Chapter 4.

It was past midnight, when they checked in a hotel in Cardiff. Duncan tried to get some sleep, but it was harder than he thought – Methos' story awoke his own memories and ghosts. As soon as he closed his eyes, he saw Kahani and Little Deer or ravaged Scottish villages or… All those he had loved and cared for and had failed to protect, and had lost to countless and senseless wars. Soon he gave up the idea of sleep and went down to the hotel bar. Methos was there, sitting at a distant table with a large mug of beer; the familiarity of the sight was almost calming. Mac began to hope that surprises were finally over. Methos waved to him and Duncan joined his friend, ordering a scotch.
"So what's now?" he asked after his drink had arrived.
Methos shrugged.
"I believe now we are at last coming back."
"And Jessica?"
"She flies back to Sweden tomorrow. Her astrophysical identity has to be closed properly, anyway."
"And after that?"
"We'll see." After a pause he added: "Mac, you know Wales quite well, don't you?"
"More or less. Why are you asking?"
"If you don't have any complicated plans on the next year… You could help Jess to be reacquainted with it."
So much about the end of surprises.
"Methos, why don't you do it yourself? She is your friend, isn't she?"
"She is. But it's not that simple." Methos finished his beer and ordered a new one.
"Care to explain?" Mac tried to sound neutral.
Half of the new mug later Methos answered:
"She needs to make peace with her homeland, her people and her culture. With her origins, so to say. I can't help her with that, I simply don't know how people do it."

MacLeod nearly choked, suddenly realizing, how much ancient pain was hidden behind casual words. "Before that, it all starts to blur," Methos said to him years ago, but Duncan hadn't paid much attention to his words then. Back then Methos hadn't been his friend yet; he hadn't even been a real person, just "the worlds oldest Immortal". And only now MacLeod began to understand what it really meant. No matter how greatly Methos was worried about Jess, the fact was that he envied her. Envied her because she could point a place on the map, where she was born (or found), she could remember the language her first words were in. And Duncan himself was more than lucky, because he had Glenfinnan. Glenfinnan, where the graves of his parents were, where his fathers' sword still guarded the area… Glenfinnan, which always will be special, no matter how many other places he'd called home in different times. What was it like, to not remember the beginning? To not be able to say "my homeland", "my people", "my language", even about the dead? MacLeod felt that he ought to say something, but he didn't know what. Methos will never admit that pain openly, will mock mercilessly any words of comfort… All that Duncan could do now – was to fulfill his request. Help their common friend if he couldn't help Methos himself.
"Well, I believe I don't have any special arrangements for next months," Mac said, trying to sound as casual as his friend. "It'll be interesting to waste some more time in Wales."
"But I won't let you skip your part, old friend," the Highlander thought to himself. "And maybe sometime in the future I'll learn how to talk with you about this. Maybe Jess helps when she'll be okay…"


From: gwen_j()yahoo()com
To: bookworm()hotmail()com
Date: 15 Jan 2010
Subject: PHD presentation

Dear Mr. ******!

I am glad to invite you to a presentation of my PHD thesis "Celtic sanctuaries in Wales in 4-6 centuries AD", which will take place in Cardiff University in May.

Yours faithfully,
Gwenllian Jessica Lanlyn,
Cardiff School of History and Archaeology.

P.S. (written in old Welsh dialect)
Well, I hope you enjoyed the official part, I just couldn't help it :). To be serious, I'd really appreciated if you could come. I couldn't make it without you, but you know that, don't you:)? Oh, and I haven't decided yet, which one of your names I should put in dedication, so if you have any preferences, you still have the time to let me know:). The whole three days:).
Give my regards to Duncan, I'll send him an official invitation when I know the exact date. Oh, and best wishes to your blues friend Joe, I hope I'll be able to hear him when I'm next in London. Well… I believe that's all for now :).
Looking forward to your answer and to yourself in May :). (It doesn't mean you can't drop by earlier, you are always welcome:)).

The world' oldest man smiled at the screen. He felt like he, too, had finished the job begun a long time ago. And it was a good feeling. Amazing, but it really helps, when your friends live in harmony with themselves…

The End

Oh yes, it's finished! If you've read it till the end, I'm interested in your opinion :).