Title: Lie Down With The Lamb
Rating: R for language and graphic descriptions
Keywords: X Files Highlander: The Series Crossover
Feedback: Comments, flames, superfluous remarks and vicious character
assassination maybe cheerfully sent to: email@example.com
Archive: All ready sent to Gossamer and Seventh Dimension. All
others: Do it for me, do it for yourself, do it for posterity.
Disclaimer: Owning them would be too aggravating, so please sue
me for copyright infringement. I love Court TV and need seven
more minutes to complete my 15 minutes of fame.
Summary: Second in series. Mulder tries to solve a series of murders
and finds more that he bargained for. Can the combined skills
of four immortals finally bring a killer to justice?
Authors note: Many thanks to Arameth for guidance, assistance,
putting up with my insane tirades and lots of little extras. Karoshi
for beta, excellent observations and a mutual love of shopping.
And, of course, Methos, for hard work, proofing and making me
Dedicated to Estella, who deserves more and better.
Lie Down With The Lamb(1/2)
Lamb's Way Road
"I told you to stick with the upgraded Range Rovers!"
Methos snarled angrily, climbing out of the dark green Mountaineer
the four tall men had been crammed into. "Then you had to
go and take a bloody shortcut!" he shouted at Duncan MacLeod,
kicking a tire. "I told you not to! But no, why listen to
me? What do I know about actuated highways?! Only," he hissed,
leaning in the driver's side window, nose to nose with the big,
deeply embarrassed Scot, "that when you leave the main fucking
roads the onboard computer shorts out!"
Connor MacLeod glanced at Fox Mulder, who shrugged. "He knows
his hardware," Mulder admitted quietly.
"Heh," Connor grunted noncommittally, opening the door
and getting out to stretch his legs. They were only a few miles
walk from the town of Inverurie where they'd been enjoying the
yearly Doric festival, celebrating the traditional culture of
the Highlands. The narrow road, really more of a track or lane,
which passed through what had once been farmland had been the
quickest route back to their lodgings. Duncan it seemed had been
a little too eager to get back to their inn -- and a pretty little
brunette -- to pay heed to the elder immortal and admitted techno-geek's
Mulder clambered out behind Connor, who was bouncing on his toes
obviously enjoying his cousin's discomfiture. "You'll be
a wee bit tired and filthy, but Lucille might still give you a
go," the senior MacLeod taunted.
Duncan grimaced, getting out of the car to stare them all down.
"There's no need to walk anywhere," he told them reasonably,
hands defiantly akimbo on his hips. "So the auto navigator
shorted out. So the engine motherboard is fried. So what? I flipped
the collision alarm. The travel company knows where we are, they'll
just send someone out. We'll be back at the inn in time for dinner
none the worse for wear."
Methos groaned and did an about face kicking a tree this time
while Mulder tried hard not to laugh. Connor looked askance at
the younger immortal and Mulder sighed, shaking his head in dismay.
"The collision alarm doesn't work," he pointed out,
watching Methos' head slowly nodding in agreement. "Not with
the motherboard toast. The Mountaineer doesn't have redundant
"It also," Methos added, wheeling angrily on the hapless
Duncan, "doesn't allow for manual override of the system.
Something you have to have if you're going to deviate from the
Mac's face fell as he realized his mistake and Connor chuckled
heartlessly. "Too much time in Japan, cousin," he commented,
reminding Duncan that not every country had embraced the new hands
free driving standards with which he'd become familiar over the
past five years. Japan and Sweden were the only two nations completely
wired. While larger countries like the United States and Canada
had only just finished upgrading their main highways, leaving
the city streets to the local municipalities. And no one even
considered doing the back country roads.
"Well, let's start walking," Mac said to no one in particular.
"The hell I'm walking," Methos muttered, stalking towards
the car. "It's about to--" A loud peal of thunder presaged
his final word on the subject. "Rain."
Large, fat drops began falling and Methos shoved Duncan out of
the way. He went round to the passenger side, yanking the driver's
seat back so he could get at the onboard computer.
"Rain?" Connor asked, disgustingly cheerful. "'Tis
only a fine, bracing highland mist."
"Right!" Methos retorted. "What the rest of us
with common sense would call a thunder storm!" He slammed
the door shut behind him.
Mulder laughed, pulling up the hood on his sweatshirt then heading
for the trunk of the car to find an umbrella. The hardy Scots
followed him, grabbing some plastic sheeting and a shopping bag
full of goodies they'd purchased -- a jug of whiskey with an alcohol
content so high it had to be sold under the counter and a plastic
food bucket full of warm, fresh haggis -- then went to find a
comfortable seat on a nearby log using the sheeting as a makeshift
"Come on, Mulder!" Connor called, holding out the jug.
"Better stuff here than you can get anywhere."
"No thanks," Mulder grimaced. "I like my stomach
lining right where it is."
The elder MacLeod shrugged. "You'll have a bite of food then,"
he gestured toward the bucket which Duncan had opened and from
which he was extracting a handful of something that looked like
it should have been buried with the remains of the poor sheep
from which it had been gutted.
Mulder curled a lip in disgust. "I was talking about the
Connor chuckled, saluted with the jug and elbowed his cousin as
they fought over the choicest bits, or whatever they were muttering
about in Gaelic.
Feeling at loose ends Mulder glanced back at the car where Methos'
muffled angry commentary could still be heard, though only his
feet could be seen as he sprawled over the interior. Well, no
point in getting his head bit off trying to help there. The world's
oldest immortal was also one of the world's best techies, putting
even the Lone Gunmen to shame at times. Methos, despite what everyone
thought he did for a living, which was translating obscure ancient
texts for near penniless historical foundations, had in actuality
made a hefty fortune in software design and microchip engineering.
While the MacLeods argued over the steam engine or space flight,
Methos maintained the advent of the computer was Mankind's greatest
invention. Mulder, of course, quietly held out for the microwave
oven. A life saving necessity where all the rest was pure luxury.
With an internal shrug Mulder headed in the direction they'd been
going. If Methos got done in a reasonable amount of time they
could pick him up further down the road. If not, he'd be back
at the inn in a couple of hours where he'd get a nice hot bath,
an even hotter meal and maybe some warm lovin' from the very put
Well, maybe not the last. The MacLeod charm was legendary and
Lucille had seemed rather taken with the overblown good looks
of MacLeod the Younger. Oh well, at least they had satellite.
"Where's Mulder?" Methos asked, finally coming up for
air when he had the car back in working order, and doubly pleased
to see it had stopped raining.
"Walked," Duncan pointed west, hiccuping.
"You're drunk," Methos accused, grabbing the half empty
jug away from Connor.
"Aye, we are!" he agreed, laughing as Methos took a
deep swallow of the burning liquor.
The ancient immortal leaned over to look in the bucket, reaching
down to snatch the last of the haggis before the cousins remembered
"I knew I liked him!" Connor declared approvingly as
Methos gouged a healthy bite followed by another swig.
Methos grunted around his mouthful of food. He also liked Connor,
but even drunk he would never have openly made such a statement.
Finished with his snack he belched deeply and wiped his hand on
"Come on, let's go find the boy before he gets into trouble."
Connor snorted in disbelief. "What kind of trouble could
he get into out here?" he waved his arms expansively, nearly
tipping over. "What? Is he into sheep porn now?"
Methos grinned, shoving the stopper into the mouth of the jug
and tucking it under his arm. "You don't know Mulder. Trouble
finds him like it does your lunatic cousin."
"Hey!" MacLeod protested ineffectually.
"The pair of 'em ," Connor nodded morosely. "Wanderin'
o'er the world without the sense God gave 'em."
Methos laughed and helped the MacLeods to their feet. A short
while later after he'd swiped the car keys from Duncan and tumbled
his inebriated companions into the back seat, he took off in search
of the younger immortal.
"Mulder?" Methos murmured as the MacLeods sat up straight,
utterly sober. They'd barely gone a mile when the sense of a Quickening
suddenly came into range. A little further and they saw him, kneeling
with his back to the road completely oblivious to their presence.
Or so it seemed until Methos got out of the car.
"Don't," Mulder ordered. "Stay on the road."
Connor came up beside Methos, noting the mounded earth here and
there within the small clearing, over grown with weeds and wild
heather. "'Tis a cemetery, lad. Holy ground," the elder
MacLeod offered quietly, crossing himself and murmuring a silent
prayer for the dead.
Mulder's head shook as he slowly stood and backed away. "No,"
he answered softly, turning sad, melancholy eyes to face them.
"Nothing in this place is either hallowed or shriven. He
stepped back another pace allowing them to see what he'd uncovered.
Jutting from the cold, muddy earth was a human wrist bone. And
around it, the cool golden glint of a medical bracelet. "It's
a dump site I've found."
"Definitely an old location," Mulder reported as he
began to cordon off the area with glow-white emergency tape he'd
found in the trunk while Duncan called the authorities from the
now working car phone.
"How can you tell?" Methos asked curiously as he watched
Mulder in his element. Oh, not the paranormal sightseeing they'd
done from time to time over the years, but real police work.
"Medical bracelets went out twenty years ago when they started
"And that's what makes you think it's a crime scene?"
Connor asked, annoyed. "It's likely a family grave site.
Just like I said. There used to be a farm near here."
"Really? Would you bury your loved one by the side of the
road in a shallow unmarked grave?" Mulder asked pointedly.
"Enough, Connor," Methos interrupted. "He's right
and you know it."
"Yes, he's right," Connor agreed. "But you're not
a cop anymore, Mulder. This is not your business. Duncan has called
the authorities. Why can't we just get out of here?"
Mulder just stared at the man. "Don't you think they've been
alone long enough?"
"Good answer!" Connor suddenly grinned and slapped Mulder's
back. The other man just shook his head and sighed, making Methos
"It's a warrior thing," he murmured as he followed Mulder
back to the car. "We need to test the young ones. See if
they're worth fighting to keep alive."
Mulder nodded and leaned back against the car, rubbing his neck.
"Yeah. It's a cop thing, too. And I've done it myself on
occasion. It's just..."
Methos sighed, sensing the real reason behind the younger man's
hesitancy. "Mulder, no matter your age, you're still listed
as a consultant with the FBI. I know you still do the occasional
profile, or whatever you call it, when they send you stuff. The
police here, or anywhere for that matter, won't question that
identity because it is who you are. In fact, they'll be overjoyed
they've got an expert to hand, who just happens to be on vacation.
Better yet, you found the graves, not some poor sightseers. And
you knew what it was and made sure no one else disturbed the evidence.
That, if nothing else, will count for something."
"You're right," Mulder grinned sheepishly. "It's
only been six years since I retired. And..."
Mulder trailed off as the whine of an electric engine could be
heard coming up the road. He stood and put his game face on, heading
over to meet the local police; exchanging hand shakes, producing
his travel documents then leading the two officers on a brief
tour of the site.
Methos watched all this with an amused eye. Mulder might be one
of the oddest men, immortal or not, he'd ever met, but he was
also one of the most dedicated professionals he'd ever encountered.
Seeing him charming the wary officers into devout believers and
loyal supports in the space of a few moments was like watching
a master craftsman at work.
"He's good," Duncan murmured as he came up behind the
Methos only nodded. "He had the highest solve rate in the
history of the FBI. Along with the highest censure record of any
agent," he added with a grin.
Duncan snorted. "I can believe that."
They said no more as one of the officers went to call for the
medical examiner and a forensic team and the other came over to
question them individually. Their stories were simple and easily
verifiable. Friends on vacation, here for the festival. Once their
statements were taken they were told they could leave, along with
Mulder, whose services might be requested if the ME felt they
Back in the car the four men were silent as they drove back to
the hotel. Tomorrow, they would be going their separate ways.
Mulder back to England, where he'd taken a house outside London,
while writing magazine articles and novels under a pseudonym.
Methos to Chicago, where he was working as an assistant curator
for the Oriental Institute's Babylonian exhibit. Connor to New
York and his antiques shop. And Duncan, back to Tokyo where his
import/export business was head quartered for the Asian market.
It would be a long time before they saw each other again and this
was a sad ending indeed to what had been a rather pleasant moment
in their long immortal lives.
December 26, 2037
"This is nice," Mulder murmured as Methos pulled into
a spot in front of a large, two story red brick house.
"That's what Nicky Fingers said when he asked if he could
use the carriage house out back to store bootleg whiskey. I think
I've still got a few bottles left in the rafters."
Mulder grinned. "Don't tell me you were an associate of Capone's?"
"Hardly," Methos snorted. "Nicky drove the milk
wagon. Six bits for one bottle of milk and three bottles of beer.
Every morning regular as the paper boy. Sundays were cream and
They were both smiling as they got out of the car and went into
"So how is Assistant Director Scully?" Methos asked
as they shed their winter coats, referring to Mulder's brief Christmas
visit with his former partner.
"Thinking of taking a teaching position at Quantico. Office
politics isn't what it's cracked up to be."
"It never is," Methos agreed. "Beer?" he asked
leading the way to the kitchen.
Mulder accepted the bottle and grabbed a seat at the counter.
"So are the MacLeods joining us?" A New Year's Eve party
hosted by the world's oldest man, Mulder thought with a silent
sigh. How ironic. Now, if they could just figure out why he'd
"Just Duncan. He and Amanda are flying in tonight."
"I've never met Amanda," Mulder commented, running his
thumb along the side of the bottle.
"Good thing, too," Methos grinned. "Or you might
have had to arrest her."
"Not me, I--"
Mulder's cell phone suddenly rang and Methos raised an eyebrow.
"You still carry one of those things?"
They were out of style with the advent of the video phone, but
video phones were not for Mulder. Not as long as he was still
in his first life. "Just call me old fashioned," he
grinned then took the call.
Methos listened with half an ear as he started preparing dinner,
then ignored Mulder entirely as the man deliberately moved away.
More bureau business, Methos thought, having his suspicions confirmed
a few moments later.
"A courier's coming by," Mulder told him, retaking his
seat. "And, not to insult your hospitality, but I'll be getting
a motel room instead of staying here tonight."
"Whatever for?" Methos looked surprised.
Mulder took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You heard
about the Steffanis kidnapping and murder?"
"Mulder, everyone heard about that. Poor girl," he added
quietly. "Death by whipping is a hard way to go."
"Yeah. Well, they found another body. Three bodies in fact.
Teenage boys this time. Same kind of whip marks -- same whip too
according to forensics -- but different causes of death. They're
stumped, so they're sending me the files to have a look see."
"So why do you have to go to a motel?"
Mulder vaguely frowned. "You've never seen a serial murder
case worked, have you?" Methos shook his head. "I need
to spread out the contents of the files in isolation. Back at
the bureau we had what we called the war room. It's not a place
you want to casually walk into."
Methos gave a sad smile. "I've seen more than my fair share
of war, Mulder. And worse. You can use the carriage house. I only
use it for storage now, but it's got heat and running water. We
can have it cleaned out by morning. You'll have complete privacy."
The former agent looked thoughtful for a moment. It would certainly
be better than running the risk of having a maid walk in accidentally.
Their screams tended to draw attention and he'd just as soon avoid
that for a number of reasons.
"All right," he finally agreed. "But don't say
you weren't warned."
The thump of a heavy object falling onto the back porch woke the
three sleeping immortals. They converged at the head of the stairs,
loosely holding their swords and listening as someone moved off
the wood porch, tramping across the gravel to the carriage house.
"Mulder," Methos grumbled, putting away his sword then
heading down the stairs to have a few choice words with his house
MacLeod sighed, doing the same. "Go back to bed, Amanda.
We'll take care of this."
"And miss all the fun?" she responded, leaving her sword
in the umbrella stand by the back door. "Methos in high dudgeon
is always worth a little lost sleep."
MacLeod rolled his eyes and followed her out to the yard.
"Mulder!" Methos hissed, trying to keep his voice from
echoing throughout the neighborhood. "Mulder! It's four in
the morning. Are you mad?!"
"What? Oh, here," he handed Methos a box full of old
records. Really old records, Methos noted as he glanced down at
some of his favorite 78's. Scott Joplin? Billie Holiday? Good
heavens! These were worth a small fortune! And he'd completely
forgotten they were out here.
"Mulder," he said sternly, carefully handing off the
precious box to MacLeod, whose eyes lit up. "What are you
"Working. Or," Mulder shook his head distractedly, "trying
to get to work." A light went on in the house next door and
someone shouted out the window for quiet. He glanced up from what
he was doing, not completely gone into his own head space yet
and had the grace to look embarrassed. "Sorry," he murmured
as he looked from Methos to MacLeod and Amanda. "Kinda forgot
where and when I was."
"Yeah, well," MacLeod nodded, recalling that he'd promised
to help clear the space, but the plane had gotten in late and
they'd stayed up talking well past midnight. "That's partly
Amanda only smiled and wandered over to take Mulder's arm. "Come
on inside and Mac can make us some coffee."
Methos rolled his eyes at her backhanded barb. Hers was worse,
but then she hadn't the excuse he did. He, after all, had gotten
used to the really strong trail coffee he'd drunk with Butch and
Sundance. Damn but Cassidy had made a good brew, he recalled,
letting go of his annoyance over Mulder's absentminded rudeness.
Pity he'd never gotten that coffee plantation off the ground in
After a long glance at the half emptied carriage house Mulder
finally nodded and allowed himself to be led back across the yard.
"Don't worry," Amanda happily prattled on. "We'll
just get some breakfast in you and then the boys can help you
do whatever it is you have to. I'll run downtown and just--"
"Case the Art Institute?" Methos interjected hopefully
as he opened the door.
Amanda stuck out her tongue. "Go shopping!" she insisted,
pulling Mulder along.
"It's what she does best these days," MacLeod added,
heading into the living room with the box of records.
"Better your wallet than mine!" Methos called, then
moved aside as Mac stomped back out onto the porch to retrieve
another larger box labeled 'gramophone'.
Mulder grinned and Amanda raised an eyebrow. "You find us
funny?" she asked pointedly.
He shook his head, having enjoyed their easy banter. "No.
I was just thinking that it's nice to know some things won't change."
Amanda laughed and patted his arm. "Oh, we were never like
this. Not in the bad old days! Never like this at all." Methos
nodded in agreement as he followed them into the kitchen. "We
lived from hand to mouth. You hardly ever saw a really wealthy
immortal. At least not one who stayed that way for longer than
a couple of centuries. We were always moving, always running,
always hiding, always buying our safety or safe passage away from
god only knows what. Power hungry mortals, power hungry immortals,
crazed political regimes, the Inquisition. No, darling, immortals
never had it this good, or this easy. Live and let live, that's
what I love about this age."
"Here, here!" Methos agreed, taking a seat at the breakfast
counter. "Global banking, online shopping. One could live
on a mountain top in Tibet and have their favorite foods flown
in without ever having to face another challenge."
"I meant the friendship," Mulder smiled. "People
just being people. Sometimes," he sighed sadly. "Sometimes
that's the only thing I think I have to look forward to."
Amanda gave him a curious look then gently squeezed his arm. "It's
not so bad," she told him honestly. "And you still have
your work," she added brightly.
Mulder closed his eyes and nodded. "Yeah, my work,"
he murmured, looking at the box full of thick case files he'd
forgotten by the back door as he gently pulled away from her.
People just being people, he though irritably, who just happen
to like killing other people.
For a long moment a pall hung over the room then the opening strains
of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" wafted in.
"Amazing! That old gramophone still works!" MacLeod
announced as he entered the kitchen, inadvertently alleviating
some of the uncomfortable tension in the room.
"Of course it works," Methos chided. "I used to
fine tune the rocks and sticks we banged together back when I
first invented music."
There was a long moment of silence as everyone paused to wonder,
then Methos gave a sardonic sigh and rolled his eyes. "That's
right. I'm so old I used to spank God's baby-sitter!"
Laughter soothed away the last of the tension and Mulder finally
took a seat at the counter, watching Mac fix coffee as Amanda
prepared an omelet. Suppressing his sense of guilt, he allowed
himself these last few hours of good humor. It would pass all
too quickly, he knew.
Now and then Methos would look at him, evaluating how much food
he was eating or whether he joined in the conversation without
obviously pressing the issue. The ancient immortal would keep
him safe while he worked, Mulder thought with a sense of relief.
He only hoped Methos would be there to find him if he lost his
way as he once again peeked over the edge and into the abyss of
mindless horror. He didn't even want to consider what might happen
if he wasn't.
Amanda cranked up the old gramophone again then went to make herself
a pot of tea. With Mac and Methos out for the afternoon she was
supremely bored. Humming along to the music, which reminded her
of a wonderful club in old Algiers, she glanced out the window
to the carriage house, wondering again what Mulder had been doing
alone in there for the past three days. According to Mac, he used
to be some sort of crack investigator for the FBI, specializing
in bizarre cases. If he was such an expert, she thought sarcastically,
why was it taking him so long to solve a simple murder? Unfortunately,
Methos had forbidden her to go over there, going so far as to
bring trays of food out to the young immortal and leaving them
just inside the door.
It was damn frustrating, she thought, checking her lipstick in
the reflection of the spoon she was about to use. A handsome man
locked away from her. And one who knew, she imagined, the ins
and outs of how the police went about catching 21st century criminals.
Knowing how they might try to catch you and avoiding it was half
the fun of committing the crime.
Of course, she sighed, those days were over for her. Pity, she
thought. Just when security systems were getting really interesting
and not just about trying to get past some overweight, complacent
With a small moue of surprise, Amanda saw the door to the carriage
house open and Mulder step out into the snow covered yard. He
pulled the door shut behind him, not bothering to lock it. Amanda
smiled. If she wanted to... No, she reasoned sadly, she'd promised
Mac. And Methos wouldn't be quite so charmingly acerbic if he
found out she'd spied on his favorite student.
She watched as Mulder paused to breathe the fresh, icy air. Even
at this distance he looked yummy enough to tumble into a haystack.
She might be with Mac at the moment, but they were never going
to be exclusive. Been there, done that, she thought. Much too
confining for a girl like me!
With an air of distraction surrounding him, Mulder headed for
the house and Amanda quickly put aside her cup, hurrying into
the living room. She did a quick check of her reflection in the
hall mirror then snagged a magazine as she practically flew into
a sexy pose on the couch. A moment later the back door opened
and Mulder went past, barely glancing in her direction as he dashed
up the stairs. Before she could even think the words "How
rude!" the shower in the upstairs bath went on and Amanda
gave a slow, calculating smile.
"I really hate malls," MacLeod complained as he toed
off his snow covered shoes.
"Quit griping," Methos retorted. "You're the one
who insisted he needed a warmer coat. I said I'd lend you one
"And look like a homeless person? No thanks."
"Clothes horse!" Methos accused.
"Vagabond!" MacLeod cheerfully retorted.
"You know, we had a name for your sort," Methos began
then paused as an upstairs door opened and Amanda suddenly raced
down the stairs, a suitcase in one hand, her sword in the other.
"Whoa! Hold on," MacLeod grabbed her as she tried to
barrel past them in the hall. He took her by the chin, lifting
her pale face as he noted her trembling lower lip. "What's
She shook her head. "Get out of my way! I won't stay here
another minute. Not with that, that," she gestured in the
direction of the carriage house. "That creature! That monster!
What he looks at!" she cried.
Methos stepped forward, eyes cold and filled with anger as he
took her sword, putting it on the shelf beside the door. "You
went out to the carriage house, didn't you?!" he hissed.
Amanda took a deep breath and sniffled. "He-- He came in
for a shower," she stuttered. "He looked awful. I--
I thought I'd go see if he needed anything. Maybe--"
"Maybe snoop around?" Methos interrupted.
"No, I..." Amanda denied obstinately then looked into
Methos eyes and thought better of telling another lie. "Okay.
I was bored and curious. And I just thought..."
"You didn't think!" Methos snarled. "And you were
"Maybe not strongly enough," MacLeod interjected quietly.
"I kind of skirted the issue," he admitted. "So
she doesn't really know what he does."
"She does now," Methos huffed and moved across the room
to the bar. He poured a healthy shot of bourbon for himself, brandy
for Amanda and a whiskey for MacLeod. "Here," he held
out the small snifter to Amanda as MacLeod settled her on the
couch. "Get this down."
With a sigh he stared at his own drink for a moment then swallowed
half the shot. "Mac told you Mulder used to investigate murder
cases for the FBI, right?" Amanda took a deep swallow, wiped
her mouth with the back of her hand and nodded. "I'm just
guessing, but I'll bet he didn't tell you what kind?" She
nodded, looking accusingly at MacLeod, who nodded as well. "Serial
murders. He profiles serial murderers. Apparently, he's also the
best at what he does. So they send him the worst of the lot. Just
how did you think they caught those kinds of murderers? Go round
to the local pubs and ask if anyone likes to flay people alive,
or whatever the latest atrocity is?"
Amanda paled even further and laid a hand across her eyes. "I'd
no idea. Oh, god!" she whispered, suddenly clapping a hand
across her mouth. She lowered her hand to worry nervously at her
chin. "I lost my lunch inside the door! He'll know I was
Methos had to smile. "I'm sure he won't try to take your
head over it."
Mac nodded, then remembered something he'd thought important.
"You said he looked really bad?" the highlander suddenly
asked, concern coloring his voice. "How bad?"
"Like he'd lost weight and hadn't slept in days," she
reported. And it was true. She hadn't thought about it until after
he'd gone up to shower, but up close he'd looked like crap. It
had been as good an excuse as any to poke around, or so she'd
thought at the time.
"Maybe we should check on him," MacLeod suggested. "Three
days and not a word is a long time."
Methos shrugged. "I suppose it will give us a chance to apologize
on Amanda's behalf. That is," he asked rather pointedly.
"If you're still planning on running out on him?"
"Running out on...? Oh," she looked crestfallen. "He'll
think I loathe him, won't he?"
"It would be rather cruel to associate the job with the man
who does the job."
"I'll stay," Amanda sighed quietly. "Just tell
him I'm sorry and that I won't go out there again. Ever!"
she insisted vehemently. "But," she added with a sly
grin. "He can always come in and see me."
MacLeod scowled as Methos laughed. "I'm sure he'll appreciate
the sentiment behind the offer," he smirked at MacLeod, who
looked ready to explode. "Come on, Duncan," he got hold
of the other man's collar. "You wanted to check out-- ah,
check on Mulder, didn't you?"
MacLeod rose, still staring at Amanda. "We'll talk later,"
he told her meaningfully.
"I'll look forward to it," she batted her lashes, laughing
as Methos yanked the angry Scot from the room.
"I can't believe her!" MacLeod sputtered.
Methos didn't bother to respond, very obviously refusing to comment.
He'd always rather fancied Amanda and could never see why she
was attracted to MacLeod -- other than for his boyish good looks
and the fact that he always had an easily accessible steady cash
flow. Mac was far too straight laced for a girl like her. He,
on the other hand...
"This was your idea, Mac. Are you coming or not?"
The man shoved his hands in his pockets, clenching against the
bitterly cold wind. "Aye," he muttered, blinking hard
against the snow that blew into his eyes. "What was that?"
he asked suddenly, spotting some movement around the back of the
carriage house where the alleyway ran.
Methos huddled in his sweater and craned his neck to see a quick
flash of gray. "Just a cat," he responded absently,
until two more appeared and then another, this time coming from
around the other side of the house. Odd, he thought. With a frown
he stalked around to the big double doors, now permanently sealed,
that had once been meant to allow entry for a horse and buggy.
"Oh hell," he murmured softly as he took in the debris
which littered the ground.
MacLeod shook his head, not knowing whether to be angry or dismayed.
"Steak bones, chicken bones," he recounted. "And
yeah, those are definitely the pork ribs I made last night."
"Shit!" Methos swore with a heartfelt sigh. "I
dare say he hasn't eaten a thing since he came out here."
"If Amanda's reaction is anything to judge by, would you?"
Methos nodded. Amanda might be naive about some things, but she
wasn't the least bit squeamish. Not and have survived nearly a
thousand years. Tough as nails Amanda was.
"All right," Methos decided. "Let's get him out
of there. Dedication is one thing, but this is beginning to border
"My thought exactly. Do you want to kill him or should I?"
Methos rolled his eyes, leading the way back around the building
where he knocked on the door. "We might try asking him to
come along quietly. Or is there something more sinister behind
"Who me?" MacLeod asked innocently. "That man is
like a brother to me."
"That's just what I said to Abel right before I beaned him
with that rock."
MacLeod's eyes widened. "You weren't...?"
"Of course not!" Methos sighed in exasperation and knocked
again. "Get a grip, Mac. I'm simply trying to say, don't
let Amanda's slurs against your dubious manhood cloud your judgment."
"Okay, okay," he agreed. "Let's just get this done.
I'm freezing my butt off out here!"
"And I'm not?"
MacLeod growled deep in his throat and finally just threw open
the door. They entered quickly, seeing Mulder sitting cross-legged
on the floor at the far end of the room staring up at an oversized
photograph on the wall.
Methos glanced around feeling an overwhelming sense of revulsion.
He'd seen many kinds of death in many different places, even rendered
some pretty ugly ones himself, but this was appalling. Not so
much the nature of the deaths, which were impossible to determine
from where he stood, but the detached, coldly scientific aspect
of the pictures themselves.
Like most men of past centuries he carried with him the taboo
of desecrating the dead. One did not mock a corpse. Bad things
happened to those who did. Like Achilles, dragging the body of
Hector by its heels around the walls of Troy in his chariot. Or
Caspian, who ate the flesh of the dead, claiming it gave him powers
over their souls. Such things were abominations. No good could
come of them. One look at Duncan and he knew the other man agreed.
And for one man to sit for so long immersed and surrounded by
the detritus of the grave...
With a determination he hadn't felt before Methos strode forward.
"Mulder? Mulder," he repeated forcefully. "Come
away from--" His mouth opened and closed like a drowning
fish as he finally saw what Mulder was looking at and he swore
in a language whose people he could barely recall. Taking a deep
breath to stifle the urge to vomit he laid a hand on Mulder's
shoulder and shoved.
Clearly startled Mulder looked up, then rose stiffly, moving quickly
to stand before the image tacked to the wall, blocking their view.
"Is Amanda all right?" he asked, stepping forward slowly
as he attempted to crowd them toward the door.
Methos nodded slowly, refusing to move. "Doing better. Sends
her love. Invites you to her bed sometime," he said distractedly
and pushed Mulder aside. His tone grew ominous as he felt the
anger coil deep inside his chest. "By all that's holy, Mulder,
what did he do to that poor child?!"
The face in the picture was perfect, easily matching the high
school graduation picture set above it. Well, perfect except for
the expression of unmitigated horror it wore. The boy's body was
red. Beet red. And from the surrounding close-ups of the genitalia
and extremities it looked as though all the hair on his body,
except that on his face and head, had somehow been fused, or melted
into the skin.
"Nay," MacLeod whispered, low in his throat. "No
man did that. 'Twas a monster!"
Mulder shrugged apathetically. "Man or monster, same difference.
If you really must know," he told them dully, his tone as
distant and detached as the look in his eyes. "He was boiled
alive. Now, if you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I have work to do."
Methos shuddered and dragged his eyes away from the image. He'd
seen thousands of variations on the theme of torture and just
as many different methods of punishment, including this one. But
those had been meted out to the worst of the worst, the most hardened
criminals. Ones whose crimes were so heinous that there was no
punishment men could devise that would so well fit the crime.
But even he had no stomach for this kind of perversion. To take
an innocent child off the streets and... He shook his head, forcing
his thoughts back to where he could do the most good at the moment.
"You haven't eaten in days, Mulder. And while," he swallowed
hard on his own bile, "I can perfectly well understand why.
You can't stay here like this."
"It won't kill me, will it?" Mulder asked, coldly amused.
"I mean it won't really kill me. Neither would that,"
he twitched his head toward the hideous image behind him. "Or
that," he gestured with his chin toward another set of pictures.
"What are a few hungry days and sleepless nights by comparison?
I'll live. The next kid won't. And if I'm right, he's already
got another one."
"That's not the point," MacLeod asserted.
"Enough!" Methos silenced them with a word. "You'll
be of no use to anyone suffering from nervous exhaustion. Bring
your notes if you must, but you will come back to the house,"
he insisted. "There, you will eat what I serve you and you
will get a decent night's sleep. Or I swear by every god I've
ever known, Mulder, I'll put you down with a knife in your heart
and let your body heal itself the hard way. Do you understand
There was a long pause. Then Mulder's head dipped forward as his
shoulders slumped. "Yes," he whispered tiredly, "Jesus,
yes!" and nearly collapsed to the floor.
They caught him easily, half carrying him back to the house and
up the stairs to his bedroom. "I'll take it from here, Mac,"
Methos said quietly as he helped Mulder remove his shoes.
"I'll make some broth," the other man offered and Methos
"That would be best."
Once MacLeod was gone he eased Mulder out of his clothes and under
the bed covers, taking a moment to appreciate and not for the
first time, the many scars the man bore from his years of mortal
life. Perhaps, he thought sadly, the worst ones were on the inside.
As he turned to go Mulder reached out and caught his arm. "Thank
you," he murmured.
"Say that again next time you get piss drunk," Methos
told him lightly.
"No," Mulder chuckled softly. "For hauling my sorry
ass out of the bottomless pit."
Methos nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "It's true then what
Mulder sighed. "Know the art, know the artist? Yeah, it's
Methos smiled gently, nodding in sudden comprehension. "That's
why you came into the house. You needed someone to save you from
"I'm just sorry it had to be Amanda," he admitted quietly.
"But, I couldn't... It's not something you can just ask anyone
to do. Not consciously anyway."
"No, I imagine not," Methos agreed as he headed for
the door and turned out the light. "You just get some rest.
I'll send Amanda up with your dinner in a bit."
"Mmmm," Mulder murmured as he snuggled deeper into the
blankets. "Nurse Amanda. I'd like that."
"If you're really lucky," Methos grinned as he slowly
shut the door. "She might even wear a short white dress and
give you a sponge bath."
"Well," MacLeod asked as Methos entered the kitchen.
"Was it worth it? Does he know who the killer is?"
"I don't think it works that way, Mac. Although I'd hazard
the worst is over, at least for Mulder." With a grin, he
leaned over Amanda, who was shelling peas at the kitchen table
and kissed her on the nose.
"What was that for?" she asked, startled, but pleased.
"For having such a lovely nosy nose."
"Then I did a good thing?"
Methos nodded and went to the refrigerator to extract a beer.
"Yes, you did a very good thing."
"So what happens now?" MacLeod asked, tossing a handful
of chopped onions and some garlic into the pot he'd put on the
"I wish I knew," Methos shrugged, snatching a slice
of tomato from the cutting board before MacLeod could stop him.
"We just have to be here for him and lend our support. Make
sure he eats, drinks, sleeps -- has some occasional merriment
and comic relief. You know, do what you do best, MacLeod."
Amanda giggled and Mac gave her a sardonic frown.
"Well he is tall, dark and handsome," Amanda teased
the Scot. "And he certainly knows how to brood a hell of
a lot better than you do!"
Methos laughed. "Yeah, I've never seen Mac collapse after
a three day brood."
"Ha. Ha. Ha," MacLeod responded sarcastically. "I'll
admit he's good, but I've been at it for centuries. By comparison,
Mulder's a rank amateur."
Methos grabbed his beer and headed for the living room. "It's
true, Mac, you have been at it for a while. But," he sallied
over his shoulder. "Mulder got it right the first time!"
Hyde Park, Chicago
January 1, 2038
Methos found Mulder comfortably ensconced in the study surrounded
by case files and a stack of yellow legal pads. An old lap top
computer was up and running on the coffee table in front of him
and beside it a tray of coffee and a pile of crumbs from MacLeod's
fresh baked croissants.
"Happy New Year," he greeted Mulder, who looked up and
"Great party last night," he complimented his host.
"I liked your friends from the Institute."
"They're nice folks," Methos agreed. "Not stodgy
like some. That's one thing I've always liked about Chicago,"
he added, sprawling in the over stuffed leather chair across from
"Great party town. People here know when to let their hair
down and have a good time. Always have."
"Well I enjoyed myself."
"And you didn't think you would," Methos finished the
unspoken thought. Mulder merely shrugged. "And now it's back
to work," he stated simply.
Again Mulder shrugged, but this time smiled wryly and Methos knew
he understood. A taste of life, a good dose of the reality he
was fighting to protect had put the case in its proper perspective.
An aberration within society and not the sum total of its existence.
Like many of the brilliant men Methos had known over far too many
centuries, Mulder was given to being consumed by his gifts. And
while talents like his had to be nurtured and occasionally allowed
to run amok, there was always a point beyond which a balance had
to be restored.
"You know, Mulder," he began, leaning forward to pour
himself a cup of coffee and to refill the other man's cup. "I
used to be a doctor. And though I haven't practiced in over a
century, I still keep up with the journals."
"So I noticed." Mulder tipped his pencil at the book
cases behind him. "You want to look at the coroners' reports?"
"And your notes, if I might."
Mulder raised an eyebrow at that. "Knock yourself out. Maybe
a fresh perspective is what I need. God knows I haven't been able
to make heads or tails of what's driving this wacko."
"What have you got so far?" Methos asked, reaching for
"White male between twenty-five and forty years of age. Hasn't
established a distinct preference for either gender, or method
of killing, but a partial ID fix is on the well to do. All of
the victims came from socially distinguished, wealthy families."
"Is he wealthy himself?"
"Probably," Mulder nodded. "Or was at one time.
But it's not about the money. It's about the victims. None of
them are remotely like the others. Which may be a clue, or may
be a coincidence. They all had different interests, different
levels of social skill and intelligence. All of them came from
different areas of the country -- so we know he's a traveling
man. The only thing they do have in common is their parents income
bracket. Which limits contact with itinerant serialists on the
one hand, but opens up a whole range of contacts within a huge,
somewhat isolationist subculture on another."
Methos snorted a laugh. "'Isolationist subculture',"
he quoted. "An apt description. And one of the main reasons
I avoid traveling in those circles."
"And a wise move it is," Mulder agreed.
Methos shrugged. "The very wealthy tend to be extremely cautious
about who they allow into their inner circle. And with good reason.
I learned my lesson back in Rome. The super rich not only have
the means to obtain vengeance at any cost, but the mindset of
privilege to carry it out."
Mulder cocked his head and stared into space for a long moment.
Then, without another word, he leaned forward and began to search
through his files.
Lie Down With The Lamb(2/2)
"Mulder, what's this mark on the inner thigh they keep referring
me back to? There's no description of it. Just the file reference."
Mulder glanced up from the computer where he'd been searching
the bureau's data base. "Hm? Oh. Check the Steffanis girl's
file. She was autopsied first, even though she wasn't the killer's
first victim. Whenever there's a repetitive wound ME's will just
refer you back to the original data unless they don't concur with
Like the whip marks, Methos thought, which he hadn't bothered
to follow-up on since he already knew what and how they were achieved
in intimate detail. He did as Mulder suggested and quickly found
what he was looking for. A small, rectangular shaped burn mark
on the left inner thigh, iron flakes embedded in the scar tissue,
probably achieved by using a patterned fireplace poker or antique
curtain rod. Methos ignored the statistical information on the
composition of the alloy, reading only the ME's conclusion that
the object used had been cast by hand, not machined, and was definitely
aged iron, though radio carbon dating had been inconclusive as
to the exact date of manufacture.
Methos felt a sickening lurch in the pit of his stomach. It might
not mean anything, he reminded himself. It could simply be some
twisted aficionado of ancient cultures enacting some warped part
of his dark fantasy. Or, it could be truly coincidental. Yet,
the placement of the mark which appeared on all the bodies was
He looked through the file to see if the ME had made a drawing,
but there was none and he was referred to a particular photograph,
just as the other ME's had done in their various reports. Damn!
He would have to go back out to the carriage house and look.
He quickly made a list of reference numbers and quietly excused
himself. Mulder barely glanced his way and it was just as well,
he thought. It could be nothing, or something so incidental as
to merely be an addendum to the motive, like the whippings. Still,
to his mind, it was too great a coincidence to be ignored, though
it was a minor historical point with which few, save himself and
a handful of other immortals and historians might be familiar.
Carefully avoiding Duncan and Amanda, who were playfully tossing
snowballs at each other in the front drive, he exited through
the back door and hurried across the yard. After unlocking the
door he braced himself. This was not a desecration of the dead
as Mulder had kindly pointed out to Amanda when she'd asked. It
was a technique which allowed the dead to tell their story in
the only way left to them. Through the physical evidence contained
within their bodies. Nor were these pictures a glorification of
the conditions in which they'd been left, but a clear and distinct
message sent by the murderer, whether he cared that it might be
received or not. In the pursuit of such evil, Mulder had offered,
there should be no stone left unturned, no grave left unearthed
and every clue investigated if there were the least chance it
could bring the killer to justice. Hideous as it was, and it was
all that and more, he'd agreed, what kind of man would he be if
he turned his back simply because he was too afraid to look at
the depravity that existed in the minds of these corrupted souls.
There had been a time, Methos knew, when he would have done exactly
that. Not entirely out of self-preservation, but merely because
the consequences of getting involved were too much for him to
bear. His own soul was so heavy with regret and shame that oftentimes
he could barely stand to look in the mirror. How then could he,
as corrupted as he'd been, dare to pass judgment on anyone?
Yet here I stand, he mused, raising his eyes to walls covered
in the invisible miasma and rotten stench of painful death. Why?
he wondered. Why now? Why this?
He had no answers, or none he wished to examine at the moment.
Let it be sufficient that I do it for Mulder, he decided. That
I may have information he requires and that honor demands I repay
him for the gift of his friendship. And maybe, he thought with
a wry twist of his lips, that was the only answer he truly required.
"It's called a tessera," Methos said as he laid a pile
of photos on the kitchen table where Mulder was having a sandwich
and coffee while reading the newspaper.
"What is?" he asked around a mouthful of ham and cheese.
"The brands he made on their inner thighs. Now," he
held up a hand to forestall the obvious question in Mulder's eyes,
not to mention the laughter from watching him play amateur sleuth.
"I'm not saying that's what it really is, mind you. I'm only
saying that's what it appears to be."
"Okay," Mulder nodded. "I'll bite. And what is
a tessera in layman's terms?"
"It's Latin for a mark of ownership. A scar, a tattoo, or
in the case of the Romans, a brand. Always done on the right inner
thigh using the sigil of the master's house. It was always done
to slaves, and always in that location so they could be easily
identified and returned to their rightful owners if they tried
Finally, Mulder picked up one of the photo enlargements Methos
had done on his computer. "So you're saying that the scarring
caused by the brand is in actuality a form of writing? Like a
"And the way it appears here was only done by the Romans?
The very ancient, very dead Romans," he reiterated. "Oh,
but wait," Mulder slapped his forehead lightly. "There
could still be a few of these guys running around today! It could
be... No, let me guess! An immortal?"
Methos shook his head. "This doesn't mean it's an immortal,
Mulder. It could be someone who knows something of the history
and either found or purchased the iron."
"And the chances of that are?"
Methos sighed. "Realistically? Slim to none."
"Shit! No wonder I couldn't get into his head!" Mulder
tossed the rest of his sandwich down and hurriedly went through
the photos. Eventually, he focused on the enlargements. "I
swear this looks familiar," he shook his head, unable to
recall where he'd seen it. "Can you tell me whose sigil this
was?" he finally asked.
Methos sighed and shook his head. "Everyone from the emperor
to the green grocer down the street had a household insignia in
those days. It was like a personal logo for the illiterate. They
stamped them on everything from the wax seals on letters to amphorae
being sent to the troops in Gaul. It could belong to anyone."
"Okay. So he's telling us they're his property."
"No, Mulder. He's telling them they are his property. It
wasn't done simply for identification, because it's a mark that
can't normally be seen, though anyone in those days would have
known it for what it was on sight. But it is a mark the slave
carries with him in the knowledge that he bears it always. How
can you run away and hide if you know that you can never strip
for your husband or wife without fear of being found out and betrayed?
Or for that matter, go to the public baths where slaves were not
generally admitted and a lack of nudity would have been suspicious."
"But why mark these kids? They sure as hell didn't know what
it meant. And they certainly wouldn't have cared who saw it if
they got away, because the first person who would have seen it
after the police got done would have been a plastic surgeon."
"I didn't say it made sense to mark them. That's why I don't
believe it is an immortal. He'd have to be so out of touch with
reality as to be incapable of functioning in society."
"Maybe," Mulder agreed. "But then I really haven't
lived long enough to have gained any perspective on how time moves
differently for an immortal of even MacLeod's age. Let alone someone
whose lived a couple of thousand years."
Methos sat back in his chair and nodded thoughtfully. This was
a subject he hadn't thought much about for quite some time. "It
is different, I suppose, if you look at it from the mortal view
point. But the truth is, on the grand scale, people's needs don't
really change, just their expressions of them do. They, and we
as human beings, immortal or not, all want the same basic things.
Full bellies every night, warm clothes when it's cold, a roof
over our heads when it rains, the joys of companionship and love.
Those things are constants in humanity. The only things that change
are the masks we wear to hide our motivations for doing what we
do in society.
"At one point in Rome it was perfectly acceptable to conspire
with your neighbor to have your other neighbor arrested for treason.
As long as there were two witnesses, or at least two free individuals
claiming to have heard the neighbor in question make a derogatory
remark against any aspect of the empire, the poor sod could be
executed, his property confiscated and his family sold into slavery.
And the two neighbors who'd conspired would receive a bounty for
having turned their friend in to the Guard. Today, of course,
people might attempt to do the same thing, but they'd have to
be much more elaborate in their schemes, because they'd certainly
find themselves being investigated by the authorities even before
the authorities investigated the accused. And the bounty would
likely be their fifteen minutes of fame on one of those tabloid
news shows. So, while the people don't change and the social acceptability
of greed remains the same, because it's always been perfectly
acceptable in any day and age to be greedy, how one goes about
being greedy in public has changed. It's pretty much the same
for all the virtues and vices we find in humankind."
Mulder nodded slowly. "That makes sense. So you don't perceive
time differently, it's just more of the same but lots of it in
"Yes. For example. If I was mortal and I suddenly decided
to spend the next fifty years learning to be an expert weaver,
I'd be making a life choice. For an immortal it would simply be
something one might choose to do to because it was an interesting
way to alleviate the boredom between challenges."
"As fascinating as this discussion is becoming," Mulder
sighed. "I think we'll have to come back to it later."
"Well, we certainly do have the time," Methos quipped,
earning a brief smile.
"Yes, but the potential victims don't. So, getting back to
my original thought. Can you make a drawing of this tessera for
me? One that I can run through the bureau's data base."
"Certainly," Methos responded.
The sudden sense of two immortals and the sound of laughter from
the front hall drifted into the kitchen and Mulder quickly scooped
up the pictures, sliding them into the newspaper he'd been reading.
"Look what Duncan bought me!" Amanda squealed as she
entered the kitchen, showing off a very expensive diamond studded
"Beware Scots bearing gifts," was all Methos had to
say as he picked up the newspaper and stood.
"Jealous?" Amanda asked pointedly, not the least bit
put off by his lack of enthusiasm.
"Of MacLeod? Never. Of the bracelet allowed to hang about
your delicate wrist? Always."
Amanda laughed, delighted by the compliment. "And what about
you, Mulder? Do you like my new bracelet?"
"I like the fact it's bought and paid for. Me? I'd have gotten
you a genuine set of acrylic Darth Vader head earrings."
"Ooooh, you do have a sense of the wicked!"
By the time MacLeod entered they were trading best and worst gift
ever stories, and in the ensuing laughter Methos quietly slipped
away. Much as he'd have liked to continue playing with the children,
he thought with a wry smile and a touch of excitement, he had
to go help Mulder catch a killer.
"You know, I'm really beginning to hate this immortality
Methos looked up from the book he was reading, a little surprised
by Mulder's comment.
Mulder tossed a file on the night stand beside Methos' bed and
moved to gaze out the window. "I ran that drawing through
the bureau's data base and came up with zilch. Nothing. Then,
on the off chance it was an immortal, I ran it through Interpol.
Remember seven years ago? Scotland? Eight dead kids buried by
the side of the road?"
"I remember," Methos said, finally putting aside his
book to pick up the file. "You said the site was so old that
the killer was likely dead or in prison for some other crime."
"It was and I did. But it was that profile which pretty much
quashed any real investigation. It was the age of the site which
threw me. Something that old and no other bodies ever found with
a similar MO usually means exactly that. I never thought about
an immortal. Never thought to check with Interpol. Never thought
about that mark I saw carved into a nearby rock." He turned
back to Methos, a terrible, haunted look in his eyes. "Until
today that is."
Methos rose and went to him, gently resting his hands on Mulder's
shoulders. "You cannot blame yourself. You couldn't possibly
"That's what I keep telling myself. Except that I should
have considered every angle. Every possibility. Even that an immortal
might be responsible. I should have known because I knew about
Caspian. And the fact that--" Mulder broke off and moved
away, not meeting Methos' eyes.
"Go on. Say it," Methos told him coldly. "The fact
Mulder inhaled deeply and nodded as he stared Methos' down. "Every
last one of you is a mass murderer whether you want to be or not.
MacLeod. Amanda. Connor. That's the name of the game. Call it
what you will."
"And you've been thrown into the deep end with the sharks."
"Oh, I can swim with the sharks. It's the sea monsters I
Methos smiled grimly. "Immortals are no more free of madness
than the rest of the planet, Mulder. Quite the opposite. We are,
by the very nature of The Game and the endless rounds of mortal
death which surround us, prone to insanity. But what this monster
does has nothing to do with The Game, or with the strain of being
an immortal. It's his own warped perception of his place in society
that's at work here. He's taking slaves in a world where slavery
can no longer exist. Not because he gets off on it. But because
he believes he has the right to do so."
Mulder rubbed his eyes and face, shaking his head though he felt
the truth of what Methos was saying. "I don't understand,"
he whispered. "How can anyone who's lived so long and seen
the world change around them continue to believe they have the
right to snatch some kid off the street, enslave and kill them?"
"Because it's not about killing them, Mulder. Their deaths
are incidental. It's about obedience to the will of the master."
Mulder growled in frustration and threw up his hands. "This
isn't Rome, Methos! Christ, it isn't even the Old South! He's
taken kids in Scotland, Ireland, England, France and Spain. And
now he's here. Explain it to me. Explain it in a way I can comprehend.
Because if I can't think like he thinks, I can't know what he
wants and I sure as hell can't predict his next move. We'll lose
him, Methos. And there will be more dead kids and more grieving
families, simply because I never bought a fucking slave!"
"Or been a slave," Methos murmured, seeing Mulder wince
at the comment. "Perhaps you're right," Methos nodded,
reaching for his robe. "And I'll try my best to help you
make the connections you need. But it won't be easy," he
warned. "For you it will be a completely alien way of thinking."
"Alien? You forget, that's my specialty."
Methos rolled his eyes, helplessly smiling. "Fox Mulder,
you are an incorrigible brat."
"But that's why you like me."
"Yes," Methos grinned. "It is. Now come downstairs,
for this I definitely need a drink."
"Okay. Let's see if I can follow this to its logical conclusion,"
Mulder finally said. It was nearly dawn and they'd spent most
of the night in the kitchen talking about the life and times of
the Roman citizen.
"Go for it," Methos told him.
"Once upon a time there was a very powerful, very wealthy
Roman, who was brought up to believe that might makes right and
that all things were his for the taking. Having lived through
a couple of thousand years where this was for the most part still
true, he ends up in the modern age, where, in the blink of an
eye by immortal standards, all this is swept away by a simple
change in the mortal point of view. People who believe in human
rights and self-determination make for lousy slaves. The kids
he takes, who in previous generations would have been brought
up to be obedient to the will of their parents, society, God and
the law without question, now fight what he views as the inevitable,
the will of the gods, whatever. They fight, he gets pissed, he
punishes them as if they were slaves who should know better, until
they finally piss him off enough to convince him that they are
so intractable as to be useful only as an example to his other
slaves. That about right?"
"Close enough to make no difference," Methos agreed.
"Wonderful. Next step. Why try to enslave a bunch of smart
mouthed, over indulged teenagers, who probably think they're better,
smarter and faster than he is? He could easily find a couple of
dozen very willing masochists, who'd probably pay him for the
privilege, by simply taking out an ad in any one of a hundred
bondage and discipline magazines."
"He'd think they were mentally deranged. No one wants to
be a slave, Mulder. Not the real kind like we had anyway. There
were no safe words and it was not by any stretch of the imagination
the kind of loving give and take relationship people fantasize
about today. A slave was an object, like a chair, or a lamp. It
had no feelings one needed to take into account, no right to voice
an objection, no purpose other than to serve. But, if you were
unlucky enough to be enslaved in those days, you were expected
to accept it as part of the natural order. Besides, if he was
what I think he was, then he has a particular type of slave in
mind. The kind he would have been entitled to either purchase
or confiscate as a matter of course during his mortal life."
"Which would have been?"
"You said it yourself. He's taken most of these children
in Gaul and Brittany. There was only one class of Romans, other
than the emperors and their families, who had such widespread
powers over populated areas. The magistres militum peditum equitum."
"Magistrates of military, infantry and cavalry?"
"Very good!" Methos raised his beer in acknowledgment
of Mulder's linguistic abilities. "They were essentially
military governors. And the first ones, I might add, to make themselves
into petty kings in the power vacuum created when Rome could no
longer administer her territories. They ruled with an iron fist,
taking who and what they wanted when they wanted, and without
anymore thought than you or I would give to whether we wanted
Coke or Pepsi."
"I give a lot of thought to that. There's a whole area of
psychology being explored in the realm of people who like Coke
Methos nodded dubiously. "I must have missed that issue of
Pop Psychology Today."
"I'll see if I can find you a copy."
Methos chuckled and shook his head. "Mulder, there are times
when I'm not sure whether or not you are really serious,"
Mulder grinned. "Actually, it was an article I wrote for
"In any case," Methos went on, laughing. "Imagine
someone who's every desire has always been met, often before they
were aware they had it. It puts a whole new spin on the term instant
"Okay, I can see that. So, the big bad Roman dude likes pretty
little Celts to serve his every whim and hasn't quite made the
connection that the conquered tribes have become the masters of
their own destiny."
"Something like that."
"He's one can short of a six pack, Methos. Two thousand years
old or not, he's a fucking head case."
"I never said he wasn't," Methos agreed. "At the
very least he doesn't have a firm grasp on reality. I doubt he
ever did. But for most of the last five thousand years one could
have unrealistic expectations if one were powerful or rich enough
to get everyone else to look the other way. Ever hear of Elizabeth
"The Countess Bathory? The one who thought bathing in the
blood of virgins would keep her forever young and beautiful? She's
part of the whole vampire mythology."
"The point I'm trying to make is that her peers allowed her
to do as she pleased. The only reason she was stopped was because
she offended someone who was equal to or above her station in
the power scheme. And she wasn't mad. She simply lived in a time
where the particular system of belief in existence gave her free
reign over the lives of her serfs, in essence, her slaves. There
were no scientists around to point out that bathing in virgin
blood wasn't going to keep her in mint condition. And even if
there had been, they wouldn't have dared try to argue her out
of this ridiculous belief. Not if they wanted to keep on living."
"So this son of a bitch is probably still very wealthy and
very powerful. He'd have to be for this mindset to continue across
half a dozen countries among the richest scions of society. The
rules don't apply to him, because he believes himself to be outside
of time and outside the law of mortal man."
"Yes. That's exactly what he thinks. It's what Caspian believed,
even when he stopped believing he was a demi-god."
Mulder nodded slowly. He was getting closer to being able to profile
the subject in detail. "Great. Now, what kind of industry
would he be in?"
"Oh, never industry, Mulder! Running a business would be
beneath him. He'd be an advisor, or a consultant in one of the
less nasty trades. Maybe gold futures or the diamond market. Probably
has a seat on the stock exchange."
Mulder rubbed his chin with a finger, then reached into his back
pocket for the drawing Methos had made. He stared at it for a
long moment then smiled grimly. "Think he's arrogant enough
to want the world to know who he is, even if we don't necessarily
get the joke?"
"Oh, definitely," Methos agreed. "What did you
have in mind?"
"I think I'll run this through the Registry of Trade Marks
"Run what?" Amanda asked as she strolled into the kitchen
and immediately went to make coffee.
The two men looked at each other and Methos finally shrugged.
"It's worth a shot. She might actually know something."
Amanda frowned and simply reached across the counter, snatching
the drawing from Mulder's hand almost before he realized what
she was doing.
She looked at the page, her eyes going wide in amazed delight.
"Marco Fronti!" she cried out gleefully. "Is he
in town? I haven't robbed him in years!"
"Robbed who?" MacLeod asked as he joined them.
"Marco Fronti," Amanda waved the drawing at him.
"That jackass? Is he still alive?"
"Apparently." Amanda was practically dancing around
the kitchen. "Goodness, I haven't seen him in ages. He always
had the hottest new security systems. Years before anyone else
got them. Not much worth stealing, but oh what a joy just to break
in for the fun of it!"
"Amanda. Amanda!" Mulder shouted finally getting her
attention. He grabbed her by the shoulders, keeping her still.
"You have to tell me everything you know about this guy Fronti."
"Why?" she asked quietly, looking from Mulder to Methos,
who was laughing hysterically and back again.
"Because it's a good bet that he's our killer."
"Marcellus Ancillus Frontiae," Methos murmured as he
dressed his sword. "You who are about to die should salute
"You know, MacLeod thinks he going to take his head,"
Mulder pointed out as he looked up from e-mailing the last of
his reports to the bureau.
"He can have what's left when I'm done."
Mulder sat back, crossing his arms. "You don't like to fight,
Methos. So why are doing this?"
"Because I want his head."
"Bullshit," Mulder retorted mildly. "You don't
want anyone's head. You hate Quickenings. They hurt like hell
and, in your own words, you're 'not into rough sex'. So why now?
Why this one?"
"MacLeod can't handle it."
Methos sighed and finally sheathed his sword. "Ancillus'
Quickening won't be like any other MacLeod has ever taken. In
many ways it would be much like a Dark Quickening, but more insidious.
There are elements of Ancillus' personality that will appeal to
the Clan Chieftain in him. He could distance himself from the
madness of Caspian and the megalomania of Kronos, but he was raised
in much the same way as Ancillus. To believe in the rightness
of his own best judgment. That he was born to rule and wield great
power over the life of the Clan. These are elements in MacLeod's
personality that could be suborned by Ancillus. You've never taken
a Quickening. It is unsettling at best. At worst, it can overwhelm
"But you can swallow Fronti whole and walk away with a smile
on your lips and a song in your heart."
"Something like," Methos grinned. "He is nothing
to me. And he will be nothing inside me."
Mulder shook his head and smiled. "You're weirdly altruistic,
but I'm not going to argue. Frankly, I don't give a damn who gets
his Quickening. I just want him stopped."
"And you're not still upset about having to trick the authorities?"
Mulder shrugged. "In this case? No. I've given them enough
to track him down. By the time they find the body they'll think
he was killed by one of his victims, or by some other serial killer,
and they'll leave it alone."
"Another serial killer?"
Mulder grinned wryly. "There are other kinds of hunters out
there. We don't usually talk about them, but they exist nonetheless.
Serial killers who prey on other serial killers. They do the research,
they find their target, sometimes even befriending them in the
same way a cat plays with a mouse. More importantly, they never
prey on innocent civilians. Not enough of a challenge. These are
big game hunters, Methos. They aren't interested in executing
"And law enforcement just looks the other way?" he asked,
"For murderers who only kill murderers who prey on innocents?
Sure we look the other way when we're able. You do."
"You mean MacLeod?"
"He is what he is, which is why I don't bother him. It's
rough justice, but it satisfies a need. And MacLeod isn't really
a hunter. He's opportunistic."
"I wouldn't tell him that," Methos commented.
"I hadn't planned on it. Knowing what he is would break him."
"It would indeed," Methos agreed quietly. "Are
you ready?" Mulder nodded. "Then let's go do this thing."
LaGuardia Airport, New York City
January 3, 2038
"You can unclench those sphincters now, Mac," Methos
called from the pilot's chair. "We're here."
Amanda giggled and slid out of her seat, ignoring MacLeod's glowering.
"I wasn't nervous, Methos. Just surprised they'd let a senile
old coot like you get a license to fly one of these things."
"It's a small private jet, Mac, not the Starship Enterprise.
And I've been flying planes for over a century."
MacLeod raised his brows in disbelief and Methos sighed. "Do
you really think I spend all my time locked in libraries?"
From the expression he now wore it was obvious he did. Methos
finished shutting down the engine, climbed out of his seat and
kicked Mulder in the shin.
"Wake up, kid, we're here."
"Ow! Jesus, you don't have to get violent," Mulder complained,
limping after everyone onto the tarmac.
Methos briskly led the way into the main building and down to
the baggage claim area where the rental car kiosks were always
open. A half hour later they were speeding across the 59th Street
Bridge and into mid-town Manhattan.
"Okay, where to first," Methos asked Mulder. "Beekman
Place or the Trump Tower address?"
"Beekman Place," Mulder told him. "For a man who
lives alone he has an unusual amount of food being delivered there."
"So that's where he's keeping the kids?" MacLeod asked.
"Probably," Mulder acknowledged. "A townhouse has
certain advantages over a penthouse apartment. Specifically, underground
parking and loading docks with basement storage space and cellars
easily converted into sound proof slave pens."
"Not to mention the amount of privacy required for such an
elaborate plan," Methos added. "Beekman Place is noted
not only for its old money inhabitants, but for the very fact
that few of them are still full time residents. It's a convenient
location when needing to do business in the city without having
to put up with the substandard conditions at five star hotels.
And it's a gated community in the very heart of New York, New
"I loathe Beekman Place," Amanda commented to no one
in particular. "Antique safes, fat rent-a-cops who couldn't
catch an alley rat with a broken leg. No security to speak of
worth a damn. Hardly a challenge for a bright girl like me."
"And anything worth stealing wisely locked up in banks,"
MacLeod finished neatly, causing Amanda to pout.
"Well, you can have some fun later getting us into Trump
Tower," Methos consoled her.
Amanda sighed happily. "Darling man! You say all the right
"Could we focus here, people?" Mulder interrupted as
they turned onto 1st Avenue. "We have no idea if Fronti is
even at the Beekman location, or what his state of mind will be
if we find him there. The objective at this point is to get in
fast and get any hostages out. They are your primary concern,
not Fronti's head. Is that clear?" Everyone nodded. "We
know who he is and where his bolt holes are. So if it comes down
to a choice between him and the kids, they come first."
A few minutes later they dropped off MacLeod and Amanda near the
rear gate of the small cul de sac that made up one of the wealthiest
neighborhoods in the world. Ostensibly, the plan was to converge
on the townhouse in a quarter of an hour from different directions.
Instead, Methos turned to Mulder and smiled.
"That went well."
Mulder nodded. "Think they bought it?"
"Of course they did," Methos chided. "MacLeod is
nothing if not honorable and thick. After all, if he were supremely
wealthy he'd have a penthouse in Trump Tower. The Chrysler Building
is where the really old money lives."
"You are a true expert in the Art of the Ditch," Mulder
complimented as they pulled out into traffic.
"And the police have already been here?"
"They finished clearing out the Beekman address an hour ago.
Now they're tracking down Fronti's other residences. It'll take
them awhile to clue into the Chrysler."
"God," Methos muttered, "but the arrogance of the
Mulder nodded in understanding. They'd only found the place because
the fool had purchased the top floor penthouse in his original
name -- doubtless thinking no one would ever recognize Marcellus
Ancillus Frontiae as anything but a well heeled, upper crust,
pompous Italian ass. Of course, he wouldn't view it that way,
but his neighbors, if he thought about them at all, probably did.
And more to the point, it was where he first came into contact
with the Steffanis girl when her family owned an apartment there.
They pulled into a spot about half a block away from the rear
loading bays behind the building. Being made up mostly of office
space, the Chrysler had fairly standard security. Except on its
residential floors. One apartment per floor, one elevator per
apartment. No halls or corridors, just a grand foyer where the
elevator opened according to the plans Mulder had accessed. As
he reached for the passenger door Methos put a hand on his arm.
"No. Wait for me here," he ordered.
Mulder's expression told the ancient immortal just what he thought
of that idea as he pulled out a gun and checked the clip.
"No," Methos repeated firmly. "I don't want you
up there. You've never taken a head and this is neither the time
nor place for childish heroics, Mulder."
"How about I just shoot him in the head and you can have
all the real fun later?"
Methos shook his head and smiled. "It's too dangerous, Mulder.
You can't arrest him. And if he challenges you first..."
"Save your breath, Methos. I'm not you and I'm not MacLeod.
I don't give a damn about honor. He can challenge me first, last
or sideways for all I care. I'm here to see a rabid dog put down.
You can fight him on your own terms and that's just fine by me.
I'll stand back and keep quiet. But know this. If he takes you
down, I take him out. And I won't be standing around waiting to
do it honorably. That's why I'm going up there."
Methos rested his forehead against the steering wheel, not knowing
whether to laugh or cry. "Where were you when I was raiding?"
he finally sighed. "We could have ruled the world together."
"You mean you don't already?"
Methos merely offered his most enigmatic smile as he and Mulder
simultaneously opened their doors.
"You know," he drawled as they walked toward a little
used side door. "I knew the man who built this place."
"You knew the architect?"
"No," Methos clarified. "I knew the builder. Back
in the early days of skyscrapers I was fascinated by the engineering
side of it. I spent two years as an apprentice in his office.
Did you know that the Chrysler was built during the height of
Prohibition? And that in those days the building contractors always
left an escape route for the bootleggers?"
"I take it they were well paid and the architect was in on
"Of course." Methos stepped up to an unassuming bronze
panel, similar to all the other decorative panels which graced
the building's facade. "In fact, as you can see by the ambiance
of the structure, he had a great love of ancient Egyptian building
techniques. You just have to know," he pressed several points
on the panel in quick succession, "where to look for the
patterns," and it suddenly and silently opened.
"Impressive," Mulder complimented as they entered and
Methos reached out to turn on the lights. "Now how do we
get upstairs? Climb?"
Methos grinned. "You can if you like. To your left are the
fire stairs. They go all the way up, of course. Me, I'm going
to take the emergency elevator."
"An emergency elevator? Which runs along the fire stairs?"
Mulder asked, dumbfounded. "Were these people nuts? You don't
get in an elevator during a fire!"
"Rich people don't walk, Mulder. And besides," he added,
reaching above the metal cage of the antique elevator, seeking
the key he'd once seen hidden there. "This was long before
modern fire regulations came into being. Eventually, of course,
it was closed off and forgotten. Although," he went on as
he ushered Mulder inside and slid the cage door shut. "You
can still access the private dwellings, because up until the 1940's
their Negro servants were required to use only the back entrances."
"Wait!" Mulder exclaimed as Methos turned the key. "Maybe
we should split up. One of us should take the front."
"You'd never get past security. And while I wouldn't mind,
you seem to have other plans this evening."
Mulder frowned. "What's to stop him from running?"
Methos smiled widely. "Honor, of course. He would consider
it shameful to flee from such pitiful forces."
"Oh, yeah," Mulder nodded. "The idiot factor."
With a devilish grin Methos turned the handle and the circular
shaped elevator began its long ascent within the spiraling confines
of the fire stairs. The ride was slow and smooth, though the metal
creaked and the pulleys groaned making Mulder nervous. He reminded
himself that he could not die and that Methos was onboard. Though
why that thought should comfort him in the face of falling fifty
or sixty stories to the unforgiving ground below he hadn't a clue.
Finally, they reached the top and stepped out onto the landing.
"May I?" Mulder inquired politely, pointing to the door.
"Be my guest."
By the dim light of the single overhead bulb Mulder picked the
old fashioned lock. As he opened the door and they moved inside
the buzz of a single immortal could be felt by both. From what
Mulder had learned through trial and error it was possible for
some immortals to distinguish the sensation in multiples even
when immortals arrived simultaneously. It was not possible however,
to discern location until the distance between the two had closed.
Which meant nothing, except that Fronti would likely move toward
the main elevator in expectation of a direct confrontation.
Mulder slid his weapon out as Methos did the same.
"I've got your back," Mulder murmured, pointing with
his chin toward the other side of the narrow hall where they had
come out. To one side was the kitchen and the old servants quarters,
to the other would be the apartment proper.
Methos nodded once and they moved swiftly past bedrooms, a formal
dining hall, a library, and other various spaces all done in dark,
hand carved woods, gleaming marble floors, and rich heavy velvet
brocades. The style bespoke serenity in wealth and a sense of
antiquity with its staid and stately facade. But it was only a
facade, Mulder reminded himself, for despite their many accomplishments
the Romans had often been as savage and unrestrained in their
lusts as any of the so-called barbarian hordes they had conquered.
As they neared the central living space the sense of direction
grew stronger and Methos indicated with a glance that Mulder should
hang back. He did so, but reluctantly, especially when the older
immortal suddenly disappeared like a wraith into the shadows.
With a frown Mulder moved forward into an immense ballroom which
ran the rest of the length of the apartment. It was lit only by
the glow of the bright Manhattan night and surrounded on one side
by floor to ceiling windows. To the other side was a wide marble
stairway leading to the grand foyer. At the top of those stairs
stood Fronti, a Roman cavalry sword casually held at his side
-- and Methos was nowhere in sight.
"Where is your compatriot, boy?"
Mulder effected a disinterested shrug. "Oh, he's around here
somewhere. Probably checking out the library," he remarked
loudly and pointedly.
Fronti gave a contemptuous snort. "What else can one expect
from this modern trash," he remarked coolly. "Your friend
has fled and left you to face me alone -- cowardly hiding until
I have your Quickening before he attacks."
"It's a good plan. At least one of us will get you. I frankly
don't care which."
Fronti appear slightly rattled. "You wish for death, young
one?" he asked, mildly curious.
"Not really, but I'll be satisfied with yours."
"So be it," Fronti agreed, raising his sword and moving
down the stairs until he took up his battle stance at the foot.
"I am Marcellus Ancillus Frontiae, Master General of Gaul
and Brittany of Imperial Rome, prepare to die."
Suddenly, the muted buzz that was Methos' signature which Mulder
had long ago learned to ignore, increased in intensity and volume.
It rose and cascaded, washing across their senses until it pushed
Fronti back a step and drove Mulder against the wall. A peal of
thunder shook the windows and lighting struck the peaks of nearby
buildings in a wild display of color and violence. Only once had
Mulder heard of such a thing. Ancient, powerful immortals capable
of generating a storm by the very strength of their Quickenings.
Then, out of the shadows, an indistinct figure appeared before
the windows and a thunderous vibration rolled through the room
until it coalesced into a voice.
"I AM METHOS..."
"Hear me roar!" Mulder gasped as the presence once again
seemed to blast into his very soul.
Coat discarded, wearing form fitting blue jeans and a pristine
Megadeath tee shirt, Methos strode forward and the overwhelming
presence of his Quickening suddenly vanished as if it had never
existed but for the echo it left in their minds.
Megadeath? Mulder thought irreverently.
Fronti stared hard at the figure coming out of the darkness. "I
know you," he murmured disdainfully. "You are the memoriae."
"Hey, I was the Emperor's personal memoriae. Not just any
secretary, dick wad."
Fronti again gave a contemptuous snort. "The great Methos,
a mere scribbler. A servant to Augustus Aurelius, no more."
"I was never just anything to Aurelius, Ancillus. I was his
political advisor. How else do you think you ended up in that
piss hole Gaul?"
The Roman glowered. "It was an honorable appointment."
"But not in Rome. Never again in Rome. It was exile, you
"You know nothing," Ancillus stated coldly.
Methos laughed cruelly. "I know it all. Just as I knew your
parents and how you betrayed them to the Imperial Guard. Dometia
wanted a son and Marcellus took you in to please her, adopting
what he knew to be the spawn of the slaves who found you. He raised
you up to believe in the restored Republic -- as Aurelius did,
as we all wanted -- to save Rome. Only you wanted power you never
deserved. You sent your parents to their deaths as traitors and
took their lands and chattel for your own. For that alone I should
"If not for that then why are you here?" Ancillus questioned,
obviously puzzled, but denying nothing.
"Well I could always let my friend there arrest you for your
crimes. But then you would be subject to the will of the mob you
"That is why you are here, boy?" he laughed at Mulder.
"Actually, I'm just here for the entertainment," Mulder
responded, pulling out a handful of sunflower seeds as he found
a place on one of the marble benches against the wall. "You
know, two warriors facing off. Hot, sweaty, gleaming bodies by
moonlight. Oh hey, I think I rented that video once."
Methos gave an imperceptible shake of his head and chuckled. "We'll
talk about your predilection for porn later, Mulder."
Ancillus looked highly affronted by their casual conversation
in the midst of what he considered such deadly serious business.
To add insult to injury, Mulder thoughtlessly spat a seed husk
onto his exquisite marble floor.
"And of what crimes would you accuse me?" he finally
Mulder shrugged. "Kidnapping, false imprisonment, transporting
minors across state lines for immoral purposes, human rights violations
such as rape, torture, deprivation of food and comfort, failure
to allow self-determination. Oh, and let's not forget multiple
counts of murder. We won't even go into fraud, theft, destruction
of personal property and your deviant sexual practices."
"Your laws do not apply to me. They have no meaning. As a
Roman citizen I am entitled to take what I wish, the best your
pathetic world has to offer."
"Yeah, yeah," Mulder nodded, spitting out another husk.
"Tell it to the judge," he pointed a thumb at Methos.
Fronti looked to the eldest immortal. "But you are like me!
A patrician. You know what is right. What is correct and proper.
You cannot think to fight over such as this," he flung a
hand in Mulder's direction.
"Especially for such as this," Methos responded, lifting
his sword to the guard without saluting his opponent.
Without another word Fronti lunged forward, engaging the battle.
But Methos wasn't having any of it. He avoided the thrust, turning
to the side and in one swift movement whacked off his opponent's
"You're not worth the price of the dance," Methos sneered
over the sound of Fronti's screams, and in a blur, whirled and
sliced through the exposed neck, putting the strength and weight
of his entire body behind his sword.
Startled, Mulder saw the head fly, heard the dull meaty thunk
as it hit the wall and watched the body slump to the floor.
"That was quick," he observed dryly. "Good thing
we didn't sell tickets."
Methos laughed and settled himself, raising his sword in both
hands with his feet set wide apart. As the Quickening rose around
him in a thick, substantial fog Methos glanced at Mulder. "Better
A few minutes later, once the lighting and the screaming had stopped,
Mulder peeked out to see the last of the show. The widows were
gone and the storm outside was quickly dissipating. As Quickenings
went it hadn't been a very big one, most of it being accounted
for by Fronti's age. Still, it was satisfyingly large, and noisy
enough to have drawn the attention of the neighbors when the fire
alarms had gone off.
Mulder hurriedly found Methos' coat then went to where he knelt
on the ground gasping in pain and grabbed the exhausted man beneath
the arms, hauling him back to the fire exit. Out on the landing
Methos shrugged him off.
"I can walk," he croaked, stumbling into the elevator.
"Sure," Mulder nodded dubiously and set the cage to
He waited a moment until Methos had caught his breath. "How
are you feeling?" he finally asked.
"I'm fine. He's a bit unsettled about having to spend eternity
with rest of the rabble."
"Seems fair," he commented, already forgetting about
Fronti as he crossed his arms and stared at Methos' chest with
an odd look in his eyes.
"What?" the older man asked glancing down.
"Megadeath? And that shirt looks brand new. What did you
do, buy in bulk?"
"Me?" he asked. "What about you? 'I am Methos,
hear me roar'? What kind of intro is that?!"
Mulder burst out laughing.
"It's not funny!" Methos insisted. "I'm a legend.
Like Marilyn, Elton and Cher! They never had to put up with inanities
Mulder was still laughing by the time they got down to the car.
And all the way back to the hotel Methos complained -- vociferously
and in numerous languages until finally Mulder apologized -- sort
"Okay! I promise," Mulder insisted as he unlocked their
suite. "You will never roar for me again."
"What do mean by that? That's no apology! I can roar for
you anytime I like!" The sense of two other immortals entering
the room didn't even faze Methos' in his tirade. "And what's
wrong with my clothes? Megadeath was a great band!"
Duncan cleared his throat, looking as though he didn't know whether
to be angry because they'd ditched him, or whether he should leave
the scene of what sounded like a lovers' quarrel. He was about
to say something when Amanda laid a hand on his arm and shook
her head. "Come on," she winked. "Let's leave those
two alone to...well, whatever." MacLeod shrugged and quietly
followed her out.
As the door closed behind them Methos suddenly fell silent and
Mulder smiled. The older man put an arm around his student's shoulders
and led him over to the bar where he found the bottle of champagne
he'd ordered and popped the cork.
"I just love it when a plan comes together."