Waiting for the Phone
Rated PG for language and adult themes.
Methos, Adam Pierson, Joe Dawson, Duncan MacLeod, Kronos, Cassandra, Joe's Bar, and the concept of Immortality all belong to someone else with more lawyers than me. I claim no ownership, no money... just for fun, eh?
Special thanks to my Beloved Beta(tm) Juanita, who is always there when I need her. My gratitude is never enough for this marvelous woman.
"Adam, are you listening to me?" Joe's craggy face is filled with concern, a sentiment I neither desired nor deserved. I heave a lungful of the heavy, smoky air and sigh.
"I'm sorry Joe, what?" What am I doing here, letting this mortal play nursemaid to me when I should be packing, disappearing? Kronos was right. I am getting soft. Kronos was right about a lot of things.
"Dammit, you haven't heard a single word I've said to you all night. How long are you going to let this go on between you two?" You know that isn't up to me, Joe. A dozen distancing, smart-ass come-backs spring to mind, but something in his voice makes me stop and soften my tone. He does not deserve my barbs tonight, not in payment for all the kindness he has shown me. Kindness is in too short supply lately.
"MacLeod knows where I am," I try to be casual, indifferent, but my voice is flat and unconvincing even to my own ears. I find myself questioning again the magnificent attraction MacLeod holds for me. It's irresistible, like gravity. Despite all of my oaths to the contrary, I find myself swinging into his orbit again and again. Yeah, he knows where I am, and will doubtless come someday to collect his little wandering satellite... No, that thought is beneath us both.
I am in a decaying orbit. The extended metaphor is entirely too maudlin and overly dramatic, but it suits my mood tonight. I suddenly want to get drunk, very very drunk. I want to scream and smash things... To hit people. When did I abdicate all my power? Did I lose control of this relationship with Mac, or was the control itself always an illusion, a trick I played on myself? I rode with Kronos, was one of the most feared images in the Western world... I was a god. And here I am now, moping in my beer over a moody, ignorant, wet-behind-the-ears Scot, hoping he will deign to pick up a phone and call to say we can still be friends. And the really pathetic part is, that when he does call, I will go to him. It's almost funny. Almost.
When did I become this weak? Did Kronos make me such a coward, or was I always this way? It doesn't matter, I suppose, since I am here now. Here, waiting for the phone.
Kronos... so many emotions tangled up in one name. Almost as many as I have knotted up in MacLeod. Bless you, Joe, for not pressing the conversation tonight. I don't think I can take much more pressure; I might shatter to pieces like an old window in a storm.
"Can I have another beer, please, Joe?" Courtesy is so easy. It's comforting to indulge in social rituals. Beer has become that way for me, a ritual. People have come to expect certain things from me, and I aim to please. It relaxes folks, makes them feel at home with your behavior to see the things in you that they anticipate. It doesn't matter if the action is a true reflection of who you are, as long as it is expected. Killers can be the souls of courtesy. Rapists can learn to use the proper salad fork. It all depends on what people want from you. Given the proper... encouragement academics can learn to be book-burning fanatics. A scholar can become death incarnate. Situational ethics. MacLeod would not approve.
"Thank you." Joe passes the mug over with a grunt and goes to polish some glasses. Do you know how hard it is for an Immortal to get drunk on beer? There is a bottle of tequila behind the bar, and I almost ask him for it. I want the fragrant yellow liquor to wash out the dreadful sound of the phone not ringing. Why won't the phone ring?
Violence and melancholy are a potent mix. I want to go and punch something until my fist is a pulpy mass of broken bones. Instead I drink my beer, swallowing against the urge to destroy. Damn MacLeod anyway, and Cassandra with him. I hope she is with him. I hope they are fucking like rabbits in the springtime right this very minute. They make such a lovely couple. Much joy to them both.
Gods, when did this happen, when did I hand over the keys to my person to Duncan MacLeod? Have I fallen so far as this, to hang on his approval like an old coat? This must be my punishment for all the evils I have wrought, to keep returning to MacLeod, the bright moral center of the universe himself, like a moth to a candle until it kills me. I have become so powerless...
Kronos was right. The power... I do miss it sometimes.
I am reminded of the old meaning, the root of the word "power." It meant "possession of control." And control I surely have none of. Duncan will call, sooner or later. He will find me, or I will go to him, and reenter this self-destructive circle of friends. Immortals will hunt him, and find me, Amanda will screech my name in the Paris night, and soon or late, I will find myself on the wrong end of an unfriendly sword.
My beer is empty again, and my mind is still overflowing. I thought sorrows were supposed to drown. Joe is still polishing at those glasses. He will rub a hole in them if he isn't careful. I'm glad he isn't trying to talk, even as I ache for the frustrated hurt I can read in every swipe of his rag. I can't stand the kindness in his eyes tonight. If he would only shout, or argue, or be deliberately dense like Mac does, and fight with me. I can't take his concern.
"Joe, let me have the tequila, please," I ask, and he responds, handing over the bottle with a slight questioning look. He does not anticipate me asking for this drink. It is a betrayal of the image he holds of me, though so slight he will never recognize the feeling for what it is. Faithful Joe, dying by inches every day. Do you resent the youth of our bodies even as we envy you the simple pleasures of mortal life? Home and hearth, family and all the assorted mundanities that go with it.
The liquor is sharp and aromatic, like I expected it to be, and the bottle is nearly full. The phone still, stubbornly refuses to ring.