A/N: Thank you for your kind reviews. Lyrics belong to Deftones, taken from the song by the same name.
+I looked away
The first time Methos asks what she was like she changes the subject. The second time she distracts him, as well as the third and fourth. Time and again, she manages to slip from his grasp and not answer the question –
“What were you like, before?”
She does not know how to answer. He knows her, knows all her nooks and crannies, her every secret and grief, her joy and her memories. He has known her for millennia, knows where she comes from, where she went, who she’s been. But what he asks of her is more than that, more than knowledge. It’s self.
And she barely remembers that.
+you were on fire
But he keeps asking and eventually, she gives in. She gives in, drags him to the car and drives him several hundred miles to Sunnydale, California. There she parks across the street from the local high school and motions for him to get out. He complies and she drives off before he can ask a single question.
He comes home two days later to find her lying in bed, staring at the ceiling with unseeing eyes. He stops in the doorway, looks at her for a long time and then walks past her into the bathroom. He strips his two days worn clothes off and takes a long, slow shower that leaves him feeling approximately two hundred years younger.
He brushes his teeth, puts on clean boxer shorts and a t-shirt and sits next to her unmoving form. Only then does he speak.
“That’s not you.”
“Yes it is.”
He shakes his head and trails long fingers over her pale blonde hair, down her high cheekbones, over the slope of her lips. “She doesn’t even look like you.”
Her eyes shift, her gaze lands on him and one eyebrow rises. His hand drops into his lap and he chuckles. “Alright, so she does, but only superficially. You’re different people.”
He lies next to her, stretched out across the length of the bed and presses a kiss to her forehead. Lips still against her skin he speaks in a long forgotten tongue, “You are my desert goddess.”
+I’ve watched a change in you
“Really,” he adds because he knows her and he knows that it’s doubt that binds her to this bed, turns her gaze glassy and blind. “She’s nothing like you.”
She nods, shrugs, manages to finally turn her eyes to his face. “It’s a shock. Seeing her… seeing who I was. I’d forgotten.” She laughs suddenly. “I should have killed her when she was a baby. Spared myself the whole thing.”
He rolls on his back. It’s his turn to stare at the ceiling as he demands, somewhat doubtfully. “You would have killed yourself?”
“The reminder of what I was,” she corrects. As if the other her is not her. As if it would not be a convoluted form of suicide, to kill her own childhood incarnation. As if the girl he spent a full day watching, following her around, is nothing but a mirror, held up to show an ancient woman her roots and flaws.
She swings her arm up and over him, resting it on his chest, stroking lightly. Her face settles in the nook between his shoulder and neck, nestled under his chin. “But it’d be no use. I keep telling Mac that I don’t remember but that’s a lie. The important bits never went away.”
His arm settles around her waist in a motion as familiar as his own face, and almost as old. He holds her close and grunts something akin to agreement into her hair. It is enough.
“Sometimes I wish we could lose our memories like our lives. Just die, forget everything and come back up clean. Move on. Start a new life. Forget everything we ever were. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it? You can’t miss what you can’t remember.”
His fingers draw lazy patterns on her side as he stares at the ceiling, turning her proposal over and over in his head. To forget everything? “Wouldn’t that be reincarnation instead of immortality?”
She shrugs but doesn’t move otherwise. “A clean slate. Doesn’t matter what you call it, does it?” There’s a smile in her voice as she adds, almost as an afterthought, “Not like you’d remember what it’s called anyway.”
He snorts and tugs at her a bit before relaxing back into the mattress. He keeps his eyes open, though, fixed on the blank expanse of white above him. If he closes them, he thinks, he’ll see the other one. The little girl that is nothing like his Sun but burns the same way. Only hotter. Brighter. Her edges are duller but her colours so much more vibrant. If he closes his eyes and thinks of her, he might start missing things he never had.
Speaking of the loss of precious things, “Would you really give it all up?”
A long silence.
“I don’t know.” Frustrated. “I don’t know. I’m just tired.”
He pulls her tightly into his side and listens as her breathing evens out and she falls asleep slowly, clinging to him like she has for a thousand years and more, a weight that he always misses when he sleeps alone. He pulls the sheets over them both and turns off the light, one handed, before settling down, too.
He keeps his eyes wide open.
+it’s like you never had wings