Pairing: Sara/Sam (OMC)
Word Count: 1,645
Notes: For the “fear” challenge.
This was supposed to have been a nice holiday. After all, Sara had never been to England before, and the prospect of spending some time there had intrigued her, all the more so because Sam was going to show her the country, show her where he’d grown up, the places he’d lived. There would be changes of course; after all, he hadn’t lived there for three hundred odd years, but that hadn’t concerned her. All she wanted was to have some quiet time, some alone time, with the man she’d fallen in love with, the man she couldn’t quite believe had fallen in love with her too.
For a while, it had been everything she’d dreamed. Walking hand in hand with Sam through streets and towns that were impossibly quaint, and oh-so-British, finding out ways in which the country was like America, and the ways in which it was different. They’d found the village where Sam had lived, a thriving metropolis now, and they’d discovered the woods nearby, which, to hear him talk, were nothing like what they’d been five hundred years previous, but were still sprawling by Sara’s standards. They’d even stumbled upon the very spot where Sam had been killed, which had freaked Sara out a little bit, and Sam had known that, had seen it in her eyes. That’s why he’d kissed her, why he’d led her back to their lodgings, laid her down on their bed and loved all her fears away.
He’d apologised the next day, and she’d smiled, told him that she was fine, that she knew what he was, that she accepted it.
She believed it at the time.
At least, she believed it until she found herself huddled at the edge of a clearing in a different English forest, more terrified than she’d ever been.
Which, she thought, with the small part of her brain that was capable of thought, was quite something, considering she’d been in this position before.
Ten years ago, she’d been walking through the woods in Tomales Bay when she’d heard the sound of metal against metal, had ventured curious towards it, finding, to her surprise, her English teacher, Mr Sheridan, embroiled in a battle with a man she didn’t recognise. Too shocked to say anything, too shocked to even move, she’d just stood there, the tree beside her the only thing holding her up, the rough bark against her palm the only thing tethering her to reality. Her first thought was that it was a play of some sort, that Mr Sheridan was planning one heck of an English lesson for them.
That had lasted until, with one swing of a sword, he’d decapitated the other man.
Which is when things got really strange, because at the exact moment that the other man had fallen, the blue California sky had darkened, huge banks of clouds rolling in, and lightning – and Sara could count on the fingers of one hand the times she’d seen lightning like this, and never had it come on so suddenly – had split the sky, centring on their location, on Sam himself, striking him over and over again as he screamed.
Then it was over as quickly as it started, and he’d pulled himself up off the ground, gone over to her and told her everything, about Immortals and the Game and the Quickening. She’d hardly been able to believe it, but then, it had made as much sense as anything else she’d seen that day, and ever since, she’d kept his secret.
Falling in love with him had been quite a surprise, and while she’d known what he was, and what he had to do for a living, she’d never seen it since that day.
Today, she was that fifteen year old girl again, scared out of her mind.
But she wasn’t fifteen anymore, she was twenty-five, and that man wasn’t just her teacher, he was her lover, her best friend, and she didn’t want to lose him.
She didn’t want to lose him, but she didn’t have much say in the matter. Even if she could do anything, the Rules of the Game spoke of non-interference, so all she could do was crouch down low, making herself as small as possible, hands over her ears in a futile attempt to filter out the sound of metal on metal, sword against sword.
She couldn’t keep out the sound, any more than she could look away, could close her eyes.
So she saw and heard everything, and it felt as if it lasted forever, though she knew it couldn’t be that long. She saw every swing of the sword, winced every time the other Immortal’s got close to Sam, and she knew exactly what tonight’s dreams were going to feature.
And when it happened, it was so quick that she almost missed it.
Sam’s sword, going into the other man’s stomach.
The other man, slumping to his knees.
Sam, raising his sword, bringing it down in a sweeping arc, meeting the other man’s neck.
The other man, headless, falling to the ground.
Then the sky, growing dark, not black as much as purple, huge banks of clouds rolling in, thunder growling, making all the hairs on her arms stand up. The first bolt of lightning hitting Sam, then another and another, too many to count, lifting him up into the air, throwing him against a tree. The next strike missed him, hit the tree beside him, splitting it in two, and Sam fell forwards, rolling somehow onto his back, where another bolt coursed through him, leaving him twitching on the ground.
Then, as suddenly as it began, it stopped.
And everything was perfectly still.
In the silence, Sara was able to hear her breath, hitching in shuddering sobs, was able to hear the rapid beating of her own heart. She tried to stand, failed completely, her legs too rubbery to support her weight, and she must have crawled over to him, because suddenly she was beside him, looking down at him. His eyes were closed, his face as pale as death, and she slid one arm under his neck and shoulders, resting him against her knees, her other hand moving through his hair, resting on his cheek.
“Sam, talk to me.” Her voice didn’t sound like her own voice, but it must have reached him deep down somewhere, because his eyelids flickered. “Talk to me…”
“Sara?” Her name was a mumble from his lips, but it was enough to have a sob of relief tearing from her throat, and that in turn had him opening his eyes. He frowned as he saw her looking down at him, and she could see lucidity returning. “Hey… it’s ok…”
“Sam…” That was all she could say, and he reached up, touching her cheek, pushing himself up with his other arm.
“Don’t cry…” he said, wiping at her cheeks, and that was the first time that she realised that she’d been crying, moreover, that based on her hoarseness of her throat, she’d also been doing some screaming. His concern only made the tears come harder, and he sat up properly then, pulled her into a hug, which she returned, closing her eyes and holding him tightly.
It seemed like a long time before either of them pulled back, and even then, her hands stayed on his shoulders, his hands stayed on her cheeks. “Sam, I was so scared,” she whispered, and he nodded.
“I know,” he said, his eyes never leaving hers. “But you know you were safe, right? He never would have hurt you. It’s only other Immortals… you know that, right?”
She pulled in a shaking breath, because she had known that. It was just different knowing it when she was sitting in her apartment, listening to him telling her the story, and crouching in the forest, actually living through it.
Her real fear, though, hadn’t been for her. Her real fear had been for Sam, and that was what she told him now.
“I thought he was going to kill you,” she said, and he actually laughed.
“That guy? Please.” She must have looked as shocked as she felt, because he continued, “He couldn’t have been more than a hundred… and he fought like he was younger.”
She shook her head. “How can you laugh about it?”
He lifted his hand, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, and when he spoke again, all humour was gone from his voice. “Because Sara,” he said quietly, “What choice do I have?”
He was very matter of fact about it, and the nonchalance with which he spoke scared Sara more than anything else she’d seen so far that day.
Maybe he saw that, because he pulled her closer to him, so that her head was resting on his shoulder, his hands flat against her back. “I would never let anything happen to you Sara,” he promised. “But this is what I live with.”
His unspoken question, “Can you?” hovered in the air around them, and she nodded against his shoulder before looking up at him.
“What we live with,” she corrected before she brought her lips to his, silencing any further questions he might ask, such as, “Are you sure?” or, “Is this really what you want?”
She didn’t want to answer those questions, because no, she wasn’t sure, and no, it wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to grow old with this man, marry him and bear his children, but none of that was ever going to happen.
But none of that mattered.
Because even if she didn’t know how she was going to live with this, she did know one thing for sure.
She didn’t want to live without him, and whatever it took to have him in her life, she was ok with that.