I recently found a bunch of ancient floppy disks containing many of my stories from the nineties. This was among them. I spent all of yesterday editing and re-editing and re-re-editing it to make it presentable, and am now posting this here for your reading pleasure.
As I don't even really remember writing this the first time (though my name was on it!), it's entirely possible that I may have posted this under an old penname during the original HL: TS fandom. Rest assured, however, that it is my own work.
Reviews would delight me immensely, of course, but above all enjoy the story.
The Twins: 'Methos' Revisited
By Ziggy Sternenstaub
It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea. ~Dylan Thomas
Shakespeare and Company had disturbed MacLeod from the moment he'd walked in the door. It was dark and silent and felt ominous. Finding Kalas' glove had not improved his impression of the bookshop, and from there it had been a short trip to the middle aged man lying on the floor before him. The bookseller's tongue had been cut out, and he was making feeble sounds of terror.
"I'm Duncan MacLeod. Who did this to you?" he asked the man on the floor. Most likely it had been Kalas, the former singer's coldly methodical mind leading him to perform this torture. But why?
The dying mortal's head lolled about for a moment as he weakly lifted his arm, his life's fluids dripping from the tips of his fingers, falling onto a leaflet on the floor beside him. Slowly, the man began to write with his own blood.
"T?" MacLeod frowned.
The man shook his head, making a small sound of protest, his fingers moving again with Faustian significance.
"Twi?" MacLeod read. "What does it mean?"
Don Salzer closed his eyes and died without answering. MacLeod lingered helplessly for a moment more before turning over the man's wrist to view the azul cipher that was the Watcher tattoo.
Joe Dawson snatched up the receiver at the bar, eager for news.
"Hi, Joe. It's me." MacLeod's deep voice was subdued.
"Yeah, I've got some news. About your missing Watcher."
Joe shook his head, turning somber. He always enjoyed hearing from MacLeod, but he'd been hoping for something new.
"Yeah. He turned up a few hours ago. The police fished him out of the Seine."
There was a long silence on the other end.
"MacLeod. Did you hear me?" Joe inquired, puzzled.
"Yeah, I heard you. That means Kalas has killed another one of your people," MacLeod finally replied, sounding grim.
Ice touched Joe briefly. Another one. "No," he denied.
"Yeah," MacLeod was relentless. "In the American bookstore."
The bookstore? That meant Don. Loss swept through Joe along with a hefty dose of confusion.
"Don Salzer. Oh, boy."
"What is it?" MacLeod asked. Dawson could picture the frown on his Immortal's too-often troubled brow.
"He's not a field guy. He's an historian; he had no reason to be near Kalas." Joe shook his head again, and dark premonition touched him. This could not be good.
"Before Salzer died he was trying to write something: the letters tee, double you and eye. Could that mean something?"
No. It couldn't be. It wasn't possible. Kalas would have no way of knowing about that. . . but if he'd got hold of Roger who knew what the brutal Immortal had been able to pull out of his Watcher?
"This is no good. I'm gonna have to make some calls," the musician mumbled absently.
"Joe!" MacLeod's voice startled him out of his reverie.
"Salzer, he's been working on the Twin chronicles. If Kalas was to find that, find the Twins. . . ." Joe didn't even want to think about it. But one thing was sure: he was going to have to start. The ominous premonition was quickly growing stronger.
"Aw, come on, Joe! The Twins don't exist. The oldest Immortals? They're a legend! It's like, well, like Adam and Eve." MacLeod sounded somewhat embarrassed by his own simile.
"Oh, no. They exist all right," Joe confirmed. He shouldn't be saying this, even to MacLeod. After all, MacLeod wasn't exactly the best at keeping secrets, and if it got out that such ancient Quickenings actually did exist…
"You're telling me you've seen them?" MacLeod sounded subdued and somewhat sceptical, like an adult who'd just been told that, yes, Father Christmas does exist after all.
"Me? Nah. They're very elusive. They'd have to be, to live that long. If Kalas found them and took their heads. . . he'd be even stronger." How much stronger, Joe was reluctant to calculate. One five thousand year old head was enough temptation for any Immortal, but two?
"Seems I'm gonna have to find them first," MacLeod said after a pause.
Joe wasn't really surprised. It was in MacLeod's nature to protect, but Dawson almost declined to give the Highlander any further information, knowing that he was betraying his Oath again in a manner that could bring danger upon the oldest immortals. What else could he do, though? To say nothing would be to leave the Twins to Kalas, and who knew what would happen then? Sure, if they were that old they had to know how to take care of themselves, but Kalas was one tricky son of a bitch.
"We've got a guy at the University there: Adam Pierson. He's been our top Twins scholar for about ten years. He knows as much about the Twins as anybody. I'll let him know you're coming."
"Okay," MacLeod said, and hung up before Joe could say anything more.
The Watcher picked up a clean glass from the bar and began rubbing at it with a soft white cloth. He had no idea how Adam Pierson would react to this. Dawson had met the young man a few times before, found him pleasant and rather charming, but reserved. Joe was, by proxy, breaking Adam's Watcher Oath. This could be very bad.
The Twins. Immortal legends. The eldest of their race, and a very unlikely pair. They were said to be two Immortals found at the same time in their infancy and raised as mortal brothers. It seemed a fancy story to MacLeod, something dreamed up by a couple of bored head-hunters, maybe, around a campfire. But it seemed that way to a lot of Immortals, and perhaps that was why the real Twins had managed to survive so long...
Imagine: growing up with, journeying with another Immortal, spending thousands of years with a companion so close that you barely knew where one of you left off and the other one started. At least that was what MacLeod imagined would happen over such a vast span of time. He really had nothing to compare. His own oldest friend was his mentor Connor MacLeod, but Duncan had already been a grown man and an Immortal by the time he'd met his clansman.
MacLeod stopped his car in front of a grey block of flats and turned off the engine. Inside the building he opened the unlocked door of Pierson's apartment and stepped inside. The room was pale, white washed and bare, sparsely decorated with metallic, ultra-modern art that gave it a curiously futuristic air.
Without warning MacLeod was hit by one of the strangest Immortal Presences he had ever felt. It rang in his head and buzzed at the bottom of his neck. It pounded behind his eyes and made him deeply uneasy. At the same time it felt like stroking fingers on his arms and back, careful and soothing.
"Pierson?" he called out carefully, drawing his sword. Was it possible that the man he was looking for was an Immortal? But he was a Watcher. Duncan was inclined to be suspicious. Perhaps Kalas was already here, had reached Pierson before him-- but this didn't feel like Kalas.
"Adam Pierson?" he called again, and heard the faint and distant sound of tinny, modern music. Following the instrumentation down a short flight of stairs, MacLeod emerged before a bedroom with an open door. Sitting on the floor inside was a casually dressed young man wearing earphones and bending over a large book.
"You Adam Pierson?" MacLeod asked again, even more cautiously. This was definitely an Immortal, and definitely no one he knew. Well, well, well. If this were Pierson, that would mean that an Immortal had violated the inner sanctum of the Watchers. Infiltrated them, perhaps? Or had the man been pre-Immortal when he joined?
Pierson sat up straight, removing his earphones, assessing the Highlander with his smiling eyes. He did not seem overly disturbed by his Immortal visitor, which surprised MacLeod a little.
"Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," the other Immortal drawled in a British accent, even as he picked up a can from beside him on the floor.
"Have a beer," Pierson offered lightly, tossing the can at the Highlander. "Mi casa es su casa."
The Scotsman caught the tin somewhat incredulously, baffled by the other man's calm. He glanced from the beer to the man and was struck by epiphany. There was a depth to Adam Pierson's eyes, the aura of strangeness about him that offered only one conclusion. Duncan didn't know whether it was true or not, but his intuition was screaming at him to make the leap.
"You're one of them? One of the Twins?" he said incredulously.
Pierson inclined his head gravely and gave a slow, mysterious smile.
"My name is Methos."
Methos suggested that they take a walk, and MacLeod, too dazed to argue, agreed almost immediately. Now as they wandered towards the riverbank, MacLeod glanced repeatedly at his amazing companion.
Methos. This was a man who was little more than a myth in most Immortal circles, an unbelievable legend. He hardly looked mythical. Roughly five centimetres shorter than MacLeod himself, the man was slender, young looking: frozen perhaps in his early to mid-twenties, and casually dressed. His brown hair was longish, but not over-long, and his skin was exceedingly pale: the scholarly look of a man who spent most of his time indoors. Ordinary as he seemed, however, he still managed to give off an impression of mystery.
It was at the riverfront that MacLeod decided to break his awed silence.
"Five thousand years." He made his opening gander, feeling somewhat foolish as he said it but feeling the need for clarification.
"Give or take," the other man smiled. "And that was when I took my first head, remember. Before that, it all starts to blur. Well, mostly."
"Well, I guess it would," MacLeod scoffed. He couldn't begin to imagine such a length of time in anything but purely mathematical terms-- and remembering the times that he'd told mortals or very young Immortals of his own age, Duncan was aware that mathematical conceptualisation provided no real understanding.
Hesitantly, feeling somewhat foolish as he did so, but needing to ask anyway, he continued, "So, have you. . . ?" he stopped, almost blushing, feeling distinctly childish.
Methos smiled understandingly at him and filled in the question. "Made any sense of it; found out any purpose?"
"What, you read minds, too?" MacLeod joked, feeling the tension ease.
Methos chuckled. "No, that's what I'd ask, if I'd just met me."
"I didn't think you existed," MacLeod admitted.
Methos shrugged, grinning a bit. "It's good to be a myth."
MacLeod frowned slightly, looking at the other man again. "Yeah, no one hunts for a myth. Or a Watcher," he added pointedly.
Methos looked pleased with his own cleverness, his eyes crinkling at the corners with happy slyness, reminding MacLeod of a Japanese Fox. "What better place to hide? I'm in charge of finding myself and I make sure it never happens. I've even got a few entries on you in my journal."
MacLeod was startled. "You keep a diary?" He'd never thought of the possibility; it just wasn't something that many Immortals did. It was too dangerous.
"I've been keeping it almost since writing began," Methos answered easily, his casual words echoing his unimaginable age.
"That would make a hell of a read," the Highlander jested, wishing to make that read himself. He wondered what a five thousand year old autobiography could contain.
"You could say that. How may people have stood on the same stage with Julius Caesar and the Rolling Stones?"
The Rolling Stones? MacLeod shook his head at the inanity and decided to finally address the real issue. They couldn't afford to waste any more time.
"So you know about Kalas?"
"He killed a good friend," Methos said, turning instantly sober and glancing away sadly.
"And now he'll be coming for Adam Pierson," MacLeod reminded him. But that reminded him of something else. Methos was only one of two targets. What about--
"You think I'd still be around if I was an easy mark?" Methos overrode the Highlander's train of thought.
"When was the last time you faced anyone?" MacLeod demanded, feeling rather protective of this curiously vulnerable-seeming Immortal. Yes, the man had been taking care of himself for a long, long time before he came along, but what if Methos was out of practice or wasn't good enough to face Kalas? If the former vocalist won a Challenge against Methos, he would be tremendously empowered and Immortalkind would lose a legend that did not deserve to die.
Methos' eyes sparkled mischievously and when he spoke he sounded confused in an obviously contrived manner.
"Uh, what are we," he glanced at his watch. "Sixth of March, uh. . .two hundred years."
MacLeod felt the almost angry horror settled on his own face, scowling incredulously at the other man's carelessness. Methos wanted to face Kalas after going without a challenge for two hundred years? It was crazy!
"Oh, that's good," he snapped.
"I may be a bit rusty but I'm still here," Methos returned confidently, if a little defensively.
MacLeod resisted the urge to sigh as he wondered if perhaps being cooped up in the whitewashed apartment had addled the man's brains.
"Well let's keep it that way. I'll stay close," he said gently.
Methos firmly shook his head and began to stride away from the younger man. "You cannot fight my battles for me, MacLeod."
It was only after Methos had disappeared that the upset Highlander recalled that he'd neglected to ask about Methos' brother.
Kalas watched the young looking man approach. Head down and poise contemplative, the other Immortal seemed completely lost in a world of his own. It was hardly the safest manner of going about for any Immortal, and even more dangerous for this one in particular.
Almost, Kalas' mouth was watering with anticipation. This one would be worth the wait, worth the bothersome hunt, he was sure.
Methos looked up abruptly and warily as he entered the range of Kalas' Presence. His eyes immediately locked onto the blond Immortal.
"So you're the famous Adam Pierson," Kalas rasped pleasantly.
The man's eyes narrowed, and he tilted his head at the sarcasm.
"At the moment," he replied in a quiet British accent that faintly surprised Kalas. Oh well. It was not as though any accent of the ancient world was likely to have survived.
"I was in your house," he announced to his prey. "Found a diary there. Pity I couldn't read the hieroglyphics, but the ancient Greek was most enlightening."
Methos smiled faintly, almost condescendingly. "You should have been there," he drawled.
Things progressed rapidly from there as they engaged in battle, Kalas pressing his advantage over the other man, who apparently had not been fighting or even practising for quite some time. Methos' movements were wild, and though unpredictable they ultimately did him little good. Kalas manoeuvred them both onto the nearby bridge and pinned the older man to the railing. Methos' slight build betrayed him as he fought against the thicker man's strength.
"You've been out of the Game too long," Kalas hissed gleefully at the long face beneath him, which was beginning to show traces of fear.
Methos just barely restrained Kalas' sword with his own before the ancient Immortal rolled over the brdige railing, agilely slipping past Kalas and then unexpectedly pulling on his attacker, sending them both tumbling through the air and splashing into the cold, dark river below.
Just as the waters closed over his head, Kalas experienced a mixed rush of frustration and pleasure. He disliked it when his prey escaped him, but a prey that knew how to fight back was a prey that may have taken some victims of its own. Perhaps there was more to this Twin than simple age.
By the time the frustrated former opera star got out of the water, the ancient was long gone.
The night was dark and pregnant with memories as Duncan MacLeod walked with a troubled mind through the tunnels and back alleys of Paris. He worried about things that had been, friends gone, things that might happen, and the people still with him. Sometimes it seemed as though the weight of the entire world were resting on his shoulders and, like Atlas, he just wanted to shrug.
Ah, well. There was no one else to take the burden.
Footsteps suddenly echoed down a side tunnel and alien Presence hit him, materializing into Methos, who stood dripping wet and blade bared. He was less walking than staggering as he approached the Highlander.
"Methos," MacLeod said, surprised. Something was not right. "Kalas found you? Is he dead?"
The latter seemed unlikely, and in a way the Highlander didn't want it to be true. The right to vengeance was his own-- but if it were so there was nothing he could do to change it. Methos had obviously been attacked and couldn't be blamed for defending himself.
"No," Methos said heavily, shaking his head, his voice almost a sob.
Before MacLeod could formulate any sort of reply, Methos swung his blade at the other man. MacLeod's superbly trained muscles dodged the blow despite his shock. What was going on here?
Methos pursued the younger Immortal, swinging again, and MacLeod drew his own blade to block. Anger grew stronger than his betrayed surprise (why betrayal he'd only just met this man he had no reason to expect loyalty) and in a few short passes the Highlander broke through Methos' weak defences. MacLeod held the elegant length of his katana to his opponent's vulnerable throat. Methos clenched his eyes tightly and tremours shook his entire long body. At that moment the ancient looked like nothing more than a frightened young man as he tilted his head back, devastatingly baring his long throat.
"What are you waiting for, MacLeod?" he demanded with trembling voice.
MacLeod hesitated. It would be so easy to just draw back and take the final swing, to part flesh and bone, to see that head go flying away into the shadows and absorb the seduction of over five thousand years worth of Immortal power.
But something felt wrong here, very wrong and--
MacLeod was hit by the new, dizzyingly violent presence just a second before a resonant voice demanded: "Step away from him!"
In front of MacLeod, Methos' eyes snapped open. The ancient's bright brown gaze moved beyond the Highlander to the new Immortal Presence, which was every bit as puissantly alien as Methos' own.
"Brother," Methos whispered.
MacLeod stiffened. The other one? The other Twin was here? But this man felt and sounded familiar. . . The Highlander turned to face the new Immortal and, seeing him, was cast back in time.
America, Texas, 1867: a wild chase after an Immortal bandit who had slaughtered mortals as though they were cattle. An Immortal who'd almost taken MacLeod's head, only to be put down by a mortal gunman at the last moment. MacLeod had gone to the grave, but it had been too late. Melvin Koren had already been gone.
Not so now. Koren was standing right in front of him-- different, but certainly recognizable. The beard was gone, the longer hair now cropped up into vicious spikes, and he was dressed in black jeans, sweater and menacing leather jacket. But the scar was still there, and the eyes still crackled just as madly. Duncan remembered that foxfire light blazing when the man had ambushed him from that long ago loft .
I do love the old ways best, Koren's Shakespearean inflection hissed in the ear of MacLeod's memory. Now the Highlander scowled with the new implications.
"What are you doing here?" Methos demanded of the new arrival.
"Apparently saving your head," Koren drawled.
"You are not supposed to be here. I'm going through a great deal of trouble to keep us both concealed, Kronos, and you're risking it all," Methos snapped.
MacLeod felt out of his depth suddenly, as though he'd landed a part in a play and no one had bothered to give him a copy of the script. But one thing was certain--Methos had called this man 'brother,' had called him by the name of Kronos, the name of the other Twin. It seemed that MacLeod's search had ended, but unlike with Methos he felt absolutely no desire to protect this man from Kalas. Koren--Kronos--was just as bad as Kalas-- perhaps worse, for at least Kalas had a clear motive for murder, some reason for his actions. MacLeod did not know what to think. He was paralysed by the puzzle of finding one five thousand year old man a mystery, compelling and spellbindingly alien, and then to find the other a brutal, enigmatic monster from his past. He felt betrayed by time itself.
"Going through a great deal of trouble to get yourself beheaded looks more like it, brother," Kronos hissed. "You were always the survivor. I never thought I'd see this day."
He was ignoring MacLeod; they both were, but MacLeod was tired of being ignored.
"You're Kronos?" he demanded, eying the smaller, shadowed man with disgust.
Kronos smiled mockingly. "At your service. Or. . .perhaps not." His lips twisted and he turned the brutal length of his sword with bloodthirsty anticipation. "I guess it's true what they say. You wait long enough-- everything comes back."
MacLeod found himself lifting his own sword again. He hadn't been able to find Koren in his grave, but he'd promised himself next time, and next time it would be. He might not be willing to take Methos' Quickening, but he was more than willing the divide the number of five thousand year old men walking the earth in two.
"Come on," Duncan provoked with a fierce grin.
Kronos chuckled condescendingly. Methos took a step forward, alarm plastered all over his sharp features, his mouth opened to protest, but MacLeod shoved him aside without a thought. He heard an almost charmingly clumsy stumble as Methos fought to catch his balance.
Of course Kronos swung before MacLeod could fully regain his focus, but the younger man compensated quickly and soon enough the ring of sword on sword made strange music in the hollow tunnels.
MacLeod felt the hot song of battle flowing through his veins. He didn't know much about his opponent except that he deserved to die, and presumably the other man, who fought with such fey might, didn't know much about him except that MacLeod had held a sword to his brother's throat.
Through the clarity of battle, sword on sword, the concept again intrigued Duncan: that these two men had lived their mortal and Immortal lives, all five thousand years of them, as brothers. That level of closeness-- it would allow for no interference. It would allow for nothing to come between them.
Not even the Immortal you'd just offered your head to. The thought occurred to MacLeod a moment before he heard the faint whistle of parting air, and the Highlander was not so surprised to feel Methos' knife sink into his back.
"I don't believe this," Methos muttered, kneeling down beside the temporarily dead body of Duncan MacLeod.
"Why did you interfere?" Kronos demanded as he closed the few feet between where he was standing and MacLeod's body had fallen.
"Because I didn't want him dead!" Methos snapped. "And you would have killed him."
"Obviously," Kronos sneered, but he was troubled as he said it. He hadn't seen Methos in over a decade. His brother, disturbed by the growing rumours of two 'Eldest Immortals,' had decided to enter the Watchers in order to assess and possibly limit the flow of information. He'd warned Kronos at the time that they couldn't be seen together, as it would increase their chances of discovery, and Kronos had agreed, seeing the sense. But he had grown impatient of late, and something had warned him, niggled at his senses as it often did when his brother was in danger.
"What's MacLeod to you, anyway?" Kronos jealously demanded.
"He has promise," Methos answered tensely, standing up beside his shorter sibling.
"He's a fool," Kronos retorted. "And you were going to give him your head."
Hot rage and momentarily delayed terror broke through his voice now as the full impact of Methos' actions hit Kronos in a rush: the True Death. Never again to speak to his eternal companion--to see the living man at his side turned to dust. Kronos tightened his grip on his sword to stop the sudden shaking of his hands.
Methos reached out and touched his brother's arm, lingering there for a moment before pulling back slowly.
"I'm sorry, Kronos," he said quietly as they both stared down at the Immortal by their feet.
"You meant to seek True Death," Kronos replied, equally quietly.
"I'm hunted. The disenfranchised opera singer, Kalas. I can't take him; I've tried, but at least with MacLeod I have the choice of who my Quickening goes to."
"You should have come to me," Kronos snapped. "We could have taken Kalas together."
"I didn't know where you were. It would attract attention if I took too much interest in field cases."
"That isn't like you, Methos," Kronos said darkly. "And it cost you. If I hadn't been there, he could have taken your head."
"But I wonder. . ." Methos mused. "He has a reputation for nobility, and he hesitated. Any other Immortal would have taken my head the moment they were given such a chance. But he hesitated."
"Such honour," Kronos said mockingly. He could still see MacLeod's blade at Methos' throat, the keen edge almost breaking skin. Again rage shook him and he barely resisted the impulse to hack off MacLeod's head where he lay, "potential" be damned.
"True honour is a rare enough quality in the world that it's worth preserving," Methos said. He locked eyes with his brother. "I want him to live. Will you walk away from this?"
"I will not offer him my head again," Methos sighed.
Kronos frowned. "You didn't offer it because you were hunted. You could have hidden from Kalas, or taken him outside of fair combat."
Methos smiled ironically, tilting his head back and taking a deep breath in through his nose. "You're right."
Kronos frowned again, thought a little, and came to decision. There was no use risking a rift over this. He could always wait, and kill MacLeod later.
"Fine. Let the fool live. But I'll be watching, and if he draws on you again-- he dies."
Kronos' footsteps tapped out a rapid staccato rhythm before they faded away. Methos smiled affectionately at Kronos' retreating shadow.
"I'd expect nothing less," he whispered, eyes shining. Then he knelt down, rolled MacLeod over, took the knife from the man's back, and ran to catch up with his brother.
Duncan MacLeod inhaled noisily as he came back to life, his heart jumping as he rolled over. He felt disoriented and cold. There was water on the ground, and much of his coat was dirty and soaked.
He picked up his sword from the ground as he stood up, the events of the night angering and troubling him. He felt all too sympathetic towards Methos, but knew that he could not afford to be with Kronos in the picture. He wondered, frankly, why he wasn't truly dead. He hadn't expected a man liked Kronos to hold back just because he was down. Perhaps Methos had stopped him. He just didn't know. For the moment it made no difference. The Twins were gone.
With a weary, puzzled mind, MacLeod trudged his way home.
Later he returned to Methos' apartment, not really expecting to find the man there but hoping that he might be. He needed to talk to the other Immortal.
Presence hit him as he entered the door, but it was not the strange, confusing one that had greeted him when he had first met Methos (had it only been one day?!) but a monotonous Immortal Presence much like any other Immortal Presence.
Just over the edge of the steps, Kalas sat with his back to MacLeod and rasped menacingly, "Welcome home, Methos." He almost spat the name.
"Hello, Kalas," MacLeod retorted flatly, feeling grim satisfaction at the slight surprise that stiffened Kalas' back.
"Where's Methos?" Kalas demanded.
"That doesn't matter anymore, does it," MacLeod said coolly.
A knowing little sneer twisted Kalas' aristocratic features. "You were after him all along."
"Now I'm after you," MacLeod replied evasively.
Kalas saw through him. "I'll get Methos, when I get you," he promised.
Both men attacked at the same time, driven by hatred and the desire to end the feud one way or the other. Battle lead them out of the warm flat and onto a bridge. Kalas was getting the worst of it as MacLeod battered his opponent relentlessly, propelled by grief for fallen friends and the strong desire to protect a new one.
"It's a bitter taste, isn't it, Kalas? Fear." MacLeod grinned savagely.
Kalas said nothing, devoting all of his concentration to breaching MacLeod's defences. Soon neither spoke, for both men were caught in the siren song of every Immortal's ultimate, brutal destiny: the pull of battle, the final cut of the blade.
Real sirens pierced the regular rhythm of clashing swords, and the combatants looked up, shocked as police cars pulled in.
Kalas let out a long breath and growled, "Some other time, MacLeod."
"We'll make it soon," MacLeod promised, already slipping away. Kalas turned to leave as well, but the police caught up with him too soon.
"Mr. Kalas, you're under arrest for the murder of Donald Salzer," the Inspector announced.
"You have no proof of that," Kalas sneered—then his eyes narrowed knowingly when Methos's dizzying Presence hit him. The ancient stepped out of a police car.
"Wrong," Methos inflected triumphantly. "That's the man, Inspector."
It didn't overly surprise Kalas that Methos had chosen to interfere in a Challenge. He can't have been too concerned with the rules of the Game, to survive as long as he had. But it frustrated Kalas.
He did not protest as the police took his arms and walked him away from the scene.
He'd be back.
MacLeod watched as the police cars drove away into the distance.
Methos strolled past him without a word, hunched defensively in his nondescript coat.
"Why?" Duncan stopped his elder in his tracks.
Methos looked blank for a moment, staring at MacLeod intently.
"Because I didn't know if you could beat him," he finally said, emotionlessly. "It was a chance I couldn't take."
"What about your brother?"
"He won't hunt you if you don't hunt him." Methos offered no further details, but briefly touched the Highlander on the shoulder. His hand was like an electric current. "Live; grow stronger, Highlander. Fight another day."
The ancient man walked away, and MacLeod let him.
The apartment was empty of its books and its futuristic art, its deep Presence. Only bare, whitewashed walls remained and MacLeod stood in the middle of the empty bedroom, staring at those same walls with a puzzling ache of loss in his chest.
"You're telling me that Adam Pierson is Methos?" Joe Dawson asked incredulously over the mobile phone.
"I think it was his little joke on you. Adam: the first man." MacLeod smiled slightly. He'd barely known Methos for a few hours, but it felt like the sort of joke the living legend would enjoy.
"What better way to steer clear of other Immortals," Joe snorted. "He's been right there all along. I can't believe I missed it."
"There's no way you could have known."
"You hang tight, MacLeod," Joe said, beginning to sound excited. "I'm going to be on the next plane."
"Joe. Don't bother," MacLeod sighed tiredly. "He's gone, and all your Chronicles went with him. He's going to be hard to find." If not impossible.
"What about Kalas?" Joe asked.
"Out of reach. He's in jail, at least for now. But I can wait," MacLeod informed the Watcher grimly. He could wait all he needed to, and when the time came to stop waiting he'd be ready.
"MacLeod, you found Methos," Joe said slowly. "What about the other Twin. Kronos? Did Methos say anything?"
"He won't hunt you if you don't hunt him."
He was busy with Kalas; he didn't need more enemies to distract him right now. But someday. . .
"No, Joe, he didn't say anything," MacLeod murmured, staring at the white walls. "Nothing at all."
The central premise of this story (that Methos and Kronos were raised together) has been part of my personal canon more of less from the first moment I saw Comes a Horseman. I know that the word 'brother' was used in a context of a warrior's close bond, but the connection between Methos and Kronos always seemed stronger and much older than the one between them and Silas and Caspian. It seemed more real, and fandom has noted this as well, I think. So I thought it would be delightful if there were an additional twist, and voilà the 'Twins' were born.
I do have an entire backstory worked out which I still intend to write down someday (including explaining how Kronos managed to stay off of the 'eldest immortal' radar in the show) , but for now I'm busy with other projects, so I posted this as a taste into my world:) I hope that you've enjoyed.