"When I finally woke up, the last thing I remembered was walking out of the police station. Lucien told me I'd been in an accident, that my car had skidded on the ice and overturned into a ditch. He said I'd been in a coma and while I was unconscious, had contracted pneumonia from being exposed to the elements for so many hours till I had been found. It fit all my symptoms, the memory loss, and the weakness. And it all fit with my last memories, being so angry with Nicholas and LaCroix. I assumed that my emotional upset had led to me not paying attention when I drove home, leading to the accident. Lucien even insisted my next vehicle be a four wheel drive, so I'd be safer driving in the winter." Triona shook her head. "He thought of everything."
"He's always been thorough," Methos agreed with grudging admiration.
"That he is," she said absently. Standing up, Triona walked a little way so she could see out the window, but not be in direct path of the light that came through it. She stared into space, her thoughts far away.
"What is it?" her husband asked quietly, coming to stand next to her, taking her right hand in both of his.
Shaking her head, she didn't immediately reply. Triona didn't really know how to put into words what she was feeling. "I think it's my mind trying to sort out the memories and the almost memories," she finally said.
She looked up at him, an expression of frustration crossing her face. "I don't know how else to describe it. Yes, now I remember everything up to the attack, but what happened after, I can't really pin down. I have memories, but they're more like dreams. And to tell the truth, I'm not sure what are my own actual recollections, and what are Lucien's."
Lifting her hand, he cradled her arm against his chest, massaging the palm gently. "Maybe you shouldn't try and figure it out." Entwining his fingers in hers, Methos tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear with his other hand. "You can't force it, sweet. You've had to process a huge amount of memory and emotion in the last twelve hours. Give yourself some time to deal with that before you try and remember more."
Triona kissed the hand that held hers. "Maybe you're right. It's just that I want it all clear in my mind, now I've remembered. I wish it was night," she said wistfully, "I'd really like to go for a walk."
"A walk, you say?" He tweaked her nose making her smile. "How about an indoor walk?"
"Well, this house is certainly big enough. We could take a turn around the halls, stroll through the rooms," he leaned down to whisper lasciviously in her ear, "explore the closets."
"Have I mentioned that you're nuts?" Triona punched his arm playfully.
"I prefer 'inspired'," he declared loftily, eliciting a snicker from Triona. "Shall we?" he asked, crooking his arm for her to take.
"This is the best picnic I've ever been on," Triona said, picking up her glass and taking a sip of her wine.
They had taken their walk, Methos taking an inordinate interest in the closets, finishing in the wine cellar. On the way down, they'd stopped in the kitchen, gathering the makings of a picnic lunch. Now, they were sitting on the bench at the rough plank table in the cellar, enjoying their picnic by candlelight.
"Like I told you, 'inspired'!" Methos replied smugly.
"And witty, and handsome, and very sexy." Leaning in, she kissed the corner of his mouth.
"Don't stop now," he teased softly, twining his fingers into her hair
"And I am blessed to have you in my life."
"That might be open for debate," he replied acerbically.
"No, it's not." She cut off anything else he might say, capturing his lips with hers. Breaking the kiss, she asked, "Any argument?"
"None." He shook his head, grinning. "You can be very convincing."
She trailed her fingers along his arm. "If you ever need more convincing, just let me know." Giggling, she batted her eyelashes at him outrageously.
"I'll be sure to make an appointment," he replied dryly. Refilling her wineglass, he asked, "So, how's the overactive brain doing now?"
"Much better. By not trying to remember, I remember." Taking another sip of her wine, she smiled over her glass at him before setting it down. "Or something like that." It had been odd, while taking her 'walk' with Methos and listening to one of his many amusing stories from his past, how snatches of memories floated into order, becoming more concrete.
"Anything you want to talk about?" He covered her hand with his, and Triona could feel his concern.
Shrugging, she looked into the candle flame. "Things like the candle. It reminded me of waking up in a dark room, only lit by a few candles, a bright light shining in my eyes, and the intense pain it caused, whispers, concerned voices, then drifting back into blackness."
"Lucien told me that Nick's coroner friend treated you, gave you blood transfusions, IV fluids. You're probably remembering her testing your pupil response."
"Natalie," she nodded, "Dr. Lambert. I remember her being there -- one of the concerned voices. I would wake up, and Lucien would be sitting next to me, holding my hand. I was terrified of being left alone, and he never did," she said quietly. "Sometimes, when I'd wake up, he'd be speaking to me in the softest voice." And there, out of seemingly nowhere, came the realization. "And he actually sounded afraid. Afraid of losing me." A note of wonder tinged her voice as the memory fully crystallized.
"Divia was right, you did underestimate your importance to him," Methos observed, squeezing her hand.
She shook her head sadly. "Such a loss."
His brow creased in puzzlement. "What?"
"The memories, and what they represented. How different things might have been if I had more to remember than anger and thinking Lucien didn't care."
"There's a reason they say hindsight is always 20/20," he reminded her softly.
"Isn't that the truth?" Triona laughed sharply. "And yet, we manage to muddle through somehow."
"That's cynical of you," Methos commented lightly.
"Please! With the company I keep? Cynical doesn't even begin to cover it!" She smiled to take any sting from her words.
"Ouch!" He held up had hands as if to ward her off. "I guess you must be feeling more like your old self."
Triona looked at him suspiciously. "And what's that supposed to mean exactly?"
"Oh, nothing," he replied airily, lips twitching.
"Uh huh." She didn't believe him for a second. "But I'll let it go just this once," she told him sternly, but with laughing eyes.
"You're far too good to me," he said, his voice husky.
She swayed, drawing closer, till their faces were a bare inch from each other. Methos always seemed to radiate a warmth that she always found irresistible, and now was no exception. Holding his gaze, she placed her palms against his chest, skimming her lips across his, barely touching them. "You're right, I probably am," she said in the barest of whispers. "But I'm sure you can think of a way to thank me."
"Of that I have no doubt." Methos pulled her closer, his fingers splayed across her ribs. "Many ways, in fact." He placed light kisses, like the brush of silken strands, all over her face, before moving back to her lips.
"Many?" She shivered a little at the intense look in his eyes.
"And I intend to demonstrate all of them before the day ends." He kissed her then, long and lingering.
As he gathered her into his arms, she sighed in contentment. "Well, we are newlyweds, after all."
Triona ran a hand through her hair, slowly waking up. Considering the bedroom was dark, she must have been asleep for some time. That was some picnic, she thought, smiling as she remembered just how the impromptu meal had ended. She already knew Methos was gone, but ran a hand over his pillow out of habit. Glancing over at the glowing display of the clock on the bedside table, she saw it was a little after 6pm. Rolling over, she considered going back to sleep, but sternly ordered herself to get up.
After showering and throwing on her old jeans, an emerald green T-shirt, and her favorite old moth-eaten sweater, Triona went to open the door. Instead of just a doorknob, her hand went around a piece of paper as well. Pulling the tape away, she read the note Methos had left:
'Needed to run some errands before the shops closed. Dinner is keeping warm on the back of the stove. See you when I get home.
P.S. You're beautiful when you're sleeping'
She smiled tenderly remembering all over again how much she loved him. Dinner? Come to think of it she was hungry. In fact, she felt happy and normal, almost as if the last two days hadn't happened. The past wasn't forgotten, but it wasn't overpowering her present either, and that was something to be happy about indeed.
Making her way briskly down the stairs and down the hall to the kitchen, she wondered just what she'd find to eat. Entering the kitchen, she went to the stove, and eagerly took the lid off the pot. She was torn between laughter and wanting to kill him, seeing what was inside: oatmeal!
"I swear, I'm going to kill him," she muttered. Shaking her head, she said out loud to herself. "I guess you're making dinner."
"Actually, I have a message for you," Nick's voice said from behind her. This time, she'd actually been aware of his presence entering the periphery of her senses, so didn't shriek as she had the morning before.
"Oh?" She turned, looking at him expectantly.
Nick was grinning. "Methos said that if there were any threats against his life, for me to tell you he's bringing pizza back."
"And beer, no doubt," Triona replied, rolling her eyes.
Nick laughed. "No doubt."
She joined in his laughter. "Despite his deficiencies, I think I'll keep him."
"I'm glad." He shook his head. "I may not quite understand it, but the three of you belong together."
Leaning against the counter, she said, "Since I don't quite understand it either, we're even."
Nick poured her a glass of wine from the decanter in the center of the kitchen table and handed it to her. "I admit, I don't think I could do what Methos and LaCroix do. Maybe I'm too much a product of the time I grew up in."
She shrugged, taking a sip of the wine. Thinking a moment, she said, "It definitely helps that both of them come from a time with very different sexual mores than now. Truth be told, I'm probably the one who had the most trouble with our relationship in the beginning. I still do, on occasion," she admitted.
"How did you -- how do you -- deal with it?" he asked, intensely curious.
"I try and remember what LaCroix always tells me - you know, the usual speech -- that we're not human anymore, not mortal, that human conventions don't apply. And more importantly, I remind myself of how much they both love me, and how I love them. My life, my heart, wouldn't be complete without both of them. When I see all the possible centuries that lay before me, I can't imagine those long years without them by my side." The last was said with a love that no one hearing could doubt.
"I envy you," Nick said simply.
Triona reached over and took Nick's hand. "We're always here, Nicholas. You just have to want to be with us."
"And if I chose that, to come back, you wouldn't object?"
"What makes you think my objections would matter?" she countered.
"Because I know that you've all moved on without me. I'm looking in the window at all I could have had, but threw away. I know that your presence in LaCroix's life has made a place where I could be content, if only I could allow you in, to accept my family, to be a part of what you are now."
The intensity of emotion in Nick's voice, and through the ephemeral link they shared, struck Triona deeply. With barely a conscious thought, she took the knife that was lying on the counter, and sliced open her wrist, thrusting it at Nick. "This is offered freely."
The internal struggle was obvious as it played across his face. Coming to a decision, Nick took the proffered offering, drawing her wrist to his mouth, partaking of her blood. Triona kept mental control, drawing him back into their familial bond. She 'knew' it wasn't something he'd ever experienced, she was both prey and family. She was their Master; she was Janette, Stephanie, and Methos, her sisters. Everything he'd fled from, but wanted back.
Tears ran down her face as Nick absorbed feeling and thought, along with her life's blood. There wasn't anything erotic about this feeding. It was only about love, acceptance, and family. She felt Methos as he entered the room, and mentally drew him into what was enfolding. She hadn't planned on this, but it seemed right. She was a conduit, a catalyst, and it was an aspect of what she'd become since that long ago night in Toronto when LaCroix had first drank of her blood.
Nick drew away, chastely kissing her now healing wrist, as Methos pulled her gently against his chest, his arms coming around to enfold her. She leaned against his strength as she continued to mentally wrap Nick in the warmth of family and belonging. Triona shuddered, pulling together the strands of what the night had wrought as her husband took the wrist Nick had released, and gently caressed it with his lips, almost making her swoon.
No matter what their past, and what their future might bring, now, at this moment, they were family, and nothing could break that bond. Ironic that the very family Divia had attempted to destroy had instead been strengthened at its very foundation. At the very edge of her awareness, Triona could almost believe that Lucien was here with them, a part of this joining. It was as it should be. And with that, Triona was content.