Summary: Methos deals with his continuing attraction towards MacLeod during the events of Judgment Day and One Minute to Midnight.
Warnings: Explicit M/M sex
The Honeymoon's Over
Sweet Conflict: Part II
Jessica L. Blackstone
Dialogue taken from the episodes
Judgment Day and One Minute to Midnight
Written by David Tynan
No copyright infringement intended.
Methos took a sip of his tea, grimacing slightly. It needed another sugar. He was stirring his tea, looking down at the newspaper he had laid out across the coffee table when he felt the presence of another immortal approaching.
The ancient immortal didn’t even glance up at the man who had just stepped into the barge, but continued to search the listings for upcoming auctions which included manuscripts.
MacLeod strolled into his home, completely unsurprised at his guest. Even though his friend, recently turned lover had moved out, it wasn’t odd for him to find Methos ensconced in his home at any time, day or night.
He settled himself in the leather chair to the left of the man who was so intent upon the newspaper and patiently waited for the older immortal to acknowledge his presence. While he waited, Duncan allowed himself the pleasure of watching the aristocratic profile of the man as his agile strong hands circled particular listings or turned a page.
“Tea?” Methos offered his hand poised on the teapot.
“Yes, please” Duncan said as he accepted the plate of biscuits that Methos was holding out with his other hand while he poured. Methos added milk to the other man’s tea without asking before handing him the cup.
“Doing some research?” The highlander asked after taking a bite of a biscuit.
“Always. Thought I’d drop by.”
“How long have you been waiting?”
“An hour or so.”
“Anything in mind besides tea?” Duncan asked with a bold smile.
“Did...but now I’m late,” Methos stood abruptly and picked up his coat which was lying beside him on the couch. He adroitly folded up the paper and placed it under his left arm as he walked towards the door calling over his shoulder, “see you later, MacLeod.”
Duncan sat stunned, the cup of tea still in his hand, completely at a loss as to what had just happened. ‘Damn the infuriating man! He does this on purpose just to put me off’ he thought as he placed the cups on the serving tray along with the pot. ‘As well as leaving me to clean up his mess.’
Methos stuffed his hands into his pockets as he strolled along the walkway. He had been sorely tempted to forget about this Watchers meeting by the highlander’s imitation of a recalcitrant schoolboy waiting outside the schoolmaster’s office for punishment, but he couldn’t. His recent return to the position of head researcher in charge of the Methos Chronicles didn’t make that wise.
He had wanted nothing better than to remain with the attractive highland child in bed, or even on the floor for that matter. Methos sighed as a wave of anxiety crept over him at the thought. This thing with MacLeod only seemed to be getting stronger...
Moving out of the barge had done nothing but make it more apparent of how often he sought out the Scot’s company or he his. Amusement filled his hazel eyes as he remembered MacLeod just happening to stop by his new flat with a King Louis XIV chair.
‘I must be insane’ was the last thing he thought as he approached the entrance of the building.
“Identification, please” a man stepped forward from the right as soon as he entered.
Adam was startled, no one ever asked for identification. “What’s with the security?” He asked as he handed over his identification card, which he had retrieved from his right breast coat pocket.
The man didn’t answer but merely waved him through.
‘I don’t like the look of this’ he thought as he caught the lift to the second floor-Research.
“Claus, why all the security?” Adam asked the fellow researcher who was just passing the elevator as he exited.
Claus shrugged, “Jack Shapiro has the Tribunal up in arms about something. That’s all I know. Maybe they’ll tell us at the meeting.”
“Don’t count on it,” Adam muttered dryly as he followed him into the meeting room.
“Good afternoon. I’ve just been notified to inform you that additional security measures have been instituted. These will remain in effect until further notice. No one will be allowed in or out of any Watcher facility without identification and a password that will be changed daily. That is all.” finished Margaret Hilsby, new director of Research.
Pierson lurked for a while on the fringes of the remaining group of fellow researchers as they speculated about the current situation. After a few minutes it became very obvious that Claus had already told him all the information there was to know.
His tenacious curiosity was unwilling to let him admit defeat so he headed over to his desk to continue his examination of the diaries of the mad monk of Cordova.
Adam kept his ears open to the whispered conversation around him as he translated the archaic Latin, looking for a clue as to where his old friend had hidden the scrolls that he had given to his religious friend for safekeeping. They were writings that Methos had previously liberated from the library at Alexandria.
‘Well it seemed like a good idea at the time’ he ruefully thought as he stood up and stretched before picking up the diaries to return them to the vault. He was waiting for the lift when Hilsby’s secretary approached and handed him a small piece of paper.
“What’s this then?” Adam asked with a charming shy smile.
“Tomorrow’s password. It is to be spoken only on request on entrance and exit. Understood?”
Adam nodded thinking, ‘They are serious about this...” His forehead wrinkled as Lauren took back the piece of paper and departed apparently to spread the word.
The lift doors opened then, distracting him. He froze startled as he saw Jack Shapiro along with three of the Regional Directors in the crowded lift.
“I’ll take the next one,” he said with a quick smile releasing a deep sigh when the doors closed and the elevator moved on. ‘I think I’ll take the stairs.’
As he approached the main floor he was stopped by a man dressed in a suit. “Identification.”
Pierson handed over his id wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’ as he was waived through into the building proper. ‘This was getting ridiculous!’
He silently gave over his identification to the guard at the exit. While waiting, for its return he anxiously noted the increased visible security presence not only at the doors but also by the lift.
Methos’ mind was filled with troubling thoughts as he made his way home. He hoped that whatever it was, it wouldn’t involve him.
‘I wonder what Mac is up to?’ he thought as he let himself into his apartment. It was too risky to go out with the highlander in Paris, especially now that he was back full-time with the Watchers. ‘I wonder how MacLeod feels about a weekend in the country?’
The next day was fairly routine. He went to work at the bookstore, which amazingly enough was turning a profit this year. Adam Pierson didn’t make an appearance at the Paris Watcher facility but did stroll by on his way home, put off at the presence of even more security than yesterday.
Methos glanced down at the blinking light on his answering machine indicating two messages. A curious expression on his face as he pushed the play button.
“I need to see you.” The highlander’s voice was instantly recognizable even with the underlying anxiety in his tone, perhaps because of it. Something was very wrong.
The second message was equally worrisome. “Adam Pierson, all non-essential personnel are ordered to not come in and to remain on alert until further notice,” said a masculine voice which he vaguely recognized as Bert Pastric, a Senior researcher.
‘Well that’s providential, at least Adam Pierson wouldn’t have to explain his absence today,’ he thought as he checked the ammunition in his gun and the accessibility of his sword before leaving his apartment for MacLeod’s.
He kept a circumspect eye out as he walked through the dim evening light towards the barge, feeling grateful for the fog as he stood briefly out in the open just close and long enough for Duncan to feel his immortal presence. He withdrew back under the lee of the bridge to wait for his friend, shivering slightly in the damp cold air.
“I’m Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.”
“Yes, I know” Methos annoyingly uttered before tensing at the sharp edge of the sword at his throat.
“I was expecting someone else,” Duncan explained as he quickly withdrew the sword.
“Not a close friend, I assume.”
“Dawson was here this morning. Someone grabbed him outside the barge.”
“I don’t know, maybe they’re after me. Damn him! What’s he doing here?”
“Something’s going on with the Watchers. Security is intense. That’s why I didn’t come to the barge.”
“You’re going to have to find out who’s out there for me?”
“No, if I start questioning people, sooner or later, one of them starts questioning me!”
“You owe him,” MacLeod pointed out.
He shook his head emphatically “no” as he exhaled another breath of cold white air.
“Methos, what other watcher would have kept your secret? That you, an immortal are masquerading as a watcher named Adam Pierson.”
“That was his choice.”
“Yes, it was,” Duncan agreed, disappointment flickering in his brown eyes at the ancient’s immortals apparent disregard for Dawson’s plight.
Methos shook his head as he exhaled refusing to hold the highlander’s gaze.
“Ok, I’ll find out what I can,” Methos reluctantly promised, turning deliberately away from the pleased smugness on his friends face, wondering how the hell he got into this predicament.
“Thanks,” Duncan said solemnly, with another smug smile and his eyes brightening with amusement as he turned and walked away.
“I spent years losing my conscience, only for him to go and find it again...” Methos muttered as he watched MacLeod leave before carefully making his departure in the opposite direction.
Much to his dismay, all of Methos’ instincts were telling him that Dawson’s kidnapping and whatever was occurring within the Watchers was related.
He headed towards the bookstore with its Watcher networked computer. ‘Damn it! It was times like these that he missed Donald the most.’ His good friend would have instantly known what was going on.
‘Oh well, I’ll have to use more pedantic means,’ he thought as he patiently waited for the computer to boot up, the watcher logo appearing briefly. He instantly called up the latest immortal activity report for Paris, a superior smile on his handsome face as he used the backdoor he had created to gain access to the most secure areas of the Watcher’s database normally reserved for only members of the Tribunal. ‘Well, it paid to keep one’s hand in, after all.’
The smile quickly disappeared as he recognized the name Dawson in a recent e-mails to Shapiro. “Bloody hell!” He cursed softly as he read Jack Shapiro’s e-mail. Shapiro had been receiving reports from Watchers assigned in all parts of the world. The name ‘MacLeod’ appearing all too frequently as well in the most recent mails along with Dawson’s.
Methos picked up the phone to his right, transforming into the anxious scholar quite easily, “Lauren, I just received the message that we’re not going to be allowed access to the chronicles. I’m right in the middle of a crucial search, which will lead to the possible discovery of another of Methos’ lifetimes.”
“How unfortunate, Adam. The library is not available for the next few days while this unfortunate trial business...” Hilsby’s secretary always had a secret admiration for the handsome shy researcher.
“Trial?” Adam broke in, confusion clearly heard in his voice.
“A field agent, Dawson. For treason. Margaret and the other Heads objected. I mean what with the hearing not even being held in the city but they insisted.”
‘Damn!’ Methos thought as he closed his eyes tightly in agitation. “Oh well, It can’t be helped, I suppose. Although I’m sure it is causing you no end of difficulties...” Adam commiserated with the mortal researcher, only half listening to the rest of the conversation before ending it after wishing her a good evening.
He sighed. MacLeod had an intense dislike for the Watchers, a very warranted one to be sure, but one which made it very difficult for him to discuss anything regarding them with the stubborn highlander.
“MacLeod,” his friend said after picking up the phone after the first ring.
“The park at dawn,” he tersely said, referring to the City Park where they met from time to time, before promptly hanging up. The trial was being held outside the city. He pulled up the list of Watcher holdings. Three hundred and eight Watcher facilities, twelve of which were within reasonable travel distance of Paris.
He set a search program to run, looking for a correlation between the highest frequency of city names from the latest batch of expense reports with the locations of the twelve facilities. The program would run for the next few hours while he tracked down some of his fellow researchers for the latest gossip.
Pierson looked around the dim pub that was frequented by most Watchers at one time or another.
He looked towards the right to see Paul and several others who he met through Donald gathered at a table. “Paul, Gerald,” he said as he nodded to the others while sitting down.
“Guess this is all that they left us to do” Adam bewailed as he ordered a beer.
“Absolutely right! What is the Tribunal thinking, closing up the Paris facility...” Gerald remarked.
“I don’t like this, not at all,” Paul declared to the agreement of the others.
“For no reason! The Tribunal isn’t even in the city anymore,” declared a man to Adam’s left, a Senior Field Agent currently unassigned, he seemed to remember.
“Oh, when did they leave?” Gerald demanded as he ordered more drinks for the table.
“They were never here.” The one man he didn’t readily recognize sitting across from him said.
“What do you mean?” Adam asked quietly.
“The Tribunal was never IN Paris, Jack Shapiro was in town yesterday but only long enough to give some orders before he left.”
“Hmmm,” was the only comment Adam Pierson made as the conversation soon moved on to the latest happenings in the lives of some of the Watchers’ immortals. He drank his beer and quietly excused himself after another couple of hours with no further relevant information.
Adam Pierson made several stops at all the known Watcher hangouts but could learn nothing further about the present location of the Tribunal or trial. No one except those who had been given the new assignment, knew the location.
The charge of treason levied against Joe Dawson for consorting with the immortal Duncan MacLeod, however, was now common knowledge.
Methos walked in the early morning fog with his hands buried in the pockets of his coat. His face was expressionless as he paused briefly to buy a newspaper and a bag of bread for the pigeons before sitting down on the park bench to wait. He didn’t even look up at the buzz of an approaching immortal as he tossed some breadcrumbs.
“They’re definitely watching your barge, your phone is probably tapped as well,” he informed MacLeod with a quick glance out of the corner of his eyes.
“Who is?.....Methos?!” Duncan asked sensing the other immortal’s hesitation.
“It’s not an immortal, it’s the Watchers.”
“Dawson was taken by his own people? Why? Where is he?”
“I wasn’t able to find out” he quietly admitted.
“You’re a Watcher damn it. You should be able to find out,” Duncan demanded superciliously, every inch the clan chieftain.
“The rumor is that the Watcher Tribunal are putting him on trial for treason,” Methos said. He dusted off the remaining bread crumbs from his hands as he stood up, putting the folded newspaper under his left arm before he walked away, unwilling to even venture a glance at Duncan’s face at the disturbing news.
He instantly checked the computer after returning to the bookstore. The program was still running. Hell! Maybe he should upgrade. He sprawled in the chair planning to get some sleep. Who knew how long the next couple of days would be?
Three beeps woke him from his slumber. He blearily blinked his eyes as he focused on the monitor. Sixty-seven percent of gas mileage expense report claims in the last week designated Lyon as their destination. The seventh watcher facility on the list and the new Watcher headquarters.
Methos quickly gathered his things, pausing to go down to the basement to retrieve a book with a vague sense that it might prove useful.
The drive to Lyon was uneventful, which gave himself plenty of time to scold himself for letting the highlander’s sense of honor overrule his common sense. ‘I knew getting involved with the man was trouble.’
He still didn’t know what had ever motivated him to stay at his apartment so long ago after getting word from Dawson that he was sending Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod to protect him. He should have left, but after missing meeting the legendary highlander a couple of times in the last three hundred years, once by a mere day, curiosity won out over caution.
But the man had lived up to his reputation. Duncan was magnificent, a true warrior. As for his prowess in bed...well, it was worth putting up with the man’s ideals, as annoying as they were.
It wouldn’t last between them. Methos knew that, but was determined to enjoy it while it did.
He pulled off at the Lyon exit. Much to the ancient immortal’s chagrin he had spent the entire drive thinking more about MacLeod than Dawson. The highlander was definitely a threat to his continued sanity, but what was life without a little risk.
Duncan made him remember what life was like in the beginning...
He parked his car two miles away and approached the large house carefully, using the scattered trees as cover. Methos was looking towards the house when he suddenly felt the presence of another immortal. He sprang out from behind the tree with his sword in his hands to face the stranger, only to be stunned to be facing MacLeod.
Instinct recovered after a couple of seconds moving him to return to his cover behind the tree.
“We got to stop meeting like this. People will talk,” he remarked, tension giving a bite to the words.
“I thought you said you didn’t know where he was being held?!”
“I didn’t,” Methos said defensively responding to the distrust in the highlander’s voice as he moved to join him behind the same tree. “I managed a little research, okay! How did you find out?”
“I did some research of my own.”
“MacLeod, he’s in enough trouble as it is. You shouldn’t be here.”
“And you should?”
Methos pursed his lips in consternation; of course the annoying child would make him admit it, “Okay, like you say I owe him one.”
“Glad to hear it,” Duncan stated with clearly shown amusement. “Let’s figure a way in.”
The ancient immortal once again followed the highlander’s lead as they carefully made their way back towards the road.
“If you insist on continuing with this madness, we’ll have to wait till it gets dark.”
“Madness?” Duncan asked, taken back at the other immortal’s attitude.
“Yes. Madness, MacLeod. What else would you call it?” He rejoined as they walked back through the forest towards his car.
“Helping a friend.”
“Of course. Loyalty is a very admirable quality MacLeod, but it won’t bring you back to life. These are Watchers,” Methos coldly chastised as they approached his car, not needing to remind MacLeod that these men knew how to permanently kill immortals.
“Worried?” Duncan asked as he joined Methos in the car.
Methos closed his mouth and only looked straight ahead.
“Okay, so how do I get in?” MacLeod asked breaking the silence.
“I’ll distract the guards at the gate while you find a way in,” the older immortal advised, with a glance at Duncan’s face. “How good are you at climbing?”
“Good enough. How are you going to distract them?”
“I’ll think of something.”
“A simple plan,“ Duncan commented.
“Simplicity usually works.”
A couple of silent minutes passed.
Methos released his grip on the steering wheel with an audible sigh. He turned towards the backseat, ignoring Duncan’s questioning look, as he opened the lid of a plastic box and pulled out a bottle.
“Beer?” He offered, as he looked into MacLeod’s face.
MacLeod shook his head, “This isn’t some picnic, Methos!”
“Always pays to be prepared,” he simply said as he took a long swallow.
Duncan shook his head in amazement. He couldn’t believe Methos. The man continued to astound him. It still seemed incredible that he had become as intimate with this man that is humanly possible and yet he still had no insight into the ancient immortal’s psyche.
“Did you come by the barge the other day just to irritate me?”
Methos looked at him and gave a short laugh, “No, I could do THAT over the phone.”
Duncan snorted. It was the sad truth.
“I wonder what is happening to Joe?”
“Odds are, nothing,” Methos answered, continuing at Duncan’s confused look. “When have you ever known a trial to be anything but tedious, teeming with endless rhetoric between periods of nothing but waiting?”
MacLeod knew that Methos was probably right, but that didn’t stop him from worrying about his mortal friend. ‘Blasted Watchers!’ His attention returned to the man on his left who was adjusting his seat backward to a horizontal position.
“What are you doing?”
“Taking a nap,” Methos replied as he lay back against the seat and closed his eyes. “I su-ggest you do the same.”
Duncan looked around at the trees, the forced inactivity making him anxious. It was a couple of hours till sunset but he couldn’t leave. They might move Dawson to another location. His gaze returned to the face of his lover whose face remained as inscrutable as ever, even in sleep.
The distance Methos kept putting between them was really starting to annoy him. MacLeod gave into common sense and adjusted his seat slightly backwards in an effort to get some sleep.
Adam slowed the car to a stop before the gates of the new Watcher headquarters.
“Hold it,” the guard ordered. “Your I.D. please?”
Adam casually handed over his identification.
“What’s your business here?”
“It’s Pierson, Adam Pierson...I’m in Research. I’m attached to the Methos Project, okay, check it out,” he suggested.
The guard shook his head. “You’re not on the list.”
“They’ve shut the library in Paris and MOVED everything here?” They hadn’t but he didn’t think this cretin would know this.
“Come back next week.”
“Next week!” Adam began in an outraged tone, wanting to give MacLeod more time to get over the gates, “This is urgent!”
“Urgent?” The guard questioned with a laugh.
“If I lose Methos because of this, it’ll be on your head,” Adam warned.
“Your assignment’s been around 5000 years, another week won’t kill you.”
“Bloody bureaucrat!” Adam cried as he put the car into reverse and turned around.
‘Good luck, MacLeod’ he thought as he drove back to wait a couple of miles down the road, as he had arranged with the highlander.
It was one of the longest nights Methos could remember in a long time. “I hate waiting!” He said aloud inside his freezing car. ‘Especially in a forest in the middle of bloody nowhere!’ he furiously thought to himself as he watched the pouring rain. It was just after eleven, the highlander had been gone about three and a half hours, and the only good thing was that he hadn’t seen any signs of an immortal quickening in the storm. None of the lightening strikes made contact with the ground.
‘MacLeod is going to be the death of me,’ he bitterly thought. He hadn’t cared about another immortal so much in...well hell, even he couldn’t remember how long it had been. Probably never. What he felt for MacLeod was totally unique and totally irritating.
“Damn him, and damn me as well!”
At first light with no sign of Joe or MacLeod, Methos decided to take another look at the estate. Everything looked like business as usual. There appeared to be more automobiles parked in front of the main house, but that was the only difference.
He made his way back to his car, sitting still behind the wheel for a moment as he fiercely debated on his further involvement. Methos took out his cell phone with a sigh, and dialed, “Edward? Sorry to ring you so early...you haven’t been to bed? Why am I not surprised. Listen, do we know anyone who was transferred out to the new headquarters? Francis Evans, okay great, I really appreciate it. I owe you one.”
Methos hung up. He would have to wait another hour before he could reasonably expect Francis Evans to report to work. Another hour in which to worry. ‘I’ve been hanging around MacLeod too long. I’m actually becoming good at it,’ he thought broodingly.
Around eight he called Evans, smoothly slipping into his Watcher persona once again, “Good morning, Francis. It’s Adam...Pierson. How do you like Lyon? Oh really, well that’s too bad. I’m currently outside the city doing some research at a local church and was wondering if you’d like to get together for an early lunch. Eleven will be fine...you’ll leave my name at the gates. I’ll see you then.”
‘Adam Pierson was really becoming annoying,’ Methos thought to himself and not for the first time. Perhaps it was time for him to resign from the Watchers, before meeting an untimely death.
Methos was pleased to note that there was a different guard at the gate from last night. This time his identification was only briefly examined as his name was verified on the list, after which he was simply waved through.
If MacLeod had been less well-known among the Watchers, he would have been able to get the highlander inside yesterday in exactly the same way and been spared the drama.
After parking his car, he walked confidently into the building. He eschewed the armed guard with a claim to know his way around, and soon found himself alone in the right wing of the building, wondering where they were holding the trial.
It came to him in an instant. Self righteous mortals were always so melodramatic. The dungeons if they had them, or someplace equally dark and dreary. Sure enough, he soon heard voices at the end of one of the hallways in the basement, which he quietly but quickly headed down.
“Please, two minutes! Please!” he cried as he walked into the doorway of the shadowed room.
“Alright,” Jack Shapiro allowed him to enter.
He walked past Joe and MacLeod, glad to see that they were still in one piece.
“Who are you?” Shapiro asked.
“My name is Adam Pierson. I’m a researcher.” He said as he clutched the book he brought with him in his hands.
“We don’t need the opinions of researchers,” one member of the Tribunal stated.
“Maybe not, but I didn’t come to give you an opinion. I came here to give you this,” he said and placed the book in front of Shapiro. “I found that in an Italian library, misfiled as a fairy tale. It’s the private journal of a watcher...Methos’ watcher.”
“Watchers don’t keep journals.”
“Well, this one had to. You see he found out a great deal about his subject and the more he discovered, the more he came to like him...to admire him.” Dawson and MacLeod were never going to let him forget this....
“I know there is a point here somewhere, son,” Shapiro commented.
“They became friends, but because of our rules he couldn’t put that in his report. Think about it...the man knew Methos! But!...What stories they must have shared...what histories we might now KNOW if we didn’t force men like him, and Joe Dawson to hide what they have learnt. And how many others? How much more knowledge has been lost to us. I say let friendship thrive. Let him record all he has learned. Learn.”
“Are you through?” Jack asked.
Shapiro tilted his head to the guard to show him out. Methos turned around and caught Joe’s eyes before he allowed himself to be pushed towards the door.
He started a conversation with the guard who was escorting him out of the building. “What’s Duncan MacLeod doing down there?” Adam asked curiously, hoping that the man was the talkative type.
“He’s on trial with Dawson.”
“Whatever judgment the Tribunal hands down about Dawson, he’s going to share the same fate.”
“But the penalty for treason is...”
Damn it! He knew he shouldn’t have helped MacLeod with this lunacy. ‘I must have been out of mind!’
‘Great! This was just wonderful,’ Methos sarcastically thought to himself as he drove through the gates, not stopping until he reached the first cafe on the outskirts of Lyon.
Methos made a perfunctory call to Evans, canceling the impromptu lunch, citing an urgent need to return to Paris. It wouldn’t do to burn his bridges with any of his Watcher friends just yet. He had a feeling that he was going to need all the help he could get.
He spent the rest of the afternoon looking out at the falling rain, his drink sitting untouched on the table.
Around dusk, he went back to his car to wait for news either from MacLeod or from one of his other Watcher contacts about the outcome of the trial.
He answered his phone immediately. “Pierson. MacLeod,” he acknowledged, closing his eyes in relief. “What is going on?...I’m at a restaurant on the outskirts of Lyon, the Little Cafe. Right. I’ll be waiting outside in the parking lot.”
Methos watched expressionless, as MacLeod drove into the lot. He stayed by his car with his hands thrust into his pockets as the highlander strode over to him with a dark expression covering his handsome face.
“What happened?” He asked, as he leaned against the back of his car while his hazel eyes followed the agitated immortal who began to pace in front of him.
“Guilty of course! They had already made up their minds! The truth didn’t matter. Shapiro blames Dawson for all the Watchers who’ve been killed since I found out about them, including his son!
“Yeah, he got word right before the sentencing. His son, who had replaced Dawson as my Watcher, got killed. Joe wouldn’t come with me, even though he knew Shapiro had it in for him. Damn him! Setting himself up like that, waiting to die. He’ll go down without a word.”
“It sounds like that’s the way he wants it.”
“Well, what did he expect me to do, stay there and die with him?”
“Well I wouldn’t. MacLeod, you need a vacation. I hear New Zealand is very nice this time of year.”
“Look, you did your best, I did my best...If he wants to sit there like a lamb going to slaughter, then let him! There’s nothing else to do. I’m not going back for him.”
“No, wouldn’t be sensible.” Methos silently watched MacLeod for a few minutes. “Look, MacLeod you tried. It was Joe’s decision. Let’s get a room and get out of sight. Perhaps we can come up with something before morning.” He stood as he spoke and opened the boot, grabbing a black leather carry-all bag which he slung over his shoulder. The older immortal started walking towards the Inn which was located beside the restaurant, not bothering to check if the other was following.
MacLeod was a silent presence at his back as Methos walked through the entrance and over to the front desk. “Two rooms, please.”
The middle-aged man shook his head regretfully, “I’m very sorry, Monsieur. There is only one room available tonight.”
“That’s fine,” Methos quickly said, anxious to get the brooding Scot, who had once again started pacing, out of sight. They were still too damn close to Watcher headquarters. He followed the innkeeper down the hallway to the last room on the left, pleased to note that it was right next to an exit.
Methos quickly bade the man goodnight after he and MacLeod had been shown the ‘spacious room which would nicely accommodate even two big men like themselves.’
He shut the door firmly and turned around to see the younger immortal begin to pace the room lengthwise. Methos sighed as he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed.
“MacLeod, does that really help?”
“Being a human metronome.”
“This is no time for jokes, Methos! Joe is going to die tomorrow!”
“I don’t think wearing out the very nice Venetian rug will help Dawson either,” Methos remarked dryly and walked over to the small refrigerator. ‘Thank the gods!’ he thought as he pulled out one of the small bottles and quickly downed it. “Besides, it’s giving me a headache.”
“Well, what do you think we should do?”
Methos sighed, “ I don’t think Joe wants us to do anything. He believes in the Watchers, MacLeod. Joe gave his oath and he broke it. He feels it is the right thing to do.”
“What? To let them put a bullet in his head! Do you believe that?”
“It is not for me, or for you, to judge. He is a grown man, MacLeod. I respect Dawson and his decision.”
MacLeod was silent for several minutes, all of Methos’ words made sense, but damn it he didn’t have to like it. “Fine!” He exploded while he jerked his coat off and threw it across the small table by the bed before sitting heavily down in a chair.
“You hungry?” Methos asked, as he started towards the door.
Duncan shook his head. “Where are you going?”
“See if I can find out any specific details about tomorrow’s proceeding.”
“I thought you respected Dawson’s decision?”
“Doesn’t mean that I can’t give him another opportunity to change it,” the ancient immortal responded as he walked out of the room. He took out his phone and rang Francis, hoping the man was still a late night socializer.
“Evans? It’s Pierson. No, I’m still in Lyon. Hilsby ordered me to check out something for her tomorrow at headquarters. Do you want to get together for that beer? I can find it.”
Methos walked into the dimly lit pub, a part of him absently wondering why it seemed he spent more than half of all his lifetimes in taverns of one sort or another.
“Francis,” he greeted the other researcher who stood at his approach.
“Adam, it’s nice to see you. What happened to that urgent business in Paris?” Francis asked with a confused expression on his face as he gestured for the waiter.
“Beer,” Adam ordered, before he answered, “delayed. It seems Hilsby has something more important for me. She said something about a trial. Do you know what it is all about?”
“You mean, you don’t know? I guess you’re still the same...you really do need to get your head out of the chronicles in that musty bookstore occasionally, Adam. Joe Dawson has been convicted of treason. He is to be executed tomorrow at seven.”
“I guess that is why Hilsby wants me to stay, she said something about me keeping an eye out.”
“Hilsby wants you to spy for her? Hmmm, it wouldn’t surprise me, considering how ambitious she is. I really miss Paris, with all the office intrigues. Well, not that I think it will help you, since no one is being allowed to attend it but the Regional Directors and the Tribunal, but the execution is to take place on the north east terrace. All other personnel have been told not to come into headquarters tomorrow.”
“Thanks for the information. What about you? Have you found any evidence of the existence of any new immortals we don’t know about?” Adam asked, turning the conversation to the more ordinary subject of Watcher research.
“Yes, there appears to be an old journal entry by the town doctor who claims to have seen a murdered woman rise and walk out of town in 1823...”
Methos wasn’t surprised to find the highlander still awake as he walked into the hotel room, carrying a brown paper bag. He ignored the brooding man sitting in the dark as he walked over and opened the small refrigerator.
“What were you able to find out?”
“Nothing helpful, I’m afraid,” Methos replied as he pulled out the six pack of beer and placed it into the refrigerator, next to the meat, cheese and bread he had brought. “Dawson is to be executed at seven on the north east terrace of the building.”
He walked over to the bed, shrugging out of his coat along the way, which he dropped on the bed. Methos sat with his back facing MacLeod as he took off his shoes. In a unconsciously seductive move he pulled off his sweater and pushed down his slacks which he left on the floor before getting into the bed.
“So we do nothing? We just let Dawson die?” The highlander had hoped the older immortal would come up with some plan.
Methos exhaled as he bunched the pillow more firmly behind his neck. “I don’t see any alternative, do you?”
“No,” Duncan admitted in a dark tone as he watched the other immortal turn over onto his stomach, settling himself more comfortably in the bed.
“I’m sorry, Duncan,” he said softly.
“I know,” MacLeod replied, resigned, before getting up and walked towards the bathroom. “You wouldn’t have anything for me to wear, would you?”
“Check the bag.”
Duncan’s eyebrows lifted at the reply, and walked over to the bench where Methos’ leather bag was resting. Underneath a gray sweater, he found a pair of his silk pajama pants. “These are mine,” he exclaimed.
“I would hope so, otherwise some other immortal left them at my place.”
“But how did you know that I?...Oh, of course, it always...”
“...pays to be prepared,” Methos softly murmured as he fell asleep.
Duncan softly snorted before he casually got undressed and put on the pants. He made a point of hanging up the other immortal’s clothes as well as his own, shaking his head in consternation at he did so. ‘Methos was incorrigible,’ he exasperatingly thought as he laid down in the bed beside the other man and stared at the ceiling.
‘Damn Joe’s stubbornness!’ Guilt consumed the highlander as he tried to force himself to sleep but having little success.
Duncan was up before dawn, after getting only brief snatches of sleep. He quietly got dressed, after taking a quick shower, not wanting to wake Methos who was still deep asleep or so he thought.
“Where are you going?”
“He deserves an honorable burial.”
Methos nodded his agreement, MacLeod was right, Joe did deserve a decent burial. “I’ll be here,” he said with an intense look.
MacLeod gave a stiff nod before he strode out of the room.
After tossing and turning for several minutes in a lame attempt to avoid the day’s events, Methos got up and took a shower. Through sheer force of will he kept his mind off of Dawson’s predicament as he shaved, pleased to realize that MacLeod had kept enough wits about him this morning to shower and shave before leaving.
Worried irritation for the highlander decreased even more as he found evidence that Duncan had eaten sometime during the night. He really didn’t need to have to worry about MacLeod on top of Dawson. That was really too much to expect of an old guy like himself.
His thoughts however had returned once again to the highlander as he distractedly packed, wondering how Duncan was when his reverie was broken by his phone ringing.
“Pierson....What? How bad is he? Right, bring him here,” Methos ordered as he surveyed the hotel room, already planning what he would need. “I have my medical bag with me. I’ll see what I can do.”
He immediately sprang into action after ending the call. Methos quickly ordered more towels from the hotel before running out to his car to retrieve his medical bag. After stripping the bed, no need to get blood on everything, he filled the ice bucket with clean water and sat down at the table disinfecting his medical instruments. The pile of fresh towels resting to his left on the table.
A sound brought him out into the hallway where he held open the exit door for the tall Scot who was just getting Dawson carefully out of the car. MacLeod hurried into the room, carrying Joe. He gently laid down the elderly watcher on the bed as he spoke, “I managed to slow down the bleeding.”
“Good, undress him. Check to make sure that this is his only injury,” Methos ordered as he removed Dawson’s jacket and shirt. He put on his stethoscope and listened intently for several minutes, glad to hear the steady beat of Joe’s heart and no indication of a punctured lung. “Your right. The bullets exited cleanly through the back.”
“Yes,” Methos confirmed as he used one of the sanitized clothes from his bag to gently clean the two open wounds on the Dawson’s chest. “One shot entered above his left collar bone while the other went through his shoulder. The first one is worrisome, although I don’t think it punctured his lung or any major vessels. Joe is one lucky guy.”
MacLeod snorted, “I think he’d disagree.”
“He’s still alive, MacLeod.”
The highlander nodded, his focus on the steady agile hands which were adeptly cleaning and bandaging Joe’s chest. “How long has it been since you practiced medicine?”
“Checking my credentials, NOW?” Methos asked in an amused tone as he picked up another piece of gauze and nonchalantly dropping the bloody one in the waste basket beside the bed. “Over a century...help me out,” he called indicating for the other immortal to hold the unconscious man up briefly so Methos could take care of the exit wounds on the back.
That done he had MacLeod gently lay Dawson back down while he listened once again to his heart and lungs. A worried expression covered the ancient immortal’s face. “His pulse is still strong. Check his blood pressure for me while I prepare a shot for the pain.”
“How did you?” MacLeod’s voice trailed off as he remembered that Methos as a watcher had access to his chronicles. Probably knew everything about him, including his being a medic, while he knew next to nothing about the older immortal. ‘Damn the man!’ the Scot bitterly thought as he used the portable blood pressure gauge and cuff on Joe. “It’s a little low but steady.”
“Good, as long as that stays the same and there’s no sign of infection or fever, I think we can avoid hospital.”
“So he’s going to live?” MacLeod asked, needing to hear the words.
“Yes, but we’re not going to be able to move him for three days. Moving on his own is out for at least a week or more.”
“Not for Dawson, I bet.”
“He’s lost a lot of blood, Mac. He’s going to be too weak to move, that along with the pain from being shot twice...three days at least.” Methos calmly injected a conservative dose of Demerol into Dawson as he spoke.
“Now I suggest you get some sleep. I’ll take the first watch.”
“Where? I don’t want to bother Joe.”
“The floor.” Methos softly laughed as MacLeod shook his head at the suggestion. “Oh please, don’t tell me the Scottish barbarian is unfamiliar with the concept.”
“Oh yeah, when was the last time you slept on the floor, old man?”
“1985. Ring the concierge and have them send a cot with some extra bedding.” Methos wiped his hands on a towel and began tidying up. “Did you see who it was?”
MacLeod shook his head, his gaze on Joe as he answered, after following the suggestion. “Just an immortal, the same one that I sensed at the old headquarters.”
Methos nodded his head at the information. An immortal who was deliberately out killing Watchers. Just bloody wonderful. He was checking Joe’s blood pressure himself when a knock sounded on the door, which he answered, since Mac was still wearing clothes which were a bit too bloody.
“Bonjour,” he greeted the maid carrying the cot who gestured to be let into the room, presumably to set it up. “Ne tracassez pas votre joli individu. Je puis le faire, mademoisselle.” Methos smiled charmingly as he accepted the cot and quickly put it just inside the room before turning with outstretched arms to accept the extra bedding. “Merci.”
“Must you constantly do that?” MacLeod asked as he walked over and picked up the wooden cot, after Methos closed the door.
Methos gave him a questioning look as he followed with the bedding. “Do what?”
“It’s called being friendly, MacLeod.”
Duncan muttered something under his breath that Methos couldn’t make out but which sounded vaguely like a old Gaelic curse.
MacLeod happened to look down at his shirt as he unfolded the cot beside the bed. “I’m going to get cleaned up.”
Methos absently nodded as Duncan headed for the bathroom, his attention on Joe who seemed to stir before settling down again. He was making the cot with the new bedding when MacLeod walked out of the bathroom fastening his dark blue shirt.
Duncan was startled to discover another facet of the complex man who occasionally shared his bed, as he silently watched the usually lethargic immortal, who normally seemed to find lounging exhausting, competently making up the cot for him.
‘I shouldn’t really be surprised at Methos-the-caretaker,’ Duncan thought to himself. Methos had been protecting him in one way or another ever since he had met the ancient immortal.
Methos took Joe’s pulse before settling down in the chair by the bed, hoping that he was right and that the Watcher’s lungs or chest wasn’t filling with blood. Duncan would never forgive him if he let Joe die. He watched expressionless as the other immortal settled onto the cot and fell asleep after a couple of minutes.
The next couple of hours passed unexcitingly, thank the gods. He occasionally checked Dawson’s vital signs, please to note that the blood pressure was approaching normal. Methos was just listening to Joe’s lungs when the Watcher’s eyes opened and focused on him.
Joe opened his mouth to speak but a small dry cough emerged instead. “Now I know I’m in hell,” he finally managed to whisper as he closed his eyes tiredly.
Methos gave a half smile, “Alexa used to say I was an angel.”
“Love is blind,” was the gruff reply.
“That it is. How do you feel?”
“Like I’ve been shot!” Joe spoke with a slightly stronger voice. “Where am I?”
“Hotel room. Lyon.”
Methos merely raised his eyebrows as he took off the stethoscope and placed it back in his bag.
“If he hadn’t returned for you this morning you would be dead.”
“Someone tried to summarily put an end to the Watchers,” Methos simply replied.
Methos shook his head slightly.
“Damn! Who was it?”
“We don’t know, only that it was...” Methos hesitated.
“...an immortal,” Joe finished glumly seeing the answer in Methos’ veiled expression. “I’ve got to get out of here,” Joe grumbled as he motioned to get up.
“Take it easy,” Methos quickly ordered as he held the mortal man down on the bed. “You’ve been shot twice, Joe. You’ve lost a lot of blood. You aren’t going anywhere, not for a while.”
Joe nodded as just talking exhausted him. He closed his eyes tiredly.
“How is the pain?”
“Faint like a distant ache,” Joe replied softly.
“Good. That means the Demerol is working. I’ll give you another shot in a couple of hours. Sleep, Joe,” he softly ordered the elderly man, grateful when his patient’s eyes closed and Dawson’s breathing evened out into sleep without further argument.
Methos relaxed as his fears about his diagnosis were put to rest by the talk with Joe. Dawson would be coughing up blood if his lung had been punctured. His vital signs wouldn’t be improving either.
He returned to his position in the chair by the bed, wondering how long it would be before the massacre at headquarters was discovered. With Dawson missing there was only one conclusion that would be drawn, especially with MacLeod’s escape the night before. Methos really hated when life became so bloody complicated. ‘An avoidable side effect,’ he bitterly thought, ‘of remaining in the attractive highlander’s life.’
“How is he?”
Duncan’s question out of the darkness woke Methos from his dire musings. “Improving. He regained consciousness a little while ago,” he replied as he watched the younger immortal sit up and swing his legs off the cot to face him.
“Did you tell him?”
“How did he take it?”
“How do you think?”
“I have to find out who this immortal is and stop him.”
“You realize that the Watchers are going to think that you’re the killer.”
“What!” He hadn’t thought of anything but Dawson for the last twenty-four hours.
“They’re going to be out looking for you AND Dawson. They don’t know that Joe was hit. It makes perfect sense. You escaped so you could rescue Dawson later.”
“They should know that I would never kill innocent people!” MacLeod hotly said as he stood and began to pace in the limited space beside the cot.
“Mac?” Joe’s sleepy voice stopped Methos’ sarcastic reply.
“Joe,” MacLeod acknowledged in a glad voice. “Nice to have you back with us.”
“When I got there everyone had been shot. Did you see who it was?” Duncan asked.
Duncan nodded, that is what he had thought. “I don’t who it was, but I swear to you, Joe, I’m going to find out.”
“I know you will,” Joe said as his attention focused on Methos who had approached him while he was talking with MacLeod. “What is that?” he asked as felt the sharp prick of a needle.
“Another shot of Demerol.”
Joe grunted. “So what do we do now?”
It was Methos who replied. “For now, you stay put and rest. That goes for you too,” he stated, meeting the other immortal’s eyes in the dim light. “Paris is going to be full of people looking for you. They will probably overlook Lyon in their haste.”
MacLeod nodded, that made sense but the waiting was galling because he knew that the other immortal would be hunting the Watchers as they hunted for him as the supposed killer. His gaze switched to Methos who was tiredly rubbing the back of his neck as he tidied up the table.
Duncan walked over to the other side of the bed to stand beside Methos, who was returning the medical paraphernalia to his bag. “Get some rest, I’ll watch him.”
Methos nodded, his attention focused on his bag when the feeling of being watched forced him to turn and meet Duncan’s eyes. Curiosity filled him as the other’s hand lightly caressed the left side of his face as Duncan brought his face so close that they were breathing each other’s exhales.
The calculating part of Methos’ brain listened to his patient’s breathing in the background, noting that Joe had fallen back asleep. The knowledge which allowed him to silkily slide his cheek against Duncan’s hand enjoying the feel of the strong warm hand against his face.
Duncan’s eyes darkened with desire at the open sensuality of Methos’ response, stirring him to press his lips to the older immortal’s, gently brushing them with the tip of his tongue until they parted allowing him sweet entry. He quickly deepened the kiss, capturing Methos’ tongue and gently sucking on it, hearing the other’s tiny moan as he automatically reached out for Methos’ hip and pressed their groins against each other.
Methos’ turned his head, abruptly ending the kiss. ‘How the hell did they get to this point so quickly,’ he thought as he panted. It was just a simple kiss and yet that seemed more than enough to willingly overcome his millennia-bred cautiousness.
“I’m going to bed,” he stated as he stepped out of Duncan’s embrace and without another word or glance in the highlander’s direction walked over to lay down in the cot with his back towards him and the sleeping Watcher.
The soft murmur of voices woke him. That coupled with the feel of another immortal made him tense in fear for a few milliseconds before memory caught up and Methos relaxed. It was only MacLeod.
He yawned as he swung his legs off the cot and sat up, blinking his eyes in the sunlight from the drawn curtains.
“And I thought I was a noisy sleeper,” Joe said before he sipped some kind of liquid from his spoon.
“I don’t snore,” Methos stated without rancor as he stood and stretched. ‘Damn it he hated sleeping fully dressed.’
“Joe didn’t say you snored,” MacLeod pointed out as he walked over and handed the older immortal a cup of coffee.
Methos casually accepted the cup and automatically raised it to his lips for a drink as he thought about Duncan’s words. “I talked?”
The highlander nodded with a very amused expression on his face as he returned to his seat at the table, out of sight of the window.
“If you can call it that!” Joe said, annoyed.
Comprehension dawned. “Sorry Joe, next time I sleep, I’ll remember to speak in a language that has only been dead for a couple of centuries.”
“Don’t do me any favors.”
The mischief in the hazel gold eyes fled as Methos took in Joe’s cautious movements as the wounded man set the spoon gingerly back on the breakfast tray.
“Joe?” Methos asked, a very concerned expression on his face as he strode over and picked up the mortal’s wrist to take his pulse.
Joe jerked his wrist out of Methos’ grip, with a wince. “I’m fine, damn it. My chest is just killing me, okay.”
“Are you have any trouble breathing? Coughing up any blood?” Methos asked in a no nonsense tone.
“No and No. Where the hell did you get your medical training anyway?” Joe demanded.
“Germany. How’s his blood pressure?” Methos asked ignoring Joe’s mumbled “in what century?” as he walked around the bed to stand by the table and opened his bag.
“It’s been steady all morning,” Duncan informed him.
Methos put on his stethoscope and placed the end on Joe’s chest ignoring his patient’s annoyed expression with a pointed one of his own.
Joe took a deep breath, and another at Methos’ nod.
“Well, everything sounds okay. Now comes the big decision, who do you want to stitch you up? Me or MacLeod?” he asked as he sat down at the table and started spooning some scrambled eggs onto a plate.
“Huh?” Joe asked confused.
“I wondered about that,” Duncan commented as he watched the man across from him begin eating.
Methos nodded while he finished chewing his bite of egg and toast. “I didn’t want to close him up if the bullet had indeed punctured his lung. They would have had to open him up at hospital...front ones might not need sutures.”
Joe’s gaze turned to MacLeod who was nodding.
“I checked them this morning, the butterfly bandages seemed to have held the entry wounds closed enough to begin healing pretty well.”
“What about the exit wounds?” Methos asked in between bites.
“They might need one stitch, maybe two. The bullets passed through pretty cleanly.”
Methos nodded that was his diagnosis as well. The main wound that needed to be sewn up was the upper back exit wound. “Well, Joe?”
“When was the last time you sewed someone up?” Joe asked with a serious expression on his face.
Methos tilted his head, his green-gold eyes looking upward as he calculated the answer. “One hundred and fifty three years, give or take.”
“World War II.”
Joe shrugged his right shoulder in response with a half smile on his distinguished face.
Methos took out four small aluminum sealed packets. “These are local anesthetic solutions. Are you familiar with them?”
MacLeod shook his head no.
“The liquid will numb the area of skin that it is poured on for a few minutes. Fifteen at most. The numbness should take place within 30 seconds of application. Apply all four and begin immediately. Feeling will begin to return gradually, I’m sure Joe will tell you if it’s wearing off and your still sewing. Everything you need is in the bag. Call me if you need anything.”
“What...where are you going to be?” Duncan asked as he began pulling out the needle to thread it.
“Showering, of course,” Methos drawled as he delicately wiped his mouth with a napkin and stood.
Duncan just shook his head, slightly disconcerted at the mischief he could see brewing in the bewitching hazel eyes.
Methos grabbed his black leather bag on his way into the bathroom, a smile breaking out on his face after he closed the door behind him. ‘Better you than me, highlander,’ he thought knowingly. The smile got even wider as he heard Dawson’s voice tentatively question, “Sure you know what you’re doing, Mac?”
Methos had just finished pulling on his pants after his quick shower and was standing at the sink about to begin shaving when there was a soft knock on the door. His eyes flicked to the reflected image of the long haired man who opened the door behind him and stopped to lean his right shoulder against the doorjamb with a bemused expression on his handsome face.
“How’s Joe?” Methos asked as he smoothed a little bit of shaving gel above his upper lip.
“Sleeping. I gave him another shot of Demerol,” Duncan replied as his brown eyes flickered intensely down the fair lean body of the half-dressed man before him. He watched completely bemused as Methos’ quickly finished shaving.
With his eyes locked on Methos’ he gracefully walked up behind him and placed his hands on the sink on both sides of his lover. For a long minute the two men stared at one another in the mirror. The darker face of the highlander contrasting intensely with the fair skinned, freshly shaven face.
It was just his name but it shot chills of delight up and down his spine, instantly making him harden. The refusal that was on Methos’ lips died unspoken as Duncan placed a soft kiss in the middle of his back between his shoulder blades.
Methos’ eyes closed as he tilted his head back to rest on Duncan’s shoulder. “Yes,” he whispered as his left hand reached up to press the highlander’s face against his neck where it had begun nuzzling and licking.
Duncan remembered that he hadn’t shut the door and placed his right hand on Methos’ stomach drawing him backwards with him a few paces so he could close the door with his foot.
Methos’ couldn’t control his abdominal muscles from trembling in response to the heightened feel of the callused palm against his stomach. His right hand reached back to grasp the side of the body which was so deliciously pressing up behind him.
Methos’ opened his eyes to find that he was back standing before the sink. He caressed his hand up and down Duncan’s side while meeting the lust-ridden brown eyes in the mirror.
The ancient’s immortal’s eyes closed tightly and his left hand clutched the cold sink in a iron grip at the incredible feel of those callused palms smoothly unfastening his jeans and drawing him tenderly out.
Duncan loved the taste of Methos’ skin, especially just after a bath. He leisurely licked, nibbled and sucked his way up the slim neck, his lips arcing into a wolfish smile as Methos’ tilted his head sidewise, baring his throat even more.
The younger immortal quickly unfastened his pants, letting them fall as he grabbed the first bottle on the sink and squeezed some gel onto his hands. He quickly coated himself and grabbed Methos’ bare hips as he positioned himself and began pressing inwards.
Methos’ hands whitened as he clutched the sink harder as he felt the sweet slow invasion. His body welcomed the hot slightly abrasive feel of the cock as it slid inside with very little resistance. A sob of pleasure almost escaped his lips at the feeling of fullness when the highlander rested completely inside of him. Thankfully, he only emitted a sigh.
Methos immediately moved his hips demanding more as the highlander’s devilish mouth returned to torment his sensitive neck. He closed his eyes even tighter as his right hand released the sink to reach up and clutch the back of Duncan’s head as the younger immortal began thrusting long and deep inside of him.
Duncan shifted his stance, pleased to hear Methos’ breath hitch at the slight change of angle. Each of his thrusts were now brushing slightly against the prostate just how Methos’ liked it. His own orgasm came out of nowhere after only half a dozen strokes, surprising him in its intensity.
Methos’ hold on Duncan’s head became vicious as the rapid thrusts of the cock buried deep within him made him come furiously within seconds of the younger man’s. He released his grip after several tense moments as he braced himself exhaustedly on the sink. Gladly accepting Duncan’s weight as the highlander rested his forehead between his shoulder blades.
Duncan’s sigh against his back as he slowly slipped from his body sent delicious chills up Methos’ spine. ‘The man was too damn good at this,’ Methos dazedly thought as soon as he was able to perform higher brain functions. He hadn’t dropped his pants this eagerly or as often for anyone in ages, especially another immortal.
“It still surprises me that it only took four centuries for you to overcome your...upbringing enough to do this. I guess I have Amanda’s influence to thank,” he uttered between pants.
Duncan’s eyebrows shot up at the arrogant tone. “Your eyes would bewitch a saint.”
“Ah, but it wasn’t my eyes you were just appreciating, MacLeod,” Methos drawled as he moved away towards the shower faucet and turned it on.
MacLeod caught Methos’ forearm as he was stepping into the shower, forcing the hazel eyes to meet his. “The rest is mighty pleasing, I grant you, but your body wasn’t what first drew me to you, Methos.”
The hazel green eyes expressed no emotion at the passionate words or the smoldering brown gaze. Methos simply stepped under the flowing water and the moment was broken.
The highlander turned away feeling chastised by Methos’ reaction or the lack of one. ‘What the hell does the man want? The irritating bastard!’ he thought as he quickly cleaned himself off with a towel before leaving to go check on Joe.
Methos quickly washed off, trying not to think about the feelings that MacLeod’s words had aroused in him. The primary one being panic. Exhilaration. Fear. He closed his eyes at the last. Now he couldn’t even fool himself into thinking it was just physical, this thing between him and Duncan. Sex he could do. What he saw heralded in the brown eyes of he highlander was out of the question.
MacLeod didn’t even look up when Methos finally exited the bathroom and immediately went to check on Dawson.
Methos joined the highlander at the table, deliberately extending his legs under the table to brush lightly against MacLeod’s.
“What’s on the menu for lunch?” Methos’ eyes flicked casually across the room service menu before returning to the other man’s sullen face. “How about some haggis?” he teased with a small smile.
Duncan shook his head, trying to stop the smile his mouth was forming but failing. His earlier irritation towards Methos’ replaced with indulgent amusement. “It’s not on the menu, but I’ll remember you wanted it.” The highlander’s brown eyes held the promise of revenge at the thought of seeing Methos actually eat the dish, the ancient had earlier proclaimed once in a long ago conversation that he despised.
They had just finished eating lunch when Methos’ cell phone rang. “Pierson. What?! Who did it? Uh, huh. Right. I understand. Thanks, Francis.”
The face Methos turned to MacLeod was expressionless. “It’s begun.”
Duncan immediately began pacing, his glance flicking occasionally to Joe who was still deep asleep. “So what now, wise one?” Duncan sarcastically baited.
Methos was completely dispassionate as he found himself watching the highlander pace once again. “Disappear, let our unknown immortal and the Watchers battle it out amongst themselves.”
“No! I won’t let any more people die. Not when I can stop it.”
The older immortal acknowledged MacLeod’s vehement vow with a small, only slightly mocking tilt of his head. He knew it wouldn’t be that easy. Not with MacLeod. “Dawson will probably be able to return to Paris tonight,” Methos informed him even though his instincts were warning him it was a mistake.
Methos gracefully slipped into his coat, automatically checking the position of the secreted sword. “I’ll go rent a van. Make some other arrangements. The bookstore should be safe enough. Right now the Watchers are scattered. Getting into Paris shouldn’t be a problem. ”
“It’s only a matter of time,” Duncan said, considering the implications.
“Yes. Fortunately, only Shapiro knows that I spoke on Dawson’s behalf. I’m hoping he won’t remember that for a while.”
“Shapiro wasn’t killed?” Surprise colored MacLeod’s voice.
“Apparently not. I’m betting Joe will be able to tell us more,” Methos replied as he left the room, quietly shutting it behind him so as to not disturb Dawson.
“You guys settled?” Methos asked with a glance in the rearview mirror, as he adjusted the back of the driver’s seat to a more comfortable angle.
Methos nodded and smoothly pulled out onto the motorway, grateful for once that MacLeod was brooding again. The highlander could go for hours without speaking in this state, which was fine with him since he wasn’t in a talkative mood.
From what Joe had told them, Jack Shapiro was now the only living member of the Tribunal. He had the entire Watcher organization at his disposal, which boded ill for Dawson and MacLeod. Methos only hoped that the calmer heads of what remained of the regional directors would be able to prevail, before those who believed as Horton did took advantage of the massacre for their own ends.
The ancient immortal sighed and flexed his fingers around the steering wheel in an effort to relieve some of his tension. His eyes darted to the rearview mirror for a glimpse of the handsome man sitting behind him. Duncan was asleep.
Methos let his eyes feast on the man. MacLeod was one of the most striking, charismatic men he had come across in a while. A habit which he did not seem to be able to break.
“OOOOah” yawned Duncan as he woke up. “Where are we?” MacLeod stretched his arms out to his sides as he met the hazel eyes in the mirror.
“Outskirts of Paris. We’ll be at the bookstore in half an hour....How’s Joe?”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Methos quietly asked while he easily navigated the less reputable streets of Paris towards Shakespeare and Company.
Duncan nodded. He had to find the man who was out there killing Watchers.
“I’ll check the network. See if there is any pattern to the killings.”
“Besides the obvious, you mean,” MacLeod sarcastically said. He still couldn’t believe that Dawson’s own people had turned on him. The Watcher bloody oath. He rubbed his forehead soothingly as his eyes rested on the sleeping figure to his left. How could the Watchers prize rules above a good man’s life. “Thanks, it’ll give me a place to start.”
Methos nodded as he pulled to a stop in the alley behind the bookstore. The cease of motion waking the sleeping Watcher.
“What?” Dawson drowsily muttered, slightly wincing as he sat up.
“Home sweet home,” Methos called in a dry tone.
“Thought I’d seen the last of this place,” Joe muttered as they helped him into the bookstore to the lounge area at the back. “Anything to eat?” he asked grumpily. Methos hadn’t allowed anything heavier than crackers past his lips the whole day and he was ravenous.
“Should be. Told Clayton to pack the refrigerator before taking the next couple of days off.”
“Won’t he be suspicious?” MacLeod asked with a troubled expression as he opened the refrigerator revealing enough food to last at least a couple of days.
“No. I stayed here myself a few days after Alexa’s death,” Methos casually dismissed the question. “Beside he’s not with the Watchers, doesn’t know anything about them.”
“That’s right. The bookstore is no longer a Watcher holding, is it?” Dawson asked, accepting the sandwich the highlander had quickly thrown together.
“It’s mine. I was Christine’s beneficiary,” Methos spoke quietly, not needing to remind the other Watcher of his bitter parting with Don’s wife. “Don intended to retire and run it. He loved this place.”
“Yeah, he did.” Joe knew that Adam felt partly responsible for Don’s death. Don after all had died indirectly because of him, because of Methos.
“That’s why we have to stop any more people from dying,” Duncan declared. “Methos?”
“Help Dawson downstairs, while I go log into the network. See what Shapiro and our unknown foe have been up to.”
Methos’ gaze was fixed on the computer screen when he felt the highlander’s presence behind him.
“Not as yet. David Shapiro was killed outside the barge. There have been other Watchers killed around the city in isolated incidents for the past couple of months. I suspect several of the eighty or so murders that the Tribunal spuriously correlated with your little talk with Joe, three years ago, are also unrelated to our friend. However, the forty-eight or so which I believe he is responsible for--mainly took place here, in Europe. I’ve cross referenced all immortals last known to be living in the region but haven’t run across any likely candidates.”
“One would think there would be no shortage of contenders--given immortal sensibilities.”
A sardonic smiled covered Methos’ angular face. “Most of the more likely ones are confined in prisons, or insane asylums.” Methos’ hazel eyes took in the highlander’s questioning expression in a quick sidewise glance. “After all, where else would you expect to find men who go around cutting people’s heads off and claiming they’re immortal.”
Duncan looked curiously around at the books on the shelves surrounding the computer. “You were able to do all that from here?”
“With the help of a few tricks I’ve built into the system.” Methos had no intention of revealing to anyone, even MacLeod about the existence of the second disc containing the Watcher database that he and Don had created.
Methos had only thought that Don couldn’t surprise him any more. Stumbling upon the second backup amongst the shelves had made him laugh so hard, tears ran down his face. Something that hadn’t occurred in centuries.
“Joe settled in?” Methos asked as he turned to face the other immortal.
“Grumbling all the way,” Duncan informed him as he leaned against the desk on Methos’ right.
“Find everything okay? Have enough blankets?”
“Only a couple hours of darkness left,” Methos remarked as he absently made sure that the program would continue to monitor the latest field agent reports.
Duncan nodded as he gazed affectionately down at the other man, “Too late to go out tonight.”
“Tell Joe I’ll check on him tomorrow.” The ancient immortal had smoothly stood and was moving towards the back exit as he spoke.
Methos paused between the stacks but didn’t turn around.
A slight nod was the only response from the other immortal before he continued on his way.
Duncan picked up one of the printed pages scattered across the desk. ‘Bloody madness’ the Scot thought as he took in the neatly drawn circles across the map of Paris. The incidents looked completely random.
Methos let himself into his flat with a sigh. He couldn’t remember being this tired in years. He immediately checked his machine for messages, grateful yet slightly puzzled when there weren’t any.
It had been two days since Dawson’s scheduled execution. Evidently Shapiro had not made the exact details of Dawson’s escape public. If Shapiro had, his answering machine would be lit up like a beacon with the number of messages Adam Pierson would have received from his fellow Watchers.
Once the details were known there wouldn’t be a safe place for MacLeod here or at any of his usual haunts. ‘The highlander was just too bloody predictable really,’ he thought snidely as he undressed and slipped into bed. “And too blasted recognizable,” he muttered aloud. ‘Maybe he would have better luck persuading MacLeod to leave Paris tomorrow,’ was his last thought before he fell asleep, his hand resting only inches from his sword on the nightstand.
The next morning, Methos’ mind was still trying to resolve the identity of the unknown immortal who seemed determined to wipe the Watchers off the face of the earth. The fact that it was a single immortal seemed reasonable to assume from past events. An immortal who had some kind of grudge against the centuries old organization.
MacLeod himself had had to hunt down the location of the new headquarters and apparently so did the unknown immortal. His unexpected attendance at Dawson’s execution, however unfortunate for the Watchers, saved Joe’s life.
A single immortal. If he could track down who and under what circumstances the first Watcher had been mysteriously killed, he might get a better picture of the motive behind the killings which would most likely reveal the immortal’s identity.
In the meantime, he had to find out what Shapiro had planned for Dawson and MacLeod. His calls that morning over tea and a light breakfast yielded very little results.
All Lauren was able to tell him was that all personnel were still on “holiday” until notified by their respective departments. She had no knowledge of the outcome of Joe’s trial. Shapiro was certainly playing the information close to his chest.
The only thing he was able to find out was from Gerald, who as a Senior field agent oversaw several Watchers out in the field. An all points bulletin had been issued for one Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Once sighted the Watcher was suppose to contact Shapiro who was in Paris in an undisclosed location.
No explanation was given for the directive, but the rumor was that it was connected with field agent Joe Dawson.
Dawson and MacLeod’s faces reflected the bleakness he felt as he told them the news later that morning.
“I don’t get it. Why would Jack not tell everyone what happened?” Joe shook his head trying to figure out what his old friend was thinking.
“I can think of several reasons, none of them good,” Methos drawled, his glance alternately shifting between Joe and Mac.
“Gain time...to put his own spin on things,” Duncan deduced.
Methos nodded. “It’s what I’d do. Reveal the details in the most sensationalistic manner possible. Make the most of a horrible situation to sway any opposition, even before it exists.”
“What is he after? Joe?” Duncan asked and looked at his friend who was sitting up in the frame bed, with an occasional pain induced wince.
“I still have a death sentence hanging over me, as do you,” Joe replied in a bitter tone. Damn it to hell. And in his condition, he was no help to anyone. “So what’s the plan?”
“No!” Duncan cut off whatever Methos was about to say, knowing it would be another asinine remark about leaving.
Methos shrugged. “Fine, the last couple of murders happened within five kilometers of the Eiffel Tower in the Tourist District. Maybe you can find something useful there, tonight.”
MacLeod nodded. That at least was a place to start.
“In the meanwhile, Joe you get some rest. There is no sense in both of you being bullheaded. I’ll be upstairs. I don’t want to make anyone suspicious by keeping the shop closed when everyone knows that I’m back in town,” Methos told MacLeod as the other man accompanied him up the stairs.
“Get him to sleep,” he whispered to the highlander, “worrying will only delay his recovery.” His eyes’ focused in on Duncan’s face for a second, taking in the wrinkles around the tired looking brown eyes. “You look like you could do with some sleep as well.”
Duncan snorted. Sleep was something he could ill afford. Claustrophobic wasn’t even close to what he was feeling about being cooped up in this cellar, unable to go out and search for the person responsible for this madness. And it had only been one night.
“I’ll be back down around one with lunch. Any special requests?”
Duncan frowned, “won’t that be risky?”
“Not for Adam Pierson.” The ancient immortal waited patiently, surprised when a small smile formed on the highlander’s face.
“How about some haggis?”
“Not in this lifetime,” Methos replied with a dry chuckle as he began to slide the false wall back into place slowly shutting off the sight of the handsome rugged face of his friend.
Adam Pierson spent the day at Shakespeare and Company bookstore, to all intents and purposes doing nothing more interesting than hosting the usual informal get together of a few of his fellow researchers during the middle of the afternoon.
Methos stared at the computer screen frustratedly. At this pace it would take him at least a week to deduce when the killings exactly started. Way too long to be of any help. None of his friends had been able to shed any more light on what was occurring within the higher echelons of the Watcher Organization either.
Even the rumor mill was of no use. Apparently anyone who was aware of what had actually occurred at headquarters was being kept isolated with Shapiro in Paris. No one knew what had happened to Joe Dawson or why the whereabouts of Duncan MacLeod were of interest.
What the hell was Shapiro planning? Well his actions did make sense, if Shapiro was convinced that the killer was MacLeod. There was no real need to hurry since it was only a matter of time until Dawson or MacLeod were found, which unfortunately was too accurate a prediction, knowing MacLeod.
Damn Mac and his bloody single-mindedness! Well he would do what he could. Send MacLeod out to the areas of the city where he was less likely to be sighted but still have a chance of finding the other immortal. What Duncan didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
“Hi guys, how’s it going?” Methos called as he strolled into the cellar.
“Took you long enough!” MacLeod reproached as he elbowed past him towards the stairs. “The sun went down over an hour ago.”
“Had a customer...How are you doing, Joe?” He asked as his eyes ran a quick assessment of the mortal man’s medical condition.
“Fine, fine--except being bored out of my skull. Isn’t there anything more interesting to read down here that the diary of Lady whats her name from Seville?” Joe held out an old tome that Mac had picked up from one of the shelves.
“Ah, Lady Caterina Silva de Leonelli...she did live a rather cloistered life,” Methos remarked with a small smile.
“Why the hell did her husband keep her locked up for eight years?”
The hazel eyes turned thoughtful as he tried to remember. “No reason. He was just insane. Said something about a wife being neither seen nor heard until a husband wishes it.”
“Like I said, the man was insane--although he was a brilliant chess player. Speaking of chess, do you care for a game?”
“Methos! Aren’t you forgetting something?!” MacLeod stormed back into the room, extremely frustrated that the ancient immortal was exchanging pleasantries instead of helping him find the madman who was out there killing people.
Methos ignored the other immortal, keeping his gaze focused on Joe.
“Sounds good,” Joe replied with a half grin. It amazed him how Methos always seemed to be able to aggravate people, especially MacLeod by just his presence.
“No, don’t get up. I’ll bring it down, after I see HIM off.” The ancient immortal punctuated his sentence with a jerk of his head in the direction of the glowering immortal impatiently waiting behind him.
“About blasted time,” Duncan muttered under his breath as he accompanied Methos up the stairs finally.
“Did you find out anything new?” Duncan asked as they walked into the bookstore.
“The Blanche station seems to be a focal point for a few of the killings.”
“It is one of the more popular entrances into the city.”
“For immortals...” Methos began.
“...and the Watchers who are assigned to them.” Duncan grimaced at the cold-bloodedness of a man who could casually kill so many.
“I don’t suppose you’ll change your mind?” Methos quietly asked as he walked over to a box in the small storeroom.
“Of course not!” MacLeod instantly caught the black object that Methos threw to him after digging it out from the box. A hat.
“Since cutting your hair is probably out of the question.” Methos, for one would miss the soft long locks.
“It certainly is!” Duncan said hotly, his hands flying to clutch his hair defensively.
“The hat should make you a little less recognizable.”
Mac shrugged into his coat, sliding the katana in its pouch into the inner lining.
Methos’ hazel eyes racked the highlander all the way from the floor to his head which was now covered by the black hat. “Just another seaman, on shore leave.” His face was expressionless as he followed MacLeod out of the room toward the back exit.
“I’ll expect you back by five.”
Duncan gave a single nod as he brought his collar up to shield his face even more before slipping away into the darkness.
“Tea time!” Methos cheerfully called as he sauntered back into the basement carrying a tray.
Joe snorted and gave a tiny shake of his head but was unable to stop his mouth from curling into a half smile. Adam--Methos was just too much sometimes. The smile faded as he remembered why he was stuck hiding out in the damp cellar.
“I remembered you much rather prefer playing poker than chess, so I thought…” Methos went silent with a small smile on his young looking face.
“Might as well,” Joe allowed, “I’ll deal.”
Methos nodded as he sat the tray down on the fold-out table he put out. He smoothly sat down on the wooden chair to the side of the bed, pleased at the amusement he could see the grizzled old man trying to hide. “I still have to get the fifty back you scammed me out of the last time we played.”
“It’s called bluffing Methos and I would think that with all your ‘experience’ you’d have been able to recognize it,” Dawson taunted.
“I was just taking it easy on you last time, Joe.”
“Right,” Joe retorted with a disbelieving expression on his grizzled face. “How many?”
Methos shook his head at the cards he had gotten. It was going to be a long night. Thank god “Methos the immortal” could afford it much better than Adam Pierson.
He was shelving the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he felt the unmistakable presence of another immortal.
Methos lazily leaned against the doorjamb as he watched the highlander trudge up the alley, noting the rigid stance of the powerful shoulders. “No luck?”
Duncan gave a negative shake of his head as he brushed past the ancient immortal. He instantly walked over to pour himself a cup of coffee. “How’s Joe?”
“Sleeping…I slipped some pain pills in his sandwich,” he added in reply to Duncan’s questioning look. “He needs the rest, as you do.”
“Has gone to ground.” Methos replied while his face scrutinized the younger immortal’s demeanor. “I’m going to go home, get a couple of hours of sleep. You should do the same. I’ll be back around 10.” Methos shrugged into his coat as he spoke, wondering once again what he was doing, risking everything for the long brown-haired man sitting at the small wooden table drinking coffee. Insanity.
Amused wonder filled Duncan’s brown eyes as he followed the graceful path of the tall lean man as he wound himself through the cluttered chaos of the bookstore. How the other always seemed unruffled, unmarred by the day’s events always amazed him if not made him a bit resentful. Even at the height of passion, there seemed to be a place that was always unreachable in the soul of the man with the enigmatic hazel eyes.
The highlander shook off his musings as he made his way down to the cellar, his focus soon shifting to the elderly man asleep on the iron bed. He had to keep Joe safe.
Joe pushed away the hand holding the damp washcloth.
“Blast you, Dawson! You’re burning up!” Duncan growled, worry thickening his accent.
Duncan threw the washcloth down in disgust as he stood and turned to the immortal who he had sensed since the man had entered the building.
“He has a fever.”
“When did it start?” Methos asked as he immediately moved and began taking Dawson’s pulse.
“Did you give him anything?” The older immortal asked as he pulled out his stethoscope to check for fluid in the watcher’s lungs.
“Some Tylenol I found upstairs.”
“Guys, hello. I’m right here. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk about me as if I was already dead,” Joe groused.
Methos promptly turned and quickly picked up an linear glass object which he promptly thrust into Dawson’s mouth. “Well the lungs are still clear.” He turned and rummaged in his medicine bottle and quickly began preparing a shot.
Duncan gestured to the needle. “What’s that?”
“Antibiotic. I’ll stop by the chemist and pick up some pills for later but this should keep him from getting any worse.” Methos explained as he swiped a small swab with alcohol on Joe’s upper arm and then waited for the area to dry before injecting the medicine. “Why don’t you take care of the food I brought, while I give Joe a more thorough going over?” Methos suggested as he removed the thermometer from Dawson’s mouth.
MacLeod nodded and turned to the bags resting on the floor just inside the doorway.
Methos made Dawson take a nap after lunch. Although the tough old man wouldn’t admit it, he could see that Joe was tired.
“Well?” Duncan inquired as they stepped into the outer room in order to not disturb the sleeping man.
“Well what? Dawson will be fine, the fever is under control. I’ll be back with more medicine this afternoon.”
Duncan’s brown eyes narrowed at the casual tone. “What’s going on Methos?”
Damn the man’s eyes. No one had been able to read him this well, so quickly. “On my way here I strolled by the Watchers.”
“There was an awful lot of armed activity going on considering the place is suppose to be deserted. I suspect that Shapiro is about to play his card. I expect that I’ll be called in sometime today.”
“For speaking on Joe’s behalf?” Duncan asked extremely concerned about the danger Methos was in.
The ancient immortal shrugged. “Chances are he’s forgotten about me. One lowly researcher is not worth remembering in the grand scheme of things. No, I expect all Watchers will be told to return for whatever Shapiro has planned.”
MacLeod nodded in agreement.
Methos’ eyes flicked past the good-looking face for a moment to the sleeping man visible through the open doorway. “Keep giving him Tylenol every four hours for the fever. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Duncan ostensibly watched the other man leave but his attention was focused inward. Methos had mentioned over lunch that he had narrowed down the first Watcher deaths to an area in northern Italy, but he was having no luck in finding out anything further.
Frustrated, Methos planned to spend the day tracking down an old friend who had been stationed in the area at the time and might have more information.
MacLeod clinched his hands agitatedly, ‘What the hell was going on out there?’
Methos stopped at the rare book collections located in the university library, hoping to kill two birds with one stone. Sure enough, he had barely stepped into the dimly lit floor that only the most die hard scholars ever brave, before he heard a whispered, “Adam, over here.”
He walked over to the three Watchers, huddled together at one of the tables in the center of the room. Adam gave a shy nod as he sat down and pulled his backpack off his shoulder.
“What do you think it’s about, Pierson?”
Adam’s face broadcast only confusion.
The man nodded with a smug expression on his plain face. “Haven’t heard about the meeting tonight, have you?”
Pierson shook his head and proceeded to pull out the papers he was researching, the picture of unconcern.
“Shapiro’s called a meeting for tonight at seven. Everyone’s attendance is required,” Leslie, the girl on his left informed him excitedly.
Adam gave a slight shrug. “Does that mean we will have access to the chronicles soon?”
The three watchers groaned simultaneously. Adam Pierson, ever the researcher. The man never seemed to change. “Yeah, Pierson,” Greg replied sarcastically, “that’s the important thing after all.”
“Have you seen Sullivan around?” Adam asked ignoring the comment.
All three shook their heads negatively. “He’s probably at the main library. He has his eyes on the new clerk,” Erik the other man said as he stood, the others quickly joining him. “See you, Pierson.” “Bye.”
Methos watched the three depart with a bored expression. That was easier than he thought as he put everything back into his backpack. And he didn’t have to sit through hours on inanity before learning some relevant information. He’d stop by the main library and see if he could find Sullivan before heading to the chemist.
Sure enough, he found the cheerful Irishman chatting up the new dark haired teller. Adam walked up to the two men talking earnestly to each other at the main desk. “Sorry to interrupt, gentlemen, but may I have word with you, Sullivan?” Adam asked with a charming smile.
Sullivan’s smile broadened at the sight of the tall slender man. “Adam, wonderful to see you, my boy. You’re looking well.”
Adam laughed softly at the very friendly tone.
“Be back in a jiffy, Peter, an old friend needs me,” Sullivan explained as he drew away from the desk with Pierson beside him. “What can I do for you, pretty eyes?”
“You were assigned to northern Italy in 1993, weren’t you?” Adam asked still smiling.
Sullivan nodded, his face losing some of its jocularity. “Why do you ask?”
“What can you tell me about the immortals in the area?”
“That was a bad time. You know that I was on the committee that investigated Horton’s diaries after his death.”
Adam gave a stiff nod, a deep suspicion that he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear.
“Horton and his mad cronies were active in the area from 1992, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time.”
“Of course you weren’t,” Adam quickly assured the man, “what is so unusual about immortals turning up beheaded--it’s what they do. There were a number of Watchers also killed about a year later, was there any unknown immortals in the area?”
Sullivan shook his head, “If there were we weren’t aware of it? And if there were, Horton surely killed them.” Green eyes narrowed thoughtfully, “Does this have anything to do with what’s going on?”
“No, just some research. Thanks, Sully. I owe you one,” Adam promised in an amiable tone.
“I’ll remember that, pretty eyes,” Sullivan bantered, his temporary soberness gone in a blink of an eye. “You know how I do adore raven hair,” he quipped with an lascivious smile.
Adam laughed and sauntered off with a casual wave, his expression solemn as soon as he turned his back towards the laughing Irishman. Great! So this killer just might have a reasonable grievance against the Watchers. That is just perfect.
Methos gave a slight shake of his head in dismay. ‘Why can’t something be simple just once?’ he bitterly thought. At least now he knew possibly why the killer was targeting Watchers. It shouldn’t take much longer to narrow down his identity, know that he knew where to look. Horton’s diaries. Which unfortunately were locked up in the director’s gallery. A place that was currently out of reach, even for him.
“Clayton, take the rest of the day off. I need to do some research,” Adam called as he walked through the door and saw the young man shelving books.
Clayton paused, “You’re sure?”
Adam nodded as he shrugged out of his coat while he walked behind the counter. “Go spend time with Nicolette.”
A bright smile broke out on the young American’s face. “Thanks. I’ll do that.”
Pierson chuckled, “Bonne chance, mon ami. Get outta here.”
Methos picked up the small white bag he had picked up at the chemist’s and headed down to the cellar. He sauntered down the stairs and through the doorway, his eyes instantly narrowing in on the handsome man sitting next to the bed. “How is he?”
“I’m fine,” answered the patient for himself.
Duncan shot an amused glance at Methos and waited for a sarcastic comment. Surprise flared in his brown eyes when the older immortal simply tossed the bag he was carrying to him. His eyebrows raised questioningly as he opened the bag and took out a small brown plastic bottle.
“Antibiotic. One pill three times a day,” Methos instructed from his safe place by the book shelves on the far side of the room. It was times like these that amazed him the most. The quiet magnetism the highlander was exuding making him harden with just one innocent glance of the warm brown eyes.
MacLeod handed a glass of water to Dawson along with the bottle. “Any news?”
“Shapiro’s called a mandatory Watchers meeting tonight.”
Duncan turned sharply in Methos’ direction. “Have there been any more killings?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
MacLeod gave a stiff nod. “What time is the meeting?”
“Seven.” Methos replied. “Feel like Italian for dinner, guys?” he inquired pleasantly, once more the charming host innocently entertaining friends.
The highlander just shook his head, the man could be--was exasperating at the best of times, why would he change now?
“Come out, MacLeod. I’ve shut the store for the day,” Methos called after he hung up the phone. It would be half an hour before the food was ready. He twisted his lips slightly as the highlander stepped out from the shadows between the stacks.
“Dawson threw me out,” the man muttered under his breath.
“I’m not surprised,” Methos drawled as he visually followed the highlander as the man immediately began to pace before the counter. The forced inactivity wearing extremely thin for Duncan’s active nature.
“Did you find Sullivan?” Duncan asked turning his attention on Methos.
“And?” Duncan asked exasperatedly when it became evident that Methos wasn’t going to elaborate any further without prodding.
“There were a higher number of immortal deaths in the area in 1992...”
“So he could be after immortals as well as Watchers.”
“Possibly,” Methos prevaricated. He had no intention of mentioning the connection to Horton just yet. He walked past the man towards the back office, intensely aware when the highlander fell in behind him.
Methos sat down in front of the computer and pulled up the Watcher database. He was just beginning to type in new search parameters for 1992, this time for immortals who were killed, when he felt the highlander brush against his back as MacLeod leaned gallingly over his shoulder, supposedly to look at the computer screen.
He tensed as one of Duncan’s hands began to card through the right side of his hair. “MacLeod!” he growled.
“What? Am I making you nervous?” Duncan whispered intimately into his ear.
“No, you’re annoying me.”
“Good.” Duncan said and slowly began to trace the inside of Methos’ ear with the tip of his tongue.
Methos was just about to tell him to sod off when the damnable tongue found the sweet spot behind his ear causing him to shudder. He punched the enter key distractedly just as Duncan turned his head slightly to catch his mouth in a kiss. He hungrily parted his lips for the maddening tongue. His reservations evaporating in the heated mouth.
Duncan slowly drew the other immortal up to get better access to the delicious mouth. Thoroughly re-discovering every millimeter of the tantalizing mouth. He ended the kiss abruptly and turned Methos around, pulling him back against his chest, wanting--needing more.
Methos forgot everything when Duncan returned to nuzzling his neck. The blazing mouth searing a path of lust that he felt down to his bones. Not caring and only dimly aware of the highlander pushing his pants down. A deep moan escaped as he felt Duncan push completely inside him with a single thrust.
Nothing mattered as he began pushing back to meet the driving force. Methos’ bit his lip to keep from screaming as a particular punishing stroke made him come. He used the last of his strength to brace himself on the desk as Duncan continued to plunge deeply inside him, heightening the intensity of his orgasm exponentially.
MacLeod did groan as he came in the tight heat that surrounded him. Intensely enjoying the feel of muscles spasming around him, further massaging his cock as he plunged repeatedly into the welcoming fire. He exhaustedly collapsed back in the chair he had shoved aside earlier, bringing Methos with him. Both men laid, joined on the chair and tried to get their breaths back.
Methos’ move to get up was promptly prevented by the tightening of arms across his chest.
“Methos,” Duncan whispered against the pale neck, not ready to give up his intimate advantage. The only time he felt remotely close to the ancient immortal was at times like these. The only opportunities he seemed to have to get straightforward answers from the enigmatic immortal.
“Why do you continually push me away?”
Methos gave a bark of laughter. “It doesn’t look like I pushed you very far!” he replied harshly, feeling the slight movement of the cock still buried inside him with every breath the highlander took and just barely controlling the urge to thrust back.
“Let me up,” he casually ordered, immensely gratified when the arms loosened. He carefully rose, hissing under his breath at the purely erotic feel as he pulled himself off the slightly hard cock.
Duncan didn’t handle the withdrawal much better. His hands immediately clenching into fists to prevent them from grabbing the rising hips and pulling them back down. A regretful sigh issued from his lips as he watched Methos pull up his clothing.
“Got to go pick up dinner,” Methos tossed over his shoulder, refusing to look back at the highlander.
MacLeod watched Methos run away once again. And once again leaving him with no further insight into the older man’s feelings.
Methos didn’t join Dawson and MacLeod for dinner. Staying only long enough to drop off the food and check on the search the computer was running. He had no intention of participating in the conversation Duncan appeared determined to have.
It was one of the most annoying things about this time period. The asinine need to analyze everything. Who knew that it would be the one idiosyncrasy the highlander picked up?
He let himself into his apartment, automatically hitting the play button on his answering machine as he passed it on the way to the bedroom. The first message was of course from Bert Pastric telling him about tonight’s meeting. The second being from Sandra and Aaron Edwards. The latter both inquiring what Adam Pierson would be doing after tonight’s meeting and if he wanted to join them. They had no idea of the seriousness of the upcoming meeting and that being sociable would be the last thing on Adam Pierson’s mind.
The pipes gave a small screech as he turned on the shower and quickly stepped under the spray, luxuriating in the feel of the hot water as it poured down over his head and face. He wanted to get to the meeting a little bit early. Not actually go in but do a little reconnaissance outside to ascertain what the mood was like. Adam Pierson would slip in with the crowd, and pray that his presence went un-remarked. He had no intention of doing anything to remind Shapiro of a certain eloquent speech.
The ancient immortal absentmindedly got dressed, pulling on a black sweater and slacks. He put on his long black coat, automatically checking on the secreted sword. With one last quick survey before the mirror he headed towards the door. Showtime.
Adam Pierson quickly made his way to the main Watchers building, lingering on the street opposite as he watched his fellow Watchers get through the security at the door. Everything seemed normal. ‘At least there are no armed guards on the roof--yet,’ he thought snidely as he casually approached the entrance.
He shyly returned the handful of greetings thrown his way after entering the building. Falling in with his fellows as they were directed to the “theatre” room. The low chatter ceased abruptly as they entered the large darkened auditorium with the sobering silhouette of a man standing on the raised platform.
“We are under attack, my friends,” Jack Shapiro began without preamble. “Our brethren were slaughtered in Lyon… as they tried to met out justice. Twelve more of us are dead by the hands of an immortal. Immortals, who some have argued are nothing but shadows darkening our world. Aberrations of nature. You all know what that group would have done. How Duncan MacLeod murdered a dozen of us in order to save one traitor.”
Alarm filled Methos as the mad tirade continued.
“We’ve been hurt. But we’re still ALIVE. THE WATCHERS LIVE. And while we do, while there is one breath in one of us. Everything stops. Except one mission. We find MacLeod AND Dawson and when we do--we ELIMINATE THEM!”
Methos took a quick glance at his fellow watchers around him and gave a mental groan when he saw the rapt expressions. And they just thought they had it bad. Things had just gotten a hell of a lot worse. Fear edged his mind that maybe this was one battle that MacLeod wouldn’t be able to get out of with his head intact.
The meeting quickly broke up after the damning pronouncement, much to both Methos’ and Adam Pierson’s relief. ‘Shapiro certainly had spent the last couple of days getting organized,’ Methos thought snidely as he was handed a piece of paper giving him his designated search area, which he was told to guard from eleven at night to seven in the morning.
He had instantly recognized the handwriting as Hilsby’s, who had kindly given him the business district that the bookstore was located in. Adam tiredly begged off from his usual friends to join them for a beer. His mind instantly generating then discarding one plan after another, knowing damn well that the moralistic highlander would never approve of them.
It took him two hours to reach the bookstore. He used everything he knew to ensure that he wasn’t being followed as he made his way through the dark city. It would be highly unlikely that Adam Pierson would be on his way to the bookstore instead of his flat for a little shut-eye before tonight’s shift. Even Pierson wasn’t that diligent.
Methos’ thoughts unerringly turned once again to why he was still in Paris when he had half a dozen identities--safe anonymous lives that he could instantly pick up without notice. ‘Maybe Shapiro’s madness is catching,’ he darkly thought as he slipped in through the bookstore’s back door and instantly headed down to the cellar to tell his friends the good news.
Methos walked into the cellar, fully expecting both men to be there waiting and was instantly worried when he saw only Joe.
“Where’s MacLeod?” he anxiously asked.
“He went out to…” Joe trailed off seeing the fear in the normally cool hazel eyes. “Oh no!”
“Oh yes,” Methos drawled as he casually removed his coat, his face shuttered once again. “It seems Shapiro is taking the death of his son particularly hard. He has even revised Watcher policy for the occasion. The entire Watcher organization now has only one mission--to find and eliminate Duncan MacLeod and Joe Dawson.”
Joe’s face paled, his eyes widening with shock. “Maybe if I talk to him, explain…”
Methos shook his head immediately, “No, it won’t work. Shapiro won’t--can’t listen. He holds both you and MacLeod responsible for what happened in Lyon.” The immortal sighed, his face softening at the shocked dismay he could see in his friends eyes. “He’s labeled you a traitor, Joe. I’m sorry.” Methos said as he looked down at Dawson.
“So what now?”
The immortal shrugged. “All I know is that staying in Paris isn’t very smart. Every Watcher was being armed and assigned a specific area of the city to search as I was leaving. Luckily…” Methos words were interrupted by the sound of thud and groan coming from the outside entrance.
“What the hell?” Methos muttered as he opened the door to find the highlander slumped against the side of the doorway. He threw his arm out and caught the younger immortal just as he began to slide to the floor in a literal dead heap.
Methos unceremoniously dragged the highlander inside and promptly dropped him to the floor in disgust.
“Is that Mac?” Joe called anxiously, unable to see from his viewpoint.
“Yeah, it’s MacLeod all right,” Methos replied, his mouth curling in derision as he quickly spotted the hole in the left shoulder. “Or it will be. He got himself shot…one, no two times.” Hadn’t the man ever learned to duck in four centuries? ‘He was going to have bring a whole wardrobe for Duncan if this kept up,’ he mockingly thought as he straightened and waited for the highlander to revive.
Duncan gasped and his eyes shot open as he remembered what had just happened.
“What do you think will be the rage this season? Personally, I hear pastels and short skirts will set the style,” Methos commented in a conversational tone, giving no sign of the anger he was feeling about the highlander’s damnable recklessness.
“Methos?” Duncan looked up and back to his left to find the ancient immortal looking down at him with a disapproving expression. “Help me up,” he commanded and reached up his hand, feeling something akin to an electric shock when their hands met as he was gently pulled up.
Methos turned quickly away, unwilling to meet the brown eyes staring quizzically at him. He strolled past MacLeod, relentlessly masking the attraction he felt for the striking highlander. He casually leaned against the bureau by the frame bed and deliberately ignored the slightly limping man that followed him into the room.
“As I was saying, our illustrious head has given the entire Watcher organization a single directive. To find and eliminate Duncan MacLeod and Joe Dawson. Everything else stops until this goal is achieved.”
“What?!” The highlander froze, the blood soaked shirt he had just pulled off forgotten.
“Methos was right. Jack thinks you killed the jury to save me.”
Duncan began to pace. Angry disbelief shone from the brown eyes as he confronted Methos, “Anything else?”
The ancient immortal’s lips twisted in a small wry smile. “I believe you’ve already encountered the physical effects of the directive.” He gave a pointed glance at the lean muscular chest with blood splatters remaining from the earlier gunshot wound. “Shapiro has instituted a systematic search of Paris,” Methos elaborated unable to keep the slight bitterness from the last word. “As you discovered, armed Watchers now comb the city.”
MacLeod used the ruined shirt in his hand to distractedly clean off the remaining blood on his chest as he tried to figure out what to do next. Catching the shirt Methos threw to him instinctually, although he hadn’t noticed his friend move.
Methos picked up his coat and gracefully put it on. “I’ve got to go. My shift started an hour ago. Luckily I’ve been assigned this area. I’m going to have Clayton come in the morning. Everything is going to be business as usual at Shakespeare and Company. I don’t want any irregularities suddenly ringing bells in anybody’s mind that Joe used to work here. You stay put, MacLeod. Your nightly forays are over.”
Duncan bristled at the commanding tone but realized that Methos was right, and gave a single nod. “How are you doing, Joe?”
“I’m sorry, Mac. For dragging you into this…”
Methos gave a deep exhale as he stepped out into the frigid air. ‘He couldn’t remember the last time he participated in a witch hunt. The sixteenth or seventeenth century was his best guess.
Just after seven in the morning, Methos let himself into the bookstore through the front door. He didn’t want to give any watching eyes any indications that Adam Pierson had something to hide. His movements from now on would have to be as innocent as possible, including how frequently he made it to the bookstore each day.
He enjoyed the heat of the of the water as he filled the coffeepot. Just one cup and he’d go down to check on one of the fugitive’s condition he had just spent the night ‘hunting’ for. His lips gave a wry smile as he took his first sip of blessedly hot coffee. Perversity thy name is life. ‘My life in particular it seems,’ he thought mockingly to himself.
MacLeod was waiting for him at the top of the stairs holding his sword up defensively. ‘Thank the gods the child actually seems to be learning,’ Methos thought with relief. “Grab the tray, man, while I put back the false wall,” he said in an irksome tone to cover the small shiver of delight that coursed through him at the sight of the man. A small smiled covered his face as he followed the highlander down into the cellar.
“Good morning, Joe,” he brightly greeted. “How are you doing this morning?” he asked while checking the bandages of his mortal friend’s chest. They looked good for another day. He would change them tomorrow.
“How did it go last night?”
Methos gave a slight nod as he straightened up, politely moving the breakfast tray within Dawson’s reach. “Fine, the two fugitives remain at large. I’ve got to go and get some sleep. I’m going to call Clayton in at his usual time. He will arrive around nine to open the store, since we don’t want to raise anybody’s suspicions.”
Duncan and Joe exchanged a look, before turning their attention back to Methos.
“Methos,” Duncan began.
“I’ll keep working on identifying our unknown friend. Stay put, MacLeod. The stakes are being sharpened as we speak for you two. That, should suffice,” Methos glanced at the tray with a pitcher of water besides the coffee and wrapped sandwiches, “until I get back this afternoon.”
“We’ll be here,” Joe said grimly, his gray eyes following Methos out the door. “Well, Mac, read any good books in the last century?”
After a quick call to Clayton, Methos headed home. He wondered just how long they would be able to pull off hiding in the city. Something had to give, he just wanted to be prepared when it did.
Methos wearily let himself into his apartment. He was no closer to identifying the killer and the Watchers, his friends all had orders to shoot Duncan and Joe on sight. With that worrying thought he fell asleep.
No sign of the internal mental struggle he was experiencing showed on his fine-boned face as he returned to the bookstore around one in the afternoon. “Hey Clayton. Go get some lunch, I’ll watch the store.”
Clayton just nodded and grabbed his jacket before going out.
Methos waited ten minutes before he ventured down to the secret cellar. He had half a mind to shoot MacLeod, drug Dawson and transfer them out of the city for their own good. Duncan would never forgive him though.
“Hey guys,” he solemnly greeted the objects of his recent musings. Methos handed over the two bags of groceries he had brought in supposedly to restock the upstairs refrigerator. “I’m going out as soon as Clayton gets back from lunch. I want to be out there if anything happens--see if Adam Pierson can offer a peaceful alternate resolution to whatever comes up.”
“I know you think your good, Methos. But there are events that even defy your manipulation,” MacLeod said gravely.
Methos gave a slight shrug and merely bent down in front of Joe to check his dressings. The bandages looked fine. He’d leave them for another day.
Duncan began pulling out the various foodstuffs from the two bags. The sound of cans thumping on the wooden table echoed loudly in the silence.
Joe peered over at the cans and grunted, “Haven’t you ever heard of fresh food, Methos? I’ve had enough tinned food to last a lifetime. How about some fresh fruit?”
Methos gave a slight nod. “Apples, oranges?”
“And some grapes,” Joe added as he watched the old immortal head for the door.
“MacLeod?” Methos inquired as he paused in the doorway.
“Nothing for me, thanks.”
“Later, guys,” Methos called as he walked up the stairs.
The first thing that struck him as he walked into the Watcher building was the number of people crowded into the foyer. “What’s going on?” Adam asked the Watcher on his right.
“MacLeod’s definitely in Paris. He was spotted over by the St. Lucienne Bridge but got away.”
“He killed Jean Dumar,” another Watcher stated angrily.
“What?!” Adam asked, his face paling in shock.
“They found his body this morning.”
The first Watcher who had spoken nodded.
“He was strangled. Now everyone is being told to partner up. No one is going to be allowed to search alone.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Adam softly stated while mentally cursing. It looked like he would not be able to get back to the bookstore till tomorrow. Listening to the chatter around him he soon found out that Jack Shapiro and the remaining regional directors were hiding in a mortuary, certain that they were next to be killed.
He made his way to Research and in due course was assigned a partner, none other than his friend Claus. They were told to stay together at all times, excluding home, of course.
Claus had some errands to do and Adam Pierson had no choice but to accompany him.
The afternoon passed quickly as he and his friend caught up on each other’s lives and shared views on what was going to happen to the Watchers if Shapiro did indeed find MacLeod and Dawson. Killing an immortal was a direct violation of the Watcher oath.
“Never interfere, Adam. That’s the oath we took. I just don’t know what Shapiro is thinking,” declared Claus over dinner.
“I know, but the man just lost his son. He’s not thinking straight. That’s why the rest of us need to speak up. It’s time for our shift. We should get a move on.”
The next eight hours were filled with mind-numbing chit chat which Adam Pierson adeptly participated in while vainly searching for two people they would never find. It was with a profound sense of relief that Adam watched Claus getting into a taxi in the morning light.
Adam Pierson began strolling down the street towards the bookstore where he had just told his friend he planned to crash for the next couple of hours. He stopped only once, at the mini-grocer on the corner.
Methos slowly walked down the stairs, an amused smile quickly spreading across his face as he heard Joe’s bad-tempered question, “Is there anything to drink down here?” Methos slowed his pace, listening to the highlander’s reply.
“No, not a thing.”
“Oh, I mean besides the wine. I’m brushing my teeth with the stuff.”
“Well, when you're holed up in a wine cellar, you've got to take what you can get. How about the '27 Latour, I hear it's a wonderful year for brushing teeth.”
“I'm certain it's lovely. Listen, in another week, I'm gonna be crawling the walls, all these spiders are starting to look familiar to me.”
‘Well they certainly sound in good spirits,’ Methos thought seconds before walking into the room. ‘They’re definitely going to need it.’
“It’s okay, it’s only me,” he said as he walked in and lightly tossed the bag to Joe. “Couldn’t get any grapes.”
“Thanks,” Joe replied.
“How’s the patient?” Methos asked.
“Well, hates the food, criticizes the wine, I'd say back to normal,” MacLeod informed him.
“I suppose an improvement was too much to hope for,” Methos remarked as he walked over to the bed. “Let's have a look at you then,” he said as he bent down to check the bandages. “Considering how shot to pieces you were, it's amazing you're still alive,” commented Methos as he began to change the dressing on Dawson.
“Considering my doctor, it's amazing I'm still alive. Owww! Where did you say you studied medicine?”
“Heidelberg. 1453,” Methos replied as he tore open a new gauze.
“Did you major in medicine or dueling?”
“Both,” he replied as he poured liquid betadine on the gauze and gently held it up against the healing wound. “Couple of more days, you’ll be able to travel.”
“Well, you don’t have to look QUITE so happy about it.”
Methos tore a couple of pieces of tape and gently affixed them to securely hold the new bandage into place. Giving one last satisfied look before straightening up, he turned and glanced to the left at MacLeod. “You know that run-in you had with the Watchers the other night?”
“Yeah?” Duncan replied suspiciously.
“Jean Dumar, was killed the same night,” Methos sighed as he looked down at Joe. “I’m sorry Joe. I know he was a friend of yours.”
“It was the other immortal,” MacLeod declared as he walked up to the two men.
“Well you try telling that to Shapiro, because he is convinced it was you!” Methos’ gaze switched between the two men, “Really guys, the time has come for you two to start a new life some where. Bora-Bora’s very nice this time of year.”
“Yeah, well send me a postcard. I’m not leaving,” Duncan stated as he walked back towards the ancient immortal picking up his sword and its sheathe along the way.
“Does the term self-preservation mean anything to you, MacLeod?” Methos inquired, his hands going to his hips as he agitatedly turned towards his friend’s direction. “Look, you are under a DEATH SENTENCE!”
“Yeah and I will be until they figure out that I’m not the killer. Where’s Shapiro?
“Right at the moment, busy trying to kill you.” Methos look down at the bed, frowning. The man was mad!
“Where’s Shapiro?” MacLeod repeated.
“Look, don’t make it easy for him, Mac!” Joe argued.
“Look I’m making it easy for him because that’ where the killer will go,” Duncan explained as he put on his coat. “Now, where is he.”
Seeing the grim resolve in the brown eyes, Methos replied, “They’re hiding out in a mortuary on the left bank.”
Both men watched the tall man leave.
“Well, what now?” Joe asked. He still couldn’t believe that another of his friends was dead.
Methos pursed his lips slightly. Damn MacLeod! “Now, I’m going upstairs to sleep. Rest Joe, there’s nothing we can do and I have a feeling we’re both going to need it.” With that he left the other man alone, wondering if he’d be able to follow his own advice.
Methos instantly awoke as an immortal presence darted across his senses. He quickly moved to the side of the back entrance, holding his sword ready in his right hand.
“It’s me,” called MacLeod in an odd tone.
He held the door open for the younger immortal, concern filling him at the grave expression on the highlander’s face. “What happened?”
“I found the killer.”
“And?” Methos asked, knowing MacLeod too well to instantly assume that the honor driven Scot would do the smart thing and kill the bastard who’d been making all of their lives hell for the past week.
“He’s an old friend. Jacob Galati.”
Methos’ face noticeably tightened but he said nothing. He turned his back to hide his agitation, indicating to Duncan to follow him as they made their way down to the cellar.
“Aren’t you going to ask why he’s been killing Watchers?” Duncan asked, curious at Methos continued silence.
“I’m sure you’ll tell me,” Methos drawled as he moved the false wall aside and gracefully gestured for Duncan to enter before him, being very careful to keep his face neutral.
“Horton killed his wife, Irena,” Duncan stated with a grim undertone. Angry still at losing Darius to the renegade Watcher.
Methos said nothing as he followed MacLeod.
“Mac? Is that you?” Joe called sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the bed.
“Hey Joe,” MacLeod greeted.
“Well? Any luck? Did you find him?” Joe asked anxiously glancing between MacLeod and Methos who had sat down to his left by the wall with his hands in his lap.
“Yeah, I found him, all right,” Duncan replied as he turned slightly away before turning back to Joe. “He saved my life.”
Duncan nodded, “He’s a friend of mine, Joe.”
“A friend? But what does he have against us? Why is he out killing?” Joe demanded as he stood up.
“Horton killed Jacob’s wife Irena. He thinks that all Watchers are out to kill immortals. That’s why! But I’ve got him to agree to meet you. Talk to him, Joe.”
Methos carefully watched the two men, vowing to not get involved in the dangerous discussion.
“Forget it. The guy's a murderer! I won’t meet him.”
“Horton killed Irena in front of him. Then he tried to kill Jacob. He thinks you’re all to blame.” Duncan glanced at Methos for help.
“So that gives him a license to kill?”
“No Joe, just meet with him. Talk to him,” Duncan earnestly entreated. “Show him you’re not all like Horton.”
“People are dead MacLeod. My friends. Because he thinks we’re responsible.”
“Well, can you blame him? Watchers killed his wife!”
“HORTON killed his wife!”
“Horton was a Watcher!”
“Horton is dead! And your friend is still killing. So when does this stop? When he’s dead or when we are.”
“All I know is I’m tired of losing friends. We’ll find another way,” Duncan grimly avowed.
“I don’t think there is another way.”
‘This was getting them no where,’ Methos thought as he quickly stood up and stepped between the two angry men. “Joe…Joe we have to stop this, because otherwise more people are going to die.”
Joe stopped and gave a hard look at Methos. “We?”
“Yeah, hey. I wear one of these too, okay. Or did you forget that?” Methos asserted, displaying the prominent Watcher tattoo on his left wrist.
“I didn’t forget. But we both know what you really are,” Joe replied and walked away before he could see the disbelieving expression that formed on Methos’ face.
“Oh, come on Dawson! Come on, think about it!” Duncan yelled at the retreating back.
“Mac, Mac,” Methos pressed his hand against the smooth chest to prevent Duncan from following Joe. “Look, I’ll talk to him, okay.”
“We’ll you’d better,” MacLeod stated, punching his forefinger into Methos’ chest. “Because if Shapiro or Jacob put a bullet in his head, he’s not the type to be born again,” Duncan frustratedly pointed out.
Methos quickly followed the Watcher to the street. Alarm filled him as he saw Joe get into a taxi. Blast it! He grabbed the next cab, knowing far too well what the Watcher’s destination was.
He quickly spotted the Dawson hiding behind a stone wall outside the mortuary and couldn’t resist having a bit of fun. He stealthily crept up behind the elder man and lightly placed a hand on Joe’s left shoulder, giving the man a start.
“Damn it! Don’t do that!” Joe angrily cried as he looked back seeing that it was only Methos.
“Look at that. Watchers, afraid they’re going to be killed by immortals, holed up in a funeral home. Is it just me or is there some cosmic irony in that?”
“I think it’s just you, I’m not laughing,” Joe replied. “Are you trying to give me a coronary?!”
“No, just making a point. If Shapiro’s men see you, they’re going to kill you, man.”
“Say, have you all gone crazy. Did you hear what I just said?”
“I have got to convince Shapiro that it’s Jacob killing Watchers and not MacLeod.”
“I see, well, to do that you have to talk to him. They’re not going to let you near the guy. The guard is armed. There’s probably half a dozen of them on the roof as well.”
“Not to mention the new password that we don’t know about?”
“I wouldn’t worry about the password. They’re going to shoot you on sight anyway.”
“You know, I think I’ve had just about as much irony for one day as I can take,” Joe said with a black look back at the immortal. “What we have to do, is figure out a way inside.”
“Brilliant. Got any ideas?”
“Ironically enough, I do,” Joe declared in a smug tone.
“You’ve got to be kidding me? What’s to prevent them from shooting me and then you?” Methos asked after hearing Dawson’s brilliant plan.
Joe shrugged, “What? Has Adam Pierson been stepping on too many departmental toes lately? Come on, they won’t shoot a fellow Watcher.”
Methos declined to mention that they were under orders to shoot Dawson, also a Watcher. He simply nodded. It was worth a try. He handed over his pistol to Joe and stepped out into the open with Dawson holding the gun on him from behind.
“Excuse me,” he called out in a slightly fearful voice as they approached the man at the gate. “Adam Pierson, eh. I guess you know who this is?” he stated in a tremulous voice as he was ‘guided’ forward by Dawson.
“You saved us a lot of trouble, Pierson. How did you get him?”
“Try that the other way around,” Adam said, looking down to the left at the gun Joe showed the guard.
“You get Shapiro for me…Now!” Joe added with a sharp thrust of the gun between Methos’ shoulder blades.
“Would you be careful with that thing? It might go off!” Methos fiercely whispered.
“Yeah, we’re in a good place for it. Ha! I mean consider the irony.”
Methos eyes narrowed at the clever retort as they walked through the gates. Tensely aware of the many eyes that followed them as they entered the building and were shown in to see Shapiro.
“Joe,” Jack Shapiro greeted with a low chuckle. “You can drop the hostage act. You won’t shoot. Pierson’s your friend.”
“Yeah we were friends too, Jack,” Dawson pointed out, “Didn’t stop you from ordering my death.”
“Even if you kill me Joe. You’re not going to get out of here alive. You know that.”
“I didn’t come here to kill anyone and I don’t won’t to die. I came here to talk.”
“Think that gun is going to change my mind?”
Joe exchanged a look with Methos before handing over the gun to Shapiro.
“Just hear me out, Jack. Give me ten minutes… I don’t think that’s too much to ask of an OLD friend.”
Jack spread his arms wide in a grandiose gesture, “I’ll listen.”
Methos stood silently by as Joe explained that he had found out who had killed the people at headquarters and all the other Watchers. He kept his expression neutral, even when the talk turned to how Dawson was going to prove that what he was saying was true.
He glanced sharply at Joe, but said nothing when Shapiro promised that he just wanted to bring Jacob Galati in so he could talk to him. Not commenting when they began to form a strategy on how to get the other immortal. He was still silent as he walked beside Dawson on the way to the cars to put the plan into action.
“Adam?” Joe asked with a sideways glance at the silent man.
“I’m going back to the bookstore, Joe.” Methos quietly said before making his way to the street and grabbing a cab.
Methos unlocked the bookstore’s front door and walked inside, re-locking the door afterwards. He walked around the counter for a quick glance at today’s tally, reading Clayton’s notation that they were running low on Paris maps once again. ‘He would have to re-order some tomorrow,’ he thought as he headed towards the false wall leading down to the cellar.
He stood for a moment, looking around the damp room. ‘I’m sure Joe has seen enough of this place,’ Methos thought as he began setting the room to rights. He had just began to pull the bedding off when he felt the buzz of an immortal. “MacLeod?” he softly called, his right hand immediately resting on his sword as he turned towards the door.
“Yeah,” Duncan replied as he stepped into the room and quickly looked around. “Where’s Dawson?”
“With Shapiro.” Methos continued to pull up the bedding.
“He was captured?!”
“No. He went to talk,” Methos softly replied and began to fold the blanket.
“He told them about Jacob.” Duncan stood with a dismayed expression on his handsome face.
Methos gave a nod as he continued to fold the blanket.
“They set a trap for him.”
“How could you let him do that?” Duncan demanded as he agitatedly slid the black cap down off the back of his head.
“It was a simple choice--Jacob Galati or you,” Methos stated as he picked up the extra egg shell cushioning from the bed and walked back towards MacLeod. “And since I don’t give a damn about Jacob Galati, it wasn’t that difficult to make it,” he stated, punctuating his words by throwing the cushioning to the ground beside the highlander.
“I guess it wasn’t!” Duncan hurled his hat angrily down, watching Methos walk away.
“I’m a pragmatist, MacLeod,” Methos explained over his shoulder on his return trip to the bed. “The Watchers wanted the real killer and I want to keep you alive. You can’t have it both ways.”
“You’re right. You can’t have it both ways,” Duncan stated, gripping Methos’ arm and preventing his trip past him. “You’re either one of them or you’re one of us!” MacLeod declared with his dark eyes glaring into Methos’. “Got it!” the highlander demanded, throwing down the gauntlet.
“Oh, you…” Methos couldn’t believe it. The ungrateful… An ultimatum. Who the hell does MacLeod think he is? He watched disbelievingly as Duncan stalked off. He looked slightly down considering. What the hell was he suppose to do? Methos slightly bit his lip as he was lost in thought. ‘Maybe MacLeod was right. Maybe he shouldn’t have let Dawson hand the Watchers Galati, but he couldn’t see any other alternative. Not and keep both Dawson and MacLeod alive.’
Shapiro’s calm was deceptive. He had seen it too many times before. The quiet madness lurking in the man’s eyes. Shapiro still viewed Dawson as a traitor and MacLeod as the immortal who had corrupted him, making him break his Watcher’s oath. Galati’s life seemed a small price to pay.
Hopefully, the life of the immortal who killed his son would appease Shapiro’s blood lust and no more Immortals or Watchers would have to die. But why in blazes did the killer have to be one of MacLeod’s friends? He had to get to Duncan, make him understand.
He ran out the door, getting to the street just in time to see the highlander disappear into a taxi. ‘This just isn’t my day!’ Methos thought as he ran to his car. Methos arrived at the mortuary just in time to see the lightening strikes of a quickening. He was too late. He quickly got out and ran towards the explosions, cutting through an open stone building.
“Mac! What--I’m sorry!” Methos cried, pulling up short as he almost ran into the Scot.
“You’re sorry?” MacLeod replied, looking at the ancient immortal with disgust and taking a small threatening step toward him before his attention was diverted by the appearance of Joe behind him.
Methos leaned his head against the stone wall. ‘What the hell have I done?’ he thought as he looked remorsefully at MacLeod. Knowing that the highlander had just been forced to accept the quickening of his friend, Jacob Galati.
“Mac. Mac! I was just supposed to get him there so they could talk to him. Jack set me up!” Joe loudly explained. “They weren’t suppose to kill him! You’ve got to believe me!”
“It doesn’t matter what I believe,” MacLeod stated as he took off his coat.
“It does to me!” asserted Joe.
“Either way…Either way, he’s dead.” Duncan stated, throwing his coat against the stone wall and shooting a black look in Methos’ direction before stalking off.
Methos dejectedly sat down on the stairs, slowly rubbing his hands together before leaning his head down on them as he tried to forget the hatred he saw in Duncan’s eyes. ‘What the hell have I done?!’ he asked himself.
“Mac, I did it to save YOU! Where are you going?!” Joe called to MacLeod’s back. “It can be over now! It’s gotta be over!” Dawson turned to Methos, “Stop him! Stop him!”
“Why?” Methos asked lifting his head up.
“Well, if he goes after Shapiro, the Watchers are gonna go after him.”
“And what about you, Joe?! Who do you go after?! I'm 5,000 years old. I don't know who I am anymore,” Methos revealed as he stood up. “I just helped SET UP one of my own!”
“I did not know they were going to kill him.”
“You keep telling yourself that, Joe. Maybe you’ll just start to believe it.”
Joe watched helplessly as Methos walked away in the opposite direction of MacLeod.
Methos walked away, his thoughts blacker than the night sky. Mentally cursing himself for letting the highlander affect him. The urge to flee one loud mental scream. He had to get away, from everything, from the Watchers--but most of all from those damning eyes.
He soberly made his way to his apartment, his thoughts already occupied with what he had to do to make Adam Pierson temporarily disappear. His journals were already in storage. Methos carefully surveyed his flat for anything important. There wasn’t anything.
Ever since Kalas he had never quite settled down again. Instead, he had returned to the temporary state of living he had perfected centuries ago when it was absolutely necessary to be able to disappear without a trace.
With a few stroke of he keys, it was done. Adam Pierson was a taking an immediate leave of absence to evaluate his future association with the Watchers in light of recent events--the persecution of one of its own members. The next e-mail was already written and merely needed to be sent. Clayton would now run the bookstore as manager, with full authority and monies to hire whomever he needed to help him.
Methos sat back with a sigh. Time to leave. He walked over to the closet and picked up the carry-all already packed with clothing and strode out the door.
He blinked in the glaring fluorescent lights of the airport. His eyes soon adjusted, allowing him to read the screens listing departures. The hazel eyes focused on those departing in the next ten minutes. His eyes narrowed as he spotted one and turned away, an ironic smile on his fair face as he approached the ticket counter.
“One first class ticket to Rome, please,” he requested.
“Robert Helm.” His one alias that didn’t have Adam anywhere in the name. Just in case someone got it into their immortal skull to try and find him. A faint hope stirring in his soul that the highlander would come looking for him, a wish which he swiftly exiled before it was even fully fashioned.
Joe watched MacLeod slowly approach him outside the barge. “Hey, Mac! War's over. Jack's out. I'm back in. And I think we're gonna be able to pull the Watchers back together again,” he informed his friend in a glad tone.
Duncan looked at the Watcher with no expression. “I'm happy for you,” he said without inflection.
“Have you seen Methos? I went by his place. He's gone, and no one seems to have any idea where he is,” Joe asked, trying again to get some emotional response from his friend.
“And you're surprised at that?” MacLeod said. Methos was the last person he wanted to think about. Instantly irritated at just hearing the name. He looked away from Joe as he asked with a distant expression, “Is there something you wanted?”
“I thought maybe I could buy you a drink.”
“No thanks,” Duncan replied and then slowly walked away.
“Maybe later!” Joe called to the departing back, unwilling to give up.
MacLeod gave no indication that he had even heard as he continued to wander along the Seine.
***Next up: Where did Methos go after he sauntered off into the night? Find out in Part Three, “Fall from Grace.”