Chapter 8: Memento Mori
Alex wished he had a hangover when he woke up the next morning. It would have given him something else to think about other than Juliet and his upcoming confrontation with his flatmates. Pulling on his discarded shirt, he made his way as quietly as possible over to his door. Opening it a crack, he peered through and could just make out that Adam, or at least Adam's boots, was guarding the front door. Cautiously, he opened the door further and stuck his head out.
Adam was curled up against the door, the axe clutched protectively in one hand. His eyes were closed and his breathing looked regular. Alex stared at him for a few moments, then took a deep breath. One. Two. Three…
He sprinted across the floor aiming for the door. Adam opened his eyes just as Alex gathered himself for his jump. He went flying over the reclining man, wincing as his body slammed through the mangled door. A ripping noise heralded the demise of his shirt.
Whether it was the crack of the door when it was hit, or the rather loud rip that attracted the attention of the women, Adam would never know. All he knew was that they all but tripped over him in their efforts to catch Alex. It was all he could do to keep Sarah from landing in his face, or Lia's knees from hitting something very precious. They all recovered quickly though, and were heading down the stairs much faster than he was sure Alex would have liked.
When the trio reached the entrance to the street, the long-legged man pulled ahead of his companions with the axe still in hand. If it weren't for the car that slammed into Adam when he was halfway across the road, he probably would have caught up to Alex first. As it was, the two remaining flatmates ground to a halt in shock. Neither noticed when the blonde-haired driver of the vehicle leapt out and began chasing after Alex.
"Is he…" said Sarah in disbelief.
"Dead? Caput? Kicking the bucket? Swimming with the fishes? Six feet un…" said Liath, quite cheerfully for someone who had just watched a gruesome accident.
"You are so morbid, Lia."
"Well, thank you. I try…Though I don't normally go for as much blood and guts as we're viewing now. I'll never think of ketchup the same way again."
Sarah slapped her friend. Adam was dead, for goodness sake. He was worth a little respect.
"All the more reason to make jokes," Lia responded to the unspoken thought. "It's a coping mechanism…" She took a few steps forward and nudged the corpse a bit with her foot. "So what are we supposed to do when…something like this happens? Aren't we supposed to call emergency services? And where did the driver go? Did we ever take the noodles off the burner? Or the tea for that matter…"
Sarah was considering running back up to the flat to get her mobile and make sure lunch wasn't boiling over when something odd happened.
Adam started gasping. And coughing. And muttering in a language that neither woman could recognize. None of this was unusual, except for the fact that he had been dead a moment before.
"I didn't think anyone could live with their rib up through their…" Lia trailed off.
Sarah nearly fainted as the bits that were supposed to be inside, but had ended up outside went back to where they belonged. Everything that had been mangled or otherwise damaged healed entirely. The man himself moaned, glaring at his flatmates warily as he sat up. Lia seemed to be blinking in shock. Sarah was regaining her colour.
"You're… alive," the latter managed, her voice surprisingly steady.
"So, do you have Dr. Frankenstein's card?" asked Lia as she finally found her voice.
"No, but I know where Mary Shelley's birthmark was." Death did not seem to have stolen Adam's sense of humour. "I suppose neither of you bothered to chase after Alex or his psychotic girlfriend?"
"You're not… dead?" asked Sarah.
"Psychotic girlfriend?" asked Liath. Adam hung his head in despair for a moment.
"The crazy bitch who was driving the car broke in last night with-" He searched around where he was standing and picked up the axe. "this, and tried to seduce Alex."
"With the axe?" asked Lia. Adam glared at her.
"Where were we?" Sarah asked.
"Sleeping soundly like babies and winning the most likely to be axed in your beds awards," said Adam.
"So why aren't you dead?" asked Sarah, since it seemed like Adam was trying to get them off topic. Adam looked away from them for a moment considering.
"I'm immortal," he said quietly, then ran off in the direction Alex had gone.
"Well that doesn't explain anything," complained Lia.
"Do we really want to know?" They both looked at each other.
"Yes," they said simultaneously, and followed after him.
Qui-gon was walking the streets of Edinburgh, his thoughts focused on the troubled young man he had met yesterday. In some ways, it reminded him of his first meeting with Obi-wan all those years ago, but this young man had no knowledge of the Force, no sense of what he was, or what he could be.
He had mediated all night, asking for the answers he craved, but all the Force told him was to wait. To be patient. Something Qui-gon had always had trouble doing when someone he cared for was in danger.
His walking was a compromise. A compromise between his need for action and his need to wait.
He turned down a different street, full of brightly coloured awnings advertising the various shops. There were a few people scattered about, entering or coming out of this shop or that. It was neither busy nor abandoned, and was in fact quite average looking.
Average, and yet there was something about this place.
It tugged at his mind, and the Force whispered to him. It was like an echo. Had something happened here? The Jedi master closed his eyes, meditating on this sensation.
Rain and cold…Anger and curiosity…Darkness.
Qui-gon opened his eyes once more. There had been something else, a faint thought attached to the darkness.
Alex didn't know where he was going, but he knew that someone was still following him. He dodged down another street, narrowly avoiding crashing into some bins that had been blown across the pavement. The footsteps followed behind him. He had to run faster. His eyes were half-closed in concentration, and it almost felt like his feet weren't even hitting the pavement.
It was his feet that were guiding him as he rounded a corner. A woman carrying her shopping glared at him as he dodged past, but Alex didn't notice. His thoughts were focused on getting away, but something was intruding on them. There was a…presence ahead of him, and he was confused as to whether he should be running towards, or away from it.
He skidded to a halt, blinking as he once again focused on the world around him. Standing near a shop, a short distance away was that man from yesterday. The one who had been wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt, but claimed to be a Jedi. The one who had called him Obi-wan.
Alex backed away. He couldn't deal with this now. Not now, and never again. He turned to run, but was brought up short when he saw who was standing behind him.
Juliet stood. Her blonde hair was loose around her face and she was breathing heavily. He froze. There was no where to go. No where to run.
She stalked towards him, and he was trapped in his memories. Memories of her back when the three of them were…No. He had to stop thinking of those times. She wasn't the same person. She had driven a knife through him, in more ways than one.
"You can't hide from me, dear Alex. I want what's mine. I don't need it all, just some. I played a part in this too, and we must finish it for dear, departed, David." She laughed softly to herself, walking ever closer to him. Alex was breathing heavily as he panicked. He backed away from her, but how far could he back away before he was trapped?
Another step back, and he stopped. She was babbling still, about how he owed her, about how she owed him, but never about what they had done to each other. Never about how they had ruined their lives. No more. He was broken. A failure, but that did not mean he deserved this. That did not mean he wasn't going to go down fighting.
He stared at her, willing her to go away. To stop. But his vision of her was clouded by his memories of her before. She had been so…perfect back then. He closed his eyes and blanked the image of her from his mind. Only the thought remained. Go away. Stop. No more. You will not harm me again!
Adam twirled the axe in his hands. It wasn't his favourite sort of weapon, but it would certainly get the job done. He was close enough now that he could feel Juliet's presence, though it wasn't as strong as it would be after she'd met death. Of course, if he had anything to do with it, she wouldn't be waking up…
He ran around the next corner, only to stop short. The Jedi stood a ways down the road, and Alex was before him. Between Alex and himself stood the bitch in question. It wasn't the way Juliet was approaching Alex that worried him, or even the Jedi's presence. It was the way Alex had closed his eyes and was concentrating.
And then the woman was flying backwards toward the corner of a building. She impacted with an awful sounding crack, and came to rest against the wall with her head and back bent at inhuman angles. This was not good. Not good at all.
To make matters worse, his two flatmates hadn't been looking where they were going and ran directly into him. At least he had the sense to keep the axe in front of him, and neither of them were hurt. It was a miracle he had kept his footing.
"Ewwww…blood…" Liath said, pushing Sarah away. Unfortunately, while Adam may have healed entirely, this did not mean the blood that had soaked into his clothes miraculously disappeared.
"Serves you right for teasing me about running slowly," Sarah returned, double-checking her shirt. She had been fortunate enough to only run into Lia's back. "Wait," she added when she saw the blonde woman slumped beside the building, "is that the driver that hit you? Who did that?"
"Alex," the immortal responded grimly. "Without touching her at all."
"I knew he was a Jedi!" Lia said triumphantly.
"Isn't that Qui-gon standing behind him though? How do we know that he didn't do it instead of Alex?" Sarah looked questioningly at Adam, as he was the only one to actually witness the death. But he said nothing.
Instead, he was looking down the road at Alex. The young man seemed as confused as ever, staring blankly at what he had done.
Qui-gon gazed down at his apprentice. The flow of the Force was with Obi-wan once more, and yet…There was still something missing. Pain and fear rolled off of the young man. Fear of what he had been able to do. Fear of who he was and had forgotten. Pain for memories lost. Pain for what had once been and would never be again.
The Jedi master had to set aside his disappointment; it was clear that the man before him was different from the Padawan he knew. Perhaps now at least the young man would listen.
"Obi-wan…" he began, hope etching his voice.
"Shut up! My name is Alex, not Obi-Wan," he said as he turned. His face was nearly unrecognizable, transformed by the anger that welled up inside of him. "I don't know who you are, and I don't ever want to know. Leave. Me. Alone."
A/N: One more chapter to go…:)