For a moment, as he took the boy’s head, it seemed that the heavens were ripped open, and Methos, through the howling, bleeding pain of the quickening, was almost sure he'd seen something on the other side. Something burning and screaming, and dying…
And then he blacked out and, he isn’t sure, but he thinks he died too.
She was there when he awoke, slumped against the wall beside him. One of her legs was obviously broken, and there was something about her breathing that made him suspect internal injuries. She was barely conscious, her eyes fluttering as if she was losing a battle to keep them open. Her lips repeated a nonsensical mantra.
Habit had made him check for a heartbeat. The cut of her jacket was unusual, he noted, maybe she was a fashion designer, or an art student…
He found two heartbeats.
He’d nearly dropped the wrist in shock as he stared at her face. Fair hair, delicate features; she looked human…but then again, so did he. Methos staggered to his feet and pulled his coat about him. He should leave, he’d already stayed too long. Let the watchers take care of her as well as the body; she was no concern of his.
Methos slid his sword back into its harness and stepped away from her.
Methos halted in his step, the fear in her voice made her seem human. He turned to meet her eyes, dark and old in a too young face. No, not human, definitely not human.
He sighed. “You’ve got multiple injuries,” he said. “I might do more harm than good if I move you.”
“I’m a lot harder to kill than I look,” she gasped out. “But I can’t be found here. I need time to…regroup.”
For a long moment, they just looked at each other. “Damn it,” Methos eventually muttered as he leaned down, letting her hands slip around her neck as he picked her up. Her touch was cool, and he wasn’t sure if it was as a result of shock or if it was her normal body temperature. Either way, she was unconscious before they made it to the car.
One thing was for sure, Methos thought, as he watched her sleep on his bed, she was definitely the strangest patient he’d ever had. Two hearts, a body temperature that was distinctly nonhuman - and her bone density didn’t exactly fall within the normal parameters, either. She probably needed a transfusion but, as he didn’t exactly have another two-hearted blood donor handy, that was out of the question. He'd set up a saline drip, and hoped for the best as he wrapped her ribs and set her leg. He decided against anything for the pain, he didn't want to kill her by accident.
Why am I doing this?” he asked himself; but he knew why he was doing this. Methos looked at her unconscious form, dressed in one of Alexa’s robes and lying on his bed. She was trouble, he knew it in the very core of his being…
But she has a double heartbeat.
And that was new.
“Are you just going to sit in that chair and watch me?” she murmured, her eyes still closed.
Methos caught his breath, he hadn’t realised she’d regained consciousness. “I was debating on whether I should call the authorities,” he said eventually.
A corner of her mouth went up. “Liar,” she said, her eyes fluttering open. “Where are we?”
She tried to shake her head, then grimaced. “No, you misunderstand me, where are we? I saw enough of the architecture to know western Europe but…”
“Paris,” he said.
A snort of laughter escaped her lips. “How appropriate — I don’t suppose you have any painkillers handy? I seem to be aching all over.”
“Would they be compatible with your physiology?”
She threw him a narrow look. “Whatever do you mean?” she asked softly.
Methos gave her a knowing look. “Okay, if that’s the way you want to play it. How about we keep to safer ground. I’m called Adam.”
“Nice to meet you, Adam.”
Methos raised an eyebrow. “It’s customary to volunteer you own name in this sort of social situation,” he prompted.
“Oh, very well, then,” she sighed. “I’m called Romana.”
So sharp, she could cut herself, Methos thought wryly, as he reached for his doctor’s bag. “Well, Romana, I have a few ampoules of morphine, which are usually quite good for this sort of injury–”
“No,” she said shortly. “I need to dull the pain, not my mind.”
“Sorry,” Methos said dryly. “That drug hasn’t been invented yet. Call back in a few centuries.”
“She gave him a long look. “That’s a funny way of putting it.”
Yes, well, I’m a funny guy,” Methos drawled. “I have some codeine. It’s barely stronger than the over the counter stuff, but your mind should stay clear.”
“Yes, that sounds good… as long as there is no aspirin in it?
“Why do you ask?”
“It’s not… compatible.”
Methos nodded abruptly. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said, as he rooted around the bag for the painkillers. “Water okay to wash it down with?”
“Yes, except…” she hesitated. “I don’t suppose I could have some tea instead, could I?”
"I’ll put the kettle on,” he said.
She insisted that they sit on the balcony. “It’s too cold,” he protested.
“I’m used to the cold,” she countered.
“You should sleep.”
“I’ve already slept too much.”
Methos gave in and carried her to the lounge chair on the tiny balcony, then handed her her tea. She sipped slowly as the sun came up, and Methos saw the tears glitter in her eyes. “What happened?” he asked.
“We won,” she said.
“Yes, it can come as a shock sometimes.”
“Don’t be facetious.”
“I wasn’t trying to be.”
Silence reigned for a while more.
“You’re not human, are you?” she asked.
“It depends on who you ask,” he said..
Romana frowned at him thoughtfully. “It’s not a matter of philosophy, you either are or aren’t.”
“I’m sure that’s true,” Methos muttered. “But nobody’s had the guts to prove it one way or the other yet.”
She tilted her head. “It sounds complicated.”
“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Methos said, as he leaned back in his chair. Paris always looked beautiful in the dawn light, with the sun glowing off the copper domes. “How about you?” he eventually asked.
“I’m not supposed to exist,” she said. “I’m an anomaly.”
Methos waited for her to elaborate. It didn’t happen. “You’re dying, I think,” he said softly.
A smile curved her lips. “Yes,” she said. “The question is whether I should survive it.”
“I don’t understand…?”
“I should be dead,” she murmured, as if to the air. “It should be as if I never existed. I can still let that happen. I can still let that reality take place…I should… but I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to do it twice…make the choice.”
Her eyes drifted closed, and Methos leaned over to take the teacup from her limp fingers. She was still breathing, her chest lifting and falling gently. It wouldn’t be long now. He contemplated bringing her back inside, but remembered the fierceness in her voice when she demanded that she be brought out onto the balcony.
Sighing, he held her hand and felt her skin grow chill as her hearts began to slow and falter… and then….