The hard rock music was playing so loud on his stereo that it took a moment for Methos to realize that something was ringing insistently. Muttering, he dug into his coat, grabbed his cell phone, and snapped irritably, "What?!"
There was a pause on the line, then a voice he vaguely remembered as Tara's said, "We need to speak with you."
Frowning, Methos turned down the stereo as he asked, "Who's 'we'?" "Me and Willow. Can you come to our place? It's important."
"How important?" "Buffy and Angel's lives depend on it."
Methos knocked impatiently on Willow and Tara's apartment door. Moments later, it opened to show a frazzled looking Willow holding a black cat. Silently, she looked at Methos, then stepped back to allow him inside.
Stepping inside, the ancient Immortal looked around the apartment. He noticed the simple yet mystical feel of the place in its decoration. Definitely the home of magic users
, he thought, as Tara came out of a back room, the smell of incense strong around her.
Lifting an eyebrow in inquiry, he said, "I came as you asked.... Now explain what you meant about the Slayer and vampire."
Nodding, Tara gestured for Methos to sit down. Once sitting, the Wiccan said, "After Willow and I got home after all the excitement today, I did a Reading."
"You mean Tarot cards, correct?" the Immortal asked, making sure.
She nodded, then said, "The Reading was to determine where Buffy and Angel could go to get help with everything that's happening, especially since their usual sources don't seem to be working."
"And where do I come into this?" Methos asked quietly.
Tara looked directly into his eyes, as she said bluntly, "The cards said that you are the one they need to go to, to solve their problems at the moment."
Methos looked down at his clasped hands, and said softly -- with an edge to his voice --, "And how am I to aid them?"
"That is what we are going to find out," said the natural-born witch, as she pulled out a deck of Tarot cards, and sat down beside Methos.
Willow pushed the coffee table closer in front of the two and sat down opposite of them. As Tara looked through the cards, the Immortal asked, "What deck is that?"
"The Celtic Tarot deck," came the simple reply as Tara took out the card she had been looking for: The Fool.
After reshuffling the deck, Tara handed it to Methos and asked him to shuffle it three times, thinking as he did so -- one word per shuffle -- Body, Mind, Spirit
. Once he had done so, Tara took back the deck and took the top twelve cards, and put the others to the side. She then took the Fool card that she had taken out earlier and put it with the other twelve, and shuffled them all together. Then placed them in a straight line horizontally across the table facedown.
There was a pause, as if all were waiting for something to happen.
After a moment, Methos frowned, and said, "I'm getting the feeling that these cards all need to be face-up, then
we figure out what it all means.
Tara nodded as Willow murmured agreement. Within moments, all the cards were face-up.
Methos noticed how Tara had placed all the cards that came before The Fool above the ones who came after The Fool, and asked, "What kind of spread is this?"
Without looking up from the cards, Tara said, "You see where The Fool is? Well, the cards before that one are what you already know about your question and yourself, and have already happened. The ones after The Fool are all the stuff that answers your question, and helps you to figure out what to do."
She pointed to the four cards before The Fool, and explained, "The first card is the Five of Cups, and means that there has been a great loss -- emotionally in the heart or in a relationship of some sort --, but that some hope remains. The next card is the Five of Pentacles, and means pretty much the same thing, except this one concerns money or material worth. Both these cards also mean loneliness."
She looked up at Methos, and said softly, "You've been very lonely in your life, haven't you?"
Keeping his eyes solely focused on the cards, the ancient Immortal nodded agreement, and thought, You've no idea, Child.... Absolutely no idea at all how true that is.
Tara returned her attention to the cards and said as she lightly tapped the third card, "The Ace of Swords suggests that after that time of loneliness, you at last found direction in your life.... A clarity of thought and movement in a new direction in your life, in other words." Her hand moved to the fourth card: the Prince of Wands. "This one talks about traveling; getting tired of something, and leaving. This one and the Ace of Swords also tie in together, if you think about it, as one set talks about loneliness and the other set talks about traveling...and those two things tend to go hand-in-hand, especially for an Immortal."
Methos again nodded agreement, as Tara touched The Fool, and said, "This is now," she then gestured to the cards below the first row, "and this is what's too come. The answer to your question, Immortal."
Methos looked up from the cards, to gaze at Willow. She had been quiet through this entire thing, and he was wondering how she was taking all this. He raised an eyebrow at her wide-eyed, shocked and amazed expression as she looked at Tara.
"Willow," he asked softly. She looked at him. "Are you alright?"
Swallowing, Willow nodded her head as she got herself under control. She then said, "Yeah, I'm fine. I've just realized where Tara's strengths are, that's all."
Methos made a noncommittal sound of understanding, then looked back at Tara to see her smiling faintly, laughter and joy in her eyes. Quietly, she said, "Shall we?"
At everyone's nod, she commented firmly, "Good."
The Wiccan touched the card after The Fool: the King of Swords, and said, "This -- from what I'm getting -- is talking about a person. The name I keep hearing in my head is Angel's. Now from what I've been told about him -- and from the little I've seen -- this is definitely him. It is appropriate that he be in this Reading, as he is one of its subjects."
Tara touched the next card: the Queen of Cups. "Like the King of Swords, this card is also a person...and it's definitely
Buffy. This card's practically shouting her name. It's interesting how Buffy and Angel compliment each other perfectly: Air and Water, thought and feelings, truth and love, reason and intuition, head and heart, justice and mercy...you get the idea."
Methos chuckled faintly, as Willow grinned and said, "Aren't I
the one that babbles, Tara?"
"Yeah," Tara said absently, as she touched the Princess of Wands. "This is another person: Dawn.... And looking at this, I can see why Buffy and Dawn have trouble getting along a good deal of the time: Water and Fire, opposite elements. For some reason, she's in this too. Maybe the next card will tell us why.
"The Ace of Wands. Well, it is the same element. It means individual creativity, original thinking. Apparently the solution to helping them out isn't going to be one that's been done before."
"That's nothing new to me," Methos muttered, as Tara tapped The Wheel of Fortune thoughtfully.
"Something happens here. Things will become very fast, and changes will be immediate...." Tara's focus went to the next card: The Emperor. "Interesting, two Major Arcana cards together. This is pretty big."
Tara looked up from the card, and at Methos, as she said seriously, "This card is also a person, just as the first three after The Fool were. This is you. After the event -- whatever it is -- makes everything go faster, you step into play, and do what you need to do."
Methos nodded, as he said, "So now I know when
I must help them, but the how is not really known yet, and we only have two cards left to interpret."
She nodded, and pointed to the next card: the Princess of Cups. "Something to do with emotions, and as it is the same element that Buffy is under...I believe it deals with her. I just wish I knew how." Tara touched the last card: The Chariot. "Success, all will be made right."
"So," Methos said, as he leaned back on the couch where he sat, "from what I understand, the final outcome will be decided by Buffy, but I must be there to help?"
"Yes," Tara said, as she began to pick up the cards and put them away.
Becoming thoughtful, Methos murmured, "I wonder why the cards don't say that Angel should be the one to help her.... Perhaps the event that happens concerns him."
Tara nodded as she absently picked up the unused Tarot cards. Her grip was loose, and two cards slipped out of the middle of the deck. The first one landing on the table face up, while the other landed on Methos' lap -- also face up.
Methos felt chilled, as he picked up the card on his lap, and whispered, "This is me."
Tara's expression was one of deep thought, as she said, "Weird. If I'm getting this right: Angel is Air, Buffy is Water, Dawn is Fire, and you are Earth. There's only one element that hasn't been named: Spirit."
Noticing the card on the table, Tara picked it up: the Ten of Wands. Her expression then became distant and vacant, as she murmured, "The Champions of Light shall carry the burden of the world.... Thus, they must be lighter than their burden."
Methos was walking by one of the many cemeteries that he had to pass on his way to the hotel where he was staying, when he felt another Immortal's presence. It was powerful, but very
young. Wearily, he drew his sword from the confines of his coat, and called out, "Who's there?"
After several tense seconds, Angel, then Buffy holding her own sword in hand came into view. Breathing a sigh of relief, Methos nodded as he put away his sword, the Slayer following suit. Good. Even if I'm the only Immortal she has met, she uses what I taught her. It also helps that she can already sense the supernatural
, Methos thought as the Slayer and souled vampire came towards him. As they reached him, he asked, "How goes the Slaying tonight?"
Buffy grinned with a dazzling smile, while Angel rolled his eyes.
"Very well, I take it," Methos commented as he fell in step beside the couple.
Buffy laughed giddily, as they walked away from the cemetery, and said, "We had a whole gang of about thirty
vamps try to take us down, but Dawn and Eve showed up, and we kicked their asses!"
Ethan Rayne stepped out of the bushes where he had been hiding -- a cruel smile in his eyes and upon his lips --, and whispered, "Well, Slayer, it seems I have found my Immortal!"
A few minutes after he felt the other Immortals leave his presence, he whispered, "Dispel, Shield of Oblivion, your task is done," and cut his hand. A moment later, there was a faint shimmering in the air around him, then all was as it was before.
Slipping his hands into his pockets, Ethan commented to himself, "Now...how to get her into my hands, without all of her people coming after me?"
"I may be of assistance with that," said a female voice smoothly behind him.
Turning around quickly in surprise, Ethan saw a petite blonde-haired woman with a tall brunette behind her. He knew instantly that they were vampires.