Bodies Close, Souls Apart -- Part B
Sweet Conflict VII
J. L. Blackstone
Dialogue taken from Highlander: The Series episode
Additional material from the The New Watcher Chronicles CD
No copyright infringement intended
Although the tall man waiting patiently behind the shorter man was physically still, one got the impression of constrained motion. Perhaps it was the eyes, greenish brown, almost gold really or would that be bronze that seemed to take in everything around him in the private area of the airport.
Methos gazed down at the floor for a millisecond with an apparent air of boredom as the airport official spoke with Kronos, his hearing closely focused in on the scattering of words in the quiet conversation between the two men.
Being met at the side entrance of the airport had come as something of a surprise, especially with its lack of metal detectors. Well, Kronos was dressed in jeans, hardly the wealthy businessman that it now appeared ‘Mr. Khazan’ was.
The power station had been a clue of the ancient immortal’s financial status, that is if Kronos had indeed been the owner instead of merely a squatter. Yet another factor that had to be taken into account in any stratagems in which he came out of this with his head still attached.
He gave an inaudible sigh as he followed the two men down the secluded hallway down to the gates that served private planes, his thoughts once again on MacLeod, wondering if he was okay, what he thought about him sparing Cassandra--if she even told him--exactly how angry the highlander was about his interference in the fight with Kronos?
He slipped his hands in his pockets as he focused in on the airport man’s words, “If you and your guest would be so kind as to wait here, Mr. Khazan. I’ll go ascertain just how much longer it will be before your plane is fuelled and ready to depart.”
Kronos only gave a stiff nod to the man before he strode into the room the man indicated, which appeared to be a private lounge. Methos took in the comfortable chairs and sofa, the coffee machine decorating the table on the right as he followed Kronos inside.
He stopped short as Kronos turned around and faced him. Methos met the blue eyes dispassionately although his pulse quickened.
The metallic sound of the clasp sliding down the teeth of a zipper blared loud in the dead silence.
Methos’ stiffened, the act straightening his posture which made the difference between his and Kronos’ heights even more apparent. His mouth twisted wryly as he locked eyes with the ancient immortal for a long second before smirking. He gave a small disdainful snort and angled his head to the right. With an almost imperceptible nod, he gracefully slid to his knees before his ‘Brother.’
The ice blue eyes in his field of vision now replaced with a belt buckle.
He closed his eyes for a millisecond before opening them to look down slightly, his hand already in motion, moving to rest upon the rough material, the tip of his fingers skillfully gliding teasingly over the growing bulge making the gap between edges of the open zipper grow.
The hiss from above, noted but ignored as he dug slightly into the bulge with his fingertips before sliding his hand inside and grasping the hard heat for a second before drawing it casually into the open.
He brushed his thumb against the tip, his gut sinking as memories flooded back, his right hand already changing position to stroke the underside of the thick cock just as Kronos liked.
His eyes traced the familiar vein along the top while his left hand hefted the hanging purplish sacs before he took the left one in his mouth and sucked it languorously before releasing it to do the same thing to the right, painfully aware of the scratchy pubic hairs, and the erection that occasionally brushed against his cheekbone.
Knowing what he had still to do and quickly unless he wanted to give the airport official an eyeful when he returned, he shifted slightly, grateful for the padded carpet under his knees as he turned his full attention to the leaking cock.
He ruthlessly banished the sudden image of warm brown eyes and laughing smile from his mind as he licked the drops of prejaculate from the tip of the shaft, tonguing the slit roughly before swallowing the head during which his teeth slightly grazed the underside.
He knocked away the hand that had appeared on the side of his head. The movement causing the cock to drive further down his throat with the slight change of angle, forcing a convulsive swallow.
With the certain knowledge that there was no time for preliminaries, Methos tightened his lips around the shaft, increasing the pressure on the ridged bands as they glided back and forth with the bobbing movement of his head.
Methos quickly slid the shaft back and forth inside of his mouth, pausing every now and then to open his mouth wider so he could inhale some air around the object inside his mouth.
The action garnered a moan from Kronos each time as the cool air entered his mouth, a sharp contrast to the heated organ jabbing his tonsils at the back of his throat.
“Look at me!”
He waited a long second before slowly lifting his eyes to meet Kronos‘ heated gaze.
The irony of him giving Kronos ‘head’ was not lost on him and apparently not on the other immortal either given the maniacal glee that shone in the intense eyes peering down at him, watching him as he serviced him.
Looking up had made the angle change, forcing him to pull back or risk choking which slowed the strokes of the current invader. Methos slowly slid his mouth forward, watching Kronos’ flushed countenance above darken further with lust at the shaft’s slow deliberate passage in and out of his warm mouth.
He met the smug eyes without blinking, shoving any remaining thoughts of MacLeod and what they were or were not to each other behind a thick mental door with the rest of Methos aka Adam Pierson.
Kronos wanted Death, then Death is who’ll he be, who he had to be.
Death was as little enamored of Kronos as Methos, after all.
Methos ignored the hands that came around this time to grip his head as Kronos sped up, unable to keep the angle necessary to maintain eye contact as the cock drove deeper into his throat.
Kronos was close.
He closed his eyes at the first burst, continuing to suck throughout the successive streams that bathed the inside of his mouth and throat with burning fluid.
Methos pulled off and swiftly rose from his kneeled position to stand before Kronos, boldly meeting the now satisfied eyes. He strolled over to the table on the right side of the room, feeling the eyes follow him. Without pause he quickly picked up the small garbage can by the table and turned to face Kronos.
Brown eyes met and held blue for a long moment before…
Methos spat into the trash can.
When he was finished, he smirked slightly before turning and pouring himself a cup of coffee after he placed the trash can back on the floor.
He was lounging on the couch, sipping his coffee when the airport official returned. Kronos was in the chair facing him, staring at him with an smug bemused expression.
“Gentlemen, your plane is ready.”
“Welcome back, Monsieur Khazan. Your usual suite?”
Once again, Methos ostensibly ignored the sound of the voices at the edge of his senses, when in actuality he was paying close attention to every syllable as he looked up at the tall Hotel de Seze.
“Why Bordeaux?” he asked the other immortal over the roof of the cab they’d just disembarked from.
“Take my..guest here up to the suite,” Kronos instructed the bellman with a only a glance in his direction acknowledging his question. “Not that one.” Kronos stopped the bellboy from removing his bag from the boot of the car as he stepped beside the cab.
Methos eyebrows arched in question at the latter.
“You’re not the only one who has plans to make.”
It was a not subtle reminder that he had yet to give Kronos the exact location of either Silas or Caspian, nor did he have any intention of doing so. Not until he absolutely had to.
No, he would make the plans to get to the remaining Horsemen on his own without Kronos’ ‘help.’
The bellman’s hesitant address of him broke the visual stalemate between them. “…Walker. Paul Walker,” Methos replied turning his focus to the bellman.
“I’ll be back for supper,” Kronos informed him with a last look before getting into the cab.
Methos nodded and watched the car pull away from the curb.
“Yes, of course,” he replied and followed the man into the hotel.
Duncan slammed the door of the car and briskly turned the ignition while muttering under his breath, “two days.” Two days he’d been looking up and down Seacouver, even venturing down into the Zone. He’d tracked down all his contacts old and new, searching for any trace of Methos aka Adam Pierson, hell, even the tooth fairy and nothing.
Both immortals had vanished without a trace.
His visit to “Adam’s” apartment had delivered the altogether familiar sight of blank walls and floors. Apparently Mr. Pierson had paid an exorbitant amount of money for an emergency moving company to pack up and store all the furniture of Apartment 3A in the middle of the night.
Even Dawson hadn’t been able to turn anything up on his end. A check of all passenger lists via bus, train or plane had yielded nothing.
However, even if there was no evidence of it, Mac somehow knew that Methos was no longer in Seacouver.
He’d left with Kronos, probably immediately after stopping the fight.
Duncan closed his eyes tightly for a second before making a right turn and parking in front of the dojo.
Why did he stop the fight? According to Cassandra, he was suppose to be out killing him but he’d instead interrupted the swordfight between her and Kronos by dumping her into the river which had the incidental consequence of saving her life.
Something which Cassandra dismissed as no consequence but made him wonder what the hell the ancient immortal was up to.
He’d saved Cassandra, so he must care for her, right? Even he knew that Cassandra wasn’t up to the challenge. Koren, Kronos would have easily killed her. And was about too, if he hadn’t shown up.
Why did Methos stop the fight, though? Did Methos think he couldn’t win against Kronos? Was it another example of him protecting him as he did with Kalas? Or was he protecting Kronos?
Arrogant bronze eyes brimming with amusement flashed in his mind for a millisecond.
The son of a bitch! Damn him! Where the hell was he!!!
Methos gave a soft pat to the horse’s muzzle, smiling faintly at the responding soft nicker. He slowly sauntered back towards the flickering fire, picking up a long, thin, twig--perfect for marshmallows along the way. After digging around in his backpack for a few seconds he found the bag and withdrew a marshmallow which he stuck on the tip of the stick before thrusting it over the fire.
During all this, he felt the suspicious eyes on him that had been watching him intensely ever since they’d arrived in the Ukraine yesterday. “Marshmallow?” he offered in a casual tone to the ancient immortal.
He shrugged and directed his attention back to the white confectionary, turning it so that it wouldn’t burn. After a few seconds he carefully pulled the marshmallow off and popped it in his mouth. “Mmmm, Yummy.” He closed his eyes at the sweet taste, feeling the eyes on his mouth as he licked his lips slowly.
Methos opened his eyes, not surprised at the immortal now standing beside him.
Kronos reached down and grabbed Methos’ left arm pulling him up roughly, while his left buried itself or tried to, in the short silky black hair as his mouth forcefully meet the delectable lips, thrusting his tongue between them as if in search of the sugar that the other had just swallowed.
Methos opened his mouth wider, moaning at the demanding tongue’s foray deep inside his mouth, brushing against his own tongue. Both were breathing heavily when the kiss ended.
Kronos’ left hand was still resting on the side of his face, his fingers softly caressing his hair. “Your hair was more pleasing longer.”
He opened his eyes slowly, as if he was still under the languid influence of a powerful kiss, to finally meet Kronos’ after a few seconds.
“Grow it out.”
A simple order.
Methos leaned forward and pressed his still parted lips against Kronos‘, flicking the tip of his tongue along the crevice between them as he tilted his head to the side and stepped closer, answering him with the resumption of the kiss.
No sign of the revulsion that was warring within him at the close proximity with his old ‘brother,’ or the hand reaching for the front button of his jeans.
Methos stepped back and shook his head. “I haven’t rutted in the dirt in centuries.”
Kronos’ eyes narrowed, his eyes flickering from Methos to the double bed roll on the other side of the fire. “Hmm.” He slowly walked around the fire, only once glancing back at him before resuming his prone position on the sleeping bags, his head casually resting back on the palms of his hands which rested behind his neck. His eyes once again fixed on him.
He remained still for a moment before turning and filling a kettle with water, which he hung from a hook over the fire. ‘Yes, some hot chocolate sounded good about right now,’ Methos thought as he settled himself on the log on the opposite side of the fire from Kronos. The sexual tension in the air making him hyperaware of the few feet between them.
Sexual tension. ‘Hah!’ The bloody man had already taken him twice today. But he wasn’t joking. He’d be damned if he let himself be buggered in the dirt. However, there were other slightly less nauseating ways to appease the other immortal. Something that would direct Kronos attention away from wondering if he was being set up.
No matter how Kronos had pressured him during the two days journeying here by aeroplane, he still hadn’t revealed Silas’ or Caspian’s location. Although in the case of Silas it was soon to be moot.
Anxiety filled him that it would be him, the one who’d stowed Silas away for the last five hundred years; isolated from both mortals and immortals. The one who’d shielded him for over a millennia from the complex ugliness of the modern world. It would be him that would expose his gentle friend once again to Kronos’ madness.
They would reach Silas’ dwelling tomorrow sometime, but before then he had to get through tonight.
He spooned too much chocolate into the mug, the swirling water rapidly turned dark brown which he lightened with the pieces of marshmallow he’d torn apart earlier in preparation and dropped them in.
With deliberate grace he rose from the log and sauntered around the fire towards the scarred immortal, careful to keep his movements slow and unthreatening. If they perhaps came across as enticing--so much the better.
It would make it easier.
Kronos didn’t react to his slow approach, save to raise his scarred eyebrow questioningly.
The mug of hot chocolate was carefully transferred to his left hand along the way. Methos paused for a millisecond beside the still figure before swinging his right leg over to straddle the man’s hips and began to leisurely and slowly, ever so slowly, millimeter by tense millimeter lower himself until his denim covered groin rested upon the distinct bulge below, his eyes locked on the other’s the entire way down.
Blue eyes narrowed suspiciously as he slowly raised the cup to his mouth and took a long drink before bending over to press his parted lips hungrily against Kronos, forcing his tongue roughly between the closed lips pouring the hot sweet liquid inside.
A guttural moan sounded inside his mouth and his tongue was soon battled back. Kronos was never the one to respond passively for long, after all. The horseman’s hand clutched the back of his head while his tongue jammed inside fiercely before abandoning his mouth suddenly.
Methos gasped at the wet lick on the side of his neck by his carotid artery and the feel of the hand as it slipped lower to cup the nape of his neck where fingers began to brush against the skin teasingly, making him pant.
He carefully lowered the cup to the ground, all too aware of the tingle that began at the base of his spine, making his way through his body.
He was unable to stop the moan that escaped him as the tongue leisurely trailed up his throat; making him arch and bare his throat for more. His body became disgustingly compliant allowing the hand on his neck to tilt his head even more until…
A wave of lust coursed through him as the tongue found the spot which always made him instantly hard.
The tongue stilled for a second there pressed against the skin just below his left ear before it began to repeatedly lick at it, wringing a long drawn out moan from him as well as a few reflexive thrusts of his hips down against the hardness before he regained control.
Kronos quickly rolled to his left, reversing their position. His tongue’s pleasurable excavation of his throat continuing on its way to his ear.
The hot breath of air so close filled his whole body shiver with want.
Methos began to shake his head from left to right and closed his eyes tightly as he tried to fight the autonomic response of his body, unaware that his legs had fallen wider apart and that his hands were now clutching Kronos’ back.
A deliberate swipe of the tip of the tongue upon the inner flap of his left ear elicited a low moan. He raised his legs and clasped them around the body pressing down on him.
“Yeeeesssss!” Methos cried as his cock met an equally hard surface, wanting only for the shuddering sensations running down his spine to continue. He thrust up again and again, pushing harder. It was so close, just tantalizing out of reach till with one last hard shove up against the bruising weight he ejaculated, the sudden wet feel inside his jeans startling in its clarity.
His eyes flew open as he became aware of several things at once: his legs clamped around the waist, and his hands clutching the buttocks of the man on top of him. He flushed as he felt his cock twitch.
Shame filled him. He dropped his legs down to the ground along with his hands.
Kronos looked up at the sudden loss of contact. “Heh, heh, heh.”
Methos closed his eyes tightly at the knowing laughter and looked away to the right for a moment before his face was roughly wrenched back.
“Not this time, brother.” Kronos reclaimed Methos’ mouth, forcing a response from the suddenly passive immortal by biting the tongue sharply. Kronos closed his eyes as to better savor the haunting familiar liquid, bathing his tongue in it before swallowing.
Kronos smiled and groaned into the open mouth as he came a few moments later.
Methos’ eyes locked with Kronos’ when the blue eyes flew open, signaling his ‘arrival.’ Humiliation flooded him at the Horsemen’s continued slow deliberate thrusts against him which made him appallingly aware of the wet spot on his own jeans.
‘Duncan’s never going to forgive this,’ he thought and closed his eyes to shut out the damning sight of Kronos’ leering face.
Methos grasped the reins in the his left hand and mounted. After taking a few moments to settle himself in the saddle he glanced back at Kronos who nodded.
With that sign, he pressed his heels slightly against the horse’s flanks and they were off. He could feels the eyes in the center of his back as they rode. The horses picked their way carefully through the dense underbrush.
The thick forest that surround Silas’ home was dark and forbidding, which was why he’d herded his gentle friend to the area around a thousand years ago. The somewhat simple minded immortal hadn’t known he was being guided nor by whom, of course. Methos had found intermediaries often worked better in these sort of situations.
He hadn’t wanted to alarm the other immortal after all or confuse him. To Silas, he was Death, a brother in arms, a fellow Horseman, and his friend.
Although they were all true in the past, only the latter held true when he’d stumbled across the ancient immortal’s path a thousand years ago. Much as he’d and Kronos had stumbled upon Silas over two thousand years ago, crying over the body of grey wolf that the villagers had apparently killed.
Methos had assumed that the bodies they’d passed as they entered the settlement were in fact the local inhabitants. It had turned out he was right. The immortal, who they later learned was named Silas, had slaughtered the villagers for their crime.
The wolf had been Silas’, who’d gotten separated from it by a flood for a few days. A few days during which the wolf had fed on the village’s livestock and quite a few villagers as well.
“How much longer?” Kronos’ question woke him from his reverie.
He glanced upwards through the trees for the sun’s position. “Sometime this afternoon, I should think, if the weather holds.” The quick glance over his shoulder at the other immortal discovered the suspicious expression that once again adorned the scarred face. “So,” he began conversationally, “why Bordeaux? I would have thought Paris, London, even Rome for your home base?”
“You’ll soon see,” Kronos replied. “What about you, my dear brother? What brought the oldest man to the grey backwater of Seacouver?”
Bloody hell! He hadn’t wanted his attempt at finding out more about Kronos’ plans to lead back to Seacouver, which undoubtedly would lead to--
“It couldn’t have been a tall irritating immortal? Goes by the name of MacLeod?
He closed his eyes tightly before replying, “No. I was there to authenticate a piece of papyrus for university, circa third century.”
“Aaaah. Ever the scholar.”
A few moments passed with him holding his breath, praying that Kronos would drop the subject.
“Did MacLeod not tell you how we met?”
“No, why should he?” Methos glanced back at the other with an innocent smile.
Kronos gave a slight shrug of his shoulders, “Oh, I don’t know. Two close friends getting together talking over old what? Kills? Lovers, perhaps?”
“Don’t tell me that MacLeod and you?!” Methos made the horse stop and turned around in the saddle to face the immortal with a disbelieving expression.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” The laughter, however, did not reach the eyes which were still intense with suspicion. “No, Texas 1867. Your old ‘friend’ tried to kill me. The highlander was playing lawman at the time.”
Methos kicked his heels getting the horse to move forward again. “He does have that irritating habit.”
“Yes, which begs the question. What exactly were you doing with him? I don’t think MacLeod would welcome Death, would you?”
“Does it really matter now?” Methos replied tonelessly.
“True enough. It is simply another piece.”
“…of the puzzle that is you, my dear Methos.”
A shiver ran down his spine at the hint of adoration underlying the sarcasm. Adoration, more like obsession. Possession definitely. He knew that was part of what had added to his appeal to Kronos. What better legacy than to be the man who had Death at his side; his little immortal pet as it were.
Much like he’d felt about Cassandra, at least initially.
That was why Kronos would never voluntarily release him, not then and definitely not now.
Need him. Maybe Kronos did. Maybe in some bizarre twisted way, he did. He had become dependent on him, his plans. It was the only way he’d been able to trick Kronos into the last raid, during which he’d made his escape. Kronos had never questioned the strategy of them splitting up; nor why he’d sent Caspian and Silas off together to move their camp to a new location.
The terrain got rockier, the steep hillside soon required their full attention on the trail preventing any further discussion much to his relief. However, he knew that Kronos wouldn’t let the subject go. As soon as they reached more level ground, the interrogation would resume.
Something that he could not allow since he had no idea just how long the horseman had been watching him prior to that night in the parking lot. He’d analyzed that day countless of times wondering when exactly it was Kronos had found him.
One clue was that Kronos hadn’t been surprised when he’d called out MacLeod when he’d first felt an immortal presence out in the parking lot (something which still filled him with dismay at his own carelessness).
His lack of surprise as well as demanding that he kill the highlander as proof of his loyalty further indicated that he’d seen the two of them together. The only time that they’d been together outside of the dojo had been at the television station. It was there that Kronos must have spotted them.
But where exactly did Cassandra come in? That was the one thing he couldn’t figure out. He grimaced at what Cassandra was likely telling MacLeod about her time with the Horsemen.
She had no idea how hard it was for him to stand there and let Kronos drag her to his tent. That he’d sat vigil outside, listening to her pain filled cries through that long night as Kronos took his pleasure.
Knowing intimately what delight the horseman was taking in her pain; having been the object of Kronos’ ‘affection’ himself numerous times in the previous four centuries.
The advantages of a lover who couldn’t die were numerous to a sadist afterall…particularly one as inventive as Kronos.
He still felt that Cassandra was taking things a bit too seriously. She’d only spent one night under Kronos tender care. Yes, he’d betrayed her.
But his betrayal had saved her life.
His attention focused outward as the trees thinned once again; the ground flattened out which allowed the horses more leeway and a more comfortable stride. “I’ve been spending too much time in cities,” he commented as he looked around the young forest, recognizing that they were close.
“Two days on an aeroplane and another two on a horse. I hope you're not wasting my time.”
“I thought you enjoyed my company,” he teased with a glance at the immortal riding beside him.
“Even for you Methos, my patience has limits.”
“Ah! this is the place, I’m telling you Kronos, he’s here….Would I lie to you?”
“Have you ever done anything else?” he replied with a sidewise glance. “This is what I've dreamt of every night for the last 2000 years. The four of us reunited.”
“Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Dream Team.’” Methos’ horse picked up its pace pulling ahead of Kronos’.
“It’ll be like the old days, better, whatever we want, we’ll have.
“Or else we take,” Methos commented back over his shoulder.
“That's the spirit.”
Both immortal pulled up and listened intently to the sound of an axe splitting wood close by.
“It's been over a thousand years. He may not remember us,” Methos pointed out.
“He'll remember. What we were you don't forget,” Kronos declared confidently.
“And if he doesn’t want to come with us?” Methos asked.
Methos stared intensely at the rapt expression on the scarred face as Kronos passed him to take the lead. They rode for a few moments more before they could clearly sense Silas‘ immortal presence, at which point they dismounted and began leading the horses towards the sound of splitting wood.
Silas turned toward them as they very slowly strode into the clearing, axe in hand. “Grrrrrr.”
The three stared at one another for a long second before the axe was hurtling toward them in a perfectly aimed move to embed itself in the tree between him and Kronos.
Methos exchanged a quick glance with Kronos over the handle of the axe before turning his attention back to the other immortal.
Silas continued to stare at the two of them before he suddenly grinned.
“I guess he remembers,” Kronos stated aside to Methos, before continuing forward.
“Huh, huh, huh,” Methos laughed softly, smiling as he moved forward to meet the taller immortal. The horse’s reins were in his right hand, when the other embraced him, lifting him off his feet for a few seconds excitedly before lowering him gently to the ground.
“Good to see you, too, Silas,” Methos laughingly greeted him.
“We ride?” Silas asked him.
“We ride,” Methos replied.
Silas reached out and grasped Kronos’ hand as he joined them, which prompted Methos to bring his own right hand forward below Kronos’ in the old ritual or risk even more suspicion.
Methos allowed none of the sadness he was feeling show on his face as he watched Silas and Kronos walk away towards the small wooden house.
It was done.
Heavens help them all once Caspian rejoined them.
Duncan stared unseeingly out the window, his hands twisting around the light blue material he was holding in his hands.
He still couldn’t believe it had been less than a week since he’d last had the pale skinned form writhing beneath him, the melodious voice chortling in his ear.
No word. No clue to where Methos now was, except that he was with Koren. Kronos. Whatever.
No letter, no call, only some books along with their receipts which had been delivered to Dawson two days ago by post. Some books that Dawson had sent him to buy for the Watchers in L.A.
Duncan snorted in disgust.
What a conscientious little Watcher Adam Pierson was…
“Ha!…Adam Pierson, right.” He shook his head slightly, his hand reflexively twisting the cloth in his hands.
A noise from outside made his head jerk up sharply, his eyes narrowing down at the visible figures on the street. The lack of an accompanying immortal presence however meant that Cassandra still wasn’t back.
She’d left to scour the neighboring towns with their smaller airports for any sign of the Horsemen. As she’d been tracking Kronos for the last two months, it seemed logical for her to be he one to check out the surrounding area while he stayed here.
The remembered taste of him still lingering in his mouth.
His smell….Duncan glanced down at the blue material; the item which had ignited this little despondent reverie in the first place.
A light blue Henley that he’d found behind the shelf by the bed with the faint smell of its owner unwaveringly evident. He’d started cleaning compulsively a few hours after Cassandra left.
The loft had been a mess, but the discovery of the shirt had startled him, although it shouldn’t have. Methos had always discarded his clothes carelessly inside the loft similar to the way he’d acted on the barge.
The ancient immortal seemed to take pleasure in leaving them out on the floor much to his annoyance.
He stared down at the shirt, wondering if Cassandra had any luck, absently wondering why he hoped she hadn’t.
“…and will you be checking in this…box,” the ticket agent asked, gesturing to the rat in the cage that Silas had not wanted to leave behind.
“No, this will be carried on,” Methos replied, inwardly groaning at how much trouble Silas’ pet had caused him, getting the forged papers necessary to transport a live animal internationally. Grateful that his idea of the covering made it unrecognizable as a cage to all but the scanners whose operators were appeased by the depth of the paperwork he produced at each checkpoint, Kronos laughing in the background while Silas grinned and looked around at the people hurrying through the airport.
“Thank you for flying with Air Ukraine.”
Methos smiled and nodded before turning away, immediately pocketing the four tickets and grabbing the cage.
“Shall we go,” he called out to the other two immortals.
Kronos raised his eyebrows at the blatant move but only nodded before falling in behind Methos.
“You’ll like flying, Silas, think of it as an adventure,” Methos began in a comforting tone as they walked further into the airport; agonizingly aware of the immortal following close behind him.
“No sign whatsoever, I went to every sorry little town around this…”
Duncan tuned out the rest of the high pitched rant as he’d done for the last couple of hours, knowing the content by heart. He rubbed his forehead with a grimace as the ache in his head grew in proportion to the rising volume of Cassandra’s voice.
“Enough, Cassandra,” Duncan brusquely declared and stood up, stopping Cassandra’s pacing by the effective method of stepping in front of the female immortal. “This is getting us nowhere. We need some sort of plan…”
Cassandra frowned at his words. “Do you have one?”
“I might.” It wasn’t altogether a lie exactly, he had an inkling of an idea but he needed Dawson to see if it panned out. “I need to talk to Joe while I explain.”
With a quick call, Joe was on his way over with his laptop that contained the Watchers’ Immortal database. Thankfully the wait wasn’t long and it took only a few minutes to get the mortal settled on chair behind the table, the laptop set up before him.
“Okay, so why am I here?” Joe asked with a raised eyebrow, ignoring the woman who was muttering under her breath while she paced in the corner of the room.. “What can I do for you, Mac?”
“I need your help, Joe.”
Joe shifted his gaze pointedly to the female immortal that had walked up to the highlander’s right.
Mac half turned with a grimace, giving a half shrug in acknowledgement. “WE need your help.”
“Okay, shoot,” Joe stated, something in his gut telling him he wasn’t going to like what was coming.
“So what can I help you with?” Joe asked, wisely ignoring Cassandra. As beautiful as the green eyed woman was, the distrust he’d felt initially upon meeting the female immortal hadn’t lessened, no matter that it turned out to be true that Methos had been one of The Four Horsemen like she‘d said.
Methos was a friend. One who’d tried his best to save his ass when he’d been on trial by the Watcher Tribunal. His impartiality as a Watcher be damned. He gave a mental snort, even now hearing the laughter that the thought would have evoked from Adam aka Methos if he’d voiced it within the Old Man’s hearing.
“Cassandra found no evidence of Kronos or Methos around Seacouver and I assume you’ve still found nothing on your end.” Duncan sat down opposite of the mortal on a box.
“No sign of Methos or Kronos at any of the airports, major train stations here or abroad. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. If we had something more to go on, it would sure help even the odds.”
“What about instead of looking for Methos and Kronos, we look for the other two.”
Cassandra froze and looked at Duncan with a shocked expression. “Caspian and Silas? Why?”
.Joe ignored the witch’s question. “You really think the other Horsemen are still alive?”
“Well, Methos and Kronos are, under different names, different lives,” Duncan replied.
“This is pointless. We're just wasting time. We may as well go find Kronos,” stated Cassandra immediately dismissing the idea that the other two Horsemen were still alive after three thousand years.
“Oh, yeah? And starting where? If they’re alive that’s where he’ll be going,” Duncan stated in exasperation.
Joe raised his eyebrows at Duncan’s sharp retort, well ‘sharp’ for the highlander who was usually so easygoing and polite. He’d evidently become all too accustomed to negative comments from the female immortal in the past several days. He knew he had and he’d only been in the woman’s presence a couple of times. “All right, I’ve narrowed the search down to white male immortals that we don’t have first death information on, and we got a hell of a lot of files,” Joe explained as he typed.
“Well, try narrowing it down by first name. Look for something similar to what they were using back then,” Duncan suggested as he stood up and automatically began to slowly pace. “Silas and Caspian.”
“O.K. O.K.” With a few strokes the added parameters were entered. He clicked on the first name. “Andrew Kaspis?” he ventured with a questioningly glance up at Cassandra, who’d come over to look over his left shoulder at the small screen.
Cassandra shook her head negatively, her green eyes serious as she peered at the screen.
“Cassius Polonius?” Joe stated in an amused tone, sharing the joke with the woman beside him who shook her head negatively, the green eyes lightening as she gave a slight snort in laughter at the ridiculous name..
“That’s him. That’s Caspian.”
Duncan made his way around the table, joining them at looking at the screen while Joe pulled up the location.
“He’s in Romania. just outside Bucharest.” He continued reading aloud, ignoring the sound of boots clicking away as Cassandra hurriedly left. “He’s in an asylum for the criminally insane.”
Joe slowly looked up at MacLeod. “You take care my friend.”
‘An insane asylum,’ Duncan thought as he left the room, after giving Joe a pat on his back in thanks.
The bastard had known the entire time where Caspian was…had in fact given him a clue back during the time the Watcher Tribunal had been trying Dawson for treason. Methos had made that comment that insane asylums was one of the most likely places to find immortals. He’d probably been thinking of Caspian at the time.
Of course it helped that he’d done nothing but go over every conversation he’d ever had with Methos in the last several days, wondering if he’d missed some sign…wondering which “Methos” was real.
“He’ll be fine, Silas,” Methos was saying as they walked into the building. “I doubt we’ll be here long anyway,” he murmured with a sideways glance at Kronos.
“Yes, Dr. Paul Walker to see a,” Methos ostentatiously peered down at a small rumpled piece of paper, “Dr. Cernavoda.” He gave a broad smile as the receptionist nodded.
Methos thanked the woman and the three moved as one towards the stairwell, the other immortals framing him.
“Dr. Cernavoda?” Methos greeted the spectacled grey haired man behind the counter with a slight smile. “I’m Dr. Paul Walker. We talked on the phone earlier today.”
“Yes, Dr. Walker. Like I said before, this is a highly irregular request. It will take weeks, perhaps months.”
“Well, we’d like him now,” Methos said, leaning his right elbow on the counter.
“We have procedures, gentlemen. Patience is a virtue…”
Methos and Kronos exchanged a look at the doctor’s words.
“I'm afraid my hands are tied,” Dr Cernavoda continued in a firm tone. He turned away and returned to his desk.
“Then perhaps this could help you to untie them,” Kronos sing-songed as he walked behind the counter and dropped a brown envelope onto the desk in front of the man taking over the discussion. “Twenty-five thousand dollars, U. S.”
Kronos leaned back against the wall on the doctor‘s left. “Now it seems to me that you have a procedural decision to make, doctor. Forget your impeccable paperwork Hhmm. I give you $25,000 and you give me Casparri. Or you keep Casparri and you lose everything.”
Methos didn’t react during Kronos little speech, meeting the eyes which were staring challengingly at him across the room unflinchingly. Kronos daring him to react to the underlying threat in his voice which was oblivious to the doctor.
Silas began to play the flute he’d been carving from the slender piece of Dnieper wood during their negotiation with the good doctor.
Dr. Cernavoda opened the envelope, flicking through its contents thoughtfully before nodding and rising to his feet. “This way, gentlemen.”
He lead them down the hall, past the other personnel to the stairs which would take them to the lower levels. “What are you going to do with Casparri?”
“Rehabilitate him,” replied Kronos.
“You serious? You can’t be serious!.”
“Why, what did he do?” Methos asked.
“They don’t know how many people he killed. They found parts in his basement, in his garden, in his freezer.”
“So, why don’t they execute him?” asked Silas.
Methos wasn’t really surprised at the question from his tall friend. Silas and Caspian had never gotten along.
“Oh, in a less progressive age a man like him would have been. But today we are more humane,” explained Dr. Cernavoda.
They continued down the passageway, passing what appeared to be “patients” which were roaming freely through the mildewed walkway.
“He's here, the dark man is here!!” screeched one of them as Kronos approached.
“Pay no attention, he’s harmless. He’s been saying that for thirty years,” Dr. Cernavoda assured Kronos as they passed a small man in threadbare hospital gown.
Kronos stared at the cowering man for a moment, “One day he might be right.”
“…and one day Romania will be a superpower,” Dr. Cernavoda scornfully replied with a laugh before he continued down the hallway.
Methos noted the tender caress Silas gave the back of the cowering man’s head as he passed. Petting him.
“I don’t know what you want him for, but this one is better off dead,” Dr. Cernavoda pronounced as they stepped down some spiral stairs to an even lower level.
His senses sharpened as the unmistakable presence of another immortal nearby was felt. Methos glanced around at the dark dank walls of what could only be described as a dungeon, his hands casually in his pockets. “Very humane.”
“Open the door,” Kronos softly ordered as the doctor stopped in front of a barred door.
Dr. Cernavoda unlocked the door and opened it to let Kronos inside.
Methos stepped in moved just inside to the right behind the doctor, his gaze focused on the immortal whose eyes gleamed maniacally in the dim light of the cell.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to consider another candidate?” Dr. Cernavoda suggested with a touch of timidity.
“Unchain him,” Kronos ordered him.
“I think we should call security,” Dr. Cernavoda stated turning toward the entryway.
Silas immediately bent down and entered the cell, blocking the door.
With a flash of steel Kronos cut the chains binding Caspian to the wall.
“Aaaah!” Caspian immediately moved forward and grabbed the doctor by the neck, strangling him.
“Get him, get him off me, plea…” the doctor begged Kronos.
Methos leaned casually against the wall and watched without expression as Caspian strangled the life out of the doctor. He silently stepped around Kronos towards the dark corner of the cell, hopefully dark enough to serve his purposes, peering intensely at Kronos face, which was filled with what could almost be described as euphoria at the drama being acted out before him by Caspian and the poor doctor.
So caught up in watching Kronos, he almost missed the final gasp of life from Dr Cernavoda and was about to take a step when--.
“Stop!” cried Caspian, moving quickly forward toward Methos.
He froze instantly, his right foot still upraised, leaving the roach that he now noticed on the floor under his foot unharmed.
“They are better alive,” Caspian explained as he picked up the insect and brought it up to his mouth.
“Bon appetite,” quipped Methos and looked away from the sight.
“Come Caspian,” Kronos commanded, pulling the crazed immortal up from the floor by his forearm, “I have bigger game for you outside.”
Methos waited until the other three were occupied with exiting before surreptitiously dropping the matchbook behind him.
Methos stared at the massive single leveled complex with his eyebrows raised. “What is it?”
“An abandoned submarine base that I picked up from the French government back in the fifties,” replied Kronos.
He exchanged a glance with Caspian behind Kronos’ back, knowing without even looking that Silas was grinning as they walked into their new “home.”
“Welcome my brothers,” Kronos threw open the door with a flourish beckoning them inside.
He stared around at the plain walls as they followed Kronos deeper into the complex where the corridor soon split into two long corridors.
“This way,” Kronos began as they trailed behind him down the right one.
“Refresh yourselves my brothers and be welcome,” he stated as he indicated two doors to Caspian and Silas. “I think you shall find clothing to your liking within. If not I’m sure something can be arranged.”
The words were primarily for Caspian as they hadn’t managed much more than shirt and sweatpants, unaware of what state they would find him in. The clothes he’d been wearing in the asylum promptly trashed in the bathroom of a petrol station on the way to the airport.
Silas had brought his own clothing from home while his few items from his omnipresent carryall should be enough. If it wasn’t then it meant that he’d been away from Mac much more than the few days he hoped his stay with Kronos would be.
Caspian grinned and went through one door while Silas entered his room a bit more cautiously, holding the cage with his rat by his side.
Kronos’ eyes beckoned him to follow and they continued down the grey hallway to a door at the end of it. Methos followed Kronos through the door into a large cavernous room which was dominated by a broad table made of forged ironwork or so it seemed in the quick glance allowed him before Kronos took a few paces along the wall to another door which had a circular window that was covered with plastic.
It was another grey corridor, Methos found after walking through the door that Kronos had left open. He could see Kronos striding further ahead and pausing before a set of large white doors.
Kronos threw the doors open with a grandiose gesture as soon as he approached. His eyes waiting expectantly for his reaction.
Methos peered around as he slowly walked into the room. Not surprised to find that it was Kronos’ quarters. The walls were a lighter grey than those in the hallway, adorned with swords, axes, and what appeared to be skins.
‘It seems you can take the barbarian out of the past but not the barbarian out of the man’ he thought snidely to himself. He shrugged out of his coat, dropping it on a chair on the left just inside the door along with the bag that contained his clothes.
He stared up at the small faint lights that decorated the corners of the ceiling giving off a dim light as he continued to look curiously around as he walked further into the room, ignoring Kronos who was leaning against the doorjamb watching him.
His eyes met Kronos for a brief second while he passed by the door on his way to the open door he saw off to the right of the bed, presumably to the bathroom.
Methos stared at the large modern shower and toilet. There was no bathtub. He turned back to Kronos with his left eyebrow arched questioningly.
“I see you like it.”
“Does it really matter?” Methos replied tonelessly as he walked back towards the other immortal.
Kronos’ eyes narrowed dangerously before he suddenly grinned. “Oh, how I’ve missed that acerbic tongue.” Kronos grabbed his head and pulled him forward, suddenly kissing him before just as quickly releasing him. “Its just like the old days. The four of us together, as it was meant to be!”
Methos kept all emotion from his expression as he watched Kronos stride restlessly in the open space by the bed. The manic energy rolling off the horseman in waves making him feel only more tired.
He sat down on the side of the bed and began untying his bootlaces. The boots were kicked under the chair and he was about to start on his socks when a touch on his face made him freeze. He looked up beneath his lashes at the scarred visage, controlling the instinctive flinch as the hand trailed the edge of his chin back towards his ear and slowly began to glide down his neck.
Methos nodded and continued undressing until he sat before Kronos once again naked.
He sat and laid back, gracefully lifting his legs upon the burnished gold coverlet.
Kronos’ fingertips trailed down the side of his body as if in consideration, his downward looking eyes preventing an accurate reading of the immortal’s mental state. The hand paused at his hip, the fingers cupping his left buttock for a millisecond before pushing.
Methos went with the motion indicated to smoothly roll over onto his stomach. He turned his head away and closed his eyes.
His eyes shot open at the sudden cold chill of metal against the back of his right calf. A glance over his shoulder at the object verified his initial thought. It was one of his knives that the horseman had taken off of him back in Seacouver that Kronos was pressing against him.
It was only through conscious will that he made his muscles slowly release as he turned back away from the sight and laid the side of his head against the bed. The only change from his previous position being that he brought his arms up, so that his face now rested upon his hands.
The bed dipped and the feel of cold metal disappeared.
Once again he was left to listen to the damningly familiar sound of clothes being taken off after the tossing of the knife onto a nearby surface.
The only thing missing was the heat and the dust that always blew into tent through the opening.
“I was pleasantly surprised to discover that some things hadn’t changed. Still have your little penchant for sharp toys, my dear brother.”
“They’re for defense,” Methos retorted without moving. “You’re the one who became…attached…” he let the words trail off. He stiffened at the unmistakable sound of a blade being withdrawn from a sheathe.
The brevity of the sound allowed him to relax slightly. It was a knife not a sword. Although the images that flashed thru his mind reminded him that a knife was not much better. He might still have his head afterwards but wish he didn’t.
This time around he didn’t react to the chill feel of the blade against his skin.
He exhaled and nuzzled his nose against the bed as if to get more comfortable, while he was mentally cursing out the all the gods and goddesses he could remember as the blade began its slow journey up his right leg.
A sustained caress of the metal outline against the back of his thigh gave the impression of a curved blade.
He mentally winced.
The chill metal continued slowly up over the swell of his right backside. A slight sting made him tense; now aware of the sharp, very sharp, experience ruefully informed him, tip of the blade that was languorously sliding over his buttock toward the cleft.
Mental walls automatically started going up to buffer him from the pain. Although in the long run, it wouldn’t do much good. If Kronos was in one of his moods, he’d lose his voice long before he died.
The bed shifted as Kronos moved, and a sudden hug of hairy weight straddled his upper thighs. He felt faint moisture on his bum from what could only be a leaking cock.
A sharp sting on his lower back informed him that the blade was continuing on its path. Lancing pain from where the blade was edging deeper into his skin as it moved upwards in the hollow of his spine. Not enough to do real damage, the electrical buzzing in its path healing as quickly as the blade cut, giving not even enough time to allow him to feel more than a trickle of blood flow.
The blade paused at the nape of his neck before it was suddenly withdrawn and replaced with lips.
Kronos sucked at the cut, licking up the few drops of blood that flowed before it healed, running his hands down the sides of the pale torso as he shifted, bringing his knees together and resting them between the long thin legs which he pushed apart with his own.
A swift cut across his shoulder blades made him arch. Fingertips skimmed along the line before disappearing.
The touch of a finger on the left side of his back appeared then began gliding down in a short quick stroke.
Methos’ forehead furrowed as he tried to figure out what Kronos was doing. He gave a slight shake of his head, bemused when he realized.
Writing. Kronos was writing with the blood.
The path of the strokes suddenly became clear.
“Never could mark you…” murmured Kronos, “at least not on the outside.”
A palm ran down his back to his buttock. “Just as before…remarkably unchanged.”
Methos knew better than to react to the sudden feel of eyes on his face. Frightened of what his own eyes might reveal to Kronos all-knowing gaze if he should open them.
The near millennia he’d spent as Kronos’ companion a dangerous two way path linking them at a unfathomable level that transcended the mere physical.
The chill of the blade made its reappearance on his lower back, the flat of the curved blade skimming across the soft sensitive area above his buttocks poised suddenly in the center before lowering down to trail between the cheeks where it stopped.
Kronos’ eyes once again on his face.
The moment seemed to last forever before the knife was gone, replaced by Kronos.
He almost sobbed in relief, being fucked by knife was never one of his most favorite ways to die. And a curved knife does a whole lot of internal damage that takes even immortal healing some time.
Not that the knife would be the end event. No, being fucked with a knife was merely an appetizer in Kronos’ sadistic repertoire whose main course always boringly remained his cock. Thrusting inside the ripped, shredded flesh, the blood pouring from open wounds and him screaming as the cock made new pathways into his body.
Venomous gratitude coursed through him at the feel of the cock slicing inside him instead of the knife. Despair welled up as his body mechanically accommodated the nauseatingly intimate invader, the muscles loosening as if in welcome.
This shouldn’t be happening.
The man should be dead.
A hand on his hip jerked him upright to his knees while another pressed his head down against the bed roughly.
Methos moaned as the new position allowed the cock even deeper inside him. On its withdrawal it sawed against his prostate producing an uncontrollable whimper to escape his lips.
Raw sensation filled him as the motion was ruthlessly repeated. He instinctively pushed back to meet each forward thrust, needing to make the contact last longer.
The smell and sound of sweat and sex filled his nose and ears. The slapping sound so distinctive to sex making him even harder.
He tightened around the familiar thickness forcing the cock to fight for its foray inside him on every return trip. Making each small motion that occasionally skimmed alongside his prostate, ripple through him, magnifying the sensations thrumming throughout his body tenfold.
Hot breath bathed his back. Motion accelerated.
Methos shifted to the right and to rest his weight upon his hands, so that the ramming inside him wasn’t just sliding against his prostate but nailing it on every stroke as he pushed back. By the third deep thrust he was trembling uncontrollably until with a long moan he came.
With each shuddered breath a burst of semen jutted out of his cock. All sensation narrowed down to it until he felt his insides awash with hot liquid and then he remembered.
He collapsed upon the bed, Kronos accompanying him with an audible grunt as his body made solid contact. He laid still, panting, trying to ignore the sweat ridden body and where it continued to lay buried still.
Trying to ignore everything, including the depraved, satiated state of his own body but failing.
Rage filled him at his helplessness.
Rape--Seduction--Pain--Sex--Pleasure. They never again attained the clarity that they’d had before….
Arms wrapped around his chest like a vice, the harsh breathing felt upon the side of his face made him want to give voice to the scream strangling inside his throat.
“Lie as you will, dear brother, but this body remembers me all too well. Ha! Ha! Ha!” Kronos whispered with a harsh laugh.
Methos’ blood ran cold at the low gruff laughter and tried to pull away but the arms didn’t loosen their hold. He turned his head away from the rough kiss Kronos pressed against the side of his face while tightening his arms around him which allowed the cock still sheathed inside him to furrow even deeper.
He gritted his teeth as Kronos began to move.
“When did Casparri escape?” Duncan asked the doctor.
“Sometime last night,” she replied anxiously” They found the doctor this morning.”
“Let’s go,” Cassandra said in a bored tone.
“Ah, no. Did he have any visitors yesterday?”
The doctor picked up a folder and checked it. “No, there’s nothing on his chart. Excuse me, I must give my statement to the police.” She left them and went over to talk to the two uniformed officers waiting down the hall.
Duncan picked up Casparri’s file that the doctor had just put down and quickly glanced inside before laying it back on the counter. “Come on,” he softly stated, gesturing Cassandra to follow him.
They quickly began walking back through the main hallway.
“Kronos and Methos already have him. I don't know why we're wasting time in this hellhole,” complained Cassandra.
He spotted the sign he’d been looking for and grabbed Cassandra’s arm to usher her through the door on his right. Cassandra was thankfully silent as they traversed the dank passageway until the reached the cell where the doctor had been found.
Duncan bent down under the low door jamb and stepped inside the cell, his eyes beginning to peer intently around. In the dark shadows of a corner he spotted something pale which he quickly walked over to. “This is why. Hotel de Seze, Bordeaux,” read Duncan as he picked up the book of matches. “Methos must have left it.”
He stood up and headed out the door past Cassandra.
“The question is what for.”
“You think he's setting us up,” Duncan commented as he started up the stairs.
Cassandra laughed, “Don’t you?”
“Maybe,” Duncan replied although the doubt in his voice said something else.
They emerged into the main hallway and began walking towards the exit.
“But we're going anyway?"
“It's the only place we've been invited.”
Methos opened his eyes slowly and listened. Silence. Kronos had left. He could still feel other immortal presences in the vicinity, but for now he was alone.
He slipped out from under the sheets on the bed and padded nude over to the wardrobe in the corner of the room. A quick search revealed nothing but clothes and a few swords. Perhaps, the nightstand.
The top drawer revealed a Bible, nothing else. He peered around the room thoughtfully. Whatever Kronos was up to, this room wouldn’t reveal it.
A pulling of the skin across his chest as he closed the drawer brought his attention down. His mouth turned up in disgust at the dried white spots spattered across his torso.
It was time for a shower.
Unlike usual he didn’t let his mind wander while under the spray of the hot water. He efficiently wiped away all evidence of his previous activities as quickly as possible and stepped out.
He wrapped a towel around his hips and walked back into the room, casually rubbing another towel on the side of his head to dry his hair.
There was a suit laid out across the bed. Black of course. He glanced toward the door but it was closed. Kronos must have come in while he was in the shower.
A bemused smile formed on his face as he stepped forward and picked up the suit. He recognized it from the earlier wardrobe search but hadn’t realized that it was his.
Another bloody critic.
He’d planned on a t-shirt and jeans. As he considered the garment he ran a finger along the collar, noting the fine material and expensive cut.
Clothes were something he very rarely thought about. Utter nonsense really compared to what he usually had going on in his life.
He didn’t care about what he wore but apparently someone did.
Methos shrugged and undid the towel from round his waist.
So be it.
Once fully dressed he grabbed the Bible, to have something in his hands while he wandered about.
It would come in handy as a possible excuse for his explorations.
Methos made a point of not looking up from the page of the Bible he was reading when the door on the left opened and Caspian walked into the torch lit room. He continued to sit unconcerned in one of the large metalwork chairs at the table in the center of the room.
“Still have your head buried in a book.”
Methos simply shrugged. Not at all threatened by the other, due to the sword resting before him on the table. He’d been pleasantly surprised at finding the Ivanhoe sitting out alongside the others’ weapons upon the metalwork table, seeing as how Kronos had confiscated it back at the airport in Seacouver.
Caspian stood in front of him silently for a moment. “And it looks like we have the same tailor.”
He smirked. He’d also noticed the similarity between Caspian’s “new” clothes and the suit jacket he was wearing when the ‘newly liberated’ immortal had walked through the door.
“Although, you never used to wear black.”
“Things change,” he blithely replied.
He heard the newly liberated immortal move away and looked up to see Caspian gazing up at the skull that decorated the wall by the long side table which Silas‘ pet rat rested on. The rat was still in its cage, thank god. Searching the base for a single rat would have been impossible.
Methos turned his head as he heard footsteps down below.
“Methos! Hey, Methos!” Silas called out as he walked up the stairs to the landing where the ancient immortal sat reading. “Hee! Hee! Hee!” he laughed as he looked around the firelit landing. “What the hell is this place? Silas asked as he approached the table.
“This is Kronos' idea of Camelot,” drolled Methos, aware of just how apt the allusion was, mentally wincing at who was cast in the role of Guinevere.
Silas sat down in the chair on his right and looked around. “So, where are the stables? Hmm. The horses?”
Methos gave a small negative shake of his head.
“Well how do we ride?!” Silas demanded confused looking from Caspian to Methos.
Caspian laughed dismissively at the innocent question. “Where have you been for the last 2000 years, idiot? Living in the woods? Do you think we can just mount up and gallop down Broadway.”
Methos listened to the familiar byplay between the two immortals as he’d done so for the last several hours. Each immortal’s dislike for the other still as strong today as it was when they rode as the Horsemen over two thousand years ago.
“We can do whatever we please,” Silas stated in a stubborn tone..
“Four guys on horseback,” Caspian stated as he turned around, holding the cage. The rat squealing anxiously at the motion. “Wild masks. They'll think we're in a circus.”
“They won’t think it for long, will they?”
Caspian walked over, carrying the cage. “We're having a friend for dinner. Tell me, what goes best with rodent, red or white?”
“Eat him and I eat you.”
“You're crazy,” Caspian told him, “You should have been in the madhouse, instead of me.”
“Keep talking. I will have your head.” Silas stood and grabbed his axe, Caspian mirroring his actions with his own sword.
They stood poised with weapons upraised.
The door opened framing Kronos. “Put them down! Do it now!” he ordered them. With a loud clatter the weapons were returned to the table.
Methos didn’t look up from his book, not caring at the blustering between the two. They hadn’t managed to kill each other during all the centuries together in the past and it wasn’t likely that they would do so now. Silas would probably win anyway. At least he hoped so, otherwise he would have to kill Caspian…
“We never raise a blade against each other,” Kronos proclaimed as he drew nearer, “Isn’t that right, Methos?”
‘Well, not outside of bed, anyway,’ he thought sarcastically before he finally looked up and met Kronos’ eyes. “You said it,” Methos replied with a small smile before he looked back down at the open book he was holding in his hands.
“We are the Four Horsemen,” Kronos stated as he walked slowly around Silas towards the other side of the table. “No other band of men has ever been more cruel or more feared.” He stopped and held out his right arm with the palm facing upwards. “Remember that?"
Silas grasped Kronos' forearm firmly which was quickly followed by Caspian grasping his. The three then turned their attention to him.
He slowly stood and reached over to grip Caspian’s forearm, turning his head to meet Kronos eyes as he grabbed his, completing the square.
Hotel de Seze, Bordeaux
Duncan turned away from the counter disheartened. “No messages. No reservations. Nothing.”
“He left that clue. He'll get in touch,” Duncan assured her, wishing that he was right, hoping that his instincts about the ancient immortal weren’t wrong.
“He’s done nothing but lie to you,” Cassandra pointed out. “That’s all he ever does.”
He stared at her, not willing to admit that she was right. They’d get a room and wait.
“Silas, my brother, why would we ride with sword and axe when today there are weapons of unimaginable power?” Kronos explained grandly as they walked down the long corridor lit by torches.
Methos strode along beside the others, curious at where they were heading. This had been one of the areas he hadn’t been able to access during his earlier exploration. “Weapons ready to plunge the earth into generations of darkness,” Methos added helpfully.
“If we choose. What more could we ask for? What better time for us to come together than in the Scientific Age. Just think of what men like us could do. Men without conscience, without fear. Think of the destruction, the devastation, the death. A world of anarchy and madness. Now, you think of that, and dream.”
Methos’ met Caspian’s eyes behind Kronos’ back at the word ‘death’ and grinned slightly.
He followed them through the doorway on the left into a room filled with test tubes and bottles filled varying liquids. A lab.
He glanced around curiously as they walked through the lab, the squealing of monkeys on the far end of the room bringing his attention forward.
“The weapons of today are different but it all comes down to the same thing. There are the conquerors and there are the conquered.”
“You want to conquer the world with monkeys?” mocked Caspian as they walked past the cages into the even more dimply lit end of the room.
“Not with them,” Kronos replied as he stepped up to a wall and punched in a code into the keypad by a safe built into the wall. “With this.”
The safe slowly opened bathing their faces with bright white light. In the center of the vault was a test tube full of clear liquid, leaning upright in the corner of a glass box, on a circle of dry ice.
Methos stared down at the bubbling liquid with no expression.
“Glorious virus,” announced Kronos, “AIDS, Ebola, and now mine. It doesn’t have a name, and it doesn’t have a cure. Tell me, Caspian, where you in England when the plague struck? I was.”
“Do you have a plan?” Caspian softly asked.
“I have a few thoughts. I have a few dollars, enough for a start. And now, we have Methos, and now we'll have a plan.”
Methos turned toward the immortal beside him and asked “What did you have in mind?”
“Once we rode out of the sun, bringing death at the point of a sword. There was no man, and no immortal, who could stand before us. We were death on horseback. They called us the end of the world. Well, gentleman,” Kronos said as he picked up the vial, “I want to give them what they fear most. The Apocalypse.”
Duncan looked out at the city of Bordeaux but didn’t see the rooftops. No, his mind was once again or more accurately, still, occupied with thoughts of Methos as he leaned his elbows on the stone railing of the balcony.
His mind told him one thing while his…everything else told him another. Was he just fooling himself? No, he knew that Methos would leave something, a clue behind so that he could track them. Methos knew that he would follow him, how could he not?
And he was right. Methos had left the matchbook, leading him here.
Methos was somewhere out there, but where?
No matter what Methos said, he knew, he just knew that Methos hadn’t gone with Kronos willingly.
Methos had come to the dojo for his help, if only…
He shook his head in a futile attempt to stop the torrent of memories that flashed through his mind. One in particular…haunting…him.
It was the day he’d managed to pick up a pair of Victorian lamps at auction. They were in relatively good condition and only needed to be cleaned up a bit which he’d been sitting on the bed doing, when a noise had made him look up from the dusty porcelain.
Methos, clad in a blue chamois shirt and faded blue jeans, was padding barefoot towards the kitchen. The black hair tussled from laying on the couch adding an air of sensuousness to the lean immortal.
He’d watched amused as Methos opened the refrigerator and took out a beer all without looking up from the book he held in his left hand. He had no idea what he was reading. Frankenstein, Sartre, hell, he’d even seen a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn among the immortal’s books.
The reading continued unperturbed on Methos’ absorbed journey back towards the couch. Bare feet and ankles peaking out from under the jeans making Methos more naked than all the times he’d seen him without any clothing whatsoever.
He’d never seen Methos look sexier than at that moment, completely dressed, head buried in a book, oblivious to the outside world.
His smile hadn’t even faltered when the bottle cap was tossed on the coffee table with an obvious clatter.
Instead he smiled even broader at the pale narrow feet that appeared over the arm of the couch. The long slender toes wiggling slightly, before one foot crossed over the other as Methos readjusted himself on the couch.
“He’s not your friend. He’s no one’s friend. He’s putting the Horseman back together, you have no idea what that means,” Cassandra bade as she came up beside him on the balcony, sharply pulling him from his thoughts.
“It's Kronos who’s behind this. Let me deal with him, then we’ll worry about the rest.”
“Kill Kronos, you’ve cut out the heart of the Horseman. Kill Methos, take the head. They both have to die,” she emphatically stated.
“Even if you get your revenge, the memories won’t end,” he told her as he turned and looked up at her. “Killing can’t erase what happened. Only living can do that.”
“Nothing can do that. Nothing.”
The quiet despair in her voice drew him upwards to embrace her comfortingly while a vision of pale feet and disheveled black hair flickered in his mind.
The irritating sound of Caspian sharpening the sword against the table’s edge made the silence from the figure standing opposite of him on the other side of the table only more menacing.
“A bomb with the virus in a fountain,” Kronos repeated with scorn. “How many do you think that will kill? You've gone soft, Methos!”
“I'm scared,” Caspian crooned in mock fear, “Are you scared?”
“It's a prelude,” Methos stated condescendingly. He’d forgotten how annoying it was to be around Caspian and Kronos. Forced to explain everything to simpletons. He‘d been spoiled in Seacouver.
“Have you read Aristotle's Poetics? No, of course not, you haven't even seen Casablanca,” Methos stated with derision. He turned back toward Kronos and Silas. “What is the first rule of great drama?”
Silas stared at the ceiling for the answer during the ensuing moment of silence.
“Start small, and build.”
Kronos turned back halfway, his head cocked at an angle indicating his interest in hearing more.
“A fountain to get their attention,” he continued, “Then, a public pool, to kill a hundred. Then, a stadium, to kill ten thousand, then...one drop of the virus in the city's water supply….” He spread his hands wide apart in a grand gesture, watching as Kronos sat down. Kronos was buying it. "Within a week..."
“…and then a country,” Kronos interjected.
“You want to own the world, you offer them a choice. The Horsemen rule or they all die,” he finished with dramatic deliberateness.
“The Horsemen rule or the world dies,” Kronos corrected. “Has a nice ring to it. I forgot how good you were, Methos."
Methos shut his eyes briefly and smiled as he dipped his head to the right in acknowledgment of the compliment.
“We begin tonight,” stated Kronos, his eyes brimming with quiet delight.
Methos connected the white wire to the small control box and gingerly pulled his hands away from the device. It was done.
He glanced around the lab, not surprised that Kronos had had everything needed to construct a bomb. The Horseman had been working on the virus for a while now. The idea of a bomb as a method of delivery a logical next step. He wiped the back of his hand against his forehead for the first time noticing how dirty and sweaty he’d become while building the bomb.
‘Good thing I changed clothes before beginning,’ he thought absently as he wiped his hands on a towel. He’d gotten out of the clothes Kronos had gifted him with as soon as he’d been given the go on the plan. Feeling more ‘himself’ in the casual jean and his battered coat.
A glance at the clock on the far wall told him that it was still too early to go out. He tossed the towel on the counter and strode out of the room without another glance at the device he’d spent the last couple of hours constructing.
The low sound of Silas’ laughter drew him into the lab at the end of the hallway. He strolled inside and silently watched Silas feed the monkeys Kronos kept to test out the virus on.
“Methos!” Silas greeted him, “You look troubled.”
“Just thinking,” he replied in a somber tone, coming up to the side of the cages.
“Ah, you were always good at that, eh? Well, after all these years you still are.” Silas laughed.
Methos rested his right hand casually on the top of the cage. “Me too.”
“Well, nothing like the old days, is it?” Silas commented softly as he fed pieces of bread to the caged monkey.
“What do you mean?” Methos asked, curiosity alight in his voice.
“I don't like this killing from a distance. I like to feel my axe in my hands, look into my enemies' eyes before I strike.”
“Soon enough,” Methos stated with sadness.
“You don't think the virus will work?” Silas turned to him with a smile on his face.
“It will work,” he drawled sadly. He took a step toward his friend. “Silas. For two thousand years we have lived without this. We have lived without the blood, the fear, the…power.”
“And for two thousand years I have dreamed of the day when we would ride again!”
Methos stared at the joyous smile on the immortal’s face in silent disbelief.
“Like you always said, Methos: we live, we grow stronger. And then we fight.”
Never had he felt more like screaming than in that one moment. Methos stared at the glee that shone in Silas eyes without expression. “I’ll see you later,” he said softly. He turned away with his arms tightly wrapped around his chest and began to walk slowly away while looking down at the ground.
“Do you think he'll let me have one?”
Silas’ question stopped him and he turned back. “What?”
“Monkey! I like this one.” Silas smiled down at the reddish brown monkey in the cage in front of him.
“I'll ask him,” Methos replied, anguish filling him at the simple request.
“Thank you, brother.”
Methos closed his eyes as he walked out of the room, damning himself for what he’d done to his friend.
“Will you kill him, Duncan? Cassandra asked him as she dug into her luggage bag for a brush to comb her hair. “Can you kill him?” she turned around to look into his face.
“If I have to,” Duncan replied, his voice not sounding convincing even to himself let alone to anyone else.
“You will,” Cassandra replied.
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe he's trying to help us?!” he asked as he stood up, trying to get her to see that Methos wasn’t the same man that she remembered.
He quickly picked up the phone. “Hello.”
“Elysium church, thirty minutes. Come alone." CLICK.
“I'll be right down,” Duncan states into the receiver before hanging up.
“Was that him?” Cassandra asked.
“No,” he lied, thinking quickly as he put the glass of red wine, he’d been sipping, down on the nightstand by the phone. “Something wrong with my credit card.” He grabbed his coat on the way out and called over his shoulder, “I’ll be right back.”
He sat down heavily on the wooden chair in the front row of the church. The clock was literally ticking. The bomb he’d just set up was timed to detonate in forty minutes. Where the hell was MacLeod?!
All right it was a coward’s move, but he wanted a way out of or better yet avoid a long in-depth discussion with Mac. He was too tired to answer questions, especially when he was uncertain of what Cassandra had told Duncan about him and Kronos.
Their ‘relationship’ at the time had been closest to one of ‘brothers’ rather than consorts. A state that made his lapse with the beautiful redhead all too understandable.
He’d forgotten what and where he was. A damning mistake that almost cost Cassandra her life.
Oh yes, Cassandra had good reason to hate him. More than even she knew.
He wondered if she knew of the times he’d shared Kronos’ bed back then, and if she did would she have told MacLeod?
Duncan knew better than to reveal the depth of their own relationship to Cassandra. At least he bloody hoped he did.
Methos snorted. Of course she would tell him if she knew.
Cassandra was nothing if not passionate. Both in love and hate.
But hopefully she never guessed what was between him and Kronos.
He checked the time again. It had been twenty minutes since he called Mac. This had to work.
Kronos had to be stopped. He couldn’t stand by and watch the destruction, the death.
An image of Duncan’s peacefully sleeping face, the highlander’s hand resting on his stomach flashed through his mind at the precise moment that he sensed an immortal outside.
He filtered bits and pieces of information through his mind rapidly, discarding one idea after another. He had to give MacLeod enough but not too much or it would be too soon. With enough time, he was sure that he could figure out a way to get Silas out of range…
He stared down at his hands which he was rubbing together slowly, while he listened to the sound of the door opening and the following footsteps, steeling himself to meet MacLeod’s eyes.
Duncan walked slowly inside but kept his distance, choosing to walk around the perimeter of the church, not coming any closer to him. The brown eyes meeting his for only an instant before looking away. “Well, I'm here.”
“Yeah. Thanks,” he automatically replied, looking at the row of chairs on the other side of the aisle. He sat up and leaned his left elbow on the back of the chair, still wondering what to tell him.
“Why did you lie to me?”
“About what?” he asked looking up to meet the brown eyes impatiently.
“About Cassandra, about who you were?”
“I have been many things, MacLeod,” he stated, an unintentional hint of tiredness in his voice.
“And who are you now?” Duncan asked softly, staring at him.
He smiled briefly and looked away, glancing up at the frescoes that decorated the ceiling of the church while he silently cursed. “Why’d you think I didn’t tell you?” he asked, trying and failing to control his anger. “I knew how you'd react. What I've done, you can't forgive,” he challenged him, “that’s not in your nature. Will you accept it?”
He looked down at the angry question.
“That a friend I trusted with my life slaughtered innocent people?” Duncan continued as he stepped closer. “For what, a few head of cattle? What are you going to tell me, Methos, that’s how the world was?” he demanded.
“No, the world was how we made it,” he exclaimed, rising to his feet.
“No, the world was how you chose to make it,” Duncan retorted.
He turned away and took a step towards the front of the church, his back to MacLeod. Duncan didn’t understand. Couldn’t understand.
“How you chose to slaughter her people and ... burn her village."
If you only knew…“And I chose to take her prisoner,” he said softly. Cassandra’s beautiful green eyes flashed before his eyes, the feel of her soft skin against his while he thrust deep inside.
“And...?” Duncan prompted.
“There's more.” He closed his eyes, “I sensed she was an immortal…before…Kronos killed her.”
“You knew?!” Duncan took another step towards him.
He nodded silently. “I…wanted…her.”
“You loved her,” MacLeod stated in an awed tone.
“Not exactly.” He turned and faced Duncan in the dim light of the church. “I grew fond…of her. Too fond,” he said softly.
He took a step and stopped. “I forgot about Kronos.”
Duncan inhaled sharply.
“When he accused me of favoring her above everyone else, I denied it.” He began walking towards the door as he continued, “I did nothing, when he claimed her for himself. She was begging me to help her when he dragged her away.”
He stepped out into the cool night air and took a deep breath.
“Her screams carried throughout the camp.” He glanced back at Duncan’s shocked face. “Through my carelessness I betrayed her. I never told her what she was. What we are--or how to kill us.”
“What happened?” Duncan asked as he followed him into the cemetery outside of the church.
“She stabbed Kronos and fled into the desert,” he stated. The admiration he still felt for Cassandra colouring his voice as he continued. “I could have stopped her, but I didn’t.”
He strode through the graveyard remembering. “She escaped across the wilderness, and she must have died a dozen times from heat and thirst before she found a village that would take her in,” he said turning around to face MacLeod, “and I bet it was worth it, just to get away from us.”
“So what are you doing with Kronos now?” Duncan asked confused.
“Same as always, trying to survive,” he quipped, looking back at Duncan. “And if you want Cassandra to live, you’ll get her as far away from here as you can,” he urged him.
“Ha! What, and let Kronos go?!”
“You don't have a choice MacLeod! You can't stop him. I can't stop him,” he cried. “Nobody can!“
“Yeah, four guys on horseback are gonna rule the world,” scoffed Duncan.
“The world doesn't change, not in 500 years, not in 5000. It's only the details that change,” he informed the doubting immortal. “Kronos didn't torch those villages for a few coins, he torched them to watch them burn. And now he'll have a nuclear bomb or a planeload of Napalm but the effect will be the same. The world, living in fear of the Horsemen.”
“And you expect me to let that happen? You should know me better than that!” Duncan proclaimed as he began to walk past him.
He stopped him by placing his hand against Duncan’s chest. “I came to warn you. The first step towards Kronos’ brave new world will happen tonight.”
“In a fountain at the la place de Quinconces.”
“You set a bomb.” Duncan began walking away.
“Do you know anything about Ebola, MacLeod?” he asked, causing Duncan to pause and turn halfway around to look back at him. “Well, there are worse things in the world…if you look,” he told him as he sauntered towards him, “And Kronos looked.”
“He’s bred a virus. No cure. It’s very exotic,” he stated, circling slowly around Duncan. “He’s got cages of monkeys he’s been testing it on. He’s got enough to destroy half of Europe. Now, a little in a fountain will only kill a few," he calmly remarked into Duncan’s face, "but it’s a start."
“The water supply’s next.”
“Let’s go,” Duncan bade him and turned away.
“Oh, no no. If I go up against him. I lose.” Even as he said the words, pain lanced through his heart at his automatic inclusion by Duncan.
Duncan turned slowly around to look back at him. “Going with the winner?”
He smiled, and acknowledged the insult with the slow closure of his eyes. Opening them to meet Duncan’s confused expression. The hurt unmistakable in the highlander‘s brown eyes.
“So why are you here, Methos? What game are you playing?”
“It's in the bottom fountain just above the water line,” he told him, ignoring the question. “White, then black, then red.”
“Don't do this,” Duncan bade, “You have a choice.”
“And you have . . .” he looked down at his watch, “twenty-four minutes.” Sadness filled him as he watched the highlander stride away after one last long look between them.
He slowly walked through the cavernous room, all too aware of the immortal presence ahead of him. The shadows thrown by the fires in the barrels heightening the tension that exuded by the figure sprawled upon the metal chair innocently eating a piece of chicken before an open pit.
“Your bomb didn’t go off,” Kronos informed him. “Not much of a plan, was it?”
“Well, I'll think of better,” Methos glibly replied with a small smile.
“I’m sure you will. Otherwise, I’m gonna have to improvise,” Kronos warned. “By the way, where were you?” Kronos asked with a careless wave of the chicken-leg in the air.
Methos looked back slightly towards the direction he’d just walked in from as he replied, “I was just--”
“Warning your friend.” Kronos gracefully stood up, tossing the chicken into the pit as he walked towards him. “You didn't really think I wouldn't know you'd tell MacLeod, did you?”
“It’s not like you think it is,” was his instant reply as he slowly upraised his hands in a somewhat defensive manner accompanied by a rueful smile with just a hint of shyness.
“Uh-huh. It’s just like I think. My dearest brother, that’s what makes you my perfect right arm. We think alike.”
Methos gave a small snort.
“We always have.”
“I doubt that, Kronos,” drawled Methos, smiling as he looked past the grinning immortal, “No one thinks quite like you.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha. Spoken like a true scholar.”
Kronos licked his thumb and finger before he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small device. “Look at this,” he said as he held it up.
All humor fled from his face as Methos took in the remote control.
“All I have to do is punch in a few numbers, and a small vial explodes in the reservoir above Bordeaux. And then, well, you know what happens next, don't you?” Kronos asked him while he staring intently into his face.
Methos stared off into the distance, his profile towards Kronos and allowed none of the turmoil that filled him at Kronos’ little surprise affect the impassive expression which was blanketing his face.
“We all have our own little plans,” Kronos crooned softly into his face. So close was the immortal that he felt the words breathed on his skin sink down, staining his soul.
“I'm sure you won't disappoint me,” Kronos warned.
Kronos stared up at him for a long second before he continued in a voice, which held an undercurrent of amusement. “Come with me,” Kronos gestured, his forefinger raised and moving as if to touch his chest before retreating. “I have something else to show you.”
Methos didn’t turn immediately to follow the other immortal, knowing that anything that made Kronos gleeful was to be feared. He slowly turned and trailed after Kronos, his emotions deadening with each step.
By the time they reached one of the cavernous bays the submarines used to dock at, the layers of humanity he’d cultivated for two millennia were gone, shielded beneath Death’s masque.
A part of him already knowing what he’d see as he looked down over the metal railing towards the figure lying inside the cage that rested upon an island of concrete. The sound of the lapping water overpowering at times, the low moans that were issuing from the unconscious woman.
“She was asking about you.”
“You knew exactly what you were doing when you sent MacLeod to that fountain, didn't you?” Kronos remarked as he walked up to lean arms upon the railing beside him to the left.
He looked down at the subject under discussion for a moment before looking over at Kronos through the corner of his eyes.
“So I did what you expected.” Kronos continued in an exuberant tone, “I went and got Cassandra while she was unprotected. That was the plan, wasn't it?”
Methos closed his eyes and nodded assent to the lie. Cassandra was never suppose to be a part of this.
“You see, I know you better than you know yourself.”
“Which is why the plan was perfect,” Methos stated in an even tone.
“Your plans always are,” Kronos lauded.
Methos tilted his head and briefly smiled his ‘thanks’ for the compliment. He stared intensely at Kronos as the Horsemen casually turned around, resting his back against the railing.
“I wonder what your friend MacLeod thinks of you now, though,” Kronos idly commented.
“Think I care?” he immediately retorted, looking away over at the far end of the cavern.
“You should. You lured him away. When he comes back he finds that someone's stolen his woman . . . If that--if that was me, I'd want you dead,” Kronos finished staring intently at him.
“Well then we should prepare for MacLeod to come here.”
“Already thought of that,” replied Kronos.
Dread instantly filled him. “Did you send Caspian or Silas?”
Kronos laughed, “both.” Kronos smiled and shaking his head softly with laughter began walking away. “Come along, brother,” he called back over his shoulder.
He watched the shadows flickering on the wall thrown by the roaring fire that bathed the pale skin of the figure sprawled across him a warm gold.
Whether his eyelids were closed or opened the images he tried to banish from his mind never changed. Silas and Caspian “playing” with those they had tag-teamed into a swordfight. Immortal. Mortal. Armed. Unarmed. One or three. It never made a difference.
And when Caspian was done there wasn’t enough left to distinguish as human, save for the heads that Silas would mount on pikes and wave around as a macabre banner.
Skulls that Caspian used as bowls.
Duncan was dead.
Cassandra was here.
And Duncan was gone.
A silver curved knife flashed before his eyes making the fingers on the hand resting beside the pale back twitch.
Which is why for once there were not any weapons whatsoever within reach. Kronos had been much too enamored with searching his eyes as he’d slowly thrust inside him instead of the usual ‘play.’
Each distasteful invasion made more cruel with slow deliberation. His eyes locked with Kronos’ just as his body was, connected, imprisoned.
The veil of darkness behind his eyes staring into the madness above.
All thought, emotion stilled for once.
His eyes roamed down over the body that was still draped across him without emotion. Not exactly sure when the numbness had become complete but grateful for it.
Only one thing remained.
The same thing that always remained.
Raging red need that had fueled his life for so long. Once, it had meant so much. But now…
A low moan drew his attention. Methos stared out across shallow filled room toward the cage in the center.
The stirring form in the cage rolled over before laying still once again. Even in her sleep it seemed that Cassandra couldn’t escape them. Kronos’ name as well as his own breaking the heavy wet silence more than once in the hours since he began his vigil.
Drawn to the unconscious immortal from Kronos’ side.
All too revealed by Kronos’ quip, “off to see your little friend” as he got up from the damp sheets. His movements lacking their usual grace, deadened like his thoughts.
He closed his eyes tightly. He can’t be dead. But the hole wouldn’t leave. The stone of despair making him stumble as he pushed his way through the dark water towards the cage, not aware that he’d even begun to move.
Cassandra lifted her head as he approached.
Methos drew up to the corner where her head laid, and stared into the beautiful eyes.
“Well?! Come to gloat?!” she demanded after a moment passed.
He blinked and continued to stare at the pale features unseeingly and yet all too aware of the lips forming into a scowl.
“Or perhaps to teach me another lesson?!”
Lesson. He closed his eyes as images of the ‘lessons’ he’d inflicted on her flashed through his mind.
“To know my place!”
He shook his head slightly negating the thought. “No,” he whispered barely audible.
“You did this! This is all your doing! I told Duncan you cannot be trusted!”
Pain lanced through the numbness, making him shiver at the name that he’d allowed himself only a handful of times to utter. He walked blindly around the cage towards the exit not hearing the curses that continued to bombard him from Cassandra.
Footsteps outside woke him. Methos shook his head, dazed, wondering when he’d fallen asleep. He opened his eyes but it was still dark. It wasn’t until the footsteps faded completely away that he slowly drew himself up from the concrete floor.
He opened the door slowly, alert to the possibility to attack. Even though the immortal presence had once again faded to the low hum indicating that Kronos had gone back to the center of the base, there was always the possibility….
His stomach rumbled as he emerged from his little “sanctuary” giving an indication of the passage of time. A brief but bitter smile formed at the thought.
If Cassandra was still alive she’d be hungry.
Methos shut his eyes as the liquid dripped from his face.
“Hah! Run back to your master, little dog!”
He wiped the hot soup from his face calmly and slowly opened his eyes into the jeering green eyes before he bent down and picked up the tray and bowl bobbing in the water. He turned on his heel and walked away without a word.
But not to leave. He pulled himself onto the concrete landing in the corner to continue his vigil unbeknownst to the female immortal whose beauty was marred with desolation.
The next time he brought the tray, he didn’t speak but merely slid the tray with the refilled bowl under the bar of the cage.
Cassandra didn’t react. She continued to stare out across the room in an all too familiar stance.
Methos slowly made his way to the other side of the cage and pulled himself to sit on the cement base with his knees upraised.
An hour passed with nothing said.
The irony of the situation all too apparent.
He caught the periodic glares shot from the other side of the bars but didn’t outwardly react; his forearms resting upon his upraised knees as he stared off into the shadows.
There was nothing to do. He only hoped that it’d been quick. But knowing Caspian…
“Why are you here?”
Methos turned to look at her. “Where else would I be?”
Cassandra snorted and looked away.
The gentle lapping of the water lulled him inward, images of MacLeod flashing through his mind. The hurt that had dwelled in his eyes when he walked into the church, contrasted in a flash with those eyes filled with glee as they painted that damn porch white.
He could still feel the bristles of the brush as it had abruptly slid down his nose.
A moment perfect in its simplicity.
The beginning of a dance whose tune he’d thought he’d forgotten long ago.
He should have told him.
It seemed no matter how far he ran or how much time had passed it’ll never be enough to be free of Kronos.
Cursed since the day the man had rode to the outskirts of town to ‘consult’ with the wise man on a matter of ‘destiny.’
He’d been a fool to leave holy ground.
A mistake that how many thousands had paid for? Including…he didn’t know if he could survive this. She could…perhaps…with his quickening--
The subject of his thoughts shifted drawing his attention.
“You should eat.”
With a single sharp movement the bowl and tray were kicked across the cage towards him in response.
“This is familiar,” he stated, looking down as memories washed over him. Right back where he was two thousand years ago. And people say the Fates have no sense of humor.
“I'm not your sorry little slave anymore. I know what I am now, what you are. You may have fooled MacLeod but you've never fooled me.”
“I wasn’t trying to fool anyone,” he stated haltingly, looking down at the side of the bars.
“If MacLeod knew what you really are he'd've taken your head long ago.”
“Well he had his chance. He didn't,” Methos stated raising his eyes to meet hers until she dropped them. More than one. He’d have given him his head that day by the truck. Gladly.
But instead…he looked over at the immortal who was looking down. Her bewitching beauty perhaps even more palpable in the dismal milieu. “It wasn't all bad, when we were together.”
“I only served you because you forced me.”
“Don't hate yourself.” He swung his legs off the landing and stood; walking slowly around to the side of the cage where she was sitting. “Stockholm Syndrome. It's like Patty Hearst,” he began, leaning down to look her in the face. “Hostages come to rely on their captors for food and approval, and they fall in love.”
“Ha. Ha. I never loved you,” she shot back in a scornful tone.
“You thought you did,” he stated earnestly, moving closer toward the cage and leaning his hands against the cage. “You thought I would protect you. You forgot what I was!”
Cassandra struck the mesh where Methos’ face was positioned, making him jump back defensively. “I forgot nothing! I'll take your head with my bare hands, yours. Then Kronos.”
“I’ve seen what happens to people who go up against him,” he fiercely told her, lowering his voice slightly as he looked around for Kronos, “If we want to survive…we will keep him happy.”
Cassandra stared off in front of her. “I didn’t do it then, and I won’t now,” she replied a slight tremor in her voice before firming. “I’d rather die,” she stated into his face.
“Well then you'll die. And you can forget about MacLeod. MacLeod is dead.”
Methos straightened up, turned, and walked away, uncaring of the silent tears falling from his eyes.
No sign of tears was evident on his face as he approached Kronos. At least he hoped there was no sign of his previous loss of control. Methos glided up behind the other immortal and looked forwards over Kronos’ right shoulder at the large map outspread upon the wall.
A map of the main inland waterways of Europe.
“Tired of the witch, already?” Kronos baited without turning. “Her charms have apparently withered…much like fruit when left on the vine too long, or perhaps it’s you that have changed, brother?” Kronos’ eyes moved sideways to meet his in silent accusation.
“She needed to eat,” Methos stated simply, too smart to respond to the silent insinuation that the fairer sex no longer was of interest to him.
Kronos turned back forwards, glancing down periodically at he piece of paper he held within his hands to the map on the wall. “Ever the benevolent master, weren’t you? Did she forgive you?”
“I didn’t ask.”
“Didn’t you?” scoffed Kronos. “No more protestations of change?”
Methos gave a small negative shake of head while staring at the map. “No,” he murmured.
“Good.” Kronos’ left hand reached up and grabbed the back of Methos’ neck pulling his head down roughly.
The bite was painful but had the desired effect, he parted his lips for the rough tongue, moaning into Kronos’ mouth, pressing his own tongue eagerly forward, the sharp taste of his blood traveling to Kronos’ damningly reminiscent of the ridiculous blood oath Kronos had forced him to take over killing Mac.
He gasped as he was slammed back against the wall by Kronos. He felt the map wrinkling behind him, a snide voice inside his head wishing that it would fall, hopefully on Kronos’ head.
No such luck.
He yielded to the slow pressure on his shoulders to glide down till he was kneeling before the heavily breathing immortal.
Methos didn’t look up as he pulled down the zipper and expertly pulled out the hardened flesh. His hands only trembled slightly as brushed the soft fingertips along the underside before tightening his hold upon the flap of skin. With a push back, the head was revealed. He licked the glistening drops on the tip before a sudden thrust of hips forced it toward the back of his throat.
He relaxed, letting his jaw slacken, as coarse hairs met his lips with each slam of the cock. The resulting slicing pain on his lips, strangely enough making the battering of his throat seem almost negligible in comparison.
A riot of agony began to build from his bruised, chapped lips.
No technique needed from him really. This time it wasn’t about that at all.
No, this meant something else all together.
The stinging at his lips indicated that they’d begun to bleed and Kronos gave no indication of being even close to finishing.
Methos closed his eyes as the brutal fucking continued. He could feel himself losing consciousness due to lack of air but didn’t care.
The cock never completely left his mouth, giving him no time for even a shallow breath. It wasn’t the first time he’d died this way.
And it probably wouldn’t be the last.
The burst of blistering liquid down his throat startled him although it shouldn’t have. He didn’t gag. The cock was held as deep as it could go into his throat, thankfully bypassing his tongue. For once not forced to taste the madman’s bitter fluid.
He laid his head back against the wall, panting for several minutes after Kronos withdrew. With his eyes tightly shut, he listened to the sounds of papers rustling.
Apparently he was dismissed. Methos staggered to his feet and slowly headed toward the door, his shoulders hunched defensively as he feared to hear the voice demanding him to stay.
It wasn’t until he’d passed the large cavernous room on the other side of the base that his shoulders unknotted.
Laughter with an underlying tinge of hysteria escaped from his lips.
He’d done it once again.
Successful at being Kronos’ little whore.
MacLeod would be so proud.
He stared out into the darkness and thought of absolutely nothing. Deliberately keeping his mind clear of any thoughts.
Time really didn’t matter anymore.
Not really. Not as long as Kronos….
The approaching sound of voices broke the dark stillness. His eyes widened at the tall figure of Silas lumbering behind Kronos.
None of his dismay was shown as he watched the two slosh around to the other side of the metal cage where Cassandra sat, a gray blanket wrapped around her in an attempt to keep out the cold.
Alarm filled him at the look Kronos was giving Cassandra.
“If MacLeod even gets close, you kill her,” Kronos ordered Silas.
“He’s alive?” Cassandra exclaimed with a sharp glance in Methos direction.
“Not for long,” replied Kronos already on his way back toward Methos.
“You failed,” she taunted him before turning her gaze back to Kronos.
Duncan was alive. Exhilaration filled him as he stared at Kronos, noting the contained rage in the blue eyes with glee.
He’s not dead.
“Come with me, my clever friend,” Kronos commanded once abreast of him. “You and I are going to poison a city.”
He pushed off of the concrete base and silently followed Kronos. Plans of how to thwart Kronos’ plan filtering through his head. Some way that wouldn’t get him or Cassandra permanently killed.
They were approaching the bottom of the stairs when he felt it. The buzz of an immortal nearby. He looked up, his heart lifting as the familiar face came into view.
It was true.
Kronos started up the stairs with him following, to stop on the first landing.
“The Three Horseman of the Apocalypse. Doesn’t exactly have the same ring now, does it, Kronos? What are you going to do now?” Duncan goaded.
“You’re not going to be around long enough to find out,” Kronos replied.
“Oh. We'll see about that.” Duncan drew his sword in a graceful twirl.
“Think of Cassandra,” Kronos sang out, making MacLeod freeze.
Methos stared at Kronos, wondering what the Horsemen was up to before switching his focus back to the highlander.
“Lay down your sword and she lives. Fight and win--or lose, she dies. C'mon, MacLeod, your life for hers. What do you say?"
He stared into the brown eyes, hoping, praying that Duncan understood what he‘d earlier tried to tell him about Kronos‘ nature.
“I think she'd rather be dead.”
“Tell Silas to finish her,” Kronos said turning toward Methos while slowly backing up, “And let her know it was MacLeod's decision.”
Methos started down the stairs.
“Methos, don't do this!” Duncan called out.
He paused and looked up at Mac, “Like you said, I go with the winner.” He ran off, the sounds of clashing swords following him as he flew down the corridor, pausing only once to pick up his sword from where he’d left it.
The sword never seemed as heavy as it did as he pushed his way through the water around the cage towards Silas.
“MacLeod’s here?” Silas asked, immediately moving toward the cage door to open it.
Silas opened the cage and walked in, grabbing Cassandra by her hair.
“Nooo,” screamed Cassandra, as she was dragged on her hands and knees towards the door.
He gripped the hilt of the sword tightly, the voice inside him screaming deafeningly at him.
Silas raised the axe over Cassandra’s head.
Without looking at the tall immortal, he quickly thrust his sword out protectively in front of her head.
“You’re challenging me? For the girl's head? Take it. She's yours, brother,” Silas rumbled without pause.
“I. Am. Not. Your. Brother.” He raised his sword to meet the bottom of the axeblade.
“How can you do this?” Silas asked him, his astonishment plain. “How can you go against what you are?”
“You don’t know anything about me!” he angrily replied and struck the axe in challenge, jumping backwards to avoid the forward swing. Backing up around the cage drawing Silas away from Cassandra.
The downward swing of the axe was avoided by quick step to the left then the right. He crouched down to avoid the following overhead swing.
Relieved once he clambered back onto solid ground, quickly backing up the hallway, while still avoiding the axe slicing around him. Choosing to evade rather than block the majority of them, using Silas’ weight against him.
One good swing and he was done for, hopefully he could tire Silas out. The clanging of the sword and axe echoed through the columned corridor.
He swung downward but Silas used the handle to block. A parry forward was equally blocked, the pressure forcing him to turn to the right. Each swing of the axe forcing him to take a step backward.
A glance over his shoulder revealed a metal railing, startling him. They’d made it to the main submarine bay. Now that he realized the sounding of swordfight penetrated his awareness.
His lower back hit the back of the railing as he blocked. With an abrupt twist of the curved blade, Silas forced his grasp on the sword hilt to loosen.
The Ivanhoe slipped down, clattering to the concrete floor below. He backed up falling on his backside holding onto the railing in a controlled glide down the stairs backwards.
“Aaah!” Silas screamed above him.
Once his feet finally met the floor he quickly ran over toward his sword, and bent down on right knee to pick it up; all too aware of Silas and his axe coming behind him.
His right hand grasped the sword and lifted.
His head shot up and he met Kronos’ gaze, his soul freezing at the expression on the Horseman‘s face.
The shock and disbelief on MacLeod’s wasn’t much better.
But right now there was a more pressing matter. He looked up at Silas.
“Come on!” Silas growled, swinging his axe.
Methos swung his sword to the left to meet the blade with a clash. He swung, missed, and then immediately raised his sword to block the downward swing of the axe. He stepped to the left to avoid Silas reckless charge forward.
Silas stumbled bringing his head into perfect position.
Without thought Methos swung the Ivanhoe in a circular motion behind him.
The sound of a head meeting the ground followed by a much larger weight clearly recognizable in the silence.
He opened his eyes, frozen with his arm outstretched when it began. A breeze began to blow making his sweat soaked body shiver. As he waited tension began to fill him until the first strike. “Argh!”
Lines of current slowly began to build within him until it felt like there were thousands. Flashes of memories blinded him. Silas dancing in the firelight. Petting a mountain cat. Warmth filled him.
Then suddenly there was pain.
Red tinted his vision and the images became bloody. A field full of body parts, blood slick skin under his hands--his own eyes staring up at him, dark with passion.
He wrenched his mind away, for the first time fighting the absorption of a quickening. These weren’t Silas. Silas would never hurt him.
With a final surge it ended, forcing him to his hands and knees. Deaf to the clattering of the sword on the floor.
Breathing heavily as the aftershocks continued to thrum throughout his body, making him heave forwards slightly on his arms. Sanity returning.
“I killed Silas! I liked Silas!”
“And now I'm supposed to forgive you?!” Cassandra shrieked. She raised Silas's axe over Methos head.
“Cassandra!” yelled Duncan, realizing that Methos was so lost that he wasn’t even aware of the threat above him.
Cassandra’s head shot up to look at Duncan in shock, “You want him to live?!"
“Yes. I want him to live,” Duncan replied.
She raised the axe again.
He began to sob. He was suppose to protect Silas! He’d promised…he’s gone…all my fault.
“Cassandra! I WANT HIM TO LIVE!” MacLeod declared, holding her gaze warningly.
She tossed the axe to the ground with a clatter, shooting a glance of disgust towards MacLeod before slowly walking away.
Duncan buried his face in his hands, the gut wrenching sobs pouring from Methos echoing through the air. He slowly got to his feet and began to make his way towards the crying immortal. “Are you all right?”
The sobbing continued uninterrupted. Duncan dropped heavily down beside Methos, pulling the unresisting immortal back to rest against his chest. “It’s going to be allright,” he murmured softly, rocking slightly when the crying quietly continued.
He began humming under his breath, tightening his arms around the heaving chest before him. His hands running up and down upon the shaking forearms in a soothing motion, as he sang an old lullaby about the highlands.
Duncan closed his eyes and rested his chin upon the soft black hair, grateful for the stillness that had fallen around them. It was over.
As amazing as it was, he must have dozed because the next thing he became aware of was Methos pulling away in an attempt to stand up. “Whaa--?”
Methos froze, realizing what he was resting on. Duncan. “I think it’s time to leave,” he stated softly not looking behind him.
They both stood up, Methos moving to immediately pick up his sword while Duncan hid his back inside his overcoat.
He immediately moved towards the right.
“Where are you going?”
Methos paused, his head slightly turned toward Duncan’s direction, careful not to look down. “The reservoir.”
Facing forward he began walking towards the stairs.
“Methos?” Duncan called softly.
He stiffened, his back straightening as he looked up towards the high ceiling. “--bomb needs to be disarmed," he tiredly continued, not reacting to the soft steps following him.
Scattered papers covered the long table. As he carefully gathered them in a pile, he looked for the small metal device Kronos had been holding earlier. Trying and failing to ignore the presence behind him. “You should go. They‘ll be here soon,” he stated softly.
He could feel the confusion from behind him at his words. “The Watchers,” he explained, not revealing that it would be him who called them to clean up the bodi…Silas.
“What about you?”
His eyes tightly shut, he grasped the small remote control in his left hand. “…won’t be here.”
He didn’t open his eyes until the metallic clattering had long faded and all sense of another immortal was long gone.
With a growing sense of urgency, he quickly moved towards the labs. All of the virus research couldn’t be allowed to fall into the Watchers’ hands. Images of the Methuselah stone in the Directory’s Gallery flashing through his mind.
He found his cell phone inside the pocket of his coat.. The axe hung heavily down at his side as he stood over Silas, ignoring the drops of water that fell across the closed eyes as he gently placed it upon the large shoulders. Caressing the left side of his friend’s face before he drew back and stood.
It was done.
“MacLeod! Good to hear from you buddy!” Joe exclaimed, smiling into the receiver. “Yeah, I heard,” he nodded into the phone, his voice sobering. “Caspian’s picture came over the wire…”
The smile faded from his voice.
“Yeah, I‘ve heard from him….arranged for Silas’-- uh-huh, yeah. Mac, that might not be such a good idea. Okay, okay. Two tomorrow afternoon. Jardin de Burdigala Cemetery. No, no. Okay, yeah I’ll come out and meet you. No, no problem just give me the flight number. Right.”
Duncan hung up the phone and looked around at the silent hotel room. All sign of Cassandra was gone when he‘d returned. No note, nothing.
A part of him was relieved at not having to face her, while another part of him was simply worried.
Methos was in no condition--guilt filled him that he’d left him there alone. He silently cursed as he wondered where the hell the ancient immortal had gone. He wasn’t in the hotel, he’d checked as soon as he returned. No Pierson was registered, or any variation of Adam at all in fact.
The call to Joe had been a godsend. So Methos had arranged for Silas’ funeral. He stood and walked out onto the balcony.
He had no clue what’d happened at the base.
The torrent of images tearing through his mind had suddenly stopped for a second before surging, and then suddenly there was Methos.
He’d never heard of a quickening jumping to another immortal. Perhaps it was because there were two so close together in time and space.
He shouldn’t have left. It was probably the only time he’d have gotten real answers outta Methos.
He’d never seen him like that, even at the church he’d still been--controlled.
The images that had plagued what little sleep he'd gotten last night were just as coherent, flashing by too quickly to grasp anything but emotions--rage, lust, hunger. He shook his head as if it were that simple to shake it off or away.
He needed to talk to Methos.
Maybe he knew what was going on, because the only thing he knew for sure was this emptiness.
Methos didn’t even bother to look back at the feel of an immortal walking up behind him, knowing all too well who it was, he continued to allow the dirt to strain through his fingers, hitting the coffin with a soft patter.
They stood there for awhile staring down, shoulder to shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” Duncan finally stated.
He exhaled and closed his eyes for a moment. “Choices had to be made.”
‘And you made them.’ It went unspoken.
Methos turned and began to slowly walk down the path towards the entrance.
“Methos,” Duncan called from behind him, the warning in his tone unavoidable.
He stopped but didn’t turn around.
“Kronos…how...tell me,” Duncan trailed off words failing him.
“I arranged a little run in with a rival warlord and forgot to tell him. That particular tribe had a penchant for chopping off the heads of their enemies. It wasn’t until a hundred years later that I heard tale of a scarred warlord that killed everything in his path. Centuries would go by and there would be an occasional rumour, then there was nothing.”
“But you had to know Kronos would come for you one day,” Duncan pointed out.
“I tried not to think about it.”
“You could have killed him. Why didn’t you?”
“I wanted to,” he replied turning to glance at the highlander while simultaneously mentally wincing at the continued confidence Duncan still apparently had in his abilities, even after all this. “But we were brothers…In arms, in blood, in everything except birth, and if I judged him worthy to die then I judged myself the same way,” he paused for a moment, glancing at Duncan for his reaction. “And I wanted to live,” he stated simply as he began walking towards the entrance, “ I still do.”
“Kronos was right, you set the whole thing up, didn‘t you,” Duncan asked from behind him.
“What do you mean?” he deadpanned, pausing on the top stair underneath he arched iron gate.
“You knew he'd come after Cassandra, and you let him because you knew I'd come after her. You couldn't kill him, but you hoped I could,” Duncan accused while walking up close, slightly behind him on his right.
“Maybe,” he noncommittally replied with a swift glance at the handsome face before looking away.
“Maybe,” Duncan echoed from close behind.
After a moment, he continued down the stairs pausing for a long moment on the second to the last step, disheartened at the pain that rose with each step away from the warmth of the highlander.
He stopped and turned toward MacLeod questioningly, his hands buried in his pockets.
“What about Cassandra?”
“One of a thousand regrets MacLeod. One of a thousand regrets,” he stated solemnly, before turning to glide away with his head downturned.
Duncan paused for a few moments to gaze out at the landscape, watching Methos slowly walk away. “And me?” he called, following the retreating immortal.
Us--Is that what we are…another regret? The unspoken question hung heavily in the air.
Methos continued on his way and said nothing.
He clenched his eyes but didn’t turn and didn’t stop.
“Say something! Say anthin?!”
“What do you want me to say,” he coolly returned, still facing away from the Scot, knowing what he’d see if he turned. The same damn despairing hope haunting Mac’s eyes.
“You lied to me! Am I suppose to just forget it?! What do you expect --?!”
“I expect nothing,” the words fell from my lips, dripped in acid.
Duncan watched Methos walk away, his hand clenching round the piece of paper in his right pocket.
The crumpled ticket was tossed into the first wastebasket inside the airport. Duncan stalked up to the Air France desk and handed his ticket to the waiting attendant.
“Voyager seul, monsieur?”
“Qui,” he bit out.
“Bien, le vol de Paris est ponctuel…”
Duncan tuned out the rest of her spiel, his thoughts haunted by a pair of unfathomable hazel gold eyes with a melodic laugh ringing in his ears.
“Voyager seul, monsieur?” “Traveling alone, sir?”
“Bien, le vol de Paris est ponctuel… “Very good. The flight to Paris is on time…”
Final Story Notes: 1-09-04 Okay it’s done. Remember that this is unbeta’d. Although it’s not a first draft, but more like a third or fourth. So congratulations if you stuck with it to the end. More details about the joined/doubled Quickening will be told in the next story. Any similiarities to other Highlander stories is unintentional but possible due to the number of stories I've read.
Thanks for reading. Help with the translations are most welcome as well as any other type of comments: J. L. Blackstone
8-3-03 Story Note: I’ve messed about with the order of the scenes in Revelation 6:8, moving the Duncan/Cassandra scenes up to better reflect the timeline of events.
7-3-03 Note: As a result of all the research I’ve been doing on Cassandra, the next story in the series will have Cassandra confronting Methos in “Faded Dreams.”
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