Paris is too full of Parisians; even the French don't like Paris. That's what he'd said when he'd first met Alexa. Was that why he'd buried her there? How funny it seemed, every time you thought you knew what you were doing, no sooner did you finish you realized you didn't have one damn idea. He buried her in Paris, he had said to keep her near to him, so what had he done as soon as she was in the ground? Hopped a plane heading back for the states, that's what. As large as Paris was he'd suddenly found that anywhere even in the vicinity of her grave was enclosing, claustrophobic, he couldn't think, he couldn't breathe, he'd had to get out of there before he lost what part of his mind he had left.
And so here he was in Seacouver again, but he hadn't gone to see MacLeod, oh no, not Joe either. He didn't let anybody who knew him know that he'd come back. He found some solace in the fact that he was out of the Paris snows now, and instead thrust directly into the Seacouver late night downpours. He was sure the temperature was no higher than 55 degrees, add the cold of the rain and the wind chill, and he was sure hypothermia could become a definite possibility if he didn't get out of the rain soon. Ah but he didn't think like that, he could think of it, but he couldn't fathom getting out of the rain and going in somewhere, anywhere. He stood out in the rain and just walked through the vacant street and looked around at the buildings and the streetlamps that were the only light in the dark, and were glared in the falling rain.
So now what did he do? That was the next question, the one to which he hadn't quite figured out the answer yet. He was freezing, he could see his breath, maybe the rain wasn't any better than the snow, he couldn't tell anymore; as he clutched his coat tighter against his body it occurred to him that he had to do something. He had to go somewhere. In the midst of all the jumble going through his brain at that moment, he had one coherent thought, one person to call.
He found a payphone on a street corner, he put in a couple of coins and dialed a number that he'd been carrying around for a couple years now, he only hoped that it was still in working order and that the same person was still residing there. The phone rang once, and then twice, and on the third ring he was starting to anticipate an irritable wrong number.
"Hello?" a tired but familiar voice answered.
And for a split second Methos' mind went blank, he didn't even know what he was supposed to say. All he could get out on the first try was, "It's me."
And that was all that was needed for a positive identification.
"Methos?" there was a brief pause, "It's after 1 o' clock in the morning, what's going on?"
Methos tried to swallow his next words but they came out all the same, "Alexa died."
There was a haunting silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds as realization came over the other person. "Where are you?"
"I'm back in town," Methos answered, looking around he said, "I'm at the corner of Lexington and 5th."
"Don't move!" the other person told him, "I'll be there as soon as possible, don't do anything stupid."
Methos only nodded and hung up the phone, and went to sit down on the curb and wait. The rain never let up and he was sure he'd be half dead from the cold before anybody came for him. He rocked back and forth and looked around and never saw anybody coming or going, no people, no cars, nothing, just him sitting out in the rain. He wasn't sure how long he waited but he finally saw a blinding pair of car headlights come up, and the car stopped and he saw the driver get out and come over to him, but until the other Immortal got up close and hovered over him, Methos wasn't able to really see him. And he was sure he looked like a fine mess, sitting on the curb in the pouring down rain, but he had nothing to say in his own defense for his current appearance or behavior.
"Oh, Methos," the other man's voice contained pity, it was not obvious to hear, but Methos knew it was there all the same. He saw the hand offered to him and he took it and was helped to his feet, and as he got up it was then that he was able to fully recognize his brother, Kronos, who wrapped his arms around his brother and held him close for a moment.
"I'm sorry," Methos told him, "I couldn't think who else to call."
"It's alright," his brother replied, "Come on, I'll take you home."
Of course, Kronos meant his home and Methos knew it, but it didn't matter to him. He felt his brother pull away from him, but he wasn't able to move just yet and he clung to him and momentarily buried his face in his brother's shoulder as the grief-wracked sobs he'd been able to lock away for the past few days finally tore out of him. His mind was a blur and the only thing he knew was that he wanted to hurt somebody, he wanted to break something. He'd felt the same way shortly after the burial and had broken the bones in his hands and cut them up pretty well from hitting the neighboring tombstones. And he had made a wreck of the hospital room she had been kept in, he had all but destroyed all the machinery that had been hooked up to her, and that had been while she was still alive, but since her death it had only gotten worse.
He heard his brother talking to him and he became aware that they were moving, he was walking away with him, even though he didn't remember finally being able to move. They walked to Kronos' car and Methos got in on the passenger side and was grateful to finally be out of the rain. Kronos got in beside him and got them out of there, during the drive back, Methos rested his head against the window and just about fell asleep as he remembered, and tried to think. He knew it was quicksand but he couldn't stop himself from thinking about Alexa, when she was alive, and how quickly her life had been stomped out. Whoever made the decision as to who lived and who died and when they died, Methos was convinced, couldn't have thought anymore of it other than just some cosmic cruel joke.
He wasn't sure if he'd actually fallen asleep or if he'd just been close but the next thing he knew was Kronos was shaking him awake, and as he came around he realized that he was crying again, or maybe still, maybe he hadn't stopped. Kronos helped him out of the car and kept one arm around him as if he didn't trust Methos to move alone, as if he might do something drastic if somebody wasn't with him at all times. At the moment though, Methos felt like a zombie, he couldn't think, he could hardly move, he supposed in a way he also felt like a puppet, somebody else was pulling the strings that kept him moving along because he couldn't possibly have been going anywhere of his own free will.
Kronos opened the front door and lightly pushed Methos in, he followed in behind him and shut the door and walked his brother over to the stairs leading up to the second floor. Upstairs was a small hallway, there were doors on all sides and they all looked open, but it was dark and Methos couldn't be sure. He was vaguely aware of catching something in the corner of his eye; the room behind them that they'd just passed by, he would've sworn he saw somebody sitting up in the bed and watching them, but he didn't pay any attention to it. Kronos led Methos into the main bedroom and there, because Methos was still in a state of shock of some sort and currently unable to process a full thought or to do anything for himself, Kronos undressed him. First his trench coat hit the floor, which by now must've weighed about 30 pounds for being soaked clear through, and then Kronos removed the shirt and sweater that he'd been wearing that were likewise weighted down with water.
"Come on," he heard his brother say to him, "Let's get you out of these wet clothes."
His mind still must not have been working quite right because he seemed to black out for a few minutes, he was aware for one instant of being out of his boots and his jeans and felt a cold breeze come through the room, the next thing he knew Kronos had just about wrestled him into a shirt and then Methos was aware of being pushed back onto the bed. Once again he would swear that he saw somebody standing in the doorway watching them but he paid little attention to the matter and couldn't bring himself to focus his attention on it.
Kronos crawled onto the bed beside him and when Methos tried to get up, he pushed him down again and told him to stay there. Methos was half aware of Kronos pulling the covers back and slipping in alongside him.
"Just try and go to sleep," his brother said to him, "You'll feel better in the morning."
And the truth was he was exhausted, he didn't know anymore how he'd managed to stay awake long enough to get back here. He found it a simple command to obey, he rested his head against the pillows and closed his eyes and was already half asleep as soon as he did that. He could feel Kronos beside him and he took some comfort in that presence of another person in the room with him, right beside him, he knew that he wasn't alone and for the first time in days he felt a small sense of security, that he was in safe company, that maybe he would be able to heal from this. He doubted it though, he'd lost too many people already to fully believe that, and yet…he felt an arm around his waist and he felt a body behind him and he knew that he truly wasn't alone at this moment, that was something he could take solace in, something that had been missing for the last few days.
He wasn't sure if he'd ever gone to sleep but he was sure he'd heard the rain tapping against the windows all night. When he opened his eyes again, it was still dark but through the window he could see that it was lighter outside now meaning it had to be morning. Methos didn't know what time they'd gotten there or even gone to sleep but he was sure that it was after 6 o' clock by now. He turned over in the bed and saw Kronos asleep alongside him. Kronos looked somewhat peaceful when he slept but Methos knew that it was merely an illusion, he knew that in reality his brother always looked troubled by something when he was asleep. They all wore their ages hard, and it seemed to especially become noticeable when they were asleep and let their guards down as consciousness slipped away from them for a few hours. And Methos knew that Kronos, like the rest of them, his life had not been an easy one and despite his best efforts, didn't always get easier with time either.
Nobody knew about the two of them, and even if somebody had, Methos knew that nobody would really understand how things were between them. There had been bad blood between them a thousand years ago when the Horsemen had fallen apart and the brothers had departed, and some people might think Kronos capable of holding onto a grudge for a thousand years or more. And in truth, he probably could, but he did not, the two had bumped into each other several times over the next millennium and had been able to salvage their relationship with one another. Kronos was still the first person Methos went to when he needed help or when he needed to disappear from the world for a while. He'd told Kronos in the beginning about Alexa, about his plans for the two of them. He knew that Kronos didn't approve because he could see no point in getting attached to mortals whose time was already severely limited as it was, and especially one who was already sick and dying; still, he was able to feign happiness for his brother at the time when things were up. And he guessed he'd always known that Kronos would be the first person he'd run to once Alexa had died as well, he'd just tried over the past few months not to think about it.
Methos pushed himself up on his elbows and he leaned over towards Kronos and said into his ear, even though he knew his brother was asleep and would never hear him, "Thank you, Brother."
And when Methos looked up he realized something else; twice the previous night he thought he had seen somebody else in the house with them, somebody standing in the doorway watching them last night, and there was someone standing in the doorway watching them now.
Methos didn't know how old she was; she might've been 12, she might've been 14, he wouldn't guess her for any older than that. The girl had short dark hair that looked like it had been half brushed and the other half ignored entirely, she was dressed in a sleeveless blue striped shirt and blue pajama pants and looked like she had only recently woken up herself. A permanent scowl was etched onto her face and for the life of him Methos couldn't figure out what it meant; part of him took it as a sign that he was not welcome there, but the other part of him remembered last night and if she'd been watching them…he tried to remember what happened last night, Kronos had brought him up here, into the master bedroom, had taken his clothes off and had gotten into bed with him, if she'd been a witness to that he imagined they must've given her one hell of a sight to watch.
He couldn't think of what to say to her, he wasn't even sure where the hell she'd come from or what the hell she was doing there, and while he tried to think of a logical answer to that one, the girl walked over to the bed and reached out with both arms and shook Kronos until he woke up. He murmured something a couple of times before he opened his eyes but once he did, he started to sit up in the bed and looked at her through one eye.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"Six thirty," the girl answered, and Methos noted her cold, hard voice.
"Alright," Kronos said as he laid back against the pillows again, "I'll be down in a minute."
The girl touched him to get his attention and as he looked at her, she pointed at Methos and asked him, "Friend of yours?"
Kronos looked at Methos and told her, "It's alright, he's my brother."
"…Oh," the girl said before she turned on her heel and walked out of the room.
Methos felt like he'd dived right into the Twilight Zone, he looked at his brother and asked him, "Who was that?"
"That," Kronos answered as he got out of the bed, "Is a long story."
"Alright," Methos decided to try another approach, "What was that?"
Kronos shook his head, "That one's no good, I have no idea where she came from."
"So what the hell is she doing here?" Methos asked, "How long has she been here?"
"About three months," Kronos answered as he got dressed.
Methos did a double take when he heard that. Thousands of years ago he knew that Kronos had been married, several times, and most of the time those marriages involved children in one way or another, and he had been good with them most of the time, but still, Methos knew that something wasn't right here.
"Where'd you find her?"
"In a mental asylum," Kronos told him.
"It's all a long story, brother."
Once the two brothers had gotten dressed, they went downstairs and passing by the living room, Methos saw the girl lying on the couch watching TV. They went into the kitchen and once there, he resumed with the third degree, until finally Kronos told Methos if he shut up, he would explain.
"You remember a while back when I told you about that asylum over in Chicago that some people thought they were experimenting on new Immortals there?"
"Yeah?" Methos said, clearly not getting the connection.
"I went in to find out," Kronos explained, and laughed, "Mental medicine hasn't made any progress in the last 100 years, they're still chaining them to the walls, still pumping them full of electricity and electrocuting them bit by bit. It took a while to check out the whole place and all the patients, but it turned out to be a false alarm, there are no Immortals in there."
"And the girl?" Methos asked.
"She was one of the prized experiments in there," Kronos said, "They never made any progress with her but they considered her a case worth boasting about."
Methos stepped out of the kitchen for a minute and looked in the living room, and then returned to the kitchen and asked Kronos, "How old is she?"
"No idea, closest I can figure is 13," Kronos told him, "And don't ask me why she was in there, that part I never managed to find out, all I know is that she has no family, she is not on record anywhere, and when she was there, the doctors and the so called 'professionals', deemed her a deaf blind mute."
"Triple threat," Methos said sarcastically.
"Shut up," Kronos warned him, "While I was there I got to see it for myself. They ran every single test known to man on her, and nothing."
"Meaning they couldn't find out why she was deaf and dumb, no known cause for any of it." He laughed again and told Methos, "You would think that for all their training, that they would've caught on, that they would've figured something out, but they didn't. I was in the room one day when the doctors were discussing the case."
And he remembered only too well; the girl was slumped to the side in a chair behind the two doctors who were talking amongst themselves, and Kronos. She never moved, she never looked, her eyes never registered that she saw anything going on around her. Kronos had only heard half of the conversation but he heard the doctors going over a list of names, of, he supposed, other patients, and when one of the doctors said the name 'Tommy', Kronos couldn't believe what he saw. For a few brief seconds, the girl pulled her head up and looked straight ahead at the doctors, and she looked at them inquisitively before resuming her slumped position and blank stare.
"That was when I knew there was nothing wrong with her," Kronos told Methos, "Not like they thought anyway, she could see, she could hear, talking though, that seemed to be her one setback."
When Methos heard that he stepped out of the kitchen and looked back in on the girl in the living room. It looked like she had fallen asleep on the couch watching TV. He returned to the kitchen and asked Kronos, "Tommy, eh?"
"Yeah," Kronos replied, "I caught the irony of that one too. But it's still the only name she reacts to, so…" he let the rest remain unsaid.
"Has she given you much trouble?" Methos asked.
"Not particularly," Kronos shook his head, "There are of course the usual things to expect."
"I'm sorry?" Methos thought he might've heard wrong.
But the look on Kronos' face made it obvious he hadn't misunderstood, Kronos looked at him grimly and told him, "Brother I do believe she could be one of ours."
And by that, Methos knew that Kronos was not referring to themselves literally, but instead he was implying that the girl in the next room was the child of an Immortal.
"Dear God," Methos inhaled quietly.
The truth was that Immortals could and did have children, but the truth of the matter was so horrible, it was understandable why everyone was led to believe that it didn't happen.