A Question of Silence
by Maygra de Rhema

This came at me kind of out of the blue...but as usual with this sort of thing it had to be written right then. Goes nowhere, just a bit of a tag for the end of Not To Be...the montage inspired it with the fact that Methos didn't respond to Mac's comments and looked uncomfortable and hopeful at the same time. And thanks to the The Goo-Goo Dolls for "Iris" I don't want the world to see me -- cause I don't think they'd understand ...which speaks volumes for Methos and MacLeod, I think.

Permission granted to Archive at will, PG-13, but UST. Hardly any implications at all.

Maxine Mayer did a prequel to this called A Question of Speaking, if you'd like to take a look. Comments to maygra@bellsouth.net


"Life is about change. About accepting who you are, the good and the bad...you accept the change and move on."

A thank you and a summary. He hadn't expected it. Had been a little startled by it and as MacLeod had said, he really didn't want to hear it -- take responsibility for it. Not for the teaching, not for the learning, not for the friendship. Let Mac take all the credit for it or Joe or Amanda. Let them think it was friendship he was seeking so that when he hied off to wherever he was going to hie off to again, it would be their mistake, not his.

Hmmm...and that's why you helped Joe out... It didn't ring true, not even to himself and his truths were about the only ones he listened to anymore. If then.

They had polished off the wine, the four of them, a little gathering of the clan, a little companionable relief that Mac hadn't lost his head after all.

Lost it? He'd practically given it away ....that blow to the skull must've knocked some sense to him because he came back clear, fierce, and ...

Different.

Walked away to let the Quickening settle while he and Amanda and Joe headed back to the barge to wait....as if there had been any doubt.

He had almost bolted when he felt MacLeod approach. Adrenaline had kept his sarcasm in place during the rescue...anxiety making sure the wit was there, caustic as it might be at times.

Both were long faded and Methos was wondering what the hell he was doing here any longer. Had it been some buried plan of his to make sure that the Highlander emerged on the other side of the last few very rough years? Bright Hope. Idle Promise.

No. He had no claim to this...part of it maybe, but no claim. Heroes persevere until their heroics are put down by poets.

Oh, Byron how you would have loved to pen this one. And Alexa to read it. She loved this stuff...Beowulf, Childe Roland, Ulyssess: the over flowery, rampant epics of ancient heroes.

Missed one, my love. And he was right under your nose. Under mine for that matter, but I knew it.

He went out with Joe, planning on joining the slightly inebriated Watcher in the cab and then home. Amanda was staying. Methos had heard Mac say the words. Words Amanda deserved to hear. Infuriating, scandalous, loyal compassionate little vixen that she was.

"You make my heart glad."

And what do I do for you, MacLeod, beside infuriate you and myself? He put Joe in the cab and started walking.

"I can't imagine my life without you." Joe had said it...Methos felt it. He had been unable to say anything. Words, those wonderful things that he used with such skill and precision, failed him.

Don't be grateful to me, Duncan. I can bear anything but that. He'd remained silent, unable to look at MacLeod, shy and uncertain as a child faced with a stranger. Only the stranger was himself.

Accepting...was that it? Had Mac accepted him, understood he wasn't perfect? Wasn't even very nice most of the time.

"I love you."

"Really?" Amanda was surprised, flattered, flustered and dizzyingly in love.

"Really. You make my heart glad."

Time to move on. Change had come again. MacLeod didn't need him if he ever had and...Methos was starting to need MacLeod a little too much. Need, want. He was well past that distinction.

He was home before dawn, a glance around his apartment revealing nothing that was of real value. He hadn't claimed his valuables from storage yet after his return a year after Richie's death. They would keep. The rest of it was just....things.

The duffel was hardly unpacked, the rucksack always ready as he changed...jeans and a sweater, his long coat, the boots he'd broken in just weeks ago. Not Tibet. He wasn't in the mood for that much silence: there was enough inside himself. Hong Kong maybe. New York. Someplace with lots of noise and people, almost too much life. That was what he needed...A busy city where he wouldn't have always be looking, hoping to see the face of a friend...where his steps wouldn't always lead him to Joe's or to the barge. To MacLeod.

Passport, visa, papers. Mexico City, Sydney, Rome...he was still going over his options as he locked the apartment and went to find a cab to take him to the airport. He had one sighted when the buzz hit him. Daylight and a crowded street. He was tense but not panicked as he sought the source and saw him.

The smile came to his face without thinking and was just as quickly gone again, replaced by a wry grin at the determined look on the Highlander's face.

"I knew it," MacLeod said with something like amused disgust.

"Knew what, MacLeod?" he asked and watched his targeted cab glide away.

"Knew you were planning on taking off again."

"And?" Methos asked, shaking his head. "Let me guess. You've gone clairvoyant on me."

"No. You are just getting to be predictable. Not safe for someone as old as you -- falling into nasty habits."

He had to laugh, then harder at the amusement in the dark eyes. "Must've gotten it from you. All the more reason --"

"To run away?"

It made Methos angry, more so because it was true. "I'm not running away. What from? The bad guys are dead. I have friends here. No one knows who I am. Nice flat...easy life."

"Exactly."

He was getting too predictable. "Just time to move on," he said. It sounded lame to his own ears. You moved on when you were bored or in danger -- he was neither. Well, maybe the last a bit -- but not physical danger. Not life threatening danger. Or was it? Lose your heart, lose your head.

"I was thinking the same thing," MacLeod said and a quick glance showed he was serious.

"What about Amanda?" he asked, keeping the biting edge from his voice with effort. Jealousy? At his age? Ridiculous.

"Gone already," MacLeod said fondly. "I think I scared her. Told her I loved her."

"I heard," Methos said and, was he mistaken or did MacLeod search his face in surprise? He looked away. "So, you drop me a post card, I'll drop you one."

"Where will you go?"

Methos shrugged. "Someplace I haven't been in awhile. Hong Kong maybe. Mexico. Reykjavik."

MacLeod laughed. "Too cold for you."

"Not this time of year. I need to go, Mac. Got a plane to catch."

"How can you catch a plane if you don't know where you're going?"

"I'll run very fast."

It was a joke, meant to be.

"Away from me? Or yourself?"

Not funny and too close to home. Home. He was running away from home. That was very funny. So funny it made him want to cry.

"Leave it alone, Mac," he said it softly. "It's just time to move on. I'll stay in touch...with you or through Joe. I don't forget friends that easily." But he wished he did.

"I know. Can you wait? Just a couple of hours?"

"Why? Are you going to throw me a farewell party?"

MacLeod smiled and Methos caught his breath for just a moment. "So I can pack. Need a change myself. Come with me?"

It was so sudden, so unexpected, Methos nodded without speaking before the full impact of what he was agreeing to set in. Before he realized Mac had taken his duffel and was walking back toward his SUV with it, leaving Methos to follow.

He did. It didn't seem so odd after all. Where they would go, what it meant...none of it made any difference at that moment. Even when Mac unlocked the passenger side and opened the door for him as he slid onto the seat

Then the Highlander stood there for a moment, soft smile on his face, warmth in his eyes and Methos felt himself smile again, the silence settling in his mind and heart with familiar ease. "How do you feel about a driving tour of Europe?"

"Much better than a walking tour," Methos responded, some of his wryness returning as he settled his pack between his feet. When he looked up Mac was still studying him.

"What is it?" Methos asked, curious as to the thoughtful expression on the handsome face.

"I could tell Amanda and I could tell Joe. But not you and I don't know why."

"Tell me what?"

"That you are loved," MacLeod said without a change of expression, no promises, no qualifiers.

Methos dropped his gaze, awkward and unsure what it meant, if anything, beyond the words, or if it mattered if it did.

"You did," he said finally, unable to meet the dark eyes again.

"And you ran."

There was silence for a long moment. "So did I," Mac said softly and closed the door. He went around to the driver's side and got in, starting the engine. "Maybe this time we should try it in the same direction." He wasn't looking at Methos, his own uncertainty obvious but he wasn't afraid of it.

The silence was broken by a promise.


~Fin???~