Methos leaned back against the couch and watched with
pleasure as little Mary unwrapped present after present. All
right, he had gone over board but so had MacLeod. And Joe. And
Richie. It wasnít like any of them had any other kids to spoil
rotten. Or ever would. Well, maybe Joe would. . .
That train of thought got derailed at the feel of his
loverís hand resting lightly on his thigh. Methos looked up
into MacLeodís dark eyes with a smile, reaching down to
squeeze his hand gently and resisting the urge to kiss him. They
had agreed to tone it down in the presence of Richie and Connor,
neither of whom approved of their relationship. Not that Methos
cared what they thought.
He looked around the room, smiling at the realization that
sometime over the past year, people who he thought of as
MacLeodís friends had become his friends. Amanda and Anne,
both of whom were once MacLeodís lover and now a couple of
their firmest supporters. Little Mary, who called them both
uncle. The de Valicourts, married for three hundred years. Even
Conner and Richie, as disapproving as they were about the
relationship, could be counted as friends. And, of course, Joe,
who had been his friend long before he knew him as Methos.
"Your turn." MacLeodís words drew Methos from his
contemplation and he looked at the present the younger
Highlander was holding out to him. "From Joe." The
ancient Immortal took it with a smile and peeled the wrapping
off, suspecting what it was. And he was right, at least in part.
A collection of cds, some very hard to find, and he thanked Joe
sincerely. MacLeod reached for a present of his own.
Tradition, Anne had said, to open their presents one by one
so all could enjoy what everyone received. Of course Mary, with
her towering mound of presents, opened her presents at her own
pace and still had twice as many as all the others combined. She
was tearing into yet another present when the doorbell rang.
"Whoíd be calling on Christmas morning?" Joe
said, reaching for his cane.
"Iíll get it, Joe." Richie jumped to his feet and
headed for the door, waving off Joeís thanks. A few minutes
later he was back, carrying a long crate perhaps two feet high.
"Special courier delivering this." He thumped the box
onto the floor. "For Adam Pierson, care of Joe
"Oh?" Methos sat up, frowning at the box
thoughtfully. No, she wouldnít have. Would she? He stood up
and made his way around the coffee table to drop to his knees
next to it. Mary was by his side instantly, asking what was in
the box? "More presents, I think, love. Why donít we see
for certain? Do you have a crowbar, Joe?"
"Yeah, in the garage. Up on the shelf on the far side of
Richie ran out to the garage and returned with the crowbar,
offering it to Methos. Gently, the ancient Immortal worked the
lid of the crate off and to one side then scooped out the
shredded paper that acted as a cushion for the contents. His
lips quirked at the sight of the wrapped gifts nestled inside.
"Ohhhh! Pretty!" Mary clapped her hands at the
silver and gold wrapping paper.
"Well, letís see what we have. . ." The top layer
was of packages of varying sizes and he lifted them out one by
one, reading the name on each package out loud before handing it
to that person. Mary took hers with a happy squeal and sat down
next to Methos, struggling to open it and he paused to smile at
her before lifting out the last package; a long one that had
both his name. . .his real name. . .and Duncan MacLeodís
written on it in an elegant hand. He turned on his knees to hand
the package to his lover then rose to rejoin him on the couch.
MacLeod eyed him in puzzlement. "From you?" He
asked quietly, wondering why Methos would go to all this trouble
but the other was shaking his head with a smile.
"But I think I know who sent them though. Go on, open
it." The last was addressed to Joe, who was eyeing his gift
thoughtfully. "I think all these gifts are. . .related in
some manner so you all might as well open yours."
Mary jumped to her feet, waving her gift in the air then ran
to Methos to show it to him. "What is it?" She asked
excitedly, apparently secure in the knowledge that he could
answer any question she wished to ask.
He took it gently, holding it up so all could see the
silver-chained charm bracelet with the carved ivory figure.
"Itís a unicorn, love. Here, let me put it on for you and
you can go show your mother." He fastened the bracelet onto
the small wrist, noting that the chain had been designed to be
expanded as the little girl grew.
Then Joe whistled, staring at his present in wonder. The
watch itself was prize enough but the carved ivory band it was
set in had to be worth a small fortune. He peered at the
carvings, smiling involuntarily when he realized that the main
carvings on each side of the watch were of an open eye and the
clasp cleverly done in the Watcher symbol. He looked up to see
what the others had received.
They were all watches, all with symbols appropriate to the
person receiving them. Robert and Gina's had the de Valicourts
coat-of-arms, Connor the MacLeod crest. Anne's sported the
ancient symbol of medicine. . .a pair of snakes twined around a
rod. . .and Amanda's had a slinking cat which, upon closer
inspection, appeared to be carrying a lockpick in it's mouth and
a bulging pouch on it's side. Richie's was decorated with a
motorcycle and a sword.
"A little expensive, donít you think, old man?"
Richie said, holding the watch gingerly, uncertain about
receiving such an expensive gift from someone he only marginally
liked. If that.
Methos shook his head. "Theyíre not from me." He
looked down at the last present, the one still resting across
MacLeodís knees, stroking it absently, his eyes faraway.
"But I do know who they are from. Only one person carves in
ivory like that. What are you waiting for, Mac? Open it."
"It's addressed to us both." MacLeod pointed out
and Methos chuckled. Between the two of them, they made short
work of the wrapping paper. Methos pulled the top off and set it
At the very top of the package was a sweater, folded to fill
the entire length of the box. Methos lifted it out, smiling at
what laid underneath. He could hear MacLeod gasp as he laid the
sweater to one side and reached in again. This time he pulled
out a sword; a black-bladed beauty with a carved ivory hilt.
MacLeod reached in also, pulling out a sword twin to the one
Silently, the ancient Immortal ran his fingers down the flat
of the blade, reading the inscription on it more by feel then by
sight, knowing without reading it what the inscription on
MacLeod's sword said.
"Who," Connor said quietly. "Would send you
Methos didn't answer. Setting the sword gently onto the
sweater he had laid on the coffee table, he reached back into
the box for the last items; twin sheaths for the swords, a flat
box and another sweater. He had no doubt that one of the
sweaters would fit him perfectly and the other would fit MacLeod
but that wasn't important as he set all but the box onto the
table. Without a word, he turned to offer the box to MacLeod.
MacLeod stared at him. "Who sent all this, Adam?"
Methos smiled. "A very old friend. And a very long
story. Open it, love."
MacLeod hesitated then set the sword he still held on the
sweater next to the other and took the box his lover offered. It
wasnít wrapped; all he had to do was work the latch and lift
the top. He stared for a moment before lifting out one of the
watches inside. Like the others, it was of carved ivory with the
MacLeod crest on one side and another crest he had never seen
before on the other. He studied the latter intently, realizing
that it was the side view of an odd-looking horse or maybe a
unicorn, though the horn was in the wrong place, the nose rather
then the forehead in front of a pair of crossed swords.
He looked at Methos with narrowed eyes. "Your
"You might say that." Methos chuckled, lifting the
second watch from the box. It was identical to the first save
that the crests were reversed. "This one is yours."
Methos reached out to take MacLeodís wrist, obviously meaning
to put it on but MacLeod caught his hand.
"Who sent these, Methos?" He asked quietly.
Methos went still, his face suddenly expressionless. "A
long story, Duncan. A very long one. If you insist, I'll tell it
but I rather you didn't insist. Not yet."
MacLeod blinked at Methos' words and tone, knowing that if he
did asked, the old man would tell him and for him, that was
enough. He smiled and released the hand he held, offering his
"How can you tell which is which?" He asked as
Methos replaced his old watch with the new.
"The way the band would be worn when the carving on
either side isn't identical. Your crest should be on the outside
when you wear it. Don't ask me why. That's just the way she
makes them." He set MacLeod's old watch on the table and
reached for the one the other man still held but MacLeod caught
his wrist and put the watch on himself, running his thumb over
the odd crest before releasing the hand.
The months passed swiftly for the lovers. It didnít
surprise MacLeod when Richie disappeared, though he was
disappointed that they hadnít managed to resolve their
conflicts. Richieís disapproval about his relationship with
Methos had grown more and more apparent by the day but MacLeod
wasnít sure if it was because Richie thought he was being
unfaithful to Tess, because he didnít like Methos or simply
because he didnít like the thought of MacLeod with a man.
Methos kept reminding the Highlander that Richie had to live his
own life and MacLeod had to live his and neither of them had any
right to interfere with the otherís life.
They settled into a routine; teaching their classes, sparring
in the dojo, meeting with Joe a couple of times a week for
dinner and drinks. It was, for Methos, incredibly domestic and
he was loving every minute of it. And it was far too good to
It was Maryís fourth birthday and Methos was lounging in
his loverís arms, watching as the little girl opened a present
that had just come by special courier, another ivory unicorn.
She ran to her mother to have it attached to the charm bracelet
she wore constantly.
"Methos?" MacLeod said quietly. "If I ask,
will you tell me about the person who sent that?"
Methos sighed, rubbing his cheek against his loverís. He
knew that question would come up again. "Ask me again in
four days." He said just as quietly and turned to kiss
MacLeod tenderly. "Okay?"
"Okay." And Methos marveled at the trust shining
from the otherís eyes. When was the last time anyone trusted
him that much? He smiled and snuggled deeper into MacLeodís
Of course, a lot could happen in four days.
He had to wait for MacLeod to be away to make the phone call
that needed to made, which was the next day when MacLeod went to
teach a class. It took awhile to get through and then the person
he was calling wasted several minutes pretending to be first a
non-English speaking maid and then to be deaf. He would have
been angry if he hadn't expected it of her. But finally he got
his message across and he hung up with a sense of relief. That
would make the explaining marginally easier.
Later, Methos would wonder why he was surprised by what
happened. He'd been expecting something since Christmas, since
the gift of the ivory-banded watches but he'd been hoping that,
perhaps this time, she would be wrong.
It was three days after Mary's birthday. MacLeod had an early
morning class so Methos had accompanied him downstairs and to
the door then decided to stay in the dojo, working on the books.
It was a job that MacLeod didn't particularly like, mainly
because the books rarely came out in his favor. Methos was
considering the possibility of somehow funneling money into the
dojo when he felt the buzz.
It wasn't MacLeod's. He knew the Highlander's ~Presence~ as
well as his own and this was not his. Methos rose, sword in hand
and made his way from the office, relaxing only slightly when he
saw that it was Richie Ryan.
"Richie. Long time, no see." He said pleasantly
enough, considering the warning signals crawling up and down his
spine. Something about the young Immortal's stance, the way he
carried himself, screamed upcoming attack. Lowering his sword,
he rested the tip on the ground and leaned on it absently.
"Nice to see you back in town. Seen MacLeod as yet?"
"Not yet." Richie walked closer and Methos rocked
back on his heels, getting ready for any upcoming attack. Richie
noticed and his eyes narrowed.
"Expecting an attack?"
"Gee, I don't know. Expecting to attack me?" Methos
kept his voice light, hoping he'd misread the boy but Richie
hesitated a moment too long and Methos sighed.
"All right. What's going on, Ryan? I'd thought. . .I'd
hoped you'd at least accepted my relationship with Mac. Even if
you didn't approve of it."
Richie's lips thinned. "That was before I found out
about your past."
Uh-oh. Methos frowned. He wasn't sure how much MacLeod had
told his former pupil of Methos' past but he suspected the
Highlander had glossed over the details. Like the Horsemen and a
thousand years of evil. "And who, pray tell, has been
"Cassandra. I'm sure you remember her."
"I. . .see. And this has what to do with you?"
"I figure there's no way Mac could know about you and
"You figure wrong." Methos cut in. "MacLeod
does know all about that. And more. Or didn't Cassandra mention
the fact that she told him all about it."
Methos had hoped that little revelation would caused Richie
to back off. His heart sank when the younger Immortal nodded his
head as if Methos' words had confirmed something he suspected.
"Cassandra did say that. And since Mac would never be
friends with someone like that. . .let alone lovers. . .you must
be controlling him in some manner."
Methos cursed to himself in as many languages as he could
remember, seeing the nice, neat trap Cassandra had set up. If
Richie challenged him. . .and it was increasingly obvious he
meant to. . .then one of them would die. It really didn't matter
which one died. Either way, his relationship with MacLeod would
"Richie. . ." The young Immortal now held his sword
and Methos automatically raised his own. "Wait, Richie!
Wait for MacLeod to come home. He can explain. . !"
"He'll say what you want him to."
"No! I don't have that ability. That's Cassandra's
talent." He barely managed to deflect a blow. "Dammit,
Richie! I can't control Mac's actions and certainly not his
mind. Nor would I want to."
"You really expect me to believe that? No way would Mac
get involve with someone like you!"
"Someone with my past or my sex? Admit it, Richie.
You're just a homophobic looking for an excuse. . .ahhhhhh!"
Richie's sword slashed open the old man's arm and Methos
staggered back. He'd been holding back, hoping the boy would
come to his senses but it didn't look like it would happen soon.
Gritting his teeth, he strengthened his defense, looking for a
chance to wound or even kill the boy without being forced to
actually behead him.
But Richie wasn't holding back and he was driving the ancient
Immortal back. Methos managed to keep the flashing blade from
his throat but acquired several wounds in the process. Of
course, so had Richie but not one was fatal. Grimly, Methos
started to press his attack then was forced to step back. His
foot landed on something and his ankle twisted. He stumbled
off-balance, looking up too late as Richie's sword thrust
forward, impaling the old man through the chest.
Methos saw the triumphant look in Richie's eyes and felt an
overwhelming sense of sorrow, wishing he'd had a chance to say
good-bye to MacLeod then the sword was drawn from his chest and
he fell to the floor. His sight darkened. . .
Richie swung the sword up in preparation to bringing it down
and taking off Methos' head. A brief thought flashed through his
mind, wondering what Mac would think but Cassandra had assured
him that once Methos was dead, Mac's mind would once again
become his own. Once that happened, MacLeod would understand.
And probably be horrified at what he'd done under the Methos'
influence. With that thought, Richie braced himself and swung
the sword downward.
A searing pain exploded in his back and he fell, dead before
he hit the ground.
MacLeod had been halfway to class when he received the call
on his mobile phone. There had been a fire near the lecture hall
and smoke had damaged the hall to the point that it wasn't
usable. All classes had been canceled. MacLeod had promptly
turned the car around and headed back to the dojo, thoughts of
enticing Methos back into bed dancing through his head. Not that
it would be hard. . .
He spotted Joe approaching the dojo and pulled over to park,
yelling for the man to wait up. Joe took one look at him and
shook his head.
"Damn! Adam and I aren't going to get any work done, are
"What kind of work?" MacLeod matched Joe's slow
"On the computer. Methos is helping me set up software
for the bar."
MacLeod started laughing. "I wonder. . .could Methos set
up the software to give himself free beer?"
Joe started laughing as well. "Wouldn't surprise me.
Just set it up to post his account paid. Ah, well. .
MacLeod had gone still, eyes intent. "There's another
Immortal with Methos." He hurried to the dojo, Joe
following as fast as he could.
MacLeod pulled the door open and stepped inside just in time
to see a figure drawing a bloody sword from Richie's back. Just
beyond Richie was Methos, obviously dead from a thrust into the
chest and MacLeod saw red. He had his sword out in a second,
running for the figure before it could raise its sword for a
The figure. . .the woman for now that he was closer he could
see that it was a womanÖmust have heard him. She turned, sword
half-raised and saw him. Eyes barely seen under the hood she
"Eeeep!" She back-pedaled rapidly. "Wait!
Wait, it's not what you think! I mean, not exactly what you
think. I mean. . .oh, hell!"
Joe had followed the Highlander into the dojo, making his way
carefully to the two fallen Immortals. Relief flooded him when
he realized that both heads where firmly attached. He looked up
to see MacLeod pursuing the unknown Immortal, who seemed to be
concentrating more on defending herself then attacking the man.
Well, that made sense if she was just looking for an easy kill
but why would she attack two Immortals? And apparently get them
both. He looked down at the two dead Immortals and frowned, an
unwelcome suspicion nagging at him.
"Duncan! Duncan, wait. Come here."
"Ohhhhh, the voice of reason." The woman paused,
sword lowering slightly. "I'll stay right here.
MacLeod glared at her as he backed up until he was next to
"What?" He asked irritably.
"Look!" Joe said, pointing. MacLeod looked down at
the two dead Immortals, frowning, seeing the wound in his
lover's chest, the blood staining Richie's blade and his eyes
narrowed. He glanced up at the stranger Immortal. There was no
blood or wound on her that he could see.
"Richie and. . .Me. . .Adam were fighting." Joe
"And Adam lost. . ." MacLeod frowned.
"Which he wouldn't have done if Adam hadn't been holding
back." The woman called from across the room. "Which
he wouldn't have been doing if this was just a spar."
MacLeod's face tightened. "But why would Adam attack
"What's makes you think he did?" The woman again.
He glared at her and she grinned, hoisting her sword up so the
flat rested on her shoulder in a gesture reminiscent of his
lover's. "He wouldn't have held back if he'd attacked
MacLeod flushed, ashamed of his automatic assumption that the
older Immortal had attacked the younger. "Then why would
Richie attacked Adam?"
"Oh! Oh! I know! I know!" The woman hopped up and
down, waving her free arm like a child in a classroom. Joe
almost burst out laughing.
MacLeod suddenly crouched, resting a hand on his lover's
shoulder. The next second, Methos was gasping for breath, his
eyes snapping open. He blinked a couple times, taking several
deep breath before finally focusing on MacLeod.
"Duncan!" He literally lunged upwards, wrapping
both arms around his lover and holding him close, his relief
"Methos." MacLeod murmured as soon as the other man
gave him enough room to do so. "Methos, what
"Damn." Methos closed his eyes with a sigh,
relaxing into his lover's arms. "Richie attacked me."
He felt MacLeod's sudden tension. "Yes, love, to kill. But
it wasn't entirely his doing, I think. Cassandra's behind it. At
"How. . .?"
"Well, she had him believing that either you didn't know
about my past or, that if you did, I was somehow controlling you
into having an affair with me."
"Damn." MacLeod's arms tightened protectively
around the slender man he held.
"Yeah, damn. Good thing you showed up when you
"It wasn't my doing, Methos."
"Hmmmmm?" Methos looked up at him in puzzlement
then followed his eyes to the mystery woman still standing
across the room. Slowly he straightened, his smile broadening.
"You made good time." He said and the woman
grinned, her sword vanishing into the folds of her coat.
"Is it safe to come closer?" She asked.
Methos blinked in surprise. "What. . .? Oh, you thought
she attacked Richie and me. No, Mac, she'd never do that. Come
on, dear and let me introduce you." Methos rose, reaching
for the woman's hands and drawing her into a tight hug.
"Your timing is impeccable as ever."
"Glad to have been of service." She drew back and
poked at him repeatedly with a finger. "Introductions,
Methos scowled at her and grabbed the finger. "Mac, you
wanted to know who made those watches. Well, this is her."
The woman pulled back the hood she still wore and MacLeod felt
his mouth dropped open. Behind him, Joe began to swear.
"This is Eve Pierson. My sister."
MacLeod looked from his lover to the woman beside him. The
resemblance between the two of them was unmistakable. The same
gold-green eyes, the same angular features, even the same
prominent nose, though on Eve it was somehow softened and just
right for her. Her hair was the same shade of brown, though hers
was much longer and caught up in a chignon. She even dressed
like him; loose sweater, blue jeans and low boots.
"Sister?" Joe finally said. "I didn't know you
had a sister."
"I didn't know you could have a sister." MacLeod
this time, looking at his lover with some suspicion.
"It's a very long story. . ."
"Which at this time we have no time to tell." The
woman said cheerfully. "I think you are going to have to
have a long talk with the youngster because if this doesnít
get resolved, I will take his head because Adam won't.
Meanwhile, brother dear will take Joe and I out to eat where I
will regale Joe with tales of Adam's misbegotten youth."
"Hey, wait a minuteÖ!"
"I'll have to stop and get a tape recorder." Joe
"If you're going to be telling tales, then Joe gets to
pay for the meal." Methos grumbled. "I thought you
were going to call from the airport so I could pick you
"Well, I thought I'd surprise you." She plucked at
his bloody sweater with a frown. "You'll have to
"Surprise me. . .hmmmmm." Methos reached forward
suddenly, dipping his hands into her coat pockets. Before she
could protest, he had pulled out a camera. He studied it then
her with a smile.
"What?! Can't a girl take some pictures? Of her brother?
Preferably in bed? Nekkid? Not alone? Suitable for
blackmail?" She snatched the camera back. "Go get
changed. Carrot-top's going to wake up any minute now and I
think maybe this should be a one-on-one talk."
Methos shook his head with a sigh. "Keep an eye on her.
She's likely to sneak upstairs and install a video camera in our
bedroom." He headed for the elevator.
"Well, that would explain this." Joe pulled a small
video camera from a bag near the door. "It is yours, isn't
"What? Doesn't everyone carry a video camera around? For
those unexpected but hoped for situations suitable for
blackmail. Not that I could actually blackmail him. The man has
no shame and would probably autograph copies upon request. Heads
up." She said suddenly, stepping back and looking down at
Richie. The next minute, MacLeod felt that distinctive murmur of
Immortality as the young Immortal revived. He straightened to
his full height, what Joe referred to as his warrior-persona
descending onto him like a cloak. Joe stepped back to stand next
to Eve and out of the way.
Richie sat up abruptly, looking around wild-eyed and visibly
shrinking when he saw MacLeod. An obviously angry MacLeod.
"Ahhhh. . ." The young Immortal started to stammer,
looking around warily.
"He's upstairs. Changing. Exactly what do you think you
were doing, Richie?"
"Cassandra told me about him. . .!" Richie
scrambled to his feet as MacLeod stepped closer.
"I bet she did. Did she happen to mention that the
Voice, the ability to control other people, is her ability and
not Methos'? I didn't think so. . ."
"How can you be sure about that? How do you know he
isn't controlling you?"
"Because I know Methos. And I know Cassandra. Everything
that's happened between Methos and I has been by mutual consent.
His and mine."
"But you're not acting like yourself, Mac!"
"And how would you know? You've only known me for five
years. There's almost four hundred years of history before that!
This isn't the first time I've had an affair with a man!"
Richie flinched but before he could say anything else, Eve's
voice cut into the tense silence.
"Ohhhh, so that's it. He's trying to find an acceptable
reason for his homophobia."
"Something like that, yeah." Joe said in a tired
voice and Richie spun to look at them.
"Who the hell are you?" He snarled at the woman.
"Snarky, isn't he? I'm Eve Pierson, Adam's sister. And
if you ever try to take his head again, I shall mount yours over
my mantelpiece back home." She said pleasantly.
"Eve! Behave!" Methos walked from the elevator,
pulling on his coat. "I seriously can't take her
anywhere." He paused in front of MacLeod and reached out to
draw him into a gentle kiss then a nuzzle on the cheek, not
caring what Richie may think. "Eve, put the camera
away." He said without looking at her.
"Camera? What camera?" The woman hastily stuck the
camera back into her pocket, ignoring Joe's burst of laughter.
"Why do I have this feeling that, by this time tomorrow,
there are going to be pictures of us all over the
Internet?" Methos sighed, glancing over at Eve. The woman
had turned to Joe and was whispering something to him. Joe
looked confused but agreeable as the woman slipped off one of
the earrings she wore and handed it to him. Methos frowned and
looked quickly at Richie, noticing for the first time that he
wasn't wearing the watch he'd received for Christmas. Well, that
explained that and the ancient Immortal relaxed from tension he
hadn't realized he possessed.
"Hey, Richie." Joe walked over to the young
Immortal. "The other night, one of the waitresses found
this over where you and your date were. Think she might have
lost it?" He held out the earring. Richie gave it a glance
"Could you ask her?"
Richie frowned but took the earring, shoving it into a
pocket. "Sure. Next time I see her." Then he returned
to eyeing MacLeod worriedly.
Methos smiled and pulled away from MacLeod. "Later,
love. Come on, Joe. Let's go feed this bottomless pit I refer to
as my sister."
"Hey! I resent that! I think." Eve slipped one arm
under Joe's and the other under Methos'. "I spotted a
nice-looking steak place down the street. I think it said all
you can eat."
"And can she eat." Methos added, earning him a
sharp elbow in the ribs. The trio exited the building, leaving a
very uncertain Richie alone with MacLeod.
"What was that all about?" Joe asked as soon as
they reached the sidewalk.
"What was what all about?" was Eve's bland reply.
"Eve. . ." Methos' tone was exasperated. He looked
past her toward Joe. "For some reason we've never been able
to figure out, the ivory that earring and all those watch bands
are carved from have a negating effect on certain Immortal
abilities. Among them, the Voice. Richie hasn't been wearing the
watch, making him easy prey for Cassandra's abilities."
"I don't think it took much pushing on her part."
"Hmmmm, I doubt it as well. Richie never approved of my
relationship with MacLeod but at least before he more or less
accepted it. I suspect she just gave him a legitimate excuse not
to accept it. Ahhh, here we are. Let's get her fed before she
starts wasting away before our eyes."
Eve stuck her tongue out in his general direction. Joe
grinned at what would seem to be normal sibling sniping. . .only
these siblings couldn't possibly be siblings, despite their
obvious resemblance. Immortals don't have siblings of any kind.
Or could they?
They settled at a table and ordered. Joe ordered soup and
salad, Methos just a drink, and Eve the largest steak she could
as rare as she could get it.
"All right." Joe said as soon as the waitress had
move away. "I heard something about stories." He
"Well, let's see. . ." Eve leaned forward with a
"Have a breadstick." Methos handed her the bread
basket and said something in a language Joe didn't recognize.
They spoke back and forth for several minutes then Eve punched
him. . .hard. . .on the arm.
"Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. Stories." And Eve
launched into a tale about Methos, a keg of beer, a pair of twin
girls and a goat that had Joe laughing so hard that he almost
fell off the chair. Half-way through the story, the food arrived
and Methos excused himself. Joe ate absently as he listened to
Eve finish the tale.
"And you should have heard him trying to explain how
that goat got into his bedroom." Eve poppod a piece of
steak into her mouth.
"You put it there, didn't you?" Joe guessed with a
"Who, me? Never! That's my story and I'm sticking to
"Wait a minute." Joe frowned. "Where is
Adam?" He glanced around, realizing that the Elder Immortal
hadn't yet returned. He looked at Eve, feeling his heart sink.
"No. Please don't tell me. . ." He almost whimpered
the words, shrinking at the thought of explaining to MacLeod
what happened to the old man and wondering how fast he could get
out of town.
"No, he is not gone permanently. He just didn't want to
argue with MacLeod about what he has planned."
"Cassandra is a fool. And a coward. She can't win
against Adam in fair combat and she knows it so she's being
sneaky. She can't use MacLeod. . .or maybe just doesn't want to
use him. . .so she's visiting his Immortal friends, trying to
talk one of them into taking Adam's head."
"What does this have to do with Adam vanishing?"
Joe whimpered, trying to figure out a quick way out of the city.
"Joe, listen to me." Eve waved her fork sternly at
the man. "Adam is not running away. He has too much at
stake here to do that. Besides, he knows I will hunt him down
and hurt him if he does. He is removing himself from possible
confrontations. I know where he is. I know where he is going.
But he does not want to chance getting his head taken by one of
Duncan's friends or chance taking one of their heads."
Joe visibly steadied himself. "All right. You said that
this ivory somehow negates Cassandra's ability?"
"So the others should be safe?"
"If they're wearing the watches. Would they be?"
"Amanda would. And Anne. They both loved them. And the
de Valicourts as well. And. . ." Joe raised his arm to show
her his watch. "Now, Richie doesn't like Adam so I don't
think he's been wearing his. And Connor. . ." Joe grimaced.
"Connor doesn't much like Adam either."
"You mean Richie doesn't like the sex part. Connor. .
"Doesn't like Adam. He's 800 years old. I don't think
the sex part phases him much."
"Okay, how much do they know about Adam's past?"
"You mean, the Horsemen period?" Joe shrugged.
"Not much, I suppose. It's not exactly something one brings
up in casual conversation."
"That may have been a mistake. Now, what we have to do,
and what Adam suggested to me, was to, shall we say, spike
Cassandra's guns. In other words, Adam tells his side of the
story. He just wants to make sure it's in a place that's fairly
"Where would that be?"
Eve frowned, cleaning the plate absently with a piece of
bread. "He said that Duncan owned an island that was holy
ground. . .?"
"Yeah. That's perfect."
"Now, he's heading out there and I am going to follow. .
"No! No, no, no. You are going with me to explain all
this to Mac."
"No. I am going out there to guard Adam's back. You tell
Duncan what's going on, ask him to get everyone together and out
to the island in three days. But make sure not to tell about the
ivory. We don't want it to become common knowledge."
MacLeod lead the way up to the cabin, stopping abruptly at
the sight that greeted him. And he really wished he had a video
Methos was almost naked, only his occasional twists and turns
revealing that he wore a loincloth. Eve wore the same with the
addition of a breast wrap. Each held twin swords and were using
them with a skill that made MacLeod's mouth go dry. More then
once, a blade would whistle heart-stoppingly close to cutting
one or the other but never was contact made. They weren't
fighting, he realized. They were dancing, sword-dancing in the
truest sense of the word.
A twist, a turn, all four swords locking and then they were
kneeling, heads bowed, foreheads touching. As one, they rose and
stepped apart to bow to each other then Methos handed his swords
to his sister and turned to greet the visitors.
MacLeod didn't give him a chance to say a word. He stepped
forward to grip Methos' upper arms, drawing him close into a
deep kiss. Methos responded eagerly, making MacLeod wish he had
come over by himself first.
A sudden shriek distracted him and he looked over Methos'
shoulder at an outraged Eve.
"Where's my camera?"
"Down the well." Methos said pleasantly, not
looking at her. "Where you'll be if you don't behave."
"Ohhhhh." She threw a rock at his back before
stomping into the cabin.
MacLeod looked after her in amusement. He'd had
sister-in-laws before but never quite like this one.
He realized suddenly that Methos was shivering and tightened
"Planning on getting dressed?" He couldn't help but
think if he'd come over without the others and they had run off
Eve, Methos wouldn't have to get dressed. Not right away at
"I think I better shower first." Methos chuckled,
nuzzling MacLeod's neck. "Which means I better get in there
before Eve uses up all the hot water. Which she's likely to do
just out of spite." He nipped his lover's neck lightly then
turned to walk into the cabin, MacLeod appreciating the view
every step of the way as he followed. He snuck a look at the
others and couldn't help but grin at the looks on the women's
faces, obviously enjoying the view as much as he. Robert looked
both pole-axed and envious and even Connor looked appreciative.
"I can understand your interest in the lad." Connor
said in a low voice to his kinsman and Duncan threw him an
"You understand one of my interests in Methos." He
said coolly as he stepped into the cabin. Methos was already out
of the room but Eve was there, poking at a boom box. She grinned
at them cheerfully as she flipped the music on and darted from
the room to a rock version of Tam Lim.
Duncan grinned, shaking his head as he walked over to turn
down the music, a move greeted by an angry wail from Eve but he
ignored her as he gestured into the living room. "Have a
seat. I'll check and see what we have in the way of
Joe made his way to the cluster of couch and chairs, pausing
with a low whistle when he saw what rested on the coffee table.
"Donít bother with the glasses, Mac! There's some out
here! And tea cups as well!" He half-heard the reply as he
sank into a chair, reaching for a glass with a wry grin.
It was actually a mug mainly carved from ivory with panes of
etched glass set into it. The etchings were different from mug
to mug; there was the Watcher symbol, here the de Valicourts
coat-of-arms, there the thieving cat that appeared on Amanda's
watch. The tea cups, on the other hand, were all obviously of
the same set, delicately carved ivory.
"Ohhhh. . ." Gina admired one of the mugs.
"The woman, Eve, she does these?"
"Apparently." Joe grinned, cradling the Watcher mug
in his hands, waiting for something to fill it with and watching
warily as Cassandra picked up a mug, studying it with a frown.
"Methos said that was his "family crest", as it
were." Joe said in answer to the woman's puzzlement.
"I'm not sure what it is. . ."
"The Kirien." Cassandra said bitingly. "A
legend older then Methos. It's said in circles that it's the
forebear of the unicorn legends." She set the mug down as
if loath to touch it and nodded abruptly. "A fitting crest.
Legend has it that the Kirien was a carnivorous horse-like
creature, a killer. . ."
". . .covered in armor and bearing a horn on its
nose." Methos' voice finished as he walked into the room,
his hair still damp and tousled. He was dressed now in jeans and
a sweater, a sheet draped over one shoulder and a hand full of
combs and scissors. He paused to let Duncan pass, his hands full
also. "Eve thought it was a fitting crest." He stepped
over the couch, setting what he carried on the back of it and
spreading the sheet behind.
"Who is this Eve?" Cassandra asked and Methos threw
her an amused look.
"Surely Joe told you? She's my sister." He climbed
over the couch gracefully, sitting on the back of it.
"Immortals don't have siblings."
"True." He said agreeably, watching as Duncan
played host, filling glasses and handing out drinks. There was a
pitcher of beer and another of lemonade, plus a still-steaming
tea kettle and even a couple unopened cans of both soda and beer
for the distrustful.
"Then who is she?" Cassandra demanded.
Methos took the mug his lover offered him, filled with beer
and etched with his family crest. "She's my sister."
He said pleasantly, motioning Duncan to sit next to him, not in
front as he originally intended. "I have to do Eve's
hair." He explained at the puzzled look Duncan gave him.
"You'd think after a hundred years, the woman could get a
"I do!" Eve appeared in the doorway, scowling at
Methos. Her long hair was wrapped in an oversized towel and she
held another towel in her hands. "But after twenty years,
they tend to notice I'm not aging. Besides," she tossed the
towel over her brother's head. "You're the only one who
does it right." With that, she sat in front of him,
wriggling back comfortably. He sighed and unwrapped her hair,
letting the thick mass spill over his leg and onto the clean
"Have you thought of having it cut?" He asked,
reaching for a comb.
"Fine talk from the person who convinced me to let it
grow long to begin with."
"That was over a hundred years ago! Actually," he
paused thoughtfully. "More like two hundred years ago.
Lean." He pushed lightly at Eve's back and she raised her
feet to set them on the coffee table, leaning forward to rest
against them, arms wrapped around her legs and chin on her
Cassandra cleared her throat. "I asked who is she?"
She said in a cold voice.
"You're not listening." Eve took the mug Methos
handed down to her. "I'm his sister."
"Immortals don't have siblings!" The witch snapped
and two pairs of identical eyes looked at her politely.
"And your point is?" Eve asked. Methos chuckled and
returned to combing through Eve's hair.
"Leave her be, Eve." He reversed the comb and
worried at a knot intently. "It's a long and complicated
story but, for all intents and purposes, Eve is my sister. If
you don't believe it, Anne could run blood tests."
"I'd rather hear the story."
"I'm sure you would but I am not going to tell it. And
neither are you!" Methos snapped when Eve opened her mouth.
She shut it again and winked at Joe, who grinned back
cheerfully, suspecting that he'd hear it later.
"I think perhaps we should hear it." Cassandra said
coolly. "To hear how you managed to convince this young
woman that you are her brother."
Methos' head snapped up, as did Eve's. They both stared at
her for a long moment then they both started laughing, so hard
that Methos fell off the back of the couch, drawing a yelp from
Eve as the fall pulled at her hair.
"Sorry, love." Methos' voice came from the floor,
still choked with laughter. "Glory! If she could prove you
weren't my sisterÖ"
Eve sniffed. "You wouldn't care."
Methos rose, still cradling the mass of hair and looking
thoughtful. "You're probably right." He climbed back
onto the couch and rearranged the hair. "Gods! You have
more knots. . .why don't you just let me just cut it?"
"You do more then a trim and I'll trim you! And he. .
." She jerked a thumb at Duncan. ". . .won't like what
Duncan looked at her. "Is she saying what I think she's
saying?" Duncan asked.
"Yep. And she means it too." Methos looked at his
lover and his hands stopped moving as their eyes locked. The
heat between them was almost visible.
"You are going back with them when everyone leaves,
right Eve?" Duncan said, eyes not leaving Methos'.
Eve turned her head to look at them then looked at Joe.
"I now know what people mean when they say 'in heat'.
However, I have come prepared." She groped under the coffee
table and pulled out a seltzer bottle filled with ice and water,
brandishing it threateningly. "All right you two. I have
ice water and I am not afraid to use it!"
The two men looked at her then Duncan turned forward and
Methos returned to her hair, concentrating more then necessary
on the task. Eve grinned, offering the bottle to Joe.
"Here, keep this close, will you? You have a clearer shot
then I do."
"You got it!" Joe set the bottle on the floor next
"Gee, thanks Joe. You're a buddy." Methos shook his
head. "Gimme the beer Eve." The woman obeyed and her
brother took a deep drink before handing it back. "Now, we
are not here to tell tales, neither me nor Eve. We are all here
to hear your tale, Cassandra. Spare you from wearing yourself
out running from one of MacLeod's friends to the next, trying to
convince one of them to take my head."
"Because you're too big of a damn coward to try for it
yourself." Eve added.
"Eve. . ."
"What? It's the truth. If she wants your head, then she
should try for it! Not run around leading adolescent males by
their hormones and the Voice to try for it themselves."
"Richie's hardly an adolescent." Joe commented.
"Compared to me, everyone's an adolescent." She
refilled the mug. "Actually, everyone's an embryo.
Including Methos. And I'm not just speaking of Richie." She
looked pointedly at Connor, who had the grace to flush slightly
at the implication in her words.
"What if I told you I wasn't trying to get someone else
to take Methos' head?" Cassandra said purringly and Eve
very calmly threw what beer remained in the mug at her,
drenching her in the process.
"If you try to use the Voice here again, on any of these
people ever again, I shall tear your head off with my bare
hands." Eve said pleasantly.
"Holy Ground. . !" The woman stuttered.
"What an interesting concept, Holy Ground. I must thank
whoever thought of it. That only works on Immortals, my dear,
and I am not an Immortal. Don't do it again."
Now everyone was staring at Eve in undisguised curiosity.
"That's why I didn't feel a buzz when you killed
me!" Richie blurted.
end beginning six
site developed and maintained by Rayhne, copyright 1996-2005.