The plume of smoke rose above the treeline, thick, black and oily, caught by the wind gusting to the east. "What the hell?" Duncan muttered, squinting at the pall as if it could tell him something.
Methos watched him for a second, then caught his eye impatiently. "Come on, Mac. We've got to get moving." Whatever the explosion was, it hadn't been directed at them, and they had plenty of other things to concern themselves with. A hundred miles lay between them and safety and now they were left with no transport or supplies, a mortal man to keep alive and two warring armies to avoid. Nothing to be gained by putting it off. He gave a single sharp nod in the direction they needed to go. Duncan replied with a nod and an uncertain smile that Methos didn't return. They started off heading due east without a word between them.
Mpande stepped up to walk beside Duncan. "So, this is the plan? We walk?"
"Until something better shows up, yes, that's the plan."
"I can't believe the fucking girl stole our truck," Mpande muttered.
"Our stolen truck," Methos tossed in, just for the hell of it. He was having a hard time believing it himself, though he wasn't sure why. Certainly Kumari had never been a poster-child for stability or rational behavior, but she had to know that her chances of making it out Angola alive were far less alone than if she'd stayed with them. Maybe she didn't care. But he knew one thing for sure --; if they ever caught up with her again, he was going to wring her bloody neck.
"You know, you might have mentioned she was likely to do that," Duncan said, sounding slightly less amused now.
"Oh, for fuck's sake, MacLeod. She cut a man's prick off and fed it to him. I think we both know she's capable of any bloody thing."
"What the hell?" Mpande stopped in his tracks and turned to look at them.
Duncan laid a hand on Mpande's shoulder and clapped it in a way that would have made Methos want to flatten the man, if it was him. "Long story," Duncan said with a glance at Methos. "I'll fill you in later."
"It's a moot point anyway," Methos tossed back. "She's long gone. That's the last we'll see of her, and the rest of our weapons, our gear, our--"
"Not fucking moot to me, man," Mpande broke in, pulling away from Duncan's hand. "You sayin' I was walking around half the bloody day with a girl who..." Mpande's face twisted as if he was imagining it happening to him, "holy fuck. You could've fucking told me."
"I didn't know until after you'd gone," Duncan said, with a pointed glance at Methos.
Methos' simmering temper flared. "And what the hell was I supposed to say? 'Hi, guys, this is Kumari. She cut the dick off the man who raped her, but we're helping her escape anyway'? Come on...." He shook his head and began to walk again.
There seemed to be nothing more to say to that. Duncan shrugged and frowned, obviously deciding not to make an issue of it. Mpande shook his head and took point.
Methos could see Duncan scanning the forest uneasily as he walked, much as he had been doing himself for the last hour or so. It looked quiet, but that meant exactly nothing; there could be troops close by and they would never know until they were almost on top of them. So he shouldn't have been as surprised as he was when another explosion went off, much closer to them this time.
He dived to the ground, grunting with pain as Duncan's weight landed fully on top of him. Mortar fire? Or something else? It sounded like mortars. Methos twisted his body to free himself from Duncan's grasp; he needed to see what the hell was going on, which he couldn't with the bulk pressing him into the ground.
But Duncan held him tight. "Wait!" he barked.
Methos hissed in annoyance, but kept still. Just ahead, he could make out Mpande face down in the dirt, lifting his head to look around them cautiously. As much as he could, pinned by a hundred and eighty pounds of Highlander, Methos tried to as well. But he could see nothing.
Methos ignored the pounding of his heart and the heat flushing insistently through his body as Duncan held him down. It was just a physiological response, he told himself, nothing to do with how he felt. He'd simply been alone too long. Yeah, right. Pity he wasn't as good at fooling himself as he was at fooling others. The noise was still ringing in his ears when he was finally able to push up out of the embrace and look around. He couldn't see anything through the thick forest and he stood up, dusting himself off.
While Duncan was picking himself up from the ground, the ringing in Methos' ears subsided enough for him to realize there was another, lower sound nearby: a deep, ominous rumbling coming from where he knew the road ran, parallel to their path. He knew that sound too, though he hadn't heard it in quite a while. He was betting Duncan knew it too.
They looked at each other and said simultaneously: "Tank."
"Time to get us outta here." The stress was all too clear in Mpande's voice.
But they were already moving. Methos took off at a run with Duncan and Mpande catching up to him in the space of a few steps. The ground was damp beneath the dead leaves and his feet slipped as he dodged around the trees. And damn, it shouldn't have been as hot as it was in the shadowy forest but the sweat was sheeting off him, wearing him out a lot more quickly than he expected.
Methos figured they'd gone about a kilometer into the steaming forest when a clearing opened in front of them and Duncan skidded to a halt. Methos would have run past him, but for the hand that wrapped unexpectedly around his arm and pulled him back.
"What?" he snapped, tugging his arm free, but standing still anyway. He was cranky, but he wasn't a fool.
Duncan and Mpande were looking at each other and the clearing, some silent message in the way they glanced back and forth.
Something he was choosing to call annoyance made Methos snap, "Someone want to fill me in?"
"Minefield, Doc," Mpande said, still staring out at the clearing.
Methos' irritation disappeared, a flicker of fear coming to take its place. "Are you sure?"
"You wanna try it and see?"
"Probably not." Methos looked over at Duncan, who was still gazing thoughtfully out into the gap in the forest. "Well, Mac?"
"There's no way to know for sure, but it's not worth the risk, it's just the sort of place they lay mines. We'll have to circle right around, stick to the thicker bush."
Mpande nodded. "Yebo."
It sounded good to him. "Well, come on, then." Methos was seriously impatient to be gone. Just the thought of being near potentially fatal explosives was making him nervous.
They turned back and began to walk a wide circle around the clearing. Mpande took the lead and Methos found himself walking with Duncan beside him. At least he was quiet and Methos found his equilibrium returning with every step he took away from the minefield. The fear was still there, of course, just because they'd avoided what was probably a minefield, meant little or nothing; mines could be anywhere. But if he thought too closely about that, he'd never take another step and end up frozen like a statue in the middle of Angola for the rest of his life.
Gods, he hated this country, this war, this whole fucking century was turning out to be just as bad as the one before it. Methos swiped at the tiny flies buzzing around his face and fell into a peevish silence.
Until Duncan broke it. "Methos?" he began, his voice low and raspy like it had been before when they'd...well before.
Methos looked at him, but didn't answer.
Duncan must have taken that as encouragement, because he went on, "What will you do, when we get back to the camp, I mean?"
It wasn't what he'd expected Duncan to ask. "Go back to work, I guess. I do have a contract to finish." He squinted at Duncan. "Why?"
"You know I have a contract too."
Methos actually hadn't thought that far ahead. Oddly. "I guess we'll just have to behave like rational adults; difficult as that may be for some of us." It came out a lot more gently than he'd intended, though he couldn't say why.
"I'm sure we'll manage. After all, we are both rational adults, aren't we?" Duncan's voice had taken on that same warmly amused note he'd had back in the church.
"Some of us," Methos replied tartly. He looked up ahead; Mpande was walking about a hundred meters in front of them. Without replying to Duncan, Methos sped up, lengthening his stride to leave Duncan behind. He didn't want to talk anymore, didn't want to think about all the things he wanted and would never have. He just wanted some peace and quiet. Not too fucking much to ask for, was it?
Duncan let Methos stride ahead of him, watching him walk, head down, shoulders hunched in that way that Duncan knew only too well meant he was deep in thought. He watched him, melancholy creeping up despite himself -- despite the facade of easy assurance he'd shown. Getting Methos back in his life was proving to be every bit as difficult as he'd feared.
What if Methos could never forgive him and they stayed stuck in this uneasy truce, not really friends and very far from being lovers? Duncan could wait -- would wait -- if he thought it would do any good. But if it was hopeless? He let himself wallow in the thought of that for the split-second it deserved. Whatever happened he wasn't giving up. He could afford to be patient, they had time.
In front of him, Methos stepped lightly around a fallen branch half-buried in the long grass. And stopped. Had a heartbeat to turn his shocked-white face towards Duncan before the blast sent him flying to the ground. Thoughts tumbled wildly in Duncan's head as he struggled to pick himself up, fighting the weakness of his body. White-hot knives sliced into him -- his face, his chest, his belly, all on fire with sharp, ripping agony, but he couldn't think about it, couldn't think about himself, because Methos had stepped on a mine.
And he couldn't feel him anywhere.
The fear was worse than the pain, tearing at him from the inside out, driving rational thought from his mind. He lifted his head from the ground, but the world was cloaked red, like a vision of hell. He blinked and dragged a hand up to rub the blood from his eyes, but he still couldn't see Methos. Muscles screamed as Duncan turned himself over to push up to his hands and knees, hauling himself slowly -- too slowly -- to his feet. He swayed and almost fell, but he was up and able to look dazedly around. The fear was a living thing inside him, twisted and sharp-edged, driving out everything else.
Sick expectation was crawling through the fear, dread that any second now he would feel the first shock of quickening slam into him. He braced himself for it, holding his breath against the first sense of Methos' essence but nothing came. Finally he spotted a flicker of movement: Mpande kneeling on the ground, looking down at something Duncan couldn't quite see. He allowed himself the smallest sense of relief as he lurched over to him, stumbling over the rough ground.
Methos' quickening was still ominously absent and Duncan's throat was tight with fear for what he would find when he reached them. He pushed himself through the pain and the fear, the myriad small wounds healing as he went. Blood was still dripping into his eyes and he swiped it away absently, he couldn't think about himself now; he was in one piece and he'd heal, but Methos....
"Methos?" Duncan rasped as he reached them finally. Mpande shifted out of the way and Duncan fell to his knees, beside Methos' battered, bloodied body. Oh Christ. Duncan's stomach rose up his throat. He'd seen this vision in his dreams so many times. Methos chest -- Methos' heart -- laid open, his beautiful body slashed until it was almost unrecognizable. But this wasn't then and he blinked the vision away. Methos' heart was in his chest; his head was still on his shoulders. Torn and bloody, like the rest of him, but there.
Duncan wanted to cry with relief.
"Mac?" Mpande's voice came as if from very far away, gentler than he'd ever heard it. "He's dead, man."
Duncan shook his head and more blood dripped in his eyes. "No, he's not," he whispered, stroking his hand along Methos' face, slick with blood. "He'll be okay." And soon, please, Methos. He didn't think he could look at this for long.
His legs were a mess, his feet a bloody pulp of bone and tissue, the muscles of his calves lying open in shreds. The rest of him wasn't much better, the fragments had ripped into every part of his body, but as far as Duncan could see, nothing had actually been blown away. His belly lay open, the pale ropes of intestines clearly visible amongst the blood, below the broad chest peppered with deep, oozing wounds.
He forced himself to look higher; Methos' neck was the truly frightening thing, sliced open by flying metal turned to knives by the blast force. Methos' long, pale throat was scarlet with his own blood. Slashed, but not deep enough to cut all the way through. With a vague sense of disbelief, Duncan found himself actually grateful that it was 'only' a fragmentation mine.
It could have been so much worse. If it had been a blast mine, Methos' chances of losing a limb would have been very much greater, after all, that was what they were designed to do: blow away a leg and drive dirt, fragments and bone deep into the wound. And he didn’t even want to think about the damage a bounding-type mine could have done, the second explosion high in the air could have taken Methos' head off. The thought made his skin turn cold and his stomach clench painfully.
Methos still wasn't healing.
"You can heal from this?" Mpande asked in a disconcerting echo to Duncan's thoughts.
Duncan spared a second to glance up from Methos' face. "Yes, we can heal from this. But injuries like these might take...a while." But they would heal, he reminded himself.
"Anything I can do?"
Duncan looked up at him again, seeing him properly this time. Blood was running down from several long, deep cuts on Mpande's face. "You're wounded."
Mpande shrugged. "Just a few scratches, man. Fucking good thing I was up where I was -- trees caught most of the frags." He wiped at the blood. "I'll be okay."
Duncan nodded. They'd both been lucky, though right now he felt far from it. "He's lost a lot of blood. He'll need water when he comes back."
Mpande nodded and stood up. "I'll go." He stopped and squinted back at Duncan. "Hey, man, where's your rifle?"
Shit. He hadn't even thought of that. "I must have dropped it when I fell." He went to get up to go find it.
Mpande held up a hand. "I get it. Stay there."
He found himself tensing as he watched the tracker walk back over to where Duncan had fallen, holding his breath in anticipation of another blast. But none came and Mpande was soon striding back, the Armalite in his hand.
"Here you go, Mac."
Duncan took the weapon from him and nodded. "Thanks."
"Better kick the dust, man," the tracker said.
"Hey, Mpande," Duncan called as the tracker walked away. "Be safe."
"Better bloody believe it," Mpande called back, shouldering his own rifle.
Duncan watched him disappear into the trees, before he turned back to Methos and set the rifle down within easy reach. At last, the healing was beginning, the superficial cuts and abrasions disappearing far more slowly than Duncan had ever seen on Methos. Perhaps it was the poor condition he'd been in to begin with, or perhaps it was the sheer number of wounds that needed to heal, whatever it was, it was stretching Duncan's nerves tight to watch and wait. This time had been close...too close.
Long strands of Methos' hair were matted with blood and stuck to his eyes, Duncan wiped them away gently and left his hand resting there, stroking his fingers over what little intact skin there was. He itched to do something, anything, to help Methos heal faster and come back, but there was nothing he could do but wait. He shifted so that he was sitting with his back against a nearby tree, gathered Methos' bloody hand into his own and watched.
It took longer than he expected. He'd waited for Methos to come back to life before, that awful day when the Two had almost taken his head, but this was even worse somehow. The awful wounds in his chest, belly and legs had sealed maybe ten minutes before, his throat was taking a bit longer. The sun was sinking below the mountains they'd left behind when Methos jerked and coughed and finally, finally, opened his eyes.
"Hey...." Duncan smiled, not letting go of Methos' hand for a second. "Welcome back."
"Tell me...I've still got...my dick," Methos whispered so quietly Duncan could barely hear him.
He could see Methos trying to smile and he tried not to react to the way the expression pulled open one of the deeper wounds on his neck. He could still see the white gleam of tendon deep inside. It was an effort not to look away or to stare at the wound in horror. Instead, he forced a smile and hoped Methos didn't notice how fake it was. "You want me to check?"
Methos narrowed his eyes at him, the pissy expression oddly reassuring, and shifted his free hand to cover his groin, prodding gingerly. He sent Duncan another weak smile.
"It looks like it's all still there. You were lucky," Duncan said.
"Don't...feel it." Methos' hand went to his throat and his eyes widened. Duncan could feel his fear. "Fuck...."
"It's okay..." Duncan soothed. Methos tried to sit up, but Duncan pressed him gently back to the ground. "Lie still a bit longer. You're not finished healing, yet."
"Taking...too long," Methos complained, his voice still just a rasp.
"Patience...." Methos' hand twitched in his, but he did not pull away. Duncan was too relieved to wonder at that.
"...pande...okay?" Every word looked painful.
He rubbed his thumb over the back of Methos' hand. "He's fine -- a few scratches is all. He's gone for water."
"Good." Methos tried to smile again and Duncan wanted to wince in sympathy for the pain it cost him.
"Don't talk, Methos. Just be still, you'll heal faster." Duncan couldn't stop his eyes flicking down to the wounds in Methos' throat, blue light still zipping around inside them much slower than he'd have liked.
Methos' hand curled tighter around Duncan's, and he closed his eyes and was silent. With the direction his thoughts had taken, Duncan wasn't sure how happy he was that Methos had actually done as he was told for once. He couldn't help but think of Kalas: his scarred throat, his ruined voice, and wonder whether that would be Methos' fate as well.
He would miss the pale, smooth beauty of Methos' throat -- not to mention his wonderful voice -- if it came to that, but it would be a small loss compared to what they'd come so close to. Methos was alive and Duncan hung onto that fact as tightly as he held Methos' hand. Methos was still lying quietly, asleep or resting, Duncan couldn't tell. He didn't suppose it mattered, the only thing that really did was that Methos was alive and soon he would be okay.
He'd been given another chance, but he couldn't help feeling he was fast running out of them. The old fear crept out from the dark corners of his mind where it had been lurking and, for a moment, burst into full bloom. Four hundred years of losing the ones he loved...four hundred years of feeling like his love was a death sentence. He banged his head back against the tree trunk. Damn it, he was sick of this. It took an almost physical effort, but he shoved the fear back where it belonged.
Methos' hand twitched in his and Duncan pressed it more firmly. "I love you, Methos," he whispered. "I'm not letting go this time."
Methos' eyes half opened and he mumbled something that sounded like, "Don't," before he rolled onto his side and began to breathe deeper and slower.
I won't.... Duncan held fast to Methos' hand and waited impatiently for Mpande to return.
It was another hour before Mpande appeared through the trees, carrying a couple of gourds and looking tired and harrassed. With a pang of conscience, Duncan realized the tracker had gone all night without sleep and he had to have been close to the end of his endurance. They really had to find a safe place to regroup and work out what their next move would be. And let Methos recover fully.
Even though the wounds on his neck had disappeared at last, leaving only a fading red line to mark their existence, Methos had not woken. He'd been resisting the urge to stroke his fingers over the healing skin while Methos slept, to reassure himself that he really was going to come out of this unscathed and unscarred. But he kept their joined hands as their only point of contact. And he didn't let go as Mpande came near.
"Hey, Mac," Mpande said with a cheerfulness that sounded far too forced. "Got the water."
Duncan reached out with his free hand to take a gourd from Mpande. "Thanks." He nudged Methos awake, tapping the gourd against his shoulder. "Hey...c'mon, sleeping beauty, water's here."
Methos blinked and Duncan let his hand go at last to help him sit up. He pulled Methos into the cradle of his arms and legs and gave him the gourd, wondering vaguely that he didn't resist the embrace. Methos drank greedily, emptying the gourd in a series of long swallows, hissing a little when he stopped.
"Still sore?" Duncan asked softly.
"A bit," Methos said, his voice still rough but better than it was.
Duncan looked up at Mpande. "Did you have to go far? How's it looking out there?"
Mpande handed him the other gourd, Duncan hesitated and the tracker said, "Don't worry 'bout it, I had plenty back there already."
"Thanks." Duncan tipped his head back and took a long drink of the cool, unexpectedly fresh-tasting water.
"Creek about five k that way, no troops, far's I can see. We can make it that far by dark, I think." He nodded at Methos. "He gonna be okay?"
"He," came a voice laced with familiar vinegar, "will be just fine. It was just a flesh wound."
That line sounded vaguely familiar to Duncan but he wasn't wasting time on wondering about it. He did wonder, though, that Methos hadn't yet pushed him away, that Methos was letting himself be held against Duncan's chest with his head resting on Duncan's shoulder. But it felt too good to question it too deeply. Instead he asked Mpande, "Any shelter near the creek?"
"Think there maybe a cave over the other side."
It would have to do, and near a water source they'd have a better chance of scaring up some game. Things were looking up. "You ready to travel, then?" he asked Methos, as he stood up, grabbing the rifle at the same time.
For a moment, there was such a look of utter fear in Methos' eyes that Duncan almost looked around to see if there was something behind him. But Methos' eyes were fixed right on him and Duncan didn't need to look anywhere to know what was wrong. Methos had come close to dying, and it had scared him, more than he was ever likely to admit.
He knelt back down. "It's okay, Methos," Duncan murmured, for his ears only. "We'll follow in Mpande's tracks. I'll be right behind you." He reached out a hand to Methos, who took it and Duncan stood, pulling him up at the same time. "It'll be fine," he said, squeezing the hand he still held reassuringly.
Methos snatched his hand away and the tip of his chin lifted pugnaciously. "Of course it will," he snapped. "Stop gaping, MacLeod. It makes you look positively Neanderthal."
Duncan closed his mouth and stopped himself from shaking his head with confusion at the sudden reversal. "C'mon, let's get moving," he said, squaring his shoulders and looking out in the direction that Mpande had come from. "We're losing the light."
Mpande took the lead again, stepping carefully in the tracks he'd already made and Duncan waited for Methos to snatch up his blade from the ground and follow before he brought up the rear himself. They walked in silent single file, through the lengthening shadows of the forest.
He could feel the creek before he saw it, the coolness settling over his skin like a clammy fog. They'd been heading downhill for the last hour, and Duncan had spent most of that watching the tension rising in the man in front of him. Methos was taut and brittle with it -- even from behind it was all too clear he was ready to snap with the slightest provocation.
Finally, the forest opened up before them and he could see the creek, moss-covered rocks tumbling down to the waterline. The creek was high, brimming with white water from the recent rains. Beyond the creek a low cliff squatted, rock rising in a gentle undulation of green and gray topped by a darker green straggle of trees. The shadowy clefts of rock might indeed hide a cave, Duncan thought as he looked it up and down.
A shoulder brushed his own, presence thrumming warm and strong, and from the corner of his eye Duncan could see Methos standing close by. "You okay?" Duncan asked a little tentatively, considering how volatile Methos had been today.
"Of course," Methos answered stiffly, not moving away.
Mpande walked down to the waterline and knelt to scoop up a gourd full of water, Duncan was thirsty too, and he went down to join him, not missing the fact that Methos stuck close to him the whole way. Shrugging mentally, Duncan gave up on wondering why; he was never going to figure Methos out, he didn't know why he bothered to try.
The water was colder than he'd expected, but wonderful as he drank deeply. Methos crouched beside him and drank too. Duncan watched him, really seeing for the first time how bad Methos looked. He was smeared with dried blood and dirt, his clothes were in rags and his shoes had been shredded when he'd stepped on the mine. But he grinned at Duncan through the filth and while Duncan was wondering what the hell was going on now, Methos scooped a handful of water from the creek and splatted it all over him.
Duncan almost fell on his butt with shock as the cold water hit him. Methos' cackles rang in his ears, but he recovered fast, grabbing the old menace and shoving him straight into the water. "All right! You need a bath," he smirked.
Methos plopped untidily into the water, limbs flailing. He scrambled to his feet with the current boiling around him and while Duncan was still chuckling at the murderous look on his face, Methos hauled off and punched him square on the chin. Holy shit! Duncan's head snapped back and he toppled backwards and lay there for a second, too stunned to move, while Methos pulled himself out of the water and stalked by him without a second look.
Fuck, Methos might not be in top shape, but he was still damn strong, Duncan thought as his head spun; he was lucky his jaw wasn't broken. He sat up and looked around; Methos hadn't gone far, Duncan could still feel his presence, so he let him go -- for now. After a moment or two, Duncan pushed himself up from the ground.
"Fucking hell, Mac... You got some bloody strange friends," Mpande muttered as he filled the gourds and set them by a tree.
Duncan sighed to himself, but didn't answer, wondering if Methos had had enough time to cool down and talk rationally yet. He folded his arms across his chest and snorted with impatience. Dammit. The light was fading and they still needed to get over the creek and find some shelter for the night, so Methos would just have to be ready, because he was going to talk about this, like it or not.
Methos, when Duncan found him, was standing with his back against a tall tree, breathing raggedly, his face chalk-white and stricken. It was probably a good thing he was leaning against a tree; the way he was shaking, Duncan doubted he could stand up by himself right now.
"Methos...?" Duncan watched him stiffen and do a creditable job of pulling himself together.
"I'm fine," Methos answered, a tremor hidden in his voice.
Duncan rubbed his jaw. "Well, I'm not. That was a hell of a right cross."
Methos met his eyes for a second and his mouth compressed into a thin line. "Sorry about that."
"I'm not your enemy."
Methos rolled his eyes. "I am aware of that."
"Then what the hell is the problem?"
"Look. You've got your apology," Methos said tightly, "isn't that what you came for? Can't we just get on with finding somewhere to spend the night? It is getting late."
Duncan shook his head. "Now, Methos."
Methos' lip curled. "No." He stepped away for the tree and tried to shoulder past Duncan.
Duncan grabbed him and pushed him back against the tree. "Yes."
"No." Another surge against him as Methos tried to twist free.
"Yes." Duncan pinned him there, using the weight of his body as an anchor. Their bodies were pressed close and suddenly Methos went pliant against him, heavy-lidded eyes fixed on his mouth. Duncan had almost given in to the lure, leaning in even closer, when he realized what Methos was up to.
"No..." Duncan whispered, his lips an inch from Methos' mouth.
Methos closed the distance with his hand curling around Duncan's nape. "Yes..." he growled and took Duncan's mouth hard.
And Christ it was hard to pull away.... The kiss was all teeth and tongues and fire and blood and a small voice inside him telling him to take this while he could, because too much time had gone by already and he might never have this chance again.
But he did pull away. "No," Duncan breathed, tracing a line down the side of Methos' face. "No."
Methos voice was low and pained. "What do you want, MacLeod...blood?"
"Just the truth. Ever since we found you, you've been up and down like--"
Methos cut him off. "Blood would be easier." His gaze slid away.
"I don't want blood," Duncan said patiently. "I just want to know the truth. I know today must have scared you, but surely you've had plenty of close calls before."
Methos sighed and leaned back against the tree, looking up at the sky. "I'm old and fucked up, MacLeod. Can't we leave it at that?"
"No. We can't."
"Were you born this annoying, or is this something you worked on?"
"It's a gift."
"I'd give it back."
"Fine!" Methos yelled, stepping away from the tree and advancing on Duncan. "You really want to know?"
"It matters more now, all right?" Methos narrowed his eyes. "And don't think I'm happy about it." He turned on his heel and stalked away.
Continued in Chapter Twenty Back to Main Page Back to Contents