Four ways Methos never died (and one way he lived.)
A/N: I do not adhere to these alternate universes, I am a firm believer in Methos-is-the-one, though the cameos by Daniel Jackson and Jack Harkness are my fanon, and it pained me to write this. Plot Bunnies cannot be stopped.
1. Oh child of mine…
Once upon a time, when the world was young but before the Gods walked among men, there was a man who could not die. For sure, he would be stabbed and struck over the head and flayed and stoned and any numerous manners of departing one's soul from one's flesh and blood, but Death did not want him, and each time rejected his passing. He forever found himself waking with a gasp, power tingling in his extremities. The mortals who knew him and knew of him revered the young man, and for a time he was at peace.
This man was smart, very smart, and thought there had to be a reason as to why he, of his people, had been given the gift of never-ending. His people had many theories as to this purpose. The chieftain thought it was to lead them, but the young man had no desire to take command of his village. The shaman thought it was to protect them and lead them victoriously in battle, but the young man had no desire to fight and to kill. The young man had his own theory, and that it was to learn and to teach, and in this he found his purpose, and did just so.
When on the eve of his 600th year a stranger road into the village, all wild hair and dark eyes and buzzing against the young man's senses with the same power that kept him everlasting, the scholar was drawn out. He thought of only what the stranger could teach him, what bounty there could be in learning what he knew.
Millennia later, the whispers of the oldest Immortal were in someone else's name.
2. Brothers in blood…
Methos stood in silence as Kronos pulled Cassandra from his tent, deafening his ears to her plaintive cries, but his fists still clenched till they were whiter than the sands, blood drawing from his palms.
She forgot who we were; she forgot who I was; I forgot who I was.
The words ran a tirade of doubt and a sudden stab of loathing into his thoughts, and he felt sickened, sinking down onto the furs.
Tonight; I've spent too much time thinking about it; I leave tonight.
With a newfound urgency he slung as much as one casual bundle would carry, dressed still in the white clothes that stank of soot and blood, and strode from his tent. With luck the others would never notice his absence before he was hundreds of miles away.
In quick strides he was to his horse, vaulted to the saddle, urging her from the camp and into the desert, but soon hoof beats and the savage buzz of another Immortal heralded an approach from behind. The sing of an arrow whistled in his ears as pain toppled him from his mount, and Methos landed in the sand, pulling air into lungs filling with blood as he rolled to face his attacker.
Kronos looked down upon him with rage and mistrust and – could that possibly be sorrow? – His blade already unsheathed.
"I'm sorry, brother," he said, as he raised the blade high.
"So am I," said Methos, and the night was lit up with Quickening-fire.
He was drenched, exhausted, shivering in the cold night air as he waited in the shadows near MacLeod's barge. He'd been out of the Game too long; Methos was tired, truly, bone-deep and sick of the struggle.
There were moments he enjoyed, yes: the new cultures, languages, the tiny things that made him marvel at the perseverance of the human race. And some old friends, who still dogged his heels from life to life, but even those were fading with time: Darius and Rebecca, now gone; Byron, drinking and smoking and wasting his life into oblivion; Kronos, Silas and Caspian, relics of a past he wanted to forget, but never would.
As Adam Pierson he had access to all their files, and to Duncan MacLeod's. He knew Duncan's potential for the Game. He knew his clansman Connor, as Ben Adams, once. He knew the unstoppable move the older Scot had passed on to his student. He knew he could not beat Kalas, and that MacLeod would never take his head voluntarily.
The buzz registered on his senses and Methos gripped his sword tighter in frozen fingers, letting a harsh breath coalesce in mist on the chilled river air, and he staggered forth from the darkness, each step feeling weighted with his five-thousand years.
There could be only one – it would not be he.
4. The end of the world as we know it…
How curious it was that philosophers of the ancient times would predict four Horsemen to be the bringers of the Apocalypse. In the end, it took only one.
Nobody from Earth-That-Was could remember who started the war, which it was that dropped that first bomb, beginning an atomic age from which the Earth would never recover in the lifespan of the current man. Some blamed the Middle-East, as the invariably did, and the terrorist groups that remained as boogiemen under the beds of the people. Still others pointed the blame at Russia and Korea. And all glowered suspiciously at the Americas, in particular the United States, for being an oversized colony of paranoid conspirators.
Such was the way of the world, in this future.
Only the Watchers of Immortal-kind knew the truth. It was chronicled in the final chapters of the Methos journals, penned in writing different to the rest: the moment that decided the end of the Gathering and began the end of the world. How the battle had come to a head, and those left standing were but two.
On the shores of the Nile, the combatants faced each other. The blood of fallen foes drenched their clothes, and both were short of breath, but neither would back down. Methos looked into the eyes of his teacher and his student and saw sorrow. Daniel looked into the eyes of his student and his teacher and saw forgiveness.
Not a word was spoken as their blades clashed, the glint of sun off steel and blood shining in the fires of dawn.
The final stroke cut clean and six-thousand years of history poured from the fallen, shattering the silence. Lightning arched into the sky, striking the ground, a continuous roll of thunder and power that swept across the desert, levelling the cities standing the closest sentinel over the battleground.
There was no first bomb.
5. You can't take the sky from me…
On a battered space-station, millions of years in the future, a man stood watch over the Earth, watching as the shining star that had fed life below for billions of years extended its touch to the world.
Once upon a time, he had walked on that surface as a child and known the world to be small.
Once upon a time, he had died again and again and known the world to be mysterious.
Once upon a time, he had laughed and shared memories and beer with new friends, to become old friends, and he was happy, for he knew the world to be surprising.
Once upon a time, he had a name.
He had no name now.
The man once known as Methos was joined by another; without looking at his companion, he took the proffered beer, and raised it in toast.
"To the Earth," he said solemnly.
"Long may she rest in peace," Jack answered with a nod, and the two Immortals shared a moment of silence as their planet was consumed in flame.