Author: Ecolea
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:

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 smile.

Dedicated to Estella, who deserves more and better.

Lie Down With The Lamb(1/2)
By Ecolea

Lamb's Way Road
Inverurie, Scotland
October, 2031

"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 warning.

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 systems."

"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 larger roads."

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 tent.

"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 haggis."

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 out Lucille.

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 it.

"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 his jeans.

"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 implanting chips."

"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 chuckle.

"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 elder immortal.

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 were needed.

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.


Chicago, Illinois
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 whiskey."

They were both smiling as they got out of the car and went into the house.

"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 done it.

"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 guest.

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 doing?"

"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 my fault."

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 Bolivia.

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 guards.

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 of mine."

"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 wrong?"

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 warned."

"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 in there!"

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 on insanity."

"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 that thought?"

"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 me, boy?"

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 nodded.

"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 they say."

Mulder sighed. "Know the art, know the artist? Yeah, it's true."

Methos smiled gently, nodding in sudden comprehension. "That's why you came into the house. You needed someone to save you from yourself."

"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 stove.

"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 smiled.

"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 Mulder.

"What is?"

"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 a file.

"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)
By Ecolea

"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 the findings."

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 disturbing.

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 to escape."

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 pictographic symbol?"


"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 different permutations."

"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 bracelet.

"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 crap."

Methos looked up from the book he was reading, a little surprised by Mulder's comment.

"Something wrong?"

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 have known."

"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 that..."

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 worry about."

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 versus Pepsi."

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," he admitted.

Mulder grinned. "Actually, it was an article I wrote for Advertising Age."

"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 gratification."

"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 Bathory?"

"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 data base."

"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 me."

"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."

"Come again?"

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 the mind."

"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 sheep."

"And law enforcement just looks the other way?" he asked, surprised.

"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 York."

"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 things."

"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 man."

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 it?"

"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.


"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 moron."

"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 kill you."

"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 so despise."

"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 sputtered.

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 sword arm.

"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 duck."

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 go down.

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 like that!"

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 of.

"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."