The Doubtful Guest
By JaC

Disclaimers: None of them even remotely belong to me, including the Doubtful Guest. I'm not making any money from this and suing me is pointless since all I own are some paperback books and thousands of loose beads. Thanks to my "fearless beta-readers": Bone, JennML, KadyMae and Melissa who've guided me through this process.

Thanks to Bone for the concept of Methos meeting Blair after accepting a teaching position at Rainier University, and the subsequent friendship of the quartet of characters.

Warnings: This story was inspired by Wombat's MarySue Drinking Game.

Highlander/Sentinel Crossover. D/M J/B. The OFC is definitely on her own. M/M assumed. PG-13/R depending on where you draw the line.

"When they answered the bell on that wild winter night There was no one expected and no one in sight"

-- E. Gorey.


Cascade--Early December

"They're sending you where as an exchange officer? Who did you piss off this time, Jim?"

Jim frowned. "Brooklyn. 70th Precinct. Something about Urban Policing Techniques. It's an honor. It's only two weeks, and you don't have to come with me."

Blair sighed. "Oh no, I'm going with you. Someone can give my finals for me; my classes will be over for the term." Brooklyn in winter wasn't his idea of a good time. But no one had promised that being a Guide would be glamorous, and who knew what could befall a Sentinel alone in the Big Apple?

"I'd do it for you, but MacLeod is dragging me off to Manhattan that week to help him appraise some antiquities for a friend.'' Methos lay sprawled on their couch in a post-prandial laze forcing Jim and Blair to utilize their less favorite furniture rather than try to reclaim something he'd so obviously made his own. Since he and Blair had become colleagues at Rainier University, a relationship that evolved quickly into friendship, he'd joined them at the loft for many meals and long evenings of wide ranging conversation.

His interests and scope of study surpassed even Blair's irrepressible curiosity. Methos grinned and added, "May not be a total loss. I'm sure we can find some time to get together and you can save me from another night at the opera. Please."

Blair brightened at that suggestion. The four of them were rarely in the same place at the same time and he liked Duncan. More importantly, Jim liked Duncan, which made things much easier and distracted him when he and Methos lost themselves in conversation about books. This had possibilities -- Methos would know all the best libraries. And probably most of the good clubs.


New York -- Two weeks later --

Wednesday

MacLeod had sadly misled him about the amount of free time in their schedule. They'd risen ridiculously early, by Methos' standards, every day since their arrival. Worse than that, they'd spent the entire time crawling around this collection in a dark, cold, dirty warehouse near the river. Hell, the last two nights he'd been too tired to even enjoy the luxury of their suite or the delights of being with Duncan. He'd nearly ended up facedown in his entree at Balthazar last night. He was well and truly fed up with it. He wanted to spend a few hours in a nice, clean, warm, well-lighted library, then have some less civilized fun. This was New York -- they had the Frick, New York Public, the National Archives regional branch, Columbia and lots of private collections. And he didn't plan to spend one more minute here.

"Let's get out of here and enjoy the city. C'mon Mac, we can finish tomorrow."

"I still need to finish checking this inventory, but I think we're up to the stuff I can handle on my own. I know this wasn't all you were hoping to do while we're here. Why don't you meet me back at the hotel for dinner, and do something you'll enjoy for the rest of the afternoon."

Duncan's easy capitulation made Methos suspicious. "What have you got over there that you don't want me to see, MacLeod?"

"Nothing. By the way, Connor is meeting us for dinner."

"Connor, the second biggest Immie magnet on the planet, is meeting us for dinner in a public place? Oh. That. Should. Be. Interesting. Have you warned the proprietors?"

"Methos, it's not that bad. There are lots of times that we get together and nothing happens."

"Name three."

"Well, there was..."

"Right. See you later, MacLeod."

Duncan shouted after him, "Methos, the hotel at eight. Be there."

After returning to the hotel to clean up, Methos headed for the subway, marveling at how much and how little it had changed over the years. As he checked the map showing rerouted trains, persons unknown koshed him very hard over the head and took his wallet. "Welcome to New York," he thought as darkness fluttered around the edges of his vision. Before he could actually collapse, the next rush of passengers swept him onto a Brooklyn bound F train. And in the time-honored way of New Yorkers, no one bothered the slumbering man.

Around Jay Street/Borough Hall the train started to empty. Several stops later, at 15th St/Prospect Park, Methos became more aware of his surroundings. He hated waking up in a strange place with his head aching. It was one of Kronos’ favorite games: end an argument by killing him or otherwise rendering him unconscious, then dumping him somewhere, without his horse or weapon and waiting to see how long it would take him to get back. Once he’d even wrapped him in a large carpet that he’d sold to some nomads and just let them put him on a boat…It was the pits. Blearily he watched the station signs flash past the window. When the train stopped again he thought it best to get out and get his bearings above ground. He wasn't sure what he was doing in Brooklyn, but he was certain that it wasn't where he was supposed to be. In fact, he wasn't sure what he was doing in New York at all. He remembered being annoyed at MacLeod, but that wasn't usually enough to send him cross-country. That was all he could remember of his current circumstances among the images floating around the edges of his consciousness.

He emerged onto the sidewalk and immediately collided with an enormous woman with a nimbus of dark red hair, in a billowing bottle green coat and moving at a slow but steady pace. Startled, she pulled back, dropping her very heavy backpack on his foot, causing him to fall back into the stairwell, bouncing his head on the concrete. Rushing to his aid, she stepped on his hand in the process. He heard, as well as felt, the bones break. "This isn't good," he thought.

He hadn’t been mauled this badly by anyone not intending him harm since he’d inadvertently gotten in the way of Silas intent on some honey cakes Then his returning sensibilities vanished in the wake of this new concussion.

She pulled him up, wondering aloud if it would have been better to have left him for the paramedics in case of spinal injury. But he seemed able to stand. He shied away as she tried to brush him off. His first thought was that there was no buzz. Now why did that matter? And yes, had his sword, why did that matter? And who the hell was Silas?

"I'm very sorry. Can I buy you a drink or something by way of an apology?" she asked, pulling off her headphones.

"Didn't you see me?" he asked.

She looked very concerned. "I said I was sorry; you were just suddenly there."

Still wondering exactly why he was there, he said, "Look, I really need to sit down somewhere quiet to collect my thoughts. By any chance, is there a hotel around here?"

"I'm afraid not."

He considered his options..."Do you by any chance live around here?"

"You think I should take you home? You really are from out of town, aren't you?"

"Do I look dangerous?" he asked, automatically summoning all of Adam's innocuousness.

"Well, no, but .... oh hell. It's this way. Follow me, and I'll try not to injure you on the way."

"Do you have any beer?"

"You can't drink with a concussion!" She looked horrified.

"For later then. I'll be ok, just let me sit down for a while. I won't be any bother."

She still looked dubious, but she took off down the street and he had no choice but to follow even though he wasn't at all reassured by the sounds coming out of the headphones hanging around her neck. It sounded frighteningly like bagpipes being played to a rock beat with digereedoos in the background. Something even MacLeod had never subjected him too.

At the end of the second block she turned into a small store and showed him the beer selection. He was impressed and picked out several favorites, putting the six packs on the counter. They looked at each other for a moment.

"You did offer to buy me a drink," he said.

"How long are you planning on staying?" she countered.

"I'm still really not feeling very well," he lied, trying to look helpless and not entirely succeeding. He was feeling a bit better, his head was clearing, “Good old Immortal healing” he thought. Now all he needed was for the details of his situation to sort themselves out so he could figure out what he needed to do, or more importantly, not do. He needed to stall for time.

Sighing, they both reached for their wallets only to discover that he didn't have one.

"I guess this one's on me. And I suppose you're going to need food to go with this." She led him off to nearby pizza place where they negotiated toppings and then on to her house by a route he doubted he could retrace in daylight.

It was a small row house on a block beginning and ending at its cross streets. As they entered he became entangled on a large viney wreath decorating the outer door and had to wait for her to extricate him, while he fought down the urge to just get out his sword and hack his way free. Once inside he realized that the hall wasn't wide enough to swing a cat, let alone an Ivanhoe.

Observing the sitting room he realized that she subscribed to the "books as wallpaper" school of decorating, which was usually reassuring. As she gathered what they needed for dinner he studied the titles. The woman was obviously completely random in what she bought. Stepping back to look around he mused that the rest of the decor somewhat explained the music, which was still pouring out of her long forgotten headphones. It looked as if the room had been decorated by a coalition from the Irish Tourist Board and the 1916 Easter Uprising Remembrance Committee. And was that a gay pride sticker on the Padraig Pearse poster?

Feeling much better physically, but not entirely refreshed mentally, he sank into a large dish-shaped chair which lent itself to sprawling while musing on his options. He had no money, didn't know why he was in Brooklyn, or why he was pissed at MacLeod this time. It was an interesting and perplexing situation. He was sure that if he could just have a few beers and relax for a few hours it would all come back to him. If she didn't kill him (accidentally, of course) in the meantime.

The first wave of cold beer pulled him out of his reverie moments later when her feet tangled with a throw rug and she landed in his lap, neatly breaking his nose with the beer bottle before drizzling its contents over him. The pizza clung briefly to the breast of his sweater before starting a slow slide into his lap. As the hot oil from the cheese soaked through his sweater and hit his nipples he found himself suddenly and unexpectedly aroused. Damn. A man with dark hair and a nasty facial scar laughed in the back of his mind. The name “Kronos” rose to the top of his simmering stew of partial memories and left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. He shuddered, shaking his head to send the image away and instantly regretted it as a new wave of dizziness swept through him. Blood from his broken nose added to the red of the pizza sauce staining his sweater. He wondered if perhaps he wasn't safer wandering the streets.

Hastily climbing off him, she tried to pull him out of the chair, crushing the still healing bones in his hand. The beer served as an excellent conductor of the Quickening energy moving over his hand, her hair got even bigger as the small charge hit her. She leapt back, falling onto the coffee table. Trying to stabilize the situation, he carefully offered her his other hand and led her to the kitchen, where he cleaned up as thoroughly as possible. When he turned back to her, after getting some ice from the freezer for his nose, she was gone.

Assuming that she hadn't vanished into thin air and there being only one door on that side of the room, he knocked, and then opened it. She was leaning against the wall weeping quietly in an unlit closet space leading to the backyard.

"Having a time out?" he inquired, carefully not getting too close.

"I don't usually assault strangers. Or throw food at them. But then they don't generally try to electrocute me. Maybe you'd like to just leave while we're both still able to stand?"

He tried not to grin at her and said with conviction he didn’t entirely feel, "I think that even you would be hard-pressed to do me real harm. Although, I'm willing to admit we're off to an interesting start. Look, I am feeling much better, despite this last mishap, but I'm still not sure what I'm doing here or even who I am. Could I spend the evening, crash on your couch, get a token from you in the morning so I can get back into Manhattan? I promise I'll leave tomorrow morning. I know that it's a lot to ask when we've only just met."

"We haven't."

"Haven't what?"

"Met. I don't even know your name. You'd think I was the one with the concussion. Bringing you home like this."

"Adam, Adam Pierson…. And you are?" He put out his hand, but she didn't take it.

"Jane," she said cautiously.

"Well, Jane, any chance there's something dry I could change into?"

She looked extremely doubtful.

Heading upstairs he noticed that the rest of the house had greater, if that were possible, concentrations of decorations than the sitting room. The whole place seemed to have been done up by Victorians with a very dark sense of humor.

He nearly toppled her down the stairs when he suddenly came to a complete stop in front of a framed poster-sized picture of multicolored condoms gracing the upstairs hallway, next to yet another bookcase. The pot of ivy hanging from the skylight hit him on the head as he tried to cross the landing… The whole place was decorated for a race of people 5'7" and under.

"That your room?" he asked, leaning gingerly against the wall and gesturing carefully with his head toward a door festooned with ribbons.

"Yes, but you don't want to go in there," she said anxiously.

"I don't know, are there more books in there?"

"Really, you don't want to go in there. I'll be right back."

Half an hour later, clad in a huge tie-dye T-shirt and a pair of much too short drawstring trousers, he was bent over the bathtub, trying various methods of getting the pizza out of his favorite Henley. It didn't looking promising.

His jeans had been washed in the sink and were now wrapped in a towel on the floor. He was definitely spending the night, since his entire wardrobe was now sopping wet. When she went downstairs to hang up the clothes he peeked into her room. It made the rest of the house look as if minimalists had decorated it.

While looking for the light he tripped over a stack of videotapes and collided with a Moravian Star hanging from a light fixture. The whole house was out to get him. He’d been thinking that he’d just lie low and let the Boy Scout come and rescue him , but he was beginning to wonder if either of them would last that long. Even if he survived she might well be electrocuted by some minor Quickening energy at the rate he was incurring injuries.

She found him standing in the middle of the Christmas lighted room, brushing a smear of blood from his collision with the Moravian star off his forehead, as she rejoined him armed with fresh beverages. He was regarding the autoharp on the bed with horror and still trying to take in the walls, which looked like the office of a successful casting agent. It was impossible to tell what color the walls themselves might be painted since there was nothing resembling white space visible. His earlier dizziness reasserted itself, and he sat down on the bed, leaping up again quickly to remove several stuffed toys representing animals he couldn't readily identify.

Sitting down again he noticed that almost all of the furniture consisted of shelving for CDs, tapes and LPs. There was music everywhere. And NONE of it looked like opera. This could be fun if we’re very careful, he thought, preparing to settle in until the beer ran out.


Manhattan—9PM

Duncan was pacing the hotel room angrily. Connor was sipping very good whiskey from the mini-bar.

"Just leave him a note. You know the effect that libraries have on him. He'll show up later, famished and contrite with a six pack of beer and a pizza."

"This is deliberate. He's sulking because I wanted to finish today so that we could enjoy the rest of the week. He can just get over it. This is our time, and I was pushing so hard so we'd have a few days with nothing to do but what we wanted."

"Duncan, let's go eat. He'll join us soon, I'm sure. After all, we'll only be downstairs; he'll see us when he comes in."

Duncan brooded throughout the excellent meal. His face got even cloudier as they savored the outrageously good brandy in front of a fireplace while watching snow settle on the streets through the large glass windows of the tiny, but oh so trendy restaurant. He and Connor argued amiably, but competitively, over the check, resolving the issue only when Connor agreed to buy lunch for the three of them on Friday, if Duncan agreed not to take Methos' head when he reappeared.

Back in the suite on his own Duncan stomped around preparing for bed, angry that he was alone. He should be snuggled with his long distance lover during one of their rare times together. He lay under the covers, and stroked Methos' pillow, speaking aloud to darkness, "Where are you? This isn't what I planned."


Brooklyn -- Much later that same evening

Methos, sitting on a hastily cleared section of floor, handed Jane more Springstein LPs to play for him and ate freshly popped popcorn. Later she threw Burach into the CD player, and listening to the music he was tempted to pull her into a dance but realized that in this full to bursting space, and with their propensity for calamity, it might well prove fatal to one or both of them. She was singing softly under her breath and she was very bad at it.

Hoping to end the toneless drone he asked, "What is this?" while holding up a blue gray toy with what looked like a beak and flippers.

"That's Webber, he's a platypus." She proceeded to excavate other examples of toy platypi, anteaters and crocodiles from the bed as he slowly insinuated himself into the newly available space and eased into his usual sprawl.

"Hold her like that; it's very soothing," she said, placing the snout of a large plush crocodile under his chin and urging him to stroke its back. To his surprise she was right -- it was very soothing, and before he realized how very tired he was, he fell asleep on her bed.

Looking up from her computer as the music ended, she noticed him. So much for him sleeping on the couch. Removing his coat from the bed to make a space for herself she was a bit alarmed to discover the sword

but she had several friends in the SCA who had swords, so rather than waking him up and demanding an explanation she hung it up in the hall closet.


Manhattan --Thursday AM

Duncan returned from his run to find the room still empty and no sign that Methos had returned. Enough was enough. He was going to find him. Knowing even as he did it that there would be hell to pay, Mac booted up Methos' laptop and checked the files for something called "libraries" or "NY" or "things to do". Finding a list of five libraries, he called them. Three required visitors to sign in and none of them had an Adam Pierson in their guest books.

His concern growing at this new information, he called Joe and inquired if anyone had reported a challenge in New York City in the past 24 hours. Joe didn't have any information, but reminded Mac that he didn't get East Coast reports for several days. And no, he didn't have Watchers on either of them since they'd been reporting in.

Belatedly he remembered that Jim and Blair were also in town. That's where he's gone, the sneaky bastard, he thought. He was still more pissed off than worried as he went back into the laptop to find the number.


Brooklyn—Thursday AM

"Hello, Ellison here."

"Jim, it's Duncan. Listen, sorry to bother you at work."

"No bother, Adam said that you'd get in touch so we could get together."

"Have you seen him? Since you've been here, I mean?"

"He's not with you?"

"He was. We had an –not even a disagreement. He was going to do something yesterday afternoon, then meet me for dinner. But he never showed up. I thought that perhaps he'd gone out to Brooklyn to see you two…"

"Sorry, Duncan, we haven't heard from him, have we Blair?" He mouthed Adam's name at Blair who shook his head. "It's only been, what twelve hours? How about we get together tonight for dinner and we'll see how things stand then. We can't do anything about a missing adult for at least two days anyhow."

Dinner at a Brooklyn restaurant that Jim and Blair had already become fond of was hastily arranged. Duncan was to bring Adam if he turned up, and if he didn't they'd figure out what to do next.


Brooklyn -- Jane's house -- mid morning

Looking up from the computer she noticed that he was still asleep. She was beginning to wonder if she shouldn't have kept him up all night to monitor the concussion, when he finally began to stir.

Where the hell am I, he thought, looking up at a framed picture of Alan Rickman in a kilt. Did MacLeod redecorate while I was asleep? Looking down his body he was confronted with black button eyes and a soft green snout. He sat up quickly. That was a mistake. He lay back down. There was a large brightly colored creature hovering over him…. He remembered yesterday, all of it. Walking out on Mac, the mugging, how he got here.

"Would you like a cup of tea or something?" she asked cautiously.

"Beer, just beer. " This was bad; disappearing made MacLeod pissed off and parental. He needed to come up with a plan.

"For breakfast?" she challenged.

"Beer, please" Ok, think fast, where is your sword? he thought. Did you do anything to be indebted to this woman? OH FUCK! WHERE IS MY SWORD?

Standing up, he stepped on a substantial pile of beer caps he'd deposited on the floor the night before and quickly sat back down. "Shit."

She reappeared with a beer, corn muffins, marmalade and cold pizza. "I wasn't sure what you'd eat for breakfast."

"Thanks. Am I keeping you from work? I should get my coat and just go, perhaps."

"I called the library and told them I wouldn't be in today."

"You're a librarian?" he couldn't help but ask, looking around the room anxiously for his coat.

"The books weren't a tip off?"

"The books are just the tip of the iceberg, my dear. What don't you collect?"

"Swords?" she replied, deadpan.

"Oh. Well. I really should be going, shouldn't I?" he said looking for his shoes and then noticing his clothes.

"Go, stay, hang out a while—it's fine. You're not the only person I know who has a sword. Do you want a shower before you leave? I'll go get your clothes."

OK, she's not freaked about the sword, Methos thought. I could stay a while, maybe it would serve Mac right to worry for an evening or two after three days of all work and no play, surprise dinner with Connor. I'm certain that Mac asked the concierge about opera tickets for tonight.

After she left, he noticed a group of pictures of people who could only be family and friends. Standing up, he squinted and looked more closely at one of the pictures.

Could that really be Connor? He picked it up; it was Connor. The inscription said, "Thanks for all your help, couldn't have done it without you."

He was still holding it when she came back with his clothes and a big towel. "How do you know him?" he asked avoiding using a name.

"I helped him with some research for an article he was writing. Why? Do you know him?"

"I'm sorry, yes. He's the cousin of my friend. I'm here from Seacouver with a friend, we had a falling out and I think I was mugged."

They both thought about it. After a lively discussion of the absurdity of it all he ended up spending the day. They surfed the net, played more music, (he discovered that she had opera that would make MacLeod despair, melancholy atonal German stuff). He made pasta for lunch, afraid to let her push her luck in the kitchen.

"Runrig? Play rock, sing in Gaelic?"

"Yeah, biggest rock group in Scotland. Your friend never played this for you?"

Methos sighed, "This is his idea of good Scottish music," he said, holding up a battered Black Watch LP. She nodded sympathetically.

In the afternoon while she was checking her email, Methos had a long chat with crocodiles, who were excellent listeners as well as comfortable pillows, about their relatives along the Nile. Beer caps kept piling up on the floor next to her bed. "Do you want some?" he asked, brandishing a bottle.

She rattled her ice and poured more decaf, sugarfree soda in a mug so large he had at first taken it for a pitcher in the exact shade of that coat that had startled him the night before. "Do you think you should call him?" she asked, "He might..."

"Serve him right, luring me out here with promises of fabulous New York fun and then practically holding me captive in that warehouse."

"Just the same--I misplaced a visitor on the subway once. It wasn't pretty. You should call--it doesn't mean you have to leave."

"Can you play that thing?" he asked pointing to the autoharp while unsuccessfully trying to change the subject.

"About as well as I sing. Does that answer your question?"

"Do you have a cat?"

"No, I've got electric fish. Now, about calling your friend..."

He distracted her with sword tricks, and card tricks. He did play the autoharp, after tuning it, and even sang. He wasn't bad. But eventually, as night fell, he realized that he wanted to call Duncan. It was high time he was rescued, even though he didn’t appear to be in danger anymore, and she did have a lot of first aid supplies…

"Mercer Hotel."

"Duncan MacLeod, please."

"I'm sorry, there's no answer, would you like to leave a message?"

Turning back to her he said, "I missed him. We'll try later, and when I know he's there I'll go back into the city. If I promise to repay you can we go out for dinner?"


Brooklyn -- Thursday Evening, 15th St./Prospect Park station.

Jim and Blair were waiting when Duncan emerged from the train alone. None of them looked very happy.

"Oh man, does he do this often?" asked Blair. "You can't cut the lines of communication in a relationship. I'm going to have words with him when he turns up."

"Take a number," replied Duncan tersely.

"Perhaps he just needed some time," suggested Jim, always an advocate of avoidance wherever possible. The other two regarded him dubiously. He was relieved when they reached the restaurant.

Blair, avoiding the cold, asked to be seated away from the door and got them a cozy booth well into the restaurant. Duncan looked uneasy.

Across the street Adam and Jane were settling in for dinner at Johnnie Mack's.

"Do any of your sword carrying friends live around here?" Adam asked warily.

"Nope, what do you think of the shellfish?" she asked obliviously. Wisps of presence tickled his spine. He almost suggested leaving. He couldn't imagine what would happen if he had to take a challenge with this good-natured calamity in tow.

It wasn't strong enough for the other to be in the restaurant, but they were nearby. Eat fast and vacate the premises was his plan.

Duncan kept scanning the room as if he expected to see Methos seated at an adjacent table wearing Groucho Marx glasses with a false mustache. Jim put it down to anxiety about his missing friend. It was an uneasy meal, with Duncan and Blair bonding over the work it takes to keep a relationship on track, and Jim wondering what the hell Adam was thinking walking away from the wonder that is Duncan. They all jumped when his cell phone rang.

Fulton Street Station?, OK,.Thanks Bob." Hanging up, he looked at them. "They found Adam's wallet in a recycling bin at the Fulton Street Station a couple of hours ago. No money, no credit cards, Rainier U ID card." As Jim started to explain what they could do next, Duncan's anger faded to concern. Surely he'd have felt it if Methos had lost a challenge. How could he have lost his wallet? Methos had been street-smart since before there were streets.

If it was just a mugging, why the hell hadn't he turned up yet? A new surge of presence broke his train of thought and brought him to his feet, but by the time he got out of the booth and to the street, no one was there.

Jim and Blair threw all their cash on the table, grabbed the coats off the rack and followed him into the street. He pulled his coat on as he walked, following the trail of presence. At the corner of 7th and 16th he lost it. There were lots of houses in close proximity. Jim didn't know how he was tracking but suggested a simple house to house canvas with Adam's picture, which he had requested that Mac bring. Mac suggested that they walk a bit before they started knocking on doors.

Twenty minutes later they were standing in front of gray row house when the door opened and a large red haired woman dropped two big bags of beer bottles into the recycling bin.

"Bingo," Duncan muttered under his breath. "Excuse me, ma'am, I'm looking for a friend? Would you look at this picture?"

Standing next to him, Jim showed her his badge. Blair huddled, hoping they'd be asked inside soon.

Upstairs Methos was trying to get close enough to the window, any window to confirm what he already knew, the buzz was like a rash, itching and tickling him.

She took it tentatively, trying not to react as she looked at Adam's face. This was an unexpected turn of events, how had his friend tracked him down here? And why were the police with him?

"Come on in, why don't you. He's upstairs. I'll go make some tea or something…"

Jim and Blair followed Duncan into the house. Jim steadied himself on the wall as the first wave of decorations spun his senses. He started to follow upstairs, but the patchwork quilts played havoc on his senses. Not to mention the blinking lights and cinnamon candles. He sat down on the stairs and Blair crouched near him, using his Guide voice.

Methos decided to try innocuous one more time. Duncan hesitated on the threshold, almost unnerved by the decor, but feeling the presence within he turned the corner of the L shaped room and saw Methos lounging on the bed in his characteristic sprawl. "What brings you to Brooklyn, Highlander?"

"What did this place look like before you arrived?" he asked incredulously, picking up the pile of beer caps and looking for anything that might be a trash can. Methos looked amused. It had taken him several minutes to find it, so he let Mac stand there.

"Pretty much the same; not everyone has the same compulsive need for order that controls you."

Duncan debated being angry for about ten seconds, and then sank down in the pile of animals and pillows next to him. Taking a huge risk he reached out to stroke Methos' cheek as he said, "I didn't know if you were dead, and that bothered me."

"You just weren't in control of the situation, and that's what bothered you," replied Methos waspishly.

Duncan frowned at him. They could fight, or they could make up and get back to their hotel. He decided that getting Methos back to the hotel was more important. "You may be right. Come back with me and we can discuss it."

"What makes you think I'm not content here?"

"Well, she's out of beer, for one thing. Ice tea doesn't amuse you for very long. Did you sleep with her?" He surveyed the various plush occupants of the bed and wondered to himself if anyone could sleep in it.

Methos pondered the question; there wasn't a wrong answer. Then again, there wasn't a right answer either. "Not everyone has the same need to bed every female that crosses his path as you do. Besides, I lived a long time before every one got their own bed. I do know how to share." Then he pulled Duncan over and kissed him.

Neither of them had had enough to drink at dinner to explain what happened next. It was mostly that it happened so quickly that they forgot that they were not only not at home, but they were in someone else's home.

The shirts came off first, followed quickly by the shoes. As Methos removed Duncan's slacks he muttered, "Look in the nightstand, everyone has lube these days, mmmm, to go with the condoms…."

Duncan looked up, "Yeah, well, she's got books. Magic of Sex, Gay Kama Sutra? Book of Common Prayer? Did you try to seduce this woman?"

Methos lifted his head from Duncan's stomach were he was lightly grazing, "Nooo, we just tried not to accidentally kill each other. OUCH." He removed the autoharp tuning implement from the bed.

He was lunging across Duncan to check the dresser drawer when Jane reappeared with the tray of tea things. Duncan, finding himself suddenly uncomfortably exposed, grabbed the nearest object to cover himself and then realized it was a very large toy crocodile…

Jane regarded him with both awe and dismay while trying to decide how to best retreat. Adam looked at her desperately and muttered, "Lube?"

"Box under the bed, Adam…. I'll just see if Jim and Blair would like something…" As she tried, but failed to pull the door shut she heard a sigh from one of them.

Downstairs in the living room Blair was happily pulling books from the shelves. Jim was sitting very still, trying not to look at anything.

"I, um, think that they're going to be a few minutes. Can I offer you anything? Tea, cookies? I'm afraid that there isn't any more beer."

"We're used to that. He cleans us out every time he visits. Tea is fine, can I help?" offered Blair.

"Is your friend okay?" she asked.

"He's sensitive to colors. And lights, and smells."

Jim knew he should be asking her questions about Adam's disappearance, but every time he tried to look up the dizziness came back. So he was letting Sandburg carry the conversation, and would debrief him later. Sandburg had great talent in getting information out of people.

They made tea and were ignoring the sounds from upstairs fairly successfully until Methos shouted, "For the love of all that's holy, just fuck me now, Mac!"

Jim dialed down his hearing and took another cookie, "Thin doors?"

"Couldn't close it without dropping the tea stuff," she said, looking chagrined. Want to see the back yard?"

"Did you decorate it?"

Laughing, "No, you'll be safe"

"Blair, get out here. And stop taking notes."

"'But it's cold out there."

"Sandburg, YARD, NOW!"

"kay, Jim."


Some time later, upstairs, Duncan was regarding the crocodiles with dismay. "Go get a washcloth, quick. We should be ashamed of abusing this woman's hospitality. And I canna believe that you created this much chaos in only one day."

"I was a perfect guest before you got here," Methos retorted, looking terribly pleased with himself.

When he came back he saw Duncan gingerly holding up a pinkish toy with long dangly bits.

"Squid," he offered.

"Nah, they don't make toy squid, surely?" Duncan peered at it from another angle.

"Just wipe it off and don't ask a lot of questions. Do you think they heard us?"

"I think that Hoboken heard you," he chuckled, " Not that it matters. Did it really look like this before you got here?"

"Yes, it looked like this when I got here."

"Was she expecting you then?" Duncan teased.

Methos sighed, he couldn't explain it. "You know MacLeod, you'd like her if she lets us stay long enough for you to actually be introduced. She's got some great contemporary Scottish music that you should hear. Oh, and by the way, she knows Connor." Methos pointed to the bookcase.

Duncan sat down hard, "Knows Connor? How?" Methos explained…. "I still think we should tidy just a wee bit before we go, you know, sort of by way of saying 'thanks'."

"Oh, housecleaning in exchange for the use of the room? Mac, I think we change the sheets, throw ourselves on her mercy and leave quickly. Oh, can you reimburse her for dinner and the beer?"

Mac grumbled but it was a small price to pay for having Methos back in one piece and in a better mood. Maybe they'd invite her to lunch with Connor tomorrow…. He was paying, after all.


End