Rated 'R' for sexual content.
It had been a long time since I wrote anything more than a PG13, so I was a little nervous over this one. I was really pleased at how many people seemed to enjoy it.
This is also a sequel to 'Broken Window", probably one of my favourites. This story is part of the aftermath.
Should the Dawn Return
Amethyst sand poured through her fingers, glinting in the light of the rising sun. 'Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives…' the snatch of memory came to her from somewhere in her childhood centuries before. Isn't that the truth? Triona thought to herself. She tried not to think of that other life, not think of seeing Methos killed before her eyes, the grief, the madness, and the pain. Her fists closed around the blanket she sat on as she stared at the rising sun, as if the blood red orb would blot out the visions that haunted her.
(She's haunted by what's happened. And she hasn't told anyone that in the alternate life she lived, that she saw Methos killed. She just can't say the words.)
This was her first morning home after the accident that had nearly destroyed her sanity two weeks before. Gina De Valicourt, a gifted neural psychologist and dear friend,
(On some of the extras on the Highlander DVDs, it said Gina was a psychologist. So, I threw in some futuristic techno babble, and made her a neural psychologist. It allowed me to write her into the series with an actual reason.)
had released Triona from the hospital only the day before on the condition that she stay on the island, at the small home Triona shared with Methos and their daughter, Lucia. Not in the main family home on the Northern Continent. No work, no contact with anyone or anything that could stress her healing mind. She had agreed to all of Gina's conditions, desperate to be away from clinic, the constant brain scans, away from the memories and the sadness that seemed to permeate her room. (Granted, Triona has certain vulnerabilities from her vampire mutation. But still, she gets better. Having something seriously wrong is a difficult thing for an immortal being to deal with. Especially when they don't know if it's a mental breakdown, a result of quantum energies, or a combination of both.) Triona hadn't even seen Lucia yet. She remained with Duncan and Amanda (Lucia's godparents) till Gina decided she was up to it. That had been the one condition she'd chafed at, but one she'd accepted in the end. She wanted to be well and strong when she saw her twelve-year-old daughter again; didn't want to scare her anymore than she had been. It would only be a few more days, she consoled herself. It had come so close to being never, after all. (She was only a few steps away from her mind being utterly broken, and she knows that.)
The dawn sky was now brilliant ruby and amethyst, and the birds had begun their songs. In the distance, Triona could see winged dolphins, sea mammals native to Imladris, leaping and gliding beyond the surf. (My planet is all purples and reds, and I loved the winged dolphns!) This was what was real, she reminded herself. Not the alternate universe the lab accident had thrown her into, not that sad and tragic life that might have been hers. Taking several deep breaths, she strove for calm. The memory of Methos dying played over and over in her waking mind and in her nightmares. It was all she could do to not keep touching him to remind herself that here, he was real and alive. (She hasn't told anyone the full extent of what happened. I don't know when she'll be able to tell anyone that she saw Methos die. It's the image, the meory that haunts her.) there. When she'd woken before dawn this morning, she'd stared at him lying asleep next to her, desperate to believe that this was real, not some fantasy of a broken mind. Finally, unable to bear the fears that plagued her, she'd escaped to the beach below their home in the still and quiet hours before dawn. And there she'd sat, listening to the timeless sound of surf brushing against sand, the warm wind touching the chill of her flesh and spirit. (She isn't sure what's real anymore.)
It was over, she told herself one more time. She wasn't alone, she was loved -- *she* loved. She loved. Drawing her knees to her chest, Triona wrapped her arms around them, burying her face as the tears she'd tried so hard to resist began to fall. As happened so often since she'd regained consciousness, she felt like she was in two places at once. Here on the beach, dawn breaking around her, and in some other place and time weeping over a grave. (Stephanie's grave, Methos' grave.) But it was a place that seemed as real as 'here' did. Doubt and fear skittered across her thoughts. Maybe that was her reality, and this beach was the fantasy. She clutched her legs as tight as she could, trying to resist the pull of that other place, trying to push back the doubt. Then she felt Methos' presence seep into her awareness and the familiar feel of him was like balm to her soul. He was real and she clung to that thought desperately. Quickly wiping the tears from her face, she heard his footsteps, soft in the sand behind her.
"You should have told me you were leaving the house," he chided gently, coming around to crouch in front of her.
Looking up at him guiltily, she shook her head. "I'm sorry. But you were sleeping so peacefully, I didn't want to disturb you." That at least was the truth. Or at least the part of the truth she could confess to. (As much as she loves him, because she loves him, she can't bear to tell him the truth.)
Methos sat on the sand in front of her. "And you didn't want me to fuss over you if you woke me up." He stroked her cheek, then said firmly, "You aren't a hundred percent and you gave us your word that you'd follow my and Gina's instructions."
"I'm better, I swear I am!" Placing her palm against his bare chest, she moved up onto her knees so she could look him in the eye. "I just don't want you to worry anymore." Triona hated the lines of anxiety on his face, the tired eyes, remembered him weeping in Duncan's arms when he thought she was beyond all healing or help.
"Ah!" He waved a finger at her. "If you worry that I'm worrying, then it defeats the purpose of it all." Methos reached into the medical kit he'd brought, producing a medical tricorder and pointing it at her. "And when you've been to medical school a few dozen times, then you get to diagnose yourself," he added dryly.
Slumping back resignedly, she waited till he'd finished the scan. "There? See? Fine! Like I said." God, she sounded like she was twelve, she knew she did. "Have I ever mentioned how annoying it is that you're a doctor?" She couldn't quite keep a pout off her face. (It really ticks her off sometimes -- Mr. I Know It All Five Thousand Year Old Guy! when he treats, she thinks, like a child.)
He didn't look up from analyzing the tricorder readings, just smiled a little saying, "If you're very good, I'll give you a lollipop." Putting the tricorder down, he reached back into the bag, this time bringing out a hypospray.
"Please, Methos, no more drugs!" She unconsciously drew back, crossing her arms over her chest defensively. "Please?"
"Triona, I know you don't like it, but it's necessary." Sighing, he took her hand. "Please don't fight me." His expression was one of resolve mixed with sympathy.
"No!" Triona grabbed the wrist of the hand holding the hypospray. "Just listen to me! I swear I'll tell you if I start having visions, or nightmares, if I hear voices, or reality shifts." She pushed back the accusing little voice that reminded her of what had just happened before Methos had appeared. She wouldn't have another one, not now that he was here with her; she was sure. "I don't like the way the drugs make me feel. They do something to me, make me feel cut off, like I've been mentally blinded. And it scares me; it's like being back in that place…" her voice broke, and he squeezed her hand in reassurance, "back in that place, where you were gone, and I was alone in the dark and the cold." (One of the things keeping her sane is her mental link, her bloodbond, with Methos. That's the one bit of reality she has, and the drugs take that away.)
"This is why you need the medication, love. You can't get this upset; it's not good for you."
"But I'm getting upset because you won't listen to me!" How could she make him understand? She forced herself to calm down with great effort. If she didn't, she knew nothing she could say would keep Methos from injecting her with the contents of the hypospray he held. "When you're here with me, when I feel you," she touched her temple, then her heart, "it's like an anchor, you keep me 'here'. Your presence mentally is as real to me as you are physically sitting here with me. The drugs cut me off from that anchor, cut me off from you."
"I don't know…" he began.
"Methos, I'm begging you." She put her hands on his thighs. "I swear, if I get worse, I'll do whatever you want without a fight."
"That will be the day," he muttered. He searched her face, mentally debating her plea. Then he put the hypospray back in the medical bag. "Okay, but you don't wander off again without telling me where you're going! You stay put, where I can keep an eye on you, is that understood?" (Of course, he caves. He's been worried to distraction about her, and he can't deny her in this, even though it isn't a detached medical decision. A decision that will turn out not to be a good one. But that's for another story!)
"Yes." She scooted closer. "Thank you."
"I'm going to want to monitor you closely as the medication wears off, so I don't want to hear any whining!"
"No whining," she agreed.
"And I don't even want to catch you near a computer or datapad or comm unit." He peered at her suspiciously when all she did was nod in agreement. (Triona is a bit of a workaholic. She's always juggling a hundred things.) "This is unnatural," he grumbled. "How many centuries have I dreamt of the day that you'd actually do as I asked without arguing? Though I'm sure you'll get over it soon enough." Triona giggled as he ruffled her hair. "I thought I'd never hear that sound again," he said quietly, his mood turning serious once more. (This wasn't how he wanted her to actually do what he said for once.)
"I know," she whispered, putting her arms around him, holding him close. Pressing her lips against his cheek, she sighed as he pulled her into his lap. She leaned into him, soaking in his nearness. Never again would she take their life together for granted.
Methos rested his head in the hollow of her shoulder, his breath warm against the pulse at her throat. Pulling slightly away, she reached up to undo the knot that held her sarong-like garment in place, letting the fabric fall away. He drew it the rest of the way off, settling her more comfortably against him as he reached up to undo the clip that held her long hair up in loose knot. The heavy mass fell around her naked flesh, making her shiver a little. His strong warm hands were splayed across her back and he just looked at her, drinking her in as if he'd forgotten what she looked like.
She cupped his face with her hands. "I'm going to be okay."
Nodding, he whispered, "Yeah, I know."
(Eeeek! It was hard enough to write the first time around. Not sure if I can comment on it!. And I can't really. So I think that's it! Well maybe a bit at the end.)
Pressing closer to him, her hands slipped behind his head, her fingers tangling in his short dark hair, pulling him in for a searching kiss, reminding herself what he felt like, what he tasted like. They kissed with a quiet, slow passion, each of them remembering the grief and pain of the last two weeks, a grief that made this coming together something to savour, something to cherish. Her hands moved over the familiar lines of his body, fingertips reacquainting themselves with every plane and hollow of his lean frame. "Please tell me this is medically acceptable, Dr. Adams," she asked huskily, scattering feathery kisses across his face.
"Oh, absolutely." His fingers slid up her scalp tugging her head back gently, his lips tracing a path down her jaw.
"It isn't quite a lollipop," she murmured, "but it'll do." Lips and teeth at her throat made her gasp.
"So glad to hear it." His soft laughter vibrated against her. Then the lips skimmed down, his tongue flicking across one breast, then the other, his hands slipping down her back to pull her more firmly against him. "This is what's real, love - remember that," he barely whispered the words before kissing her fiercely.
Triona welcomed the almost painful intensity of his lips against hers. He was right; this was real. But it wasn't enough. Not yet. Now her hands slipped under the waistband his jeans, gently caressing and stroking, his groan of pleasure pulling her in ever deeper. Pushing her back onto the blanket, he removed the last barrier between them as she watched him with an aching need, a look he matched as his hands stroked the length of her body possessively, long fingers slipping between her thighs, claiming her once more as his. He lay against her, hands and fingers and lips roaming her body till she was desperate for release. She opened herself to him mentally and physically, needing him to fill all the dark places in her soul, to drive away the cold with his warmth.
The familiar feel of him pressed against her, their bodies fitting together as they always had. The desperate intensity she'd felt transforming into a gentle heat as they moved together, becoming as one. Memories of their life together here in this reality overpowered the thoughts of that sad and desperate place from where she thought she'd never escape.
Dawn had finally broken over the darkness of her soul.
(I wanted to convey two people that had been together for a very long time. Who had loved and raged at each other. Who had forgiven each other when sometimes, their hurt had seemed too much to overcome. But in this place, in this time, the feel of each other, touch, and a mental closeness is healing her as much as drugs and brain scans.
Thanks to dejla for requesting this commentary! I enjoyed it!)