"He will return," Methos said softly.
"I know." Charlotte nodded. "Jack just needs some time, and then all will be well."
"It is me he is angry with, not you." Methos tried to reassure her.
"That is not true, well you know, Benjamin. Jack is angry at you for not telling him I would be Immortal, yes. But all the more with me for taking the shot meant for him, for dying in his place. That my death was not permanent does not change that. I died in his arms; he will not soon forget."
She turned her attention back to her embroidery. Such a commonplace thing to be doing in such uncommon circumstances, Methos thought. But if it served to calm her, then so much the better. Charlotte had taken the news of her immortality surprisingly well; almost too well, as far as he was concerned. Certainly far better than her husband had. He wasn’t sure if she had truly come to grips with this new reality. But it had been less than twenty-four hours, and each one of them dealt with the shock differently.
"And you, Charlotte?" Glancing up at him, she shook her head slightly in question. "Do you resent me for not telling you what was to come?" He sat in the chair across from hers, hoping that he had not lost her regard as a consequence of his decision to not tell her that she would be like him one day; immortal.
The fingers working the needle stilled. "No, Benjamin, I do not. I would not have desired the knowledge that such a fate awaited. You allowed me to live what was left of my mortal life in blissful ignorance. And for that, I am grateful." Relieved at her reply, he closed his eyes, letting out the breath he realized he'd been holding.
Standing, she set her embroidery aside, walking to the window and staring out into the waning night. "You have always known, have you not?"
"Yes." He followed her to the window, standing behind her. "It was something of a surprise to discover that the woman taken from the ship that the Pearl had seized was a pre-Immortal," he admitted.
"I would have died from my injuries had you not intervened." She said it matter-of-factly, but Methos knew that it was a question. A question he wasn't sure he could adequately answer.
"Why did I not just let you die then? That is what you want to know." She nodded, turning to look up at him with a steady gaze. He breathed in her familiar cinnamon and citrus scent, remembering that day some five years before when Jack had sent for him. Entering the pirate captain's cabin and feeling the low purr of her nascent immortality flutter across his senses. She had seemed little more than a child, body wracked with fever from her wounds, her sweat-soaked black hair plastered across her face.
"Benjamin?" The light brush against his hand bringing him back from the past.
"I was your physician," he finally said. "It was my charge to heal you, not to be the instrument of your death. You were so young." Methos reached out, allowing his fingertips to ever so briefly rest against her face before pulling his hand away. "You deserved more time."
Leaning up, she kissed him on the cheek. "And you have been my guardian angel ever since."
Laughing harshly, he turned away. "I am no one's angel."
"And yet, you have been mine."
"You have no idea what you are saying, Charlotte. If you knew–"
"Stop, Benjamin," she interrupted. "I am not naive, nor a child. I have no need to remind you that my husband is one of the most notorious pirates to sail the Seven Seas. Never have I lived what anyone would consider a sheltered life. Do you honestly think I am not aware that you have a past? How could you not? I know you are ancient and that you have done and seen many things. But that changes nothing, not who you have been to me, what you are to me."
He looked back at her. "You are most foolish, madam."
Smoothing down her skirts demurely, she cocked her head. "Foolish I may be, but also quite determined. Whether or no you agree, you must accept that my judgment on this matter is quite unassailable."
"Determined? Obstinate as a mule, more like," he muttered.
"Did you say something, dear Doctor Adams?" she asked with wide guileless eyes.
This time, his laughter held good humour. "Very well! But only because I am well aware of the folly in attempting to make you see reason once your mind is set." He took her hands in his, squeezing them gently. "If it matters not to you that your guardian angel is of the fallen variety then who am I to argue?"
"A wise man indeed," she replied with a smile, acknowledging her victory with a small curtsy. "Now, what say you to a drink? I see no reason why my husband should be the only one to partake this night."
"Nor do I," he agreed with an answering smile.
Going to the table, Methos poured rum into two tankards, handing one to Charlotte. "A toast then: a greeting to the dawn, and to new beginnings."
"And to dear friends," she added.
"To dear friends," he repeated, tapping his tankard against hers. They drank in silence, each deep in their own thoughts.
Then Methos took her hand, drawing her down to sit next to him on the settee. "Believe me when I tell you that there are many wonders awaiting you, Charlotte. This life we have been given can truly be a gift, if only you allow it to be."
"I want to believe that, Benjamin. But perhaps you can remind me every so often ‘til I do?" There was a touch of fear in her voice.
"Every day for as many years as it might take," he promised.
"Angele Dei, qui custos es mei*," she whispered, her eyes shining with her faith in him.
And at that moment, as the first rays of the morning sun slid through the window, Methos almost believed it himself.
*Angel of God, my guardian dear. From the traditional Catholic prayer:
Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
qui custos es mei,
me, tibi commissum pietate superna,
rege et guberna.