Sweet Conflict: Part V
Jessica L. Blackstone
Dialogue taken from the Highlander: The Series episode
Written by James Thorpe
No copyright infringement intended.
Long pale fingers gracefully slid across the desk’s surface toward the ringing object. “Pierson,” distractedly greeted a low melodious voice.
“Adam, I have been waiting out here for over ten minutes! Are you coming along or not?”
Hazel eyes flicked towards the wall on his left where the antique Charlemagne clock was about to signal six forty-five. “Sorry Joe, I’ll be right out,” he said just as the soft mechanical whirring of the clock heralded the mechanical horsemen’s quarterly revolution.
Methos quickly logged out of the Watcher database and stopped the tape he was currently transcribing. He carelessly picked up his light coat, glancing at the broadsword that was revealed. He was going to be with MacLeod…his pistol and the pair of daggers he was already armed with should suffice for the evening’s entertainment, such as it was. He slowly approached the SUV waiting outside the front door of his building.
“About time,” Dawson grumbled, throwing an irritated glance at the tall immortal as he settled himself in the passenger seat beside him.
“Ah, Joe, you wound me, you truly do.”
“Yes, that’s what I said when I heard about this little jaunt as well.”
Joe glanced at the immortal and sadly shook his head. First baseball and now this, the old man just didn’t know what he was missing. “You can’t tell me…”
Methos smirked as he tuned out the mortal’s diatribe about the merits of boxing, nodding absently at the appropriate pauses in the Watcher’s speech. His mind was on MacLeod. They’d settled back into the easygoing banter that had characterized their early friendship, albeit with the added benefit of sex. Yes, one couldn’t forget about the sex...
The breath was knocked out of him as the tall highlander collapsed on top of him, pushing him down into the mattress. Methos panted and shifted to his left side, feeling the heavy weight move with him until they were both on their sides with Mac spooned up behind him. Not at all surprised nor displeased that the highlander was still buried within.
He closed his eyes as he felt the tender kiss at the juncture of neck and shoulder, the murmur of soft breathed words running along his back, controlling the instinct to pull away. It was just MacLeod’s way, a part of his postcoital charm as it were. Something that the highlander’s women probably all adored while it merely made him…wary.
It had been four days since his reappearance in MacLeod’s life. No questions asked, no answers given. There were none to give, none that meant anything, anyway. They were both alive and here, nothing else mattered. He hadn’t asked for help in moving and Mac hadn’t offered. An invitation to dinner had been accepted, the decision to migrate back to the dojo not openly discussed, nor was the sex…hopefully it would remain so.
Methos lazily rubbed the left side of his face sinuously across the cool sheet as his breathing slowed, his body in a state of relaxed languor. He was almost asleep when the whisper fluttered across his consciousness.
“Hmmm,” he grunted, feeling the callused palm’s path down his hip to settle upon his thigh. His body automatically responding to the lazy caress by tightening, eliciting a soft moan from the Scot.
“Come to the boxing tournament with me and Dawson tonight?”
And that was how he found himself walking alongside Dawson through the mass of people milling around a boxing ring in the center of a large room. Damn the highlander and his timing.
“I thought you guys weren’t going to make it,” MacLeod called out, a smile on his face as he indicated the spaces beside him on the front bench he’d saved for them.
“Yeah, well some of us are less considerate of the time than others…” Joe commented dryly with a pointed stare in the ancient immortal’s direction.
Methos smiled innocently and took off his jacket as he sat down. “So what’s there to eat in this place?”
Joe sighed in annoyance while Mac let out a chuckle. “I was just about to go for popcorn, Joe?”
Dawson nodded, “Thanks, Mac.” He settled himself on Methos’ right and focused on the people readying the ring for the match. It looked like everything was running smoothly--and on schedule. He shot a dirty look at the immortal beside him who was looking around with an air of disdain.
“It looks like it’s going to be a good tournament,” MacLeod remarked enthusiastically as he reappeared bearing three popcorns.
Joe accepted the popcorn with a gruff smile and shook his head at Methos’ “what, no butter?” complaint. “Looks like it’s about to start, isn’t that Stevie, the kid that Charlie was helping to train?” he asked MacLeod who’d just sat down on the other side of Methos.
Duncan looked at the side of the ring for a glimpse of the boxer who was dancing around, warming up for the match. He popped a piece of popcorn in his mouth. “Yeah, that’s Stevie, he made it to the finals.”
“Finals?” Methos questioned.
“Yeah, there are only two matches tonight to see whose going to fight next weekend for the prize,” Duncan explained. He was about to elaborate further, when the announcer stepped into the ring.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the Charlie Desalvo Memorial Boxing Tournament. We have an exciting night ahead of us with four great fighters. First up is Stevie “Lightening” Williams and “Little” Harry Sanchez.”
“Now gentlemen, I want a nice clean fight,” ordered the referee as the announcer left the ring. The bell sounded and the match began.
Thank heavens the blustering was kept to a minimum. It must have been MacLeod’s doing…Methos look disinterestedly down, not really paying attention to the fight although with the shouted comments coming from either side of him it was hard to not know who was winning. He glanced at the ring, a pitiful imitation of the games held long past where the only rule was survival. The yelling of the crowd eerily familiar. Yes, some things never change.
“What'd I tell you? The kid works a body just like Brasilio,” MacLeod claimed to Joe.
“Nah, You mean Dick Tyro.”
“No, Carmen Brasilio,” MacLeod repeated.
“Dick Tyro,” Joe countered.
“What the hell are you two talking about?” Methos demanded in an annoyed tone accompanied with a swift glance from the highlander’s dark earnest face on his left to the Watcher’s cheerful grizzled one on his right.
“Carmen Brasilio,” MacLeod stated, like that explained everything, with his attention still focused on the ring.
“Who he?” Methos asked exaggeratedly.
“Middleweight contender back in the fifties. Guy hit like a mule,” the highlander offered.
“Dick Tyro,” Joe argued.
Methos turned to Joe, “Who he?”
Joe explained while his attention also stayed on the ring, “Middleweight champion back in the fifties. Guy knocked Brasilio on his ass.”
“Aah . . . he was lucky,” MacLeod refuted.
“The Marquis of Queensbury would have been so proud,” Methos sarcastically exclaimed.
“Who he?” Joe asked turning to Methos with an innocent expression.
Methos stared incredulously at Joe. That wasn’t funny.
“Keep up your left! Watch the upper hand right!” MacLeod yelled out just as Lightening Stevie went down.
“Well, it's not like you didn't warn him,” Joe commented dryly.
“So what, you and Joe, you want to sponsor this . . . event?” Methos asked in a somewhat contemptuous tone.
“Yeah, you know Charlie would have loved this,” Joe exclaimed.
“Yeah, he grew up here,” Duncan added while eating his popcorn, “He figured a place like this would keep the kids off the street.”
“Oh, yeah, I can see that's really important, you know, 'cause out on the streets you could get hurt.” Methos continued to innocently eat his popcorn while the two men glared at him from both sides. Pleasure filled him as he realized that his little sally had annoyed both men, eating more popcorn in order to keep the smile from his face. Methos was about to see if he could aggravate them further when he suddenly felt the presence of another immortal. Methos immediately tensed and glanced around, noticing MacLeod doing the same.
“I don’t believe it.”
Methos followed the younger immortal’s gaze to the tall attractive brunette on the other side of the ring. “Time to go.”
“She’s a friend,” Duncan contended.
“When she carries a sword, and we haven't been formally introduced, I get shy,” Methos explained in a dulcet tone. He stood while gathering his jacket in his hands and began to walk away.
“Bah.” MacLeod wasn’t going to waste time arguing about it with the ancient immortal.
Methos paused after three steps to turn back to the Watcher who was still sitting. “Coming?”
“What?” Joe glanced to his left at MacLeod who was already striding towards a woman on the other side of the room. He quickly surmised from Methos’ earlier comment that the woman was an immortal… “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.” He got to his feet and followed Methos towards the exit. “You do realize that there’s still another fight,” Joe was saying as he walked up to the tall immortal who was standing motionless just outside the building.
“Well, what do we have here?” Methos drawled quietly.
“What? Oh, hell,” Joe softly cried as he spotted the police cruisers pulling up in front of the building and several policeman hurrying past them into the building.
“I think it’s time for a change in scenery.”
“I agree.” Joe knew that MacLeod could handle himself, and besides someone needed to stay out of jail to bail him out. Nothing more was said until they got into the car and pulled away. “So I take it that you didn’t know Ms. Wanted in there,” Joe commented to the ancient immortal whose fixed gazed hadn’t moved from the activity in front of the building as they drove through the parking lot.
“No, you?” Methos replied softly, turning to face MacLeod’s Watcher.
“Nope, but I have a feeling I’m gonna,” Joe commented wryly.
“I think that’s a safe bet.” Methos stated solemnly.
Joe snorted. He was still wondering who the dark haired woman was when he pulled up in front of his bar. Dawson glanced at the immortal walking beside him curiously. Methos seemed to be quieter than usual. “Something on your mind, old man?”
Methos held open the door for the Watcher, “just the usual.”
Joe’s eyebrows arched questionably. “Oh?”
“Tonight’s special is baby-back ribs, isn’t it?” Methos asked with a grin.
Dawson groaned as he walked into the bar. He should have known.
Methos stared disdainfully at the beer bottle. It was empty. He pushed it to stand next to its six brothers before slowly rising to his feet.
“Heading out?” Joe casually inquired as Methos glided past the bar. He’d kept an eye on the ancient immortal sitting in the dark corner ever since he’d left him to work the bar. Today’s special had indeed been ribs, although he’d had steak, leaving the ribs to Methos. He glanced up at the expressionless face wondering what was going on in the ancient psyche. He’d thought for certain that MacLeod would put in an appearance, given the presence of the police at the tournament and apparently so had the immortal, for he’d nursed each of his drinks as long as possible, glancing occasionally at the door as if waiting.
Methos walked out into the cold night air and shivered slightly. He quickly called a cab, it wouldn’t due to wander about without a sword. He said little on the short cab ride, his thoughts on the exotic immortal whose company Duncan presumably was currently enjoying.
He fixedly kept his thoughts from venturing further. He got out of the cab after absently handing the cabbie the fare and trudged into his building.
Methos looked around his apartment with a disinterested air and headed straight for his bed where he collapsed. He pulled the comforter up over his head and let sleep overcome him.
Methos blinked wearily in the light. It was morning and he still had his head. Two things for his side. He sat and swung his legs off the bed, not at all surprised to find that he still had his boots on. Scowling down at the shoes he roughly pulled them off as well as the rest of his clothes as he strode towards the bathroom determined to get the sour taste out of his mouth.
He held his head under the cascade, luxuriating in the hot water coursing down over his face and chest. A frown formed on his face as he suddenly remembered what he’d been so involved in yesterday evening when Dawson picked him up. Without realizing it he turned off the water, picked up a towel and began drying off.
His thoughts were still on the number of immortal deaths he’d been recording for the Watcher chronicles, later as he poured himself a cup of steaming coffee. He took a sip as he walked over to his desk with a puzzled expression. His eyes skipped from the dates of the various deaths to the locations of each on the map he’d meticulously been drawing. Immortal kills were not unusual, but more than one or two in the same city or even the same area around the same time was…
Methos’ expression darkened at the four or more kills in eight different cities over a period of two months. But that wasn’t what was disturbing him. He picked up a pencil and slowly connected the dots, continuing the line out past the last known death along the most logical path…Seacouver.
He dropped the pencil and absently picked up the phone. “Pierson.”
It seemed like a hunter was on the way…
“Morning, Methos. Care to join me for breakfast?”
“Breakfast?” Methos repeated his mind still on the immortal hunter who seemed to be making his way there.
“Yes, that little meal we eat in the morning to break our fast,” Duncan replied sarcastically. “I was thinking of McGinty’s.”
Methos gave a little shake of his head getting his thoughts in order. “Fine. I’ll meet you at the usual place. I want to get a newspaper.” Most hunters thought nothing of killing mortals so that might be another way to track him. He would also need to check in with Joe, see if anyone had gotten a photo of the victor of any of the challenges. If it was indeed as he thought the same immortal then chances are the hunter was coming for MacLeod. The man didn’t have any common sense about keeping a low profile. Too proud to change his name in all these hundred of years.
Methos hung the phone up and headed for the door. Since Mac would be waiting for him on the corner two blocks from the apartment, he’d leave the Ivanhoe. He’d have his long knives and chances are he’d be back here after breakfast, with or without MacLeod.
He sauntered up to the tall Scot with a grin. “Good morrow, my good fellow.”
“Morning, Methos,” Duncan greeted in a long suffering tone. “Did you hear about the tournament?” he asked as Methos fell in beside him and they began walking towards the diner.
“Yes, it seems the last match was postponed on account of fire,” drawled Methos with a sidewise glance at the highlander. “Aren’t you suppose to shield kids from violence,” he baited.
“It’s not about protecting kids.” Duncan stopped realizing what he just said. That wasn’t right. He tried to formulate the goal more clearly. “It’s not just the boxing. The kids need something to do . . . to give them some discipline. Don't you understand?”
“No. I'm not a big fan of blood sports.” He thrust his hands in his jean pockets.
“Oh dear.” Duncan gave up.
Not wanting to ask but unable to prevent himself, “So what happened to your friend?”
“She left,” MacLeod replied tersely.
“Didn’t stay around long…” Methos’ casual tone not fooling anyone. “Did she mention why the police were after her?” It hadn’t taken a genius to figure out.
“She said they were here to tie up a few loose ends.”
“Ah. So, five patrol cars and ten uniforms, that's a lot of manpower to 'tie up a few loose ends,’” Methos drawled while languidly inserting the coins in the stand and taking out a paper.
“You're an old cynic.” MacLeod looked down at the newspaper he’d just bought.
“I try. Oh, look at this, there's an exhibition of Greek antiquities,” he exclaimed, holding up his newspaper.
“Oh, yeah, can't wait. A 2,500 year old garage sale,” Mac mocked.
Methos showed MacLeod the ad, affronted. “Listen, some of this stuff could be mine.”
MacLeod snatched the paper from Methos’ surprised grasp and looked intently at the big blue and white ad for the “New Freedom Party.”
“I believe the phrase is, ‘Would you mind if I borrowed your newspaper?’” Methos offered.
“Damn it!” MacLeod shoved the paper back into Methos’ hands and began to quickly walk away back in the direction they’d just come from.
Methos frowned as he glanced down at the paper before moving to the back of the highlander as he strode away. “Mac!”
Duncan paused and half turned back, calling to Methos, “I’ll see you later.”
He stared as Mac walked away. Twice in twelve hours…perhaps I’m losing my appeal. Methos looked down at the paper to see what had set his friend off. “New Freedom Party,” he murmured softly as he continued on his way to the diner. Presumably, it was another of those white supremacist groups. That’s what the name seemed to indicate from his past experience. He folded up the paper and stuck it under his left arm.
He pushed his plate away with a satisfied expression.
“More coffee, hun?”
Methos nodded as he turned the page of the newspaper. “Thank you,” he murmured after taking a sip. There was nothing in the paper that indicated a hunter was in town, no sudden storms with lightening in the sky. However, the paper just covered the surrounding area. There was still a good size town between the last known immortal kill and Seacouver. He rose to his feet and casually dropped a couple of bills on the table before heading towards the exit.
As he slowly walked back to his apartment, his thoughts returned to MacLeod and his abrupt departure. The highlander just couldn’t leave trouble alone. He had to go out and actually seek it. It had only been a couple of days since Culbraith. He exhaled in exasperation as he glanced out over the water in the bay.
He still had to change his shirt, it was getting too warm for this sweater and pick up his sword before heading over to Joe’s. He’d asked the Watcher if he thought there was anything to the frequency of deaths and their location. Perhaps he was just seeing a pattern that wasn’t there.
“How are you doing with the backlog?” Joe called over his shoulder.
“Almost complete,” Methos replied as he followed the Watcher to the office at the back of the bar.
“Okay, Adam what’s up?” Joe asked indulgently. He settled behind the desk and leaned back against the chair. It was good to take a load off his leg and back once in a while.
Methos’ forehead wrinkled slightly. “I’m not sure exactly. I want you to check out the latest kills and see if anything strikes you.”
Joe gave shot the ancient immortal a puzzled look but turned on the computer and quickly logged onto the Watcher database. He quickly read the updated chronicles that Methos had begun working on.
“Were there any pictures to be included in the chronicle,” Methos asked in a casual tone as he wandered around the small office looking at the various photos decorating the walls.
“No, none for the batch that you’re working on,” Joe replied distractedly as he continued to read the screen. “Hey, grab me that map leaning against the wall.”
Methos slowly turned and pulled a sheet of paper out of the right breast pocket of his jacket.
Joe accepted it without a word, spreading it over the desk, glancing sharply up at Methos who’d come around and joined him on his side of the desk. Each immortal kill was neatly plotted along with the date on the map. “Damn it!” He looked at the line’s end point and sighed. Just what he needed. “MacLeod, of course,” he said grimly.
The immortal sighed. “That’d be my guess. Mac doesn’t exactly keep a low profile.”
“This is just great.” Joe didn’t know what to do. His oath as a Watcher prevented him from interfering with the Game. “Are you going to tell him?”
“No. It wouldn’t make a difference. Besides all we have right now is a theory. Let’s keep an eye out and see if there are any more suspicious immortal kills. Then we’ll worry about telling Mac. The guy doesn’t seem to be in any particular hurry.”
Joe nodded at Methos’ analysis. That seemed logical. He sighed though. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the tall immortal clearing his throat.
“Since I’m here, let me look over the latest field reports for the area.”
“Good idea, since I should get back to the bar. Call me if you find anything.” He stood up and grabbed his cane.
Methos nodded but said nothing, his attention already on the screen. Just how he wanted to spend a beautiful sunny afternoon. He looked around the dark windowless office and shook his head sadly. Oh well. One does what one must--to survive.
His glum attitude was somewhat mollified by the lunch that the Senior Watcher had set up for him when he emerged from the dank office a couple of hours later.
“Anything?” Joe asked him as he joined him.
“Nothing worth mentioning.” Methos took a bite of lasagna. “This is pretty good. Didn’t know Tiny did pasta.”
The gray eyes flashed with humor. “It’s a new item for the menu….”
“So I’ve been relegated to Taster. I’m glad I’m useful for something,” Methos deprecatingly remarked.
“Hey, who better to test out a new dish than an immortal,” Joe teased quietly.
He snorted but continued eating. “Whose playing tonight?”
“It’s this guy out of Mississippi, ‘Super Chikan’ Brown. He’s plays guitar like nobody’s business. Left handed, heard him back in Chicago. Has a little of that Jessie Mae Hemphill and Muddy Waters sound. You should check him out.”
Methos nodded as he took a drink of his beer. “I just might stop by.” He smiled as one of the waitresses came over and began clearing the table.
“Dessert?” she asked looking from one man to another.
Joe gave a negative shake of his head. “No thank you, Laura.”
“So what are you up to now?” Dawson looked over at the immortal who had just relaxed back in the chair.
“Think I’ll rest here for a while. I think I’ve done enough work for to-day.” Methos lifted his legs and rested them on the chair opposite, wondering if Dawson was going to say something.
Joe just sighed and stood. “Well, I got to get back to work.”
“Have fun,” Methos wished him cheerfully.
The Watcher just gave a slight shake of his head at the immortal before he walked away.
Methos closed his eyes and listened to the blues song playing softly in the background. If that was Brown then tonight’s show promised to be good. Maybe he would stop by. He snorted softly under his breath. Chances are MacLeod would be too busy to get together anyway. “Laura,” he softly called, stopping the young woman on her way to the bar. “An Irish coffee, if you would.”
“Sure thing, Adam.”
A few minutes later, he breathed deeply. The strong aroma of the coffee was a delight. He took a cautious sip. Perfect, just what he needed.
His mood darkened as his thoughts inevitably turned to the hunter that apparently was headed in this direction. The good news was that there’d been no new immortal kills since Ryan took Culbraith’s head.
The bad news was that he’d dug further back and determined that the hunter had been in the country for three months. Entry point: Boston apparently. His journey clearly marked by the immortal kills signaling his path across the country. The feel of an immortal presence abruptly woke Methos from his reverie.
His let his legs drop to the floor as he turned towards the chair behind him where his jacket and sword were laying.
“How you doing, Mac?” Joe greeted the tall Scot.
Mac shook his head, his expression serious. Joe followed the immortal as they walked towards the back and the other immortal.
Methos had relaxed at Joe’s greeting. “What’s up?” he asked the highlander with a small smile.
“You know that woman, last night at the tournament?”
“Yeah,” Joe said while Methos simply nodded.
“Her name’s Ingrid Henning…”
“Ingrid Henning! Born in Germany?” Joe’s eyes narrowed at the news.
MacLeod gave a stiff nod.
“I’m sorry, Mac.”
Methos looked from the younger immortal’s dark face towards Joe. “What am I missing here, guys?”
“Ingrid’s an assassin,” Mac informed him glumly.
“Yeah, so?” Methos didn’t see the problem.
“Her next mark, I assume.”
Joe had a puzzled expression on his face. “He’s the leader of a white supremacist group, the New Freedom Party,” MacLeod explained to the Watcher.
Dawson turned and began walking towards the bar. From the expression on Mac’s face it looked like this was going to be a long night.
“I’m still failing to see the problem,” Methos remarked.
“The problem is,” MacLeod explained with an edge in his voice, “is that I can’t just sit by and allow her to kill an innocent man, yet I don’t think I can stop her. She believes in what she’s doing.”
“She’s a killer, MacLeod, nothing more, nothing less.”
“It’s not that simple.”
Methos began laughing uproariously.
“You mind telling me what you think is so funny about this?” Duncan demanded irritatingly.
He choked off his laughter. “Well, not exactly funny, but, um,” Methos began before beginning to chuckle again, “pretty entertaining, yeah.”
Joe slowly returned carrying a pitcher of beer. “Just what is so entertaining?” the Watcher inquired as he made his way to the table.
“MacLeod tussling with another of his, um, moral dilemmas.”
“You know there are times I really don't like you,” MacLeod said darkly.
“That's okay, sometimes I don't like myself,” Methos instantly replied, totally serious.
“I see, Ingrid Henning,” Joe stated as he sat down in the chair left of Methos’.
“Ask Joe about her!” Methos ordered with a glance at the Watcher.
“I don’t need to ask him about her,” Mac said leaning over the table and into the ancient immortal’s face. “She failed to kill Hitler in '44, and she's been making up for it ever since. We tried to blow him up in East Prussia. Hitler was one of the few who made it out alive. Ingrid had her chance to kill him but couldn’t. She’d never killed a mortal before. Hitler should have died that day, but we failed. And Ingrid blames herself.”
“Come on, man, you are not buying into that tawdry, guilt-induced little mel-o-drama,” drawled Methos contemptuously.
“Oh, I forgot. We're talking to the only guilt- free man in the Western world.”
Methos exhaled controlling his anger, “No, we're talking about Ingrid…It is the ultimate in arrogance to think that one person can alter the course of history.”
“You can't deny that by killing Hitler in ’44 thousands of lives would have been saved. Maybe millions,” Duncan asserted.
“Yeah, and if you'd killed him in ’43 like Rommel wanted, maybe Germany would have won the war…. History makes men, MacLeod. Men don't make history. I'm talking about the time, ’kay? The ‘Zeitgeist,’ to quote the Germans. If it hadn't been the little painter from Austria it would have been someone else. Would have been a--I dunno--a shopkeeper, a garbage man. My point is, it doesn't matter. The times were ripe for a Fuehrer.”
“My point is it was Hitler.”
Methos shook his head sadly. Save him from stubborn Scots.
Duncan focused on the man who’d been sitting silently all this time listening to them. “You're a historian,” he began pointing at Joe, “what do you think?”
Dawson smiled and gave a negative shake of his head while holding up his hands defensively. “Uh-uh. I'm not getting into the middle of this.”
“Coward,” Mac labeled him.
“Ditto,” Methos agreed as he took a sip of coffee.
Joe gave the ancient immortal sitting beside him a sharp look before shrugging, “All right. You want an answer? Who gives a damn?”
Methos looked up at the highlander with a vindicated expression on his face.
“What matters is that it's Mac’s friend,” Joe continued pointedly.
“Pretty smart . . . for a kid,” Methos quietly admitted after a long pause.
Joe turned his attention to the immortal leaning against the bar, “What are you going to do?”
Methos lightly ran his forefinger back and forth over the top rim of the coffee cup as he listened for Mac’s reply, his eyes focused on the porcelain cup.
Duncan shook his head. “In her heart she thinks she's right,” he began and pointedly looked at Methos before continuing, “And part of me agrees.”
Methos shook his head sadly but didn’t look up.
“I don't know how to stop her,” MacLeod stated, bewildered.
“Don't you?” Methos questioned, slowly raising his gold eyes to met Duncan’s during the ensuing silence.
Duncan stiffened at the knowing tone, the gold eyes challenging him as they finally met his, “No, I don’t.” He turned and strode away. How could Methos imply…He just didn’t understand…
Methos watched the highlander walk out of the bar, knowing that he’d gone too far. Duncan wasn’t ready for the truth.
Joe gave Methos an reproachful look, “You know you really can be an arrogant pain in the ass sometimes.”
“Guilty as charged.” Methos took a last drink of coffee.
“What was that about, anyway?” Joe asked, pouring more beer into his glass.
“Hmmm?” Methos turned to the Watcher with a puzzled expression.
“I’ve never known for Mac to get so personal. What’s going on between you two…” Joe’s voice trailed off as Methos’ face became even more expressionless than usual. He glanced away at the door the highlander had just left through and then back at Methos, who was staring fixedly down at the cup in his hands. “Well, I’ll be damned.”
Methos closed his eyes tightly at the perceptive tone.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Joe demanded. He couldn’t believe this. Mac and Methos. “Of all the most stupid things to do, you do remember the Game, don’t you?!”
“I’ve never forgotten it,” Methos darkly replied.
“Christ!” There was nothing in Mac’s chronicle to indicate that he batted for both teams, although the older ones like Methos who lived through the rise and fall of whole civilizations often did. “How long?” he ground out.
“Off and on for four months or so.” There was no reason not to tell him.
“Off and on?” Joe’s face flushed, “What the hell does that mean?”
“Well, Mac didn’t take too kindly to me setting up Galati, if you seem to remember,” Methos sarcastically replied.
“But now you’re here…” Joe said hesitatingly.
“Now I’m *here* and plan on staying as long as…” Methos paused unwilling to actually voice the thought. “Mac wants me to,” Methos bit out each word, a part of his brain refusing to believe he’d actually admitted it--and to Dawson.
Joe shook his head pityingly. “What? You realize that Mac doesn’t do casual.”
Methos froze at the words. “I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about it for long, Joe. You heard him, sometimes he doesn’t even like me,” he bitterly reminded the Watcher of the harsh statement Duncan directed at him.
“Who else knows?” Joe was still having trouble getting his mind around he idea.
“No one. And the less the better, as I’m sure you’ll agree, for both MacLeod’s and my sake,” Methos smoothly stated.
Joe nodded and stared fixedly at the ancient immortal. “You and Mac,” he softly said with a disbelieving expression.
“Are you going to tell him?” Methos asked.
Dawson groaned. That was one conversation he didn’t want to have. He glared at Methos before looking down at the table for a moment, “I don’t know. He hates the idea of his life being chronicled at all by the Watchers. Ah, hell. Why did you do this to me, Adam?” Joe stiffened as he realized what he’d just said. “You’re a Watcher, how the hell are you going to keep the fact that your lover is an immortal secret, Adam?! And not just any immortal but MacLeod, the most famous of them all! This is madness!”
“Every relationship has it’s…difficulties.”
“Difficulties!” Joe groaned again. This wasn’t happening. Amanda he could understand but not Ada--Methos. What the hell where they thinking?! His panicked thoughts were momentarily sidetracked by the phone ringing.
“Joe,” called Sam, “phone!”
“Don’t move!” he ordered the ancient immortal with a pointed figure as he stood up.
He couldn’t help but smirk at the disgust in Dawson’s voice. Joe was taking the news better than he thought he would. “What’s up?” he asked as the Watcher returned after a couple of minutes, rubbing his beard agitatedly.
“MacLeod was just brought in by the police for questioning,” Joe informed him in a grave tone.
“Does Mac know you’re still having him watched?” Methos asked, curious.
“Hey! It’s only when there’s another immortal about. When I saw Mac’s reaction the other night…”
“….you knew there would be trouble,” the ancient immortal finished for him.
Joe’s eyes narrowed at the derision in the immortal’s voice but said nothing.
“Are they charging him with anything?” Methos asked while turning around to pick up his jacket containing the hidden Ivanhoe.
“I don’t know, I pulled Morgan from the station. The last thing we need is an outside agency stumbling upon the Watchers.”
Methos gave a thoughtful nod and languidly rose to his feet. “I think I’ll go spring him. I doubt Mac’d be happy spending the night behind bars.”
Dawson gave a short chuckle and shook his head. “You’re right about that.”
“Just in case I have to give them something, what do we know about Ingrid Henning?” he asked leading Joe towards the back.
“Not much, if I remember correctly.” Joe sat down at his desk and quickly accessed the immortal database. “Oh, by the way, I stumbled upon your little tale about our recently departed messenger of love and peace,” Joe remarked while Ingrid’s file pulled up. “A natural leader of men, all who would gladly lay down their lives for him.”
“Hey, that was very poetic and true, may I add, at one time although not about him,” Methos allowed with a smile in his voice.
“I bet,” Joe remarked dryly. “Okay, here we are: Ingrid Henning. Born 1830 died in 1859. Beaten to death by her husband. Lovely, just lovely…Assassin by trade, her Watcher is Lori Tarkhanian--you’re going to have to keep an eye out for her if you run into Ingrid,” Dawson suggested, his grey eyes fixed on the monitor and missing the grimace that formed as quickly as it disappeared on the pale high cheek-boned face. “Wait, this might help you bargain for Mac’s release, known aliases: Rivka Wasserman, Inga Swenson and Kath-y Stevens?”
Methos smiled at the disbelief in the mortal’s voice as he’d read the last name aloud. “Hey, everyone needs variety. It’s the spice of life.”
“Oh, really, you don’t say?” Joe asked, playing along hoping he could bait the ancient immortal into accidentally dropping one of his own aliases for comparison. He glanced over at the amused expression and mentally sighed. No luck. “That’s it, you know about Hitler in 1944...”
The ancient immortal gave a single nod. “Thanks Joe. Good luck with the show tonight.”
Joe watched the oldest known immortal alive saunter out of his office. MacLeod and Methos, who would have ever thought…
Methos quickly paid the driver and got out in front of the Seacouver Police Station. Smiling at the attractive blonde he passed as he began lightly stepping up the stairs towards the entrance.
He automatically removed his sunglasses as he walked through the glass door and casually moseyed on over to the front desk.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, I represent Duncan MacLeod. I understand that he’s being held here.”
The officer looked down at the clipboard on the desk before calling over his shoulder to a passing officer, “Who was it that Breslaw, that foreign cop brought in, O’Connell?
The other cop, apparently O’Connell replied, “MacDonald or MacDougal, Mac something.”
“I though so. Sorry Mister…?” the cop began with an apologetic expression that didn’t quite match the hard eyes.
“Reynolds, Adam Reynolds, Sergeant…?”
“But we’re not the one’s holding your client, some guy from Interpol is talking to him.”
Methos casually leaned one elbow down on the desk, “I see, and just what is he talking to him about?”
“Yeah,” O’Connell put in while walking by again. “She’s suppose to be this scary assassin,” the cop concluded with a chuckle.
“And would this woman have a name?” Methos asked casually.
“Sure,” O’Connell pulled a single sheet of paper off of one of the surrounding desks and handed it to Sergeant Tomkins who gave it to Methos.
Methos found himself staring down at a good likeness of Ingrid in black and white. But what interested him most were the list of suspected murders neatly typed beneath the immortal’s physical description.
“Have you seen her?” Tomkins asked automatically.
“Nope. I’d have remembered if I’d seen *this* woman,” Methos drawled.
“We all would,” O’Connell joked. All three men laughed. “I’ll let him know that you’re out here,” O’Connell offered.
“Thanks. I’d appreciate it,” Methos smiled as he watched O’Connell head down the hallway, presumably towards the interview rooms.
It wasn’t too long before the tall dark figure of the highlander was seen towering over the two men escorting him down the hallway.
Duncan scowled at the ancient immortal who was leaning on the front desk, chatting amiably with a cop. “Let’s get out of here.”
“But of course,” Methos replied, smiling charmingly at Tomkins and the foreign cop, before he walked over to the door. He put his sunglasses on before automatically holding the glass door open for Duncan as well as the two uniformed officers who walked up. “Officers,” he acknowledged, letting the door close after them. “Well, that went pretty well,” he commented as he followed Duncan down the stairs while taking off the sunglasses he’d just put on. He needed to talk to MacLeod and the highlander had a thing about his eyes.
“Since when are you my attorney?” MacLeod asked in an annoyed tone.
“Whatever you need. Lawyer, doctor, Indian chief . . . I've got paperwork to cover it all,” Methos replied glibly.
“Of course, I forgot.”
Methos noticed Mac looking around and reminded him, “Mac.” He pointed towards the other end of the parking lot where a bank of taxis were waiting, “cab.”
Duncan shot him an exasperated look and continued walking in the direction the older immortal indicated.
“Okay, Watcher records are a bit sketchy on our lady, so I had a chat with the desk sergeant while I was waiting.”
“So you know she committed 15 murders in the last 10 years.”
“Yeah, which leaves 40 years unaccounted for, the mind boggles,” Methos quipped.
“Aw, come on, man. Who’s to know--who’s to say she’s not right.”
Methos gave a laugh and shook his head slightly in disbelief.
“Maybe the people she killed deserved to die.”
“So this is the angle now. The end justifies the means. It’s not very original.” He continued to walk beside his friend, realizing that Duncan was avoiding looking at him.
“She believes she’s making the world a better place.”
“Mac, that’s exactly what he believed. Remember? What was his name? Adolf Something-or-other?”
“Adolf Something-or-other?' I don't believe you,” Mac retorted and walked off into the parking lot.
“You believe it,” Methos called after him, “you just don't want to hear it.” He slowly followed the younger immortal and got into the cab without another word. Not even commenting when MacLeod gave the driver the address to Joe’s.
“When are you going to get a car?” MacLeod asked in a disgruntled tone, breaking the tense silence.
“Next week, or whenever I find the time,” Methos replied.
Methos glanced over at the highlander to find the Scot’s face turned away looking through the car window giving him no clue to what was going on inside MacLeod’s mind. He got out of the car without a word when it finally pulled up to Joe’s, not at all surprised by the brief nod of acknowledgement Duncan gave at his exit.
He walked into Joe’s and immediately perched himself on a stool at the bar.
“What’ll you have?”
“Anything.” He waved his right hand airily. “I need a drink.”
“That bad, huh,” Joe inquired while he poured the immortal an 40 year old scotch.
The immortal slowly shook his head, “it’s just Mac. Sometimes I just want to…” Methos closed his hands into fists on the bar before slowly relaxing them as he took a long deep breath.
“Yeah, he can do that to you.”
Joe watched the immortal closely as he drank the scotch down in one swallow. “Staying for the show?”
Methos shook his head. “Sorry, Joe.”
“And Mac?” Joe asked with a worried expression.
“Still out trying to save the world.”
Dawson frowned but let the comment go. If there was one thing he didn’t want, was to be in the middle between the two immortals--especially now. “See ya tomorrow, Adam. Nine sharp.”
“Sure, Joe.” Methos gave the Watcher a tired smile as he stood up.
“Adam!” Joe called out just as his friend pushed open the door. He’d had the whole afternoon to worry about the two immortals getting involved with each other on top of the mess with Ingrid Henning but he didn’t know what to say to Methos, to his friend. He had a feeling that Methos of all them knew exactly the risks he was taking. “Be careful,” he admonished with a confused shake of his head not even knowing himself what specifically he was referring to.
Methos smiled at the concern he saw in the grey eyes. “Thanks, Joe.”
He was rubbing the back of his head tiredly as he walked down the hallway when the sudden feel of an immortal close by brought him up short. Methos stealthily took a look around the corner, relaxing as he recognized the tall dark figure leaning against the wall outside his apartment.
His expression darkened at how weary the younger immortal looked. He slowly walked up to the door, unlocked it and ushered the highlander inside his place without a word. Methos paused just inside the apartment and stared expectantly at MacLeod as he looked around curiously.
Amusement filled the brown eyes as Duncan took in the antique fireplace and the Victorian furniture. “You wouldn’t by chance have known Arthur Conan Doyle, now would you?” he asked, a hint of laughter in his voice.
“I might have conversed with the gentleman a time or two,” Methos allowed as he walked over to the kitchen.
“I bet.” MacLeod looked at what could only be described as an English sitting room. He shook his head slightly as he sat in one of the chairs before the fireplace resting his head back against the rich brocade with a sigh.
Methos heard the sigh but didn’t look up from his task. He busied himself for the ten minutes it took for the water to boil by setting the tray with biscuits along with the usual things. Duncan’s eyes were closed when he finally stood before him with a cup of tea held out.
“Thanks,” Duncan said, his mouth twisted in a wry smile as he accepted the cup. He frowned after he took a brief sip, staring at the ancient immortal questioningly although Methos didn’t see him since his back was to him. ‘When did Methos learn how I liked my tea?’ He gave a tired sigh and glanced over to find the ancient immortal staring at him.
“Are you all right?” Methos asked quietly.
Duncan stared into the dark fireplace wishing it was cold enough for a fire. “I like your place,” he blurted out.
Methos glanced around at the apartment. “Thank you,” he said simply, biting back the disparaging comment he would have made if Mac wasn’t looking like some beaten dog lying on the side of the road.
“Come on, Mac,” he said softly. Methos gently took the cup and saucer out of the highlander’s grip and placed it on the table. He drew Duncan up and towards the bedroom with a deft touch, not releasing the tired Scot till he was spread out on top of the comforter with his eyes blinking furiously as he fought to stay awake.
He wrapped his arms around Duncan from behind as he joined him on the bed. His right hand ran soothingly over the high forehead and brushed back the long wavy hair in a calming caress. “Sleep,” Methos breathed, continuing to stroke the long brown hair.
Duncan finally let go and relaxed, burrowing into the pillow, comforted by the deep melodious voice murmuring in his ear. The cocooning warmth from behind sinking down into his bones.
Methos smiled as Duncan finally fell asleep. He laid his head down as well, and listened to the low even breathing. Even at rest there was something about MacLeod. Crisp, clear, and untamable, so much like the highlands. Beautiful as well as deadly to those who dared trespass the honor of the clans.
He wished that he could spare Duncan the pain and take Ingrid’s head for him but the highland child would never allow it, never turn his back as he did for Kristin. Methos sighed before kissing Duncan’s brow softly. MacLeod was so young…
Methos awoke to find Mac propped up on one elbow looking down at him, an indulgent smile on the dark handsome face.
“Thank you, Methos.”
“For leaving it alone.”
Methos shifted away from the highlander as he stretched. “I said my piece,” he murmured drowsily when he felt the MacLeod’s arm encircle him, pulling him back up against the lean muscular chest. The bare muscular chest. He glanced over his shoulder at the other immortal in curiosity. When had Duncan gotten undressed?
“I thought you hated sleeping with your clothes on?” Duncan asked, nuzzling the back of Methos’ neck.
“I…” Methos voice caught as a hand began to stroke him through his jeans. He moaned in dismay as the hand was just as suddenly withdrawn. Gasping as his jeans were roughly but mercifully unfastened and the zipper torn down to make way for the heavenly feel of a callused palm surrounding his cock. He thrust forward into the hot hand making him buck backwards against the hard cock pressed against his butt. “Duncan…”
MacLeod laughed into the damp neck he was currently nipping as he continued to stroke the ancient immortal’s cock with long teasing motions. Speeding up when Methos reached back around with his right hand to clutch Duncan’s bare hip. The rough caress of the denim against his cock driving him to quicken his thrusts against Methos’ buttocks, gratified to watch as Methos froze for a millisecond before coming, the hot liquid exploding over his hand. He groaned into the back of Methos’ head as he neared his own orgasm, the feel of that hand with its talented fingers gliding across the crevice between his buttocks sending him quickly over the edge.
“Jeans definitely have to go now,” Methos silkily commented at the feel of his now damp backside caused the denim to uncomfortably tighten. He, however made no move to get up, content just to lie there listening to the highlander chuckling under his breath against his back.
“Here, let me,” Duncan offered, finally moving after several minutes to kneel on the bed. He grasped the top of the jeans and steadily pulled them down the long thin legs until they reached Methos’ feet…er boots. MacLeod looked up at Methos’ amused expression with chagrin.
“Forgot something, did you?” Methos’ laughing tone accompanied the highlander as he unlaced the boots without protest and removed them before accomplishing his goal.
“Better,” Duncan asked as he returned to his previous position, cradling the ancient immortal before him in his arms.
Methos gave a short nod, satiated languor reminding him it was still the middle of the night, before he surrendered to the beckoning slumber.
He frowned at the cheerful “morning” which had just woken him from a sound sleep but accepted the coffee that MacLeod was holding out to him. Methos sat up in bed and rested back against the headboard. As he took a cautious sip of the hot liquid his eyes roamed over the other immortal noting his dressed state unhappily.
“I’m heading back to the dojo, just in case…” Duncan watched Methos’ face lose all expression and sighed. “Where will you be?” he asked finally.
“Joe’s, where else?” Methos replied scornfully. His expression dark, peering down at the coffee as if it had offended him.
Duncan nodded solemnly and began to walk out of the bedroom before pausing to turn back halfway. He stared at the ancient immortal for several seconds silently before shaking his head slightly as if to wake himself up. He gave an embarrassed smile. “Nice bedroom,” he complimented, gesturing to the far wall which was more window than wall, overlooking the bay. He threw another shy smile at Methos before walking out.
Methos stared out at the water and laughed. So Mac remembered that he hated the sea. He shook his head as he stood up. Yes, his choice of residences for all his dislike were always by a waterway. Old habits were hard to break.
He walked to the front door and locked it behind MacLeod, leaning back on the door, not moving until the buzz of the highlander’s presence completely faded away.
“Adam! What are you doing?” Joe looked around at the half a dozen cabinets that were standing open in the kitchen.
“Marshmallows,” Methos replied with a quick glance at the Watcher standing in the doorway even while he opened another cabinet.
“Yeah, those tiny sugar things you put in hot chocolate.”
Joe took two steps, opened a bottom cabinet, lifted out a bag and casually tossed it to the immortal. He watched absently as the tall immortal grinned before walking over to the counter where a cup of steaming liquid rested, presumably the hot chocolate, and began dropping marshmallows into it--one by one.
“What’s up?” Methos asked as he watched the little white objects bobbing on top of the brown liquid. Now all he needed was some whip cream.
“A cop’s been killed.”
Methos turned to face Dawson. “Ingrid?”
He turned back towards the hot chocolate. “Where’s the whip cream kept in this place?”
“Methos!” Joe whispered in a fierce tone. “Don’t you have more important things to worry about than a hot beverage?!”
“Like what, pray tell?” Methos asked, while he calmly walked past the Watcher and began to peer into various cabinets.
Joe stared at the ancient immortal and shook his head disbelievingly. “Like a tall dark immortal, goes by the name of MacLeod…”
Methos’ eyes flicked in the mortal’s direction for a millisecond before returning to the cabinet, nothing here but crackers and spices. “Mac’s a big boy, Joe.”
“So you’re going to do nothing?” Joe couldn’t believe it or maybe he could. It was just that…especially after yesterday’s revelation…he thought Methos would be more…?
“What would you have me do? No, honestly, Joe?” Methos closed the cabinet door firmly before turning and walking over to Dawson. “You heard MacLeod yesterday. Do you think he’d appreciate it if I took Ingrid’s head? Because you and I both know that that is the only way to stop her.”
Joe met the intense eyes blazing with suppressed passion and shook his head dumbfounded. His admiration for the ancient immortal grew as he realized just how frustrated the old man was at the situation and not being able to do anything about it. He gave a stiff nod and sighed. “It’s going to tear him up inside.”
Methos stared down at the still steaming brown liquid with the dissolving marshmallows. “So, where was the whip cream again?” he asked in a plaintive tone, causing the Watcher to laugh before he proceeded to turn around and open the cabinet immediately behind himself.
Dawson took out the whip cream and walked over to the immortal, “Looks like you have enough for two. How about sharing, old man?”
Methos eyes roamed over the printed words, the soft voice echoing through his mind…
MacLeod immediately stalked into the apartment.
“Do come in,” Methos cracked sarcastically as he closed the door. He casually followed the highlander into the living room, keeping his face expressionless as the Scot began to pace.
“Shelley?” Duncan asked as he spotted the paperback resting on the settee and the cup of tea resting on a nearby table. Picturing the older immortal lying down and reading as presumably he’d just been doing. “Am I disturbing you?” he asked with a scowl.
Methos shook his head negatively.
“Have you heard?” Duncan asked, agitated.
He sighed before gracefully lowering himself into one of the chairs before the fireplace. “According to the evening news a woman was shot and killed by a law enforcement official outside the community center.”
Mac nodded, a dark look on his face. “Now she’s free to go after Wilkinson.”
Methos continued to stare silently at MacLeod.
“Well, aren’t you going to say anything?” Duncan demanded angrily.
“I have nothing more to add. The situation hasn’t changed. Well, perhaps it has, at least now you won’t be stumbling over the cops.”
MacLeod stared at the ancient face dumbfounded. “I have to stop her, Methos. You must realize that it’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s the right thing for you to do, Mac.”
“You wouldn’t do anything?”
Methos shifted his gaze from the earnest face towards the wall behind the tall immortal. “I’d let bygones be bygones,” he drawled.
Disappointment filled the brown eyes of the Scot forcing Methos to add, “but as your friend, I’ll help you.”
Duncan stared questioningly into the green-gold eyes evidently satisfied with what he found in their depths from his next words. “I’m heading home….” the warm brown eyes silently asking.
Methos looked away from the naked emotion in the other’s eyes. His own eyes flitted around the apartment restlessly, before returning to Duncan’s face. He gave a short nod of an agreement to the unspoken request. “Give me a minute.”
He walked into his bedroom, going immediately to the closet and the bag containing a set of clothes and other essentials, just in case. He kept his face expressionless as he walked back into the living room and shrugged into a long black coat; secreting a sword as he sauntered over to the highlander waiting by the front door.
MacLeod opened the door without a word and walked out, the presence of the immortal following, filling him with a sense of rightness that he couldn’t explain. But more importantly didn’t want to.
Methos followed MacLeod into the dojo with a growing sense of unease, and paused in the center of the salle, glancing around at the various equipment in the darkened gym. “I’ll be up in a bit,” he casually stated at the highlander’s questioning glance.
Duncan frowned slightly but decided to let it go. He nodded once before pulling down the cage. He was careful to keep his expression neutral as he stared at the stationary figure in the center of the floor as the elevator began to slowly rise. He’d actually been surprised when Methos agreed to come with. The ancient immortal was resistant to anything implicating that the bonds between them were something more than mere friendship.
He shook his head and snorted aloud as he walked out of the elevator. Lovers. That’s what they were if merely in the physical sense of the word.
The ancient immortal’s attempt to put some distance between them was right on schedule. His thoughts darkened as he thought back on the silent ride they’d just shared. It seemed different, “we” seemed different. Strange considering that they’d already lived together, how much closer could two people get? That was it, it felt intimate, Methos sitting beside him as if he belonged there. A sense of intimacy that for all the times they’d had sex he hadn’t felt, not like this--until now. Anticipation coated the silence. Even now he felt it.
Beyond lust. He. Wanted. Him. Him. Methos. 5000 year old Immortal, barbed tongue and all. Wanted the immortal beside him.
Instead of taking off his coat, he suddenly walked around the corner down the short hallway towards the stairs.
Methos pulled the sweatshirt up over his head and casually dropped it onto the coat he’d already draped over the bag he’d let fall to the floor against the wall. He strode back to the center of the smooth wooden floor and stood with his eyes closed.
Suddenly moving into the long graceful forms of an ancient kata, his feet falling back into the light dance of motion--back, forth and over the sword laying perpendicular at his feet on the floor. His hands sweeping through one movement, then slipping into another until they rested, joined before him at chest level. He was breathing heavily, an indication of just how still out of shape he still was despite his stepped up practice. Practice which he’d begun ever since…Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod walked through the door of his Paris apartment.
“Are you going to stand there all night, watching? I thought that was my job…” Methos drawled to the darkness, moving towards the towels hanging on a bar on the right wall of the dojo. He picked one up and damped the sweat from his forehead, not reacting to the sound of MacLeod stepping forward out of the shadows.
He glanced over his shoulder at the highlander leaning against the doorjamb and smirked.
“I’ve never seen you…that was beautiful.”
Methos tossed the towel to the ground and walked back to the center, the sword elegantly finding itself picked up and held in position. He ignored the highlander’s presence as he swung the sword in a graceful arc overhead and down to his right in a cutting stroke before swinging to the right and up. His strokes continuing to block the parries and thrusts of an invisible opponent.
“Kendo wa ken no riho no shuren ni o ru ningen keisei michi de aru.”
Methos whirled to face the other immortal, the sword motionless. “To polish one’s skill with the sword is to polish one’s soul as a human being.”
Duncan smiled, pleased to discover another facet of the ancient immortal.
Hazel eyes flicked towards the highlander and narrowed. “Or it’s merely a means of survival.” He walked over and picked up his bag. “After all, there can be only one.” He shouldered the bag along with the coat, as he strolled into the elevator and turned. He watched as Duncan slowly approached.
Duncan glanced sidewise at Methos as he pulled down the cage. “There was an opening seven moves in…” he remarked.
Methos stared straight ahead. “I know.”
“It appeared fatal,” MacLeod drawled as he lifted the cage.
“It was.” Methos swept past the younger immortal into the loft.
“So you were fighting a mortal, then?” Duncan absently commented as he followed, his brown eyes fixed on the older immortal who was now bare-chested, after casually discarding the damp t-shirt onto a chair. It was the only thing that made sense because Methos still had his head.
“No.” Methos unbuttoned his jeans and pulled down his zipper as he spoke.
Methos’ dry tone brought MacLeod’s attention sharply back up to the gold eyes from the almost hairless pale skinned legs which were slowly being revealed by the falling denim. “But how?” he asked confused.
Methos sat down on a leather chair and began tugging off his boots. “I lost,” he grunted as he pulled off his right boot.
“But he didn’t take your head…why?” Duncan asked sitting on the couch opposite the ancient immortal.
“To the victor goes the spoils…” Methos sing-songed enigmatically as he untied the remaining boot. He sighed as he glanced up and saw the confusion on Duncan’s face.
“Me, he took me…made me a slave,” he said as he toed off the left boot and looked up to meet the pitying brown eyes. “It was a long time ago, Mac. It doesn’t matter,” he lied in a comforting tone. “We all have times in our past which we don’t like to remember, I know I have.”
Duncan nodded, yes even he had things he didn’t like to think back on, but he’d never been a slave although Amanda had hinted that she’d been one at one time in the past. “I’m sorry.”
Methos gave a sad smile but said nothing, merely pushed down the jeans the rest of the way off until he sat there, clad only in his boxers. Self preservation kicking in, keeping him from revealing more. His eyes widened as the highlander rose and took off his leather coat, laying it carefully on the couch before going to his knees before him. The light glide of fingers up his thighs making a shiver run up his spine and his legs to part, letting Duncan between them.
He mentally cursed his physical reaction even as the hot hands continued up to grasp his hips, a low moan escaping as he allowed himself to be pulled forward, off the chair and onto MacLeod. His mouth automatically seeking the other’s, till their tongues tasted one another as they elusively danced from one mouth to another.
“Methos, why are you doing this to me?!” Duncan moaned, pulling slightly away, wondering why he felt…this passion, only with the ancient immortal.
Methos stared down into the perplexed brown eyes, knowing that his own held no enlightenment; his fingers thrust into the long brown hair, savoring the feel of the long muscular body he was straddling. “I’ve stopped fighting it,” he whispered the damning words against the swollen full lips.
“Good.” Duncan rolled Methos beneath him as he claimed the mouth for another kiss, groaning as the talented tongue slid deliciously into his mouth. He thrust his cock against the thinly covered groin, smiling slightly at the whimper it elicited from the older immortal.
Soon both were lost in the frenzied grinding motions, Duncan coming first with Methos following soon after. Duncan stared, panting down at the other immortal. Tenderness filled him at the unsettled expression on Methos’ face. He bent down and placed a gentle kiss on the pale forehead, whispering softly against the damp skin, “Methos?”
Methos closed his eyes tightly at the whisper, before forcing himself to relax, to open his eyes. A feeling he scarcely recognized, let alone remembered filled him as his eyes met Duncan’s.
He smiled up at Duncan and gave a soft laugh. “Need to get rid of some of this clothing, preferably all,” he suggested as he tugged on the shirt.
Duncan smiled saucily and shifted to his knees, pulling the ancient immortal up with him till they were both standing shakily upright, breathing heavily.
Hands that were slightly trembling began to unbutton the brown shirt as Duncan began to guide the older immortal backwards towards the bed. Methos pushed the shirt off, not caring as it fell to the floor, his hands running over the smooth shoulders and down the powerful arms before moving to the belt buckle.
Duncan reached up and grasped the back of Methos neck, pulling his head up as he re-claimed the hot mouth, desperate to feel connected again. He stood for several minutes simply glorying in the wonderful taste of the remembered mouth. Opening his eyes to gaze at the pale face, the wonderful eyes tightly closed, hidden beneath black lashes. He turned falling onto the bed, his mouth still delving into the moist warmth wonderingly.
Methos straddled the prone immortal and pulled away with a breathless laugh. His eyes staring heatedly down into the dark eyes as he very, very slowly pulled down Mac’s zipper. His eyes flashed as he trailed the tips of his fingers along the edge of the white briefs before suddenly plunging underneath to encircle the hot long length in his hand.
Duncan moaned as Methos’ hand grabbed him and began to alternately squeeze and lazily stroke him. The teasing playful strokes continued, giving no real relief to the escalating need drumming through his veins. He ran his palms up over the fair well developed pectoral muscles, reaching up to cup the right side of the intense face above him. His thumb running over the moist lips which promptly parted and began to suck.
“Methos!” he growled, moving his hand over the other immortal’s, stilling it.
Methos smirked down at the highlander but leaned slightly back, moving his hands up to Mac’s waists and began to peel the two offensive items of clothing off, until the Scot lay naked before him. “My, how the tables have turned…” he crowed.
“Oh, really?” MacLeod moved faster than even he thought he could, reversing their positions within seconds. “You were saying?” Duncan smirked down at Methos, noting the dark sparkle in the mesmerizing eyes. “I don’t think you’ll be needing these for the rest of the night,” pulling off the slightly damp boxers and tossing them away as he spoke.
His gaze traveled up the pale muscular legs, up the lean torso until they were caught by the emotion blazing in the green-gold eyes. He ran his hands over the pale face in a ghost-like caress, his fingertips just barely making contact with the smooth white skin. “Unbelievable,” he murmured bending down to gently kiss the partly open mouth, amazement filled him as he met Methos’ eyes. Reading the wonder in the ancient’s eyes bewilderingly, confused at the cause.
Methos wrapped his legs around Duncan’s waist, his arms reaching up to encircle the broad muscular back all while he unwaveringly met the dark eyed gaze of the Scot. Gasping at the feel of the cock sliding smoothly inside him, unable to look away, no matter how his inner voice screamed.
Duncan stared down into the familiar yet strange eyes. For the first time seeing vulnerability in the dark emerald depths. Leaning down and pressing his forehead down against Methos’, unable to break the gaze between them. Not moving. His awareness of the man sheathing him threatening to crush him, as the air seemed to expand around them and implode.
Their mouths met hungrily mimicking the act below as Duncan began to thrust, both realizing somewhere deep inside that it wasn’t enough, it would never be enough to capture, to express this…thing between them.
“Stay with me, Methos,” Duncan breathed, the soft words lost in the cry Methos screamed as he came. “…forever.”
Methos was unaware of the sounds he was uttering, lost in Duncan. Blisteringly aware of the man pressing against him, in him, around him--the feel of the hairy thighs brushing against his own, the hands grasping his and the eyes…
The soul staring down at him, blinding in its intensity.
Duncan made no sound as he finally climaxed, his body tensing before the liquid heat exploded into the trembling body, his gaze still locked on the green eyes. Lost in the man who now was embracing him, the feel of the rough palms against his back comforting him as one would a child. He stared searchingly into the other’s eyes, confused, watching in dismay as the eyes became distant and shuttered. But to his joy and amazement the familiarity stayed, the connection, the bond--this whatever it was between them never wavered but seemed to settle into an unwavering consciousness of the other. “Do you feel it?” he whispered as he leaned down and softly kissed the heavily breathing mouth.
Methos closed his eyes and nodded. Not trusting himself to speak. Dropping his legs down to the bed as Duncan shifted before slowly withdrawing. He stared up into the relaxed satiated expression when the highlander returned to holding him in his arms. Methos closed his eyes to shut out the intense awareness thrumming though his veins of the younger immortal, silently cursing the fates at this turn of events. “Sleep,” he whispered, following his own advice, taking refuge in slumber.
Methos stretched lazily in the late morning light, not at all surprised to find himself alone in the disheveled bed. The faint sense of another immortal nearby indicating that the highlander hadn’t gone far, probably down in the dojo--brooding.
He sighed refusing to think any more and instead swung his legs off the bed, heading for the kitchen and more importantly, coffee.
The ordinary activity relaxing him enough that the smile on his face held no trace of mockery, as he walked out of the elevator, sipping a cup of the rich brown liquid. He watched the other immortal’s short abrupt movements silently. Noting from the sheen of sweat covering the long lean muscles that MacLeod had been up for hours. Tensing when the younger immortal stilled, and finally acknowledged his presence with a suspicious glance.
He tilted his head, puzzled. “To what are you referring?” A delicate sip punctuating the polite inquiry.
Duncan threw the towel he’d been wiping his hands on, down to the floor. “Last night! This thing…this feeling. Don’t you have something to tell me, oh wise one?” his hands gesturing between them.
Methos looked away, as he considered what to say, a frown unconsciously forming on his handsome face. What was there to say? Really? “We’re friends, MacLeod. Close friends, it means nothing more, nothing less.”
Duncan stared at him with a disbelieving expression.
“There’s always been a connection between us, Mac. Even you cannot deny that,” he asserted softly, his eyes lightly meeting the brown eyes before dancing away.
Mac nodded. It was true. He’d immediately known that the deceptively young looking man, sitting vulnerably on the floor of Adam Pierson’s apartment was the mythical immortal, Methos. Always felt closer to the aggravating immortal, a liking, more like an old lifelong friend than the stranger he’d been. “That’s true,” he admitted. “You’re saying it just got stronger?”
Methos shrugged. “I don’t have all the answers, MacLeod. Surely you’ve realized that by now,” he mocked.
Duncan gave a disdainful snort and turned away to pick up the towel, which he tossed into the “dirty” bin as he casually walked past the other immortal towards the elevator.
He waited until the older immortal joined him before pulling down the cage, keeping his eyes forward as the elevator rose.
“Still thinking about Ingrid?” Methos asked breaking into the other’s thoughts.
MacLeod nodded but said nothing, merely raising the cage after the elevator stopped and walked out.
Methos watched silently as the tall immortal strode gracefully away, presumably to take a shower. He headed towards the kitchen, he hadn’t eaten yet, merely poured a cup of coffee before seeking Mac downstairs after pulling on his jeans. He was scrambling eggs and cooking a couple of slices of bacon when the other re-appeared. His eyes unwillingly traveled down the attractive man, letting none of his worry show as he watched Mac hide his sword in the long coat he’d just put on.
“I’m headed out to look for Ingrid.”
“I’ll meet you at the community center at seven, if I don’t see you before then,” Methos stated not looking up from his task, feeling the weight of Duncan’s stare for several long seconds before he heard the Scot walk away.
Duncan shook his head bewilderedly as he walked towards the elevator, stopping suddenly as he finally realized something. “Comfortable,” he said, turning back to look at the ancient immortal who was now staring at him, confusion in the hazel eyes. He’d been trying to figure out ever since last night what exactly had changed between them. What he felt that was so different. “You feel comfortable to me, comfortable beside me...”
Methos looked down at the eggs which were now overcooked.
“You’ve always been comfortable to me, Mac,” Methos softly stated, finally looking up to meet the searching brown eyes.
Duncan gave a single nod before turning away.
He drained the grease from the bacon, while all his attention remained on the sound of the elevator as it went down and it’s current occupant. “Comfortable” was as good word as any to describe it, Methos mused as he sat down and ate his breakfast, completely perplexed.
Joe shook his head at the solemn expression on the ancient immortal’s face, when Methos strolled into the bar in the early afternoon. He looked past the immortal sadly, “Mac?”
Methos pulled up a stool and sat down. “Tracking Ingrid.”
“What’ll you have?”
“Nothing, thought I’d check up on our elusive hunter, see if there has been any new kills…”
Dawson shook his head. “There’ve been none, although there was a suspicious death outside of Fultam.”
“That’s still 500 miles away.”
Joe nodded. “Maybe it was just a coincidence.”
He shrugged before sliding to his feet. “Let’s hope so. I’ll finish up the last couple of journal entries, in any event.”
“Adam, uh, I got a call from Paris this morning.”
Methos froze, but refused to look at the Watcher keeping his gaze towards the back of the bar.
“They want you back on the Methos Chronicles.”
Methos snorted disdainfully. “They just want their translator of archaic languages back.”
Joe softly chuckled. “They do at that. So what should I tell them. Are you interested?”
He finally turned and stared into the gray eyes for several long seconds. It was a way out. A legitimate one…he could leave. Should leave. It was already getting out of control. Methos shook his head negatively and looked away. “No, I’m not interested.”
The Watcher nodded and said nothing as his eyes followed the immortal’s elegant path between the tables to the office.
He was rubbing the back of his neck tiredly as he emerged into the now full bar, hours later.
Joe simply gave the ancient immortal a nod as he passed the bar.
Methos thrust his hands into pockets of his coat and shivered. The highlander hadn’t answered at the dojo and he hadn’t made an appearance here at Joe’s. He sighed, the cold white breath swirling from his mouth in the night air. He hailed a cab, giving the address of the community center in an emotionless tone.
He immediately sense the other immortal’s presence as he stepped out of the cab. Not surprised when MacLeod rushed towards the feeling of another immortal.
Mac pulled up short as he watched Methos emerge from the cab.
“No luck?” Methos asked.
Duncan shook his head as he continued to glance around.
“Let’s try inside. I’ll start on the east side of the building while you try the other,” he softly suggested.
MacLeod nodded. Although he’d checked inside earlier, Ingrid might have made it unseen inside. “Meet you inside,” he agreed as he headed in the opposite direction.
Methos walked into the community center through the front doors, stopping to check his coat, wanting to fit in with the milling crowd of mortals. He slowly walked around the perimeter of the room, only vaguely realizing that the man at the podium had begun speaking. Sensing no other immortal presence until he made his way back towards the front: Duncan. “She’s not here.”
“She will be. She has to be.”
“This guy gives me a headache. Let’s get out of here.” Mac, let this one go, he silently begged, staring frustratedly at Duncan.
“No, there’s something else,” Duncan muttered under his breath as he turned away.
“I’m telling you Mac, she’s a no-show!” He noticed the faraway look on the highlander’s face as he apparently listened to Wilkinson. He followed the Scot’s stare to the briefcase that was on the stage next to white supremacist, glancing quickly to the left to see MacLeod rush out the side door.
‘So it was to be a bomb then,’ Methos mused as he made his way inconspicuously to the back, taking a place by the wall as he listened to the madness spilling from the deluded mortal on the stage. Not reacting to anything until the lights flickered for a second. He closed his eyes tightly. ‘Damn it Mac!’ he cursed silently before slowly opening his eyes, not seeing the crowd of people as he strolled towards the exit, casually picking up his coat as he watched security rush Wilkinson off the stage as soon as the man finished his speech. Hate was one thing that never changed. He shook his head at the various conversations he heard as he strolled down the street, following Wilkinson’s limousine.
Methos walked up to the immortal sitting on the hood of a parked car on the side of the street. “Are you okay,” he asked softly, sitting down beside him.
Duncan stared balefully at the headlights of the limousine as they passed. “Ingrid asked me something before she died.”
“They usually do,” he softly drawled glancing at Duncan. Noting the taut expression on his friend’s face. The controlled tone of voice.
“She said, what was the difference between her killing them, and me killing her?”
“Good question,” he began brightly, looking up and away. “Right up there with chicken and egg,” he finished with a grin.
“So what are you saying, there is no answer?” Duncan demanded.
“No, there is an answer,” he replied in a serious tone, his eyes fixed on the younger immortal’s face. “But the real question is whether you're ready for it.” He stared intently at the other man, waiting, watching as Duncan swallowed before giving a slight nod.
Damn you MacLeod. Methos nodded, slightly pursing his mouth as he looked straight ahead before returning his gaze to the immortal sitting tensely beside him. “Stefanovich killed, and Ingrid judged him. Wilkinson killed, and Ingrid judged him.” He paused, “Ingrid killed, and you judged her.”
“So who judges me?”
Methos’ eyes trailed down the handsome tense face. Not reacting to the quick glance towards him. “You hungry?” He slowly rose and circled around in front of the younger immortal. Steeling himself as Duncan bowed his head despairingly.
“Come on, Mac.” He stood before the other, raising Mac up with a gentle pressure on his arm. “Let’s go home.”
Duncan looked sharply at the older immortal. “Home?”
He didn’t repeat it, merely began walking towards the thunderbird feeling the dark eyes on him.
MacLeod unlocked the door and sat down behind the steering wheel, making no move to start it, staring blankly straight ahead. Not acknowledging the other immortal who had just gotten in.
“MacLeod,” Methos spoke after fastening his seatbelt. “You had no choice. Even she recognized that. Ingrid wasn’t really living, Mac. She died long ago…”
He glanced over at Methos and nodded stiffly. Starting the car and automatically headed towards the highway, showing no reaction to the murmured address the Watcher told him.
Duncan pulled the car around to the back of the funeral home. Staring straight ahead as Adam Pierson got out of the car and made the arrangements for Ingrid’s funeral with the other Watchers that had come out of the building to accept the body.
Methos quickly returned to this seat, passing the car keys silently back to MacLeod.
MacLeod turned the ignition and pulled out onto the street. His hands clenched on the steering wheel.
“Friday at ten,” Methos said softly, knowing Duncan would be wondering when the funeral was going to be.
Nothing more was said on the way to the dojo.
Methos followed the highlander into the building and into the elevator. Cursing the slump in the normally proud straight shoulders as he trailed behind him into the dark loft. He watched expressionless as the other listlessly removed his clothing and got into bed. Methos quickly stripped down to his boxers and hesitantly joined him, laying on his side to spoon up behind the tall immortal.
He delicately unfastened the forgotten silver Celtic clasp binding the long straight hair together and tenderly began to stroke the immobile head.
“You knew…you knew this was the way it would end,” Duncan accused, his voice thick with suppressed emotions.
Methos continued to stroke the long mane of dark hair and said nothing.
***Next up: Methos has finally given into his desires for MacLeod. Will they live happily ever after in Beg, Borrow, or Steal?