As always, the usual disclaimers apply. Duncan MacLeod, Methos, Cassandra, Kronos, Silas, Caspian, Joe Dawson and the concept of immortality belong to Rysher and Davis/Panzer. No harm or infringements are intended and no profit is made from these stories.
This story is rated PG-13 just because.
by Meghan Black
Methos peered through the fog of smoke as the door opened and a young couple walked in. His raincoat hung loosely and her sweater fit tightly, he noticed, as they ran through the open door out of the Parisian rain. They laughed, shook the water from their hair and sat at the bar next to him, ordering champagne. Must be celebrating something, the immortal mused, then morosely went back to inspecting the glass of whiskey in front of him. Not his normal poison, but this wasn't a normal night.
Tonight he'd walked away from his friend and hadn't looked back. He'd let them part believing that the past would always be a wedge between them. Never again would he experience the camaraderie, the easy, relaxed way he could be himself around another human being. Duncan MacLeod was more than just another human, though. He couldn't put a word to it, for mere syllables strung together were woefully inadequate to describe what he felt for the Highlander. Listening to the torch singer wail the blues with the mic stuffed halfway down her throat, he downed the rest of his drink and gathered the coat that lay across the stool on his other side. The feel of the sword hidden by heavy cloth reassured him as it always did. At least some things never change.
The rain fell in sheets, but he was oblivious to any discomfort. Rather he walked head up, water streaming in rivers down his back, his chest, his face. Soaked within seconds of leaving the blues bar he'd spent five hours drinking in, Methos didn't even try to avoid the elements as he walked, trance-like, back to his hotel.
He stumbled slightly as the revolving doors of the establishment swung round just a hair out of sync with his gait. Recovering by the time he'd emerged on the other side, he walked to the desk for his room key. He didn't really want to go up yet, but there was no use drinking any more and the flight he'd booked back to the states didn't leave till tomorrow afternoon. Sliding the key easily into the lock, the apparently young looking man entered his room and flung himself across the bed, not bothering to remove the soggy clothing which made him feel like he'd been dressed in a shroud. Within a few minutes the bedclothes were equally drenched and he realized this wasn't the best circumstance in which to spend the night.
Methos dragged himself up and went in the bathroom, shedding light on the room for the first time. He looked in the small mirror provided for shaving and make-up appliance, shrugging off the smudged circles which framed his hazel eyes, now dark with regret and not a little confusion. He peeled himself out of the trench-coat, the lightweight sweater, and finally his jeans. He stood naked and noted, with a vague fascination, the goose-bumps forming on his pale skin.
Once he'd thrown the spread and top blanket off, he was able to crawl into a dry bed. He wondered why he was even bothering, for sleep was unlikely to come to him this night. Every time he closed his eyes, scenes of him and MacLeod walking out of the TV studio, laughing over some private joke at Joe's, or just sharing a quiet evening in Mac's loft with a the usual beer and scotch accompaniment haunted him. Not in these modern times had he let himself become so attached to another immortal. The risk was too dangerous, too ridiculous actually. His forte was survival and it didn't behoove him to befriend the one immortal who had the best chance at The Prize. But befriend him he had...and more. Duncan MacLeod fascinated Methos. That was the only word which could describe his obsession with the man he'd offered his head to and been refused.
Then he recalled earlier in the evening...before the fights...before he'd made his choice. Methos had sat on the ledge of Cassandra's cage sharing the silence she'd insisted upon. He'd tried to talk to her, explain how things were back then, but her rage and thirst for vengeance left little room for reason. Cassandra, gently wiping his face and hands after the raids, cooking for him, serving him. He hadn't really loved her, for back then he'd had little experience or time for that emotion. But there had been some small amount of affection. More than a pet, less than a mistress? Even now he wasn't sure. Although he regretted that she'd had the chance to talk to MacLeod before he'd arrived at the dojo, but he couldn't let Silas kill her. If he'd wanted her dead, he could have taken care of that 3000 years ago. As little as he cared for her now, she didn't deserve to die. She'd survived...the horsemen, the desert, the wilderness in which she'd run. How unfair it would be to die now, bent over before Silas, with him witness to an end that should never have been.
Shifting restlessly, Methos threw off the remaining covers and lay sprawled naked against the scratchy, starched sheets. Maybe if he opened a window.... The cool breeze brought some relief and he thought maybe he could finally catch a few winks before dawn. But, the sky was streaked with blue, pink and purple before the ancient immortal found solace in the arms of Morpheus...if it could be called that.
The dream came within moments of Methos reaching that state which beckons the subconscious to unburden itself. He was riding into camp, the wind blowing his hood back as he stripped the stifling mask from his head. He could feel the cool desert breeze as it caressed his sweating face. There was Cassandra running toward him, arms wide and smiling. As she reached him, she drew a knife and Methos quickly disarmed her, whispering dangerously that she lived only as long as she pleased him. His arms tightened their grip and he realized he was clasping MacLeod closely, his lips a mere breath away from the Scotsman's ear.
"And that did not please me." The man in his arms stiffened and waited for death at the hands of his captor.
Methos spun him around and stared into the brown eyes of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Defiance was all he saw.
Methos closed his eyes at the words, pain and relief vying for control. If they were through, Kronos could not use MacLeod against his brother...but if they were truly through, he would never know the comfort of Duncan's company again. He didn't know which was worse. When he reopened his eyes, Cassandra lay sprawled on the ground, spitting her hatred at him. He grabbed her by the arm and drug her to his tent, which turned out to be the cage in which Kronos had imprisoned her.
His look softened. "It wasn't all that bad was it?" Cassandra made it obvious that she thought it was. Death was preferable to pleasing the Horseman a second go-round.
"It wasn't all that bad was it?" He asked MacLeod.
"Killing isn't all that terrible, you know. We lived, we rode, we took what we wanted. That's how it was done and we were damned good at it. You'll never understand, so how dare you judge me now."
MacLeod was standing in the graveyard, but Silas was there, preparing to take his head on Holy Ground.
"Wait," Methos shouted.
"You want his head...he's yours Brother." Silas faded into the evening mist and MacLeod looked up mutinously.
"I cannot kill you. Not because this is Holy Ground, but because you must live long enough to understand who I am. I won't let you judge me when you don't understand.....you don't understand....you don't..."
Methos was once again in the Horseman's camp, but now he was fighting Silas and MacLeod was at his side, attempting to kill Kronos. They fought together, as brothers. But Silas was winning and Cassandra was screaming and there was blood and sweat and the smell of fear.
"No!! I want him to live."
Methos bolted upright, sweat drenching the sheets beneath him, although he was immediately chilled from the air coming through the window. The words of his dream reverberated in his head.
"I want him to live."
Why had MacLeod stopped her, he wondered, even as he lay back down to resume his restless slumber. His last thoughts before sleep once more claimed him were of tomorrow. Maybe he should delay his trip back to the states. Maybe he should go see an old friend and share a beer and a scotch. Maybe he could make him understand...
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