Disclaimers: The Highlander characters and situations are the property of Davis/Panzer Productions, so far as I know. I own nothing here.
A/N: I started this before the release of Highlander:Endgame, and it is not true to the events in that movie. Also, this is something of a sequel to The Three Pound Eight Ounce Warrior (story ID 2192074). You can read this story without having read the other, but Methos's motivations will be as obscure to you as they are to Joe. Maybe you're okay with that.
Thanks: This story was partly inspired by Bridget Mintz Testa, who said "Remember, there are two MacLeods," which caused me to consider using Connor in a story. I want to thank my loyal beta reader, DesertRat, who gives me excellent plot suggestions when I'm blocked, advice on everything from character motivation to setting, and is my invaluable resource for series and movie canon. Hers is the blame for the idea of Kirin's cross, and hers is the credit that I didn't refer to Kanwulf as Duncan's first head. (duh!)
I also really want to thank all the people who e-mailed me encouragement while this was a WIP. Among those, let me particularly mention Linda Byrum who assumed Methos would be in it even before I realized that he had to be, Bridget Mintz Testa, again, for teaching me that Connor is a true hero under all the paranoia, Vi Moreau, who coached me on Connor's attitudes about torture and getting physical, Sharon Cross for the Gaelic swearing, Livengoo for the Connor character sketch, and Sharz Utz for reminding me not to forget Connor's sense of humor. If my Connor still isn't right, it's not their fault; they tried.
Get Well Soon
By Teresa C
Part 1 of 14
The Wrong MacLeod
Joe's heart leaped when, glancing across the Seine, he saw lights glowing from the barge. Mac was back?! Joe swerved the Ranger to change course and make it into the lane to cross the bridge - a harrowing maneuver, but he managed it and lived.
His heartbeat drummed in his ears, but not from his close calls in traffic. Three months! Three months since he had buried Richie on a rainy Paris day after a scantily attended memorial service. Three months since the Highlander had vanished after committing the unthinkable. Three grey, grief-filled months. Where the hell had MacLeod been?
Joe parked his car next to an unfamiliar Saab and hurried up the gangplank. He reached the door and knocked. A part of him warned that an unbalanced MacLeod was dangerous, but relief and anger warred in him, either one sufficient to drown out the warning.
There was no response to his knock.
"Mac? Mac, are you there?"
Still no answer. Joe gripped the door handle and paused. Maybe he should have called first.
"It's unlocked," said a voice with a sibilant accent to his right. "You should go on in."
Joe snatched his hand back and looked over into the malevolent gaze of the sneaker-clad man who appeared around the side of the cabin. A shiver went through him as he tried to hide his recognition of the immortal. Not MacLeod. Uh, not Duncan MacLeod.
"Oh, I ... didn't know ..." Joe fumbled. "I was looking for ..." He faltered again. He found his thoughts were numbed by the foolish shock of a fan meeting a celebrity. This was, this was ... Connor MacLeod! In the flesh. Looking as real and solid as the grocer. But not as friendly, Joe managed to observe. The immortal wore his reputation like a mantle of office, whether he knew it or not. Paranoid, volatile, dangerous.
Connor MacLeod. Shit.
Joe blinked and breathed, as the five-hundred-year-old man paced around him to the quai-side, blocking his retreat. He reached one long arm slowly past Joe to open the door, turning the motion into a command to enter, with a cocked head and sinister smile. Joe entered.
"So, Mr. Dawson ..." The door closed behind them with a finality Joe found unnerving. What trap had just sprung shut? "Where is Duncan MacLeod?"
"How do you know my name?" Joe demanded. He unmired his thoughts enough to realize he could be in real danger. His own habits aside, Watchers were safer not chatting up passing immortals. Most people in Joe's experience, immortals or not, resented being spied on, and casual murder was a real option for these people. They even had lots of practice at disposing of bodies. He grew cold.
Connor MacLeod - Joe groped through his memory for the man's current name - glided past him into the main living area of the barge. He lifted himself to sit on the kitchen counter, his legs swinging freely, and regarded Joe like a crouched bird of prey. "Duncan only has one legless man as a friend," he replied.
It was just a statement of fact, but something about the way the immortal said "legless man," pissed Joe off. The anger was welcome, because it cleared the last of the muck from Joe's thinking. It also convinced him he was not telling this cocky bastard anything.
Joe started down the stairs. "And who the hell are you?"
He paused when he realized the other man had gone still. Joe looked up into a glare that would stop a charging bull.
"So you're going to pretend you don't know me," the elder Highlander hissed.
"Yes," Joe said. Let the immortal take that how he would. "Who are you?"
Connor flashed a sudden grin, cocking his head to the side. He hopped down and opened the refrigerator. "Russell Nash. I'm Duncan's cousin," he replied. He spoke with an odd accent Joe couldn't place.
Joe relaxed somewhat. So they'd moved from bad cop to good cop.
Connor returned with two bottles of beer and held one out. Joe knew a sudden wash of grief as he remembered Richie drinking a companion to that bottle. Joe accepted the drink, and made a private toast.
Connor watched him closely. "So, where is my cousin? I was sure you would know."
Joe looked up.
"Because you're his friend," Connor clarified with a tight smile.
"He didn't tell me where he was going," Joe gave him. It was certainly true. "I don't know where he is." Something of the familiar feeling of desolation which had been his companion these last months, entered his tone.
Connor turned abruptly away and lifted a sealed, bulging garbage bag. He brandished it easily in one hand. "He left suddenly. He didn't clean out his icebox," he accused. He was almost yelling.
Wary, Joe frowned at him. Why was he angry?
"I know," Joe replied.
Connor didn't lower the bag. He waited, holding Joe's gaze fiercely.
With sudden insight, Joe recognized the worry in the Highlander's ire. Of course, it didn't look good. An immortal vanishes without a word, without so much as taking out the garbage, or - Joe looked around - replacing the books he'd been reading, or doing his laundry.
Joe met the other man's intense gaze and took pity on him. "But I expect him back."
Connor lowered the bag, the tightness in his face relaxing. "Then where is he?" he asked, quietly.
"I really don't know," Joe responded in the same way.
Connor quirked him a skeptical eyebrow.
Grateful that Connor wasn't forcing the Watcher issue, Joe gave him what he could. They really weren't enemies, he reminded himself. "Everyone's looking for him."
Joe stood to go, hoping he'd be permitted. He didn't care to add to the story. "Do you want me to take the garbage?" Joe offered. "There's no city pickup on the quai."
"There's a strange little friend of Duncan's who said he'd come for it.."
Joe started for the door, relieved that Connor did nothing to stop him. He resented being frightened, and couldn't resist a dig. "That strange little friend has been paying Duncan's wharf fees."
Connor watched him go.