Ith (ithildyn) wrote,
Ith
ithildyn

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Irreconcilable Differences (02/02)

Part Two below the curtain.







Emily unlocked the door to the loft, relieved to know that Adam would be at work, and that she had a few more hours before she had to face him. She’d taken Dr. House’s advice, and he’d called Derek, informing him of her diagnosis. He was going to come over before Adam came home, and they would tell him together. She dropped her suitcase and purse in the entry, before walking tiredly into the living room.

“Did you have a nice visit with Alison?”

Emily jumped, startled. “Adam! You scared me half to death!” Her heart sank, seeing him sitting there. How long would it take for him to figure out something was wrong? “I thought you were working today?”

“I took the afternoon off.”

Nodding, she answered his question, “Yes, we did have a nice visit.” She’d told him she was going on a retreat at a convent near Alison’s home, and that she was going to visit her before coming back to New York. Emily went on retreats often enough that it was as plausible a reason for her trip as anything was. Kissing him lightly, she perched on the edge of the coffee table, across from the chair he sat in. “Miss me?” She fought to keep her voice level. “You look tired,” she added. He did look tired… and something else. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of the expression on his face actually. “You work too hard. Did you even eat a decent meal while I was away?” He really hated it when she fussed, she knew that, but couldn’t help herself from asking. Who would ask when she was gone?

The silence stretched uncomfortably. “Adam? Is something wrong?” She unconsciously twisted at the sleeve of her blouse in nervous tension. This time, she had no problem figuring out his expression. He was furious.

Then the words dropped coldly into the silence. “Is there? Why don’t you tell me, Emily.”

Swallowing, she tried to remember how to breathe. He knew. She didn’t know how he knew, but he did. “How?” she croaked.

“Because I made it my business to find out.” His words were clipped and icy. He didn’t raise his voice, and that made it all the worse. Yelling she could deal with, but when he was like this…. “You left a trail a blind man could follow. Did you really think you could deceive me? You’re a babe in the woods.”

Wrapping her arms around herself, Emily took a deep breath, feeling sick. This was an absolute nightmare.

“Do you know that at first, I thought you might be having an affair?” She looked up in shock at that. “For weeks you’ve been distracted, distant, not where you were supposed to be too many times. But I pushed my suspicions aside.” He laughed harshly. “And then you told me about your trip. I knew you were lying, it was written all over your face. So I decided to find out what was going on once and for all. Do you know how it made me feel to find out you didn’t trust me enough to tell me what was happening? What you were going through? But you trusted Derek, didn’t you?”

“Derek told you?” she asked disbelievingly.

“He didn’t have to! He’s almost as bad a liar as you are,” he said in disgust. “It only confirmed everything I’d already found out on my own. And if you hadn’t forgotten your cell phone at home, ---“ he tossed the cell to her “--- you’d have gotten one of the dozens of messages from him forewarning you.”

She stared blankly at the phone in her hand. How could he have so thoroughly misjudged her? “It isn’t like that at all! You have it all wrong! I trust you, you know I do.”

“No more lies, Emily,” he bit out, abruptly getting out of the chair and turning away from her.

He started to walk away. “Methos, please, you have to let me explain.” That stopped him. She rarely used his real name – he’d been Adam to her for too many years – so when she did, it never failed to get his attention.

“It wasn’t about not trusting you, it was about protecting you.” She placed her hand against his back, feeling how tensely he was holding himself. “Derek knew as a doctor, nothing more. Dr. House convinced me that I shouldn’t tell you alone, so he called Derek. He was going to come here before you got home tonight and I was going to tell you everything.”

“None of this was necessary,” he said quietly. “You should have told me weeks ago. You should have never gone through this alone.”

Emily took a deep breath. At least he was listening to her now. “But don’t you see, I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t bear to.” She took his hand, drawing him back to sit next to her on the sofa. “You told me about Alexa once. How could I tell you I thought I was terminally ill? At least until I knew for certain. I was trying to protect you from the truth for as long as I could.”

“Emmy,” he began.

“No, Methos please let me finish. There’s so much I need to say to you. Please.” He nodded, and she sighed in relief. This was so hard and not at all as she had planned. “You know I believe in an afterlife, that death is not the end. And I know you don’t share my belief, but you’ve always accepted that about me. I’m at peace with what’s to come, but it grieves me more than you will ever know that I’ll be leaving you alone in a life surrounded by death.” Her voice broke, and she fought back the wave of emotion that threatened to overwhelm her. “I hate everything about the life you are forced to live: the killing, the Game, the loneliness. I can’t really comprehend the thousands of years behind you, or the thousands before you. Immortality isn’t a gift; it’s a cruelty!” she said the last angrily. “I can’t protect you from that life, but I can try and protect you from my death.”

Taking his hands in hers, she looked up at him. “Dr. House told me about a clinic in Argentina. There are some experimental treatments they’re trying there. I’m going to go, and I don’t want you to come with me. No, you promised you’d let me finish,” she interjected as he began to protest. “I can’t make you stay away, but I’m hoping you’ll agree to abide by my wishes. I don’t want you to watch me die. I don’t want your last memories of me to be like your last of Alexa. I need you to let me go now, not six months from now when I’m a shell of what I am.”

Methos pulled her to him, enveloping her in his embrace. Then he pulled slightly away, keeping his hands on her shoulders. “Emmy, now you need to listen to me. There’s something I have to tell you. The reason I wish you’d told me what was going on, besides the obvious, is because you’ve put yourself through so much unnecessary suffering.”

He dropped his eyes and Emily thought that ironically enough, he looked like he had to tell someone they were dying. Dr. House would appreciate the ‘gallows humour’ in that thought.

Then he said something that ripped the foundations from her world. “You don’t need to die, Emmy, at least not permanently. You’re like me, or you will be, Immortal.”

The colour drained from her face as she sat there in shock, frozen in the moment. She closed her eyes in silent prayer. Dear God, give me strength. Somewhere Methos’ voice went on, but she couldn’t focus on his words. Emily didn’t think anything could be worse than being told she was dying, but she’d been so wrong. Her brain registered the words ‘violent death’ and she snapped back, trying to catch up with what he’d been saying.

“… a violent death. I know how it sounds, Emmy, but you have to trust me that it will be quick and relatively painless compared to what the alternative awaiting you is.”

Shaking her head, she looked at him in horror. Hadn’t he heard a word she’d said? Pulling away from him, she leapt to her feet. “No! Absolutely not!”

@_____________@

~ Present Day ~

Clenching her fists, she shook her head sharply. She wanted to run, but she refused to give him the satisfaction.

“That is enough, Adam!” Derek said harshly. “We need to talk.” He took the other man’s arm, pulling him away. Adam looked at her one last time before following Derek into the dark.

“Come inside, Em, please.”

Emily nodded, beginning to shake as Addison put an arm around her shoulders leading her into the trailer.


@__________@


Emily cried until she had no tears left, Addison handing her handfuls of tissue and plying her with scotch. Drained, she buried her head in her arms on the table. She heard the door open, and Derek say, “He’s gone, Em.”

She looked up at him. “You’re always coming to my rescue.”

“What’s a big brother for after all?” he asked, attempting to hide his concern behind a smile.

Wiping her eyes with a tissue, she smiled tremulously. “You have no idea how many times I wished you really were my brother when we were children.”

“Hey,” he sat next to her, putting an arm around her, “we may not be related by blood, but you’ve been a Shepherd since that day I found you looking through the fence at us playing in our yard, out in the falling snow without a winter coat.” She nodded, remembering. “You were a little bitty thing, all bones, with eyes the size of saucers.”

“When you came over to talk to me, I was terrified. I remember you lured me to your house with the promise of hot chocolate and cookies.”

“I may have only been twelve, but I knew you needed more than just a square meal. You needed someone to love you.”

Emily thought she was going to start crying again at the tenderness in Derek’s voice as they both remembered that scared little girl. Addison dabbed at one eye with a tissue and Emily squeezed her hand. “And then your mom gave me an old winter coat of Elizabeth’s before I went home. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever owned. I was scared my mom would be angry with me for taking it. But of course, she was never sober enough to notice.” Emily said the last without bitterness. The late Candace Scott hadn’t been a bad woman, just a weak one. She’d never physically abused Emily, just neglected her in a nearly permanent vodka induced haze.

Things hadn’t gotten really bad till Emily’s father had been killed when she was eight. After that, her mother’s tendency to drink a little too much and turned into much more. Two years later, they’d moved into the house that Emily’s grandmother had left her daughter. It was the turning point in Emily’s young life, because next door lived the Shepherd family. And from the day Derek had discovered his new neighbour staring longingly through the fence at him and his sisters playing in the snow, Emily had never been alone again.

“He loves you, Em,” Derek said simply.

She shook her head. “Do we have to talk about this now?”

“Yeah, I think we do. He’s here now, you’re going to have to deal with everything you’ve been trying to avoid this last year.”

“Don’t you think I know that? He couldn’t leave me in peace, he had to come here and screw with my life!”

“Hey, I was the one that introduced you two, remember? Despite the fact that putting you together was like mixing fire and gasoline, it was obvious to anyone with eyes that you were meant for each other. Adam isn’t going to let go of you so easily, Em.”

“He regrets how he handled things, he’s told us that,” Addison told her friend. “I know you feel like he betrayed you, when he refused to accept how you decided to deal with your illness, but sometimes we make stupid decisions when we’re hurting. But you have another chance now, Em. You went into remission. Not many people get a miracle like that.”

If only they knew what had really happened. For the thousandth time, she wished she could tell her friends the real truth. Emily felt so alone, and completely isolated, and she knew Methos was counting on that as he tried to insinuate himself back into her life. He was a manipulative bastard and she wouldn’t let him twist her life into knots again.

“None of that matters anymore. Whether he regrets what he did or not is immaterial. I stopped loving him a long time ago.”

“Liar.” Derek took her hand. “If you didn’t still love him, you wouldn’t feel like your heart was being ripped from your chest.” He reached across the table and took Addison’s hand as well. “I have personal experience in that area.” He and his wife shared a tender smile.

“Fine, maybe part of me still loves him, but I’m working on that, believe me! Look, I never wanted to put the two of you in the middle. I know Adam is your friend, Derek, one of your best. If I’d ever imagined he’d follow me, I would have never come to Seattle.” You were a fool not to realize this is exactly what he’d to, she berated herself. Methos was possessive and implacable when it came to getting what he wanted. She shivered a little at the realization that what he still wanted was her.

“Don’t you dare say that!” Addison scolded. “You’re family, and we love both of you. If we’re in the middle it’s because we’re busybodies.” She grinned.

“Okay, that, I can agree with!” Emily drew both her friends in for a heartfelt hug.


@____________@


The next morning, only an hour into the start of her shift, Emily had been paged into surgery. Now, she and Derek paused a moment before entering the OR.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asked. They’d both been called into Trauma One by Adam, whose patient was a ten-year-old girl who’d been in the front seat of a car with no seatbelt on when it hit a tree.

“Yeah, of course. I’m a professional, so is he.”

“I’m not questioning your professionalism, Em. But you know what he’s like in surgery, and you’re already less than kindly disposed towards him.” He said the last quietly as two nurses passed by.

She glanced through the window into the operating room, noting the presence of two of the first year residents. “He has children to terrorize, it’ll keep him from paying all that much attention to me. Besides, I’m not a junior resident anymore.” She quirked a brow at Derek, her blue eyes huge above the surgical mask.

“After you, Dr. Scott,” was all he said, and she knew that under the mask, he was grinning.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded and they were on.


@__________@


Emily and Derek were much more than best friends – they were a team. And now, they were doing what they did best. Emily was carefully trying to reconstruct the shattered bits of the girl’s skull, while Derek worked on the brain underneath. So intent was she on the task at hand, working almost as one with Derek, she barely remembered Adam was there at all. She couldn’t even really say how much time had passed when she finally registered his voice speaking to someone. It was more the tone than the actual words that drew her attention.

“Dr. Stevens, are we keeping you from something?” Adam asked derisively. “Because if we are, I’m sure we can find someone to replace you.”

“No, I’m sorry, Dr. Pierse, it won’t happen again,” the young resident stammered.

Emily wondered just what the young woman had done to incur Adam’s ire. Not that it would take much. It never had. He was an exacting taskmaster.

“You have something to add, Dr. Grey?” His tone implied she’d better not if she knew what was good for her.

“Nothing, Doctor,” came the measured reply. But Emily could see her eyes were snapping.

Emily looked sidelong at Derek and rolled her eyes. His eyes laughed in response. Some things never changed.

Adam hadn’t missed their silent exchange. “It seems everyone has an opinion today.” He looked at Emily. ‘I don’t suppose you’d care to share with the rest of the class, Dr. Scott?”

She didn’t immediately reply, finishing a very delicate repositioning of a piece of cartilage first. Glancing up at him, she said, “Oh, only that Dr. Stevens and Dr. Grey will find that the best way to deal with a certain kind of surgeon is to perfect an attitude of hanging adoringly on their every word. It’s very calming to their egos,” she added, looking kindly at Izzie Stevens. She heard Meredith Grey choke back a giggle – so did Adam, who looked at the resident balefully.

Looking over at her, Emily added, “Some of us have more of a god complex than others.”

‘Yes, ma’am.”

“Still coddling the children, Dr. Scott?” Adam sounded almost amused.

She didn’t respond, just shook her head slightly, once more intent on the patient before her as she visualized the child’s skull, layer upon layer, till she saw the final outcome in her mind’s eye.

Adam and his team had finished their work. Now only she and Derek continued on.

“Observe well, children,” she heard Adam say. “Dr. Scott isn’t just an extraordinary surgeon, she’s an artist. You would do well to learn what she has to teach.” There was no mockery in his voice, and when Emily looked up, she only saw sincerity in his eyes.

@____________@


Many hours later, Emily sagged against her front door, dropping an assortment of bags, books, and outerwear in a heap at her feet. The surgery with Adam had only been the beginning of a very long day; one she was glad was finally over. Sighing, she leaned down to pick up her purse. Everything else could wait till later – much later. Now, all she wanted was a hot bath and something to eat. Kicking off her shoes, she shuffled down the hall, trying to decide what she should have for dinner. Maybe she’d order a pizza. Then her senses were assaulted by the presence of another Immortal. Without thought, she reached into her purse, placing her hand on the comforting cool metal of the gun she always carried now. Cautiously, she moved down the hall, edging into her living room, her eyes scanning for an intruder, but there was no one there. She repeated the same process, through every room in her house, till she reached the last one upstairs. Emily pushed open the door to her bedroom, knowing it had been wide open when she’d left for work that morning.

“Get out!” she shouted at Methos, who was reclining on her bed, propped up with throw pillows against the headboard.

“And how do you propose to make me?” he asked, insufferably smug.

“I’ll call the police,” she threatened.

“No you won’t.” It was if he were daring her.

“Damn it, Methos, I want you out of my house!” For a moment, she was tempted to shoot him, but instead, she placed her purse on the table next to the door.

“I got that bit. But I have no intention of leaving just yet.”

“Fine, then I’ll leave!” she shouted, whirling away from him.

But he was faster, grabbing her wrist and pulling her around. “That is not a part of this evening’s plan,” he said mockingly, picking her up without any effort and tossing her on to the bed. He stalked back to the door, slamming it shut, leaning against it with his arms crossed. He looked at her consideringly. “I have to give you points for creativity – working and living on Holy Ground. Very clever of you.”

Seattle Grace had been a Roman Catholic hospital in its beginning and had been built on consecrated ground. Emily’s house had been a church, built in the 1800s, and converted into a dwelling ten years ago. While the hospital was a happy accident, Emily had been very deliberate in her choice of a home.

“You have no right to break into my home! I didn’t invite you here!” She backed up against the headboard, wrapping her arms around her knees.

“And this should matter to me why?” He shook his head as he pushed himself away from the door, walking towards her. ”We’re Immortals, not vampires,” he added dryly.

“That is not what I meant, and you know it, you fucking bastard!” Emily was enraged now, cursing at him at the top of her lungs.

“Such language, Dr. Scott!” he tsked disapprovingly, looking down at her. He sat on the edge of the bed, reaching out with one hand.

She violently smacked his hand away. “Don’t touch me!”

“Oh, but I want to touch you, Emily,” he said softly, his eyes running across her body possessively. She tried to shove him away, but he grabbed her wrists in one hand, holding them over her head and pushing her down onto the bed. His free hand rested at the rapidly beating pulse at her throat. “Don’t fight me, Emmy, you know you won’t win.”

“I thought rape was something you gave up a long time ago, Methos,” she spat out.

His eyes glinted dangerously. Then he smiled, and it scared her to death. Lowering his head to hers, he whispered into her ear, “You and I both know that I won’t have to force you to do a single thing. You can lie to yourself, but your body can’t lie to me – it never could.”

He kissed her hungrily and she felt her resistance melting away at his familiar touch. She loved him and she hated him, and more than that she hated herself for being weak. His lips moved down her throat, to the hollow between her breasts, and she was almost lost. “Why can’t you leave me alone?” she asked pleadingly, making one last attempt to let sanity reassert itself.

“I left you alone for more than a year, Emmy. And that’s as long as I’m willing to allow. You’re my wife – or had you forgotten that?”

His wife! As if anything of their marriage was left. He’d proposed not long after he’d revealed his true name, his age, and so much else. One more thing, she realized now, to bind her to him. But at the time, she’d accepted his proposal of marriage with an open heart, having no idea what the implications of the vows she made that day truly were.

He released her wrists, and she clasped her hands between her breasts. “Not anymore.”

A hand rested at her throat and she felt his fingers tighten imperceptibly at her statement. “And how did you reach that conclusion?” he asked in a deceptively calm voice.

She swallowed nervously, trying to ignore the feeling of his body against hers and every memory it engendered. “The vow was till death us do part. I died – and our marriage with it…”

@_________@

~ New York ~

“I’m dead either way! And I would rather die a natural death than be brutally murdered! With or without you, I’m leaving for Argentina in the morning.” It had been a week since Methos had told her she was a pre-Immortal. And in that week, all they’d done was fight. He seemed unable to accept her decision to live out her mortal life however short it might be. “I can’t be what you are, Methos! I can’t live that life; a life that would kill my soul as surely as it would kill my body.” Shaking her head in exasperation, she clasped her hands together as if in supplication. “You know I how I feel about immortality! This isn’t something new. Did you really think I was that much of a hypocrite, that I’d change my mind when I found out I had only six months to live?”

“What I thought was that you’d come to your senses!” he snapped. She recoiled as if he’d slapped her. “Sorry! I’m sorry, damn it, Emily! But why can’t you even consider you might be wrong? There is so much more to being an Immortal than fighting and killing.” He made a chopping motion with his hand. “So much more, so many wonders for you to see and experience, if you’ll just have a little faith in me. Why is that so hard for you to do?”

“Of course I have faith in you! I wish you could understand the choice I’ve made, even if you can’t accept it. If I could be what you want me to be, I would, but I can’t.” She reached out a hand, brushing her fingertips across his chest before laying her palm against his heart. “I’m so scared, and I don’t want to fight anymore,” she whispered. She was exhausted, mentally, physically, and she didn’t know how much more she could take.

Nodding, he took her hand, kissing the back of her wrist, and then her palm, before drawing her into his arms. “I don’t want you to be scared anymore, love,” he said softly as he rubbed her neck soothingly.

“I’m not scared when you hold me.” Leaning into him, she inhaled his familiar scent, pressing her cheek against his chest. “I love you, Adam.”

“I love you too, Emmy.” He sounded very old.

She only had a split second of awareness as his arm tightened around her and then a searing pain as he drove his dagger between her ribs and into her heart. Emily’s last conscious sensation was Methos’ heartbeat against her cheek as she died.

@___________@

~ Present Day ~

“And you were the one who killed me. Or had you forgotten?” It was like reliving his betrayal all over again. Emily rolled away from him and off the other side of the bed. This time, he didn’t stop her.

He lay back on the bed, looking over at her. “What do you think?”

“What do I think? Believe me, Methos, you don’t want to know what I think!” Suddenly, she remembered something he’d said earlier. “What do you mean you left me alone for a year?”

“Oh please! I think it’s been well established that you don’t lie well, nor is subterfuge something you’re particularly gifted at.”

“You’re telling me you knew where I was the entire time?” She was simultaneously outraged and baffled. How had he found her?

“Of course I did, you silly woman! Casa Santa Sofia in Chile. I knew you’d go to a convent, because that’s what you always do, and it wasn’t all that hard to figure out which one. And since you were on Holy Ground, and safe, I let you be. I knew you’d come out eventually, and it wasn’t like we didn’t have time.” At her look of complete outrage, he added, “Did you think I’d let you wander around unarmed and unprotected?”

Actually, at the time, she’d mostly been relieved that she hadn’t returned to life locked in some remote location to protect her from herself. So she’d taken the opportunity to disappear, and she thought, exorcise Methos from her life entirely.

Mirroring her thoughts, he asked, “You expected me to keep you a prisoner somewhere if I knew where you were, didn’t you?” He smirked. “Bend you to my will?”

She didn’t answer, just knowing she wanted out of her bedroom, and Methos out of her house. As she put a hand on the doorknob, he said, “But that’s still an option. Don’t think that it isn’t.” Emily yanked the door open, flinging it against the wall with a crash, storming out of the room.

Standing in the hall below, she pointed to the front door. “Get out of my house, Methos!”

“What part of ‘no’ is it that you don’t quite understand?”

With effort, she resisted the urge to pummel him with her fists. While it would be momentarily satisfying, it would only end one way, and that was what she was trying to avoid. Whatever it took, she could not allow him to get her back in his bed; or her bed, for that matter. Sex would only complicate the situation even more. Sighing, she said, “Damn it, I’m exhausted, and I’m hungry. Just tell me whatever it is you need to and leave!”

“There’s a pizza in the oven.”

He had to be kidding. “My, you are the considerate stalker, aren’t you?” she asked waspishly.

“Just eat it, Emily. Besides, it’s not like you ever let anything get between you and food, so I’m sure you can overlook the fact it came from me.”

Her eyes narrowed. Sarcastic bastard! As tempting as the pizza was, she just could not bring herself to do anything he wanted. Instead of going into the kitchen, she turned and went into the living room, ignoring him. He wanted to stay, then fine, but she was not going to play his game anymore.

“Fine,” she heard him say from behind her along with some sort of muttering in an unknown language.

See how you like it, she thought smugly, having finally gained the upper hand. For the moment at least. Obviously ignoring him worked better than raging at him. Sitting in a wing chair next to the fireplace, she crossed her arms and waited silently.

Methos went over to the buffet, picking up bottles and putting them back down again. “Sherry? All you have is sherry ---“ he picked up another bottle “--- and gin. You spent too much time in that convent.” Looking over at her, he waved the gin bottle. “Saturday night canasta with little old ladies and nuns now your idea of a wild weekend?”

“If it is, it’s certainly none of your concern,” she said coolly.

Putting down the bottle, he glanced over at her. “So that’s the new strategy, is it? Freezing me out?”

Ignoring him, she said, “While this little visit has been delightful, I have surgical cases notes to work on, so if we could just move this along?”

“Okay, we’ll play this your way – for now.” Walking over to where she sat, he leaned over, a hand on each arm of her chair. He kissed the corner of her mouth and she made a little noise in her throat despite herself. She could feel him smile against her lips. Then he whispered, “But you know I always get what I want, Emmy, and this game is only just beginning.” He pushed back from the chair and continued on as if nothing had happened while she tried to calm her pounding heart. “It’s time you learned how to fight,” he pronounced.

“We’ve been over this before…”

“Shut up, Emmy,” he interrupted. “Yes, we’ve been over this before, but this time, you’re going to do as I say.”

She fought back an angry response. “Is that right?”

He picked up a case that had been leaning unnoticed against the wall. “Yes.” Setting it on the coffee table, he snapped it open. Emily already knew what was inside. Pulling out the sword, he turned his attention back to her. ‘It’s not even as if you’re starting from scratch. You know how to use a sword already. You just need to apply yourself.”

Emily had been on the fencing team in college. When Derek’s mom had thrown a party to celebrate Emily graduating from medical school, she’d met Adam for the first time. In amongst the family photos displayed on every surface of the Shepherd home were no few of Emily. One of them was a photo of her after a tournament. Adam had been the one to bring it up, asking her if she were any good. Derek had joined them shortly after and had told Emily that his friend was some sort of martial arts aficionado. After she and Adam had started dating, Adam had offered to teach her other methods of sword fighting, and had continued to teach her until the night she found out he was an Immortal. After that, she’d refused to touch a sword. What had been an enjoyable form of exercise and something she and Adam shared an interest in as a couple had become tainted by the reality of just why he was so adept at it. ‘Martial Arts aficionado’ indeed.

“What part of ‘no’ don’t *you* quite understand?” She flung his words back at him.

He sighed deeply, shaking his head. “Why do you persist in being so stubborn?”

“Me?” she protested. “In the dictionary, there’s a picture of you next to the word!”

“Is it because you think I’m going to gloat when you finally accept the inevitable? He went right on as if she hadn’t spoken. “Because I’m not, if that’s what you think. This is far too important.” He’d been swinging the sword idly as he spoke, but now he pointed it at her. The mood in the room changed almost as if a switch had been thrown. His almost bantering tone of before was completely gone. “You can deny it all you want, Emmy, but I know you aren’t eager to die.” Now the tip of the sword was almost touching her throat and she clenched her hands at her sides, steeling herself. “I know, that when the time comes, you’re going to want to fight for your life, not just lay down and die.”

“I’ve never been eager to die! I’m just not willing to pay the price to continue living that you are.” Now the tip of the sword was under her chin, forcing her head up. His eyes held that cold, calculating look she hated.

“No?” Methos pulled the sword back, letting it fall to his side. “Then what about your friends, your coworkers, what about Derek and Addison?”

“Don’t drag Derek and Addy into the middle of this!”

“I didn’t – you did!” he rapped out sharply.

Forgetting her vow to not let him make her angry, Emily started to stand up, only to be stopped by the sword once again at her throat.

“Sit down, Emily,” he commanded, “and be quiet.” When she hesitated, he pressed the blade against her throat with just enough pressure to break the skin. “We can do this the easy way or we can do it the hard way, it’s your choice.”

Clenching her jaw, she sat, her hands gripping the armrests so hard her knuckles were white. The sword now hovered a few inches in front of her.

“What if it hadn’t been me last night? What if I’d been a headhunter? And you unarmed and defenseless in the company of two mortals, practically in the middle of nowhere. Just what do you think would have happened?” he jeered. “Well?”

Shaking her head, she glared at him. “Now I can speak? Make up your mind!”

Methos laughed, and it wasn’t a reassuring sound. “You do like pushing, don’t you?” In a movement faster than she could track, he cut through the top button of her blouse. “Maybe he would have just taken your head ---“ the razor sharp blade cut through the next button “--- or maybe he would taken something else first.” He continued cutting at each button till there were none left. “But then, you don’t care what happens to you, do you? Let’s move on then; Addison is a beautiful woman, after all. So our headhunter kills you; sword through the heart, I should think —“ the sword was now pressing against her chest, just over her pounding heart “--- leaving you for later. Derek’s dead by now of course, leaving Addison all alone, both of you dead as she soon will be.”

“Stop it, Methos, just stop it!” She wanted to cry, she wanted her husband back, the man who would have held her and reassured her that everything was going to be okay. But he was gone, and she was alone. “Stop trying to terrorize me into doing what you want!”

The sword fell to the floor with a clatter as he pulled her from the chair, his fingers digging into her shoulders. “This is not a game!” He shook her once. “You are a willful, stubborn, selfish child! You want to throw your life away, then I can’t stop you, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take anyone else with you!”

“You could have done as I asked! You could have let me go the day I told you I was dying!” she cried. “I’m only standing here now because of your choice, because you decided to play god. You told me you loved me and then you ran a dagger into my heart. I was your wife and I trusted you with my body and my soul! You betrayed that trust utterly and yet you dare to stand here and judge me?” He let go of her like he’d been burned.

There’s a moment that comes when you know it’s finally over. There’s nothing left but the shattered pieces of what once had been a life and a love. Emily knew in the depths of her soul that this was that moment. She realized she just hadn’t been grieving over the mortality she’d lost, but grieving over the loss of Adam, losing the man she loved as surely as if he’d died. In the end, he’d been nothing but a façade. But Methos had been the man that had loved her, not Adam. She just hadn’t seen the reality of that till this moment. Irreconcilable differences.

He’d turned away from her, his hands shoved into his pockets. The anger was gone. Now all that was left was grief for what they’d both lost. “You win,” she said quietly. “I’ll do what you want.”

“This was never about winning,” he replied in an equally quiet voice.

“It doesn’t matter anymore.” And it didn’t. “I assume you’ve already found someone to teach me?” After the emotional tumult of the evening, this conversation was more like two people discussing the weather.

Nodding, he turned partway, looking at her. “Duncan.”

“That’s agreeable.” She knew Duncan. He’d been a frequent visitor when they’d lived in New York, had been Best Man at their wedding.

Their wedding. She remembered Derek putting her hand in Adam’s as he gave her away. The coolness of her wedding ring as it was slipped onto her finger. Emily pushed those memories firmly away. Walking over to her desk and opening a small box, she asked, “He’ll come here?” as she removed the contents.

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Fine.” Emily turned, taking a deep breath. Now for the final break. “There are conditions.” He looked at her sharply, but waited for her to continue. Standing in front of him, she took his hand, pressing her wedding ring into his palm. Methos had made it for her in a time that now seemed very long ago. “I want our marriage annulled. Not a divorce – that’s just a meaningless piece of paper.” She pulled her hand away, the sapphires on the ring catching the light as it lay in his palm. “When your contract at the hospital is up, I want you to leave Seattle. Other than work, I don’t want to see you again.”

“Emmy, you can’t…”

The pain in his voice was almost more than she could bear. But it had to be this way. “No! It’s your turn to listen now. If you can’t abide by my terms, then I’ll give up my life here, my career, and take Holy Orders. You’ve made me realize that I only have two options, to stay here and learn to fight, or to spend the rest of my days on Holy Ground. It’s your choice as to which of those two options I take. You said this was never about winning. Well, you were right. We both lost a long time ago.”

Methos stared at the ring before closing his hand into a fist. He stood completely still, his face a mask of pain. Then he gathered himself, finally saying, “I’ll give you what you want, the annulment, everything.” His eyes searched hers. “Despite what you might think, I never wanted you to hate me.”

“I don’t hate you, Methos, not anymore.” A tear fell down her cheek and she let him brush it away. He made no other move to touch her. “Neither of us are the people we married. In your heart, you know that’s true.”

Hands once again in his pockets, shoulders slumped, he nodded. “Goodbye, Emmy.”

“Goodbye, Methos.”

He left the room, and she heard the front door open. She couldn’t see him, but she knew he was standing in the doorway, looking back. Finally came the sound of the door closing and only then did she cry.

End



Tags: fic, fic: grey's anatomy, fic: highlander, grey's anatomy, methos, series: 'the emily stories'
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