by Maxine Mayer
Ive met the most extraordinary person - the oldest living Immortal. His name is Methos - only he calls himself Adam Pierson, and hes infiltrated the Watchers, made them believe hes Mortal. I cant get my mind around it yet. And now that hes disappeared, Im beginning to think I dreamt him, the way I dreamt Cassandra, the Witch in the Forest, when I was a boy.
"Mi casa es su casa." Thats what he said to me, when I came into his elegant flat looking for Watcher researcher Adam Pierson, to whom Joe sent me, and sensed instead the unmistakable "feel" of an Immortal. "Mi casa es su casa." Low, caressing - a voice that will haunt me forever. A welcome so limitless, so deep, that I nearly fell into the earth and died of it. And the eyes to go with it. Mischievous bedroom eyes. All-knowing, all-secret, all-embracing. Taking me - everything I am, everything Ive been or done - into him in one swift accepting glance. All the charm of the eyes of God. Yet these are the eyes of a man, just a man.
And he thinks I know nothing, feel nothing, sense nothing, from him.
Five thousand years old, and he doesnt know yet that someone else can read him, too - perhaps even more easily than he can read me.
Just how young does he think I am?
Hes come back. Supposedly, on Watcher business, trailing Joe behind him. But we both know why hes here. Only he thinks I dont know.
Sometimes, a reputation as a Boy Scout has its disadvantages.
Its easy to fool him, tease him, put him off his stride. Hes got about as much confidence as a young girl whos just lost twenty pounds of baby fat and cant believe shes beautiful. I shouldnt take advantage of his weakness but I do. He finds me virile and attractive and of course, absolutely blind. I find him - I dont know, really. Ive never had any sexual experiences with men. Was never tempted to try. And no one ever approached me, to pique what little curiosity I have in that direction. Women are more than enough, more than satisfying. I love women.
But Methos is different. In every respect. Both in himself, and in what he wakens in me. Even that Im considering such things, thinking about him like this, is enough to convince me of how profound an effect meeting him has had on me.
My God. What would it take to approach a man who believes with everything hes got in him that Im unapproachable! I might even break his heart, if I fell that far off the pedestal hes put me up on!
Too bad I dont know a soul I could speak to about this. How I miss Darius! Dear God, how I miss Darius!
And this is not the time. Amanda and I have grown so close during this crisis. Theres so much love there. Out in the open, after how many centuries and how much foolishness? Maybe it will be that long before Methos and I can let down our guard and speak the words that we hide in our hearts.
Maybe not so long. Its the time of the Gathering. Nothing moves slowly any longer. Were all heading towards the disaster of the End Game at a frightening speed. I am frightened. I know Amanda is too. Methos pretends not to notice where were all headed. But I know better. That old conniver is so many moves ahead of us that it makes me dizzy to think about it. And he says nothing. Does nothing. Warns no one. Just eyes me like Id make a good dinner, if he didnt hate to cook quite so much.
Exasperating. Like Amanda.
Thats probably why I love him so much - why I feel so comfortable with him. As male as he is, he irritates me just the way Amanda does. And I do love Amanda.
Hell be gone again soon, Im sure. Wonder what tale hell think up to justify his return next time.
"So, what brings a five thousand year old man to me?" I asked him, when he came back, showing up without notice at my loft. Put him on the spot. At the same time, I was giving him a chance to tell me the truth. Not much of a chance, but as much as discretion allowed.
As I suspected he would, he had a ready answer - this time, Kristin. Not that it didnt turn out to be a good thing he came now. I couldnt bring myself to kill her, though I knew it was the only road to take. Someday, I will need to kill a woman I care about. A woman whos not ready to die. I just hope Methos is around to pick up the pieces when that day comes.
But that wasnt what he came for - to kill Kristin. He came for me.
God help me, for those few days he was here, I enjoyed his company so much. My loft seems like a tomb now that hes left again. His humor. His charm. His talk. The wisdom Ive gotta drag out of him, hes so scared to admit hes got any. We even trained together for a little while, with swords. I dont know why it should be, considering, but his skill surprised me.
And of course, that fire in the "feel" of him, that fire thats just for me. Its very flattering. Im not immune.
And Im not naïve.
Unfortunately, Methos is naïve. He still doesnt sense a thing from me. Nothing.
I think - if someone pushed him against a wall really hard - hed admit that he "senses" this much from me - that I enjoy his company. But theyd really need to shove.
I love how he deceives himself about who he is, and how much he cares about all of us - not just me, all of us - from Joe on down. How surprised he looked when I called him on it, out at the house, when we were painting the porch while we talked about Richie like two old coots.
As if there were some grounds for comparison between his fifty centuries and my four hundred years. As if I could ever, in a million years, hope to equal his experience and his wisdom. As if I could ever forget who he is, ever catch up.
I hope it wont come to that, but one day, if I must, Ill die to preserve what he is, his life.
Hes turned away. Pushed me away. Put himself at emotional risk. Fallen in love.
And its real. No question. I was beginning to think he couldnt love a woman. That it wasnt just me he found attractive, but men in general. Id chalked it up to something in his past, or how long hed lived, and pretty much accepted it as fact. Maybe I thought it let me off the hook.
Then suddenly, this randy old man whod absolutely tingled with desire every time he came near me, this man whose love I took for granted, whom I teased unmercifully, toyed with - wasnt there any more. In his place was a teenage boy in love with the girl next door. The girl next door. Alexa is a lovely woman, dont get me wrong. But Methos is - Methos.
He must sense something in her that I for one cant see at all. Or maybe its her impending death that called to him before he even knew she was dying. I wouldnt be surprised if thats possible. Not for me. For him.
Against Joes advice and disapproval, against Alexas attempts to discourage him before he even got close to her, he pursued her, wooed her, and won her - and theyre gone.
Not a hint of sexuality in the man, when he stood in my kitchen dithering like a child about whether she likes him or not. All boyish charm. All innocence and youth. I was busy with Claudia, but I certainly noticed. The man who loved me wasnt there any more.
Its at times like this that Im glad Im Immortal, or the pain would be greater than I could bear.
He came back to help me, in my dark time. Left Alexa, whos going to die very soon. Gave up a few of those precious days he could spend with her, while shes still feeling healthy, looking healthy - to save me.
So I have to believe he still cares.
Now that Im "well" again - as well as Ill ever be, after murdering Sean Burns - I have to believe Methos still loves me.
Without him, I hesitate to imagine what would have become of me. What had already become of me.
I couldnt help Coltec - I tried. I gave up. My answer to Coltec was to kill him. Maybe Id already overloaded, even before I took Coltecs Quickening. Maybe Id already killed one too many. Because I couldnt do anything for this friend whod saved me, saved so many others, over the centuries. He deserved better than I was able to give him.
I dont want to beat myself up over it. Im only four hundred years old.
And Methos is five thousand. And he knew what to do. Somehow, he knew exactly what to do.
At such repeated risk to his life, that its turned into some kind of a cosmic joke to me - all that talk of his about survival. If thats how a survivor acts, what a survivor does, just what would Methos need to do to be called a risk-taker, a hero?
His sigh and his laugh, when he was sure I was free of the darkness - pure joy! More than I could feel for myself at that moment. There was nothing "human" in it, nothing touched by need or desire or anything that was once there for me, in his aura, so strong. All thats gone. I guess, for good.
Without a word spoken about it, without either of us giving it a chance, what Methos once felt for me is gone.
I cannot regret my own part in this. My silence. If it were meant to be, it would have happened. Something would have sparked it, jump-started it, gotten it past idle. I believe that.
But I also believe, nothing is written. Thats true, too.
Maybe some things are simply not meant to be. I suppose this was one of them.
One things for certain, though. I owe him. Big time. Really big time. I hope, when his dark time comes, Ill be there for him, the way he was for me. Hes not an easy man to help. But then, neither am I. Hes obstinate, arrogant, difficult. Suspicious. He wont want to trust me. But one day, darkness will come for him. Pray God Ill be there, when he needs me.
Hes left Paris again. Alexa is dying. I offered to go with him, but I knew hed refuse. I have no business there, at the hour of her death. Hes prepared himself, as much as anyone can. But when that moment comes, itll hit him like it hits us all, every time. Then hell need a friend. I am that friend. That much I know.
Dear God, I hope Ill find the wisdom to know what to say, how to be, what to do, to help him when he comes to me. I dont want to disappoint him. I never want to disappoint him. I hope I never do.
Amanda and Methos have become friends. I have to laugh at those two. Theyve got so many secrets between them, I cant even be sure they werent friends already, some time in the dim past, maybe before I was born. But they sure work together well. I think they could subvert the best laid plans of any government, if they tried. Without accomplishing anything practical for themselves, naturally. For that, those two need sensible boring Duncans help. And I can never say no, because I love them.
Amanda asked me what Methos wouldnt do for the woman he loves. I told her, he wouldnt betray a friend. But Im not so sure if I believe what I said. If what he feels for Alexa is anything like what he feels for me, Im pretty certain hed betray anybody, kill anybody - destroy the world with him in it - to save her, if he could. He would for me.
Shes in a hospital in Switzerland now, dying - her time is very near. Hes distracted, absolutely wild. Completely out of himself. He doesnt focus his eyes anywhere - keeps darting glances here and there, like hes looking for a clue, a hint, to a miracle that will save her. His movements are jumpy. He wont accept our companionship. Hes flying back to Geneva by himself. I can understand that. Hes been alone with grief of one kind or another for so long, hes figured out just how to cope. Amanda and I would put a stress on his methods, I guess. But its terrible to imagine him by himself out there, when Alexa goes.
I wont rest until he comes back, after the funeral. Hes told me he plans to bring her body back here for burial.
Gods speed, my friend, Gods speed.
Hes back. And hes thinner, paler, than ever. His dry wit is again a rapier at the ready. He opened up to me for a moment, after we visited Alexas grave. When it comes to the death of someone you love, even five thousand years of experience dont make it any easier. I tried to be strong for him. I was lucky. He was so vulnerable, he accepted even my clumsy words and my friendship, without too close an inspection. I count it as my good fortune that I offered my help and he took it.
Hes staying with me on the barge. Acting as if nothings changed. Hes shrugged away the pain and reverted to "normal." But hes still a loner, still who he was. Apparently, nothing will induce him to give a damn about anybody but me and Joe. Nothing. Though I still seem to have a little pull with him - hell still do me a favor, if I wheedle nicely enough. For a price. A formality, that price. When did the game he plays - tit for tat - turn into a formality for us? How long ago?
I said hes back to normal. I meant, in every way. The "fire" for me is in his aura again, just as if it had never disappeared. It made me wonder if he can actually suppress it. Suppress the emotion in his aura. Maybe even the "buzz" itself. But thats impossible, isnt it?
I have so many questions for him. So much love to give him. But were stuck in this holding pattern again, and it looks like well never get out of it. Im afraid to talk about it to him. Hes positive he shouldnt speak of it to me.
You cant even say, we talk a good game.
He loves Joe, too. "Let friendship thrive." Five thousand years old, and thats his answer. To everything. Hes got no sense of honor. No morality. Ive practically got to goad him with a pick-ax to make him do the right thing. But when he makes up his mind, he abandons himself to danger with his whole heart and soul. For someone he loves, that is. For me, for Joe.
He took us in, to his secret place in the basement of Shakespeare and Co. He tended Joes wounds like a mother. But just in case we might get the wrong idea, he made it clear that he couldnt wait until Joe was ready to travel and he could get rid of the two of us.
Then he did something that tore him apart. He betrayed an Immortal, for Joe and my sake.
What happened to Jacob - I cant forgive Joe. But Jacob was my friend. For Methos, the part he played in Jacobs murder wasnt a betrayal of friendship. It was a betrayal of his kind, true. But more than that, it was a betrayal of principle.
I didnt even know Methos remembered the concept. I certainly didnt know he gave a damn about it.
But the more I think about it, the more it seems like its his reaction to all weve been through together, Joe and Methos and I. His way of taking us into himself, a kind of Quickening without the death. I admire him for it. Love has no greater way of showing itself than to learn from the one you love, try to be like the one you love. The fact that neither Joe nor I are worthy of such imitation, that were only human, just people trying to do the right thing - and failing miserably so often - doesnt take anything away from the nobility of Methos struggle.
Thank God hell never hear me call him that - noble! Im sure hed prepare my commitment papers before the words sank in!
He may revert again, go back to what he was - a person who survives at any cost. Probably he will. But I was there when he looked higher, and deeper. I was there when he asked himself the question, Who am I?
Ive said it to Richie a dozen times, "You screwed up, Richie." So superior, so judgmental. "You screwed up, Richie." Today, Ive gotta say it to myself. "You screwed up, Duncan. You really screwed up."
I believed Id be willing to die, to preserve what Methos is, his life. But I wasnt willing to accept it. Id look for more understanding and compassion from Richie than Ive been able to give Methos.
I told myself that I loved him, even if I couldnt say it to him. That I didnt want to disappoint him. But thats just what I did.
Ive driven him away. This time, I think its for good.
He came to his dark time. Or maybe I should say, his dark time reared its head like a beast out of his past, and came for him. From every side, the past rose up on its hind legs and roared, calling to him. "Methos, be Methos, once more."
And the first thing he did, when the beast came for him, was to come to me. But I was too busy to listen, too busy to hear what he had to say. I was too wrapped up in Cassandra, in being her champion. I had no time for any other friend. Especially not for him. This wasnt the first time Ive accused him of treachery and worse, on somebody elses word. A womans word. I never learn.
He didnt defend himself. Far from it. No, he admitted the truth, as he sees it, from the place where he is now. From the perspective of who he is now. The worst face he could put on it, he put on it. The farthest away he could push me, he pushed me. And I, like a fool, believed the worst and left him. I told him were through. As if it were up to me. I told him were through. As if that were possible. I ignored what his "buzz" was telling me, the anguish inside him, and left.
I left him alone at what must have been the greatest crossroad of his modern life. I left him alone with the Horsemen.
Even in that, I underestimated him.
He came through for me, even without my help. Looked straight into my eyes, met my gaze of disapproval and contempt. And right before my eyes - as if he were laughing at my foolishness, if I thought he couldnt do it alone - he dug a tunnel through the darkness and came out the other side.
By doing that, he told me that hes always been alone. That hes used to it. But when his pain hit me, long before the Quickenings, I ignored it and left him alone. I didnt want to disappoint him, but thats just what I did. Naturally. "Its not in my nature" to forgive.
You know what? I did believe in him. But every chance he gave me, I went out of my way not to tell him so. I followed the clue he dropped for me, straight to Bordeaux. I went to the chapel meet. I disarmed the viral bomb, with his voice singing in my head, "first white, then black, then red." But I didnt say, I believe in you, Methos. I didnt say, Youre my friend. I trust you. I didnt tell him I love him, or that I know he loves me. I didnt say, However you want this to go down, were in it together.
Methos doesnt approach things like I do, straight on into the fray. Hes devious. That frightens me. It always has, probably always will. Like an idiot, I kept giving him choices. Kept asking him to join me. Kept telling him - in my own way - that I was the leader here, that he should follow me.
He kept shaking his head no. And I kept on not understanding. That this was his dilemma, his crisis of conscience - not mine - to solve.
I fought Kronos with everything Ive got - both times. And I admit it, I wasnt sure I could win. Kronos "buzz" was so strong, so single-minded, I couldnt finish him off. I thought Cassandra was dead by then. Id given up on Methos. Kronos fire burned brighter than mine. I was pretty frightened. I believed I was a dead man.
Then it happened. In the distance we heard fighting. Loud enough to make us stop in our tracks. Kronos realized what was happening even before I did. He breathed Methos name. I couldnt believe my eyes. Methos was fighting Silas, that bear of a man! Silas! The man made three of Methos! And talk about single-minded!
I knew then I had to pull it out, somehow, and get over there to help Methos! I didnt give a damn whether it was against the Rules of the Game - two on one, interfering in a Joined Battle - any of it! Nothing mattered but that Methos should survive. For that, Kronos must die first, fast!
He told me he was the end of time. I knew he was history.
Then the Quickenings came, so powerful they knocked Methos off his feet. Im so lucky, Im used to them. I could still stand up. But even I was almost destroyed by the power of a Double Quickening hitting me with so much force.
And inside the Quickenings I felt something else, a voice so pure and in such pain, so much pain! Methos voice. He was still suffering, even after the beasts were slain.
I felt his pain in the graveyard, where we took ourselves to recuperate. Id hoped what Id shouted to Cassandra would set our friendship right. That I wanted him to live. Oh, how I wanted him to live!
But it wasnt enough. How could it be? Id betrayed him over and over again, after hed proved himself to me so many times.
I tried to smooth things over. Asked him questions, giving him a chance to talk it out. He answered me in monosyllables, explaining it all away, and explaining nothing at all.
He told me he wanted to live. As if that clarified everything. Then why take on Silas? Thank God, I didnt ask that! Why take on Kronos at all, for that matter? I knew Methos well enough to be sure he could have found a way to hide from Kronos forever, if he wanted to. Why let himself be dragged into this at all?
I told him Id figured it out. That he believed I could take Kronos, where he himself couldnt. But I was wrong. Methos was certain I couldnt take Kronos. Thats why he risked his life and stayed. To protect me, to save me.
He presents himself as a man without conscience, without passion, without honor. But I felt his aura from the beginning. I knew who he was. I knew how he loves.
I destroyed our friendship in an instant, when I told him we were through.
I havent seen him for months now. I dont know where hes gone. I distract myself by hunting small Game. I cant even pray.
I cant get him out of my thoughts. If I dont get the chance to ask him for forgiveness, Im gonna lose it all. One day very soon, Im gonna go up against somebody, and lose my head. Because Ive got no heart for the life any more, though I still talk a good Game.
Methos tried to warn me, after I killed Ingrid, that Id end by being my own judge. I listened. I understood. I really did. But I didnt get it. What he was really telling me. That I had no right to judge anybody else. I just didnt get it.
Well, Ive got it now. In spades.
And one thing more. Cassandra told me the truth. Once Methos rode with Kronos, killed and raped alongside him. He was one of the Horsemen. But he changed.
Once I couldnt forgive him, couldnt accept what hed done. "Its not in your nature to forgive that." Methos told the truth.
But I can change too.
So come home, old friend. "Mi casa es su casa." Come home, so I can tell you that Ive learned my lessons at last. This time around, I wont hold back. This time around, I wont be silent. Ill tell you how I feel, how much I admire and respect you. Come home, so I can tell you. You can take it from there.