Beginning Two

Joe Dawson listened with half-an-ear to the people behind him, frowning as Cassandra once again hinted at Methos' dark past. He suspected that Cassandra was trying to get Duncan to kill the ancient Immortal by appealing to the Highlander's sense of moral. And, Duncan being such a straight lace, it might work. Of course, there was a major obstacle in that no one know where Methos was.

He unlocked the door to the bar and stepped inside, the others following. Joe started toward the bar only to stop when Duncan's hand landed on his shoulder. He looked back, blinking in surprise at the sight of the two Immortals, each looking very alert and each holding a sword in their hands. He followed their eyes to the door leading to his private quarters.

"Immortals." Duncan murmured. "Two of them."

"Oh, damn." Jue muttered. "For God's sake, don't blow out my sound system!"

Duncan didn't answer, just stepped past Joe and to the door, swinging it open and stepped inside smoothly, sword ready. Cassandra was right behind him but she froze in the doorway.

"You!" There was rage in the woman's voice and Joe knew instantly who was in his rooms. He moved forward as quickly as he could, shouldering Cassandra to one side and smiling at what he saw.

The stand-alone chess board had been moved to the end of the couch and a chair pulled up on the other side of it. Methos sat in his customary sprawl in the chair while a very large dog laid on the end of the couch. No. Joe took a closer look. Not a dog. A wolf.

"What are you doing here?" Cassandra sputtered.

"Visiting. I think." Methos shot an apologetic look at Joe. "Sorry about making ourselves at home, Joe. I didn't think you'd mind..."

"I suspect you just didn't think, Methos." A voice came from the right and a woman appeared. Joe stared at her, stunned. "My apologies, Mr. Dawson. Methos insisted it would be all right. Unfortunately, his idea of all right and other people's idea of all right tend to differ. . ."

"So I've noticed." Joe managed to stutter. The woman now standing next to him was lovely; a vision of warm cocoa skin, white hair and emerald eyes. "And it's Joe. Please."

"Of course, Joe. I hope you don't mind but I've taken the assumption of fixing up a nice large pot of clam chowder. And," She smiled. "Stocked in some proper beer. My idea of proper beer, not Methos'. Methos, my love, how about fetching some beer? There's a duck."

Joe tried very hard to stammer out that it wasn't necessary but the young woman was deftly helping him off with his coat and steering him to a comfortable chair. Bemused, Joe didn't protest, quite content to let this lovely young woman fuss over him. Methos winked at him as he stood and disappeared into the kitchen. Cassandra and Duncan were staring after the ancient Immortal, leaving Joe to be the only one able to see the chess board and the wolf occupying the couch.

The minute Methos' back was turned, the wolf had clambered to his feet, looking down at the board intently. Gently, he reached down and picked up a white knight, shifting it to a new place and then lifting a pawn clear of the board, setting it to one side before lying back down. The wolf then looked directly at Joe, giving him a very unmistakable wink before resting his head back on the arm of the couch.

Joe blinked, suspicion creeping into his mind but before he could voice it, Methos was back.

end beginning two

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