Author's note: Thank you, Jenn. Let's finally take care of Helen once and for all, folks!
They had arrived at their destination. Liz had been nervous and sort of on edge the whole drive long
which was rather evident thanks to her left leg, which had been bouncing up and down constantly on the car floor. Now that Duncan had parked the car and they were about to get out, he laid his hand on her knee to stop its movement. The unexpected touch had two immediate consequences: her leg stopped moving at once and she looked at him in surprise.
"You're aware that the fight has probably already been joined and that you can't interfere?" he asked her, looking meaningfully at her with those dark brown eyes of his.
"I know, MacLeod, I know," she sighed. "I just need to get there now."
"Even if you can't do anything about the outcome of the fight?"
"Even then," she said and quickly got out of the car. The clashing of blades could already be heard in the distance. She threw MacLeod an impatient look over the hood of the car and started walking away briskly, assuming that he would follow close behind. The fighting sounds were getting louder and she hurried on. Her fast walk had turned into a slight jog, which was impressive considering the high heels she was wearing. MacLeod's was now next to and had drawn his Katana. His expression was grim, matching hers.
Another few meters and they would make their presence known thanks to the Buzz. And when it did set in, the fighting stopped abruptly. They were getting closer to a huge storage building now. She could already hear Methos's voice, but could not discern his words. Her feet skittered around the corner and there they were. Methos and Helen were circling each other with something aching to murder in their eyes.
Helen spotted her first. Her reaction to her arrival was a self-satisfied smirk which she would have wiped gladly from her face had the battle not already been joined. MacLeod's presence had a rather different effect on her, however, and afforded Liz the tiniest bit of satisfaction. It made Helen's grin fall significantly, because by the time she laid eyes on the long haired, sword bearing man it must have become clear to her that she would not get out of this alive. Someone would kill her tonight. If it wasn't Methos, it would be Liz or MacLeod.
Methos' reaction to her sudden appearance was not quintessential different from what she had expected. There was shock and then anger. "You called her here?" he called out to his opponent spitefully. "What a cheap shot!"
"But I had to make her watch your demise. Also I'm counting on her doing something foolish that will cause you to be distracted and give me a chance to take your head," the woman hissed with a devious grin on her face.
"MacLeod, give me your sword," Liz quietly whispered to her friend. The fact that her voice was so deceptively calm, so controlled, let Duncan hesitate. He had learned. What a pity!
"You can't interfere," he told her again, but held out the sword to her nevertheless.
"I know that. I doubt she'll get out of this duel alive, but I want to be prepare just in case." She reached out to take the sword from him, but he wouldn't let it go just yet. His hands were still closed tightly around its hilt. For MacLeod it was hard to tell what was going on in her head, in contrast to earlier she had now completely closed herself off and had become completely unreadable to him. He could only make an educated guess when it came to her emotions. Would she be able to reign them in even if things weren't looking up for Methos? Because if she couldn't get them under control, she would endanger him. And that would mean playing straight into Helen's hands.
She nodded slowly, holding his gaze unwaveringly. "Come on. It'll be okay," she tried to reassure him probably as much as she tried to reassure herself. He let go.
Her hand that was now holding MacLeod's sword was shaking ever so slightly. It was the only outward sign of her weakness and so unobtrusively that she was sure it escaped everyone else's notice. Safe for Methos maybe. They made eye contact only for the fraction of a second. She simply nodded at him. It was a cautious move. She would have liked to call out a couple of words of reassurance to him, but that would have meant playing straight into Helen's hands.
The fight started again. Methos was good. Better than she had expected him to be. But he also was a bit rusty. One could tell by the way he moved. Some of his movements just weren't as fluid as Helen's who had obviously participated in the game pretty actively in the last couple of years. Watching her was an entirely different matter. There was a terrifying effectiveness to each and every move she performed. Her fighting technique revealed a lot about her character. It was calculated and very disciplined.
Nevertheless the opponents seemed pretty evenly matched despite their different fighting styles, but as the duel carried on longer and longer, Methos's movements became sloppier. Being an experienced fighter herself, she knew that sooner or later Helen was going to find the hole in his defence and would exploit that weakness to her advantage.
She quietly sucked in her breath when Helen's sword swished past Methos's abdomen only by a hair, close enough already to slice through the material of his sweater. MacLeod laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder then, a hand that also kept her in place and prevented her from rushing forward, which was smart, because the impulse to do precisely that was growing stronger within her by the second. She suppressed the look of horror threatening to spread on her face, suppressed every emotions she felt. However, even her self-control had limits. It was bordering on impossible not to do anything when shortly after Helen's blade grazed Methos' side and he let out an agonised scream of pain. God, how she hated that woman! Someone needed to wipe that stupid superior holier-than-thou grin from her face. She was just praying it would be Methos.
"Fucking bitch!" she hissed through clenched teeth, only loud enough for MacLeod to hear. Something had to be done now. Out of necessity Liz was able to pull herself together just enough to do something other than just stand there and gape in horror. The odds had to be evened.
She raised her voice to call out to Methos' opponent. "Just out of curiosity, Helen, why are you fighting him when all you're really after is me?" Her words had the desired effect. They stopped Helen's steady and rather threatening advance on Methos momentarily. Something he was probably rather thankful for, judging by the way he was holding his side.
"Because he means just as much to you as Friedrich did to me," Helen explained to her calmly, never taking her eyes of her opponent. Apparently she still hadn't distracted her enough. Well, she could do better.
"So Friedrich was only a roll in the hay to you?" The other woman raised her head and looked at her in incomprehension. Liz decided to elaborate. "A tumble between the sheets? A one-night-stand?"
"You won't fool me. I saw you together," Helen threatened while her eyes still rested on Liz. Apparently she wanted to fathom her feelings by staring at her face. Fortunately she wasn't quite that easy to read and she did a good job at keeping her face schooled into an impassive mask. So only when Methos advanced on her, Helen became aware of the danger and chose to ignore Liz again in favour of the fight. Something which Liz in turn thought to be rather regrettable. She would have liked to actively contribute to Helen's demise.
"Are you really fooled so easily by what you see? Are you really that naïve?" Methos ground out as he attacked with a series of blows all of which Helen blocked deftly. He was slightly out of breath and bleeding from his side, which gave his fighting style a desperate edge. Unfortunately it also made it slightly more uncoordinated.
Again she broke his defence which earned Methos a deep gash in his shoulder. Things didn't look too rosy for him. In fact if she was honest with herself, which she really didn't want to be, the chances of him losing were increasing by the minute. The grim look that MacLeod shot her told her that he was thinking something along the same lines.
All three of them, and obviously that included Helen, hadn't counted on Methos's next move. When she attacked again, he raised his sword over his head to block her blow with one arm, the good one that wasn't injured. Suddenly a dagger appeared in his other hand as if he had conjured it out of thin air. He unceremoniously rammed the small blade into her side. She staggered back, with almost comic surprise written all over her face. "You cheated," she said accusingly.
"Sorry, no one's ever said we couldn't, " he answered coldly and swung down his sword one last time. The fight was over.
Methos sagged to his knees, apparently unable to keep himself upright anymore. His wounds, though already closing, and the intensity of the fight were probably to blame for that. He had his back to them, so they couldn't see his face when the first energy bolt of the Quickening hit him.
Now it took MacLeod a bit more than just a hand on her shoulder to hold her back. Helen was gone now and all she wanted to do was go to him, but that strong arm that lay around her midriff just wouldn't let her. It stubbornly held her in place until it was all over. Until that mini thunderstorm that was the Quickening had finally died down. Only then he let go off her and she ran over to Methos as quickly as a shot.
There was a heavy smell of static in the air and the residual energy of the Quickening made the tiny hairs at the nape of her neck stand up. But she didn't care about that. He was slightly bent forward on his knees so she kneeled down in front of him. His sweater was torn and bloody in a couple of places, he was sweaty and dirty and she whole-heartedly didn't mind. She gingerly laid her hand on his shoulder and he slowly raised his head to look up at her. She smiled.
"Hey," he replied, his voice slightly raucous thanks to all the screaming he had done only minutes ago. He tried for a smile which turned out a rather tired attempt, but still an honourable one. Seeing him like that touched something deep inside her, a softer more nurturing side she had been unaware of having up until now. She raised her hand to stroke away a speck of dirt on his cheek with her thumb. Then, when she felt she no longer needed an excuse to touch him, she cuped his cheek with her hand. His eyes were on her. Warm, dark, inviting.
"You're not a tumble in between the sheets," she said quietly, only loud enough for him to hear.
He smiled. "I know that." Of course, he knew. How silly of her to assume otherwise. She felt an emotion stir in her chest. It was foreign and unlike anything else she had experienced before. It surprised her because she thought she couldn't feel something like that at all. It was intense. Like melting. Like a knot that suddenly undid itself.
"Good," she said back, then looked down for a second, suddenly feeling uncharacteristically shy. After all her shyness was only understandable. In the brief couple of months he had stirred more emotions in her than anyone else had in her by now comparatively long existence and she was afraid one of them might even be love. For now, however, her fear was overruled by sheer relief. He was alive. Everything was alright. That was all that counted now.
She scooted closer to him and laid her arms around his neck hesitantly. He forewent the hesitance completely and pulled her into a tight embrace. "I was so worried for you," she whispered in his ear, her voice so heavy with emotions it almost cracked.
"I'm okay," he reassured her.
"Yeah?" she drew back a little to look at his face. Her eyes quickly took inventory and catalogued away the healed cuts on his face that had only left some dried blood in their wake. They gave him a slightly roguish look. She smiled a somewhat watery smile, then leaned forward to kiss him on the lips. In many ways that kiss was like their first one. Almost innocent. She trailed off from his mouth to his right cheek covering it with feather like kisses.
"What are you doing?" his voice was soft, full of wonder and made her stop her ministrations for now.
"Showing you how I feel for you," she said softly as if that were self-evident.
"Why don't you just tell me?" he asked simply.
"Because MacLeod's standing about four meters away..."
He smirked at that. How contradictory she was sometimes. She didn't mind kissing him and hugging him in front of MacLeod, but was too shy to say how she felt. Odd, but so very much like her.
MacLeod had dropped them off at Methos' place. The car ride over had been strange, silent. They had been sitting on the back seat next to each other, holding hands somewhat awkwardly. Now without the adrenaline in the mix, both of them were aware that some talking had to be done. So first silence in the car, now more silence as they made their way up the stairs to Methos' apartment.
He closed the door behind them, taking off his coat with a groan of exhaustion. It was ruined, sliced open and bloody, so no need to hang it up. It was thrown on the floor unceremoniously. He started ever so slightly when he turned towards her and saw she was watching him. He had expected her to be looking at his apartment, dissecting every tiny little detail about it, instead her eyes were on him.
"I l...," she started. He quickly jumped forward and covered her mouth with his hands. Their eyes met over his hand. Hers first looked surprised, then angry. He quickly retracted his hand before she decided she wanted to bite him.
"What did you do that for?" she asked irritatedly.
"Because you were about to say something stupid," he said in a serious tone of voice.
"What?!" Liz asked sharply.
"Come on," he took her hand, which she begrudgingly let happen, and pulled her after him towards the living room. In front of the couch he stopped. "Sit!" he ordered her and to his great surprise she complied.
"What no protest? No cheeky comment?" he looked at her almost worriedly.
"Too tired," she answered.
"Mhm. Know the feeling," he stifled a yawn.
"So what now? Do we break up?" she air-quoted the last word, showing thereby how ridiculous the expression was in her opinion. "Are you going to tell me that it's you not me? What?"
"No, but you'll have to admit that it would be reasonable, given the fact that our relationship is rather closely resembling 'Fatal Attraction'," he sat down in front of her, on the coffee table opposite the couch.
"So why don't we end it here?" she looked at him interestedly. "Knowing you, the thought must have crossed your mind at least a couple of times in the last few months or so..." Her expression was deceptively neutral, though he knew better than to mistake her outward appearance for a dead give-away of what she was feeling inside.
"I would be lying if I said it hasn't."
She let out a long breath. "There we go... I've already suspected as much. Can't really blame you. Ever since we've known each other I've kept pushing you to do things you wouldn't do otherwise."
"Yes, and I've let it happen," he said darkly.
"So why don't you tell me to back the hell off if I'm that much of a bother?" He could tell she was all ears now.
Methos looked at her for a long time. He took in her pale skin, her wind-swept, wavy, dyed black hair, the smudged mascara underneath her blue eyes and pointed tip of her nose. Her face was familiar to him by now. He sighed. "Temporal insanity?" he chuckled mirthlessly at his own joke and quickly fell silent again when she shot him a reproachful look. "Apparently you cannot only get addicted to things but also to people."
She threw him a curious look, so he chose to elaborate. He was not particularly proud of what he was about to admit to her, but it had to be said eventually. "For about 5,000 years it's been my ability to rationalise things, to strategically take a situation apart and avoid danger. That ability, that way of life, has kept me out of trouble. And I was happy with it. Until you came along and I've started doing things... stupid things. Dangerous things. It started out so innocently. I never thought we would end up here. First it was small things mostly. So harmless. I talked to you although I knew you were bad news. I encouraged you. I wanted to get to know you... Then small things turned into something bigger. I told you my name. That's when this whole mess started. I still don't know how we got here. Do you? How could things get so out of hand?"
"Out of hand?" she enquired with a frown.
"Would you call the situation out of hand? You're probably the worst thing to happen to me." Her frown was dangerously close to becoming a pout, but he was unaware of that and continued talking. "You're like my Achilles Heel. When it comes to you, for some reason, I can't think straight anymore. So, yes. This is insanity. Utter and complete insanity!"
His tone was accusing, almost reproachful, but his admission had made her frown disappear. It had been completely eclipsed by a smile now. Not only a smile. She actually had the cheek to grin at him. "Insanity?" she repeated mockingly. "Ha!"
"Yes, insanity," he seemed to be determined to make her grin go away by staring at her.
She held his gaze unwaveringly. "Insanity, you say? And you think you're the one that gets to piss and moan about it? That's rich! Do you honestly believe there are a lot of men out there I trouble myself getting to know, let alone care for enough to put up with their issues? And you've got issues, Mister, let me tell you that..."
"I've got issues?" he asked sharply. "Need I remind you of your temper? Or your tendency to always go over the top whenever you do anything?"
She inclined her head to the left, looking at him somewhat critically. "Well, there's such a thing as cause and effect. What's your reaction to being drugged and abducted? Thankfulness? Hugs all around?"
"Don't you think that threatening to behead me with a kitchen knife was maybe a bit over the top?" he gave to think.
"Don't you think it would have been easier to talk to me, instead of doing something crazy like stabbing me with a syringe?" she shot back.
"Maybe," he conceded.
"Alright then. I admit it. I overreacted," she finally relented.
He nodded. At least they had reached some sort of understanding.
"But," she held out her index finger to him admonishingly, "if you would finally start trusting me we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place."
"I trust you," he tried to appease her.
"Methos, please! What do you take me for? You trust no one. No one. I bet there are things about your past you haven't even told MacLeod or Joe."
He stayed silent for a moment and looked down at his hands. His silence was a dead give away. He tried to quickly cover it up by his next remark. "And what about you? You don't let anyone see the real you," he retorted.
He almost had her there. For a moment he saw indignation flash in her eyes, then that indignation was replaced by a knowing look. She was onto him, but surprisingly she didn't exploit that advantage straight away. To his great surprise she chose to react to what he had said instead. "Except for you," Liz said calmly.
He was surprised. Yes, he knew that she had somewhat opened up to him. He even sometimes entertained the rather vain and fleeting thought that he was privileged to get to know a part of her that no one else knew. But hearing it was something different entirely than just thinking it from time to time.
Both of them fell silent for a moment. She looked down at the carpet. He scooted closer to the edge of the coffee table. His hands were on his knees. He eventually had to fold them to keep them from reaching out for her.
"Well, I think it's safe to say we're acquainted with each other personalities more thoroughly now," Methos observed matter-of-factly.
She looked at him with something bordering to amusement shining in her eyes. "You think?"
"So what do we do now?" he asked her somewhat helplessly.
She sighed. "Why do you ask me for advice? Aren't you supposed to be the older and wiser one?"
"Being older doesn't necessarily make you any wiser. You're just less likely to repeat the same mistakes again. I've never been in a situation like this before. I've always known when to walk away."
"Then walk!" she told him simply.
"Yeah, well, the problem is, I don't really want to," he finally admitted.
"Good," he could see the relief on her face. She didn't even try to hide it. "Then stay. Don't walk. That's what I'd prefer anyway," she said, ending the sentence with an affirmative nod.
She could tell that his own admission of wanting to pursue their relationship further had unsettled him, but there seemed to be something else that bothered him still. Maybe he was still thinking about her almost "I love you". She was definitely still thinking about it.
"You wanted to tell me that you love me," he blurted out. Yes, apparently she had been right. He had still been thinking about it. His brusqueness, however, made her blush a little, even though she had expected him to say something along those lines. It had been a long time since she had talked to a man about her real feelings.
"Was that wrong? Shouldn't I have?" she asked, almost shyly looking anywhere but at him.
"How can you love someone you don't even know?" he asked her. The way his eyes were looking at her face had something almost desperate to it, but unfortunately it escaped her notice.
"I know you," she tried to reassure him, laying her hand briefly on his arm.
"You don't," he shook his head. "I haven't told you everything."
"So tell me then...," she supplied. "Or don't. Whatever you prefer. It won't change anything."
After a brief moment of consideration Methos shook his head vehemently. "You're wrong. I think it would."
"So it must be a pretty dark and big secret," she concluded with a levity she didn't quite feel. In fact his words made her shudder. It was the most unpleasant feeling. It crept up her spine, but it also made her stomach clench.
"You have no idea..."
"You'll have to tell me now. You can't go and say something like that and then keep your mouth shut," she said shooting him an almost sympathetic look. Liz wouldn't want to switch places with him now. But what was ultimately worse, being the one to tell someone the bad news? Or being on the receiving end of said bad news?
"Yeah, I guess I do, don't I?" he sighed, scratching the back of his head thoughtfully. He regarded her pensively for a while longer. Should he really tell her? In a way she had earned the right to be told. She had wanted to tell him that she loved him after all. He knew that the words didn't come easy to her. He also knew that if they stayed together, she would eventually find out everything about his past. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely at some point in the foreseeable future. Lying to her, if that worked at all, would not be easy and only a temporary solution. Silas, Kronos and Caspian were still out there and it was only a matter of time until they would cross paths with him again. Also there was the fact that he didn't feel like telling her lies anymore. They were past that point now. Her almost "I love you" proved as much.
So he couldn't just lay back and wait until one day things would blow up in his face. Because that was what was doubtlessly going to happen. And what then? She would leave. He didn't want her to leave. Not now. Not any time soon. He was aware it was crazy because she was more trouble than she was worth... No, that was not true. If he was really honest with himself, he had to admit that he even enjoyed the kind of trouble she brought him. In a way. When it didn't involve sword fights and angry, raving, nut case immortals that were after her or his head.
She had somehow managed to worm herself into his heart which made it hard imagining a life without her, so it was time to finally come clean and tell her what he neglected to tell others most of the time. Out of convenience. Out of necessity. Because nobody would understand. There was even a chance – a rather slim, but substantial one- she would understand thanks to her own past.
He wanted to tell her. But how to go about it? How was one to reveal something as massively uncomfortable about oneself as this? He couldn't just come out and make a joke and say: 'Oh, by the way, I was one of the Four Hoursemen. I was Death. I killed, maimed, tortured and violated people for a while there'. It wasn't like admitting to something as trivial as being colour blind or allergic to peanuts.
"You know at times like this, when someone keeps me waiting for an eternity, I highly appreciate my immortality," Liz remarked sarcastically. He always had her pegged for the impatient type. He threw her a dark look for now, because he wasn't ready to start talking yet.
"Very reassuring," she commented his actions with a sigh.
"I'm trying to come up with a decent way of telling you what needs to be said...," he said to her in a slightly irritated tone of voice.
"Sometimes there is just no decent way," she told him, looking him straight in the eyes. "I'd be happy to settle for anything as long as you start talking."
He nodded slowly. "Are you familiar with the myth of the Four Hoursemen?" he started cautiously.
Her eyes narrowed. "Of course, Famine, War, Death, Pestilence..." She used her fingers to enumerate those names.
"Only that they... we weren't just a myth."
"Yes..." Still she eyed him somewhat critically. He waited for the penny to drop. It did only seconds later. "You're meaning to tell me that those men actually existed?"
"Yes... I was one of them," he finally said.
"Okay," Liz blew out a long breath and nervously wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. "Okay," she repeated again, scooting around uncomfortably in her seat. "So how did you guys manage to become a legend?"
"By killing everything in our path."
Her eyes settled for a moment on him, wide in shock. They swept over his features, then averted themselves again.
She was usually so clever with words, but now she remained silent. It shocked him. Greatly. He waited for her to say something. Seconds ticked by, minutes. She looked like she had retreated into herself. Maybe that was a tat bit too dramatic. In any case she seemed to be deeply lost in thought, so deeply in fact that she seemed to have forgotten all about his presence.
He tentatively touched her hand. She started ever so slightly, but finally her eyes settled on him again.
"It would be nice if you could say something now...," he supplied.
"What am I to say?" she answered. "What does one say to that? Is there a generally accepted response to this sort of thing?"
"I shouldn't have told you," he concluded resignedly.
"No. No! It was right to tell me," she hurried to say.
"So what now?" he asked, trying to keep his voice neutral. It was essential not to pressure her and it was rather difficult to remember that because he was hoping for a particular response from her. He hoped that she would eventually be able to see past what he had told her. But it looked like that wouldn't be happening any time soon.
"I need some time to think," Liz said.
"Are you going to leave?" He inquired, maybe a bit too eagerly and quickly.
She threw him an odd look. "No, I just want to sit here and think for a bit, okay?"
"Okay," he answered slowly.
He really should have asked her what she had meant by 'a bit'. It only occurred to him later because 'a bit' turned out to be round about two hours, maybe longer. Two agonising hours he spent trying to pretend like he was busy while she was just sitting there on the sofa motionlessly. He passed the time reading; even he placed a glass of water on the coffee table in front of her, which still stood there untouched when he next walked past the sofa. Later he finally had to admit defeat, because the exhaustion and sleep deprivation were taking their toll. He slouched off to the bedroom with a bended head.
She watched him go, feeling an odd mixture of resignation and relief. Her thoughts had been moving in circles for hours. Methos was one of the Horsemen. The Horsemen were not a legend. They had actually existed at one point. He had killed thousands of people and apparently enjoyed it or else he would have kept doing it. The colossal weight of each of these realisations had been enough to keep her busy for the last couple of hours. Quite surprisingly she was also close to having digested them. She could stomach a lot. There was still one significant question, though, that needed answering before she could allow herself to stand up, or even do something as trivial as having a sip of that glass of water in front of her. Was Methos still the man who enjoyed killing all those people?
She was not sure even he could give a satisfying answer to that question. While she had no qualms being friends with someone like Amanda, who was a thief, a liar and by default untrustworthy, the thought of loving or being in a relationship with someone who had slaughtered whole villages gave her pause. Actually the thought sounded really grotesque in her head. She wrinkled her nose. She wrinkled her nose because she had just once again come to the realisation that even she had moral standards. It was rare that she was reminded of them. She drew the line at murdering mortals and nowadays even flinched back from deceiving a friend or someone she deemed innocent. She was able to willingly be altruistic if she wanted to be... The conclusion of all those things? She was no saint. Far from it. She wasn't without scruples either. But was she understanding enough to forgive something as momentous as this?
What made matters even worse was the fact that her feelings were continuously sabotaging every attempt of rationalising the problem. When she had seen him place the glass of water on the table in front of her, she had felt a wave of affection flood her entire being. Just in time she had fought down the urge to throw him a thankful smile. Encouraging him would have been most thoughtless and completely unhelpful considering the situation they found themselves in.
She had also been aware of the fact that he had kept eyeing her wearily over the edge of the book he had been pretending to read. Being observant was a curse at a time like that, because she was well aware of how much pain she caused him by being silent, by just sitting there and mulling things over. But what else was she to do?
She was a rational woman, normally not driven by her emotions, but her intellect. Her intellect, however, wasn't helping her now. Her thoughts returned to the question she had kept asking herself ever since his live-changing admission from before. Was he the same man he was a few millennia ago? Of course not. Just like she wasn't the same woman she had been hundred years ago. And yet she knew that who she had been was still there. Underneath it all, her old-self was waiting to come back to life with a loud roar like a sleeping beast when poked in the side with a stick. You couldn't fundamentally change who you were. Small adjustments could be made, but nothing major or important. Not even time could do that. The theory was sound, proven and completely plausible.
But then again she wanted to believe he was the man she had gotten to know in the last couple of months and not some man-slaughtering monster from a legend. The Methos she knew was a man full of contradictions and little conundrums. Detached , yet able to be incredibly caring, sarcastic, yet sensitive, passionate, yet cold... He was all that and more. Everything wrapped up in an intriguing package that was his personality. She enjoyed his little quirks and habits. The blatant disregard of etiquette he displayed every time he slouched down in a chair or a sofa that was not his own. The fact that he could be utterly condescending and irritatingly full of himself when he wanted to be and humble and wise when it was least expected of him. She sighed. It was no use. She could rationalise this all she wanted to, but the more she tried, the clearer it became to her that she was unable to think rationally about it because she loved him. She probably had done so for longer than even she realised. What was she to do now? Walk away? Stay? Tell him that she loved him? It would mean sealing her fate. If she had been smart, she would have run a long time ago. Back in Paris, before they had decided to give this disaster a chance.
Grotesquely enough she was less worried about herself and her feelings than she was worried about him. This relationship thing, or whatever they had going on wasn't any good. She was bad for him and she knew it. Maybe bad was the wrong word. She made him stray from his low key life style that had kept him alive for more than five millennia. He was careful and suspicious by default. She was someone who often sought out calculated risks. This combination was either a recipe for disaster or... Disaster was a harsh word. Perhaps a little too harsh.
Complete disaster was not the only outcome after all. If they were both willing and able to adapt to each other just a tiny bit... She wouldn't go so far as use the word change. That was too extreme. And quite impossible, as previously established. But if he could just be a little less cautious and she could just be a little less hazard-friendly... Maybe. Just maybe. God, those thoughts were giving her a heavy migraine! Also she was starting to sound like a couples' therapist.
Resignation! She moved her legs. A most unpleasant sensation travelled up her limbs when she first moved them after sitting around motionlessly for hours. It felt like pricking needles and there was that uncomfortable numbness. She made a few clumsy steps. She was probably about as graceful as one of those zombies from a horror movie. At that thought a brief self-ironic smile flitted over her features in the dark.