MAAT

--------- --------- by Sannah

sequel to "Adam Pierson is dead", "Scion", "Whatever is necessary" and "Chapter: Cassandra"

fifth in my "May God have mercy on your soul"-Series

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And now Methos could see her. She was standing in front of him - a young woman, beautiful and with a powerful charisma. She looked at him and her expressions were soft, but unyielding. "How did you get in here? I mean, damn, who are you?" He wanted to sound strong, but what left his mouth wasn't more than a whisper. The mysterious woman smiled gently down at him and her eyes glowed golden like the sun. "You know me, Methos. I'm the daughter of Re. And I'm the one who decides about your life - and your death."

"Maat...!"

... It had been two thousand years ago. Methos and the other horsemen had taken up residence in Upper-Egypt. Somewhere in the north-east another child was born, that was told to become the king of the world... Who'd care?! Well, Kronos did. "Hey, Methos! You should come with me. It'll be fun!" Kronos was already on his horse and Caspian impatiently waited for him at the edge of the camp. "No, brother. I don't give anything about these rumors. Nathan, Andrasz, Jesus -that's all the same to me. But just take Caspian and have fun. I'll stay here with Silas. By the way, someone has to look after the slaves." He smiled. Kronos only nodded and rode. Three days later Methos was out in the desert. It had been a hot day that followed a real cold night. Nowhere he could find something interesting, no animal appeared, that was worth hunting. And then after more than four hours he was bored and thirsty and decided to go back to the camp. But as soon as he turned for going a noise caught his attention. It seemed to be not too far away where the source lay and so he went exploring it. What he found made up for the exhausting trip: It was a small group of nomads, five women only protected by one man. It was too good to be true! How long had it been that Methos had come into slaves this easy?! Certainly too long to let the chance slip. "May Re guard you and let his light show you the way!" Methos obstructed the man with a friendly smile on his lips. Forced to stop the other one studied skeptically the stranger in front of him, finally deciding to return the greeting: "And may he always lead you back into the safety of your home." And with it he tried to get out of the way, but Methos didn't let him to. "Ah, you're not going to leave without offering a poor, thirsty man something to drink, are you. See, I'm out here for hours and my water ran out. And it's so hot." He put on a suffering face, not mentioning that he had two full tubes packed on his horse - probably more than the man had. But so what, at least the women would get lots of water back in his camp - provided they pleased him. The nomad hesitated first, then remembering the wish of the gods to help anybody who asked for it he took out his own tube and handed it to the other man. Methos drank almost all water at one gulp, pouring what was left over his face. Amused he watched the other's expression change into pure anger, mixed with what had to be despair. But again the person opposite stayed calm. 'Good manners...' "Thank you so much! I'm sure your soul will find a place at the Gods' side." Methos grinned and returned the tube with his right, but with his left he plunged his knife deep into the man's stomach. This one opened his eyes and mouth wide with surprise and pain and slowly sank to the ground. "Sorry!" Methos whispered when he drew the knife back again, making sure the wound would kill him in a few hours, if he survived that long with the burning sun and several vultures above. Remembering the women he turned around, satisfied to see them still standing paralyzed beside him. It really was too good...! He had just tied the women up when from out of nowhere another woman appeared. Methos had never seen someone so beautiful and fascinating before. She looked like a goddess. If he had only known in those days how right he was about it! She knelt down, laying one of her hands on the nomads bleeding wound, the other on his forehead. And suddenly the stab was healed. And not a heartbeat later she stood right in front of Methos, just waving to free the women, not taking her golden eyes away from his. What followed next the Immortal could hardly remember. Her warm and soft hands on his temples... An incredible pressure... And suddenly pictures and emotions flooded his mind, causing his heart to stop beating, leaving him breathless. Every single soul he had punished, raped, murdered was now coming back, doing the same to him. And in the middle there was SHE, smiling at him gently: "I'm Maat." She whispered, but it sounded like waterfalls. "I'm justice and truth. Don't be afraid, little boy." The goddess reached out for him and when he took her hand - his escaping rope - she pulled him into a deep embrace. Methos got lost in it, somehow knowing that this was the only place for him to find any peace. He cried like the child that he was compared to her. When he woke up again it was after dusk and he neither knew whether what had happened was really true, nor what she expected him to do, if yes. His head was aching terribly from what it had experienced, but deep inside he felt totally calm and warm, although it had already been bitterly cold. Hours passed by with him not moving. He lay on his back, his eyes open, but his gaze fixed nothing. And suddenly he knew it...

...He had left the Horsemen the same night, secretly. He had not even gone back to the camp to get his things. He had just vanished, hoping neither his former brothers nor his doings would catch up with him. It had worked for two thousand years.

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Chiara couldn't move or even think. 'What's that all about?' O'Coerky had just left the apartment without saying a word. He hadn't even tried to explain a bloody thing! And she again had no idea, what to believe - or whom.

Joe stared at the door. 'Nothing has changed.' The thought caused a deep sigh. Yes, he had hoped so badly, the Immortal would finally have at least forgotten to hate himself for what had happened. But he hadn't. This was sure now after such an exit... But although he could well understand it, Methos was still his friend and he didn't want to see him suffering. Chiara looked at him totally confused. 'Poor girl...' "What...?! Shouldn't I've asked, or... I mean... Have I made a mistake? Was it..." Her soft voice broke and she was trembling. Maybe, if there were any tears left, she would have cried. Joe tenderly caressed her shoulders. "No, no. It's not about you, Chiara. He's just running - running from his past, and from himself." "But... Tell me, Joe. What has happened? Did he kill this woman?" She was calm now, and her eyes showed nothing, no emotion. She seemed to be empty. Joe knew it was time to explain some things to her, but he didn't like it. Bu tit was crueler to let her stay this ignorant. "Long time ago the man you know as Leonnard O'Coerky has been one of the four horsemen. They were worse than anything the world had seen before. They were War, Plague, Famine and Death. And they terrorized the world for thousands of years." He stopped to free his head from the pictures his imagination forced him to see. And with a concerned gaze on the girl he continued. "Around 1000 BC it happened that they met a woman who was meant to become immortal. They killed her and her whole tribe. But she revived and became a slave. Meth... O'Coerky raped her, killed her whenever he thought it was necessary or entertaining." He cleared his throat. "You mind me not going into detail." Chiara didn't react. She just stared at him, her face was a grimace, as if his words caused painful memories on her. And yes, he recognized, surely she had also had visions about this part of Methos' past. If she knew... "Well, the woman, Cassandra, finally had the chance to flee. And after two thousand years they met again. She hated him even more, and her only goal was to get revenge, to kill him. But she didn't - because of another Immortal, MacLeod. "Nevertheless she had not forgotten about it and when the time was right for her she challenged O'Coerky. And this time there was nobody to save O'Coerky or her. They fought - and he won..." Silence.

Chiara was even more confused than before. She had hardly believed it could be true that O'Coerky had killed the woman. And now she was supposed to accept him as one of the world's most evil people. No, never. He couldn't have done this! No! "You can't be serious. I mean, he's a little peculiar. But, damn, he had taken care of me. Without him, I would have gone crazy!" But as soon as she had said the words she somehow knew deep inside, that it was really him - O'Coerky, Pierson, or however he was called - Joe was talking about. Although she still didn't want to believe it. "I am." That was all what left the other's mouth. And they both knew, that there wouldn't be an argument following.

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"So you do remember me, Methos." The Goddess moved closer until her body nearly touched his. And her warmth surrounded him. He fought the longing to lean into her like he did once. "Yes." "Do you know why I'm here again?" She smiled, but nevertheless Methos had the feeling she would hurt him in the next second. "Not exactly." He mumbled, trying to take his eyes away from her. It didn't work. His gaze was still fixed at her golden eyes, but suddenly the color turned into red and they seemed to be flames that burned him. Maat laid her hands on his temples and they, too, burned his flesh. "I'm here, because you have forgotten about what you have done. I'm here to remind you." "No! I haven't forgotten anything. I never will!" He tried to break free, but her grab was unyielding. "But I have changed." "I know, little boy. You found friends, someone who loved you and you avoided killing. I know everything. But when you killed Cassandra you acted against my will. She was meant to keep Death alive. I wanted her to stay alive for she was connected to your past. And you fool killed her." "But... What else do you want? There is no day or night I don't think about it. I can still hear them cry!" Tears of pain filled his eyes. Her fingers still burned him and the fire crept its way slowly in his head until he thought he could no longer stand it. "I want you to suffer. You were never suggested to find love - without pain. I never wanted you to live a peaceful life. You do not earn it." She suddenly took her hands off him and stepped away. Methos collapsed, hardly able to continue breathing. "It's... it's not... fair." He pressed out and nearly lost consciousness. "No, but that's how it is." Maat's voice was soft like an early birds song. But he knew the Goddess was much more dangerous than she sounded. There was silence now and Methos didn't dare to open his eyes that had been closed the last few minutes. When he finally did it, Maat had vanished, but the room was still hot from her presence. Methos fell back on his bed, still crying. Two thousand years in which he had become a new man and she punished him even today. Sure, he well- deserved it - somehow. He had done horrible things, that couldn't be forgiven or forgotten, no matter how hard he tried. But he had learned to live with his past. He had accepted it as a part of him. And he certainly wouldn't let something like that happen again. So, why didn't she leave him alone...?!

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Chiara felt tired after what she had heard, so she went to bed. But the room was much too light and the street too noisy. Troubled she tossed and turned until she thought she would finally go crazy. She didn't want to go back to the living area to be faced with Joe, but otherwise she had no intention to stay alone. Just the time she had decided rather to have to talk with Joe again than to stay and ram her head against the wall, she had the feeling that she was no longer alone in the small room. A strange warmth surrounded her and she couldn't tell if it was something to be afraid of or something else, more comfortable. Chiara looked around, but couldn't discover anything. She was the only person in there and everything else was as it used to be - except that the temperature still seemed to rose. And suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, but when she turned around she couldn't see anyone. "Who are you?" She screamed. "Show yourself and tell me what you want!" Minutes passed by with nothing happening. But all of a sudden the window flew open and the room was now cold like ice. Her teeth were chattering with cold and also fear when she went to shut the window again. Nervously looking around she gazed the wall opposite and was paralyzed.

METHOS

It took her long until she could move again and went closer, shivering. The name that chased her in her visions was drawn with red paint and when she touched it, it was warm - blood. And as soon as she came into contact with it her head seemed to explode and she lost consciousness. But it wasn't silent there...

...Pictures and noises flooded her mind. She was drawn into a world of pain and in the middle there was she. Around her the face of O'Coerky appeared and vanished again, appeared and vanished, appeared... It was definitely him, but he changed every time his picture came back. His face - painted with blue and white - covered with blood - a bitter grin - tears - laughing - screaming in fear and pain - groaning with satisfaction - yelling: I'M METHOS...

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It must have been hours Methos just lay on his bed, trying to think nothing, and finally he felt empty enough to get up again. Another time he had successfully deleted every single painful memory. Who knew for how long... He would have forgotten completely about Chiara and what Maat had told him, wasn't it for a knock on is door and Joe waiting outside. "Yes..." He let him in with a light nod, sighing deeply. "What do you think you're doing, Old Man? Running away with Chiara more confused than ever... You really could have answered her question. It hasn't been my job to do." "But I guess you have." Methos had no longing for talking, but somehow Joe's words and the expression on his face while speaking made him feel guilty. After all it was him who made Chiara suffer, although he had still no idea why. Certainly it had to do with Maat, but Methos couldn't see her point. He had committed all the crimes, had killed - it must have been him, who had to experience the cries and pain of his victims, not an innocent child! "Methos!" Joe's voice was steady, but the Immortal could hear both an order and a plea in it. "Go - tell her everything if it's necessary, but go and help her!" "Yes..." The Immortal closed his eyes. Sure, he would go. But what could he say, what could he do? Maat... He had to find her. She was the key! But would she tell him what he needed to know? Certainly not... Suddenly a thought crossed his mind that made him freeze: "What if I kill myself, will my debts be expiated?" Joe looked at him puzzled: "Sorry?" "No - forget about it..." If he could only do so himself. Yes, Maat wanted him to die, but not now, not yet. And how, how was it connected to Chiara? Why was it her who had to bear the fear and pain he had brought into the world? His whole body ached with the memory of the girl in his arms only two days ago - dead, the knife still in her heart. It had been the first time for countless years he had cried... Absolute pain had taken control over him. Pain - suffering. And what could be crueler than having to witness how someone that innocent tries to kill herself over and over again - because of you! Someone you love... Did he? "Methos, talk to me!" No answer.

"Methos!" Joe tried it again, but his friend seemed to be too far away for his words to reach him. Whatever the Immortal was thinking about it must have been something really serious for Joe had never seen the other man in such a bad condition. His face was gray, the hazel eyes had lost their glow. And he was as skinny as he had never been before. To use one word: miserable. Maybe it was just the worry about Chiara, but he felt there had to be more. And what he had said only minutes before: 'If I killed myself...' He wouldn't do, would he? No, he had survived too long to end his life like this. And for what reason he should do it? To prove that Death had faded away? Did he really believe it would change anything? Anyway, it surely won't help the girl. "Joe, I'm sorry. But..." Methos had finally sorted his thoughts, deciding he would try to talk with Maat. "But could you please leave me alone now." Joe raised, propped on his cane, nodded understandingly and headed for the door. But before he opened it he asked again: "Will you go to Chiara?" The Immortal didn't look at him, but concentrated on the bottle of beer in his hand. "Yes. Is she at home?" "Yes."

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As soon as the door was closed behind the man Methos collapsed on the couch. "Maat, where are you? Show yourself!" Nobody answered. The room was still silent and grew dark with the rest of the world while the sun vanished behind the ocean. "Maat! I need to talk with you!" With closed eyes he waited for any reaction, but as expected he didn't get one. 'Time to resign.' He told himself with a bitter grin. 'There's nothing you can do...' And with these words he drifted off into sleep...

...He was on a cliff. The sea underneath was churned up and almost white covered with crests. Above him the sun was hidden behind piles of dark clouds. And the wind blew stronger than any storm Methos had experienced before, but nevertheless it couldn't take him off of his feet. Suddenly he recognized two people standing at the edge of the abyss. Only when he got closer he discovered it was Maat, who was about to throw Chiara down and into the howling waters. Nothing but one hand in her neck prevented her from falling. "What are you doing? - Chiara, are you okay, Deary? - Maat...!" Methos stopped for not provoking the Goddess even more. Chiara stared at him - her eyes wide open with fear. She tried to speak, but all that left her was a groan, that sent shivers through the man. And he couldn't do anything but watch. "Methos - finally you are here to join us..." Maat smiled gently at him, but her eyes were full of hate. Methos just shook his head, trying to convince himself: "That is not real! Nothing here is real!" "Oh, Little Boy. Don't be so stupid! Everything is as real for you and this cute child as I want it to be." Slowly she took Chiara in her arms, caressing her cheek - only to hurl her back over the cliff almost immediately, although still keeping hold of her. "Come over here!" Methos obeyed. "Does it hurt?" She asked curiously. "What... What do you mean?" He hated such games. But somehow he knew, whatever Maat was going to do or say it was definitely nothing he would be pleased with... "Does it hurt to watch her die?" The curiosity hadn't left her eyes, but all of a sudden she loosened the grab and Chiara fell. It took her seconds to realize what was happening and therefor her face showed only surprise until she hit the rocks and it changed into a demon-like mask - and the water mingled with blood... Methos was paralyzed. "Chiara, Love..." Then, turning around to face the Goddess he yelled: "You - you bitch - you've killed her! - She is dead!" "That's painful, right? But does it hurt so much that you, too, want to die? Or maybe - would you give your life for hers? Oh... no, that's not necessary. Watch!" Maat forced him to gaze again down into the deep abyss only to discover that the former lifeless body began to move. Chiara was alive! But her broken legs didn't support her enough to stand up. So she fell and seemed to have lost consciousness again. "Maat! Stop it! You cannot be serious in letting her survive like that!" Methos tried to get hold of the Goddess, but his hands grabbed right through her. She just smiled - the smile that seemed to never leave her face and meant nothing but disaster. "Oh, Little Boy - my little, suffering Boy... Does it mean you want me to let her die? Shall I kill her?" "No...! Yes... Just do anything that helps her! I can't stand it to see her like this... Maat!" He collapsed, begging on bended knees for mercy on Chiara - and him. Yes, it certainly was crueler to see the girl die and revive, die and revive again than to see her die one time and to know that her pain had finally come to an end. "And it's because of me! I am to blame for it - for it all...!" "You finally got it, eh?!" Maat's voice echoed in his head, leaving him alone in the darkness of his own mind...

TO BE CONTINUED