The Private Journal of Joe Dawson
May 1st, 1997
It has been three days since the events in Cassandra's
apartment, when Methos finished his recitation of the events
some three thousand years ago, effectively destroying the last
of any sympathy or liking any of us may have still had for him.
Adam Pierson, who never truly existed, is dead to us and Methos
as good as dead. How he managed to escape from his bonds or even
that he had never concerned any of us...when Duncan returned to
Cassandra's apartment, Methos was gone; the bindings, cut by
some means or another, were bloody, a fact that didn't raise an
iota of sympathy from any of us. And that, I suspected at the
time, would be the last we ever heard of Methos until, perhaps,
But Richie brought up today a valid concern. Methos, using
the persona of Adam Pierson, was still a Watcher and, as such,
has access to the Chronicles and whereabouts of every known
Immortals. Adam Pierson would never have used that information
for his own ends but Adam Pierson never truly existed and it is
Methos we must deal with. And it is the overwhelming opinion of
all concerned that Methos would use that information for his own
A dozen different plans are offered and discarded, leaving
us with one iffy proposal that had a very good possibility of
going bad on us. If I were to reveal Adam Pierson as an
Immortal, then it is very possibility that the Watchers would
see him as a threat and kill him and while none of us could
honestly say that would cause us any great grief, it is very
possible that, as the eldest of the Immortals, Methos is
critical to the Gathering and to the Prize. How many Quickenings
does the Ancient One carry and what effect would it have to have
those Quickenings lost to the Immortals? We will have to carry
out this plan very carefully.
May 3rd, 1997
We are in luck. The new Division head of the Watchers is an
intelligent woman and I believe she will cooperate, albeit
unknowingly, with our plan. Richie has checked out Methos'
apartment and discovered that Methos is still in town,
single-mindedly packing up his possessions. He seemed to take no
notice of Richie's ~Presence~ or perhaps didn't care. Now it's
my turn. . .
May 4th, 1997
Today I went to Watchers Headquarters and requested a private
meeting with the new head, a woman named Alice Harrison. Once
the niceties were done, I brought up my suspicions about Adam
Pierson, about an event I "saw" not two days ago when
Adam fell wrong and, I was certain, broke his arm but when the
excitement died down, no break could be found. Yes, I was
certain it broke...I heard it snap and I know that sound. (I
should get an Oscar, the performance was brilliant.) I hastened
to bring up the "fact" that seven months ago, Adam cut
his hand open on a broken glass while helping clean up and not
only did I have to take him in for stitches but also to have
them removed. He must have "died" the last time he was
out of town. . .maybe four months ago. No, Duncan never
mentioned that he was an Immortal but then they hadn't meet
face-to-face for the past several months. No, I didn't think
Adam would betray the Watchers but he never was a physical
person. . .he may just use the Watchers to keep himself away
from other Immortals. No, I didn't think he knew how to use a
sword and MacLeod would not take him as a student. In fact, I
think Pierson's on his way out of town. . .someone had seen him
packing up everything in his apartment. . .personally I think
he's going to run.
Harrison heard me out, thanked me politely and showed me
to the door. Now all we can hope is that she would not simply
have him killed. That would screw up Cassandra's revenge.
May 5th, 1997
I received a call from Harrison ordering me to Adam's apartment.
I called MacLeod hurriedly and he agreed to sneak as close to
the building as he could without being seen. If Methos is
killed, then he may be able to get the Quickening. Not that he
truly wanted it but someone had to get it.
Once there...about 11:00 at night. . .I found Adam
"dead" on the floor and four Watchers...Harrison among
them. . .there. We waited for Adam to revive, just minutes after
I arrived. He was on his feet within seconds of reviving though
very disorientated. The look of utter despair on his face when
he saw the Watchers was very real, as was the fear when he saw
me but he's a survivor and when he realized that they did not
know he was Methos but thought he was a new Immortal, he played
along, claiming that he was first "killed" some months
ago in Los Angles, a victim of a mugging. He'd been amazed to
find himself alive and then terrified, uncertain as to what the
Watchers would think. He claimed to have been planning to turn
in his resignation and leave, maybe find himself a teacher and
try to survive.
Much to the relief of both of us, Harrison agrees with him
leaving. She would take his resignation, effective immediately.
She would notify all the Watcher Divisions and tell them he was
now an Immortal, that he would be treated accordingly. The
Watchers themselves would kill him if he tried to enter a
Watcher building, attempted to contact a Watcher or if he should
prove to be a danger to them.
Adam agreed eagerly with everything she demanded of him,
seemingly just happy to escape alive, though his eyes were
haunted. Apparently he had already returned everything he had
borrowed from the Watchers to the headquarters and now only
wanted to finished packing his stuff and get out of town. He
insisted he had no idea where he was going to go. Just that he
Harrison agreed that he should leave immediately but
before he left, his tattoo had to be dealt with. Adam
said...more like stammered that he would have it removed in the
morning but Harrison was firm in saying that Adam would not have
that tattoo a second longer then she could help it. Now I know
why she had brought two of the strongest male Watchers with her.
Before Adam could react...and he had to suspect what was going
to happen...they grabbed him, holding him down and muffling his
screams while the third man burnt off the tattoo. They could
have easily done it while he was dead or even killed him again
but this too was part of his punishment. At least that's what I
told myself over and over again while I watched, the stench of
burnt flesh thick in the air.
Once the forearm had been reduced to just so much charred
flesh, the men let him go, not bothering to hide their contempt.
Harrison rose from where she sat on the bed and walked out, the
others following. I stared down at the weeping man, bothered
more by my total lack of feeling than with what had just
happened before walking out myself. As I left, I heard the sound
of running water and knew that he would survive. Methos was very
good at surviving.
May 7th, 1997
Harrison has notified me that Adam Pierson was assigned a
Watcher immediately; a man named Bruce "Buzz" Cooper.
Cooper is an old hand at Watching, having had three assignments
before Adam. As an afterthought, she informed me that Adam had
left town, heading southward.
September 29th, 1997
I received a letter from Pierson's Watcher today, despite the
fact that I had told him I was not interested in Pierson's fate.
This, however, had to do with something odd that happened and he
asked for my opinion on it. More to the point, he hinted that I
ask my Immortal friends about it and get their input. To record
these events accurately, I will simply copy Cooper's letter to
If Pierson weren't Immortal he would be dead by now.
For the past three months, he has been literally holed up in
a fleabag hotel, drinking himself into a steady stupor. It's
only been pure luck that no Immortal has passed by or his
head would have been taken weeks ago. He leaves his room
only long enough to get more liqueur and, on occasion, food.
He's shown no inclination to learn how to use a sword or
even to own one. I was beginning to wonder if this would
turn out to be my shortest assignment yet when *she*
I was doing my usual duty. . .lounging on the street
corner near the hotel playing a bum and watching for Pierson
when a girl walked by me. Not a girl from *this*
neighborhood. At first I thought perhaps she was a spoiled
rich girl come down slumming but then she *looked* at me and
I just knew that she had to be an Immortal. Her eyes were
old. Very old though, physically, she was perhaps in her
late teens. She looked at me in considerable amusement and I
felt that she knew who and what I was then she turned and
walked quite boldly into the hotel. I had a suspicion then
that my assignment was about to end but then I realized the
woman did not wear the long coat popular to Immortals and
there was nowhere for her to carry a sword.
Description: Five-foot tall, approx. 100 pounds, short
silvery hair, mismatched eyes. . .left eye gold, right eye
silver. Not a plain woman but not truly pretty either. What
could be called "cute". A crooked tooth in the
very center of the bottom row of her teeth. Lean, small
breasted. Could possibly pass as a boy. Wearing black dancer
tights, short jacket with, perhaps?, a tee-shirt underneath,
calf-high Native American-style boots. The jacket had a wolf
embroidered on the back; a snarling wolf holding a bloody
hand in its mouth. What appeared to be a solid silver
collar. No rings, two earrings in the left ear, both of
which appeared to be dogs or maybe wolves, a broad, smooth
silver wristlet on each wrist.
I followed her into the hotel and to the second floor
where Pierson's room was. She was pounding on the door when
I arrived then, apparently impatient when Pierson didn't
answer, stepped back and quite casually kicked the door in.
She looked in, said, in a lightly accented voice,
"Hello, ashke. Herself would like a word with
you." and stepped in, shutting the door behind her.
Since she had pretty much shattered the door, she must have
used a chair to keep it shut.
She was in there for several hours. I couldn't hear
anything that was said or done but more then once Pierson
raised his voice and twice there was the sound of shattering
glass. It was well past midnight when the woman walked back
out, past me and out of the hotel. On the way by, she smiled
quite brightly at me and said "Don't you ever get
bored? Even just a little?" and then she was gone. I
managed to follow her in time to see her get on a motorcycle
and drive off.
Description: The motorcycle was like none I'd ever
seen before and had no brand name. The expert I spoke with
said that the bike must have been custom-made, especially
after I described it fully to him. The bike was black with
silver trim and had a carved life-sized wolf's head mounted
on the front fender. The license plate simply read Wolf. The
helmet she put on had a wolf's head stenciled on each side.
The next morning, about eight-o'clock, Pierson left
his room. For the first time in a very long time, he was
clean, though the clothes he wore were rumpled. He stopped
first at a barber's, getting a haircut. . .actually more of
a trim. . .and shave. He kept a goatee and his hair still
reached his shoulders. He spent the rest of the day
shopping, getting new clothes mostly. Despite his haircut,
he almost didn't get into the first shop but he waved a
handful of cash and was suddenly their best friend. (Note:
he must have gotten the cash from the woman. He'd been using
a credit card for the past three months.) He then packed
everything up in his car and drove away. Only then did I
think to check with the desk clerk of the hotel and found
out Pierson had already checked out, telling the clerk that
anything left in his room could be tossed or kept by whoever
I managed to pick up Pierson's trail by pure luck and
am currently following him. I have sent a copy of this
letter to Watchers Headquarters but thought you, having
known Pierson for so long, may know the answers to the
Who is the woman who visited him? Does she sound
familiar to you? And why would she have such an effect on
What does the term "ashke" mean and what language
And, more importantly, who is this "Herself" and
why does she want to speak to Pierson?
I have talked with both Duncan and Richie. . .Amanda and
Cassandra have both vanished. . .and none of us have any answers
to these questions. The Immortal Cooper describes is unfamiliar
to any of us and even to Conner, whom Duncan sent a message off
to in inquiry. She is apparently one of those mystery Immortals
that crop up occasionally and who manage to stay out of the way
of the Watchers. From the letter, I'd say she knows who the
Watchers are and probably knows how to avoid us as well. As for
"ashke", well that is probably just one of those dead
languages that only Methos knows and the one referred to as
Herself. . ..who knows? She could have been referring to. .
.well, herself. I sent a message to Cooper's contact stating the
September 30th, 1997
On the off chance that I may be interested, Cooper sent me a
copy of the reply he received from Watchers Headquarters. No one
there knew the female Immortal or knew what her interest may be
in Pierson. Or what the word "ashke" meant or who
Herself may be. A new series of mysteries, then, to be added to
the many others surrounding Immortals.
July 7th, 1998
Cassandra has returned for a visit with Duncan. She seems much
more relaxed...not surprising considering that her past demons
have been dealt with. When I first saw her, it reminded me of
the odd events some two years ago and I pulled out my old
journal, asking her opinion of the unknown Immortal and what she
said. The mystery word was cleared up. . ."ashke"
means "beloved" in a very old language long dead. As
for the Immortal, Cassandra could only say that, perhaps 1700
years ago, one of her students had spotted Methos in the company
of a woman fitting that general description. From what her
student had told her, Cassandra had assumed that the woman was
one of Methos' wives and the student hadn't said anything about
her being Immortal. As for Herself. . .Cassandra had gone
thoughtful on that inquiry and soon afterwards left both the bar
and the city.
February 9th, 2000
The buzz alerted Duncan MacLeod long before the Immortal
actually appeared. he straightened, sword already in hand,
watching the door as the newcomer entered. No, not a newcomer.
He relaxed and smiled slightly.
"Hello, Cassandra. Haven't seen you for a couple of
years." Then he saw her face and his smile vanished.
"Do you know what Methos has been up to?" She asked
MacLeod felt an unexpected twinge at the ancient Immortal's
name. "No. I haven't kept track of him. Why?"
"Three of my students have turned up dead in the last
six months. I think it's Methos who's doing the killing."
She said grimly.
"Why?" MacLeod asked and Cassandra threw him a
"Revenge! Why else?"
"After nearly three years?"
She snorted. "He's been known to wait longer then that
for revenge. He's hunting my students, Duncan. Killing them in
revenge for what happened three years ago. He needs to be
MacLeod felt a twinge of warning, a reminder about her Voice
but her words were making sense. He frowned thoughtfully.
"Let me give Joe a call and see what their Watcher reports
say. . ." He half-turned only to pause as Cassandra gripped
"Why bother Joe? It's Immortal business. I know who
killed them and why. And where he might be going next. My newest
student is in New York and I just found out Methos is there as
well. I've a detective following him, in fact."
MacLeod hesitated. "So you want to go there and talk to
Cassandra smiled, a rather unpleasant smile. "Yes, talk
with him. And, if necessary, deal with him. I'm not strong
enough to challenge him, Duncan, but you are." She choose
not to mention her suspicion that Methos wouldn't kill the
Highlander, that the ancient Immortal still cared more about the
other man then MacLeod ever would have suspected.
"I don't want to challenge him!" MacLeod snapped
and Cassandra realized that, despite everything revealed about
Methos three years ago, the Highlander cared about him as well.
It looked like she'd have to work her wiles and powers both to
get MacLeod into the state of mind she needed him in. In just
the right state of mind for him to do what she could not, take
Methos' head. But for now she just needed to get him to New
York. Cassandra changed her plan slightly.
"You might not have to." She said soothingly.
"Maybe we can just talk to him."
MacLeod looked at her suspiciously. "All right." He
said grudgingly. "Let me get some things together."
"The plane leaves in three hours." Cassandra said,
watching MacLeod walked up the stairs and into the loft. She
smiled. So far, so good. If everything went according to her
plan, Methos would be dead within 24 hours and if it didn't then
that bitch of his would be dead within 24 hours later. Either
way, she won.
When MacLeod returned, Cassandra was once again wearing a
worried frown. "I hope you don't mind, Duncan but I saw
Richie in New York before I came here and asked him to keep an
eye on Trish. . .that's my newest student. The one I think
Methos is after."
MacLeod frowned but nodded. "He should be able to keep
Cassandra allowed herself a smug smile as she followed the
Highlander from the building.
Five Hours Later
Joe Dawson mumbled curses as he made his way into his office,
cursing that increased in intensity when he spotted the blinking
light of the answering machine. He'd spent most of the morning
dealing with suppliers and it had not been a good morning. His
mood was absolutely foul as he hit the play button and he
suspected it wouldn't get any better.
He was right.
The first two message were routine but the third almost made
him choke on the beer he had pulled from the refrigerator.
"Joe, this is Mac." As if that voice and accent
could belong to anyone else. "Cassandra's in town. .
." Joe barely managed to grab the bottle before it hit the
floor. ". . .she's says our old friend is up to his past
tricks. . ."
"And you believe her?" Joe snarled at the machine,
feeling a year's worth of careful planning slip through his
fingers. "Of course you do, damn her."
"I'm heading to New York to help her with it. I'll give
you a call once we're there." The message ended.
"Of course you will." Joe snapped, reaching for the
phone. The first call he made booked a seat on the next plane
headed for New York, the next call was to a now familiar number
in the Midwest where a very irritating voice informed him that
the lines were down due to winter storms and could he try again
Joe resisted the urge to throw the phone across the room and
stood, reaching for the bag he kept ready for such emergencies.
He'd have to try again once he reached New York. He played
briefly with the idea of having the Watchers try and track down
Methos but no. That would be too dangerous and just might turn
their attention to peoples who most definitely didn't want their
He hurried from the room as quickly as he could manage.
The Next Morning, New York City
Adam Pierson looked down at the necklace resting on black velvet
and imagined it around her neck. . .silver and white gold
resting on skin the color of warm cocoa. Beautiful. A fitting
gift for the woman he loved. Gently he ran a finger over the
metal, ignoring the offended looks the jeweler was giving him.
Not used to such scruffy-looking customers, eh? Well, this
customer had a gold card. . .actually more then one. . .and he
meant to use it.
He straightened, drawing one of the cards from his wallet. He
took a quick glance at the name. . .Andrej op Owen. A Welshman.
Good. He wouldn't have to fake the accent.
"I'll take it please." He offered the hovering man
the card, grinning at the disbelieving look the man gave him. He
took the card like he thought it might bite and stepped to the
register. His look grew even more disbelieving. . .obviously he
just saw the credit limit. . .and then he was back, now all
"Can I interest you in anything else, sir?"
"No, you cannot. The neckl. . ." Adam froze as a
~Presence~ flooded his mind. An Immortal and he cursed his luck.
He carried his sword, of course, hidden under his long coat and
a few surprises besides but the last thing he wanted was to get
into a fight now.
"Sir? Are you all right?"
"Yes. Yes I am. Do you have a pen and paper? Thank
you." Ignoring the jeweler's puzzlement, he scribbled a
hasty message to Ben and then a short but heart-felt one to
Sable. Folding them, he slipped the notes into the box with the
necklace. "Have you rung this up? Good. Let me sign. . .all
right." He handed the box back to the man. "Could you
keep this here for a couple hours while I tend to some things?
If, for some reason, I haven't picked it up by, say, four
o'clock tonight, could you have it delivered to Ben Phoenix at
the Ramada Inn? Here, I'll write that down. He'll pay for the
delivery charges. Thank you."
Adam stepped out of the store, looking around. He couldn't
see anyone who looked to be the bearer of that ~Presence~. In
fact, it felt like the unseen Immortal was moving away, staying
just close enough for him to register on Adam's senses. Leading
him somewhere. Fine. They couldn't very well fight here anyway.
Since the hotel had been so close to the store and it was
such a nice day, he hadn't bothered to drive. Now he began to
follow the ~Presence~, wishing that he had brought Nightstorm
with him. The massive wolf, while totally uncouth and given to
social foopahs that had long since become legendary, could be a
comfort. For one thing, no one would even think of
double-teaming him with Nightstorm at his back. And then, too,
maybe the wolf could have helped him figure out why this
Immortal's signature seemed so familiar. In an odd way.
The oddness came in from that rather spectacular double
Quickening he and Nightstorm experienced some two and a half
years ago. The one that blew out the electricity in not only the
school but pretty much the entire town. Among other things, they
seemed to be able to share senses now and Adam tended to
experience ~Presence~ not only as he normally did. . .a feeling
in his mind. . .but also as Nightstorm did. As a result, not
only did he "feel" this Immortal but he also scented
and even tasted him. If he'd been close enough, he would have
seen and heard the ~Presence~ as well. But he had a hard time
evaluating what his senses were telling him without Nightstorm
to help him.
The feeling of ~Presence~ was being drowned out by smell and
taste. . .wild heather and ale. Sweat and musk and the odd taste
of wildness carefully controlled and the sharp tang of metal.
Definitely male -- alpha male -- and he wasn't surprised to find
a surge of rage and challenge flow through him. He found himself
peeling his lips back in a soundless snarl, flexing his fingers,
and. . .
Realizing that he was rapidly getting lost in the sensations,
Adam paused, taking a deep breath, forcing his senses back under
control. He was getting better at this. His senses returned
reluctantly to human norm and now all he could feel was the buzz
of ~Presence~. He smiled slightly and opened his eyes, looking
around just in time to see a figure step into a building still
under construction. For some reason, it looked like construction
had been stopped some months ago. Warily he stepped closer. . .
. . .and froze as a second ~Presence~ swept over him.
A woman this time. He hesitated then cautiously let his
borrowed senses extend to this new Immortal. The smell of the
desert and taste of bitter almonds. Then the scent of. . .of. .
.something. . .flooded his senses and he clamped down on them,
shoving them carefully away where they wouldn't distract him,
reflecting once again that Nightstorm saw things in a very odd
Slowly he walked forward, not too surprised to feel a third
then a fourth ~Presence~ invaded his mind. Disappointed, yes but
not surprised. What is the younger generation coming to. . ?
No, not younger. He paused, eyes narrowing. Yes, the last two
were young but the other two. . .one *tasted* old, the other
powerful. Suspicion nagged at him as he slipped into the
Nightstorm suddenly surged to his feet, knocking over the
bottle of nail polish and startling the girl intent on painting
"Hey! Wait a minute! I'm not done!" Bethany Faye
wound her fingers in the wolf's ruff and tried to pull him back
but he shook her off easily, pacing to the door.
Ben Phoenix looked at the wolf, his eyes narrowing as the
huge beast started to whine urgently and clawing at the door.
"Damn." He muttered. "Trouble." He stood,
hand slipping into his jacket to settle the gun holstered there.
"Stay here, kids. . ."
"Not bloody likely!" The oldest of the children was
already standing. "Beth, Skrye, Merry. You come. Everyone
Ben shook his head but didn't argue as he opened the door and
the wolf darted out.
Adam paused just inside the door, giving his eyes a change to
adjust. He wasn't surprised to find himself in the lowest level
of a parking ramp. . .they always did make good fighting areas.
He wondered briefly why this one was only half-built then
shrugged it away. Resisting the urge to chant "Come out,
come out, where ever you are!", he walked forward, his
Chachokee-made hide boots making no sound on the concrete floor.
The buzz of ~Presence~ told him that the Immortals were up at
least one more ramp and he paused, realizing suddenly that they
did not know that he knew there was more then one Immortal here.
He was still outside of their range. But that double-Quickening
that gave him the ability to share Nightstorm's unique view of
the world had also expanded both of their ranges of sensing
Immortals. He hesitated then stepped back to where a stack of
building material rested, settling on it gingerly.
Reaching into a coat pocket, he pulled out Sable's engagement
gift to him and looked them over before pulling them on. Just
like Sable, to give him something so lovely, so practical. . .so
He smiled and flexed his fingers, waiting.
Joe got off the plane still muttering curses. At Cassandra
and at that thick-headed Highlander as well. And at the flying
industry and maintenance trouble and everything else he could
They had come in hours later then was scheduled. Making his
way to the nearest phones, he punched in a number, almost
falling over in relief when it went through and was answered by
a familiar voice.
"Where is he?" Richie hissed when the ancient
Immortal did not appear as they expected.
Cassandra stood nearby, her eyes slightly unfocused. She
frowned. "He's downstairs. Waiting."
"Figuring the Immortal would come back down when he
didn't come up here." MacLeod scowled.
"Planning an ambush, maybe?" Trish said
Cassandra shook her head, obviously puzzled. "No. He's
just sitting there. Waiting."
The group looked at each other. The plan had been fairly
simple. . .lure Methos to an out-of-the-way area and confront
him then, if need be, challenge him. Cassandra was smugly
confident that she could control Methos. . .that his guilt of
three thousand years ago would once again undo him. After all,
three years ago he had begged her to take his head. Now she
planned to fulfill that request. One way or another.
"So are we going to stay here all day or should we go
down there?" Richie asked.
"We go down there." MacLeod said. Holding his sword
in his hand, he made his way cautiously down the ramp, the
others following. He paused, blinking, at the sight of Methos
casually sitting on a stack of building supplies reading a book.
"We meet again, Highlander." The ancient Immortal
said without looked up. "Cassandra. Richie. And someone
new." Now he looked up, running a practiced eye over young
Trish then dismissing her as inconsequential. "My, my. .
.the gang's all here. Except for Amanda. And Joe." He
raised an eyebrow questioningly at MacLeod.
"Joe isn't involved. And Amanda's in London."
MacLeod said automatically, thrown off-balance by the other's
"Ahhhhh. Planning on stealing the Crown Jewels no doubt.
Too bad they're fake." He slipped the book into a pocket of
his coat and stood. "And to what do I owe the pleasure of
this visit? I assume that I am the reason you are here."
"You are." Cassandra stepped closer, smug insolence
in her very stance. She searched the other's gold-green eyes for
the cowed, broken man of three years ago but saw only the
self-assured arrogance of the eldest Immortal. She frowned.
"There is a matter of the young Immortals you've murdered
over the last six months."
Methos blinked in surprise. "Excuse me?"
"Three of my students have been killed over the past six
Methos' eyes narrowed. "I hate to disappoint you, midear,
but I haven't taken any heads over the last six months. Been too
damn busy." He smiled slightly, a smile that faded at the
look of pure rage Cassandra gave him. He shook his head.
"You're barking up the wrong tree, Cassandra. I have no
reason to kill any of your students."
"Revenge is a powerful motiva. . ." She stopped in
mid-word, watching in disbelief as Methos literally doubled over
"Ahhhh, but you are a funny lady, Cassandra." He
gasped, wiping his eyes. "What do I care for revenge?"
He shook his head again. "No, look elsewhere, witch. I've
no need for revenge." He half-turned toward MacLeod.
"Liar." Cassandra said coldly.
Methos froze then turned slowly. Cassandra took an
involuntarily step backwards at the look in the man's eyes.
"You've absolved me of my crimes, remember?" He
said softly. "You forgave me three years ago and I. .
.well, lets just say that since then I've forgiven myself. Our
time is done."
"Then what are you doing here?" She demanded.
He blinked. "I am escorting a dozen kids on a tour of
New York museums and to a Broadway play, among other things.
What else would I be doing?" Then he glanced at Trish,
realization flaring in his eyes. "Ahhhh. . .don't tell me.
A student of yours?"
"As if you didn't know."
"Don't sneer. It doesn't look good on you. No, I didn't.
Nor, as I said before, do I care." He sighed. "Look,
we can argue about this until the day the Gathering arrives but
I've things to do. Kids to escort, Ben to rescue from said kids,
a wolf to walk. . ." He turned away once again.
Cassandra's sword blocked his way.
Methos looked down at the sharp blade then slowly raised his
eyes to stare at the woman.
"Liar." She said softly and Methos heard the Voice
weaving through her words. A rage not entirely his own surged
through him. How dare this. . .this beta female. . .challenge
Cassandra literally felt herself blanch as a cold rage filled
Methos' eyes, turning them a hard, brilliant gold. His lips
peeled back in an inhuman snarl and she stepped back, fear
filling her. Her response was automatic as she raised her sword
and swung it down, issuing a challenge she never meant to make,
barely hearing MacLeod's shout to stop, that Methos didn't have
time to draw his sword.
For a moment, she thought she had done it, had gotten the
jump on the ancient Immortal and that her sword would take his
head but then Methos threw up his hands, crossed at the wrists,
and the sword clanged loudly on the metal and ivory braces
covering his hands. He pushed the sword away then swept it to
one side with the back of one hand. There was a sharp "snikt"
sound and Cassandra flinched back as pain flared through her
cheek. She reached up and drew back a hand covered with blood.
Only then did she see the long claws protruding from the bracer;
three sharp, articulating claws that extended a good foot from
"Wolverine claws." Methos said pleasantly. "A
gift from my fiancée. Along with. . ." He did something
unseen and a new set of claws appeared, directly from the region
of the fingertips this time; sharp cat-like claws. "This,
on the other hand. . ." He thrust a hand into his pocket
and drew out what appeared to be nothing more than the hilt of a
sword. ". . .is a gift from the best man-to-be." He
tossed it casually into the air. In mid-air, the hilt separated
and a blade articulated from it. When Methos once again caught
the now-closed hilt, he held a katana. He smiled at Cassandra.
"I've been wanting to give it a trial run."
"Fiancée." She snarled. "She doesn't know a
thing about you, does she?"
Methos' eyes narrowed. "Actually, she does. And you know
about her, do you? That's explains what this is really
"What?" MacLeod stepped closer, his eyes narrowing.
"What does this explain?"
"Wise up, Mac! This isn't about dead students. This is
about the fact that I've managed to achieve some happiness. That
little sham Cassandra perpetrated three years back was just
that. . .a sham! She hasn't forgiven me. . .no. She plans on
turning up every time I have a moment of happiness and
destroying it. Or rather she wants you to!"
"You don't deserve to be happy!" Cassandra spat.
"Screw you, lady!" Methos snarled and swung his
sword. Cassandra barely managed to parry it.
"Duncan. . !" she cried out but Methos blocked any
chance of her getting away.
"Oh no. You challenged me and I accept. MacLeod cannot
interfere!" He moved toward her in something akin to a
dancer's movement, feet seeking sure purchase on the concrete
floor. "I suspect you can screw with his mind in many
matters, Cassandra, but not where honor is concerned."
Cassandra found herself fighting for her life; caught, she
couldn't help but think for some reason, in the jaws of the
wolf. For there was indeed a wolf in Methos' eyes. A really
pissed-off wolf who wanted not her head but her throat.
"You are weak, Methos.' She said between clenched teeth,
using the Voice to convince Methos that he was indeed weak.
"Weak and soooooo tired. . ."
His sword struck hers so hard that Cassandra's hands went
numb. He locked their swords together and lunged forward so that
they were chest to chest, face to face.
"Wanna bet?" The eldest Immortal snarled, his voice
guttural, his rage combined with Nightstorm's making him immune
to her power. He shoved her away and resumed the battle.
MacLeod watched the fight, wishing fervently that he had a
camera. What was occurring before them was quite literally a
dance, a very deadly dance. There was the purest grace in Methos'
movements and a barely restrained savagery that startled the
Highlander. A combination that made Cassandra seem clumsy in
Cassandra parried a blow, all too aware that she was sweating
profusely. She had always counted on her Voice making the
difference in a fight but it didn't seemed to work here. If
anything, it only seemed to make Methos sink even further into
that wolf she saw in his eyes. He fought quietly, a snarl on his
lips, marking her with sword and claws alike. He bled from only
two shallow wounds, she from over a dozen. She was losing.
But she had a contingency plan, one she knew Duncan wouldn't
approve of but she could ease his mind about it later. It
wouldn't be the first time she'd changed his mind. Cassandra
almost smirked at the thought but settled on sending a
pre-arraigned signal to her student.
Methos jerked and fell to his knees as the throwing knife
struck him in the back. He heard MacLeod's shout of anger, for
all the good it would do either of them. With a look of triumph,
Cassandra raised her sword, savoring the taste of long-awaited
victory then it was her turn to jerk uncontrollably as shots
rang out loudly in the room. Six of them; though only four hit
Cassandra. The other two hit her student. Both were dead before
they hit the ground.
A man appeared in the entranceway. Tall, broad-shouldered,
attractive in a California beach boy-kind of way with
shoulder-length blond hair, he kept his gun very carefully
leveled at a point between MacLeod and Richie.
"I think it would be in your best interest to stay put,
thank you kindly." The man dropped to one knee next to
Methos, one hand reaching out to steady the dying man, not
taking his eyes from the others.
Methos blinked up at him, his vision already fading.
"Don't kill her, Ben." He rasped and the newcomer
"A little late for that."
"You know what I mean. Promise."
Ben shot a quick glance at Methos then sighed. "All
"And the others. . .don't let them kill her
Ben grimaced. "You never let them have any fun...all
right, all right. I won't let them."
Methos smiled then his eyes rolled up into his head and he
fell over, dead.
Ben's hand shot out to catch Methos' head before it could hit
the ground. Still keeping the gun leveled, he eased his way down
to a cross-legged position, shifting Methos' head to rest in his
lap. With a casual jerk, he pulled the knife from the Immortal's
back then reached over to pick up the man's sword, closing it
with a flick of his wrist.
"Stay put." He said pleasantly to MacLeod, letting
the gun waver slightly in his direction when the man made a move
to approach. "I've no qualms about blowing your head off.
Work just as good as a sword, I figure."
"Goes for you too, Ryan." A boy had appeared next
to Trish's body, a gun held steady in his hands. "Back
Richie cautiously obeyed, staring at the kid in surprise. His
surprise only deepened when another figure appeared, a girl even
younger then the first kid. She stooped to pull Trish's sword
from her coat then darted forward to stand over the fallen
"Bethany. . ." Ben said chidingly. "I
"*You* promised." The girl said, her emphasis on
*you*, the sword wavering near the woman's neck.
The girl scowled. "She lost! She cheated! Her head's
"To Methos." The boy walked over to stand next to
her, stooping to pick up Cassandra's sword with both hands.
"He won't take it." The girl finally lowered the
"His choice." Ben said, his answer melding with the
boy's thoughtful "But Nightstorm might. Or Sable."
The girl grinned. "In that case, let's think happy
"Beth. . . ." Ben said in the weary tones of
someone who had said that one too many times. "Throwing
knife, throwing knife, throwing knife. . ." Another girl
was stooped over Trish, pulling knife after knife from under her
coat. "Talk about overkill! Why didn't she just go with a.
. .oh." She pulled a gun from under the coat. "Must
have gone with what she reached first." She completed her
search of Trish in silence, accumulating an impressive pile of
knives, guns, holsters, and sheaths before she was done. She and
yet another girl gathered up the weapons and retreated to where
"What about her?" One of them asked, pointing at
Cassandra with her chin.
The boy was already searching the woman, pulling out a gun
and a dagger. "Not much. My guess is she counted on
*him*", he nodded at MacLeod. "to save her and if that
failed, for her pet over there to do exactly what she did."
"Cheat, in other words." One of the girls was
trying on a forearm sheath. "Oh, I like this."
"Binding. Gets in the way of the bracers." The
other girl raised her hands and MacLeod saw that she wore the
same bracers as Methos had. They all did, in fact.
"Let me see the other one." Beth joined the two
girls in sorting out the weapons with a casual yet knowing air.
"How long before he revives?" The boy asked as he
cleaned Cassandra's sword, using her coat to wipe the blade free
"A few more minutes." Ben replied. "Find a
perch, Frenchy, and stay out of the way. You too, gels."
MacLeod followed this exchange with growing disbelief. Methos
had obviously told these people about the Immortals. How many
others knew. . ?
The sense of ~Presence~ slammed into him like a sledgehammer
and he took a step back before he could stop himself. The sheer
power of the approaching Immortal almost overwhelmed him. A
glance at Richie confirm that he too had felt it. His face had
gone white and he looked ready to pass out.
"What the hell is that?" He gasped.
"Ahhhhh." Ben studied them for a moment. "Nightstorm
must be coming. Let's all hope Methos wakes up before he tears
Cassandra's head off."
"I thought we were supposed to hope the other way."
Bethany looked up, a matched pair of throwing knives in her
"Beth. Play nice." Ben tilted his head, listening
intently. "Here he comes."
There was a click of claws and the new arrival appeared. He
paused briefly to look over the others with a disdainful eye
then stalked over to give Cassandra an intent once-over.
"Nightstorm. . ." Ben said. "Methos doesn't
want her dead."
The wolf threw him a sharp look and a snarl, ignoring the
other Immortals who were gaping at him.
"Impossible!" MacLeod breathed. "Animals
cannot be Immortals!"
This brought laughter from all the children and a grin from
Ben. "And what is man but an animal? Nightstorm. . ."
The last was in warning tones and MacLeod looked back to see the
huge beast with his jaws opened, hovering over Cassandra's neck.
He snarled, a deep, reverberating sound that echoed in the huge
room. He snapped his jaws a couple times, the long, sharp teeth
mere centimeters from the slender neck then stepped back. With a
raised leg, he expressed his opinion of the woman, an act that
brought laughter from the children, before striding over to
Methos and stretching out next to the man, rested his chin on
the man's shoulder.
"That wasn't necessary." MacLeod growled.
"Fine. Explain it to *him*." Ben snapped.
"Explain what to whom?" Methos said in a groggy
tone, his eyes blinking open. He focused on the wolf's paws.
"Who's been painting 'Storm's claws? Beth?!"
"Nightstorm was just expressing his opinion of
Cassandra." Ben said hastily and Methos slowly sat up to
look at the 'opinion' in question. He burst out laughing.
"I just can't take you anywhere." He rumpled the
wolf's ears and stood gingerly. "Well, that was stupid of
me. . .trusting her to fight fair." He looked at MacLeod.
"Guess I had too much faith in the boy scout."
"I doubt he's a boy scout any longer if he's been
listening to her." Frenchy said.
"Hush, child. Who else is here? Ahhhh, Skrye, Merry,
come on, gels." The two girls darted forward and into
Methos' arms for a quick hug. "Go watch outside, midears.
Beth, you too."
Beth lifted the sword, resting the flat of it on her shoulder
as she turned to leave the building.
"Hey! That's Trish's sword!" Rich started after the
girl only to skid to a halt when she spun, sword coming up to
point at him.
"Not any more." Beth said. "My sword now.
Bugger off." And she whirled, marching out the door.
"Bugger off? Who teaches her these things?" Methos
asked, staring after the girls.
Ben looked at him.
"Oh. Right. I really have to learn to keep my voice
down. Now where we. . .ahhhhh. Welcome back, Cassandra."
The woman sat up slowly, looking dazedly at the wet stream
soaking her leg then at the snarling wolf now standing next to
the ancient Immortal. Methos absently thumped the huge beast's
"You'll have to forgive him. I just can't seem to teach
him any manners."
Cassandra stared at the wolf, her eyes wide. "No. .
." She breathed. Her eyes shifted to Methos. "Where
did you find him?" She demanded.
"I didn't. He found me, bless his wild heart. He's my
friend, Cassandra. Quite literally the other half of my soul.
The one friend you could never influence." He looked
directly at MacLeod. "In any way, shape or form."
"That's impossible!" The woman scrambled to her
feet, hate making her ugly. "You weren't meant to find
Methos smiled. "Wasn't I? Re-read the prophecies,
Cassandra. And this time, translate them truly, not as you wish
to see them."
"What are you talking about?" MacLeod demanded.
Methos looked at him almost sadly. "Ask your girlfriend,
MacLeod." He said gently. "If she even lets you
remember this conversation, that is."
MacLeod frowned, throwing Cassandra a suspicious look. Methos
noticed and smiled.
"Ahhhhh. Maybe you're not as ensnared as she'd like to
think. Maybe there's hope for you yet." He studied him,
narrow-eyed then stooped, reaching down to tug hard on one of
the disks dangling from the top of his boots. He tossed it to
the Highlander, who caught it hurriedly. "Here, this'll
help. Keep it close to your skin. It'll negate the effects of
her Voice. Don't ask me how. It just works. And if you don't
believe me," Methos looked directly at Cassandra.
"Just ask Joe." And he smiled.
To be continued...
site developed and maintained by Rayhne, copyright 1996-2005.