A secret location, outside Paris, two days ago.
Tara awoke to find them pulling at her, dragging her across cold stone; the fools, did they not know who she was, now? What
“We have a bright future, you and I. Break them. They are nothing against our will.
She knew that, she knew, but they were many and she was one. How could she-
Her eyes opened as power she hadn't felt in so long...too long... surged through her. So this was how it worked now. How had she not seen it before? Power crackled though her fingers, and she smiled slowly.
“She's awake!” Willow's voice cried out. Look out!”
There she was again. The girl who thought she knew who she was. Foolish little Willow, didn't she know Tara had moved beyond her? Death is on her heels, and flame-
,” she roared, aiming at Willow.
“Deflecte,” Willow said quickly, slamming the flames into cavern wall.
“Well, that is new,” muttered a voice that sounded familiar – Joe.
” she – they - cajoled. “Been a while, hasn't it?. I'll bet you wish you weren't so quick to turn down my offer now, don't you? Those legs must be hell to manoeuvre in here.
“Gag her,” Willow said. “It'll make it harder for her to cast.”
“Didn't slow you down, if I recall,” Xander panted.
“Let's err on the side on caution, shall we,” said Duncan MacLeod.
The voice inside Tara cackled with glee. The Highlander! The Highlander is here!
” And another voice, so soft, so weak, stuggled. No. No. You mustn't let it have him.
“No,” Tara gasped out, as Duncan MacLeod's face swam into view. “You can't...can't...the flame...I can feel the...”
His face tensed. “I'm sorry, Tara, truly I am,” he said, as he pushed a dagger through her chest.
Pain and darkness took her again.The Raven, Paris, three months before.
“Has anyone heard from him,” Amanda asked, as she took a sip of her wine.
The scrape of the glass started Tara from her doze, and her eyes opened to see Adam's hand nursing his beer bottle about an inch from her nose. Two beers and she'd fallen asleep. He'd tease her mercilessly about this tomorrow. She thought about sitting up and pretending she'd been just resting her eyes, when Adam's voice spoke.
“You know what he's like when he has one of his moods.
It could be a year, maybe two, before he comes around again.”
She heard Amanda sigh. “He never used to be like this, you know,” she said.. “I know it must seem like that to you, but he was such a lighthearted idiot when I first met him. It was one of the first things that struck me...”
“And easy mark, then.”
Amanda laughed. “Well, so I thought – for about two minutes.”
They were talking about Highlander! The never talked about Duncan MacLeod...at least, not when they thought she was listening. Curiosity caught hold of her, and she closed her eyes again as she heard Adam shift in his seat.
“What changed him?” Adam asked.
“I think it started with Tessa's deaths,” Amanda said reluctantly.
“You forgot to mention Darius's and Richie's...and Conor.”
“Yes, well.” Even with her eyes closed, Tara could sense Amanda's shrug. “Some things go without saying, don't they?”
Questions bubbled up within Tara, but she knew that they'd only clam up again if she sat up. There was always a sadness in Amanda's eyes, and a falter in Adam's step, whenever Duncan MacLeod's name came up, and she never understood really understood why. They both loved him, that much was prettycertain, but there was a hesitation there that Tara couldn't quite figure out.
She'd asked Joe once, and he'd gotten such a haunted look in his eyes, that she never could bring herself to bring it up again.
“Do you believe in it?” Adam asked abruptly, breaking her line of thought.
“How can you not?” Amanda asked. “Everytime we look in the mirror, we see living proof of the impossible. What was it that Billy said-”
“Don't,” Adam interrupted. “I've already had this speech from Joe.”
Amanda sighed. “I guess it doesn't matter what we believe,” she said eventually. “It only matters what he
believes and, in his
world, evil is walking among us, and it's waiting for its one good day.”
“I wouldn't be too sure about that,” Adam muttered, and Tara yelped as his fingers attacked her ribs, making her splutter. “Time to get up, Goldilocks,” he said, unrepentantly. “We need to get you home to your own bed.”Los Angeles. The End of The World.
The room fell quiet as Cassandra finished her tale, and Methos eyed her cautiously. She may have decided not to kill him in Bordeaux because she thought he was needed to teach Tara - but now that he'd fulfilled his purpose?
Well. Let's just say he wasn't going to turn his back on her any time soon.
“Where is everyone else?” he asked abruptly. “Or did Willow teleport everyone in the building to Paris?” If so, Joe's regulars must have got a bit of a show.
Rupert Giles and and the Shade are speaking to what's left of the Slayer army,” Cassandra said flatly. “No one has heard from Willow and the others since they've left.”
“This averted prophecy isn't adding up to much, is it?” Methos muttered.
“Who went to Paris with Willow?” Angel asked.
“The Slayer called Faith and Amanda Darieux,” she said.
“I need a phone,” Methos said. “I need to get to Paris as quickly as possible.”
“You won't get there in time,” Angel said. “Not by plane.”
Methos quirked an eyebrow. “Got a better idea?”
Angel smiled coolly, it didn't exactly warm the cockles of Methos's heart. “One or two,” the Vampire said.
“Well, you'd better hurry,” Cassanda said, as she pulled a horn from coat. “By the looks of things you don't have much time.”
“What is that?” Methos asked, as he eyed the darkened ivory of the horn, and the Minoan script tracing it's edges.
“Don't ask questions when you already know the answer, Methos,” she taunted.
“You bitch,” he said succinctly. “I'm going to kill you.”
She shrugged. “You've said that before, several times,” she said. “The threat tends to pall after a while.”
“You told me you never meant Tara any harm,” he said tersely. “You lied to me, Cassandra.”
“Did I?” Cassandra said. “There's a difference between harming someone, Methos, and letting what must happen, happen. I gave her the tools to survive.”
“But if you'd handed it over in the first place, her first quickening wouldn't have been a one way trip to hell
“One's first is always hell, Methos, don't you remember?” Her head tilted as he flinched. “Oh, I see.” she laughed humourlessly. “That explains a lot.” She threw the horn at him, and he caught it automatically. He really needed to get out of that habit. She evidently thought the same, because she smirked at him.
“Ride on, Death,” she said. “You carry hope in your hands, even as you snap at her heels.”
The light dimmed for a split moment, and she was gone; illusion or magic, he wasn't sure, and who really gave a damn?
“The light of R’Nathnor,” Buffy said quietly. “That's it, isn't it?”
“She had it all along, and let Tara take a dark quickening for nothing,” he said lowly. “I'm going to make her pay for that.”
“Okay, heel, boy,” Buffy said dryly. “Nobody is snapping anyone else's head off until I get the full story.”
“Giles,” Angel said.
“Giles,” the Slayers chorused.
“Fine,” Methos bit out. “The Watcher it is, then – but just so you'll know, my prority is Tara, Armageddon is not my concern.”
“That's not what your Seer friend said,” Angel muttered.
was no friend
of mine,” Methos said. “That was-” he blinked. “Well, I suppose that was due,” he admitted. “I just wish Tara wasn't in the middle of it. I hate prophecies.”TBC