Bodies Close but Souls Apart-Part A
Sweet Conflict: Part VII
J. L. Blackstone
Dialogue taken from Highlander: The Series episode
Comes a Horseman
Additional material from the The New Watcher Chronicles CD also used.
No copyright infringement intended.
He reached up and lightly ran his forefinger slowly down Methos neck in wonder. Damn it, but he never got tired of looking at the five thousand year old immortal. It seemed as if each time he looked at him he saw some new emotion, new subtlety, new inane gesture that totally enamored him even more. But what made his soul ache was the ever-changing eyes which seemed to hold the mysteries of the world. They were the eyes of the sphinx made real, Duncan just knew it.
“Must you continually do that?”
Duncan’s smile broadened at the petulant growl.
Methos rolled over on his stomach, clutching the pillow in his hands even tighter underneath his chest while he nuzzled his nose sleepily on the corner of it.
“Do what?” Duncan asked as his eyes roamed down the fair muscled back that was deliciously displayed before him. He slowly reached down and lightly traced the indention of Methos’ spine with the tip of his finger, chuckling at the shiver that ran through the ancient body.
“I can hear you.”
“Hear me what?” He pushed down the sheet covering the pale buttocks to continue down the indented path.
“Smiling like the village idiot.”
Duncan snorted while he continued with his caress, running his hands over the firm rounded muscles, down the thighs, to the back of Methos’ knees which he gently nudged further apart.
“Aren’t you sated yet?”
“Never…” Duncan breathed into Methos’ left ear as he pressed himself against the ancient immortal from ankle to shoulder, his erection once again unerringly drawn to the abode it had only a half an hour ago dwelled in most happily.
Methos let out a long guttural moan at the inexorable invasion which made him instantly aware of every part of his body, especially where it surrounded MacLeod.
The hot deep feel of Duncan inside him exploded like a wave, coating the layer of his skin where it met Duncan’s with a tingling responsiveness that seemed to reach down deep inside to his soul.
Lost…his body moving automatically in synch with the one blanketing him, as if they were one…
Crying as he crested over the peak of pleasure, his cock but a twin to the one’s movement deep inside him.
Both laid still but for the rapid beating of their hearts, listening to the harsh loud breathing of the other.
“You’re going to be late,” Duncan stated some time later.
“And who do I have to thank for that?” Methos rebuked, the low dulcet tone indicating he didn’t really mean it as he swept out of the bed.
“You do realize that you’re quite mad?!” Duncan called out right before the ancient immortal disappeared into the bathroom.
Duncan stifled an exasperated sigh, but couldn’t help from frowning as he watched yet another man walk up and join the crowd of “fans” surrounding Adam Pierson as he talked to the producers of the contest. His frown deepened as the man’s arm brushed up against Methos’ repeatedly as he apparently showed him a piece of paper. The man, ‘young man,’ he mentally corrected, ‘the young, handsome’ man was also standing unnecessarily close to Methos.
He took a step forward, just as Methos looked up. “Adam…”
“Yes, that would be fine, Richard,” Methos replied as MacLeod walked up.
“Thank you, Adam. I do hope you consider our offer.”
“Oh, I will.” He glanced up at Duncan who’d drawn up beside him.
“Richard?” Duncan murmured into Methos’ ear as ‘Richard’ turned to talk to some other people, “I can just guess what kind of offer.”
Methos kept smiling and nodding at the people who passed by congratulating him on his performance. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Duncan snorted, “yeah, right and you say I’m the one that’s naive.”
Methos shot a sidewise glance at Duncan and couldn’t help but smirk at the aggravation in the brown eyes. “Shall we go?”
“Finally!” MacLeod immediately began walking towards the exit. Methos followed with an amused expression on his face and grinning at the continuing barrage of congratulations he received on his way. He stepped out of the building still smiling.
“I can't believe you did that.”
“The guy gave me a ticket and besides it was a selfless act in the interests of historical accuracy,” Methos replied grandly as they walked down the stairs.
“Oh yeah, an oversized ego would have nothing to do with it.”
Methos smiled at the line of people wishing him congratulations and briefly shook a couple of hands as they walked by.
“I think they love me,” he remarked to Duncan over his shoulder.
“They’d love a hammerhead shark if he had a nice smile.”
“They've asked me back next week, what do you think?” Methos asked as they continue to walk away from the studio.
“Okay,” Methos replied, he’d just spent the last two and a half hours being a contestant in the Wheel of History, he’d be able to guess anything the highlander could think up.
“Animal, four legs, carries heavy weights.”
“Donkey,” Methos immediately replied, slipping his hands confidently into the pockets of his jeans. The temperature had dropped a little while he was inside performing in the contest.
“No no no no no. Try three letters . . .”
“Three letters, that would be . . .” Methos slowed down as he thought about it and then stiffened in realization. He shot a glare at Duncan’s retreating back.
Methos shook his head slightly and sighed as he caught up to the Scot who had continued walking ahead.
“Someone might have recognized you,” Duncan warned disapprovingly as they walked around the corner of the building.
“Naah, I don’t think so. Besides, didn’t go through the finals.”
“Yeah, because you lost,” Duncan pointed out in a gleeful tone. “Tom Jones didn’t popularize The Twist,” he sneered.
“So, I'm a little weak on pop culture.”
“Uh-huh,” Duncan replied, his tone patronizing.
“Well, who the hell is Chubby Checker in the grand scheme of things anyway? I mean, I know how tall Nero was, I know Caesar's favorite food, I know Helen of Troy didn't have that great a face and it only launched a hundred ships not a thousand, I--”
“Blah blah blah blah blah. . .” Duncan stated in a patently bored tone.
“Fine.” Methos pursed his lips in annoyance as he looked away. Know-it-all child. He had just turned back to MacLeod when he faintly felt it, Duncan confirming his fear when he too began looking around for the owner of the immortal presence he felt a few seconds later.
Both of them began looking around and seeing no-one likely to be an immortal in the immediate vicinity. The pathway between the buildings in front of them was completely deserted.
“You expecting anyone?” Methos asked as he stared around.
“Maybe it’s one of your fan club,” Duncan taunted.
“Okay, there’s another way back. It’s a bit longer but I prefer the view.” He moved to go back the way they’d just come, but stopped when he realized that the younger immortal wasn’t following.
“Yeah, send me a postcard,” Duncan tossed back over his shoulder to Methos.
“You’re not coming?” Methos asked, surprised.
“No, I’d like to know who’s around.”
Methos’ lips twisted anxiously for a second as he stared at Duncan, forcing him to turn around to face him. “Listen, I may not know who Chubby Checker is, but I know when it’s time to disappear.”
“Yeah,” Duncan replied flatly.
“Good luck,” Methos said before he walked away in the opposite direction of where he could sense the presence of the unknown immortal. He knew he shouldn’t have left home without his sword, but he’d known he would be with Duncan all day. In any event, it was probably only Richie or some other friend of MacLeod’s.
He continued on his way, passing a few people on the way to the front of the studio, none of them immortals. Most were audience members who smiled and congratulated him once again. Thankfully he spotted a couple of taxis passing and tagged one down. Mac had driven them here and so would have no trouble getting home.
Methos relaxed slightly after he sat down in the back of the cab, using the opportunity to look back at the area around the studio buildings as the car pulled away into traffic. Nothing, including no sign of MacLeod.
Methos sighed and turned back around with a worried expression. It couldn’t have been the headhunter. The last mysterious immortal kill had been 400 miles east. However, he couldn’t get rid of the thought all the way home. Methos took a subtle look around while he paid the driver before he got out of the cab in front of his apartment building.
Everything seemed normal.
He walked up and unlocked the door, being careful to make sure it closed and locked behind him before crossing the lobby towards the elevator.
The flashing light on the answering machine made him give a sigh of relief. He punched the play button, his smile turning to a frown when Joe’s voice spilled out instead of MacLeod.
“Adam, there’s a couple of items going up at auction this afternoon that I need you to check out in LA. There’s a ticket waiting for you at the TWA desk for the 2 o’clock flight. I’ve e-mailed you the particular items we’re interested in, you have full authority on price. Auctions at 4 so you should be able to return tonight. Sorry for the late notice. Call me if you have any problems.”
Methos glanced at the clock, it was ten past one. He walked over and checked his e-mail, lightly skimming over the items as he printed it out. Several old diaries, a painting, couple of scrolls…the diaries might possibly be old Watcher chronicles. They had a tendency to go missing after a Watcher died. The widow or widower not knowing, or maybe caring what their spouse wrote about in books filled with a script usually written either in code or Latin.
He quickly replied to Joe, notifying him that he received the e-mail message. Methos glanced at the clock as he hurriedly made his way to his bedroom, picking up the small black bag that he always kept packed and ready inside the closet.
Methos paused as he passed the phone and stared down for a long minute before suddenly putting down the bag. He picked up the receiver and punched one, instantly hearing the number dialing.
He glanced at the clock as the ringing continued on the other end of the line. Damn, he didn’t have time for this. Why hadn’t MacLeod gotten an answering machine like everyone else in the 20th century?
Methos hung up and picked up his bag. ‘Dawson will pass along word that he was away on Watcher business. Besides I’ll be back tonight,’ he thought as he locked his door. He glanced down at the list of auction items the Watchers were interested in buying but couldn’t tell much from the general description. He’d have to wait until he got to inspect them in person.
The bag and file was placed beside him as he settled behind the wheel of the Jimmy. He squinted at some movement he thought he saw by the building but couldn’t find anything that might’ve caused it, so he dismissed it and started the ignition.
He’d call Joe’s when he got to LA. MacLeod would probably end up there tonight anyway.
Methos pulled out the auction’s catalogue that he picked up just inside the door of Christy’s. He began flipping through the pages, occasionally stopping to gaze at a particular item. It looked like a decent enough auction, although there were only a few lots that “Methos” would be interested in buying, however they were of the quality and type that would effectively advertise the other “lots” up for the auction not listed.
The lots which the Watchers and ‘other’ more serious experts were interested in…
He settled down in the little café area to the left of the lobby and pulled out his cell phone, after ordering a cup of coffee. Methos tiredly glanced around while he listened to ringing of the number he’d automatically punched in as soon as he’d sat down.
“Hi Joe. It’s Adam.”
“How are you doing, Adam? Did you get to LA okay? How was the flight? Any ‘incidents’ I should be aware of?”
He let out a slight chuckle, “No incidents. The flight was completely uneventful.”
Joe laughed at the mocking lilt in the smooth voice.
“The catalogue? How does it look?”
Methos nodded slightly as he replied, “I’m looking it as we speak. I haven’t gone in to inspect anything yet. Listen, Joe. Have you talked to MacLeod today?”
“Yeah, he just left here with his…friend.”
Methos smiled softly, “so he knew the immortal we sensed this morning outside the TV station.”
“Apparently,” Joe continued in a more confident tone. “Said something about almost killing her by mistake. Was pretty upset about it…”
“I see.” His smile faded. “So why’d he bring her to you?”
“She needs some help, there’s another immortal apparently…”
“Listen, I gotta go, Joe. Otherwise I’m not going to have enough time to inspect everything.” He also didn’t want to hear anymore about Duncan’s old friend, the female immortal who he had absolutely no doubt was beautiful. And who of course came to Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod for ‘saving.’
Not for the first time, disgust filled him as he heard himself ask, “Did he ask…”
“Told him you were in LA on Watcher business,” Joe casually interjected, not letting him finish the pathetic question.
His lips curled wryly at the Watcher’s sidestep of the question, but he didn’t think he‘d be too pleased if the answer was actually ‘no.’
He stared unseeingly down at the cell in his hand for several seconds, his inner eye filled with images of the various women interspersed throughout the highlander’s chronicle and those simply from the few decades he’d skimmed through--voluptuous, beautiful women who more often than not, were intelligent as well.
It took only a moment to pull out the card he’d slipped into his front pocket back in his apartment before he left and punch in the new number.
“Jim Edwards, please,” he requested pushing all thoughts of attractive women and the annoying Scot aside.
“Jim, it’s Adam Pierson.”
“Adam, it’s been a while? Heard you were overseas…”
“Yeah, I was studying in Paris for awhile, but now I’m here--.”
“Here? In LA?”
“Aah, the auction. I take it you called for the location of the ‘special’ auction taking place during the farce that is scheduled for the main room.”
“You know me too well.” Methos smiled at the irony.
“Where are you staying? I’ll fax you over some stuff.”
“Actually, I’m only here for today. I’m downstairs in the café and about to go in and inspect some things.”
“Okay, I’ll leave a letter for you downstairs at the desk. It’ll have everything you need for the ‘special’ auction.”
He could hear the man getting some papers together, the sound of a printer working in the background.
“I knew that the two papyrus Lots would get some interesting buyers into town.”
Methos frowned. “Anyone I should know about?”
“No, just the usual. Some rich Egyptian, couple of your fellow countrymen. Although I don’t think the Egyptian is buying for himself.”
“I don’t know who, it’s just rare for none of us to know at least by name any of the buyers.”
“No one knows him? What‘s his name?” This could be trouble. All he needed was to run into another immortal.
Methos shook his head slightly, “don’t know him.”
“Oh well, it was a try.”
“Thanks Jim. I know it was last minute.”
“No problem, Adam. It’s great to hear from you. Maybe we’ll get a chance to get together for a drink some time today.”
“Maybe. I’m going to be buying some things for a few people in the main room, probably by absentee. Perhaps before the other…”
“That works, there‘s an hour window before the special auction’s exhibition. It’s scheduled for mid-evening.”
“Great. How’s Laura.”
“Fiery as ever. Are you sure you have to get back tonight? She’d love to see you.”
“No, sorry. I’m hoping to leave as soon as possible after the auction.”
“Oh..,” Jim teased, “someone you have to get home to, old buddy.”
“No, no,” Adam quickly denied, “Just business.”
“Yeah right,” Jim stated clearly not believing it. “I’m glad, you spend too much time with books and relics, Adam, not enough time living.”
He stifled the laugh that threatened to burst forth at Jim’s words. “There isn’t anyone, well, not exactly.”
Methos sighed. “See you later, Jim.”
Jim laughed. “Right.”
Not anyone. Not anyone who was currently keeping the company of a beautiful woman. He stared down at the phone for a moment, before he stood, slipping the cell into his pocket as he walked towards the exhibition room.
He ran his forefinger lightly across the gilt border on the chancery folio, smiling as he recognized the coat-of-arms of a minor family. Lot 61. Well he couldn’t specifically ascertain why the Watchers wanted the diary but the book was pretty enough, what with the gilded pattern of oakleaves inside the broad knotwork border. The petty nobleman must have witnessed a quickening. Whatever, the print was legible, he’d let whoever wanted it read the thing. He placed a check next to the item number on his list and laid the book gently back down on the stand.
The book had barely been released when the guard, which had been glowering at him for the last half hour as he inspected various lots, was beside him, making an obvious show of checking the book for damage.
If MacLeod had been here, he would have charmed the guard into reminiscing about past auctions like an old friend while all he’d gotten was disdain for his efforts.
And he says I’m a flirt.
Methos snorted slightly under his breath before moving towards the door. Well, maybe I’m just not in the mood.
He was still sporting a rueful smile, when he approached Jim in the sandwich shop across from the auction house for a quick bite to eat before the special auction.
“Adam,” Jim stood as soon as he spotted him.
“Jim,” Methos accepted the cup of coffee the grinning man handed him. “Thanks. This is new, I wouldn‘t have recognized you.” He brushed his own upper lip as he spoke, laughing at the flush that spread over the ‘grizzled’ face.
“Yeah, I’m also thinking about a beard…” he trailed off at the expression on the man sitting across from him, trying desperately not to laugh. Jim shook his head, “Laura doesn’t it like the idea either.”
“What does she say about the moustache?” Methos asked, his voice full of laughter.
Jim shook his head again, “you don’t want to know. Okay, no beard.”
“Good.” Methos took a sip of coffee and picked up the menu. “What do you recommend?”
“Anything, everything’s good and they’re quick.”
It didn’t take long to decide what he wanted and after they gave their orders to the waitress, Methos steered the conversation toward why he was in town.
“This auction this evening…” Methos began.
The grin on Jim’s face got bigger. “Let me guess, Lot 9.”
Methos gave a short nod. One of the things Jim had given him had been a list of lots to be held at the ‘special’ auction. Lot 9 was one of the rare items that only appeared in ‘open’ auction maybe once in a lifetime. A 15th century Felman binding of On the Causes of Nature.1His breath had hitched as he’d come across the listing while looking over the listings earlier.
“I want that book.”
Jim laughed and raised his cup in a toast. “Good luck, my friend. I doubt you’re the only one in town who does.”
“How will you be paying?”
“Wire transfer. I’ll wait while you verify…”
“So you got it?” Jim called out as he walked up.
Methos felt himself smiling as he turned to his friend. “Was there any doubt?”
Jim shook his head, smiling fondly at Adam’s obvious giddiness at his success. “None whatsoever.”
He turned his attention back toward the Purchase Account clerk.
“The transfer has gone through. All I need to complete the purchase is the buyer’s name.”
Jim’s eyebrows raised at the name. “I thought he was out of the business after that accident at his place…no one’s seen him in ages, become something of a recluse?”
Methos smiled and thanked the man while he accepted the receipt before turning towards Jim. “True enough,” he said as he began walking towards the exit.
“You must be pretty close, considering…” Jim trailed off while his eyes glanced down at the book Adam was cradling in his arms as gently as if it was a baby, which it might as well have been considering the amount of money he’d spent. “A hundred thousand is a lot of money to trust to anyone for an absentee bid.”
Methos just smiled and said nothing. The use of Connor’s alias worked twofold, first by allowing him to purchase items which ‘Adam Pierson’ would never in his dreams ever thinking of buying and secondly, by giving the impression to whomever might be searching for Connor--in particular one irritating Scot--that the immortal was in fact still alive.
No one but a handful of people, all Watchers, would know the truth. ‘George Allender’ had been dutifully notified that the immortal ‘volunteer’ he’d directed toward Sanctuary had in fact arrived and was now safely ensconced there. He blinked his eyes startled, realizing that Jim had asked him something.
Jim smiled. “I asked if you had time for that dinner with Laura and I?”
Methos shook his head. “No, I’m planning on going to the airport directly from here. My other purchases have already been sent on.” He’d only kept the books Dawson wanted specifically for himself and of course the one he’d just bought.
He wasn’t letting the richly designed book bound in burgundy leather out of his sight. Hell, he’d even bought a seat on the plane for it, he definitely wasn’t trusting it in a crowded overhead baggage compartment.
The others he’d arranged to have shipped to the North American Watcher headquarters in St. Augustine.
“Well then, I guess this is au revoir, my friend.”
Adam nodded and grasped the hand that Jim was holding out to him firmly. “Thanks for all your help.”
“My pleasure.” Jim hailed a taxi as he spoke, “don’t let it be so long before your next visit…”
He shrugged. “I just go where they send me,” he quipped, smiling as he got into the cab.
Jim gave a short wave as the car pulled away from the curb to quickly disappear in the lights of the evening traffic.
“No thank you.” Methos waved away the flight attendant’s offer of a drink and settled back into the seat for the flight. He flipped through airline magazine while the rest of the passengers boarded, his thoughts once again turning to MacLeod.
The feel of the takeoff pressed him back to the seat for a few seconds, his gaze going toward the window to see the ground falling rapidly away. A tiny thrill of exhilaration filling him as the plane became airborne, leaving the lights of LA far below.
Maybe he’d train to be a pilot next.
With a sigh he turned away from the window and replied to the flight attendant that cheese and crackers for the mid-flight snack would be fine, along with a glass of red wine.
If it was Amanda, Joe would have told him. Not for the first time he cursed the Watcher’s intimate knowledge regarding him and the highlander. Without that knowledge, Dawson would have dropped the woman’s name automatically to a fellow Watcher, not been so cautious about telling him what Mac was up to.
Of course him being an immortal over five thousand yars old would be no cause for Joe’s reticence in telling him about the woman immortal.
He smirked and sighed, turning to look out the window again. They were flying through a cloud.
Perhaps it would be better if Duncan had found some new lady-love. The noble highlander never could resist a lady in distress.
It would be less complicated, surely. Definitely better for both of them…
He ignored the pain the thought caused and turned his attention back to the night sky.
Methos slowly let himself into his apartment, ignoring the flashing red light on the answering machine as he walked over and laid Dawson’s books along with his on top of the desk.
He turned around and stared at the machine for a long while, fully aware that he was being ridiculous in thinking that it looked quite malevolent in the dim light given off by the single lamp that was turned on.
With a sigh, he walked over and punched the play messages button, wondering what he’d hear…
“I need to see you. It’s important.” His eyebrows raised at the serious tone with a tinge of worry and…fear? He turned and picked up the books for Dawson.
He’d stop by Joe’s first and see what he could find out about whatever MacLeod was fretting about now.
The three smallish books easily fitted in his backpack. He separated the receipts for Joe’s items from the rest which he placed in a smaller bag that he dropped into the backpack alongside the books as he walked out of the building.
He was zipping up the backpack as he approached the driver’s side when he felt it, the buzz of an immortal presence and turned, holding the backpack loosely in his right hand down by his side.
“MacLeod?” he called out, looking around, “Is that you?”
A slicing sound was all the warning he got before lancing pain tore through his chest, making him fall back and hit the truck. He looked down at the knife hilt sticking out of his chest in shock. The pain radiating throughout his body made him gasp, and look into the face of the immortal who’d just killed him.
Although the pain of dying was already blurring the edges of his sight, he recognized the scarred face.
“Kronos…” he choked out before blazing pain overwhelmed him, his life draining away.
“I missed you, too.”
He felt himself sliding down, weakness in his legs which he couldn’t feel anymore and then nothing.
“Huuuuuhhhh.” His eyelids flew open, seeing nothing as he blinked in the gloom light, attempting to remember how to breath.
Trying to remember…
“It’s been a long time.” The voice came from above on his left accompanied by a clink. “How are you feeling?”
He looked up at Kronos, the chain hanging from the immortal’s hand all too telling of what he had to look forward to. He coughed, his vocal chords rusty from death before he managed to respond, “like I left my heart in San Francisco.”
Using glibness to hide the fear that flooded through him as awareness of his body returned enough to inform him that his sword was gone along with his knives. Somewhat relieved though when he managed to move his arms a bit.
“I didn't know you had a heart.”
He slid his foot slowly back which upraised his knee, testing…feeling his strength returning with every passing second.
“Does it hurt?”
Why am I still alive? “What do you think?!” he retorted, rolling over and trying to get the sluggish object that was his body to move.
“Since you ask…”
A hand pushed him back flat on the ground once again, to stare up into the hated visage, all too aware of the links of chains swaying within inches of his face.
“I think you’re not used to pain, brother. What’s happened, you got soft?!”
“I just passed through my angry adolescence a little quicker than you, Kronos,” he declared to the immortal kneeling beside him.
“Humph. For a long time I thought you were dead,” Kronos stated conversationally while staring at him, his hand still on his shoulder pressing him down to the ground.
The gloating face bent down towards him, way too close. His fingers twitched reflexively, aching for a weapon. Although it wouldn’t have made a difference, Kronos had always been better than him with a sword, with knives--with pain.
“I didn't even bother looking for you. Ha!” Kronos drew slightly back removing his hand.
“Ohhhh,” the sound escaped him as he rolled and began to sit up.
“Then I heard rumors…Methos, the world’s oldest man.”
He managed to sit up, his back to Kronos as his blood slowly remembered how to circulate. He was dead anyway. No weapon, and the room was filled with junk with no exit visible.
“You slipped up there, old friend. You got sloppy.”
“Well, we're none of us perfect,” he drawled arrogantly.
“I shouldn't be surprised you're still alive.”
He grunted as he swung his legs tiredly over the side of the landing to sit fully upright.
“You were always the one I counted on.”
Methos gripped the edge of the landing tightly at Kronos’ words, concentrating on each breath as his body once again became accustomed to life.
“You weren't the strongest or the toughest, but you were the survivor. It’s what you do best--or did.”
The latter two words spoken closely against the nape of his neck made a shiver run down his spine. “So you've come to kill me.”
“Ha, ha, ha.”
Methos glanced to his right as Kronos sat beside him.
“It's what I do best!”
He looked down at his lap, there was nothing to say.
Kronos stood and turned towards him. “But you do have a choice…” he began, his words forcing Methos to look up and meet his eyes.
“Oh, I'm all for choices,” he replied in a light tone.
“Well, you can either lose your head. Or you can join me.”
His spirit sank at the words while his eyes trailed down the length of chain that Kronos still held. “Since you put it that way…” he exhaled softly, his eyes flickered down for a second before rising to meet Kronos’ once more, “Welcome back, brother.”
Kronos stared at him for a long second before tossing the chains away.
The crash they made on the landing behind him did nothing to quiet his fears.
He met the blue eyes as Kronos slowly passed in front of him, closing them as he listened to him walk slowly away somewhere behind him. The sharp deliberate footfalls on the concrete floor a counterpoint to the demanding gaze he could still feel on him. He looked down, drawing his left hand that was resting upon his thigh slowly back, pleased that it moved with ease.
It appeared he’d fully recovered from his recent death. He slowly stood up and followed the path Kronos took, seeing as it was the only way out of the room. His location appeared to be an old factory, at least that was his first thought as he glanced at the mountains of machinery that were throughout the room and the bar that overhung the landing on which he had revived.
The lighter area ahead seemed to be where Kronos had went. He turned the corner and pulled up short at the sight of the bed in the center of the brightly lit room.
His gaze almost instantly moved from it to Kronos, who was leaning against the headboard his head posed at a angle, his eyebrows raised expectantly.
He closed his eyes, his lips pressing together tightly before he drew himself up and slowly opened his eyes to meet Kronos’.
The coat he let fall to the floor, pulling the sweater over his head and off to join it there. The brown garment cut off the view of Kronos’ glittering eyes for a millisecond, before he deliberately turned his back to sit on the end of the bed. He bent down to take off his boots, concentrating on each tug of the brown laces as he felt the hot gaze on his back, forcing his mind to still, not to think--just do.
He placed the boots together on the concrete floor to his right with the socks inside them, before standing up and unbuttoning his jeans. Stepping out of them, took only a second, again leaving them along with his boxers where they fell. He turned around and walked around the bed towards Kronos, stopping within a couple of feet of the motionless immortal whose gaze he’d continued to meet.
Kronos smirked and straightened, letting his gaze deliberately rake down the pale muscular chest, down the flat stomach, pausing briefly at the cock hanging down between the slender muscled thighs, before continuing the intense perusal all the way to the long thin toes before returning to the burnished gold eyes. “Ha. Ha. Ha.”
Methos didn’t flinch at the rough hand on his left hip that forced him against Kronos. In fact he didn’t react at all, his mind merely noted the rough feel of the fabric of Kronos’ jeans and the darkening of the blue eyes.
The hand sliding down his back to rest upon his waist simply another detail. Gasping as a hand suddenly in his hair pulled his head sharply back before he was suddenly pushed, falling back onto the bed, where he laid motionless in the exact position in which he landed, his legs slightly apart; his eyes fixed above.
He followed the crisscross of exposed pipes on the ceiling, noting the cracked grey paint and the trace of graffiti in two of the corners; the unmistakable sounds of someone undressing in the background.
He couldn’t help slightly tensing as the bed dipped. The body moving over him bringing a heaviness of spirit with it that he hadn’t felt in over two millennia.
The pipes suddenly were replaced by blue eyes, the left with a scar bisecting it. Kronos really should have lost the eye from the ancient injury, but no, the eye was just as blue and piercing as the other staring down at him intently while the body shifted to rest between his legs.
Their gazes locked on one another as he felt hands raise his hips so that he his ass rested upon solid thighs with hairs that scratched when they slid across the inner part of his legs. The hardness pressed against him giving the impression of thickness.
The sudden feel of the tensing of the muscled body above him for a millisecond, the only warning he got before it was thrusting inside him relentlessly, not stopping till…
He cried out sharply for an instant before stifling the rest, gasping, clutching the bedcovering in his fists in an attempt to ease the intense pain. Taking deep breaths to try to relax around the thing which had finally stopped moving.
“Been awhile, has it?” Kronos asked lightheartedly.
Methos’ eyes flew open at the question, surprised that he hadn’t remembered closing them, probably due to the pain…
He stared up at the slight smile, instinctively knowing that Kronos was deadly serious despite the tone of voice. “You might say that,” he replied between pants as he tried to control his breathing.
“How long has it been?” Kronos asked in a conversational tone while he slowly withdrew.
So slowly that it made him turn his head to the side, hissing between his teeth at the grazing pain.
“Not long enough!” Methos bit out, glaring into the blue eyes challengingly.
Kronos thrust back in again, making him scream.
Immortal healing at its worst, healing his ripped flesh so that each thrust was as painful as the first, not abating in its intensity, compounded somehow by the inevitably of each thrust yet to come. A form of immortal torture that Kronos had perfected long ago, with his help of course.
“Finish it,” he demanded when Kronos stilled once again panting above him, his cock once again paused at the threshold with only the head inside. He reached up, unable to control his hands as they clutched the muscular forearms on either side of him.
“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Kronos stared down, a glint in his eyes before thrusting back in.
Methos gasped at the sensation of the cock sliding across his prostate, a sliver of pleasure threaded through the sea of agony. Kronos mercifully continued to thrust without pause, no longer allowing him to fully heal. Each wave of successive pain blurred his sight of the eyes peering down at him, the slighted parted lips harshly breathing within inches of his.
The sharp exhalations of air the only sound accompanying the slaps of flesh against flesh.
Thankfully the thrusts soon became ragged, rapid, and deep.
Kronos came with a moan, collapsing upon Methos who instantly shoved him to the side causing their bodies to roughly separate.
Methos winced at the abrupt extrication while Kronos merely gave a small grunt.
“Heh, heh, heh…”
Methos tensed at the laughter but relaxed when Kronos continued to lay on his back, the bare chest rapidly moving up and down. He turned over on his right side putting his back toward Kronos and in doing so became aware of the liquid trickling down his legs. He glanced down at the blood intermixed with semen.
He closed his eyes in disgust for a second before they flew open in startlement as an arm violently grabbed him around the waist, pulling him flush against Kronos’ bulk.
Struggling was not an option. Methos stared straight ahead, his mind deliberately blank as the hand proceeded to move up and down his chest lazily till it hit…
“What do we have here?” Kronos uttered mockingly against his left ear.
He flushed slightly as he felt Kronos raise up to look down over at him, already knowing what had caught the immortal’s attention.
Kronos’ hand closed over his half erect cock, making him tense. “Not so soft, after all, eh…brother.”
Methos softly expelled a breath of air when the hand withdrew and Kronos laid back down. Wary as the minutes passed and Kronos did nothing. He listened to the breath even out and the bed move as the body shifted and the leg laying over his disappeared.
He stayed still for a few seconds before inching over to the side of the bed, wondering how much this…, his stomach rolled in revulsion, had bought him.
Methos rapidly got dressed, not making any extraordinary attempts to be quiet, merely keeping an eye on the naked body that appeared to be asleep on the bed. He kept his steps slow and even as he made his way toward the door at the other end of the room, releasing his breath as the door closed behind him leaving him in a long hallway with a single thought burning in his brain--to put as much distance between him and Kronos as quickly as he could.
Methos checked the side and rearview mirrors to make sure he wasn’t being followed.
He’d been shocked to find his SUV sitting like a beacon of normalcy in the parking lot once he’d made it outside into the chill early morning air. The keys in the ignition.
Apparently Kronos had simply dumped him in the Jimmy along with his backpack, which he’d found lying on the front seat on the passenger side and driven him to wherever he was.
He kept part of his attention on the immortal presence he could still faintly feel in the building, to make sure it didn’t move. It didn’t. He snorted in amusement at the recognition that the building was an old power station. Typical of Kronos. There were half a dozen jokes that could be made of that if things were different.
If he didn’t still remember the feel of the bastard inside him.
He’d driven halfway to the dojo before he’d realized it, his subconscious taking charge while he tried to calm his mind. Kronos. Alive. If there was anyone that he was sure would have been dust by now it would have been Kronos. He still could not believe that someone had not taken the madman out of the Game.
Rage and shame filled him as he remembered how shocked he’d been at the sight of the knife.
So fucking vulnerable. He’d left himself…wait, he mentally replayed last night’s events, his nerve wrecking musings which were already in overdrive paused for a second when he remembered.
He’d called out Duncan’s name. Kronos hadn’t reacted to it but that didn’t mean he hadn’t heard it or noted it as important. He didn’t know how long Kronos had been in Seacouver, if he knew about Duncan.
Methos closed his eyes tightly. No if he knew about Duncan he wouldn’t have let him leave. But he had been watching me, he knew where I lived…
I’m going to have to tell him. He started to breath heavily at the thought, anxiety running through him. I’ll just have to explain to MacLeod…together we can…
He took a deep breath just inside the dojo, pausing with his hand resting on the open door. He really had no choice, not anymore.
Methos continued slowly walking into the room while he tried to figure out how he was going to…maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, maybe he was underestimating…
Something in him eased at the face that immediately walked out to greet him. “I was worried about you, MacLeod. Glad you made it.”
He glanced down at the floor as he continued to saunter towards Duncan as normally as possible.
“Aah, something,” Methos swallowed the knot that had formed in his throat, “unexpected has come up--”
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Duncan replied as they met in the center of the room. “Have you ever heard of an immortal named Kronos?”
How…“Kronos?” He took a deep breath and stared into the warm brown eyes, wondering how to begin.
The faint awareness of another immortal he’d been sensing at the edge of his senses suddenly strengthened. He looked around for the source, the thought that it was probably Richie in the back of his mind. The obvious sound of the lift descending drew his attention past MacLeod towards the figure walking out of the elevator.
His eyes widened in recognition as the woman stepped closer.
“You?!” she exclaimed breaking the silence.
Methos shifted his attention from the glaring face to Duncan’s, rapidly analyzing the situation. Modifying plans as each new piece of information flashed through his mind. Duncan’s expression instantly told him that he knew nothing about his connection to Cassandra. The highlander knew Kronos’ name but maybe not about--There was too much he didn’t know, so when in doubt he fell back on his old tried and true tactic when faced with the unexpected…
“Who’s this?” he asked in a casual tone, his eyes marking out the number of paces between him and the beautiful woman who was drawing her sword.
“Draw your sword,” demanded Cassandra.
“MacLeod, who is she?!” he bewilderingly demanded, confusion in his voice as he quickly retreated to the left, putting Duncan between him and the ‘mad’ woman.
“Cassandra, what are you doing?” Duncan asked, holding her off with his hands raised defensively, glancing back over his shoulder at Methos.
“Stay out of this, MacLeod.”
Methos stared into Cassandra’s raging green eyes. “You. Don't. Know. Me.” We don’t have time for this…I don’t have time for this. Don’t do this, Cassandra! Play along!
“Do you think I could ever forget you?! The bastard who killed me! Slaughtered my village like cattle!”
“This is crazy,” he vehemently protested. “It wasn't me, MacLeod. Do something!”
Cassandra’s enraged words only made MacLeod more puzzled as he glanced from one immortal to another in confusion.
“This is between you and me, Methos,” Cassandra declared rapidly moving forward and to the left with sword drawn towards Methos, who instantly started moving in the opposite direction.
Duncan grabbed Cassandra when she shifted in front of him. “Get out of here. Now! Run! Go!” he commanded Methos while he gripped her tightly from behind, preventing her from going after him as he ran out the exit of the dojo.
“Let go of me! Let go of me!”
“Only till you calm down! Okay?”
“Okay.” Cassandra stopped fighting and Duncan relaxed. Within an instant Cassandra was free, running out the door after Methos to return seconds later, breathing heavily. “He’s gone,” she stated, pointing her sword at Duncan. “You had no right to interfere.”
“He didn't even know you.”
“He’s a liar! Don't come between us again,” she warned before turning on her heel and heading back towards the door.
“Cassandra, he’s my friend,” Duncan stated simply.
“You’re ‘friend’ rode with Kronos, killed and raped alongside him! He was one of the Horsemen.”
Duncan watched her leave, his thoughts troubled as doubt filled him. Could what she said be true?
As soon as Methos made it to the Jimmy, he was inside and driving away in the SUV as fast as possible, all the while cursing the beautiful red-headed immortal whose presence just massacred all possibility of a careful revelation of his past to MacLeod.
He snorted, well at least now he knew the identity of MacLeod’s ‘friend’.
Cassandra’s presence changed everything. Damn her!
There was no way to get Mac’s help now…
Both in Seacouver. He bitterly laughed at the idea that their both showing up at the same time was coincidence.
And now Duncan.
He shook his head still shocked down to his bone that Cassandra knew MacLeod.
A simple fact that just made everything else a bit more complicated.
How in the hell did he miss that little tidbit?! There was nothing in MacLeod’s chronicle, not that he’d read everything…
He slid his fingers over the steering wheel, debating on what to do now. He’d have to buy some time. He didn’t know what Kronos’ plans were, why he was here. If it was only for him…
He had no illusion which particular rumor had brought Kronos to Seacouver. Damn that fool! I should have killed him back in the seventies when he first started spouting off about love and peace. Now I have to deal with--he turned his mind sharply from the memory of the cold blue eyes staring into his from above.
If MacLeod, he had to find out what the hell Kronos was still doing here. Why he didn’t just take him, he grimaced slightly at the double entendre, and leave. No Kronos was still here for a reason--Cassandra.
Methos knew that Kronos had always been jealous of his slave. Especially when it became apparent---
Again he tore his mind from a particular train of thought. It was in the past.
Kronos was here because of Cassandra or perhaps vice versa, he turned the vehicle onto the desolate road that would take him back to the old power plant.
And where Cassandra was, would be her bloody knight in shining armour.
MacLeod was no match for Kronos. That damn code of honor of his would get Mac killed. But trying to talk to the highlander was now entirely out of the question, after what the witch must be telling him.
Methos felt his face flush as he pictured Duncan’s confused expression while Cassandra had threatened him.
The cat was definitely out of the bag now…
He grimaced at the pain he knew Mac must be feeling. The bittersweet memory of the last time he’d seen Duncan, the handsome face gloating about him losing the Wheel of History contest…yesterday.
The same morning the infuriating highlander woke him the first time by shaking his freshly showered, very wet hair over him, the drops frigid on his exposed skin. Duncan’s lively laughter infectious…
No, trying to talk the ignorant child out of challenging Kronos for Cassandra was futile. It was in his nature to defend a lady in distress no matter the risk to himself.
Methos clutched the steering wheel, giving a fierce glare to the building in front of him while he gathered his resolve for what he had to do.
Keep an eye on MacLeod while dealing with his shieldmate.
That brief encounter wouldn’t be their last. Kronos would demand sex.
Part of the payment for betraying him long ago, a form of assurance of his loyalty.
It would be up to him to remind Kronos that he’d been co-leader of their merry little band, no longer merely his slave as he’d once been.
He hadn’t gone through hell three thousand years ago to become more than Kronos’ damn personal body-slave, to go back to being simply that. Even back then the number of times Kronos ‘required’ his body had grown less as the centuries had passed.
The Four Horsemen becoming legends for all time.
He’d simply have to use the desire Kronos still apparently had for him to lure him into trusting his ‘Brother’ as he once had.
Otherwise he’d soon be dead, or wishing he was.
And with his Quickening, Kronos would be unbeatable…
“I don’t know Mac…Methos…Kronos…the Four Horsemen, I don’t buy it,” Joe stated with conviction.
“This is, this is our Methos she’s talking about, right?”
“Yeah,” Mac replied softly while he restlessly paced in front of Dawson in the empty bar.
“He is the one immortal I know that never looks for a fight.”
“Has he been here?” Duncan asked knowing how close Methos was to the elder Watcher.
“I ain’t seen him.”
“Mac!” Joe called out, drawing the troubled immortal back. “This is thousands of years ago we’re talking about, right. I mean, someone lives with thoughts of revenge that long, it becomes an obsession, maybe she’s delusional.”
“No, no, no. Not Cassandra.”
“Mac, maybe she’s a liar?! What do you really know about this woman?”
“What do I know about Methos?”
“Can you imagine him murdering women and children for pleasure?” Damn it Mac, you’re sleeping with the man. You’re going to take this strange woman’s word over Methos’?!
“No,” Joe repeated, “I mean, sometimes, all you have to go on is your gut. If I were you, I'd listen to it.” Not for the first time Joe wondered if it might be best to reveal his knowledge of the highlander’s romantic entanglement with Methos. But now was definitely not the right time to tell Duncan. There was no telling how he’d react.
“It’s just not enough.”
“Hey, as you know, the Watchers don’t know everything. Hell, you know as much about Methos’ history as I do. If it’s proof you’re looking for, buddy I’m fresh out.”
“Then I’m just gonna have to find my own.”
Joe watched him walk out, mentally cursing Mac’s stubbornness along with Methos’ secretive nature. If it was true, there was going to be hell to pay. He headed back to the office, hoping that the ancient immortal had answered one of the dozen messages he’d left for Adam Pierson.
He absently looked over the e-mail he’d received, not having had time to do it since early yesterday morning. He’d been too busy trying to locate Melvin Koren aka Kronos to do something as ordinary a sit down at his desk and actually do routine tasks.
He skimmed over several e-mails, his eyes stopping on one from Amy Zoll which made his eyes widen in disbelief.
To: J. Dawson
From: A. Zoll
Date: Nov 1 1996
You son of a bitch! You knew all this time; and you didn’t tell anyone! Adam Pierson is Methos!
When I think about the number of times I’ve let that monster, that murdering rapist, into my apartment, it makes my skin crawl.
“Damn you, Methos!” Joe Dawson shook his head as he began to try and head off the reaction of the Tribunal to the news. He hit reply and began typing. “C’mon Amy, take a few deep breaths…”
He climbed up the ladder, cursing Kronos’ presence which prevented him from looking around the place, try to figure out what the hell Kronos was up to. Any weaknesses…escape routes.
“So, you're back.”
Methos smirked and looked up at the landing on which Kronos was standing. “What'd you think I'd do? Run and hide? Go somewhere you couldn’t find me?”
He watched motionless as Kronos climbed down to the platform he was standing on.
“No,” Kronos stated evenly as he began to slowly walk towards him. “You’re too smart for that, you know that I’d track you down. No matter how long it took. And then I’d kill you.”
“Well, it's nice to feel wanted,” Methos quipped, lightening the tension caused by Kronos’ close proximity as the immortal passed him.
“Not want! Need.”
Methos looked down at the words, uneasy at where this particular tirade was heading, turning to meet the mad blue eyes as Kronos continued.
“A dozen times I tried to take up the old ways, but I failed.”
Methos gave a slight nod of understanding, his lips twisting as he stretched his jaw trying to ease the rapidly rising anxiety within him.
“The others I rode with were trash, scum. I had no one to plan my raids. No one who understood the true use of terror.”
He stared up at the ceiling and gave an almost imperceptible shrug as the words flowed over him making his breath to quicken as memories he’d put long behind him began to flood back.
“You were one of a kind, Methos…as we all were. There was never a band like us. Never in all history.”
Kronos turned his back to look down at something on the desk at the other end of the platform, giving Methos his chance. The sword he’d retrieved from beneath the frame of the Jimmy easily slipped into his hand as he began to saunter towards Kronos. “You took quite a risk, letting me out of your sight earlier on today.” He silently came up behind Kronos as he spoke, even though he knew it was futile. Kronos had always been better at treachery than he.
But it was a fine line he had to walk between total submission and defiance. The one Kronos wouldn’t believe and the other--well, even though Kronos would never admit it, blind obedience wasn’t what he wanted from him.
The relationship between them had never been that simple.
“A lot of time has passed since we rode together. I had to be sure of you,” Kronos drawled his head still bent looking down.
Anger filled him at being forced back within Kronos’ company giving his arm impetuous as he swung the sword aiming at the back of Kronos’ head.
Kronos quickly turned caught the upraised arm smoothly, halting the sword’s descent while his other held a knife up to Methos neck. “And now I am,” he continued in an conversational tone into Methos panting face.
They stared at one other, their faces almost touching, the knife resting against his throat heightening Methos’ apprehension as he felt a tiny sliver of desire ignite.
Methos’ struggled for a second, trying to get his hand still clenching the sword out of Kronos’ grip but then released it and quickly backed away. “Don't you understand?! I'm not like that anymore,” he protested his hands gesturing widely in supplication. “I -- I’ve changed.”
“No. You pretended to. Maybe even convinced yourself you had, but inside you're still there Methos. You're like me.”
He shook his head in denial, “Not anymore.”
“No? Tell me you haven't missed it.”
“The killing?” Methos asked incredulous.
“The freedom! The power! Riding out of the sun knowing that you're the most terrifying thing that they've ever seen.”
Methos anxiously wiped his forehead with his hand and looked out over the cavernous room, trying to ignore the familiar smooth tone.
“Knowing that their weapons and their gods are useless against you, that you’re the last thing they'll ever see.”
Methos looked away from the pleasure gleaming from the scarred visage and closed his eyes as he remembered the screams, the feel of flesh giving beneath sharp metal, blood everywhere as he rutted with Kronos like a maddened beast…No not beast, devils ravaging each other in the midst of a field of eviscerated bodies, not all of which were dead.
“That’s what you were meant to be, Methos.”
No. that is what you made me…His breath became heavy as he tried to control the fury rising within him as the memories flew back. The rage at being within Kronos’ control once again, powerless.
“Don't fight it, feel it,” Kronos seductively into the anguished pale face.
Methos slowly shook his head ‘no.’ He wouldn’t give into the madness this time.
“Ha, I’m going to do you a favor.”
“You know Cassandra’s here.”
“We didn’t exactly exchange gifts,” Methos replied, meeting Kronos’ eyes warily.
“Then you know that she’ll kill you if she gets the chance.”
Methos gave a small nod.
“You never could bring yourself to take her head, could you? So I'm going to do it for you.”
“And in return?”
“You kill Duncan MacLeod,” Kronos stated staring into the hazel eyes intently.
“But he’s my friend,” the words slipped out, damning proof of just how careless he‘d become. “He’s nothing to you. Why?”
“Why? Because he’s your friend!…Because you still have to prove yourself!” Kronos continued moving closer before thrusting his finger into Methos’ chest which made him flinch. “Because YOU OWE ME!”
Another damn test. Methos didn’t drop his gaze from Kronos’ face knowing to do so would be tantamount to suicide, not a clean, quick death either in the mood Kronos was in. He watched expressionlessly as Kronos lifted the knife and cut across the palm of his left hand.
“Now swear,” Kronos demanded holding out the knife, hilt up, to him. “Swear you will kill MacLeod!”
Methos took the knife and looked down as he drew the knife across the palm of his left hand, wincing slightly as the chill metal sliced though the skin. He raised his hand with the fingers spread, showed no emotion when Kronos clasped his hand in his. “I swear,” he promised softly, meeting Kronos’ eyes, allowing himself to be drawn closer.
Kronos grinned for a millisecond, staring fondly down at the hand clasped within his before pulling Methos towards him and pressed his mouth against the thin lips which parted welcomingly at the soft pressure.
His tongue lightly brushed against Methos’ as he languorously tasted the hot mouth for the first time in over two millennia. His eyes closed as the acidic almost spicy hint within brought back memories of long sweaty nights, blood, and sand.
Although Methos desperately would have liked to shower and especially to scour his mouth out with something to get rid of the rancid aftertaste of Kronos’ kiss, he didn’t have the time. Not to mention that he knew it was futile. Even centuries after he’d abandoned Kronos he’d awakened with the memory of the man’s taste inside his mouth.
In any event, Methos knew he only had a small window in which Kronos would allow him to accomplish his ‘mission’ of killing MacLeod. Time which instead he was using to pack up the few things from his apartment that must not fall into the Watchers’ or Kronos’ hands if the horseman got it into his head to delve into his brother’s more recent history. A history that would reveal among other things the existence of the Watchers.
Logic told him that Kronos didn’t know of his present alias of Adam Pierson. If he had, the horseman would have awaited him inside his apartment instead of ambushing him outside in the parking lot.
It was a little thing in the grand scheme of things but he was grateful for the time it had given him to clean up the careless details of Adam Pierson’s life.
A life which he suspected was over given the content of the messages Dawson left on his answering machine.
He carried the last white box full of various Watcher correspondence out to the truck and was bending down to pick up the backpack full of books he’d left on the ground to the rear of the SUV when the sudden sense of an immortal nearby made him straighten and look around intensely. All too aware of the similarities to Kronos’ violent reentry into his life.
His eyes widened in distressed recognition at the tall figure striding towards him from the classic black t-bird that had just parked in front of the apartment building.
“Going somewhere?” Duncan called out in a blatantly normal tone.
Methos let out the breath he hadn’t been aware of holding. “You shouldn’t be here,” he said softly, looking down at the two last backpacks on the ground before hefting the yellow suede one up to the opened tailgate.
“What are you running from--the question or the answer?”
He shoved the backpack into the bed of the truck, next to the white box. “There is no answer, MacLeod. Let it be,” he beseeched him softly. Methos lifted the last backpack from the ground and put it inside the truck, all his attention ostensibly focused on the bags.
“Is what she said true?” he asked, his eyes fixed on Methos’ profile.
Methos stared down at the truck. Somewhat disbelieving that MacLeod had actually asked a question that deep inside the highlander didn’t want to know the answer to. “Aah, I'm outta here,” he sing-songed, shutting the rear window and the tailgate of the truck before moving around the corner of the vehicle towards the driver’s seat.
Or trying to.
Duncan stepped in front of him, blocking his path. “No, you’re not. You’re not ‘outta here,” he refuted pushing his hand against Methos’ chest for a second forcing him to stop and face him. “Is what she said true?!” he softly demanded, staring into the vivid green-gold eyes.
He shut his eyes tightly, unable to bear the sight. This wasn’t happening, not now, not when he had to--Methos opened his eyes and took a deep breath. “It’s…The times were ‘different,’ MacLeod. ‘I’ was different. ‘The whole bloody world was different,’ okay?” he entreated, begging silently for Duncan to leave it alone, to not force him to…
Duncan, his face full of anguish, took a step closer to Methos. “Did you kill all those people?”
“Yes. Is that what you want to hear?” Methos replied vehemently, his eyes flashing angrily as he met the wounded brown eyes. “Killing was all I knew. Is that what you want to hear?!”
“It’s enough.” Duncan turned to walk away when Methos grabbed him and heaved him against the side of the truck.
“No. It is NOT enough. I killed, but I didn't just kill fifty, I didn't kill a hundred . . . I killed a thousand. I killed TEN THOUSAND! And I was good at it.”
The words exploded into the beautiful face, making Duncan’s heart bleed as surely as his was
Methos expression lightened and he continued in a pleasant tone, “And it wasn't for vengeance, it wasn't for greed.” He removed his hands from MacLeod’s shoulders were they had been unconsciously resting. “It was because I LIKED it."
He softly chuckled and moved slightly away, widening the distance between their chests, as he harshly continued, “Cassandra was NOTHING. Her village was NOTHING. Do you know who I was?” he asked in a conversational tone. “I was Death.”
Duncan grabbed Methos and pushed him against the truck reversing their positions, his hands clutching the collar of Methos’ coat.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” MacLeod’s expression caused the despair within him to twist into something akin to madness. “Death. Death on horse,” he continued into Duncan’s grimacing face. “When mothers warned their children that the monster would get them, that monster was ME,” he bragged with his forefinger pointed at himself. “I was the nightmare that kept them awake at night. Is that. What. You. Want. To hear?!”
Methos gave a small nod, knowing what his words were putting into motion, damning himself along with MacLeod. “The answer is yes. Oh, yes,” he ended softly meeting the brown eyes solemnly.
Duncan released him. “We’re through,” he managed after a long pause, his voice breaking.
Methos’ nodding reply echoed MacLeod’s as they continued to stare into each other’s anguished eyes, unable to say anything more.
Duncan turned and began to stride away.
Methos leaned against the truck, lifting his eyes upward while he shrugged out of his coat which was suddenly too hot.
MacLeod halted halfway and turned to stare back at him.
Methos met the hurt eyes for a few seconds, feeling the despair and rage rise again at the wounded eyes’ audacity; begging him to tell him that what he’d just said was a lie.
That he was simply harmless Methos, sarcastic and arrogant, sure. But not a killer. To weave a pretty fairy tale that would allow the highlander to sleep soundly at night.
Agonizing pain spread through his chest as he saw Mac tear off his mid-length leather coat (the one he’d just recently returned to the highlander) as he turned and continued on the way to his car where he violently threw it into the front seat of the car as if it disgusted him, before swiftly getting in and driving away.
Methos flung his coat violently into the cab towards the passenger seat echoing MacLeod’s actions, before getting into the truck and shutting the door. He rested his forearms upon the steering wheel before his head sank down, heavy with despair and began to sob.
He didn’t know how long the sobs wracked his frame but he felt empty when the tears finally stopped. He took a shaky breath and started the truck. His belongings had to be put in storage and he had to get back.
He had to persuade Kronos to leave Seacouver, and get him as far away from MacLeod as he could. He didn’t know how he was going to react to him not killing Duncan, it was something he’d have to deal with when it occurred.
Methos watched dispassionately as the men moved the boxes from the Jimmy toward the storage place, signing the papers and accepting the key absently.
That was done and it only took, he glanced at the clock--three hours, leaving him the rest of the night to clean up the mundane details of Adam Pierson’s life.
He stopped into a mail center that was open late and placed the papers along with the key into a manila envelope addressed to Adam Dawson. He didn’t want to have anything on his person that might led Kronos to his current persona.
The man was skillful enough at mental torture without him handing him information that he might need to save his life. Especially when he found out about MacLeod and him.
Although he’d cursed his slip at the time, shocked that Kronos would demand him to kill the one person he knew he never could, in hindsight it was his honest outburst which had thrown off Kronos’ suspicion that he and MacLeod were something more than friends.
While he was at the center he mailed the books he’d recently bought in LA, including his prized purchase, to Joe’s address. He didn’t know how long he’d be stuck with Kronos, before he could figure out a way to escape him.
Hopefully it wouldn’t be long but he knew better than to assume anything. After all, last time it had taken him almost a thousand years.
Duncan merely gave a cursory glance towards the man stepping out of the elevator, his entire being still seeing the manic gleam in the green eyes while the words, the words fell trippingly from the melodious voice, devastating in their contrast. The voice, the words, which continued to echo through his heart as he restlessly paced throughout the loft all night long.
The sight and sound of man and voice denied him any chance of peace. Horror tinged with disbelief, the only companions to the thoughts tearing through his mind which left nothing but pain in their wake.
Methos had killed all those people. He shook his head. No, the man who’d only…two days ago. He glared at the bed at the far end of the room, still hearing Methos’ low chuckle as the ancient immortal had handed him back his leather jacket before dramatically draping himself upon the bed seductively.
Much like he’d posed when he’d first returned weeks ago. Weeks. Months. No Years. Two years, about since he walked into that apartment in Paris and met the beguiling pair of gold eyes.
Two years when he thought…Duncan shook his head, trying to get the image out of his head.
No! Duncan turned to the man, realizing that he’d been asked something.
“What’s going on, MacLeod?” Joe asked, his grey eyes troubled.
“It’s true,” Duncan softly replied, still unable to control the tinge of disbelief even he could hear in his voice.
“Methos. He was a horseman.”
“The four horsemen of the apocalypse, like that woman claimed?”
“Well, so what. Have you talked to him? Maybe it wasn’t what you think. What they said in the stories. You know how tales get twisted, Mac. It was a long time ago.”
“Joe, you can't defend it.”
“I’m not defending it. I’m trying to understand it.”
“What's to understand? When he rode into a village there was life. When he rode out there wasn’t.”
“You weren’t there! Different times, MacLeod, different rules, different morals, you can’t compare it!”
“I won’t compare it and I can’t excuse it!”
“How many men have you killed? How much blood have you shed in anger?”
“Look, I know what I've done, and I live with it. But I'm telling you this is different.”
“What the hell are you talking about?!”
“I’m talking about a bunch of murdering bastards that burned and raped across two continents. They butchered innocent women and children, Joe. You live with that, you see that.”
“I have. Vietnam,” Joe began in a soft tone, “When we took out a village, we couldn't tell the farmers from the soldiers. You think somehow the bullets managed to miss all the children?”
“This is different.”
“Because he loved it. Because he had pleasure in killing,” Duncan replied in a disgusted tone.
Duncan turned away while Joe answered his cell phone, “I liked it!” still echoing through his mind. It was a lie, it had to be. He knew that he was the one he’d been trying to convince of Methos’ fidelity and not Joe.
His heart begged him to agree with the Dawson’s words but his mind, his conscience wouldn’t allow him.
Yes, he’d known that they held to a different honor code. Methos had made that abundantly clear when he took Kristin’s head but…
“Yeah, yeah, got it.” Joe ended the call. “Kronos.”
Duncan turned and looked at Joe. “Where?”
“That abandoned power station down at the old south docks.”
He grabbed his coat from the coat rack and headed for the door. “I thought you said you didn’t have a watcher on Kronos,” he questioned as he put on his coat.
“We don’t. We have it on Cassandra. She led us to him,” Joe stated softly meeting the highlander’s troubled eyes gravely.
Duncan stepped into the elevator and quickly drew the cage down. He had to save Cassandra, and kill Kronos.
Methos would have to wait.
“Methos never liked the idea of killing you, but I do.”
Methos crept up softly below the two immortals fighting above. Kronos’ words instantly identifying his opponent to his relief. The strong immortal presence he’d felt upon entering the power station was Cassandra’s not MacLeod’s.
He followed the fight with his hearing, freezing suddenly in the shadows as he watched Cassandra climbing down the ladder in front of him. He gripped the hilt of the Ivanhoe, that he’d come across on the table upon entering the power station, grateful for its presence.
He hefted it up and silently stepped forward, hitting the female immortal in the forehead with the hilt, knocking her out. She was no match for Kronos. He had to get her out of here.
Methos swung her up in his arms and headed towards the open doorway leading to the dam while Kronos’ voice rang throughout the building.
“You witch. You’re dead. Come out now and I’ll make it quick. If you don’t, you’re going to be begging me to kill you.”
Methos paused and glanced back at the feel of another immortal presence suddenly joining Kronos, cursing as he recognized Duncan’s voice.
“Then let’s make it quick…cause I can’t wait.”
He continued towards the bridge all the way cursing the dead weight in his arms. Damning the woman who’d drawn MacLeod here to Kronos. Upsetting his plan to keep the two apart until he could ensure the victor of the challenge.
“You should have killed me when you had the chance,” Cassandra murmured as they approached the middle of the bridge above the falls. The woman regaining enough consciousness to be vindictive.
Revenge was all fine and good, but it had been three thousand years.
Like she was the only one who’d ever been raped.
Methos dropped her off the bridge without pause, tossing her scarf down after her in disgust. He turned back toward the power station, knowing what he had to do.
He watched dispassionately as the two immortals fought below, his eyes marking out the traces of oil spread throughout the floor, giving him an idea.
It just needed a little help.
He lit the Molotov cocktail he quickly made and tossed it to the left of the two men herding them towards a section of the room whose floor was divided by a trickle of oil. Another cocktail thrown forced them further towards where he wanted them. He quickly picked up the bottle of gasoline and poured, watching intently as a stream of gasoline flowed towards the oil trail which was between the two sword fighting immortals.
There really was no other choice. They were too evenly matched. The highlander’s parries, rigid and forced. The edge of righteousness that was required to win; lost somehow, somewhere.
Probably due to their conversation. He cursed himself for allowing the child to anger him into spiting out the brutal truth.
Methos lit the final Molotov cocktail and tossed the bottle down igniting the trail of gasoline. The fire raced along the trail, finally exploding as it approached the two swordsmen. The explosion forced the two immortals apart as a wall of fire sprang up between them.
He picked up the thin metal bar hanging from the side of the fire station alert button and broke the glass of the small window before punching the button.
The alarm began blaring. He quickly headed towards the exit nearest him, dimly hearing Kronos voice, “I can wait,” from behind.
He was too steps beyond the door when a sword came up beneath his chin.
“And where do you think you’re going, dear brother?”
Methos looked out of the corner of his right eye towards the scarred visage. “To get the truck for you.”
“Hmph.” Kronos withdrew the sword and gestured forward with it. “After you.”
Methos nodded and stepped forward, confident that MacLeod would make it out of one of the other exits. He and Kronos quickly hurried to the Jimmy, Methos tossing the keys to Kronos as they approached it.
They had just taken a right off onto a dirt paved farm road when three fire engines passed by on the road they had just left.
Nothing was said as Kronos continued to drive. About an hour had passed before Kronos finally pulled the truck over and sat, to watch the flames flowing over the power station below.
From what Methos could tell the winding road Kronos had driven them had brought them 50 miles south to a hill with higher elevation.
Silence fell as Kronos continued to glare at the flames in the distance. Each shift of the ice blue eyes towards the passenger seat making him increasingly wary..
But any tension he felt was deeply hidden. To show any emotion, especially fear, would be suicide.
The sudden start of the ignition startled Methos. He watched as Kronos silently drove them down toward the other end of the bay toward the docks.
The sun was just disappearing below the horizon when Kronos finally stopped and parked the Jimmy. He quickly got out and circled around to the passenger door. “Get out.”
Methos’ hazel eyes met the cold blue as he slid out of the seat and stood, all too aware of the drawn sword resting down by Kronos‘ side.
Kronos stepped back, subtly ushering him towards the dock. Methos nonchalantly walked down, slowing as he approached the mountain of cargo boxes resting on the dock bordering the bay. He turned slightly, aware of the silent presence behind him before gracefully leaning against the railing of the walkway. Methos waited with no expression on his face as Kronos stared at him with the same intense look he’d shot him since they’d left the burning powerstation.
The silent look was and wasn’t like Kronos. Oh, he’d taken pleasure in watching him, most often when in the midst of some form of carnality, either with him or others--women--slaves, never men of course. Kronos was the only male he was allowed. But Kronos had never been this patient.
The silent stillness was new, something he mused the Horseman had learned in the two thousand years they’d been apart. A characteristic he’d have to allow for…
He didn’t react when Kronos raised the sword to brush against his neck.
“Why did you stop the fight?” Kronos demanded. “You saved MacLeod”
“Could have gone either way,” Methos quietly drawled, “I couldn't take the chance.”
“Were you afraid of me losing? Or him?” Kronos questioned stepping closer to him threateningly.
Methos glanced down at the metal sliding against his throat for a moment before raising his eyes to meet Kronos’ once more.
“Have I been wrong about you? Maybe I should kill you right now and make absolutely sure.”
He looked off into the distance, apparently unconcerned at the threat. “If you do that you'll never have the Four Horsemen,” Methos quietly warned.
“What are you saying?”
“Silas and Caspian…are alive,” Methos informed him meeting the blue eyes, knowing that he was playing his last card; hoping that Kronos would take the bigger prize and forget about MacLeod.
“I can take you to them,” he offered confidently, casually gazing off into the distance for a moment before returning to meet the intense blue eyes. He had to get him out of Seacouver--away from MacLeod.
Kronos slowly lowered the sword. “Then you live,” he declared, stepping forward past him, his eyes now alight with a manic gleam. “The Four Horsemen ride again.”
Methos continued to gaze out over the distance, not reacting to the immortals’ departure, wondering if he wasn’t making a huge mistake. But he couldn’t come up with a better idea, not right now.
Duncan warily exited the elevator, sworn drawn. The sense of immortal’s presence inside the loft all too apparent, a tiny part of his soul hoping it was Methos.
He exhaled the breath he’d been holding as he recognized the slim, longhaired form. “I didn't think you were still alive.”
“I'm here,” Cassandra replied, “Did you find Kronos?”
Duncan shook his head.
“Then I've failed,” she stated in a defeated tone.
“No, you didn’t fail. You’re still alive.”
“And so are they. It'll never be over until they're both dead.”
“Then we'll find them,” he promised her and wrapped his arms around her comfortingly.
Part A of Bodies Close Souls Apart
1 Small homage to Ellen Kushner’s brilliant high
fantasy novel Swordspoint--A Melodrama of Manners. The book
is given to Alec by Richard St. Vier on pages 42-3.
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