In case you were wondering, all the stories in the series can be found here. And my most recent fic is always listed over on the sidebar.
Many thanks to em_kellesvig for beta reading! She's an ace, let me tell you, and her help has been absolutely invaluable. All remaining errors are strictly my doing.
This is rated PG13 for strong language and adult themes, and has a bit of both m/m and f/f implied.
Methos doesn't belong to me, Triona does, the usual drill.
My Soul Is Dark
Triona pushed open the door of the library, not allowing the hope that Methos was finally ready to let her into his life reach her heart. He was here; at least that was something. Wasn't it? Funny how she spent so much time trying to convince herself that there was still some sort of future for the two of them. That should have told her something - if only she'd had the sense to listen.
Since she'd walked out of his apartment two weeks ago, he'd called, left messages, but hadn't attempted to actually see her in person. And rattling around alone in the large chateau that was her home while she was in Paris had only added to her feeling of isolation and loneliness. So much so that she couldn't bear it here anymore; something had to change, even if that meant leaving Paris entirely.
Swallowing nervously, she slowly entered the dark, musty room. She spent most of her time in her suite of rooms two floors above; the public rooms for the most part remaining closed off and unused. Janette had owned the chateau for centuries and had insisted Triona use it while she was in Paris. But what was a charming old home for a family was virtually a mausoleum for just one woman alone. Especially one who had more sorrows to weigh down her soul in her short life than most did in a mortal lifetime. The barren rooms constantly echoed the emptiness that rang out with every footstep she took.
For a moment, silence held sway until his voice, soft and quiet in the gloom, spoke her name. "Triona." Walking over to where she lingered in the entry, he tentatively took her hand, as if not sure his touch would be welcome.
Matching his tentativeness, she reached up, brushing her lips across his cheek before dropping her eyes and drawing away. Touching him was like a physical pain, one she couldn't bear. She turned partly away, her hand slipping from his. The dim light of the library made her seem as nearly shadow in the heavy darkness of the room
Again came the silence, the echoes of happier times pressing at the edges of the melancholy mood that touched them both, only to remind them of what they had lost. Then he said, "You haven't returned my calls." There was just enough of an accusation in his voice to set her on edge.
"Aren't we a little beyond phone calls, Methos?" The same hint of accusation coloured her question. She heard him suck in a breath and knew that if she looked at him, he'd have that same expression he so often had around her lately. The one that was a study of hard fought control over irritation and impatience.
He sighed and she could see his eyes close in her mind's eye. His hand would scrub at his short dark hair, the other clenching just a little, as if starting to grasp the hilt of his sword. She didn't have to be looking at him to see him. God knew she saw him waking and sleeping. Whether he was here with her or someplace unknown, his presence was like a specter haunting her.
"I didn't come here to fight."
"Just why did you come?" she asked. She was sure she didn't want to know the answer, knowing already that it wasn't the one she'd hoped for all these long and lonely days.
"There's someone I'd like you to meet." It seemed like he wanted to say more, but that was all he said.
She turned, looking at him quizzically. "I don't understand." Of all reasons she imagined him coming here this wasn't on the list.
"Byron. He's here in Paris and I'd like you to meet him."
Byron; the name rang in her ears. It took her a moment to actually realize she hadn't misheard him. Was he deliberately trying to hurt her or did he just not care enough anymore to realize what he was doing to her?
"This is why you came here tonight?" Her voice sounded weak and hollow even to her own ears. Taking a deep breath, she tried again, tired of always sounding like a supplicant, like she constantly had something to be sorry about. "Two weeks, on top of the months that came before, and this is why you finally came to see me?" Anger welled up, leaving her breathless.
"Triona…" he began in that placating tone she hated.
"No! Stop it! I won't do this anymore, Methos! Do you hear me?" She wrapped her arms tight around herself as if trying to hold in all the hurt and rage that threatened to pour from her. "After everything that's happened... How could you not know what I'd think, what I'd hope, when you finally came to me?"
He reached for her, but she backed away. "Triona, I'm sorry. I didn't come here to hurt you. You have to at least believe that of me if nothing else." He seemed genuinely apologetic, but it was far too little, far too late.
"You're sorry? You didn't mean to hurt me?" She laughed bitterly. "Do you take me for a fool?"
"You're overreacting," was what he said but his unspoken words were just as audible: like you always do.
"Yes, of course I am," she practically spat. "Why on earth should I have expected you to seek me out just because you actually wanted to be with me? How stupid!" White with rage, she asked in a deadly soft voice, "Tell me, Methos, just who, in this little tête-à-tête you planned, did you envision in the role of the jealous lover? Him or me? You'll have to excuse me for having no desire to compete with Lord fucking Byron for your attention, let alone your love!"
Methos looked at her as if she were a stranger. "You can't think I'd be that cruel? To purposely play you off against him?" he asked in a strangled voice.
Whirling on one heel, she turned away. "Just leave, Methos! After all, that's something you know exactly how to do!"
"Oh, no!" His boots rang across the marble floor of the library, pulling her around, towering over her, now as enraged as she was. "I'm not going anywhere, not until we settle this!"
"There's nothing to settle! It's over, Methos! No longer will I be an afterthought when you're looking for someone to warm your bed! No more guilt, no more apologies; I'm done!"
A tentative knock on the library door interrupted whatever he would have said in response.
"Mademoiselle, your car is here to take you the airport," the housekeeper told her diffidently, not quite looking at either of them. Triona thanked the woman, who retreated gratefully from the room. If there had been tension before, now it permeated the air like a heavy fog.
Before he could ask her just where she was going, she said, "I'm going to Greece to stay with Janette."
"Well now, isn't that ironic?" he said acidly. "Could it be you were willing to leap to the worst conclusion about my intentions because you were planning your own reunion? Tell me; just how hard was it for Janette to convince you go to her?"
"Not very hard at all," she bit out, not caring anymore what he thought or believed.
"No, I don't suppose it was," he replied with a quiet fury.
Shaking her head wearily, she turned away. No longer angry, her rage had burnt out like a too hot fire. All that was left was grief and a loss that opened up before her like a pit.
"I have a plane to catch and a life to start living again." Fighting back tears, she whispered too quietly for him to hear, "I wanted to live that life with you, Methos." Taking a shuddering breath, she strode out of the room; almost running by the time she reached the front door and blessed escape. But before she could make good her exit, the door was pulled from her grasp and slammed shut.
"No, not like this," his voice rapped out, echoing around the walls of the foyer. He took hold of her shoulders, turning her roughly and pressing her back against the closed door. "I won't let you walk out of my life like this, Triona. Not with anger, not with bitterness! Not after everything we've been through, you and I; we both deserve better than that."
Closing her eyes, she sank back against the door, exhausted. "But end it must."
"No, I don't believe that," he said fiercely, "and I know you don't, not in your heart." He kissed her then, briefly, but it was like the warmth of the sun pouring down on her as his hands slid up to frame her face. "So much has happened this last year… too much has happened." His voice ached with regret. "Go to Greece. Take time, as much as you need, as much as we need. And when you're ready, then I'll come to you and we'll go to where the scent of the citrus groves hangs heavy in the summer night, to the place I promised you."
Finally she found the courage to look at him, and their eyes met. As the familiar lines of his beautiful face once more filled her sight, hope seeped into all the cracks and tears, filling them with gentle warmth. Tenderly, her fingertips brushed his jaw, and she nodded.
He would always be worth the risk of loving.
My Soul is Dark
My soul is dark - Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
'Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ached in sleepless silence, long;
And now 'tis doomed to know the worst,
And break at once - or yield to song.