Cassandra gets a shock. And more is learned about Sue and Eadgils.
by Dana Short
Sue awoke as Adam pulled the RV off the highway, slowing down as he took the ramp for the 430 south.
Looking down at her watch, she saw the time was after ten. Another look outside the window showed a Motel 6, with a glowing "Vacancy" sign, the glowing rates offering a room for the price of $37.99 a night.
"Where are we?" she asked Adam sleepily.
"Little Rock. West side. I was looking for a decent place to stay, but this was the first Vacancy sign I saw."
Sue looked over her shoulder. Patrick was asleep stretched out on the couch, snoring softly. Cassandra's green eyes were looking at her in the dark, seeming to glow softly, like a cat's. The faint light from under the bedroom door was the only sign of Sally.
"Ok. I assume we'll be moving on in the morning?" Sue asked.
"That's the plan. I was going to recommend a seven am wakeup call for everyone."
"That's fine." She said.
Cassandra spoke up softly, so as not to wake Patrick, "Do you think we can get adjoining rooms?"
"I doubt it," Sue replied, looking back at the motel, "Most likely all they have are standard doubles and queens. No adjoining suites. We might be able to get rooms next to one another. Why?"
"The Youngling. I don't think it is good to leave him alone. Too much chance for the Curse to do something unpleasant."
"I'll room with him," Adam volunteered. "If they don't have a double twin, I'll sleep here in the Motor Coach. He can have the front or the back. Makes me no difference."
"Let's see what they have available." Sue put in, "Before we start making final arrangements. But thanks, Adam. I appreciate it."
Adam pulled off the highway, and the second change in speed finally woke Patrick up. "Huh?" he said, as he rolled off the couch to land on the floor with a soft flump-splat-thunk as he hit the linoleum.
The bedroom door opened, and Sally looked out, book in hand. Seeing Patrick on the floor, she asked him, "Patrick, are you ok?"
"I'm not dead." Was his only reply.
The front desk informed them that they had four rooms left. One, with two Queen beds, two with single queen beds, and a final one with two twin beds.
Adam and Patrick took the double queen, while Sue insisted Cassandra and Sally take the other two with single queens, taking the double twin bed room for herself.
It was only minor mayhem for everyone to collect luggage from the RV, or in Sue and Patrick's case from the trunk of her car behind the RV. Sue herself collected the Laptop, and her large suitcase. Patrick gathered his one bag, and followed Adam, who was toting a newly acquired nylon expandable duffle bag himself.
Sue found her room, dumped her bags on the first bed, slid the security bolt home, and the curtains closed.
She then headed for the bathroom, stripping off her clothes as she went, pausing only to wrap her hair tightly before sliding into the shower.
She stood under the warm spray for quite a while, before shutting off the water, drying off with a towel, and opening her bag to get her sleep shirt and a fresh pair of panties out.
Putting her hair into a lose braid, she turned down the covers on the second bed, shut off the light in the bathroom, called the front desk to leave a seven AM wake up call, as Adam had recommended, and climbed into bed, shutting off the light. It had been a long day, and sleep was not long in coming.
Sue was again in the shapeless place that was at the same time anywhere, and nowhere.
She stood in the midst of the 'endless room', the wall visible a short distance away, smooth and formless, stretching into darkness above, to the left, and the right. In the center was a closed door.
Sue approached the door and knocked on it.
After her third knock, the door opened a crack, and Eadgils peeked out at her. "What do you want?" he asked.
"To apologize." She said.
"Apologize for what?" he asked.
"For being such a bitch."
"Ok. I'm listening."
"I'm sorry I was so mad at you. I know this hasn't exactly been easy for you either, as you knew perfectly well, when you lost your head, that was it. No more innings. Instead, you find yourself here. Stuck with me. And all I did was bitch at you about it. I know this wasn't your fault. I know you have done your best to help give me at least a fighting chance. And I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
Eadgils looked at The Girl. There were tears brimming in her eyes, and he could feel her sincerity in his very soul. Although all things considered, it was more likely it was her soul he was feeling. Whichever it was, she was sincere about the apology.
He opened the door the rest of the way, and strode on out. "Apology accepted, and offered back to you in turn. I'm sure it isn't easy for you either, having your entire life disrupted by the ghost of a dead man. I am sorry for all the trouble I have caused you."
Sue hugged him. When she stepped back, they were again in the "dojo of the mind", and she stood before him in a plain white gi, her katana held loosely in her right hand. "Want to spar, Teacher?" she asked, for the first time awarding him that honor, one which after a day with Patrick in her care she now truly understood.
That one question meant more to Eadgils than the apology which had preceded it, and they both knew it.
He pulled his ancient sword, and they began to spar.
As they fought, Sue started to tell him about her day, "Adam showed up today." She started.
"Death?" Eadgils said, missing a block, and getting sliced clean through the neck with a decapitating blow by the blade of Sue's Katana, the blade passing bloodlessly, but painfully through his throat, leaving a line to mark its passage which gradually faded.
"He is not Death. Whatever he is or was, he is different now."
"I'll believe that when I see it."
"Your student believes it." Sue retorted.'
"Who, you?" Eadgils asked, scoring a slice on her leg as her attention wavered slightly.
"No, Cassandra." Sue replied, again taking advantage of his momentary shock to swing her blade through his neck again, gaining yet another 'Kill'.
"Cassandra lives?" he asked, his blade dropping to the mat from nerveless fingers.
"Cassandra lives. Apparently in Scotland. She is coming along to L.A. with Patrick, myself, Adam, and Cassandra's Watcher."
"Cassandra? How is she? I thought she was dead long ago." Eadgils said, sitting down on the soft slope of the hillside under the shining afternoon sun, white fluffy clouds drifting through the perfect blue sky above, as slight breezes chased each other amongst the fragrant and colorful flowers scattered about amongst the emerald grasses.
"She is fine. She bought me a Motor Home today."
"She what?" Eadgils asked.
Sue proceeded to reiterate to him the entire day's events, starting with the early morning call from Joe and Mike, and running on through breakfast and the fight with Cassandra, through Cassandra's fight with the Finance Manager, and their subsequent departure from Memphis, and arrival in Little Rock.
"You beat Cassandra?" Eadgils asked again, the Dojo returning around them as he stood up and bent over to retrieve his sword from where it had fallen.
"Yes. With a move you taught me. I tried one Adam taught me, but it didn't work, she had seen it before, big surprise. But she was distracted enough by my tossing my Bowie knife at her for me to sink the stiletto into her heart. End-Game."
"I'm proud of you." Eadgils said honestly. "Perhaps you don't need me anymore after all."
"No, Ed. I think I may always need you, which is good, since it looks like I'll always have you. One thing troubles me though."
"What's that, Sue?" Eadgils asked, bringing his sword to a ready position, and starting another round of full contact combat practice with her.
"No one felt your Quickening in mine today." She said.
Again Eadgils faltered, and again Sue took advantage of his distraction and automatically sliced his neck in what would be a killing blow, were he not already dead.
"What do you mean no one felt me?" he asked.
"I mean that when I compared the strength of both my Quickening and Patrick's, they were miniscule compared to Cassandra's or Adam's. Heck, they were significantly smaller than that Douglas idiot. Which makes sense if he had six heads under his belt as he claimed. But my Quickening should be a lot stronger than Patrick's, not just marginally. Shouldn't it?"
"Yes, it should." Eadgils said, swinging back into motion.
Sue and Eadgils sparred on for what felt again like years, much as they had that first night.
At some indefinable point, the feel of the landscape subtly shifted, but neither one specifically noticed it. It wasn't until the power of a Quickening washed over both of then at once that either one noticed anything was happening.
Eadgils caught sight of something, or someone moving behind Sue. A familiar shape, and the sight of it again froze Eadgils, much as the mention of its name earlier did.
And as before, sensing his distraction, Sue went for the end-all neck shot. But even as she began her swing, a voice rang out in the Dojo "No!"
Sue's blade followed through its course even as Cassandra's scream echoed around her, her blade again slicing bloodlessly through Eadgils's neck.
Sue was suddenly knocked off her feet as Cassandra's body impacted hers, and together they fell into Eadgils frozen form, all three of them toppling to the mat.
Cassandra, in a panic looked at Sue, and cried, "You killed him! Why?"
Eadgils finally spoke, saying "Cassandra?"
Suddenly she whirled her head around, to look at the form she had previously been deliberately avoiding, the headless body of her ancient teacher and lover. Only it wasn't headless. Unlike the last time, when in Savannah she had seen the still, dead form of her teacher, this time he looked entirely whole and alive.
"Eadgils?" she asked questioningly.
"Yes, Cassi." He replied, reaching out and tenderly cupping the side of her head.
"I - I thought you were dead!" she sobbed.
"I am." Eadgils replied, softly. "And I thought you were long gone as well."
"I, I had heard you got killed by, by Methos. Three thousand years ago. You challenged him, and lost. I heard about it. And then, I had the chance to finally take his head, and avenge you, and I, I let him go, because Duncan asked me to." Cassandra was almost incoherent as she sobbed, her head buried against Eadgils's chest as he held her reassuringly.
"Hush, Cassi. It'll be all right." He soothed, stroking her dark hair.
It was night, and the stars above were shining brightly, the moon glowing hugely behind faint wispy clouds, just above some distant peaks. A campfire was burning between Sue, and Eadgils and Cassandra. Crickets chirped, and in the distance, a wolf howled faintly.
"It's ok Cassi" Eadgils repeated softly over the occasional crackle-pop of pitch exploding in the fire as the logs burned.
"Then, the other night, I felt you. And, I knew, I knew something was wrong. I had to come. I had to. And I saw you. I actually saw you this time. And I saw your body."
"It's all right. Calm down." Eadgils soothed, hugging her again. "Take a deep breath, ok? It'll be ok."
"No, it won't. Because I found your Watcher. I like her. She has a student. Did you know she has a student already? And she died for you. I liked her. But then, tonight. I felt you again. Like I did before."
"I'm here, Cassi. I'm not going anywhere." Eadgils said, again stroking her hair.
"And then, I found you. In the Gym. With your Watcher. And she had her sword. I saw her sword. And your neck. She killed you!"
"No Cassi, she didn't kill me. I'm already dead, I died in Savannah. You were right, you saw my body. But we were wrong. It wasn't the end. I'm here, now. With Sue." Eadgils said softly.
"No! I thought you might have been. I even thought she might have taken your head. I was ready to avenge you, if I had to. But no. She is but a Youngling, without a single head to her credit, other than her own." Cassandra explained.
"Perhaps that is it. Perhaps no one can feel me because she didn't beat me. Sue didn't take my head, Cassi. She died her First Death trying to save my neck. Somehow though, she got my Quickening. All of it."
"But, How?" Cassandra asked.
"I, honestly, don't, know." Eadgils said slowly, as a bell began to ring distantly, like the opening of a race, or a fire bell.
Cassandra looked around as the nighttime hillside faded into grayness, and her teacher faded with it.
Eadgils watched as Cassandra, Sue, and the hillside faded away, leaving only the bell, ringing ever louder.
Reaching out, Eadgils finally got his hand on the receiver of the ringing phone. "Hello?"
"Hello, this is Tom Bodett, and I'd like to tell you that you've just won a million dollars! Well, not really. But it is time for you to get up." Came the voice from the other end.
Eadgils swung out of bed, brushing Sue's hair out of his face, and looked around the room.
The memories of the last day, reinforced by Sue's retelling settled in his mind, and he knew he had to meet everyone, including Adam/Death and Cassi out front by the motor home at eight.
He went to Sue's suitcase and pulled the bottles of Shampoo and Conditioner out, along with a set of clothes, and padded barefoot into the bathroom for a shower.
Forty minutes later, Eadgils headed down stairs, laptop case over his shoulder, and Sue's repacked suitcase thumping down the stairs behind him.
Passing through the lobby without pausing, he headed out to the RV. When he was half way across the parking lot, he felt the telltale tingling of another Quickening. The door on the RV banged open, and a sleepy looking Adam stumbled down the stairs, looking around. Upon only seeing Sue's form approaching, he looked alarmed, and started searching around frantically for someone.
Suddenly he called out, "Sue! No! Gods, no!"
"What is it?" Eadgils called, confused.
"Please, tell me you didn't kill Cassandra last night!" Adam said, taking a step backwards towards the door to the R.V.
"Cassandra? No. I didn't kill Cassandra last night." He replied. Suddenly, Eadgils felt a second tingling on his mind, this time from behind. Turning his head, he saw Cassi!
"Cassi!" he called out, dropping the handle of Sue's suitcase, and ran back the way he'd come, laptop banging at his side.
Cassandra just stood there, just outside the lobby of the motel, looking at the scene before her in shock. A closer look at her face showed she had been crying.
Eadgils finally got to Cassi, and grabbed her in a tight hug, almost knocking her off her feet. "Cassi!" he cried, "It is so good to see you again!"
Cassandra looked at him, then whispered, "Eadgils?"
Eadgils nodded, and said, "Was that you last night, in Sue's mind?"
Cassandra's eyes widened, and she nodded again. "That was Sue's dream?"
"We don't know. It's anywhere, and nowhere. Things are different there. But what or where it is, I don't believe either one of us has figured out."
Adam had walked warily over to join them, and now looked at Eadgils with a quizzical expression, then suddenly his face fell. "No!" he almost sobbed.
"What is it Methos?" Cassandra asked, forgetting herself for a moment.
"No. Please, this is even worse than I thought." Adam said, reaching out and gently grasping Eadgils's chin, turning Sue's head to look into her eyes. "Please, tell me you didn't Channel him somehow?"
More [Meeting of Minds]
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