Summary Chapter 1: Lassiter does Methos a favor.

Chapter 1

Methos sat on the wooden park bench, eyes closed, feeling the warmth of the sun on his face and listening to the sound of the waves lapping against the beach. He let out a sigh of contentment. There were far too few of these peaceful moments in his long life.

When he felt the buzz of another Immortal, he opened his eyes to glance down the beach, confirming that the presence he felt was an acquaintance – no, he was more than that. They'd known each other long enough that Methos really did consider the man a friend even if Carl considered Methos a nuisance. He had to chuckle; the man was still wound too tight even after all these years.

Lassiter collapsed on the bench next to him and the two sat staring out at the water, mesmerized by the rhythmic pounding.

"Now, you owe me," Carlton said, finally breaking the silence.

"I know," Methos replied.

"The evidence is gone and no one will even remember you were there."

"I tried to explain to the idiot that I was on vacation and not in the mood to fight him, but – " Methos shrugged.

"The young ones are still foolish," Lassiter agreed. "That never changes."

"Thanks for, you know," Methos waved a hand in front of him, "everything."

"Anytime." He tilted his head to glance at Methos. "Actually, next time we see each other could it not be in the middle of a crisis?"

"One can always hope."

The two men lapsed into silence again, staring out across the ocean.

Methos wasn't usually this sloppy and he hated owing favors; it was much better when the favors were owed to him. That idiot Immortal, whose name he'd already forgotten, had been a most irritating opponent; he hadn't been that good either. Then the police had arrived before he'd had a chance to dispose of the body and Methos was sure he'd be arrested. He really hated when that happened as he wasn't well suited for prison life and escaping was always such a chore.

He'd never been more grateful to see another of their kind; especially one who wouldn't be following up the first botched challenge with another. Lassiter had taken charge of the investigation and, to his credit, had only griped about cleaning up after Methos briefly as he was shooing the other Immortal away from the crime scene.

"You'll be leaving now." Carlton shifted on the bench to face him; it wasn't a question.

Methos smiled. "I've always hated California."

Nodding Lassiter stood and started to leave before turning back. "It's nice to catch up every decade or so."

"Becoming emotional in your old age, Carl," Methos teased. "I might even think you've missed me."

Lassiter shook his head. "Yeah, like I miss the Spanish Inquisition."

Methos chuckled. It did seem that they always ran into each other when things were going sideways. "Well, no one expects the Span – "

Lassiter held up a hand as he fought back the grin which tugged at the corners of his mouth. "When you're around, I do," he quipped, letting a real smile finally break through. "Listen, take care of yourself. I hate to think what you do when I'm not around to watch your back."

"I manage."

"That you do." Lassiter nodded his farewell and walked back down the beach.

Methos sighed, knowing he'd have to leave town soon, but wanting to savor the peacefulness of the ocean for just a little while longer. He tilted his head back to once again catch the warmth of the sun on his face. Smiling, he wondered if MacLeod was still in Paris.