Watcher is as Watcher Does by Lisa Y. Drexel

Watcher is as Watcher Does


Lisa Y. Drexel

send any comments to me. No flames please. Constructive criticism is the foundation of any good writer; insults aren't.

Michelle Evans, or known as Mike by her friends, hung up the phone and sighed. Her body was screaming sleep and her mind was a muddle. It seemed lately, it was all she could do to remember to take notes, because she sure as hell couldn't remember anything anymore.

"What a good Watcher you make," she muttered to herself, mentally assessing all the varying aches and pains that sang through out her body. Yep, she was hurting all right. No argument there.

But it was a good job and a fascinating one. Her father had been a Watcher and when Michelle herself had witnessed her first beheading at 21, he himself recruited her. That was before, when she could take field assignments and for five years that's what she did.

Then she got ill. Now she was a researcher for the organization because she couldn't handle the strain of constant watching and following-no sleep--irregularity and all the other bad points of watching. Her body screamed in protest. And she researched.

At one time, St. Louis had been a haven for Immortals, and she was always discovering something in the old and rare book stores about their lives. She was also known as a computer wiz and spent an incredible amount of time on the Internet, digging out Immortals in the crevice and anonymity of the Web. She enjoyed her work-but that's all she had.

Yawning, she stood up and stretched. Her thirty-year old body screamed in protest-all her muscles ached and she felt as if she had been run over by a Mac truck. Ironically, she could remember the time when she would do something to cause this-such as working out, moving, waiting tables for a fifteen-hour shift.

Now, all she had to do was be alive--her body took care of the rest.

Limping, she dragged herself to the bathroom and started a hot bubble bath.

"Maybe that'll help," she murmured, knowing the respite from the tub would only be short-lived at best. "Well, it doesn't matter, does it?" she asked herself as made her way back into the living room/study and grabbed her coffee mug, "because he's finally in your neck of the woods and your not gonna pass this one up," she said out loud.

Secretly, she was excited about meeting Adam Pierson. The last three years were made a lot easier with him in her life. The kind of intimacy they shared-words over the phone line-letters sent in the dark of the night.

Stop it! she yelled to herself. *It'll do you no good to get this worked up. He lives in halfway across the continent some of the time and mostly in Europe the rest of the time. It's not like you guys can have a romance.

Besides, there's Alexa and Mike didn't think she could compete with a dead woman.

Once out of the tub, Michelle dried off in front of her dresser mirror, staring at the stranger's body that was hers. Two years ago, before this horrid thing came into her life, she was sexy, attractive, active and full of life. Now, the aches and pains of life seem to beat down on her, and giving her an extra thirty to forty pounds to boot. Plus the medication.

Now, this person who stared back at her, she didn't know. But that's what fibromyalgia did-it took away something vital about a person and left the pain in its wake.

"Nope, it didn't kill me and won't, but is this really life?" she asked herself as pulled out a pair of black jeans and light pink scoop neck tee-shirt.

Once dressed, she walked back into the bathroom and began combing her long, wavy golden blond hair; spraying it first with detangler to make sure she wouldn't be spending an hour here. Once combed through, she styled it and blow dried her bangs and lightly dried the rest of her hair, wanting it to mostly air dry, scrunching it the whole time to guarantee her hair would dry wavy and curly.

After that, came the make-up and perfume and within ten minutes she was ready for her visitor.

Methos hung up the phone and sighed. Soon, he would have to leave his hotel room and venture out into this god-forsaken city and he shuddered at the thought.

He hated the St. Louis of the late 20th century. It seemed the Gateway to the West had lost all its charm and vitality from a hundred years ago, leaving in its wake a provincial, conservative backwards town.

And that wasn't even counting the weather. Mid-July was not the time to stop by and visit in this town. The heat was oppressive, wet and sticky and hot. After 5000 years, Methos thought he deserved to be in a place that wasn't so miserable.

Glancing at his travel clock, he saw it was time for the news (he even hated Central Time-everything felt off to him) and flipped on the set.

"Investigators still have no clues in the rape and murder of the Susan Clifton or Teresa Thomas. Although they're reluctant to officially call this an act of a serial killer, unofficially investigators are worried...."

Three hours later, Methos parked his rental sedan and reluctantly turned off the engine. He hated going out in this weather, and knew, that even though it was nighttime, the heat would still be as intense as it had been four hours before.

Sighing, he opened the car door and glanced at his overcoat lying in the front seat. Indecision racked him. God, in this heat-he would look a fool if he carried that thing around but after 5000 years...

Cursing, he grabbed the coat and the notebook he had and slammed the car door shut. He was actually looking forward to meeting Michelle after three years of sending e-mail and talking on the phone. She was a good flirt and had a flare for words which more than once had sent him blushing.

Not to mention that she was one of the best researchers the Organization had in North America. She had been pretty good on the field, from what he had heard, before she became ill. Something painful, like arthritis, that pulled her off the field-into her office and into his life.

Somehow through all the reports and e-mails and phone calls, she became his friend. In some ways, she helped him with Alexa more than anyone else--because she was truly his friend. She had not a clue who he was--what he looked like--how old he was--and she had been there--answering his e-mail at all hours of the day--making quirky jokes--causing him to laugh when all he wanted to do was to cry. Yes, she was a good friend and he secretly prayed she was attractive as well.

Once inside her apartment building, he looked at the mailboxes and headed to the second floor. Then the buzz hit him. It was faint--almost a pre-mortal buzz instead of an Immortal one--but he recognized it nonetheless. And it came from her apartment. Cursing, he dropped the notebook and pulled out his sword, his coat dropping beside the notebook.

Lightly, he touched the door and was surprised to see it was open. Not too smart, he thought to himself as he eased himself in. Once inside, he realized he walked into a battle zone. Although Mike had mentioned she wasn't very neat, Methos could tell the disarray in her living room had nothing to do with bad housekeeping.

He closed his eyes as he shut the door and realized the buzz came from another room. Following instincts that were older than Western civilization, he found himself in her bedroom staring down at a nude, beaten and bloodied body of a new Immortal--who was still dead.

Quickly, he searched the rest of the apartment and found it empty. Relieved, he went in the kitchen, got himself a beer and her a glass of water, trying not to think of what he was going to do afterwards.

He found a sheet in the bathroom and came back and covered her. He then grabbed a chair and sat down beside her dead body and waited for her to wake up.

Although he never met Mike in person, he did see her file once and the woman beside him was her. A little bit older, heavier--but still very pretty. He could tell through the bloodied mess that her hair was beautiful--reminding him of the sun--golden and warm. Her complexion was creamy and clear and looked so soft, he was tempted to touch her if only just to confirm his suspicions.

Shaking his head, he tried to think about the practical matters. Like, how to teach her how to fight--who should be her mentor. Underneath that extra weight, she had an athletic build. She could very well turn out to be an excellent fighter. He knew the weight would go--probably after a good night sleep. She could learn to fight, but was he the one to teach her? He had students before, but he hadn't taken someone underneath his wing in a long time.

And a woman student? Even longer.

Until Richie, he hadn't even bothered with the young ones in over five hundred years. He had long grown tired of watching them die.

But he felt like he owed this young woman something. She was his shoulder, his friend, and his confidant when the world seemed so black and temporary.

Oh Methos, don't go there, he warned himself.

But he did anyway.

She could live forever...

Ten minutes later she gasped. A minute later she gasped again, this time sitting up--fear plastered across her face.

"Mike? Are you okay?" Methos asked reaching for her hand.

She squinted, as if trying to shake a headache and looked down at herself and then up at him. He expected to see the fear in her eyes, but not wonderment.

"Adam?" she croaked as she fell back against the headboard.

He nodded.

"What happened?"

"I came upstairs, felt the buzz and found you here--dead," he said. "I guess my secret's out," he said with a weak smile. "But, more importantly-how are you? You look like you had a rough time of it."

Her face blanched and peeked underneath the sheet. "Oh my God," she cried. "I remember. The Federal Express guy-but he had the wrong apartment and when I tried closing the door--he had a gun," she said, her eyes faraway. "He raped me."

Methos nodded. It just confirmed his worst fears.

Her face turned white as she looked underneath the sheet. He heard a sob and saw her rubbing her chest. He knew she was looking for the stab wounds he had seen earlier. He also knew they were gone by now.

"They're gone--not even a scar," she said, dropping the sheet. Then he saw something incredible pass over her face. A look of relief mixed with incredulity.

Her whole body relaxed as she turned her neck as if she had a crick. Then she smiled, lips spread wide and joyous.

"No pain, Adam! It's all gone. My neck, my fingers," she said, wiggling her fingers and flexing her wrist. "My shoulders, my knees and my ankles--my God, it's all gone!"

Methos found himself smiling. He had no idea how much pain she had been in before but from the look on her face, it must've been terrible.

"I never even realized how bad it was. It just was. Until now, that is. Now thatit's gone. It had become my worst enemy and sometimes my only friend..."

Tears welled up in her eyes and she began to look anxious.

Methos stood, suddenly feeling as if he were a voyeur. "Hungry?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

She nodded, still crying.

"How about I whip something up and you can get a shower and clean up. Then, we need to talk." She nodded. "I'll be here for you, Mike. Don't worry."

He left her alone.

Once Adam left, she quickly got out of bed--dropping the sheet. She glanced down and felt her head swim. So much blood, she thought. I must've died from blood loss. She shuddered, ignoring the queasiness in her stomach as she grabbed her robe and ran to the bathroom.

Once in the shower, her mind raced over the evening's events. I died, her mind yelled over and over again. She couldn't believe it. She was an Immortal. She didn't even know she had been adopted.

"I wonder if my father knew?" she asked herself out loud. Could he have? He had been a Watcher for nearly forty years, could he have actually known? God, I don't even want to go there, she thought as she scrubbed her body.

But that would explain his almost laisez-faire attitude about her fibromyalgia. It was almost as if he knew it was temporary. He told her not to worry-that like all things, "--this too will pass" that's what he told her.

This too shall pass...

And now, she thought as she watched the blood-stained water rinse down the drain, she felt like running around the block-taking up bike riding-roller balding and sword-fighting...

"That sure put a damper on things," she whispered jokingly in the rain of hot water beating down on her.

And Adam. Who was he? she asked herself. An Immortal as a Watcher. If I were going to be that ballsy--who would I watch? she asked herself.

The answer--apparent as it was--both terrified and thrilled her at the same time.


After throwing together a couple of sandwiches and a salad, Methos peeked into the bedroom and saw it was still empty.

"Good," he said as he walked over to the bed and began stripping the bloodied bed clothes off the bed. Once the bed was torn apart, he went back into the kitchen and wondered where she would put the trash bags. Finding them underneath the sink, he pulled out three kitchen-size plastic bags and went back into the bedroom and bagged the linens on top of her bed.

Once that was finished and he flipped the top mattress for good measure, he went back into the living room, and started straightening up. Although a lot had been knocked over during the attack, luckily nothing had broken other than an used lamp. He trashed that as well.

Then he remembered. He wanted to call Joe. He opened the front door and grabbed his notebook and coat, feeling the weight of his cellular phone in the pocket and went back inside. Dropping the coat on the couch, he took the phone and went back into the kitchen.

Once settled at her kitchen table, he sipped the warm beer and flipped open the phone.


"Hi Mike, it's Adam. Is Joe around?"

"Yeah Adam--hold on a minute," Methos heard Mike put the phone down and call for Joe. He could hear the sounds of the bar in the background and for a moment, he wished he was there. It was simpler there.

"Hey Adam--what's up?"

"Hi Joe," said Adam. "You won't believe what just happened."

Mike heard Adam talking and the click of a phone folding. He must've just called Joe Dawson, she thought to herself. I wonder if Joe knows about him? Of course he does, she answered herself. Or he wouldn't have called him.

Once she dried off, she slipped her robe on and went back into the bedroom to see her bare bed. She smiled, grateful that she didn't have to see the blood again. She had never been raped before and the memory was still too fresh in her mind. She had never been dead before either, but somehow being Immortal, took that edge off. But not the rape. If anyone other than Adam had been there when she came back, she would've flipped.

Quickly she changed, barely noticing how baggy her jeans were or how loose her shirt was and went into the kitchen. Her hair was still wrapped in a towel, but she was starving, and dying for some answers. All the answers that Watchers didn't know--but Immortals did.

Adam looked up from his beer and saw her walk in. He could already see that she was loosing weight and was sure by tomorrow, she would be at her optimum weight. There was a nice body underneath there.

He smiled. "How are you doing?" he asked as he stood up and went to get the two plates and salad bowl.

"Better. But I have a million questions--" she started as she sat down at the table.

"I know. Why don't we eat first," he told her as placed her plate in front of her. "What kind of salad dressing do you have?" he asked as he opened the refrigerator door.

"Blue Cheese. There's ranch in there too."

"I got it. Beer?"

"Yeah, please."

He walked back over and put down both dressings. He twisted the cap off the Budweiser bottle and handed it to her.

Smiling, she took a slip. "Thank you," she said. Methos looked up and saw her eyes pooling again.

"God, I'm a walking emotional sponge," she said, her face flushed in embarrassment as she quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. "I've been like this all my life."

Methos felt for her. God, what a way to die and come back.

For a few minutes, they both ate in an uncomfortable silence. He could see the million questions running through mind as her face reflected nearly every one of them. Not much of an actor there, he thought. She wears her heart on her sleeve.

Once she was done, she leaned back in her chair and sipped her beer.

Suddenly she laughed.

"What?" he asked, finding himself smiling as well.

"This is not exactly how I pictured it, Adam. Us meeting for the first time," she said as she grinned.

"I'll have to grant you that one. This is definitely up there in the unusual," he said. "So, am I what you expected?" he asked grinning.

Her eyes sparkled. "The Immortal part or just Adam?"

"The Adam part."

She was silent for a moment and she smiled. "Yes," she said quietly as she stood up. "Finished?"

He nodded and watched her clean off the table. Afterwards, he followed her into the living room, only stopping to pull out another beer.

"So, what did you find out?" she asked. "I heard you on the phone."

"We'll find out in a minute," he told her. How much did she figure out in the half-hour long shower? "Joe's going to call back."

"You're Methos, aren't you?"

Adam choked on his beer, nearly spraying himself with his drink. I guess you're ot much of an actor yourself, Old Man, he told himself.

"Yes," he answered quietly. "But don't let it get around, will you? I like being a myth. I can keep my head that way. How did you figure it out?"

"Why else would an Immortal be a Watcher?" she asked. She reached over and patted his hand. "Don't worry--it's safe with me. You're taking care of me now--and you didn't take my head. Though knowing you, I don't think you would--but then, I guess I don't know you," she added, suddenly frowning.

He grabbed her hand. It felt warm and moist. "Yes you do, Mike. Sometimes, you were my lifeline. The trial--with Alexa, in the hospital--all those e-mails kept me going. You kept me laughing," he sighed. "After 5000 years, it's hard to care--to watch someone you love die--when I have had all this time. She was the first mortal woman I fell in love with in a long time. The pain is just too much." His throat closed. He shut his eyes and leaned back on the couch.

He squeezed her hand.

She squeezed back and gently pulled away. He heard her stand up and he opened his now clear eyes and watched her pace in front of him.

"Now what?" she asked as she stood in front of him. "Who's going to teach me? How do I defend myself? My God, Adam--I can't even remember when the last time I jogged! An athletic wonder, I am not!"

Methos took a deep breath. "I'll do what I can. I know an Immortal woman that may help you as well."

"God, I'm so scared. And I feel so good. And I can't believe that fucker raped me!" she yelled, clenching her fists. And then she laughed as she plopped down beside him again. "What a mess I am."

He turned and faced her. "No, Mike--I'd say you're handling this pretty well. I can't say--" he stopped when he heard his phone ringing. He quickly got up and went into the kitchen feeling her presence right behind him. "Hello? Joe?"

"Hey Adam," Joe said. "I called Philip Evans and you were right. He knew. He'd been watching Samuel Smith and the Immortal knew he was being watched. He brought the child to Philip when she was just a newborn and told him. Philip has no idea where Smith found the child--but it is known that at that time, that Smith had been working at a children's home." Methos looked over at Mike and smiled.

"So, did you tell him?" Methos asked.

"Yes, but he guessed. As soon as he heard my voice--it was like he knew. He'd been waiting for this and almost sounded relieved. She's been sick and in a lot of pain for the last couple of years."

"Yeah, well he'll be happy to know it's all gone now," Methos said.

"Anything else?"

Methos frowned for a moment. "Hold on a minute," he looked up at Mike. "Who's your boss? How about a vacation?"

"I'd love one. Brad Tanner. He's under Joe," she said, nodding her head towards the phone.

"Joe, can you call Brad and tell him that Mike's taking sometime off?"

Joe sighed. "Methos, she's got to quit."

"Joe," Methos could feel his irritation rising. Damn it, he knew Joe was right but too much too soon. "Could we just take one step at a time here? How about a vacation first?"

"Against my better judgment--but okay," Joe said sounding exasperated. "I'll call Brad."

"Okay, thanks Joe."

"Methos, tell her--"

"I will," Methos said and turned off the phone. "Joe says to watch your head," he told her quietly. "Also, call your father."

"He knew, didn't he?"

Methos nodded as he handed her his phone.

"That's okay. I've got one," she said as she went back into the living room. He heard her pick up the phone and dial.

Gods, Methos, what are you doing? he asked himself as he walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch. What the hell are you going to do?

Unfortunately, out of the three choices he had available, only one felt right. And of course, it was the one option he had avoided choosing for centuries.

He inwardly sighed as he leaned back and closed his eyes, listening to Mike speak to her father.

Mike's heart was racing. Even though she knew it was foolish to feel this nervous, it didn't change the fact that she was. She kept telling herself that this was her father she was calling. Or at the man she thought of as her father. The man who raised her. Changed her diapers. Held her at night. Told her how much she was loved once her mother had died.

The one person that had loved her unconditionally since she could remember.

And unfortunately, he was also the same man who managed to maintain a lie for that same period of time.

Life was never easy, was it? she asked herself as she listened for her his voice. Nope, it never was, she reminded herself. At least not in her life.

"Hello," her father's deep, gravely voice spoke, interrupting her inner ramblings.

"Hi Dad," Mike whispered.

"Oh babe, I'm sorry we never told you--," his voice broke as he choked back a sob. "I didn't know if it was true. And after Smith died, I never had a chance to ask."

"It's okay, Daddy," she said, biting her lip. God, don't let me cry again, she thought as her heart seemed to catch, and she could feel the sob building.

"Are you okay? How bad were you hurt?"

She could hear his pain. Oh Daddy, let's not go down this road... "I died Dad--that's all. I'm okay," she lied.

"Okay," he paused. "What are you going to do?"

"Take a vacation. Take up sword fighting," her voice cracked. She took a deep breath. "I'll call you, okay?"

Silence for nearly a half a minute. "All right," he said, his voice edged with guilt and remorse. She heard him take a deep breath and wondered if he was crying a lot that night as well. "I love you," he whispered. "Please remember that."

She bent her head back, feeling her hot tears run down her face. "How could I forget, Daddy? I love you too." She clutched the phone to her chest. Suddenly Adam (Methos!) was in front of her, gently taking the phone from her. He dropped it in its cradle and turned back towards her. She opened her eyes and saw her pain reflected in his. He pulled her into his arms and she finally cried those tears that she had been holding back since she woke.

Methos yawned as he flipped off the television set. He leaned back against the headboard and glanced over at Mike, who was sleeping in the other bed. She cried herself to sleep just an hour before. He was worried. She seemed so fragile--emotionally as well as physically. He didn't even remember his first death, but he was sure it was a lot more cut and dry than hers. Women seemed to suffer so much than men--Immortal or not. Their First Deaths always seemed to have the cloud of abuse hanging over them. A man gets shot, hung, stabbed--it's just death. A woman, she not only dies, but gets raped, tortured or even gang-raped for added measure, only to add the pain she had already been suffering from.

And then there are all those deaths afterwards. Immortals seem to attract death like a magnet--and with death, pain always followed.

He knew about of those first hand. He had once been the type of man who reveled in handing out pain and death to anyone he chose to suffer. Thousands of years ago, he was the kind of man who had no respect or concern for women. Even Immortal women. He believed them to be weak and unworthy of the Prize or even Immortality itself.

He sighed, once again pushing away the guilt that came hand in hand with those memories and turned back to his immediate problem: Mike.

Could she learn how to fight? Or would she spend an eternity on some Holy Ground, hiding from life--knowing that death was imminent once she left? Gods, he hoped not. The world would seem a lot less colorful without her around to sprinkle her odd sense of humor all about. He shook his head, hating where his thoughts were taking him and closed his eyes.

He sighed again. The craziest thing about all this was why he even cared. What changed him? Was it just a year with MacLeod--his goodness and justness rubbing off on the older Immortal or was it something more? Or maybe he wanted to redeem himself--to somehow make up for all the evil he had done centuries past. Or maybe it was for Cassandra, his last female student...

Don't go there, Old man, he told himself.

Or was it a need to be among the living--to feel again--to care again. Would Mike know this? Would she understand just how hard it was for him to care?

Especially after Alexa?

He doubted it. All those tears told him she never had a problem in that area--actually she seemed to suffer the exact opposite condition--she cared too much.

Sighing, he turned over and stared at her face in the dark. Earlier, she was tossing and turning--having nightmares, Methos guessed. But now, she looked peaceful and relaxed. So at ease...vulnerable...

Damnit, he cursed silently. She's a fucking Immortal, you bloody fool, he yelled to himself. You can't afford to feel her vulnerability! It'll cost you your head!

He groaned. You're beginning to sound like a broken record, Old Man. I don't think fear of life washes anymore with you.

Frustrated, he hopped out of bed and grabbed his phone off the night stand. He had to talk to MacLeod. As he headed for the bathroom, he heard her stir.

"Adam?" she called out softly.

Before he could stop himself, he was sitting on the edge of her bed, tracing her jaw line with his finger, and enjoying the feel of her soft skin. "Umm?"

"Are you okay with this?"

Although he couldn't really see her face, he could hear the concern in her voice. He had heard it so many other times in the last three years.

This was how they communicated, by words--inflections in the voice or adjectives in print--sighs and hesitations...

And he found, like so many other times when she asked him something about how he felt, that he couldn't lie. Not then and not now.

Damn her, she always did know how to cut to the quick, he thought.

Sighing, he shrugged. Then he realized she couldn't see that, so he answered.

"I don't know," he told her honestly.

He heard a quick gasp--filled with fear and panic. He instinctively searched for her hands and found them squeezing her forearms tightly across her stomach. He laid his hands on hers.

"Can you find me a mentor then?" she asked, her voice quiet and resigned.

He sighed again and stood up, yanking his arms to his side. He abruptly flipped the beside lamp on and began to pace. He could feel those dark gray eyes following him--not in wonder or awe of Methos, but in pain and disappointment because her friend Adam was letting her down.

Damn you, he thought. How dare you judge me! he yelled silently. You're thirty years old--a baby--and you judge me! He pushed the anger down when he realized it had no place here in this room.

He was her friend--as she was his.

He stopped in front of her bed, looking downward, eyes shut tightly.

"How do you think I've survived for the last 5,000 years, Mike?" he asked as he looked up and their eyes met. "By my strength? My agility? My deftness in battle?" He moved back over and sat down beside her, his eyes never leaving hers. He wanted her to know--to see him for what he was. Nothing great--just an old man in a young man's body...

"And I'm no Duncan MacLeod--guided by morality or ideals or justice. Unfortunately, I claim none of those attributes," he smiled weakly as he reached for her hand, slowly peeling it away from her forearm. He held it tightly in both of his.

"Then how did you survive?" she asked as she sat up.

"By my wits mostly. Using my intelligence to manipulate events. And my basic distrust of human nature," he chuckled. "I hid. I avoided other Immortals--choosing my battles--keeping away from the Game as much as possible. At times, taking sides and making the best out of horrid events.

"And, as time went by, I found myself as more of an observer of mankind than a participant. That's where the arrogance comes from."

He suddenly felt naked--baring so many truths at this child's door and turned his head, staring at the curtains flutter in the air conditioner's wake.

"It must've been lonely," she said matter-of-factly. Her voice held no pity or sympathy--only empathy and compassion. He expected no less from her. She moved her hand and he felt her squeeze his.

He turned back and faced her. "Yes, it was--though I don't think I realized it at the time," he admitted, enjoying the warmth of her hand. "And I guess, ultimately, that is why I left spectator's circle and joined the participants."

He stopped and caught her eyes again. So much caring in one person. Yes, this was the same Mike who was his friend--anonymous yet intimate--the one he told things to he would never say to anyone else. At times, she had been his closest friend--compelling him to be honest with her and as a result, with himself.

"You know how I met MacLeod?"

She shook her head.

"I offered him my head because I didn't think he could defeat Kalas without my Quickening."

She gasped. "That was about a year ago, wasn't it?"

He nodded, knowing where this was going.

"That's what all those philosophical questions were about, wasn't it?"

He nodded again.

"God, I remember that. Good and evil and responsibility. And if you had the power to stop evil, would you risk your life?" Her eyes filled with tears as she squeezed his hand tighter. "I said--Oh my God--I said to do nothing was as evil as if you were a participant in it..."

"You were right."

"Methos!" she yelled, surprising him by using his real name. "You almost lost your head! And for something a mere 29-year-old fucked up girl said?"

Methos laughed as he leaned over, his face nearly touching hers. "Aren't you being a little presumptuous?" he asked, his eyes twinkling.

She pulled back in surprise. She frowned, but her eyes laughed. "Asshole," she whispered. She blushed.

"That I am, Mike. I won't deny you that." He sat back, suddenly feeling a need to put as much distance between her and him as possible. His heart was beating in excitement and he felt incredibly warm. A mentor and a lover?

Yea Gods, Methos, what are you doing?

But, he still hadn't let go of her hand. He felt her own heat and excitement. This was what he had hoped for before he found out she was an Immortal. He had a feeling it had been one of her hopes as well.

"So, what changed, Adam? Was it Alexa? MacLeod? Or did the world suddenly become just more interesting again?"

He looked up for a second, wondering if he should dare tell her. Talk about vulnerability...

"Both, but neither. After Alexa died, I wanted to crawl back into the animity that my life once held. But then there was the Joe's trial," he looked back at her and she nodded knowlingly. Both of them spent hours pouring over anything that could support Joe Dawson's case. Adam, because Joe was a friend, and Mike, because of Adam. "And after the trial, a lot was said between us. A man died--an Immortal and I played a part in it. I could've pled ignorance, but 5000 years doesn't allow that. I just made a choice. One Immortal I didn't know for two people I cared for." He shrugged at his admission. "The choice wasn't hard to make."

He glanced at her, trying to gage her reaction and as he suspected, her faced showed everything: from anger to acceptance. Another small weight was lifted from his shoulders.

"And then? The trial was three months ago."

He walked to the window and parted the curtain. "I took a leave, but you knew that?" She nodded. "And I was trying to decided whether Adam Pierson would quit the Watchers or not. But, if I were to make Adam Pierson disappear, then I would have to really disappear. And I," he stopped and shook his head, "I can't do that. Not to Joe. He's mortal. He's too good of a friend. But he wasn't the only reason." He walked back over to her and sat down next to her.

"What else was?"

"You," he said, their eyes meeting fleetingly before he dropped his.

He felt her shift uncomfortably. "You always demanded honesty, Mike," he said quietly haphazardly studying the innane pattern of the bedspread.

Her free hand touched his face, lifting his chin up, forcing him to look at her. Her eyes were wide in wonder. "What does that mean?" she asked as her arm began to drop.

He grabbed it and pulled his other hand out enough to grab hers. He pulled her to him, sliding his hands down her arms--their faces only a few inches apart. "It means that I didn't want to see you slip by, without holding you and caring for you--maybe even making love to you--before you died--like Alexa and so many others..."

He stood up and backed away, terrified at the intimacy this woman seemed to demand. "I--," he stopped and fell back into his bed. He closed his eyes.

He heard her scrambled out of bed and he opened one eye. She was standing beside him, clad only in a long white tee-shirt with some nonsense printed on the front. A rush of emotions were running across her face. He could almost pick each one out: fear, surprise, happiness, embarrassment, and indecision...

She sat down next to him. "I don't know what to say or do," she whispered, more to herself than to him.

Silently cursing, he reached for her hand. Clasping it, he pulled her down beside him. "Oh Mike, is nothing ever easy?" he asked her as rubbed his index finger long ways on her cheek. Her smooth, soft skin sang to him. He suddenly couldn't wait. He reached behind her head and pulled her down, their lips touching.

She gasped.

"Is this okay?" he asked, his lips moving against hers.

She smiled against him. "Yes," she said, "but just this--for now."

He nodded as he sunk his mouth onto hers, somehow trying to convey what he felt in just one kiss--sinking himself into her--giving her a touch of all he was and knowing that she knew that as well.

Mike felt her breath being sucked away as his mouth touched hers. Her heart was racing as her body instantly responded to his intensity. Intuitively, she knew what he was doing--he was Methos now--not Adam, but Methos, the oldest living Immortal--wanting acceptance--demanding attention, recognition and life...

And then as soon as it began, he pulled away, and turned propping himself up with one arm, still keeping his other hand on her neck and scalp. She took a deep breath, grateful that she could still do so and forced herself to look into those ancient hazel eyes--afraid of what she would see.

Desire. Fear. She shivered.

He gave her a small smile, still running his fingers through her hair, occasionally sweeping across her scalp, making her arousal even harder to ignore.

She took a deep breath and forced herself to relax. "You know, Methos, you're a hard man to put off. I guess after 5000 years, you have the art of seduction down pat," she added laughing.

He opened his eyes in mock shock and grinned. "Me?"

Shaking her head, she scooted herself next to him, her back touching his chest.

She plucked at the hotel comforter and sighed. "Before tonight, I dreamed that this would happen. I don't know when you became important in my life--but sometimes sitting in my living room with only the television, stereo and computer for company--your e-mails and letters and calls--became real important to me," she could feel her chest tighten and angrily shoved her tears back down. "It was nice--no, wonderful--to know that someone outside my father cared about me for who was.

"I dreamed that we would make love tonight--and somehow, I could take that part that I hoped you were going to give me--and I could keep it--treasure it--when I hurt so bad I didn't even want to drag myself out of bed--I could pull it out and feel good about myself and know that someone else felt good about me," she paused, ignoring the tears as they ran freely down her cheeks. She was so grateful that he wasn't seeing these tears. They were too personal. "But now is not a good time. I don't want to confuse what could be wonderful with what was so horrible only a few hours ago."

She rubbed her face on the sleeve of her nightshirt and turned her head.

"Could you just hold me for now?"

He nodded. "It'll be my pleasure, Michelle," he said softly as he bent down and gently brushed his lips on her forehead. He then sat up and pulled the comforter out from underneath them and covered them both. In the warmth of the blankets, he pulled her towards him tightly.

She fell asleep feeling his warm body next to hers and his breath gently caressing her neck.

The next morning Methos entered the hotel room with two large coffees to find that Mike had already awakened and was watching the morning news. She was sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed with her hair still wrapped in a towel and her legs crossed and his sword across her lap. Once she saw him, she turned and slipped the sword back in his coat and smiled at him meekly.

"I thought it was you--but I wasn't sure," she said smiling as she shrugged her shoulders.

"It never pays to be too careful, Mike," he said as he sat down next to her and handed her a coffee. "Is black okay? I've got creamer and sugar in my pocket."

"No, black's fine," she said as she pulled back the tab on the lid and sipped the coffee. "I think I know who killed me."

"Who?" he asked her, wondering if her suspicions were the same as his.

"That serial killer. My 'death' fits his M.O.," she stopped and turned to him. Her brows were furred together and he could see the question written on her face. "Can I give an anonymous tip or something and explain how he gets in to the women's houses?"

"If you call from a pay phone. How about on the way to the airport?"

She nodded her approval and looked up at him. "So, where are we going?"

"Seacouver, if that's all right with you," he said. "MacLeod has a dojo which we can use to train you and he and Richie can help me keep you safe until you can take care of yourself. And I have a place to stay there." He stopped for a moment, gauging her response. "Besides, we couldn't stay here--I can't stand this heat. How do you people live with it?" he asked laughing.

"Come on, Adam, after 5000 years, what's a little heat?" She asked as she playfully jabbed him on his arm.

"Hey watch it! The coffee!" Methos protested as he placed his cup on the floor. He turned to face Mike and those gray intense eyes widened. He took her cup and set it next to his. "I can take anything you may throw my way," he said mischievously as he leaned over and pulled them both downwards."Adam!" she yelped, trying to squirm out from underneath him. He reached for her hands, but she managed to keep one free and lightly jabbed him in the side.

He jumped, laughing.

"Hah! Gotcha!" She yelled, giggling.

He then managed to restrain her free hand and pulled both of them over her head. Still grinning, his whispered, "You already have." He pecked her lightly on the lips and rolled off the bed. "Well? What are you waiting for? Pack! We've got a plane to catch!"

As he walked into the bathroom he heard her mutter, "Aye, aye Captain," and he found himself chuckling as he closed the door.

"You'll be calling me a lot worse before this is over," he said softly. "I just hope she'll remember that she liked me as well."

Two hours later, Michelle Evans and Methos were on a plane, flying to Seacouver. She was asleep, her head resting on his shoulder, leaving him with his thoughts. A student--he couldn't believe it--he was taking on a student. The craziness of it was nearly overwhelming. When he talked to MacLeod that morning, the Scot tried not to act too surprised or shocked, but he did ask Methos if he was sure and if he wasn't doing this for the wrong reasons.

"Come on, MacLeod, as if you don't take on any students--"

"Methos, it's different and you know it! When was the last time you took a student? Five hundred years? A thousand years ago?"

"It's been a while," Methos admitted grateful that Mike was in the shower and didn't have to hear this.

"Why now?"

"She's my friend--without pretenses or expectations. It's hard to explain, MacLeod. But I do know one thing."

"What's that?"

"That whatever self-respect I have, would disappear if I didn't see this through."

MacLeod sighed. "Methos, watch your head, my friend. I'll see you this afternoon."

"I always do, Duncan. I'll see you later." He hung up the phone

Methos couldn't blame MacLeod for being suspicious. It wasn't as if chivalry and honor were a part of his biological makeup. But, helping Mike wasn't a matter of doing the right thing. It was more because he felt as if he had no choice but to do otherwise.

For him and for her.

The End

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