EPILOGUE

Methos stood on the patio, working through his exercises less smoothly than he would have liked. Normally he could relax in this place no matter what the stress in his life, normally a kata would help him settle the tension, but not this time. It had been hours and Kate hadn't arrived, which worried him. He was afraid that something had gone wrong and that she was well and truly dead. Or that she'd done something she found she couldn't live with.

He ended the kata and stood a moment in stillness, trying in vain to center. He didn't hear anything, but some sixth sense told him he wasn't alone and he spun, his heart stuttering when he saw Kate watching, admiration in her eyes. He opened his arms and she was there, greeting him with a warm kiss.

"I was so afraid it would go wrong," he murmured when they parted.

"It didn't. Joe was shot, too, but he'll be fine."

Methos drew back, eyes wide. "What happened?"

"The Watcher of your last Challenge. She'd fallen in love, was using her information to find her lover easy targets, until her Immortal got cocky and thought you'd be an easy mark. Methos, I'm sorry, but she killed Cassandra."

He closed his eyes for a moment as the pain of that knowledge shot through him. He'd only ever wanted Cassandra to be well. "How did you find her?"

"MacLeod found Joe, who told him to look at Cassandra's file; a note was left with both of them, as well. And there's only one thing the three of us have in common."

"Me. So you looked up Huff's file and found out where her Watcher was. Where is she, now?"

Kate checked her watch. "Let's see, that was five, almost six hours ago... She's probably still in her hotel room, but only until the maid comes in the morning. Then she'll go to the morgue."

Methos smiled. "You don't seem to be too distraught over your actions." When he didn't get an answer, his smile fell. "Kate?"

She hesitated another moment. "That's just the problem, I can't help but feel that I should be."

"Does MacLeod know?" he asked gently.

"He had the nerve to ask me who I was to decide. As if he doesn't judge like that on a near daily basis."

"What did you tell him?"

"That I was the one who was there, then I told him to quit being a hypocrite. And, when he reminded me that she was mortal, I reminded him about one of the mortals he's killed. I know the justifications, Methos, I know that there's no way it could have gone to the authorities, I know that she wouldn't have left off until either you or her were dead, and I know that being immortal means a different set of morals. It's just going to take me a while to change my own, that's all."

He lifted her chin, making him meet his gaze. "Time to change your morals, or time to accept the ones you've always had?"

"I shouldn't..."

"Who says? Kate, you've been afraid to be yourself for so long that you've forgotten who you are. I'd hoped to remind you, hoped to draw you out. I knew how this would end, with your anger outweighing your fear, at least for the moment. Now that you've had a bit of practice, it's time to forget that fear."

She looked up at him and offered a smile. "I couldn't help but be afraid of losing you."

Methos snorted. "Over this? Please, I'm not MacLeod. In any case, you didn't do anything I wouldn't have. If you hadn't come back..." he shuddered, not wanting to think about it.

"The Depression led me into some deep ruts. It'll take time to get my thoughts out of them."

"I'll do what I can to help." He drew her back into her arms, holding her tight. "I can't decide whether to hate him or kiss his feet."

"Who?"

"Stefan. He's given you what I couldn't, made you healthy again, and I am obscenely jealous of that. But if it wasn't for him, you'd be dead."

"Oh, Methos," Kate sighed. "You've given me something he couldn't; happiness. And you've given me something no one else could have." She drew back to look him in the eye. "It's because of you that I will be all right. I'm coming to accept myself for who I am, and that is all your doing."

He smiled. "Good. I know you, Kate, and I knew how this would end. Never forget that." He reached up to stroke her cheek, his expression turning tender. "I would have stayed with you, Kate," he said, voice breaking. "I would have been holding you when you took your last breath."

Kate smiled and rested her head against his chest. "I know, Methos. You may not have said it in so many words, but you have made it clear in everything you've done for me."

"Good. I needed for you to know that." He smiled. "Though, I'm not disappointed at the prospect of centuries with you."

"Not too much of a commitment?" she asked, talking about the reason he'd given for never marrying an Immortal.

"Not for you, my Kate," he murmured. "So. What now?"

"Now, I think I want to stretch out in the sun next to my husband. I'm cold, for some reason."

Methos chuckled. "Come here, then," he said, leading her to a patio chair. After a moment, they had settled side by side, Methos' arms around her and Kate's head on his chest. Methos knew that nothing stayed this perfect, this right, forever, but he also knew how to live in the moment and let tomorrow take care of itself. He heaved a contented sigh and closed his eyes, reveling in the feel of his wife next to him, and in the thought that she'd be there for a long, long time.