shoulder. “Give him time to adjust. He has spent
more than two thousand years knowing that Kronos was out there,
somewhere, and would find him again one day; even if he rarely allowed
himself to consciously acknowledge that fact.”
Finally, she turned, looking up at him. “I will give him whatever he
needs, whatever he wants, but I don’t think he’s going to let me. I’ll
wake up one morning, and he’ll be gone. That’s his defense mechanism,
you know that better than I. Leaving anyone and anything that makes him
feel vulnerable, that makes him care. Leaving the people who love him.”
LaCroix looked thoughtful. “I do not think that will be the case this
time,” he placed a finger across Triona’s lips when she would speak,
“and even if it is, you must remember, child, for us, for him, nothing
is forever. Even if years pass, trust you will find him again. That is
the way of our world.”
Closing her eyes, she nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She knew
what he said was true, but still had yet to feel the reality of her
immortality in her soul. “I should go back. I don’t want him to wake up
LaCroix stroked her cheek with one cool finger. “Trust in yourself,
Triona. With patience, love, and time, I promise you, all will be
I should live long,
perhaps the present days
be dear to me,
as past time filled with grief
quietly back in thought.
Fujiwara no Kiyosuke
Paris, France, present day
Triona let Methos’ kisses, the feel of his hands, wake her completely.
She had puttered around the apartment for some time, catching up on
work, reading, and then had let a wave of sleep take her in its gentle
embrace. It had been so long since she’d truly slept well, but being
here, amongst his things, the lingering scent of him reassuring in its
familiarity, here she fell into a peaceful and dreamless sleep.
“Did you have a nice nap?” his voice was a soft rasp that made her
catch her breath.
“Lovely. But waking up was so much better.”
He lay along side her on his bed, his hip cupped against the bend of
her waist, his hand brushing up across her ribs, over her breast, the
tips of his fingers settling against her throat. She shifted slightly;
her body molding closer into his, reveling in the warmth that he always
seemed to radiate, like a cat in the sun. Patience, love, and time, she
whispered silently to herself. It was a start. She felt more hopeful
than she had allowed herself to be for months. They lay like that,
content for just touch and the beat of their hearts together in the
silence. No matter what troubles lay between them, in moments like
these, she was genuinely happy to just be with him. It had been like
that from the beginning, when she’d spent far too many years not
recalling what simple joy was. Something not really remembered till
that first morning they’d spent together, a first morning she’d thought
would be their last. Gentle, sweet, and caring Adam Pierson had changed
her life in a handful of hours; Methos had changed her entire universe
with a few hours more.
“I think there’s strawberry jam in the fridge,” he whispered teasingly
in her ear.
Giggling, she wrapped her arms around him, not entirely surprised his
thoughts had been on that same morning as hers had been. “Maybe one day
I’ll let you coat me with jam, but not today!”
“More the fool me, but yes, I promise!”
“You should have let me do it then, you know.” She could feel his smile
against her cheek.
“So you keep telling me.”
“Only because I’m right.”
“I didn’t realize at the time you had a strawberry jam fetish!” she
protested. Holding him tighter, she sighed, not realizing she had till
he began to stroke her arm.
“I know it’s been difficult… I’ve been difficult. And I know this
hasn’t been easy for you.”
“You don’t need to justify yourself to me, Methos. I understand. But I
just can’t go on as we have been. Not anymore.”
“I won’t try and make you continue with the agreement Mac and I had.
You were right, you didn’t agree to it, and it’s not fair to you. If he
won’t accept that, then we’ll make other arrangements, even if I have
to complete your training myself. We’ll work something out.”
She shook her head. “We won’t have to. You and Amanda need to have a
little faith!” she exclaimed. “Duncan made a commitment to me, to be my
teacher. You don’t think he takes that seriously? No matter that the
two of you have issues, in the end, he will feel honour bound to finish
what he’s begun. And he will.” She pulled away, sitting up. “He may
grumble and glower, but in the end, he’ll do as he promised.”
Methos looked up at her skeptically, toying with a strand of her hair.
“Yes.” When it seemed as if he was going to argue with her, she shushed
him. “I don’t want to talk about Duncan anymore.”
“Fine,” he agreed, a smile tugging at his lips. “Your wish is my
command. It is!” he protested at her indelicate snort. “So how was your
day, darling?” he asked, merriment in his eyes.
Rolling her eyes, she played along. “Oh, the usual. Went and got my
hair done, picked up the dry cleaning, had a tryst with the milkman.”
This time Methos snorted. “Okay, so I didn’t pick up the dry cleaning!”
“Your point?” She brushed her hand through his hair. “Actually, I got
some work done. Moved around a few of your investments, made you enough
money so you can take me on that trip to Paris you always promised.”
Grinning, she kissed the tip of his nose. “Oh, that’s right, we’re in
Paris. Never mind.”
Gently pulling her back down to lay next to him, he said, “This wasn’t
exactly what I had in mind when I said we’d travel one day, I hope you
know that, love.”
“Yeah well, I’ve learned that nothing ever goes as planned. Maybe one
day we can go somewhere, just the two of us.”
“I’d like that.” Suddenly, he got up off the bed. “But till then…”
Smiling mysteriously, he went over to a small wooden chest chased with
silver filigree at the far end of the room, opening it and removing an
indigo blue glass bottle. Coming back to the bed, he sat on the edge
and instructed her to close her eyes.
“Why?” she asked, sitting up on her elbows, mystified by his request.
“Because,” was his one word reply. He pushed her back down onto the
bed. “No peeking!”
Deciding there was no harm in humouring him, she did as he asked and
lay back on the pillows, shutting her eyes and listening to the small
noises he made as he did whatever it was he was doing. She felt the
sensation of air brushing past her face, followed by a scent that was
intoxicating, like a summer garden at the end of a long hot day.
“Tell me what you smell,” he commanded softly, his voice not much more
than a whisper.
Not immediately answering, she first took a few gentle breaths,
inhaling the scent that now seemed to permeate the air around her. She
sighed a little, reminded of what it had been like to stand in the
warmth of the sun, summertime walks, and autumn picnics; days that were
now far behind her. Finally she replied, with a note of wistfulness in
her voice, “The end of a long summer day, Japanese oranges at
Christmas, the sandalwood writing chest you keep on your desk, the waft
of incense in an old church.”
Then his lips were brushing hers and she shivered a little at that warm
touch. He drew away, and then there was a sensation of coolness, glass
brushing against the inside of her wrist, liquid spreading slowly, his
fingers gently working scented oil into delicate skin. Then the process
was repeated on the other wrist, his fingers trailing like feathers up
the inside of her arm, lingering with a gentle swirl that made her
heart skip a beat. She tried to speak, but he made a shhh sound, this
time pressing his lips against her closed eyes. Now, drops were falling
at the hollow of her throat, a slow trickle carrying the scented liquid
down between her breasts. Triona sighed softly as once more his fingers
delicately began their work, warmth seeming to spread from his hands,
over her skin and through her body. Fingers skimmed just over the swell
of her breast, and her sigh became a sound of frustration as the touch
withdrew. It took all her willpower to lay there, still and silent,
when what she wanted more than anything was to pull him to her and
drown herself in his body.
The fingers stopped. “Patience is a virtue,” he said, laughter in his
This time she opened her eyes. “Conceited old man,” she murmured
huskily. Taking a deep breath, she let the scent of summer and
tangerines hold her in its intoxicating fantasy for just a little
longer. “Wherever that was, I’m glad I got to visit.” Caressing the
side of his face, her thumb skimmed across his lips.
Taking the hand in his, he started once more to massage her wrist,
moving up to gently knead the palm of her hand. “There’s a place, on
the shores of the Mediterranean, with orange and lemon groves. I’ve had
a home of one kind or another there for a very long time. In the
summer, at the end of a long hot day, at twilight, the air is heavy
with the scent of the fruit and the heat of the day. No matter how many
centuries pass, its perfume is the same each and every summer. I’d
hoped that this would take you there with me, even if only in memory,
until we can go together one day.”
“I can almost see it.” Pushing herself up, she shifted to lie against
his chest as he put his arms around her. “Where did you get it from?
The perfume, I mean,” she asked curiously.
“Get it? Why, I made it especially for you.” He tapped her nose
teasingly with the tip of a finger.
“You are full of surprising talents, aren’t you?”
“Well, I don’t like to boast or anything…”
Triona snickered. “Oh no, you’re the epitome of modest.”
“I like to think so,” he agreed smugly. “Actually, the skill went along
with being a doctor in times past; mixing elixirs and unguents, physics
and tinctures. This one in particular I originally created for
Catherine of Aragon.”
“Henry the Eighth’s first wife? That Catherine of Aragon?”
“Mmm-hmm, Catalina de Aragón, Princess of Spain, Princess of
Wales, Queen Consort of England. I was court apothecary early in the
reign of Henry, and visited his young queen often. During one visit,
she told me how she missed the warm summers of her home in Spain, the
scent of orange groves heavy in the night air. So I blended this for
her, to remind a homesick young woman of those childhood summers.”
“What was she like?”
Methos chuckled. “Stubborn. She would never bow to the inevitable,
still loved Henry till the day she died no matter the humiliation he’d
heaped upon her. She was a queen.”
A chill settled over her, one that even the warmth of his body couldn’t
dissipate. “Love destroys everything,” she whispered. She felt him go
still against her, and she regretted the words; hadn’t even realized
she’d said them aloud till the sound had passed her lips.
“If I thought you really meant that, I’d be concerned,” was all he
Shaking her head, she turned in his arms, sitting back on her knees.
“I’m sorry, Methos, I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
“No!” Closing her eyes, she hung her head. “Maybe I did, or part of me
His hands to either side of her face drew her head up. “Triona, don’t
hide from me.” It was a command and a plea. She opened her eyes. “You
told me this morning you trusted me. Then show me. Tell me what is it
She couldn’t speak, just stared into his eyes, unable to look away.
Shaking her head mutely, a tear rolled down her face. Taking a deep
shuddering breath, she exhaled a single word… “Loss.” Her hands were
shaking, and Methos took them in his, stilling the trembling. “You’re
always walking out of my life, Methos. And one day, I know you’ll walk
away and you won’t come back. God knows I’ve given you enough reason to
over and over again. I thought that time had finally come.”
He searched her eyes. “That’s what you expected when you came here this
morning, wasn’t it? You came here expecting the end.”
She didn’t deny his words. “I couldn’t admit it to myself, not really.
I just knew I had to see you, to see your eyes, so I’d know. I realize
now that I’ve been preparing myself all these months – since before we
left Toronto and every day that we we’ve been in Paris with not a word
from you, for you to vanish completely from my life.”
“I’m sorry.” He wasn’t looking at her anymore and it was as if he’d
physically withdrawn. The feeling of loss came so abruptly to her that
it was like a blow. The warmth and joy that had enveloped them was
suddenly gone, as if it had all been a dream, and she shivered in the
“For what? Meeting me? Staying? Or for coming back?” Bitter tears
pressed against the back of her eyelids, and a part of her couldn’t
believe she’d said the words. But she’d wanted to say them for years.
She knew that.
He stiffened, and she felt a pang of guilt. Covering her face with her
hands, she drew in upon herself. As she started to speak, he cut her
off. “Don’t! Don’t try and apologize for saying what you believe!”
“Then tell me I’m wrong, Methos!” she cried. “Tell me you don’t look at
me and regret ever becoming entangled in my life!” She grabbed his
hands. “Tell me that you don’t wish I wasn’t simply a mortal woman. A
woman who would grow old and die so you could just move on!”
Pulling away from her, he didn’t speak, getting off the bed to pace the
room like a caged animal. The cold shuttered expression that she hated
was back. She didn’t know if he was angry because of her words, or
because she was right. Finally he said, “Despite what you seem to
believe, I don’t regret having you in my life. But I won’t lie to you,
Triona. I wish things were different; that both of us had made other
choices. But might have beens can’t be.” He didn’t sound angry, but he
did sound like a tired and beaten man.
“You haven’t really forgiven me, have you?” It wasn’t a surprise, not
really. Methos would always see her choice to be brought across as a
betrayal, no matter how he denied it. He never really understood the
depths of her desperation when she’d asked LaCroix to bring her across
that night last year. It had only ever been about escape from the
torture her life had become as the mortal companion of a vampire; a
situation she had no longer been able to bear. Of course, the result
hadn’t been freedom, but a cruel twist of fate that had trapped her
eternally in twilight.
“This isn’t about forgiveness, or blame.”
“Then what? What is it about, Methos?”
“Why are you doing this now?” he demanded. “Does it really matter?
What’s done is done!”
“Don’t you see? All you care about right now is that Duncan accepts you
for who you are. Well what about me? How do you think it makes me feel
when I know you don’t accept me, Methos?” She looked at him pleadingly.
“I can’t change what I am. God knows I wish I could, but I can’t. You
share my bed, but you won’t share my life, and that isn’t enough
anymore. I can’t keep paying for the choice I made. Don’t you think my
fate is punishment enough?”
“I can’t do this now, Triona!” He stared out the window, his profile in
sharp relief against the dim light of the late afternoon sun.
“That’s the problem, Methos.” She shook her head, coming to stand
behind him. “It’s never the right time. There’s always some reason,
some interruption, some excuse.”
“It’s not intentional.”
“Isn’t it? Maybe not consciously, but we both do it. Dance around our
problems, avoiding them, thinking if we don’t look at them, they’ll go
Shoving his hands in his pockets, he half turned, looking at her. “But
Shaking her head sadly, she placed a tentative hand on his arm. “Can’t
we start again? Please? I hate fighting, I hate being apart. I want to
wake up tomorrow morning with you next to me.”
“I know you do.” Sighing, he brushed her face with his fingertips.
She took his hand in hers, pressing it against her cheek. “Come with
me, Methos. Let’s go somewhere, I don’t care where, just away from
here. Just this once, choose me first. Please.”
“Triona…” He shook his head, turning away. His expression spoke
“No,” this was whispered. “Never mind.” She would never be first. “I’m
going to go home now.” Her voice cracked
“Maybe that would be best.” His voice was flat, giving no inkling to
what he was feeling.
A part of her died at his words. “Yes, of course it would be.”
He touched her shoulder. “Just until this is all settled. There are
just things I need to deal with first. Please try and understand.”
“Don’t I always?” She choked back the bitterness. “You know where to
He just nodded as she walked away, snagging her coat from the chair.
She stopped, hand on the doorknob, fighting the urge to plead, to beg.
Taking hold of herself, she pulled the door open. Then she heard his
voice soft behind her. “I need you in my life, Triona, even if
you don’t believe that now.”
Taking a deep shuddering breath, she grasped the doorknob, steadying
herself. She didn’t look back as she strode away.
My black hair
As my own tangled
I lie here alone,
Dreaming of one
who has gone,
Who stroked my
hair till it shone.
When I think of
Fireflies in the
Like the soul's
Lost to eternal
~ Izumi Shikibu
‘Like the Morning Moon’ by Mibu no Tadamine (Early tenth century).
Uki mono wa nashi
‘Alone in Bed’ by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241)
I couldn’t find a Romaji version of it, I’m afraid.
‘Takasago's Pines’ by Fujiwara no Okikaze. (Early tenth century)
Tare o ka mo
Shiru hito ni sen
Matsu mo mukashi no
Tomo nara naku ni
‘If I Should Live Long’ by Fujiwara no Kiyosuke Ason (1055-1123)
Mata konogoro ya
Ushi to mishi yo zo
Ima wa koishiki
“My Black Hair Tangled’ by Izumi Shikibu (974? - 1034?)
First verse in Romaji:
Kurokami no midaremo shirazu
uchifuseba mazukakiyarishi hitozo koishiki