Duncan MacLeod climbed out of his car and looked up at the impressive house. White stone stretched high up above him, with a blue roof and matching rounded towers at either end. Nice. A place this size was bound to have its own swimming pool, and he could see the tennis courts from here. Even if there weren't any holes, the gardens were clearly big enough for him to practice his swing, and she had told him to bring his golf clubs. He grinned, relishing the thought of the weekend ahead. The most beautiful woman that he had seen since - well, since the last one - a gorgeous house, and a relaxing game of golf. Plus other, numerous possibilities. If this was the sort of reward that came from helping a damsel in distress, he was going to have to start doing it more often. A lot more often. He pulled his weekend bag from the car and approached the front door, pulling the heavy bell chain. All that he had done had been to change the woman's tyre. That wasn't exactly difficult, especially with her brand new, luxury, hydraulic jack to assist him. Not that he was complaining.

The door swung open, and a tall, beautiful woman stood before him. He smiled at her in happy recognition. It was always nice to have one's memories confirmed so delightfully; she really was as attractive as he had remembered. Nearly six feet tall, with thick, light brown hair, bright blue eyes and a ready smile, presently directed at him.

"Hi," he said, nearly wincing at how lame it sounded. Her smile grew bigger.

"Hello Duncan. I'm glad you could come."

"Ah hey, I had nothing better to do." He followed her into the house, and put his bag down on the floor. "Nice place you've got here." A sixteenth century vase caught his eye and he whistled. "Your decorator has great taste too."

"Thanks. I decorated myself." She saw the direction of his gaze and laughed. "Of course. I was forgetting your line of business. That piece was a present from my fiancé. The first one."

"What did the second give you?" he asked, largely in jest. She grinned at him, a challenge in her eyes.

"The house." Turning away she gestured down the corridor. "I'll go and fix us some drinks. I have a twelve year old malt whisky. Would you like a glass?"

"Great, thankyou." He watched her glide away, and heard her voice echo back to him.

"Why don't you go out to the patio? My other guest is out there."

Other guest? This was news to Duncan, but he shrugged inwardly. A dinner guest probably, who would be gone by nightfall, or possibly early the next morning. He strolled down the corridor, coming to a huge pair of French windows which led out to a patio. A vast swimming pool, tiled in blue to match the house roof, lay before him, the water winking in the sunlight. It looked warm and inviting. A figure was stretched out in it, reclining in luxurious relaxation several inches beneath the surface. MacLeod felt a sudden buzz, and frowned. The shape, distorted though it was by the water, was familiar; and he would have known that lazy posture anywhere. Slowly the figure broke the surface and treaded water for a few moments, smiling up at MacLeod with his usual indolent carelessness.

"Hello," he said, relaxing back into the warm water. MacLeod gazed at him.

"Methos, what the hell-?"

"Hey." Suddenly alert, Methos swum to the edge of the pool. "It's Adam, please. Watch your voice, MacLeod."

"You watch your voice, Methos." Duncan caught the older Immortal by the wrist and hauled him from the pool. "What are you doing here?"

"Visiting." He shrugged. "I did the lady a favour a while back, so she invited me up here for the weekend. Seems that she's got a party planned."

"Great. Don't tell me that you fixed her car."

Methos grinned.

"Why not?" he asked innocently. "It has been known." He turned around and dived back into the pool, vanishing beneath the surface for several moments, and leaving MacLeod to fester. Finally the lithe figure rose back up, grinning at the other Immortal. "You know," he said cheerfully, as he treaded water, "I actually know quite a lot about cars. That guy… what's his name? Harry? The Ford chap." He shook his head. "Didn't like him. Anyway, I worked with him for a while. I think I was a journalist at the time, but I don't quite remember. I said; 'Harry, it'll work much better if you use fuel injection, and fit it with a catalytic converter,' but would he listen?"

"Go home, Adam," MacLeod sat down on a deck chair near the pool. "What did you come for anyway? I didn't think you liked social occasions."

"I do when they're held in places like this." Methos relaxed back. "Built in 1901, this place. I knew the first owner."

"Right." The scepticism was heavy in MacLeod's tone. It was rapidly reaching the stages these days, where he disbelieved everything that Methos said to him on principal. The old man looked momentarily affronted.

"Yeah, right. His name was Gerald. Paul Gerald. I was tutor to his kids for the summer of 1901. Nice guy."

"Ah, good. You're getting acquainted I see. Have you met properly?" Coming out of the house, their hostess smiled at the pair. "Do you fancy a swim as well, Duncan?"

"No thanks." Duncan smiled up at her. "Actually, Jennifer, we already know each other." A wicked smile crossed his face for the briefest of moments. "Adam here works for me." He flashed the old man a satisfied smirk, pleased to see the flash of indignation in the other Immortal's eyes.

"Oh good." Jennifer handed him a glass and put another down on a nearby table. "Drink, Adam?"

"No thanks." Methos pulled himself out of the pool and picked up a towel, beginning to dry off his hair. "That stuff is too strong for me this time of the morning." Duncan tried not to snort, recalling his friend's at times almost exclusively alcohol based diet. "I'm going to go and get dressed. See you in a couple of minutes."

"Don't hurry back for our sakes Adam," Duncan called after him. Methos smiled, disappearing inside the house. It was faintly disturbing how well he already seemed to know his way around. Duncan sipped his whisky, smiling at Jennifer as she relaxed into a chair nearby. Given her obvious interest in him, he didn't really think that he needed to worry about any sort of rivalry games with Methos. Let the old man play in the swimming pool; Duncan MacLeod had other things to absorb his interest in this weekend. His smile grew bigger, and Jennifer matched it with one of her own, as they settled down together in companionable silence.


The rest of the day passed lazily. Duncan played a few rounds of golf, glad to be out in the open air once again. Life had been slow the last couple of months, and he had been spending more and more time at the antiques store. Wandering around a golf course, with no one but a beautiful girl for company, had to rate pretty highly on his list of good things to do, and he made a mental note to try and do it more often. Amanda was a great golf player, and he felt a quick burst of guilt thinking about her. Whether it was because he was here with another woman, or whether it was guilt at thinking about Amanda while he was still with Jennifer, it was hard to say. He ignored the feeling.

Dinner was a remarkable affair, with some of the best food he had tasted in a long time. Methos, whose manners and behaviour were impeccable whenever Jennifer was present, seemed content to take a back seat in proceedings, which was enough on its own to make the Highlander suspicious; but he tried to forget his concerns and concentrate just on Jennifer. She seemed to have a never-ending supply of food, cooked by unseen kitchen assistants, and all exquisite. Even the wine was perfect. When they had finished eating, she led them both to a drawing room, filled with wood panelling, and fetched a large bottle of brandy from a hidden cupboard.

"I hope you're enjoying yourselves," she told them. Duncan grinned.

"Are you kidding? That fish was wonderful. I've got to talk to your cook."

"Wouldn't do any good." She smiled at him. "He would never tell you what the secret ingredient is."

"I could try." His eyes strayed over to Methos, who was wandering around the bookshelves, looking at the books. "Say Adam, don't you feel like a swim?"

"No." Methos was smirking into a leather bound volume. "I was thinking about sitting down here in this nice comfortable armchair actually. This is a first edition, you know."

"I suppose I should be interested." Duncan grinned. "But I'm not. You're looking pretty sleepy."

"Am I." The old Immortal sighed, then put the book back and raised his glass at the other two. "In that case I suppose I should retire. See you two in the morning."

"Not too early," Duncan said. Jennifer giggled.

"Not too early, no. I'll see you in the pool at six, MacLeod. A little race." He turned to leave, hesitating momentarily by the door. "We could take bets on it, if you'd like."

"In the morning." Duncan waved him away and he left. Jennifer laughed, sitting down beside Duncan on the couch.

"I had no idea you two were such good friends," she told him, reaching for the decanter to refill MacLeod's glass. "You're really very sweet with him. Like an older brother."

MacLeod tried not to laugh.

"Yeah," he said, smirking inwardly. "Well you know how it is. I'm a lot older than him."

"Well it's definitely sweet." She settled herself beside him, and then smiled. "Would you like to put some music on? I've got a lot of pretty slow stuff. Sort of… romantic… you know?"

"I'd be happy to." He crossed to the CD player set into the wall nearby, and scanned through the line of CDs. The titles were all familiar to him, and he smiled as he picked one at random and slid it into the machine. He definitely liked this woman.


"Adam!" Striding out onto the patio the next morning, Duncan flashed his friend a cheerful smile. "Sleep well?"

"Not half as well as you did." Drinking from a beer can, with a familiarly expensive brand name on the side, Methos smirked knowingly. "I said six o'clock."

"I didn't feel like a swim." Duncan sat down on the deck chair next to the other Immortal and smiled across at him. "Don't you feel like you should be wearing a lounge suit, or a smoking jacket or something? This place is like a millionaire's playground."

"Not really." Methos, who was dressed as always in jeans and an over-large shirt, closed his eyes. "Were you ever in New York at the turn of the century? Now that was a millionaires' playground. Everything was wonderful until the stock market crash. I knew one guy who--"

"Forget it Adam. It's too hot to talk about old memories." Duncan closed his eyes as well. "Where's Jennifer?"

"She went out. Said something about delivering an invitation to some other guest."

"Oh. I don't suppose you know where she keeps the fridge? This place is so big I'm beginning to feel like I could get lost in the bathroom."

"No problem." The old man stood. "What do you want?"

"Something to eat." Duncan grinned, settling himself into the chair. "Make it snappy, waiter. No flirting with the kitchen maids."

"I'll be back in a moment." He disappeared, going back towards the house. MacLeod waited for him, beginning to wonder where he had got to; and was just getting up to go and find his friend when Methos rematerialised, appearing out of a side door, holding his finger.

"I cut myself." He sounded almost shocked.

"Doing what?" MacLeod joined him, grinning at the expression on his colleague's face. "It'll heal, Methos. What were you doing in there anyway?"

"Making you a sandwich." The old Immortal was glowering. "Chicken and ham, if you must know. Chicken and blood now." He held his left hand out. "It's been bleeding for five minutes, MacLeod."

MacLeod caught the other Immortal by the wrist, taking a look at the cut. It was not deep, but it was definitely bleeding. A momentary flash of memory, fixing a similar injury on some mortal's hand, came to him.

"It can't have been bleeding five minutes, Methos. How could it?"

The Immortal scowled and pulled him back through the side door, into the kitchen. A knife lay on the counter, dribbling blood onto the immaculate surface.

"Try it yourself. Go on. Maybe it's a magic knife; how the hell should I know? I just know that it hurts." Methos was sinking into a sulk. MacLeod sighed.

"I am not cutting myself to ribbons just to prove a point to you, old man. Look, it's stopped bleeding already. Now can I please get something to eat?"

"Fine." With a swift gesture, Methos flicked the knife up, catching Duncan on the back of the hand. He yelped, caught by surprise, and stared down at his hand.


"Watch it. Go on; watch." They stood together, staring at the blood welling up on Duncan's hand. He was aware of the pain; much more so than usual. Slowly it dawned on him that time was passing, and there was no sign of his Immortal healing abilities coming into play. A deep, dark frown crossed his face.

"Something's not right," he said. Methos rolled his eyes.

"Oh great, so when I'm dying from loss of blood, there's nothing wrong, but you get a little nick, and--"

"Methos? Shut up." Duncan wiped the blood from his hand. "What the hell is going on? That cut was nothing. It should have gone by now."

"Well it hasn't." The old Immortal sat down on the table, staring morosely at his finger. "It hurts."

"Good." Duncan sat down on a chair next to his colleague. "Methos… Do you think she could have done something to us?"

"Don't look at me, MacLeod. It was you she was doing things with. I went to bed early, remember?"

"That's not what I meant, smart alec. I meant done something else. Could she know what we are?"

"I don't know." Methos frowned. "She's a good actor if she does. I never suspected anything."

"Neither did I." Duncan jumped to his feet, and began to search through the drawers. "Get searching, old man. See what you can find. I want to know what that 'secret ingredient' was that she mentioned yesterday. You think she could have some kind of a drug here?"

"Possible." Methos stood up slowly, looking around with no great enthusiasm. "There are drugs to slow down healing in mortals; to lessen the effects of anti-bodies, that sort of thing. She might have an Immortal equivalent."

"Then why don't you help me look?" Duncan's voice was tinged with impatience, but Methos did not move.

"Er… Because I don't think she'd like that." The old man nodded at the door, and Duncan turned to look. Jennifer stood there, a gun in her hand. The low cut dress of the night before had gone, to be replaced by businesslike blue trousers and a matching shirt. Even her hairstyle seemed to have changed. She smiled at them both.

"Don't do anything, either of you. In your current state there's no telling how a bullet would affect you."

"Jennifer." MacLeod stepped forward, but the gun swung around to point at him.

"I told you not to do anything." She shrugged. "Sorry, Duncan. What can I say? It was fun, but that's life." She glanced at somebody standing behind her, and stepped aside. Seconds later Joe Dawson was pushed into the room. He smiled at the two Immortals, looking vaguely awkward.

"Are you two okay?"

"Joe!" Methos went to him, ignoring the gun. "What happened?"

"I had an early morning wake up call." He allowed the Immortal to help him into a chair, then grinned ruefully. "I guess this gets us a full house, huh."

"It certainly does." Jennifer was smiling. "With everything going exactly to plan, too. All I needed was twenty-four hours to fill you two with my little magic potion, and now I have the final piece of the puzzle. All three of you, right where I want you."

"But why? We don't even know who you are." MacLeod was angry, but still more puzzled than really annoyed. Jennifer shrugged.

"But I know who you are. Both of you. I know all about you, and about Mr Dawson here. His whole organisation." She stepped aside. "I've had a little help, you might say." A shadow fell in the doorway, and the three friends glanced towards it, anxious to discover who they were up against. A familiar face smiled at them, an expression of smug victory implanted firmly on his unpleasant features.

"Hello boys," he said with a grin. "It's so nice to see you all again." For a second nobody moved, then Methos stepped forward, his face filled with ill-concealed hatred. Even though he had believed the man to be dead, there was no surprise in his voice; just malice, icy cold and reminiscent of his long-buried past.

"Frank Horton," he said darkly, and the new arrival smiled at him, his eyes merry and bright.

"That's right."


"Are you two sure you're okay? They were gloating all about this potion of theirs on the way over." Shifting his position to try to get comfortable, Dawson settled himself on a packing crate. It was empty; he had already checked.

"We're fine." Duncan sounded angry, as though his pride had been severely damaged. "I liked her, dammit. Who the hell is she?"

"Jennifer Horton." Joe smiled apologetically. "Yeah; his daughter. I couldn't believe it either. Everything that involves the Hortons is about as screwy as it gets, we know that."

"He's dead." Methos sounded almost petulant. "I saw him. He fell off the bloody roof. How much deader can you get?"

"We never found the body, remember? Don't believe that a Horton's dead till you've buried him yourself." MacLeod leaned back against the wall. "I wonder how long this potion of hers is going to last? She must have been feeding it to us in every drink. Everything we've eaten since we've been here."

"Very likely. So all we have to do is not eat anything anymore." Sounding glum, Methos sighed. "Not that we're likely to be eating anything much again anyway."

"They could have killed us already." Dawson frowned. "I mean, why bring me here at all? Why not just kill me back at my apartment? And why go to all the trouble of coming up with this potion of theirs anyway? They could have just slipped you a sleeping drug and taken your heads there and then." He stretched uncomfortably. "No, there's more to this than just killing us."

"True." Methos began to pace, feeling impatient and frustrated. It stung him as much as it did MacLeod, that they had been taken in so easily by a pretty face and a grateful woman. After five thousand years, he ought to be able to spot a scam from a mile away. "So what do we do? Wait and see what happens?"

"I think I favour a more direct approach." Joe stood, giving up his attempts to relax on the makeshift furniture. "What do you say, Mac?"

"You're probably right." The Highlander sighed. "I want to know what they're up to, but I don't want to sit around here for however long it takes them to get around to us. I feel too vulnerable down here."

"Cellars never were my favourite places," Methos interjected, with a surprising amount of feeling. The other two looked up, startled by his vehemence, and he smiled, shrugging rather vaguely. "Unpleasant memories."

"Would I love to take you to a psychiatrist." Dawson shook his head. "Okay, so what do we do? If we're getting out of here, we've got the two of them to get by; and presumably two guns. There's no windows in here, which leaves us with the door."

"Which is locked," Methos added, in truly unhelpful style. "We could try pretending one of us is ill."

"I don't think so. That one is as old as the hills." Duncan was scowling; and his expression was not improved by the old Immortal's reply.

"So am I, MacLeod. That line was getting me out of prisons before your clan got its tartan." He walked up to the door, listening intently for any signs of approach. It was a solid wooden door, at the top of a flight of worn stone steps, uneven and unrailed. "Can't hear a dicky bird."

"They must be planning something. They won't come and get us till they're ready for us." MacLeod stood, joining the other Immortal by the door. "Which means that we have to go to them." He ran his hands over the door and tried shaking the handle. Nothing happened. "Solid."

"Can you pick the lock?" Dawson joined them, cramming into the tiny space by the door. "Does anybody have a hairpin?"

"You're not helping, Joe." MacLeod felt through his pockets. "I've got a penknife."

"Give it here." Methos knelt in front of the lock and began industrially jiggling the blade around inside the keyhole. "I used to be pretty good at this. As a matter of fact, back in nineteen-whenever-it-was, Butch used to say--"

"That you never shut up?" MacLeod pushed him out of the way, determined to try the lock himself, but Methos persisted, reaching for the handle. The door swung open easily, and the older Immortal grinned in triumph.

"You were saying?"

"Come on." Ignoring them both, Joe walked on past. "Where are we heading for?"

"I left my sword in my room. Chances are they've left it there." MacLeod glanced over at Methos. "What about you?"

"It's under my pillow." Methos smiled. "Always be prepared. I should have been a boy scout."

"When you were a boy they didn't have scouts," Joe told him, beginning to lead the way up the stairs. He could not be as fast as the two Immortals, but he was still able to go up the steps without making a noise. There was no sign of the two Hortons anywhere.

"Yeah. I was a deprived child. Couldn't join the scouts, couldn't eat Oreo cookies." He gave a heavy sigh. "I never even had a teddy bear."

"You're breaking my heart." MacLeod had pulled ahead, and glanced back down at the other two. "Come on, hurry up."

"We're coming." Methos sprinted up the last few steps and opened his bedroom door, peering inside. It was just as he had left it, which was reassuring. The sword still lay under his pillow and he pulled it out, running a hand along the blade. A second's unchecked emotion ran through him, and he imagined sliding the long inches of steel through Frank Horton's body. It would be fun, exciting, satisfying… He heard the sounds outside his door which told him that MacLeod had succeeded with his own goal, and the old man threw his thoughts aside to join his friends on the landing.

"Now where?" Joe peered over the banisters, looking down into the huge entrance hall. "Do we leave? I didn't see your car anywhere, Mac."

"They've probably hidden it." Methos shrugged. "Well I walked up here, so there's no use looking for my car."

"There's no use looking for any car. You wouldn't find one." The voice was Horton's, and all three friends spun around as one. They could see no sign of their enemy, but his voice came to them clearly.

"Over here," Duncan called, pointing to a small black box hidden behind a pair of curtains at the landing window. "Intercom."

"Very good." There was a distinctive laugh in Horton's voice. "Throw those swords down. There's nowhere for you to go."

"So you say." Methos stared about, wondering if they were being watched by some secret camera. "What game are you playing, Horton? 'Cause we've been doing this a whole lot longer than you have."

"Oh yes, I know. I've heard them calling you Methos." There was a short laugh. "Are you really the oldest man in the world? Or are you just faking that to impress MacLeod there?"

"Why you--" Methos started down the flight of stairs before Duncan could stop him, leaping down the last few steps with his sword held high. Jennifer laughed at him from a doorway nearby.

"Thankyou," she said, her voice as pleasant as ever. "I've been waiting for a clear shot." He began to turn towards her, but almost immediately there was the sound of a gunshot. He gasped, looking down at his chest. Red blood was soaking its way across the front of his shirt, and he gulped. It hurt more than anything he remembered.

"Damn you," he managed to whisper, before he crashed to the ground. Horton came out of the shadows, staring down at him with an expression of unconcealed delight.

"Does it hurt?" he asked innocently, then glanced up the stairwell. "You up there MacLeod?"

"Of course I'm up here." MacLeod appeared at the top of the stairs. He saw Methos, close to death, and groaned. He was going to have to give the old man a few lessons in battle tactics. This improvising was getting beyond a joke.

"We only need one of you, MacLeod. I'd like to have both, but if this is the way it has to be, I'll kill him now." There was a short laugh. "Good way to find out if he really is the old man, I suppose. See how big the Quickening is."

"If you lay one finger on him--" MacLeod started down the stairs, followed by Dawson. This unspoken indication that they were being kept for some reason, was enough to make him consider the possibility of surrender. At least death was not going to be instantaneous. "A finger? Now would I do such a thing?" Horton took Duncan's sword and gestured for him to move back towards the cellar. As the Highlander did so, Horton glanced down at Methos. He was still breathing, if only just, his face deathly pale. "You still with us, Pierson?" His answer was a weak glare. The mortal lashed out with his foot, catching the old Immortal in the ribs. There was a gasp of pain, and then silence. Horton laughed.

"He's dead. I'm deeply sorry. Still, I dare say we'll get over it. Get moving, MacLeod."

"You're a dead man, Horton." Joe's voice was soft and filled with warning. Horton laughed.

"You first, Dawson. James always said you were a traitor." He aimed another kick at Methos. "You care more for this freak than you did for your own brother-in-law."

"I wonder why." Ignoring the two guns pointed in his direction, Joe knelt beside the still form of the oldest Immortal, and gestured for MacLeod to help him lift the body. Together they carried it down into the cellar, and listened to the bleak sound of the door locking once again.

"Now what?" Dawson asked. MacLeod shrugged. He had no more suggestions.


Methos awoke slowly. He tried, and failed, to turn over onto his side for easier breathing, and finished up curled into a ball, coughing harshly. His chest hurt, and as he raised a tentative hand towards it, it came away covered with blood; fresh, wet blood. He groaned.

"Adam. Are you okay?" Hurrying to his friend's side, Joe gave him a quick glance over. "Hell, you look like death warmed up."

"Thanks." Methos could hardly get the word out. "I feel like a mortal. What's going on?"

"You can thank the Hortons and that drug of theirs. Remember your finger? And my hand? There's no telling how long it'll take for that to heal." MacLeod shrugged noncommittally. "Would I like to meet the son-of-a-bitch who came up with this stuff."

"Me too." Methos undid a couple of shirt buttons, and without much enthusiasm peered at his chest. The hole which met his eyes was uninspiring to say the least. If he had been a mortal, he would clearly have been dead; which would likely have been preferable to the pain he was currently experiencing. He sat up, determined to look alive, even if he didn't feel it. "They wanted to make sure they could control us, until whatever plan it is that they've got can be put into action."

"I'll go along with that." Joe shook his head. "With what Horton knows about the Immortals, he'd be sure to figure that even shooting you two wouldn't keep you quiet for very long. But this way, he can make certain you don't try to escape. Much more of this drug of his, and he might just be able to kill you for real."

"No." Methos shifted his position awkwardly, touching his tender chest. "He can't kill us, but he can make us wish we were dead; which is infinitely worse. We have got to get out of here."

"Yeah, don't worry about it." Duncan glanced at Dawson, and the mortal shook his head, taking care to keep out of Methos' line of vision. It was clear to both of them that the old Immortal would not be able to get very far just yet. He would slow them all down, and to leave him behind would be unthinkable. They would have to come up with some kind of plan that did not involve a quick getaway, or any sort of a fight.

"Yeah sure, don't worry." Joe sat back down on his familiar packing case, and stretched out his legs in front of him. He felt that he was getting too old for this kind of thing; which seemed a little ridiculous when in the company of a man of four hundred, let alone a man of somewhere in the region of five thousand; even if they did both look half his age. He tried to position his legs so that it would not be out of the question to make a quick move, should it become necessary; then he closed his eyes and allowed himself to relax, as he listened to the two Immortals talk.


"Did it work?" Sounding excited, the middle aged man leaned closer to Frank Horton, eager for an answer. "How did it go?"

"Fine, lieutenant." Horton sighed contentedly. "We've got all three of them down in the cellar right now." He grinned. "I put a hole in Pierson's chest big enough to bury all three of them in. He certainly isn't going anywhere."

"Good." Lieutenant James Forbes grinned broadly. "I'd like to have fired that shot myself." He threw his badge onto the table and gestured at it dramatically. "Twenty years I've been on the force. I've solved more cases on my own than most of the other detectives in the city put together; but no one would believe me when I tried to tell them about Pierson and his weird friends." He shook his head, looking bitter. "Twenty years, and they tried to send me to see a psychiatrist. Said that I'd been working too hard. I'll show them."

"We'll all show them." Horton laughed out loud, lifting a small bottle off the table and waving it about. "With this we can slow their healing rate right down. All of them, once we release it into the water supply. We can have the whole of them, as vulnerable as we are, more or less. Then when we blow the story, and release the Watcher files, every single person in the whole of the country will be able to tell the Immortals on sight; and have a fair chance of dealing with them. We can tell the world what we know; get rid of the Immortals forever." He giggled. "And have the Watchers arrested. Every last one of them. We can hunt them down one by one. Maybe we can kill a few." He giggled again. "Yeah… A few. Dawson… a few others. Just to get them back for what they did to my brother."

"That's what my stuff is going to do?" The voice was small and feminine, and both men turned towards it. The speaker was a young woman in her late twenties, tall and pale, with dark brown hair cut at shoulder length. She seemed insecure and uncertain.

"That's right." Jumping to his feet, Forbes hugged her tightly. "I am so proud of you, Amy."

"But you didn't say you were going to kill the Watchers. You said you were going to arrest them; get them out of circulation so they couldn't undermine the government."

"And that's what we're going to do." The insane giggle gone from his voice, Horton stood up, appearing suddenly businesslike and determined. "But some of them are going to have to die, Amy. You're going to have to face up to that. You have to understand the sort of thing we're dealing with here. Centuries - very likely millennia - of secrets. Conspiracies, scandals. The Watchers exist to protect the Immortals; to hide them from ordinary men and women. It's up to us to do what needs to be done to end that. Right?"

"Right." She smiled, still seeming uncertain, and her eyes lingered on the bottle. "I think I'm going to get some sleep. I'm pretty tired."

"Sure." Horton smiled at her as she left, then snapped his eyes over to Forbes. "I thought you said she was alright with this?"

"She is." Forbes nodded at the bottle. "She made that, didn't she? We couldn't have got this far without her. They'd have escaped by now, and we'd have nothing."

"Not necessarily." Horton scowled. "We need her stuff; we don't need her. She wrote down the formula, right?"

"She's my daughter, Horton. We're not getting rid of her." Forbes picked his badge up once more, and slipped it back into his pocket. "She'll be alright. She's new to this sort of thing, that's all." He turned to follow his daughter from the room, glancing back just before he left. "It'll be okay, you'll see. Everything is going to plan. In a few more days, the whole world will know as much as us. The Watchers will be over, the Immortals will be on their way out, and those three down in the cellar will be dead." His expression changed. "When I think of the lies they told me… the lies I believed…" He left the words trailing, and stomped out. Horton watched him go, an unreadable expression on his face; then he smiled and wandered away himself, leaving the kitchen empty.


Amy Forbes sat alone in a back room, staring at the bank of security monitors before her. One of the closed circuit cameras was focussed on the small group in the cellar, and although she could not hear what they were saying, she was watching them closely. She saw the older looking man - the one who seemed to have some trouble walking - as he settled himself down beside the shadowy figure on the floor; and she watched as the tall, younger man with the pony tail paced anxiously up and down. He seemed to be dividing his time between impatience and surprisingly calm acceptance; as though he were used to being in control of himself and his feelings. From time to time the figure on the floor moved into a position where she could see him properly. He was clearly injured, which told her that this was Adam Pierson; but she couldn't quite equate what she saw with the tales her father had told her about the man. She had been led to believe that he was dangerous; a potential anarchist who had tried to murder Frank Horton by pushing him off a warehouse roof. All that she saw as she looked at him now was a young man, several years younger than his two companions; a young man who was obviously in considerable pain, and who seemed to be fading rapidly in and out of consciousness. She stood up, reaching for the large box fixed to the wall, and opened it, looking through the contents. As she ran her hands over the selection of bandages and antiseptics, checking that everything was in place, one hand slipped to her pocket. There was a bottle there, small and well sealed, and she stared at it for several moments before returning it to its place.

"I'm sorry, dad," she said softly, as she gazed at the monitors. She had never expected it to be like this. Whatever the Immortals were; whatever they did to exploit the mortals; whatever evil plans they had for the world when the Game was finally over, she could not just sit here now whilst one of them was badly hurt. That went far beyond what she was capable of. She closed the first aid box with a loud click, and picked up the cellar key from its hook on the wall.


Duncan MacLeod had abandoned his irritable pacing, and was sitting on another of the empty wooden boxes when he heard the sound of a key turning in the lock at the top of the stairs. He glanced up, seeing a young woman enter the room. She came uncertainly down the stairs, her eyes scanning the small group. Twenty-eight, or twenty-nine, MacLeod reckoned; although something about her was older. Her eyes were dark and confused, and her face was pale.

"Is he alright?" She was staring at Methos. Dawson nodded.

"He will be. Eventually."

"I'm sorry." She came closer, her eyes never leaving the old Immortal. He stared back up at her, his face hidden in the shadows.

"Who are you?" he asked. She smiled.

"My name is Amy. I'm a doctor. I, er… I know what's wrong with you, and I'm sorry."

"No reason for you to apologise. Not unless you're the--" MacLeod broke off as she looked back at him. "You are, aren't you? You made that damn stuff for them. I ought to--"

"Leave her alone, MacLeod." Manoeuvring himself about so that he could look at her better, Methos frowned. She did not look like a Horton, and their was no gleam of fanaticism in his eyes. "Who are you?"

"I told you, I'm a doctor." She knelt down beside him, opening her case. "Sit still."

"Forget it." He opened the shirt slightly. "Bandages aren't going to sort this out. It'll heal in its own time."

"But that's--" She gulped. Despite what Frank Horton had said, she had been expecting a minor wound. Instead she found herself staring at a certain mortality. She had seen gunshot wounds before, and there was no hope for this man. She had no idea how to begin patching him up, without a full ER crash team by her side. For the first time since she had become involved in all of this, she began to see that it really was true; some people were immortal.

"It's just a scratch." Despite his evident pain, he smiled at her. "It would have healed long ago, if it hadn't been for that stuff you made."

"I'm sorry." She backed away slightly. "No I'm not. Why should I be sorry? Why shouldn't you have to get hurt occasionally? It's just like my father said; you people are freaks, and it's not right."

"Your… father?" Methos groaned inwardly. Another blasted Horton. Was the world really so full of them?

"My father." She scowled at him. "He told me all about you, and about what sort of people you are, and about how the Watchers have protected you all for centuries, and wormed their way into Congress, and the United Nations Council, and about how you're waiting for a chance to take over the country, and--" She broke off. It had seemed so simple when her father had told her about the conspiracy, and about the evil Immortals, ready and waiting to take over the world and kill all the mortals. Now, however, as she looked at the ageing, bearded man with the evidently false legs, she began to doubt. He was supposed to be a Watcher, and yet he looked so gentle. Admittedly the two Immortals with him had a certain dark something about them; but even so, she found it hard to believe that they were really all that bad. All the same, she was certain that her father wouldn't lie to her. Even if nothing else, he was a respected police officer, and was not the sort to suddenly crack up for no reason.

"You're Frank Horton's daughter?" Joe sounded stunned. This was getting more unbelievable by the minute. Beautiful though Jennifer might be, she did possess that certain gleam of insanity in her eyes, and that familiar fanatical dedication to the cause. This girl was entirely different. Surely somebody with such a clear air of vulnerability could not possibly be related to the Hortons?

"Frank Horton?" She sounded surprised. "No. My father is Lieutenant James Forbes. He's a detective in the police force." She sounded proud. Methos raised his eyebrows.

"That cop is involved with this?"

"What do you mean, 'that cop'?" She looked vaguely insulted at his tone of voice. "He's a--"

"I'm sure he is." MacLeod rubbed his eyes. "Damn. I liked him. I thought he was on our side."

"He was. I wonder what changed his mind?" Methos was frowning, but Duncan merely glared at him.

"Couldn't have been you, telling him all those crazy lies, maybe? Telling him you were a glamorous secret agent, and the Watchers were our civilians assistants in the fight against global terrorism, and all the rest? It couldn't have been, just maybe, that he saw through all that?"

"Couldn't have figured out the truth, though, could he? It's just a very minor leap of logic, don't you think? 'Well they're not really secret agents, so they must be a race of Immortal warriors instead.' Wise up MacLeod."

"He bugged you." Amy spoke so suddenly that they all stared at her in amazement. "He thought you were the bad guys, so he bugged you. He heard you talking, or something."

"He bugged us?" Methos sounded amazed. "I wondered how he knew so much. What's the betting he went back to find Horton's body, and found him alive. They probably compared stories."

"Oh great." Duncan began to pace again. "I thought James Horton was a pain in the--" He broke off, remembering that Amy was with them. "Now we've got three nuts to contend with. And people wonder why we keep it all a secret."

"My father is not a nut." Amy rose to her feet. "I came down here to help you, and I'm not going to stay here and listen to you insult my family."

"What makes you think we're going to let you leave?" There was no threat in Dawson's voice; just an honest question. She glanced back at him, surprised.

"The others are outside the door. They'll shoot you if you try anything."

"They're not up there. They would never have let you come in here." Duncan glanced up towards the door, seeing nothing at the top of the stairs but a tempting view of the corridor beyond. She glared at him, angered by this insinuation that her father would allow a man to suffer, even when there was a way to stop it. Her mood was not improved by the realisation that it was the truth.

"Don't worry. We're not going to keep you here." Dawson nodded at Methos. "Just do something for him, and get out of here."

"I don't need her help." With a tremendous effort, Methos forced himself to his feet. The pain was virtually unbearable, but anything was better than letting the daughter of Lieutenant Forbes help him. He was an Immortal; he didn't need mortal medicines.

"Yes you do." She had recognised the fevered look in his eyes, and she remembered the way that he had been tossing and turning when she had watched him on the security monitor. "Whether you like it or not, you're pretty much as mortal as I am right now. If you go trying to move around, you'll just pass out. You're still losing blood, and that's going to make you very weak." She frowned. "Not that it'll hurt you to try living like we do for an hour or two."

"You have a real problem with this, don't you." Letting Joe guide him back to his former resting place, Methos gazed steadily up at the woman. "You, Horton, Forbes. What is it; jealousy? Do you people really envy us that much?"

"Envy you?" She sounded shocked. "It's not envy, Mr Pierson. It's - it's--" She shook her head. "I don't know what it is. I'm a doctor, or at least, I was. Do you know what it's like, patching people up, watching them die, when there's just nothing that you can do for them? Can you imagine, breaking the news to relatives, day in, day out. The kids… losing the kids. And then I find out that some people are immortal. That whatever I do to you, you can't die. How in the hell is that supposed to be fair? Why are you allowed to live forever, and everybody else isn't?" She stopped suddenly, startled by her outburst. "A friend of mine is very ill at the moment. She's HIV positive, has been since she was twenty-one. She's been living with it for eight years, knowing that she could have five years, or five weeks. That's the way it works. How can I look her in the eyes again, knowing that all she's going through, all she still has to face… That it's all so wrong. Why are you immortal, and she isn't? Why does she have to go through all of that, when you can't even catch a cold?"

"I don't know." Methos was sinking back into his usual unresponsiveness, and MacLeod could see it coming, like a veil before the old man's eyes. "That's life, Miss Forbes; live with it. I do."

"You - you live with it? What do you know? What can you possibly know?" She was angry now, and her words came unchecked. She no longer cared if the others heard her voice, and found her down here with the prisoners. She no longer cared about anything. "You can't ever feel any of this. You can't know what it's like to be a mortal."

There was a silence. A thousand possible responses flashed through Duncan MacLeod's mind. He could tell her about how it felt to bury people; to know that old age and death could only ever await one half of a marriage. He could tell her about the pain of staying alive, and young and healthy, whilst mortal friends faded away, or fell ill. He remembered the night that Tessa had died. Could he put into words how that had felt? Could he possibly describe to this woman what that kind of pain felt like? Her insinuation that he could not understand how it felt to lose others, or how it felt to have to watch others die, hurt more than he could say. He looked across at Methos, expecting him to say something similar, expecting him to tell the woman just how hard it was to be an Immortal, and just how much they had all wished at some time that they were mortals too. Instead the old man simply shrugged.

"What makes you think I'd want to know what it's like? None of us chooses what we are, Miss Forbes. I'm not going to apologise for something I can't change."

"My father was right." She backed away. "You don't care. None of you. You don't care about the mortals, and you don't want to care. I don't think I should have come down here."

"Wait, please." Glaring daggers at Methos, Duncan tried to smile reassuringly at the young woman. "Look, at least tell us why we're here. Please?"

"I suppose that can't hurt." She shrugged. "My drug will be released into the water supply, so that the Immortals will all be made vulnerable. It'll be easy to capture them, or to kill them. My father and Mr Horton are going to release something called the Watcher Files. Apparently they have all the details about the Immortals. That way everybody will know who the Immortals are." She shivered slightly. When her father had spoken about it, it had seemed reasonable; like a crusade to remove the dangerous Immortals from society. Coming from her lips, it sounded like a witch hunt; a form of organised lynching. She remembered Horton's words, about killing the Watchers too, and a frown passed across her face.

"But nobody will believe them." Joe stepped forward, a frown on his face. "If they try to tell people about the Immortals, they'll just get laughed at. The files on their own won't be enough to convince anyone."

"They don't need to be." She frowned, looking uneasy. "They're going to get the TV cameras here. A live broadcast. They're going to kill you, and let the cameras film it as you come back to life. They're going to call a press conference. They'll do it as many times as they need to, to convince people. To get them to believe what you are. Then when they're sure that they've got everybody's attention, they'll behead one of you, so that the whole world can see what happens when an Immortal dies." She shivered. "That's the plan. I have to go now."

"Wait." Methos sat up straight, looking up at the young mortal woman. "You can't honestly believe that this is right. You can't agree with them."

"I--" She shook her head. "Why should you be allowed to keep what you are a secret? Maybe doctors can find out what makes you what you are. Maybe then we could all get the chance to be healthy and strong; not have to worry about diseases, or old age. Why should you be so special?"

"I don't know." He climbed back to his feet, acutely aware of the pain in his chest. That pain was going to get a lot worse if this plan went ahead. "But I do know that it's not right to condemn us to death either, not just out of jealousy. You have to see that that's what your father is doing, and Horton. They can't be like us, so they want to destroy us. We don't want to hurt anybody. We've been here for as long as you have. Wherever there were mortals there were Immortals too. I don't know why."

"My father wouldn't do all of this for jealousy." She sounded angry and hurt, not least because she was beginning to suspect that it might be true. "He wouldn't. If he believes that you people are dangerous, then you are."

"But you're a doctor. Can you honestly stand by and watch while all this goes on?" Joe stepped forward, speaking to her in a gentle voice that was also firm. "Can you?"

"No!" She almost shouted it. "I wanted to come down here to help! I can't let my father do this; but I won't let you stop him. I won't let you hurt my father." She pulled something from her pocket and thrust it into Joe's hands. "Take this. And then you're on your own." She turned and ran from the room, dashing back up the stairs. They heard the door slam shut, but did not hear it lock. Then all was quiet again.

"Wow." Methos was grinning. "I like her."

"Shut up." Duncan rolled his eyes. "You know, you can be such a jerk at times. Couldn't you see what was wrong with her?"

"I didn't see you being very understanding." Methos lowered himself onto a box. "What did she give you Joe?"

"This." Joe held put a bottle. "The cure?"

"Only one way to find out." Methos took it, prising off the top. "If this turns out to be poison, it'll be the perfect end to a perfect day." He took a mouthful of the liquid and swallowed it quickly. "Yuck. That is revolting. Why can't any of these mad scientists come up with a potion that tastes nice?"

"Is it working?" Joe pulled the old Immortal's shirt open, and they watched as the wound healed before their eyes. Methos grinned.

"It's working." He stood up and stretched. "Now we can go and deal with that little creep Horton."

"I don't think so." Duncan took the bottle, quickly swallowing a mouthful of the liquid. "It isn't that simple. They might not be working alone. How do we know that some of the Watchers aren't still loyal to the Hortons? A whole lot of them used to be. I don't want to take any risks."

"You'd rather get killed live on TV, so that everyone in the country can see what you really are?" Methos shook his head. "Rather you than me, MacLeod. I'm out of here." He made for the stairs.

"Methos, don't be a fool. For all we know, they've already put this stuff in the water supply. We have to know; we'll have to get more of the antidote if they have. We can't just leave our own kind to suffer like we did."

"So we go up there now and end it. What better way could there be, MacLeod?" Methos clearly could see no better alternative. "Look, if we hang around here much longer, we might not get another chance. We don't know when they're going to get the cameras here. They might already have arrived."

"No, they need proof first." Joe stepped forward, anxious to intercept the old man before he could go up the stairs and give the game away. "Think about it. You two were probably their guinea pigs. They wanted to make sure that their stuff worked on you before they put the rest of their plan into action. I doubt they even have the Watcher Files yet. It's no easy task to get hold of them. They probably figured they could keep you two indefinitely, if they had enough of their potion to keep you from making any sudden moves. Mac's right. We have to find out what is going on here; how many people are involved."

"Fine. Well the best way to do that is to go and have a look." Methos began to climb the stairs. "You can stay here, but I'm going to go and listen in." He opened the door and peered out, but saw no sign of anybody.

"Be careful," MacLeod warned him. He grinned.

"When have I ever been anything else, MacLeod? Self-preservation is what makes me what I am." He disappeared. Left behind, MacLeod glanced across at Joe and sighed.

"Should I have stopped him?" he asked. Joe snorted.

"How? He is one determined pain in the butt, and you know it as well as I do. The only way to stop him once his mind is made up is to tie him to something." He glanced up towards the door, and shrugged. "He'll be fine. And at least while he's up there he can't be driving us nuts."


Methos edged his way along the corridor until he came to a shut door. Shut doors were, in his opinion, designed solely to be opened by him, so he pushed it open and wandered into the room beyond. It was filled with security monitors, and he grinned to see his friends sitting disconsolately together in the cellar. There was a desk in the room as well, and he pulled open the drawers by one. His sword and Duncan's were in the top drawer, the middle was empty, and the bottom one was locked. He used his sword to lever it open, and checked through the contents. A few bills, an odd bank statement or two, and several files full of photographs. He saw Duncan going in and out of buildings; Joe climbing out of a car; himself leaving his apartment. There was something very off-putting in knowing that they had all been watched. He wondered how long it had been going on. It was nearly a year since Frank Horton's last appearance. Had he been watching them all this time, planning his move, or had it been a far more recent development? Given the possible charges of murder awaiting him, it was likely that he had been hiding somewhere, waiting for the trail to grow cold before he returned. Methos closed the drawer and stood up, deciding that there was nothing further of interest in the room.

"How long do we wait?" The voice came to him loudly and clearly, and he glanced over at the security monitors, wondering if any of them carried sound. A different voice answered the first, and this time it was clear that the conversation was coming from just outside the door.

"We wait as long as we have to. Everything must be ready." The second voice was Horton's, and as Methos dived for cover behind the floor length curtains, he recognised the first voice as well; Lieutenant Forbes. He remembered hearing the voice a year ago, when Horton had kidnapped him, and Forbes had followed. He remembered thinking what a valuable ally Forbes could be for the future, and smiled bitterly. He should be used to betrayal and disappointment by now.

"Everything is ready." Forbes entered the room first. "We know that the drug works, we've got all three of them. Why can't we just call the press conference today? Let everybody see? All I want out of this is to blow it all open, Horton. I know you're in it for the revenge, but I couldn't give a damn about that. I just want everybody to know about the Immortals, and the Watchers. This is too big to be allowed to stay a secret."

"If you say so." Horton was smiling; Methos could hear it in his voice, even though he could not see the man. "But if we make our move now, we'll have nothing to back it up with. We need to have those files. Not everybody believes what they see on TV. They'll need more convincing than some fancy fireworks, and some camera trickery."

"I guess." Forbes sounded troubled. "I don't hold by this killing the Watchers though, Frank. I realise you think that they're dangerous, and I'm inclined to agree, but can't we just blow the whistle on them? Let the law decide."

"You are the law, James. This is war, and war calls for extreme measures." Horton was filled with enthusiasm. "You know what sort of a bombshell this is that we're about to drop on the city? On the country? The world? It'll cause panic. They'll have to declare marshal law. You'll be the man they call on then, James. You're a respected cop, and you've got history with these people. The mayor will turn to you. Maybe even the President will ask for your help. You'll be a hero; and you'll have to be tough. Millions of people will be counting on you."

"I guess you're right." Forbes nodded. "Okay, Frank, I'm with you. We wait for now. But not too long."

"Of course not. Jennifer has just got back from the city's main reservoir. She dumped enough of our stuff in it to bring the entire Immortal population of Seacouver to its knees. In less than twenty four hours you'll be able to shoot one and have him stay down. It won't kill him, but it'll take him as long as a mortal to recover. Twenty four hours. That's when we'll make our next move."

"Okay." Forbes sounded satisfied. There was a short silence, before Methos heard the detective's voice again. "Hey, are these the closed circuit monitors for the whole house?"

"Yeah." Horton moved around so that he could see the screens himself. "There's the dining room, the drawing room, the patio out back… There's the cellar…" Methos closed his eyes, willing them not to look for too long at that particular screen. "Hey, there's only two of them!"

"Great." Methos whispered the word to himself, wondering if now was the time to start thinking about praying again. He pulled back the curtain a short way, and saw both men staring at the screen. They had their backs to him, and he might never get another chance… He leapt forward.

"What the hell-?" Twisting out of the way, Frank Horton managed to avoid being disembowelled by the Immortal's sword only by falling over the desk. He vanished out of sight in an untidy heap, taking a small mountain of stationery with him. Forbes felt the weapon pressing into his throat, and turning his head slightly, he stared into the dark green eyes of Methos. He managed a weak smile.


"Hello, lieutenant." Methos gave him a crooked grin, his eyes burning brightly. "Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you."

"I--" He was thinking hard, obviously, and Methos smiled. He didn't care for the mortal's reasons. He just wanted to kill him; to see his blood spill out on the floor. He was aware that Horton had clambered back onto his feet but he ignored the other mortal. Horton could not do anything quickly enough to prevent Forbes from finishing up dead.

"Daddy!" Walking into the room at precisely the wrong moment, Amy Forbes froze in horror at the sight of her father being held at sword point by the man she had so recently brought back from near death. She ran forward.

"Stay back Amy!" Forbes shouted, but she ignored him.

"Adam, please! You can't kill him. You mustn't!"

"Why?" He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, seeing her looking pale and so very lost. For some reason her words from earlier began to echo around inside his head, and he saw her as she had looked then; bitter and trying to understand the unfairness of the world.

"Because. Please, Adam. Don't kill him. Please." She spoke the words softly, and he felt his heart began to give way. He cursed inwardly. How could he let her get to him like this? It wasn't supposed to happen this way. He was ruthless and cold, and he wanted to kill Forbes. Strangely, however, he wanted even more just to see Amy smile. Slowly he felt his arm lower, even before he became fully aware that it was doing so.

"You don't know what you're asking, Amy," he told her, just before he let the sword point touch the floor. He heard Horton moving, but made no attempt to stop him. All that he heard was Amy's shocked gasp as the point of Duncan's sword sank into the Immortal's body. He stared down at the tip as it emerged from his chest, and managed a weak smile, staring up into Amy's eyes as his legs began to fail him. Words tried to form on his lips, but he could not give them voice. Life left him, and he collapsed to the floor.

Horton stared down at the body, then grinned up at Amy.

"Nice job, distracting him like that," he said. She stared at him, horror-struck.

"You're mad," she said finally. "I don't want any part of this anymore. You're all mad."

"Are we." Horton's voice was like ice. "Fine. Your choice, lady."


He was dangling by his wrists, never his favourite position, and he could feel the cold steel of manacles on his arms. He groaned, raising his head with what felt like a superhuman effort, and managed to focus on the face opposite him.


"Hey, brother." The younger Immortal sounded inordinately cheerful, as though hanging by his wrists from a dungeon ceiling was something that he did quite often, and really rather enjoyed. "How do you feel?"

"I think I'm alive, but I wouldn't bet on it." Methos moaned softly. "What did he hit me with?"

"He didn't. You got trampled by his horse. Don't you remember?"

"I'll take your word for it." Methos tried to adjust his position. "How long did we get?"

"Life." Kronos sounded typically blasé. "Which in our case shouldn't be terribly long."

"We're getting out?" Glancing about hopefully, Methos wondered what sort of a plan his partner had come up with this time. They usually involved a bloodbath at some point or another, but it was hard to see how Kronos was going to achieve that whilst hanging from the ceiling. Still; Methos had learned never to put anything past Kronos, particularly where bloodbaths were concerned.

"Not exactly." Kronos still sounded cheerfully blasé about the whole thing. "Actually we're getting executed. Tomorrow morning I believe." He tried to manoeuvre about so that he could see out of the cell's tiny window. "Hope the weather's nice."

"We're being executed?" Methos groaned. "Oh no… Come on, Kronos, we agreed. No getting dead for a while. Can't we plead guilty or something? Promise never to do it again?"

"We didn't do anything in the first place," Kronos reminded him. "Nothing except tell that sergeant his mother was a six headed dragon. Which was one of your better insults, brother, if you don't mind my saying."

"I need my head examining." Methos sighed. "Look, I'm sorry, but I have no intention of dangling here waiting to get executed by that jerk. We're escaping."

"Fine by me, brother, but we're chained to the ceiling."

"I know." Methos gazed up at the point above his head where the chains were embedded in the stone floor of the cell above. "This shouldn't be too difficult. All we have to do is pull ourselves up, and work the chains loose."

"Oh. Is that all." Kronos shook his head. "I've got a better idea." With his usual agility, he manoeuvred himself about until he was dangling upside down, his feet close to his hands. He reached out with searching, nimble fingers, and eventually succeeded in pulling a small dagger out of his boot. "There."

"Well done!" Methos grinned. "Go on, brother, up you go."

"You're so kind." With more awkward manoeuvring about, Kronos managed to transfer the dagger to his mouth. "I didn't want to stay here anyway." His voice sounded muffled speaking around the knife blade. "Beheading never was my favourite method of execution."

"They were going to behead us?" Methos stared at the door, panic-stricken, as though expecting the guards to come for him at any moment. "Just when were you going to tell me this?"

"You'd have seen for yourself once we reached the block." Kronos smirked back at him as he began to climb up the chain, and Methos saw his friend's eyes glowing with their usual crazy mischief. The room was almost entirely dark, but as the smaller Immortal began to climb, the light from the tiny window fell across his face, illuminating just his eyes. He chose that moment to pause and look back at his friend, and Methos saw the brightness of all the years of his best friend's life, shining in those strange, blue eyes. Kronos grinned at him, and his voice floated back down to the older Immortal as he waited, dangling below.

"Hang on in there, brother."


"How exactly, if you don't mind me asking, oh old and wise one, is this going to help us to find out the exact details of Horton's plan, and then enable us to escape?" His chaffing wrists lending his sarcasm an increasingly bitter edge, Duncan MacLeod tried to move about to ease the strain on his shoulders. He was hanging by his wrists from the ceiling of the cellar, the ropes tied a good deal tighter than usual. Joe dangled beside him, similarly encumbered, looking less than amused. He had come to the conclusion that he definitely was too old for this; even if he was the youngest of the three by several centuries.

"Huh?" Finally waking up completely, Methos managed to break his mind free from the last shreds of the dream. It had been clearer than his dreams usually were, and he could still see the bright eyes of Kronos staring down at him, as he began to climb up the chain. "It wasn't my fault, MacLeod."

"Then whose fault was it?" Duncan scowled up at the ceiling. "This is not the most comfortable position to be in."

"It's not, is it." Methos tested the strength of the rope. "Try to relax your arms. It should help to ease things up on your shoulders."

"I didn't realise you were such an expert." Realising that he was walking straight into another little snippet from the Methos Book of Extraordinary Memories, Joe turned his head so that he could see the old man. Methos managed to shrug.

"Last time was… 1916. Russia. I was involved with this group of Socialist Revolutionaries." He fell silent for a second. "That was a personal record. I escaped in less than five minutes, but then the chains were definitely sub-standard." He frowned up at the ceiling. "Actually, they broke, so it probably doesn't count as much of an escape."

Joe rolled his eyes. "Methos? Shut up."

"Fine." The old man noticed a huddled shape in the corner of the room. It appeared to be human shaped, and was obviously afraid. He caught MacLeod's eye, his expression asking a clear question. MacLeod shrugged.

"They brought her in here same time as you. Must be dissension in the ranks."

"Well it's nice to know somebody up there's not completely round the twist." Methos tried to shift his position again. He definitely hated dangling by his wrists. The thought caused a sudden flashback to his dream, and he saw Kronos again, grinning at him, with that extraordinary light in his eyes. The old man smiled, and began to manoeuvre himself about.

"What are you up to?" Trying to swing out of the way to avoid being kicked by the wriggling Immortal, Joe frowned. Methos did not answer, but instead let out a quiet shout of triumph as his fingers grasped on something hidden by his ankle. He swung back upright, holding a small dagger in his hand.

"I'd forgotten about this." He began to swing himself about, trying to work the dagger into a position from which he could cut himself free, preferably without cutting any fingers off in the process. "An old friend once told me to always carry a spare." The ropes parted and he tumbled to the ground, landing harshly on the floor. "Ow."

"Are you alright?" Evidently concerned, Amy rose to her feet, and he flashed her a quick grin. Despite the fact that this current predicament was almost entirely her fault, he found that he really rather liked her.

"I'm fine." He piled up several boxes and climbed up to free MacLeod, then the younger Immortal held Joe whilst Methos cut him down. The mortal breathed a sigh of relief, beginning to work some life back into his arms.

"Thanks Methos."

"Don't mention it." They headed for the door. "What next MacLeod?"

"Huh? How come I'm in charge all of a sudden?" The Immortal sighed. "Alright. Joe and I will find Horton. You two take care of Forbes."

"The winner gets to deal with Jennifer," Joe added, with a lop-sided grin. They all smiled.

"You're on." Taking Amy by the hand, Methos began to lead her away down the corridor, choosing his direction more or less at random. The sound of voices alerted him, and he made his way to the large oak door of what looked like a study. Peering through a crack in the door, he caught sight of Horton and Forbes leaning over a desk. Jennifer was sitting opposite them, pointing at some large sheet of paper spread out before them.

"This is Watcher HQ for Seacouver, right? This house?" She frowned. "It looks pretty big."

"It is. There are a lot of Watchers here." Horton shrugged. "I suppose because several high ranking Watchers chose to set up here. There's a higher incident of Immortal-related incidents here than in most US cities, except for New York. Word is, that's where Connor MacLeod lives, and he attracts trouble worse than Duncan." He frowned at the map. "Okay, this is the main entrance, this is the guard room. There's always somebody here. My brother told me that the files are kept here, in this room." He tapped at something on the map. "Filing cabinets, combination locks. Back ups are on the computers; hard drive and on CD, encrypted and passworded. Dawson's bound to know how to open them all, but I don't think we can really hope to count on his support."

"Probably not, no." Jennifer laughed. "Okay, so we get the stuff; what then? Do we release it straight away?"

"Not until the first press conference. We get the TV cameras here on some pretext, kill MacLeod and Pierson, and let them all see the pair of them coming back to life. That's when we hand over the stuff; some of it. We'll release it a little at a time; lots of press conferences, lots of chances for them all to see those boys being resurrected." He laughed, his familiar, slightly insane laugh. "It'll be a blood bath. Immortals all over the city, all over the country, being beheaded by mortals finally getting to see the truth. Just what those freaks have been asking for, all these centuries. I'm going to take my world back."

Outside the door, Methos clenched his fists at the sound of these words. They stung, dragging him unwillingly back through the millennia, to the days when he had been terrified of the likely reaction of magic-fearing mortals should his secret ever be revealed. Then there were the later years, and the worry of being found out by modern science. Life was far from carefree as an Immortal, and he found it hard to understand why these people could not see that. They all envied him so much for what he was. There was little to envy in living with constant fear.

"You can't kill them, Adam." Amy was speaking to him softly, and he found himself smiling. She was like his own personal, walking, talking conscience; and if he had had any sense he would have killed her by now, and let his instincts take over. The problem was, there was another set of instincts which was ruling him now. He liked the girl, and no matter how much harder she seemed determined to make his life, he did not feel inclined to hurt her, or to go against her wishes.

"Do you have any better ideas?" he asked her. She smiled.

"No. Do you?"

"Go and find MacLeod." He nodded down the corridor and she hesitated, then ran off. He watched her go, thinking hard, then pulled the dagger from its hidden sheath, and slipped silently into the room.

"Who says it's your world, Horton?" When he spoke, his voice was soft; barely more than a whisper. The threesome turned towards him, and found him standing almost casually, armed with nothing but a knife, an amused expression on his face. "Was the first man a mortal, or was he an Immortal? Who's to say whose world it is?"

"There are more of us than there are of you." Horton made a grab for the sword lying on the desk beside him. "I think it's time you made your exit, Pierson. I've had just about enough of you."

"That makes two of us." Methos toyed idly with his dagger. "It's been a long time, but I was in the circus once, you know. Around 1320. I was a knifeman; threw daggers at beautiful woman tied to posts. I was very good at it." He grinned. "At one time I worked with an assistant who used to hold an apple in her mouth, and I used to spear it with a knife. Of course, that was more than six hundred years ago. I reckon if I tried it now, I'd probably kill someone. Still;" he tossed the knife from one hand to the other. "It wouldn't be the first time."

"You're crazy. You can't make it out of this room." Forbes moved slightly, obviously going for the gun hidden under his jacket. Methos glanced over at him.

"Are you wondering where your daughter is, lieutenant?" He saw the policeman's startled reaction, and grinned. "She helped us, but she's just a mortal. I don't give a damn. If you go for that gun, she's dead."

"You wouldn't." Forbes stepped forward, and Methos raised his eyebrows.

"Wouldn't I? I would have thought you weren't the kind to try and murder several thousand Immortals, either; not to mention twice that number of Watchers. But I was wrong, wasn't I?" He glanced towards the door, where he could just see MacLeod and Dawson begin their approach. "I can't get either of you two arrested, because I don't have any evidence. So it strikes me that the best way out is to leave the whole lot of you in little pieces that no one can ever identify. Wouldn't you agree?"

"No!" With a sudden shriek, Jennifer threw herself forward, crashing through the French doors which led out to the patio. Taken by surprise, Methos started after her, only to find himself tackled out of the blue by Forbes. The pair crashed to the ground, rolling across the floor, struggling furiously with each other.

"Don't try it, Horton!" Running into the room just as Horton made a grab for a gun lying on the desk, MacLeod downed the mortal with one, well aimed punch, then dashed out of the broken glass door after Jennifer. He heard the slam of a car door, and heard the roar of an engine, but could place neither.

"Get out of my way, Duncan!" She was screaming at him above the noise of her car, and he spun around, seeing the car come crashing through the garage doors as it shot towards him. He hesitated, looking for some means by which to stop her, but could see none. He left it a second too late to leap out of the way, and felt himself flying through the air.

Damn, not again… was the first thing that flashed through his mind, followed by relief that he had been able to get hold of the antidote to the anti-Immortal drug. He crashed to the ground, rolling over and over, and watching helplessly as the car vanished into the distance.

"Mac!" Joe's voice startled him, and he ran quickly back to the house, ignoring the somewhat unsettling sensation of a bone knitting itself back together in his arm. He burst into the study to see Forbes make a dash for the front door. Amy tried to grab hold of him, but he pushed her aside, sending her crashing into Joe. The pair fell together, and Horton, back on his feet and still holding a sword, made a dash to go after his comrade. Shadows passed across Methos' face, and Duncan saw them coming as the Immortal scrambled back to his feet, the scars of his fight with Forbes already healing. He raised his knife, and the blade spun through the air, striking Horton in the back. The mortal stumbled, crying out in sudden surprise; then crashed to the ground. Amy screamed, and Forbes looked back momentarily. He hesitated, seeing his daughter in a heap on the ground, and his associate dead. He stared back towards Duncan, and MacLeod saw the indecision in the detective's eyes. Then the lieutenant spun around, running out of the door. Methos made as if to go after him, but Duncan grabbed his arm, holding him back.

"No," he said. "Leave him."

"Are you crazy, MacLeod? After what he did?" Methos' eyes caught Amy's, and he frowned. "Dammit. What can we do with him anyway."

"Exactly." MacLeod glanced over at the map of Watcher Headquarters and whistled. "On the other hand…"

"No. Dad won't do anything. Not without Horton. Really." There was fear on Amy's face as she saw the thoughts in Duncan's mind. He nodded, accepting her explanation. He had had enough for one day as it was.

"You got any more of that antidote?" he asked her instead, changing the subject. She nodded.

"I made a lot of it. I… Well I thought maybe…" She shrugged. "I wanted to agree with Dad and Horton. But I didn't."

"Good." Duncan sat down on the nearest convenient chair, and sighed. "Then we have to get it into the water supply as soon as possible."

"What about Forbes and Jennifer? They might have more of that drug." Joe also sat down, looking just as tired as the Immortal. "Then what happens?"

"I start drinking bottled water." Duncan laughed. "Or better still, just stick to beer, right Methos?"

"You said it." The old Immortal sat down on the edge of the desk, and took Amy's hand. "Something tells me we definitely haven't seen the last of those two."

"I think we can probably count on seeing them coming back this way pretty soon." Joe sighed. "First James, then Frank, now Jennifer. What the hell is it with the Horton family?"

"And my father." Amy sounded guilty. "And me. I made that drug." She looked up at Methos. "Is it really all that bad? I mean, surely it'll just slow you all down a bit."

"Are you kidding? Any Immortal who gets into trouble with that in his system could never know what to expect, especially with people trying help." Duncan smiled at some memory. "My kinsman, Connor, was once hit by a speeding car, and before he could recover, some well-meaning doctor had raced him to hospital and pumped him full of drugs. It had some really weird after effects. He thought he'd got old, and was convinced that he had to save the Earth. He thought he was from another planet." He whistled. "Hospitals and Immortals definitely don't mix."

"Oh." She looked even more guilty and Methos smiled at her, taking her hand.

"It's okay, Amy. We'll get it sorted out. We'll pass the word along the grapevine, as far as we can. Dawson here can warn the Watchers who to look out for. Everything will be fine. We won't have to worry about them making another attempt for a while yet though. They wouldn't dare, now they know we're on to them."

"Sure." Dawson flashed her a broad grin. "Just take it easy. Everything is under control." He smiled somewhat ruefully. "Well as much as it ever is, anyway."

"Yeah." Methos stood up; and picking his sword up, and his dagger, he began to lead her towards the door. "Don't worry about it. Everything's going to be just fine."


"Everything's going to be just fine, huh?" Rolling over onto his back as he heard Duncan's car pulling away, Frank Horton stood up, rubbing at the tender skin, where the knife had come so close to striking home. He tugged open his shirt, grinning merrily at the tough vest he wore underneath. He hadn't really believed that something so light could be knife proof as well as bullet proof, but he had bought it anyway. He was rather glad now. He allowed himself another broad smile; then he rolled up the map of Watcher Headquarters and headed out into the sunlight. He had some more plans to make, but he would be back. In fact, he decided, as he tucked the map under his arm and prepared for a long walk; he was really rather looking forward to it.


The band in Dawson's club was playing loudly, and the foursome huddled together at one of the tables might have been any group, trying to be heard above the noise. In point of fact, they were trying not to be heard, talking together above the music.

"I've told the Watchers. They all know what Jennifer Horton looks like. I warned them about Forbes too, although the word is he's gone back to being a detective, like nothing happened."

"For now. He's not going to let this rest." Methos glanced over at the band. "The water supply is full of that antidote, anyway, so nobody else need be any the wiser."

"Until Jennifer comes back." Duncan's face showed that this particular rematch interested him greatly. "I guess we get to relax for a while, anyway."

"I guess." Amy stood up. "I'll get you some of the antidote made up, so you'll have some on stand-by. You should keep it, to be sure."

"Why does that sound like a goodbye?" Standing up, Methos followed her as she hurried away. He caught up with her at the door, and they went together out into the dark street. "Amy?"

"I'm sorry, Adam." She smiled at him, her pretty face illuminated by the lights of the club. "I have to go."

"But why? I thought--"

"So did I. But I was wrong. I'm sorry, Adam, but I still believe everything that I told you before. I can't - can't be with you."

"Why? Because you lied when you said your friend was HIV positive? Because it's really you that is?" He caught her arm, pulling her close. "You can't live with it, because you're ill, and I can't be." He frowned. "That's it, isn't it."

"Yes." Her voice sounded small. "I could never be anything other than jealous of you, Adam. I'm sorry, but - but that's just the sort of person that I am. I'm sure it's because of me that my father tried to destroy you. He didn't think that it was fair either."

"Neither do I." He sighed. "You have to be sure, Amy. Very sure. Do you really want to go?"

"No." She smiled at him, her eyes big and sad. "But neither of us chose this, did we. We have to live with it. You told me that."

"So I did." He watched her as she pulled away from him, and as she walked away, heading into the distance. Slowly he turned around and headed back into the club. MacLeod had gone, and Dawson stood beside the bar. He handed Methos a glass of beer as he approached, and offered his friend a smile.

"Sorry, pal."

"I don't have much luck with them, do I. That's the second one in a row that's been terminally ill." The lightness of his tone belied the pain that only Joe could hear.

"You'll survive, Adam," he said gently. Methos smiled at him, as glad as always that the ageing mortal was his friend. He and MacLeod could be deeply annoying at times, but he was really rather fond of them both. It was good to know that they were both going to be here, whenever the singularly-minded Lieutenant Forbes, to say nothing of the very likely certifiable Jennifer Horton, chose to make their next move. There were times when he did his damnedest to deny it, but the three of them made a good team.

"Yeah," he said with a smile, raising his glass in a toast to his friend. "I'll survive."


Look, this is set in 1998. What do you want? As for Kronos, well he says that he did actually serve a useful purpose this time, and that if it hadn't been for him, the old man would still have been dangling from the ceiling. I'm inclined to agree with him. Well would you disagree with Kronos?