It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry for that and thanks for your support. Reviews are always welcome *hinthint*. :)
This is how things went:
First Methos comes, cocky smile on his lips and something softer in his eyes and he takes her by the hand and leads her away from the fire. Sometimes, when he feels edgy, he will throw her over his shoulder and she will call him caveman. He will give her a confused looked and then let it go, attributing it to the horrible and magical place she comes from.
He insists that is must be a horrible place because even centuries later, she still cries and sometimes her eyes grow hollow with memory that refuses to fade. He hates the place she was born in, simply for what it did to her. They all do.
But most nights, that doesn’t matter. He leads, or carries, her away from the fire and into their tent where he strips her and loves her and makes her laugh and reminds her of life in a world that is dead and dying all around them. Often, they simply talk. Whatever they do, it does not matter because inside their linen walls, they are alone and only themselves. They can do whatever pleases them. Here, they are no warriors. Here, they have no past, no blood on their hands.
Eventually, inevitably, they will crawl into bed and he will spoon up behind her, breathing into her neck, reminding her…reminding her.
Kronos comes when the songs and stories by the camp fire fade into the night. He comes with the cocky swagger and self assuredness of one who wants to be jealous but is afraid to. He wants her for himself - sometimes - but he knows that it would cost him everything. So he takes some freedoms and doesn’t even think of others and when Death smacks him down like a naughty puppy, he fights back only as much as is expected of him.
He strips, losing clothes and weapons in a trail that leads from the tent flap to their bedstead and he slips in next to her. Occasionally, he will kiss her. Occasionally, Death will take offence because he is obsessive and possessive and War will kiss him too, laughter on his lips and madness in the glint of his eyes.
They will curl up and they will sleep.
For a while.
Silas comes next, most of the time. Sometimes he is last, but not often. He comes after he has put all the animals to rest, fed and watered and soothed them. He comes smelling of earth and dirt and living things and he takes his place at the foot of the bed with a tired grunt.
She shoves Methos’s arm off her waist and pushes Kronos away to sit up and crawl down to gently, lovingly, kiss Famine on the forehead. Of all four of her beautiful mad men, he is the one that is most like a son to her, the one that is most like a child. He does not scheme or hate. His emotions are raw and true and he loves honestly. There is no deceit in him, for all his rage.
So she kisses him on the forehead and not on the mouth and for a while, he will tell her of the horses and goats and whatever other animals they happen to drag around with them at the moment. Eventually, he smacks his lips and that is her signal to retreat. He is tired. She will let him sleep.
Caspian is last, always the night owl, always outside, watching, waiting. It is his way of protecting them. He likes being their sentry. He likes knowing that they sleep, trusting in him to keep them safe.
He spends most of his nights haunting the camp and its edges, coming, going, never really there. He is a ghost in the dark, dangerous and deadly. He comes to bed only when someone else wakes to take his place.
And then he slips into the tent, stripping much like Kronos before him, mixing up their clothes and weapons, and slides into the last free space beside Silas, half on top of Kronos.
When he wakes the others, they grunt and when he strokes a strangely gentle finger down her face, she grumbles quietly. He smiles when he manages to elicit that sound from her.
There are some unspoken rules the all abide to in their strangely full bed. Kronos will never try to do more than kiss her. No-one will ever crowd Methos. They will never let her sleep on the outside of their little pile. Silas and Caspian always stay just a bit farther away than they have to.
In the morning though, they always wake up in a mess of tangled limbs and hair, blinking blearily and feeling warmer than the sun will ever make them.
And this is how they go:
She crawls into bed in the early hours of morning, exhausted, tired to the bone and alone. She feels cold and pulls the blankets close and eventually, she falls asleep.
She wakes, reaching around her for Methos’s warmth, for Kronos arms. She breathes in deeply, hoping to catch a whiff of earth and dirt and gropes blindly for a madly cackling Caspian. And then reality returns and she is alone again because they are all gone.
Methos. It’s his fault. His fault
. She tries the words on her tongue every day but she can not make them fit. It’s not really his fault. She has known this day would come since he was given to her in a storm of lightning and ozone stench so, so long ago.
Nothing lasts forever.
Not even they.
She made a decision, a long time ago, lifetimes before anything she remembers now. She decided to put her conscience and her guilt into a box and bury it in the desert. She decided to live as she chose and not bend anymore. She decided to become what she is, what she was. She was Sun because she wanted to be.
Her boys never made that decision.
They grew up in a place where such things as guilt and regret didn’t exist and they never knew they missed them. But eventually, like the forbidden fruit, those feelings were there close enough to taste, seductive and strong and Methos, always too curious, took a bite.
He learned moral and honesty and guilt. Most of all guilt.
He learned it and he looked upon them and their lives and he felt sick. He looked at her and his eyes were hollow.
And he walked away.
That was what hurt the most. Not that he went but that he did not ask her to come with him. Almost like he doubted she would. It is hard to imagine that even after millennia he still doesn’t know that she loves them all equally but him far beyond that. She would die for any of her collected family. She lives only for him.
But he walked away and after that she could not stay. So she left too, made four horsemen and their queen into three bandits with nothing to hold them together and she rode away.
Now she wakes at night and her bed is cold and empty and all she has left are memories of how things were and the vague expectation of the day she finds her Death again.
He is her gift. She will not let him go.
But she is so cold.