After his third wrong turn in ten minutes, Methos was beginning to feel cranky to say the least. He stopped, checked the written directions once more and swore at the sat nav in 3 dead languages for good measure before turning it off, his useless mobile had already been flung to the other side of the car. He then cursed Siannon for living in the middle of nowhere, so far nowhere that it didn’t exist as far as technology was concerned despite being fairly close to the motorway, before he backed the car down the winding road until he reached a spot where could turn it round.
Eventually he found the right road and began to recognise landmarks. It had been a long time since he’d been out this way, but the road was an ancient one and the rocky fell side resisted the imprint of man. As he gained the crest of the hill his mobile chirruped to inform him that it now had a signal; if it hadn’t already been out of reach he would have been sorely tempted to throw it out of the window. Another turn, and he was driving down the sort of road that probably had never seen an XK8 before and it was almost enough to make him nostalgic for his range rover. Another bend and his destination became visible, nestling behind its dry stone walls, the old bell tower clearly visible amongst the jumble of roofs. He pulled the car off the road onto the gravel path that led up to the gate. He grabbed his now-working phone and shoved it in a pocket before scrambling out of the car.
The gravel crunched pleasantly underfoot, and Methos drew deep lungfuls of the cool, clean air, feeling revitalised with every step. He loved the hustle and bustle of cities, but he did miss the purity of non-urban air, and the lack of traffic noise. At the gate he paused, listening; he could just about make out faint music coming from an open window which reassured him that she was at home, despite the lack of cars on the driveway. The gate squeaked in an almost friendly manner as he carefully pushed it open, and stepped through. Immediately, a sense of peace soothed his immortal senses; Holy Ground, as good a reason as any for an immortal to live in the middle of nowhere. He took stock of the building before him; it was still possible to see the lines of the old chapel amongst the hodgepodge of later additions if you knew what to look for, but the overall effect was one of harmony which was subtly enforced by the music being carried on the breeze. Methos chuckled to himself as he recognised the sound of a Greek lyre; not something you would expect to hear being played in an old Christian church on a damp and windswept hill. Each note fell like a drop of history into the air, and he followed the sound around the side of the house until it grew clearer, a melodious counterpoint to the tingle of immortal presence that danced along his nerves. The music continued as if the presence of another immortal wasn’t important enough to interrupt it. Smiling, he closed his eyes for a minute and let the music, the peace of holy ground and the other’s quickening flow through and around him, touching him in places in a way that would set off alarm bells if he’d been anywhere else. There were precious few people walking the earth that Methos trusted enough to let behind his barriers, and not very many places where he felt completely safe in doing so. Here, on holy ground that screamed of home as much as anything ever did, in the presence of someone who knew him inside and out and still accepted him for what he was, he relaxed and simply let himself be Methos. Opening his eyes again, he stepped up to what had been the porch of the old chapel and was now the back door, and let himself in, blinking in the darkness that enveloped him as he closed the door behind him. Once his eyes became used to the light he continued to follow the sound of the lyre, which took him from the darkened hallway into the main body of the old chapel.
The room became full of light as the sun chose that moment to appear from behind the clouds and stream through the stained glass of the windows that still adorned the walls. Methos looked around appreciatively and drew a deep breath; home to an immortal it might be, but the place still managed to smell of old prayers and incense, of hopes and fears. He let his eyes rest on the other occupant of the room as colour dappled her bent head, but said nothing until the last notes had died and she had put aside the lyre. She raised her head and met his eyes with a smile.
“You took your time, old man.”
“If you didn’t live in the middle of nowhere I would have been here ages ago. And that black hole off the motorway didn’t help either.”
“I warned you that the mobile and satellite coverage was flaky around here.”
“Flaky? It’s non-existent! Still, I’m here now; and glad to be.” He opened his arms, and she stepped into them, wrapping her own around him in a fierce hug that let them say so much without words. As his arms loosened, he held her for a moment longer by her shoulders and kissed her forehead gently; in reply she cupped his face with one slender hand and brushed her lips across his cheek. Grinning, they met each other’s eyes before they stepped apart.
“Beer?” She asked as she moved away from him.
“Why not.” He took off his coat and hung it on the stand by the door, and settled himself into the nearest comfortable looking chair while letting his eyes wander around the space that was part music room, part library, part living area and somehow managed not to look wrong. Siannon passed him a can before taking the seat next to him, and opened the one she had brought for herself.
“What do you think?” She asked, having noticed his scrutiny.
“The old place doesn’t much look like it used to.”
“That was over 200 years ago.”
“That long? No wonder it looks different. I’m glad you kept the windows, though.”
“I had to, place wouldn’t be the same without them; they’re a bugger to keep clean and maintained though.”
“I can imagine.” They drank in companionable silence for a short while until Methos could no longer restrain his curiosity. “Any particular reason for playing the lyre?”
“Actually, there is. You know I’ve been teaching recently?” Methos nodded an acknowledgement; teaching was a fairly safe and accessible profession for immortals, he’d been a teacher himself more than once. “I’ve ended up taking both a history of music class and a classics class so I thought I’d combine them and give them Homer in the original Greek accompanied by an authentic instrument, like I first heard in Athens.”
“I remember that. We’d not long met...”
“And you’d already rescued me from avaricious Greeks wanting to fleece the poor Irish barbarian.” They laughed at the shared memory. “I remember pestering you to teach me the language faster so I wouldn’t get caught out again.”
“And *then* you repaid me by running off with the first itinerant musician who crossed your path.” Methos gestured with his beer for emphasis.
“Maybe I did, but I know you were glad to see the back of me by then.” She sighed, though the smile didn’t leave her face. “Everything was so much simpler.”
“Took too damn long to get anywhere.” Methos grumbled.
“Only because *you* insisted in travelling overland whenever possible.”
“So would you if you’d been stuck in a rowing boat with those 5 monks.”
“I don’t think so. I’m Irish; the sea is in my blood, like it would have been in theirs.”
“You can keep it. Give me a nice comfortable aeroplane any day. Boats... ughh.” He shuddered theatrically and she laughed again.
“Enough! How do you fancy helping me with something?”
“Like what, exactly?” Methos was curious, but wary. Siannon was not Amanda so he knew it wouldn’t be something particularly risky, but she could still be unpredictable.
“Like bringing ancient Greek alive for a bunch of my students. The Homer is one thing, but what they really need to hear is conversation and there aren’t many people who converse naturally in ancient Greek.”
“That could be interesting. When were you thinking of?”
“The week before they break up for the holidays.” Siannon offered. His eyes crinkled in thought as he tried to remember what commitments he had made with his time.
“I should be able to manage that.” He grinned at her. “I’m going to have more free time soon... I’m cutting my hours at the museum.” He leaned back into the cushions and the grin turned almost predatory. She raised an eyebrow; his grin widened.
“Would you be spending more time in Cardiff by any chance?” Her smile was almost as wide as his.
“Some.” He burst out laughing. “Oh who am I kidding, I can’t keep away from the place.”
“Jack?” She asked carefully. He nodded, his smile and whole demeanour softening.
“And Ianto,” he murmured.
“Great!” Her whole face lit up with a pleased smile, and then she frowned slightly. “Why are you here and not in Cardiff?”
“You invited me, remember. And they’re kind of busy right now due to increased numbers of weevils.”
“Rather them than me.”
“Precisely. Which is why I’m keeping out of the way in the middle of nowhere with you.”
“So... when did this latest development happen? Last I heard you were waiting for Ianto and Jack to sort themselves out before you went down that road.”
“I was, and they did.” He chuckled. “Would you believe Ianto propositioned Jack over a dead body?”
“He never did! Ianto?” Siannon was wide eyed with surprise. Methos inclined his head, struggling to keep his own expression neutral.
“Ianto,” he confirmed. She began to laugh again, this time so hard that tears came to her eyes.
“Oh Blessed Danu,” she said when she could speak once more, “Only in Torchwood...”
“That was pretty much my reaction. Which kind of offended Jack until I made him see the funny side too.”
“If you sat there giggling like you were just now, I bet you did.”
“I do not giggle.” She mock glared at him. “Well, not much. You bring out the worst in me.”
“Thanks.” Her laughter suppressed for the moment, she took a swig of her beer, watching him over the rim of the can. She was smiling again when she put it down on the table.
“What now?” Methos challenged. Green eyes met hazel in an intense gaze that neither could maintain for long.
“I’d almost forgotten how you look when you’re really happy. I’m not surprised Ianto couldn’t resist.”
“I think Jack might have had something to do with it as well.”
“No doubt he did, but a happy Methos has a charm all of its own.”
“You should know.”
“Ah, but I’m not one of the great loves of your life.”
“And who says they are?”
“Methos, this is *me* you’re talking to.”
“How could I forget? The only woman I know who is as remotely as irritating as you are, is Amanda.”
“Leave it, Siannon. Please.”
“Ok, ok. Don’t want to tempt providence and all that crap; fair enough. I suppose it’s still early days yet so I’ll mither you some other time.”
“I can hardly wait.” She rolled her eyes at the tone of his voice, before scrambling out of her chair and holding out her hand to him.
“So, shall I show you round the place? As you noticed, it’s changed a bit since you were last here.” Methos took her hand and allowed himself to be hauled out of his seat, accepting her unspoken apology as they squeezed each others fingers gently. For all they pushed at each others boundaries whenever they met, in fun or otherwise, they both knew to retreat back behind them when asked; that understanding was the foundation stone of their long-lasting friendship and that foundation had never been broken.