Paris, 2003 AD
A/N: This story takes place in the fall after season 7 in the Buffyverse and in no particular time in the Highlanderverse. There will be smut in a later chapter, but I will warn at the beginning of said chapter so it can be skipped and no plot will be missed. There is also some violence in two later chapters. One is basically a recounting of "One Down" from Buffy season 6. The other will pertain to Methos' Horseman days. You have been warned.
Most of the stuff pertaining to ancient Greece is just stuff I made up for plot convenience. In fact, I know quite a bit about the original Olympic games and the religious rights surrounding them, but that didn't work for my purposes. The time frame I've placed them in is off, too; same reasoning. Just mentioning this to avoid confusion: chapter titles will tell what time/place the chapter is in. I won't be mixing two times in one chapter.
Disclaimer: (boring recitation mode on) I own nothing in the Highlander or Buffy universes. I have no money for which to sue. To do such would just waste your time. (boring recitation mode off)
The small redhead struggled under the weight of her heavy load. She moved quickly, glancing around nervously as she twisted and turned toward her destination. At least, she hoped toward her destination... As the moments passed, she had the sinking feeling that she was getting more and more lost. All of her time back in Sunnydale had not prepared Willow for the challenge she was now undertaking: graduate school.
Shifting her large stack of textbooks carefully, she again glanced at the paper clenched in her hand. She was looking for one of the small lecture halls in La Sorbonne's history building, but the fact that she had been wandering the halls for the past twenty minutes made her feel like she was going in circles.
‘Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea,’ she thought for what had to be the hundredth time since moving to France a month earlier. Shaking her head, she resolved to press on. After the destruction of Sunnydale, she’d made her decision to further her education in order to be of even more help to Giles and Buffy as they sought out new slayers. She had also forfeited her relationship with Kennedy to come here, since the younger woman had thrown a tantrum and stormed out upon receiving the news. She knew she couldn’t control how her former girlfriend felt, and it still hurt that she had been so flippant about breaking things off.
But that had been six months ago; now she needed to focus on her time in graduate school. And more importantly, for the moment, on how to find that damn lecture hall. Willow had just rounded yet another corner when something hard smacked into her, sending both her books and herself sprawling across the floor.
The something, which turned out to be a man, began apologizing profusely in French as Willow brushed her short auburn hair out of her eyes and tried to collect her belongings. Once she had them into something resembling a stack again, she attempted to stand. As she did so, her foot caught in her long jade colored skirt and sent her reeling back toward the ground. The man managed to reach out and preempt her fall at the very last moment, and she landed rather hard against his sweater-clad chest.
"Oh, thank you...uh...merci, monsieur..." she stammered. She wasn't quite used to being in a foreign country and hadn't yet adjusted to constantly speaking the native language. As she straightened herself up, she froze. He was gorgeous. His hair was dark and cut short and kind of spiky. His features were angular, yet still soft, with a somewhat prominent nose. And his eyes... Willow felt herself melting into a puddle, when she realized that the man was talking to her.
She shook her head to clear her thoughts. "Quoi?"
"I asked if you were all right?" he replied in English, his voice laced with a not-quite-traceable accent.
"Oh, yes. I think so. Just too many books. And too many hallways," she answered, her face breaking into a charming smile. "I'm afraid I'm lost, actually."
He returned her smile. "Well, I'm quite familiar with the place; what room are you looking for?" She held out the paper for him to see the room number. "Lecture hall three, is it? I'm on my way there myself; I can show you, if you'd like."
Willow beamed at him. "Thank you, I thought I'd never get out of here." She stooped down to grab her stack of books.
"Here, let me help you with those," he insisted, leaning down and taking three-quarters of the pile. Leading her and glancing at some of the titles he continued, "So you're specializing in history?"
She nodded. "And mythology," she added. "I've been kind of involved in researching myths and their relation to historic events for some time, so I decided to go with what I know." She couldn't help but grin as she talked to him. Something about him made her want to open up, and they chatted comfortably as they walked.
After several twists and turns, they came to a door, and he paused. "Well, this is it," he stated, carefully handing back her books. "By the way, my name is Adam Pierson. I'm a regular around here, so if you need any help, feel free to ask me." He flashed her a smile that made her insides go all tingly.
'Did someone turn the heat on in here,' Willow wondered to herself. Brushing the thought aside, she turned her attention back to the man with her. "I'm Willow. Willow Rosenburg."
"Well, Willow, shall we?" he motioned inward with his hand as he held the door for her.
The door they entered through was to the back, and hall was certainly small. It consisted of only about thirty seats or so, and nearly all of them were filled. Willow spotted two in the back and made her way to them, expecting Adam to follow. As she sat and pulled her notebook out from under the monstrous pile of books, she looked up to see why Adam had not sat down.
To her surprise, he made his way to the podium and began to address the class. She listened as he explained to the students that their professor was not going to be able to make the first month of classes. Adam would be giving the lectures and assignments, and Prof. Lambert would grade them and take over the lectures later.
Adam then began lecturing about ancient Greece. Willow was mesmerized by the way he animatedly moved about the front of the room as he spoke. He had a catlike grace that somehow seemed to fit his lean, lanky frame. She decided that he was definitely easy on the eyes. The sweater he wore -- which from her up close and personal meeting with it she knew to be soft, brown wool -- clung to his chest, hinting at the musculature beneath, and his tight blue jeans left nothing to the imagination.
And the pure wealth of knowledge he exhibited amazed her. He had no notes or books with him; he spoke solely from memory. The way he conveyed information about the events gave the impression that he had actually been there instead of having read about it centuries and millennia later. She was enthralled.
Even as he spoke, watching Willow drew Adam's mind back to a day long, long ago...