Disclaimer: Methos, Richie, and Connor belong to Rysher. Fiona is Heidi's. Douglas and Sarie are mine. I promise to return everyone to their rightful owners...
Author's notes: This is the third installment of the Worlds Collide trilogy by Heidi McKeon and I. Chronologically, it fits between the other two, but it got posted last so it wouldn't give things away. Although this one was my baby really, Heidi contributed greatly with her insight into the relationship between the two women and her loaning of Fiona to me. I couldn't have done it without her. FYI: This is set about 15 years *after* Worlds Collide: This Gathering Storm and 23 years *before* Worlds Collide: History Fails. See the timeline listed in This Gathering Storm if you're confused.
The title comes from a line in a James Taylor song...
"And recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the earth. Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood...That we are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead. And we are bound and we are bound." -James Taylor "Shed a Little Light"
Maeve Wallace paced around the small room nervously. She could hear the sound of the wounded and dying through the walls and it took her back hundreds of years...to Falkirk...to Culloden...to her village in Glenstrae in 1068. The war was not going well and she was tired of blood and death.
"Relax Maevey," her second in command, Douglas said with a smile. "Twill all work out best."
Maeve sunk into a chair and scrubbed at her shorn black hair, longing for a bath like the ones she used to take in the apartment in Seacouver, some eighty odd years ago. A cool iron claw tub with warm water and candles. Music echoing softly from the next room...no blood to wash off. No comrades to bury.
"Oh Doug," she said. "I have to tell ye that I don't like the looks of this. I don't trust the Irish and I'm not sure an alliance will do any good."
Douglas smiled again and kneaded her shoulders gently. She was a great military leader, his Maevey, but she tended to wax melancholy. He supposed over a thousand years of fighting would do that to a woman.
"The Irish have been fighting the Brits longer than we have," he said. "And they have weapons and reinforcements that can only help us after what came out of Glasgow."
Nearly a thousand had died from British bullets in Glasgow, not two months prior. Their forces had been split by the English infantry and blood flowed in the streets. It had been horrific and that was where he learned of her immortality as she came back to life in his grieving arms.
"Glasgow," she echoed. "Culloden. Falkirk. Doug, I've seen so many Scots die at English hands..."
"I know ye have luv, but if we can take York, it'll be a short road to London and freedom. And we need the Irish for that."
The woman who used to be Sarah MacGreggor sighed again and leaned back in her chair, gripping her lover's hands. "Tell me again about this Brigid Gonne."
He smiled. "She's *almost* as good a fighter as ye are. Young Kevin Laird fought for her in Belfast."
Belfast. Sarah had been in Belfast in the 20th century when the tanks had come rolling through the streets. She had seen young boys learning to make bombs and molotov cocktails. She had seen women lie down in front of tanks and jeeps to protect their loved ones and get shot for their troubles.
"If we could get Brigid, ye, and Rob MacGreggor all in the same room, we'd win fer sure."
Sarah shook her head. Rob MacGreggor was one of her oldest friends and she wasn't especially pleased that he was involved in the war at all. The English were calling it the Gaelic Rebellion and Richie Ryan had no business rallying the Lowland clans with legends of Rob Roy and William Wallace. It wasn't his fight. It was hers...hers and Brigid Gonne's, for the Irish had suffered greatly at the hands of the English as well.
"I know how ye feel about MacGreggor, but ye cannae deny he's a good leader. He took back Glenstrae for heaven's sake."
She was about to respond, but a knock at the door indicated that their guest had arrived. Sarah caught a glimpse of herself in the small mirror hanging on a wall post. None of her friend's would recognize her. Not with a military cut and a knife in her belt. Not with black hair and blood under her fingernails.
She stood and moved to greet the leaders of the Irish Republican Army, and was nearly overcome by the sensation of more than one of her kind approaching. Moments later, a small woman with flowing ebony hair entered the room regally, followed shortly by Connor MacLeod.
The other woman peered at her for a moment, then smiled widely. "What on earth have you done to your hair, Sarah?"
Sarah laughed self consciously, then sighed. The war in Ireland wasn't nearly as uncivilized as things were in Scotland.
"Lice," she said. "From the trenches in Lochaber. I had to cut it all off to get rid of them. It's about three inches longer now than it was."
Connor MacLeod frowned. He had been through the unsanitary conditions of more wars than he could count. And it was no place for a woman, not even one who could fight along side the best of them.
"Well, I think you look stunning," he said with a smile, engulfing her in a hug.
"Why'n earth are ye fighting fer the Irish, Connor?" She asked.
Fiona chuckled. She had been just as hesitant about this meeting as her colleague in the Scottish armies had been, but knowing it was Sarah MacGreggor that was leading the troops gave her hope....though this woman was a stark contrast to the one she had seen a few years ago.
"I figured that you and Robby Ryan could handle things over here," he grinned.
Sarah laughed. "Robby Ryan!"
Nearby, Douglas cleared his throat.
"Oh! Sorry Doug," Sarah grinned. "This is Connor MacLeod. An' Brigid and I know each other from another life."
"The MacLeods are an honorable family," Douglas said, extending a hand to Connor.
"And yours?" Connor took it and shook firmly.
Connor nodded approvingly and winked at him. "Your Maeve here is a handful, eh?"
Douglas flushed deeply. "Aye, that she is."
Later that night, Sarah found Fiona wandering through the Post-Op ward of their over stressed and under staffed hospital that was doubling as HQ for the Highland Branch of the Scottish Faction. The Druidess was moving from bed to bed, mumbling healing prayers and offering comfort, as she had been doing for hundreds of years.
"They are all so young," Fiona said, stopping at the bed of a nineteen year old woman who had lost her left arm to shrapnel.
Sarah nodded from her place in the doorway. "And they only have one life to lead."
Fiona sighed and crossed the room, coming to stand next to her old friend and craning her neck upwards to examine the lines on the taller woman's face.
"You could stand some healing yourself, Sarie MacGreggor."
Sarah looked down at Fiona with a frown set deeply on her brow.
"Come with me," Fiona took her by the elbow and led the way out of the ward and down the hall to the outside doors.
Once they were in the warm night air, she pulled Sarah across the shell pocked street and into what was left of a small park, sitting cross legged on the grass and motioning for her companion to do the same.
"I knew you were here somewhere," she said. "I knew that you couldn't stay out of this."
Sarah sighed. "Ye and I have both lost land and kin to the English time and time again. I choose my wars, Fiona, and I have always fought fer Scotland."
"Do you think you'll win this time?"
Sarah chuckled. "I've always thought I'd win...otherwise it wouldn't be worth the pain."
"I know what ye mean," Sarah interrupted her. "And, yes, if we have the Irish on our side, I think we have a fair shot at winning. If we can take York before the King's reinforcements arrive back from the Falklands, it'll be an easy road t' London."
"You want all of England?" Fiona asked, her mouth agape.
"No. I don't want *any* of England. But if Andrew sees that we have the forces to take it, he'll negotiate and give us back our land."
"And what about *my* land?"
Sarah looked up. "Help us take York, and I'll come to Belfast myself. Help us take York, and we may not need to go to Belfast at all."
"Is this really about Scotland?" Fiona asked quietly. "Or are you using the pain of war to hide a deeper one?"
Sarah looked up at the sky and sighed wearily. "When ye are fighting for the survival of a people, does it really matter what is going on in yer own heart?"
Sarah chewed her lower lip and met the older woman's eyes. "I am a MacGreggor. The English have stripped my clan of their name, made us outlaws, hung us on sight. They have banned the bagpipes, raped our women, used our boys for cannon fodder in hundreds of pointless wars. They've taxed us to starvation, they've tortured our leaders...all before the great great grandfathers of those kids in there were even born. This war is not about me. It's about the fact that Scotland hasn't been free since the Romans."
"Spoken like a true military leader," Fiona said, laying a gentle hand on her forearm. "But I'm not interested in General Maeve Wallace. I want to know what's in the heart of Sarie MacGreggor"
"Please don't call me that."
"That's what I thought," Fiona sighed.
Sarah would have stood and walked back into the barracks; made her way to the small room that she and Douglas Gunn shared and climbed into bed with him without another thought for the man that she knew Fiona was going to bring up, but the Druidess wasn't about to let her get off that easy.
"I never should have told you about Adrianne," she said.
It would have been very easy to brush off Sarah's theory that the girl was Duncan MacLeod's daughter. And if she hadn't slipped and shared her own suspicions that Sarah herself was Adrianne's mother, her two closest friends could have been spared several decades worth of pain.
"He still would have killed her, but at least you wouldn't have been so involved."
Sarah shrugged again and said nothing.
"Your burr is coming back," Fiona smiled. "Methos always loved it. I think he fell in love with you the first time you opened your mouth."
"Just what is it that ye are hoping t' accomplish here, Fee?" Sarah asked.
Fiona looked at her companion and, not for the first time, thought how very strange it was that they got along at all. They both loved the same man; in most circles that would be cause enough to try for each other's heads. They were night and day. No....more like dawn and dusk...similar, yet completely different. Methos had had something like sixty eight mortal wives, but only married two of his own kind and Fiona believed that that fact alone spoke volumes about all three of them.
She knew Methos like her very self; knew the depth of what he could and did feel for this woman. And she knew Sarah well enough to see that the war and Douglas Gunn held a place in her heart that was true, but eclipsed.
"I don't know," she said. "I just feel responsible. And I know that you two belong together."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "You belong with him, not me."
Fiona hugged her knees and leaned backwards a moment, lost in thought.
"You and I are parts of a whole," she said at last. "Like twin souls. If we could combine ourselves, we would be the perfect woman for him. Separate, we each fill different parts of his emptiness. You have seen him with me and I have seen him with you and he loves us both right down to the very essence of his being."
Sarah's eyes closed and she slumped forward slightly, resting her head in her hands. "I cannae think about him now, Fiona. I've too many other responsibilities."
"I know you do. But you need to know that even something as heinous as what happened between you two will pass in time. And, regardless of whether you decide to continue your relationship with him, your bond with Methos goes deeper than romantic love."
Fiona watched the muscles in Sarah's neck and shoulders tighten and remembered the night of the younger woman's one thousandth birthday. A crimson silk dress that bared those same shoulders instead of a khaki tank top and camouflage pants....a familiar arm around that slim waist and a total lack of the lines on her face that came not from age, but from worry, sadness, and massive responsibility. That Sarah MacGreggor was the woman who brought the whimsy out in Methos and had been able to do so for as long as she had known her. This one was the one who survived wars and had the strength to lead her people to victory.
"Will ye help us take York or not?" Sarah asked.
Fiona nodded. "You have the support of the IRA, yes. And I won't mention Methos again unless you bring it up."
Sarah nodded, then smiled. "Thank you."
[end part 1]
Three months later, both the Highland and Lowland Scottish Factions, along with the Irish Republican Army, met the British forces on the moors of Yorkshire. Planes screamed over head and fire rained from the sky.
Six thousand Highlanders died along side of two thousand of their Irish cousins. No one thought to count the dead Englishmen.
Fiona and Sarah fought side by side and hand to hand through the lines while Connor MacLeod lead the air assault. Rob MacGreggor rallied his Lowland troops and took the city walls at dusk, his young face streaked with blood and blue woad. That had been a brilliant military strategy, having his troops paint themselves with the dye their ancestors had used. Not only did it stir patriotism, but it still scared the wits out of their enemies to see a screaming mass of blue streaked bodies charging across a battle field.
He was looking forward to finally meeting his infamous colleague General Maeve Wallace and resting in reasonable comfort in a commandeered house when the word came that she had been killed by a RAF Lieutenant while carrying the body of her lover and second in command off the scarred fields. Twenty seven bullet holes, the messenger said. And Richie Ryan mourned greatly, not knowing who his grief was for.
As they expected, three days later a message came from Buckingham Palace. King Andrew was a great leader, but he knew when he was beaten.
Richie Ryan stood on the walls of York, the staging place for every major invasion of Scotland since long before Sarah MacGreggor bathed in the lochs, with Fiona at his side and declared both Northern Ireland and Scotland to be free countries.
"Quite a little coup you staged, Fee."
Fiona looked up from the book she was reading and shifted in the bathtub, not at all surprised to see Methos standing in the doorway. He had always been able to find his way past guards when necessary and she had felt him coming. Some immortals insisted that every buzz was alike and there was no way of identifying who the source was. She supposed this might be true for those young enough to lack the experience of meeting their soulmate.
"I had help," she said lightly.
Methos chuckled. "Richie Ryan...who would have thought it?"
"He's not a child any more, Methos."
"It was never his war to fight though," he responded, pulling up a stool and sitting near her elbow.
"It became his fight in Glenstrae in 1997 when he took part of Sarah's quickening."
Methos sighed. "So you and Richie and Connor MacLeod took back the lands that England has owned for millennia."
"Warren Cochrane was here. And Duncan," she said. "Sarah too."
Methos looked up suddenly in confusion, then realization raced across his face. "Maeve Wallace. Of course."
"Where is she?"
"She took Douglas' body to the Gunn lands for proper burial two days ago."
He had arrived in York the morning after the news about General Wallace had begun to spread through the ranks; once again missing Sarah by minutes and lifetimes.
"How is she?"
Fiona shrugged. "The last time I saw her she was covered in blood and hacking her way through British soldiers, screaming at the top of her lungs for the infantry to flank them. Rumors have it that she took something like thirty bullets."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know," she rose and gestured for him to hand her the robe that was draped over the radiator.
Methos passed her a towel first, then got the robe and held it while she put it on. He thought about how many times he had done the same thing for Sarah and, not for the first time, marveled at the fact that the two women got along. They were night and day.
"It's funny," Fiona said. "Even with all the technological advances made in the last two centuries, war always boils down to hand to hand combat with knives, fists, rocks...whatever you can find to keep yourself alive."
Sarah had been using a wicked looking knife and the butt end of a jammed rifle she had pried from a dead man's fingers.
"But now you have your Ireland and Sarie has her Scotland and England has thousands of dead sons."
Fiona spun. "*Millions* of Scots and Irish have died at British hands over the centuries."
"And millions of English have died at the hands of the Romans, the Saxons, the Normans, the Germans, the Japanese...and now at the hands of the Celts."
"If you came to lecture me, you can leave," she snapped.
Methos sighed. "I didn't come to lecture you. I came because I know how much you hate war and because I knew that you would be having nightmares for weeks about this."
"I've been having nightmares for *months* about this," she said, suddenly weary.
Methos encircled her in a hug and kissed the top of her head gently. "You never cease to amaze me, Fee. You're not a warrior, but you led your people to freedom."
"I had help," she said again. "Come sit with me?"
Methos nodded and followed her into a spacious bedroom. The house had belonged to one of the highest ranking officials in the British forces and the robe she was wearing no doubt was his wife's. Such were the spoils of war.
Fiona sank down on the bed and held out her arms to him, sighing with relief when he joined her. It was good to feel him next to her again. Like Sarah, she had taken other lovers since her last parting with Methos, but, like Sarah, every one of them had reminded her of him in some way and come up lacking. In her sixteen hundred some odd years, the only other man to fill her soul like Methos did had been Joe Dawson. They had spent forty-six years together and she still missed him deeply, knowing that his memory would always remain with her like a blanket she could wrap around herself.
"Now what?" He asked.
"We start to rebuild."
Methos nodded. He had done this thousands of times. "What will you Celts do when the Commonwealth forms?"
"We'll join it, but we'll join it on our own terms."
They lay in silence for several minutes, listening to the sounds of celebration rising from the street below.
"Fee, I need to know how she is," he said at last.
Fiona sighed and stared at the ceiling. "She accomplished what her clansmen have been trying to do for centuries. And tonight, she is sleeping under the Highland stars."
"You're skirting the issue here," he said.
"What do you want me to say?" She asked, her voice hardening. "That she's pining away for you, wringing her hands and wishing she could wash your socks and make you breakfast? She's not. You betrayed her, Methos. You killed her child."
"I didn't know..." He protested.
Fiona sat up suddenly. "Yes you did. Anyone who knew both Duncan and Sarah could see where Adrianne came from. If you had ever stopped to think about it, it would have been as clear as day."
"By the time I realized that, it was too late," he sighed.
"I know. And so does Sarah," she said softly.
"I should have let her take my head," he said. "She almost did, you know."
Fiona smiled and brushed a stray lock of hair from his forehead. Sarah had always preferred him with shorter hair, but she liked it grown out a bit and tousled.
"I really believe with all my soul that, if Sarah had truly wanted your head, she could and would have taken it."
"She came damn close," he grumbled.
"But do you really think you would have been able to throw yourself to the floor in time if she hadn't checked that blow?"
"I don't think she checked that blow. I think I got damn lucky."
It was Fiona's turn to sigh. "I think that Sarah saw through her rage for just a moment and realized what she was about to do. But by then, it was too late to stop the swing. But it was that one moment that gave you the time you needed," she said, knowing full well that there was no other explanation that could have gotten him out of that particular fight in one piece.
"I don't know."
"All life runs in cycles, Methos, from birth to death and back again. We have centuries to live and love."
"You're telling me that she'll come back to me?" He asked, wondering how the woman could be so tolerant.
"No," Fiona shook her head. "I'm telling you that you and Sarah are bound by something much greater than marriage and romance. She may never forgive you, but she'll always come if you need her."
Methos sighed and rolled onto his back. That was a cold comfort. He still had nightmares about the last time he had seen Sarie, soaked in a pool of her own blood and pinned to the floor by the tip of his sword. But those images were nothing compared to the memory of how cold her eyes had been when she tossed him his sword and told him to fight or die.
"*My* life runs in cycles, Fee. Cycles between you and Sarie and total emptiness. I'm tired of it," he said.
Fiona sighed and kissed him gently. Sometimes this five-thousand year old man was really just a lost boy in need of comfort. But she was too tired to work her healing powers with him yet again.
"Tonight we are outside those cycles, Methos," she said, resting her cheek against his shoulder.
Methos wrapped his left arm around her tightly and flung the right one out to the side. There had been nights in the Middle Ages when he had slept between the two women he loved, huddled under blankets and cloaks for warmth. Other men might have tried to take advantage of such a strange triangular relationship, but he had always seen the bond for what it was; something much deeper that exotic sexual pleasures.
"Some day," Fiona said sleepily, lulled by the rise and fall of his chest and the sound of his heart. "Some day you'll hear her call you Petey again."
He made no response. Instead, Methos pulled up the covers and shifted under her gently, knowing that she was about to capitulate to the exhaustion of her war. Sarie's war. Douglas Gunn was dead. Who would hold Sarah while she slept off the weariness that came with freeing a country? Or was she sleeping under the stars somewhere to the north, wrapped in blankets by a small fire and speaking prayers of thanks in ancient Gaelic?
Close to three hours later, as dawn was finding its way across the still bloody battle fields, Methos was awoken by the sensation of another immortal arriving. Fiona was still sound asleep, curled around a pillow, her face and breathing soft. MacLeod?
The buzz faded for an instant, then returned in full force and brought with it a certain knowledge of who was standing on the other side of the door. Sarie. He'd know it anywhere. He started to rise, but his arm was under Fiona's head and she stirred, a dark expression flashing across her face.
The doorknob turned halfway, then stopped.
In the hallway, Sarah MacGreggor removed her hand from the antique brass knob and stepped back. Methos was inside. Petey. She had come to talk to Fiona about setting up a government in Scotland before she vanished, dead to her people once more. But, now, Brigid Gonne and Robert MacGreggor would have to deal with that on their own.
Sarah clutched her head briefly and reached for the doorknob again, knowing that one look from those eyes would be her undoing. She checked her hand just as her fingers brushed the cool metal and jerked it back, shoving both of them deeply into her pockets and spinning on a heel. Scotland was free and he was with Fiona. It was time to start picking up her own pieces.
"Now isn't the time, Methos," Fiona said softly. "If it were, she would have opened the door."
"That doesn't make it any easier," he responded, turning to face her.
Fiona opened her arms to him and they came together in a manner that could only stem from over a thousand years of friendship and romance. She knew he was thinking about his Sarie and Methos heard her whisper Joe Dawson's name, but neither were disturbed by the fact that the other was lost in someone else's memory.
[end part 2]
Sarah stumbled down the brick steps of the house and made her way through the streets of York as fast as the drunken crowds would allow, hoping to be out of town before the sun rose fully and someone spotted her. She was halfway to the train station when a buzz brought her up short and sent her hand instinctively reaching for her rapier.
"You look pretty good, for a dead woman," Connor said from a nearby doorway.
Sarah laughed and shook her head, stashing the sword under her poncho.
"You'll never make it out of town today," he added. "Come inside and get some sleep."
"Thanks," she smiled. "I'm exhausted."
Connor held the door open for her and followed her into the foyer of the house he had claimed when the Celts had rousted the locals into trains to be sent south as refugees.
"Nice place," Sarah said, glancing around at the tiled floor and expensive art work. "Hard to believe people were livin' like this when our lads were eatin' cold soup from cans in the trenches."
"Now, Sarah," he smiled. "The war's over."
Sarah nodded and slumped forward slightly, "I know, it'll just take some gettin' used to."
Connor draped a supportive arm around her shoulder and lead her into the kitchen. "Food? Or a bath?"
"Ooooo, can I have both?"
"Certainly," he laughed. "I'll go fill the tub and see if I can find some clothes for you, help yourself to whatever you can find."
He left her rooting around in the cabinets and took the stairs to the second floor two at a time, stopping in the bathroom to turn on the hot water tap. When Connor returned to the kitchen, Sarah was tearing into a cold pork roast with a fork and a giant butcher knife and drinking milk straight from the carton. She wiped her chin on the back of her sleeve and smiled at him, chagrined.
"I'm sorry, I just haven't eaten a bloody thing since yesterday."
"No problem, it reminds me of home," he smiled. "I've started the tub and found you some clothes, they're in the bathroom."
Sarah took one last gulp of milk and shoved a medium sized chunk of pork in her mouth as she stood, chewing rapidly and swallowing just before she planted a kiss on his cheek on her way out of the room.
Connor watched her disappear up the stairs and sank down onto the stool she had been occupying, wondering if she had been to see Fiona and discovered who was with the Irish General. Of course she had. Why else would Maeve Wallace risk coming back to a city where she was well known and dead, save to make some final plans with her colleague? No wonder she looked so tired and defeated.
He had never understood the strange relationship that Sarah, Methos, and Fiona had and, frankly, thought the older man a complete fool for getting himself in the middle of two women who both obviously loved him. You'd think someone who had been around that long would have a better clue about the way the world worked. And what was it about that skinny Englishman that caught and held the attention of women like Sarah and Fiona?
The elder MacLeod sighed and took a gulp of milk. He had been with Sarah at Culloden, but even after that great loss, she had not looked as weary as she had in the street just now.
Upstairs in the bathroom, Sarah sank into the steaming tub and sighed, doubting that there was enough water in the entire world to wash away the blood and pain of the war. She thought about Fiona, who was no doubt curled in Methos' arms sleeping soundly, and wondered if there would ever be a time she would not look for hints of him in her own lovers.
"Why?" Connor asked.
Sarah shook her head in confusion and shifted next to him, pushing the sheet down and tucking an elbow under the back of her head. Connor watched her avoid the question and sighed, glad of her physical company in the bed. It had been a long and arduous war; now was the time to seek the solace of ancient friendships that went deeper than sexual attraction.
"Why did you do it?"
"Do what?" She asked, knowing very well what he was talking about, despite the fact that he had never broached the subject with her before.
Connor sighed again, remembering the blood on the floor of Sarah's dojo in London all those years ago. It had taken him hours to clean it up and days to sand the lingering stains out of the wood.
"Why did you try for his head? He was your husband...what you two had went far deeper than any child could."
Sarah took a deep breath and scrubbed at her hair, grateful that circumstances would now allow her to grow it out once more. Short was good; buzzed was a bit much. And black was striking, but tended to make her look a bit severe; all well and good for the leader of an army, but the war was over.
"The only explanation I can offer is that it came from a place inside me that I never knew I had," she said. "In the span of a day I learned that I had a child and then lost her forever. I went from shock and joy to a kind of grief that I had never experienced before. And grief always brings anger."
Connor nodded. He knew all about the pain of loss and how it tore the soul to pieces.
"I spent a *thousand years* thinking that I could never have children," she continued. "And then, all of a sudden, here was this girl. And she was my child. *My* child. When I learned that he had taken her from me...I don't know...something primal and instinctual kicked in. It was the only thing I *could* do, Connor."
"And now?" He asked.
Sarah threw up her hand with a sigh. "Now....I don't know."
They lay in silence for a few moments while Sarah stared at the far wall and Connor picked at the sheet absently.
"He's here, you know," Connor said quietly.
She nodded. "I know. He's with Fiona."
"You say that like it's so final."
Sarah scrubbed her hair again and looked up at the ceiling. It was tin tile, etched with designs she recognized as having been popular in the 1940's, and must have cost a fortune. Whomever owned this house before Connor had commandeered it must have been wealthy.
"It is," she said. "For now."
"Nothing is final when you live forever," he answered.
Sarah half laughed and a strange smile lingered on her face. "You don't understand. The three of us have this really weird relationship..."
"You're right," he interrupted, "I don't understand. I never have. And I always thought you deserved better."
"Like you?" She looked over and met his gaze.
"Maybe," he shrugged. "We're not in love, but I can tell you that I would have been a faithful husband."
"He was always faithful," she said.
"Not in his heart."
Sarah shook her head. "You don't understand."
"Still," he said, "I think you deserve better."
"Oh Connor," she smiled, "thanks. But it's not a question of what I deserve. And I'm the one that ended things with him. The three of us run in cycles sort of, if that makes any sense. Fiona and I each compliment different parts of him and neither begrudges the other for that."
"How about this then, he doesn't deserve either of you," he grumbled.
"Chivalry lives on in the MacLeod men," she laughed. "Connor, if you knew him like I do, you'd see what I'm trying to say."
Connor shrugged, doubting that he would ever understand why she chose to put up with the bizarre triangle.
"Do you still blame him?" He asked.
Sarah shook her head. "He did what he had to do to stay alive. And he was right, we're not supposed to know about how we reproduce. It throws everything out of whack in the Game."
"Yeah, I find myself wondering a lot..."
"You can't," she said. "You have to just fight each battle as it comes and not think about who it might be that you are trying to kill."
"Do you think you and he have any...."
"I'm sure we do," she answered. "But I'll drive myself crazy if I wonder about them, so I try to forget what I know."
Connor sighed and found himself wondering how many of his own children he might have killed.
"Do you ever wonder about those of us you know? I mean, like who Duncan's parents are, or mine? Or Richie's?"
"Richie has got to be Duncan's son," she said. "They are too much alike to be anything but."
"Amanda must be his mother then, she's got that wild streak."
Sarah shook her head. "There is a depth to Richie that goes beyond what he got from my quickening in Glenstrae. Not everyone sees it because they are too caught up in his role as Mac's student, but it's there. And he'd be a completely different person if he hadn't died so young. Think of what it would be like to be perpetually nineteen, Connor. That's where his wild streak comes from, not from Amanda."
"Rebecca, maybe. He's always reminded me of her in a strange way."
Connor thought a moment, he hadn't known Rebecca very well, but there was an uncanny physical resemblance.
"Does Duncan know?"
"No. And don't you tell him," she warned. "Too many people know about this thing as it is."
"So you didn't tell him about Adrianne?"
Sarah shook her head. Duncan didn't need to know that Methos had killed one of his children. The knowledge would have sent him after Petey's head.
"Wise decision," Connor said. "He would have gone hunting your skinny Englishman."
"He's not my skinny Englishman anymore," she responded.
Connor smiled and squeezed her hand lightly. "He'll always be your skinny Englishman and you'll always be his Sarie. You know that as well as I do."
She hadn't thought about going to the ceremony. Her plan had been to use the cover of the crowd to get out of town unnoticed. But, as she made her way through the alleys, bagpipes echoed from the stone walls and Sarah found herself drawn to the sound.
She traded a pack of rations for a swath of the MacDonald tartan and wound it across her shoulders, hoping that she would blend in with the sea of plaid. If she had had the time, she would have painted her face with the woad that the Lowland armies used, but there wasn't any, so she pulled a wide-brimmed felt hat from her pack and crammed it down low over her eyes, making her way to the edge of the crowd gathered in the city square.
Pipes and drums blared loudly, adding to the din of the victory celebration and Sarah was forced to stand on her toes to see over the swarming mass of soldiers gathering to hear their leaders speak. She found a spot near a lamp post and stepped up onto the base, curling an arm around the post for balance and pushing her hat back enough so she could see the stage.
Connor crossed the dias first, grinning as his airmen cheered loudly. Sarah laughed out loud at the sight of Richie Ryan, dressed in the MacGreggor tartan and carrying his rapier. His Lowland army pounded their chests and stamped their feet on the pavement until he held up a silencing hand. He seemed very comfortable in his role as a leader and she regretted not making contact with him during the war. That would be something she would pay for later, for he would undoubtedly find out some how that she had been there.
The entire city of York erupted into shouts of victory as Fiona made her way regally across to her spot at the podium, but Sarah was scanning behind her, looking for the man she knew would be close by. Fiona began to speak, her deep voice echoing through the city on large speakers, recounting the victories and singing the praises of the armies, but Sarah didn't hear a word of it.
There, standing sedately behind the small woman was Methos, clad in the same kilt she had given him in Glenstrae nearly a hundred years ago...a replica of her father's and the very one he had worn on their Wedding Day in Glenfinnan. His right hand rested casually on the hilt of the longsword that he had given her in 1068 on the shores of Loch Lomand. She had left it behind in their house all those years ago, knowing that he would find that to be a more poignant expression of how she felt than any note.
Methos had chosen his attire very carefully, both out of a desire to honor the Scottish General who had lost her life in battle and with the hope that Sarah would be somewhere in the crowd and see him. The tartan and the sword were meant to demonstrate that he still felt there was a bond between them, be it a romantic one or not. He scanned the crowd while Fiona spoke of Maeve Wallace's dedication to the cause and heroism, not quite sure if Sarah would make herself known to him if she caught him looking for her. And his eyes slid right over the thin woman clinging to the lamp post. She was too gaunt and severe looking to be his Sarie.
Fiona saw her, though, and her speech faltered slightly. Their eyes met over the heads of roughly a thousand Celts and they communicated silently. Fiona continued to sing the praises of General Maeve Wallace, but turned her body slightly toward Methos, telling Sarah that, should she desire, the Druidess would not stand in the way of a reunion. Sarah looked to her ex-husband briefly, then closed her eyes and shook her head sadly.
Connor noticed the exchange and suppressed the urge to fight his way through the crowd and engulf Sarah in a supportive hug. Instead, he acknowledged Sarah's good-bye wave with a slow nod and watched her turn and make her way through the war host and toward the train station on the west end of town.
I know what you're thinking. And the answer is no. Sarah and Methos do *not*
get back together any time soon. (Soon being a relative term, when immortals
are concerned, of course.) Thanks for indulging me with this little trilogy. It
was a blast to combine universes with Heidi. And no, I don't believe that they
can distinguish one buzz from another. Can you say "plot device"? I thought you could.
I know what you're thinking. And the answer is no. Sarah and Methos do *not* get back together any time soon. (Soon being a relative term, when immortals are concerned, of course.) Thanks for indulging me with this little trilogy. It was a blast to combine universes with Heidi. And no, I don't believe that they can distinguish one buzz from another. Can you say "plot device"? I thought you could.
To Part 11: Worlds Collide: History Fails
To the Authors pages