They Call the Wind…

Paris, 10 November 1996

Duncan MacLeod pulled up the collar of his jacket as he watched Methos disappear in the gathering darkness of the cemetery. Some part of him wanted to kill Methos for what he'd done… and another part wanted to embrace him and laugh maniacally.

Absently rubbing his forehead, MacLeod turned and walked in the opposite direction. He feared if he followed his "friend"… he'd succumb to either extreme. Meanwhile, he had to talk to Cassandra and try to explain everything to her.

For a moment a vision of Cassandra crossed his mind and he grinned, licking his teeth. "Truly delightful," he thought. Once again he shuddered. In less than forty-eight hours he'd taken the heads and quickenings of two immortals, both over three thousand years old. He needed time to completely assimilate all their memories. He needed time to reassert his own identity.

"I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," he whispered defiantly to the wind. In answer it howled around him, reminding him of a sandstorm.

The darkness lightened slightly and Duncan felt buffeted by the wind and sand pelting him incessantly. The shadows of his brothers and their slaves moved dimly in the distance. He bent lower, one hand trailing behind him to pull the horse along. The other hand adjusted the mask over his face. He batted his eyes… tearing at the gritty sand assaulting them.

Duncan whipped around in the darkness. From the corner of his eye he saw something white flit amidst the tombstones. He took a deep breath, counted to ten and continued toward the south entrance. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked. Duncan shoved his hands into his coat pockets as he scrunched his shoulders up against the wind that periodically whipped around him.

"We need to find shelter!" Methos yelled. He couldn't see him… only hear his voice, which sounded thin on the howling wind of the sandstorm. Someone bumped against him. Cassandra! He grinned at the thought of her. But as swiftly as she'd bumped him she was gone. Methos kept her with him. It was time Methos learned what he preached… We share everything!

A streetlight just the other side of the cemetery gate flickered and burned out with a pop and the smell of ozone lingered on the air. Duncan could feel the temperature drop. He shivered and increased his speed. He needed to get back to the hotel before Cassandra packed up and vanished. He needed to explain to her why he'd ordered her not to kill Methos. She'd complied a little too quickly. Did she love him still?

Cassandra met Methos with a smile after the four of them returned from their latest the raid. She was entirely too happy with his brother. And if she were happy… Methos was happy. Could she be trying to turn him against the rest of them? Was she even now whispering treachery in his ear? Did she really think Methos would value her life above that of his brothers? It was time to speak up.

Head lowered against the now wailing wind, Duncan stepped out into the dark street. An on-coming car's brakes screeched and a driver insulted his heritage with rude gestures and barrage of angry French. Duncan stepped next to the car to glare at the man. The driver swallowed nervously and quickly drove off. Laughter echoed through Duncan's mind even as another streetlight flickered and went out. Sleet, driven by the wind gusts, began to pelt him like burning needles. With a snarl, Duncan turned once more toward the hotel, escaping from the elements into the moist heat of the lobby. Outside, the wind began to howl.

Within the moist warmth of the cave, firelight flickered on the rough stone. Methos had directed that the slaves cover the entrance with a large piece of leather to hold out the wind and the sand. It held out the sand, but the wind continued to whip into the cave around the edges of the skin and stir up the fire so that the sparks rose and sparkled in the dim interior of the cave's roof. Already the soot blackened the ceiling.

Cassandra moved to Methos' side to fill his cup with wine. The two shared a look that spoke volumes about how they truly felt.

He held out his own cup. "Fill mine, slave!"

Her green eyes widened. She hesitated.

"Now!" he thundered and then smiled with a shrug and a wink at Methos.

"Do as you're told!" Methos said, backhanding her.

His smile widened as Cassandra moved swiftly to fill his cup. His brother's alliance was still with them. But for how long?

Duncan shuddered. The memories of the horsemen were too vivid… too over-powering. Perhaps he should have followed Methos after all. He wanted… no… he needed Cassandra. Riding up in the elevator, Duncan's emotions continued in turmoil. Part of him wanted to sweep Cassandra into his arms… and part wanted to ravish her. At the base of both sets of desires was the need to talk to her… to explain to her why Methos needed to live. Upon exiting the elevator, he headed down the carpeted hallway, already fingering the key. He lifted it and inserted it into the lock and then opened the door.

"Honey… I'm home!" he cackled most uncharacteristically.

Cassandra wiped sweat from her brow as she filled the skins with water. He stood quietly behind her… waiting. She rose and saw him there. She bit her lip and then lowered her head as she made to go past him. He grabbed her… excited by her musky scent. He ripped the waterbag from her hands so that its contents spilled on the ground. One hand clutchedher neck as the other eased below her rough garment to touch her bare leg and then slowly worked its way up.

"No!" she mumbled. "Methos!"

"He can't help you now," he laughed and pushed her to the ground. "We share everything!"

Cassandra zipped up her bag. "Oh… you're back. I'd hoped to be long gone before you did."

Duncan tossed the key onto the dresser. "We need to talk."

"Talk? About what? There's nothing to say. You said it all when you ordered me to let Methos (the name came out bitterly) live! You ordered me as if I were your slave."

Duncan stared at her morosely. "No… not a slave… a friend. I need him alive."

"Why? There can be only one or don't you remember that?"

"I…" he paused, "owe him." Duncan stepped closer to her. He reached out to caress her cheek, suddenly wanting so much more from her. Within him, voices shouted in rhythm… "Take her brother! We share everything!"

Duncan shook his head. He was Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. He was not Caspian! He was not Kronos! They were dead! They laughed. Kronos whispered, "We are the end of time. We will live on through you. Didn't you know that?"

Duncan pulled Cassandra toward him and kissed her firmly. She fought him, struggling against his kiss and his hold. They fell onto the bed as he maneuvered a leg between hers and one hand ripped at her clothes. Outside the wind howled. He exposed one of her breasts and lifted his mouth from hers to eagerly suckle the breast.

She stilled as if finally accepting the inevitable. Then he heard her voice… pitched just so. "No! You are tired! You need to sleep!"

Duncan shook his head. He didn't need sleep… he needed her. But his eyelids grew heavy as he collapsed onto her.

Within the dream he rode across the desert with his brothers, and no force on earth could stop them.

Duncan opened his eyes and groaned. On the far side of the room Joe Dawson sat with a gun in his hand. The Watcher motioned with it. "Do I need this?"

Duncan sat up. His head throbbed and there was a sour taste in his mouth. "What are you doing here?"

"Cassandra called me. Seems she thinks you're possessed."

Duncan shook his head and then regretted the action. "No… I'm fine. It was just some vestige of memory… of longing… of unfinished business. It's not dark."

Joe grimaced as he considered Duncan's words… then he shoved the gun in its holster.

"Where did she go?" Duncan asked tentatively.

"I'm not sure. Besides… she asked me not to tell you. Did you really try to rape her?"

Duncan's feet hit the floor as swallowed to prevent gagging. "I don't know. I wanted to talk to her… explain things… and then I just wanted her."

"Well she is one powerful woman. Evidently that voice of hers…"

"… packs a wallop," Duncan admitted knowingly. He'd find her again… and if not… he still had his memories.

Within him, the two ancients laughed. "As we said brother… we will share everything. All that was… all that is… all that will be… till the end of time." And Duncan nodded his silent agreement.