Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to RTD and Highlander to George Widen
A/n: Takes place after the season 2 finale and DW 'Journey's End'.
Methos, the oldest man on Earth sat alone.
The Buffalo Bar was nice enough. It was no Le Blue's Bar, but it would do. He'd decided it was a good time as any to bid adieu to Adam Pierson. He'd been outed to the Watcher's council. So not only did he not have a job, he also had to make himself scarce before they set him up with a Watcher of his own. He didn't like being followed. He liked to do the following, thank you very much.
So now, he was Ben Adams. An old fallback moniker, but one that was far too common for anyone to trace and find the pattern. He'd just finished up medical school and was a lowly resident physician at the local hospital here in Cardiff. He hadn't been a licensed doctor since the 1800's, and medical practices had changed much in that time. But he was a quick learner and knew the basics.
Didn't graduate best in his class, but he certainly could have if he'd wanted to. Methos liked to avoid suspicion and flying through medical school like a certified genius didn't tend to accomplish that. Plus, he spent far too much time drinking and not enough time studying, so no one would have believed he'd achieved outstanding marks without cheating. So, he'd done decently. Just well enough to get a job and so that no one would notice him.
He'd contacted Joe and Mac a few months back after falling out of contact for nearly a year. He'd contacted them more for Joe's sake. That kid only had so many years left and Methos didn't want to miss them. Methos didn't tell either of them where he'd gone, but he had promised to visit periodically. Not too often unfortunately, the Watchers would be crawling around the Bordeaux because of MacLeod, and he wanted to give them a wide berth. They hadn't taken kindly to the fact that an Immortal had infiltrated their organization. At least they didn't know the whole truth. They just thought he was some young Immortal, not the very same ancient Immortal he'd been assigned to research.
"Hello." A smooth voice spoke breaking him out of his thoughts.
Methos looked up to find a man dressed in a WWII greatcoat giving him a great big grin. He was very self-assured and was clearly flirting with him. Methos wouldn't deny that he was a very attractive man, so no doubt many a person fell under his spell. But Methos wasn't any person. Something about him sent him on edge. Not an Immortal. But there was that coat... talk about anachronistic.
The man was giving him an expectant look and Methos realized he hadn't yet responded to the greeting. So, Methos smiled genially, "Hello."
He took a seat in the booth across from him like he owned the place. And Methos knew for a fact he didn't. The owner was a large black man who had a fondness for classic rock and finely malted scotch.
The man held out his hand to Methos and he took it, but remained guarded.
"Captain Jack Harkness." The man introduced himself.
Captain? Where was his ship?
He nodded back, "Ben Adams."
Jack smirked, "Yes, I know."
Methos took his hand back. Inside he was wary, but he kept his face neutral, "Oh?"
Very casually Methos scoped the bar for the exits. That's when he noticed the brunette with the large eyes by the bar staring at them. No doubt she thought she was being stealthy about it.
He recognized her as the same woman that had come into the hospital yesterday afternoon during his shift with Dr. Patil. She'd been very interested in the death of one of the patients that had occurred on Monday. It had happened about two hours after one of Methos' shifts had ended. It had been determined not to be the fault of the hospital, just a brain aneurysm.
The young man had just been in for a routine checkup for his cast and had been in perfect health when he'd arrived, beside his healing broken ankle. Methos hadn't thought much of it at the time. Mortals were so fragile and aneurysms were always so unpredictable. Although, looking back on it, it was rather odd.
He returned his focus to Jack who was pulling something out of his jacket. Methos remained calm. He had didn't want to look suspicious if they were thinking he had something to do with the death.
Jack pulled out some identification and showed it to Methos, "I'm from Torchwood. And I wanted to ask you a few questions."
"Torchwood?" Methos repeated.
But they dealt with...
Did they think Methos was an alien? Well, maybe he was, no one actually knew where Immortals came from.
"I'll answer all your questions, Captain. But only if you'd be so kind as to get me another drink?" Methos shook his empty glass of whiskey, "And maybe one for your friend at the bar? She doesn't seem to like her Cosmo. Hasn't touched it since you sat down."
Jack's eyes widened for a moment and then he laughed out loud, "Alright, Ben. You got yourself a deal."
He motioned for his partner to come over. When she came and sat down, Jack went to the bar to get some drinks. The woman was watching him with a wide-eyed stare, "How did you know I was watching you two?"
Methos shrugged, "Subtlety is a finely tuned art. You haven't mastered it, I'm afraid."
She looked affronted, but didn't make further comment. Then Jack was back. He set one of the drinks in front of me. "Alright, Ben. What do you know about Dr. Patil?"
His eyes widened. They suspected Dr. Patil was the alien and that he had killed the patient? That was certainly unexpected.
"Intelligent, I've learnt a lot under him. But he's a quiet man, kept to himself."
Methos tried not the smirk. He'd just used the one line everyone used when they learned someone was a murderer or psychopath. 'But he was such a quiet man, kept to himself. I never suspected he'd murder a bus full of school children with a chainsaw.'
"Did he take any special interest in Mr. Franks before the time of his death?" The woman, who'd introduced herself as Gwen Cooper, asked.
Methos tried to remember, "He did rifle through his patient record with a bit more interest than the others during rounds. Other than that, he didn't seem to take any more interest in him than the other patients."
Jack nodded, "Alright."
He handed me a card with a number on it, "You think of anything else, or see anything suspicious. Could you give us a call? Maybe we could use those keen observation skills to our advantage."
Jack and Gwen went to leave then Jack turned back and winked, "That's also my personal mobile. If you're interested."
Methos stared at Jack as he left, a small grin formed on his lips. Most people in this century weren't ever that forward especially when they were on the job. Something was definitely off about that man. At least he made up for it by being mildly amusing. Methos put the card in his pocket and went back to nursing his drink.
The incident in the bar had piqued his interest, so Methos had spent a bit of after hours time looking through Dr. Patil's old patient records. He wasn't supposed to be there, so he kept the lights off in the room and typed very softly on Dr. Patil's computer. He pulled up all the files of deaths that had occurred in hospital when the doctor had been working. He scanned through them. All different ages, sexes, races... nothing seemed to tie them together besides the deaths, and those didn't even fit a pattern. They ranged from aneurysm to unexplained seizures. Granted it was likely that not all of them were deaths attributed to Dr. Alien's doing. It was a hospital, and deaths happened all the time.
But there had to be a pattern, somewhere. Whether it was an alien killing these people or a serial killer. There was always a type.
His, for example, had been helpless villagers.
"Ah. There you are." Methos smiled at the screen.
It was a type alright. Blood type, actually. O-negative. It had to be more than coincidence that such a high percentage of the deaths had occurred with patients all with the same blood type. It was more than a statistically significant improbability; it screamed pattern.
He printed off the papers and quietly exited the room. He'd made it toward the hospital exit just as, luck would have it, Dr. Patil was entering.
"Oh, Adams! What are you doing here so late?" He asked in a thick Indian accent as he scratched nervously at his receding hairline.
Methos shrugged and the lie fell easily out of his mouth, "I forgot my wallet in my locker. Had to go grab it. Got a date tonight."
Patil nodded distractedly, "Yes, yes. Good. Have fun. But not too much, you're shift's early tomorrow."
Methos nodded, "Oh, yes of course."
He didn't ask was Patil was doing here so late. He had some suspicions. Patil knew Torchwood was sniffing around. If the patients died during the night, when he wasn't on shift, there was less reason to suspect him. Also very few people worked at night and he would be able to slip in and out of a room without anyone noticing.
Dr. Patil rushed off toward the wards and Methos watched him go, warily. He could go after him, but then he didn't know what kind of alien Patil might be. Methos wasn't going to take the chance that it was an alien that could kill him.
But he had a very bad feeling about what might happen if he did nothing. However, he could call in the calvary. Methos pulled out his mobile and quickly dialed the number on the card in his hand. A familiar American voice answered, "Jack Harkness."
It was very late but Jack didn't sound in the least bit tired.
"Captain Harkness. It's Dr. Adams."
"Oh, hello." Jack sounded very happy when he realized it was him calling, "This call business or pleasure?"
Methos rolled his eyes, "Business."
"Oh." Jack sounded disappointed, but turned serious, "What is it?"
"I got curious and looked up the files of every patient that has died when Dr. Patil's been on duty... and I saw a pattern. A lot of the deaths have been of patients of type-O negative blood type."
"That is interesting." The way he said it, it was clear to Methos that Torchwood had already determined the same thing and Jack was just humoring him. Well, at least they were good at what they did. Better than having complete idiots in charge of preventing the world from imploding.
Didn't mean that he wasn't put out for not contributing anything useful to the proceedings. But, there was one thing.
"I also thought you'd be interested to know that Dr. Patil was looking rather shifty a moment ago and was heading toward the intensive care wards of the hospital. He's not even on duty for another 6 hours."
Jack cursed something under his breath, "We'll be there in ten. You should probably go home, doctor. You don't want to be caught in the middle of this."
Didn't have to tell him twice, "Alright. Good luck, Captain."
He shoved the phone in his pocket and hurried off.
Dr. Patil wasn't in the next day and no patients died during the night. Methos didn't need to wonder what had happened to the good doctor. And his new attending physician was a gorgeous leggy blond, so he wasn't complaining.
It was several months before heard anything of Captain Jack Harkness or Torchwood. And Methos honestly hadn't thought much of them since Dr. Patil had disappeared.
That's not to say the concept of aliens didn't intrigue him. Because it did. It was the one area in which he was mostly clueless. And he'd long pondered the idea that Immortals might be some form of alien. Well, long-ish. maybe in the past century or two.
Immortals were all foundlings, after all.
He'd been walking back to his flat from work, in a hurry because he couldn't carry his sword around at the hospital.
They'd recently installed metal detectors. After the incident with hospital in London disappearing they'd become overly paranoid. Although, what metal detectors would do to prevent aliens from stealing a building, he didn't have the foggiest.
Methos heard shouting coming from a street half a block away. He spun around toward the voices. One of them was American.
And there was something running right at Methos. Something ugly.
"Run!" A Welshman in a suit running alongside Jack yelled out at him. He would have taken the advice, but it was too close for him to outrun. It was practically on top of him, and Methos was cursing himself for not paying better attention.
It had a bald head, wrinkly face, & big teeth.
Methos paled. He'd seen these before. And he'd been hoping to never run across them again.
Byzantium. 4th century. He'd been trying to avoid an Immortal after his head, only to run into them instead. It had been one of his more brutal deaths. And disgusting ones. Mauled to death by a pack of ugly beasts. A hard thing for Methos to forget. He'd had the misfortune of running into them in a sewer system. So not only had he been brutally disemboweled, he woken up lying in a river of shit.
It was only one of them this time, so his odds were better. Methos started to reach for the sword in a hidden fold of his jacket, when he remembered he didn't have it. Maybe that was a blessing. It meant he wouldn't have to explain to Torchwood why he was carrying around an broadsword in the inner-lining of his coat.
Although, if this thing ripped his throat out and he came back to life, he'd have an even harder time explaining that.
The thing rushed him and thinking quickly Methos lashed out with a fist to it's head, making sure to avoid it's rather gruesome teeth. The thing was barely dazed by the jab. Methos tried to step backward to avoid the swing of its big hands, but it clamped a fist around his arm.
It yanked his arm toward it's mouth and Methos tried to pull away with little success. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the creature's teeth dug into his forearm with a sickening squelch.
He felt both his radius and ulna shatter from the pressure of the thing's vice-like jaws. Methos brought his other arm to jab it in the eyes. The thing released him and clutched its face with a pitiful whimper.
It recovered and was about to rush him again, when Jack ran up with a stun gun and shot the thing in the chest. It went down like a ton of bricks. Methos caught his breath and stared down at it. He kept his wounded, but now healing arm behind him out of Torchwood's view.
The creature was uglier than he remembered. But it had been rather dark in that sewer...
Methos did his best to look surprised, "What the bloody hell is that!"
Jack turned to him and looked him up an down appreciatively. Then there was some surprise underneath the gaze, "Dr. Adams?"
Methos looked at him with wide eyes, "You're that man Harkness... from Torchwood?"
Jack nodded and watched as Gwen and the Welshman pulled the creature to its feet. An SUV pulled up and a dark-skinned woman exited it to open the back doors. They hauled the creature into it. Jack faced him, "You're either awfully brave or awfully stupid to try and fight off a Weevil with your bare hands."
Methos was keen to go with the 'awfully stupid' option. What had he been thinking?
"I panicked. You know, fight or flight?" Methos said, "Guess I chose the fight."
Jack didn't seem convinced, "Right..."
Gwen and the other woman came to stand in front of them. The man in the suit was doing something by the car on his laptop. The other woman looked at him with concern, "Have you been hurt?"
He shook his head, "No, I'm fine."
"Bull, I saw that Weevil take a chunk out of your arm." Jack motioned toward said arm, currently hidden behind his back.
"Honestly, it's just a scratch." Methos protested, but tried not to make his reluctance too suspicious.
The woman took a step forward, a device in her hand. Methos didn't like her bleeping it in his face. As far as he knew nothing could distinguish an Immortal from a normal human. He could only hope that whatever device she was holding would be the same. It might be alien technology.
She frowned, "Can I see your arm, please?"
Methos backed away, "Look. If it's all the same to you. I'm a doctor, and I'll check myself out, alright? And if you're worried about me saying anything, you needn't worry. Besides, who on Earth doesn't know aliens exist by now, anyway? Those Dalek things stole the entire planet for Christ-sake... how would me saying that I saw some fanged demon creature in the middle of a Cardiff street affect anything?"
"He has a point." The prim gentleman said absently from the car.
Now Gwen was approaching him, "Just let us see your arm, Dr. Adams."
They were getting suspicious and Methos was at a loss for what to do. He could run, but that would give him away completely and without much of a head start. These people seemed the capable sort and would probably be able to catch him before he got far.
The woman he didn't know approached him closer and reached for his arm and Methos jerked away from her. Now, they were definitely getting suspicious. He would have cursed in several dead languages, only it would have made them even more suspicious. He had to get away from these people.
Suddenly Jack Harkness was grabbing him roughly, "Just show us your damn arm! We don't have time for this!"
Methos was running low on patience, "Look honestly, I'm fine. Just a scratch...there's really no need-!"
Jack held him tightly, and Methos was wondering whether or not the man was about to rough him up or snog him. He wasn't exactly looking forward to either possibility. He wasn't in the least bit fond of this man right now. Probably had to do with the extreme cockiness that bordered on the obnoxious. And more than anything because he had backed Methos into a corner with little means of escape. Rock and a hard place.
Gwen approached as Jack held him in place. There was little point in struggling. It would only serve to make this worse for himself. Maybe he could draw them into a false sense of security and then make a break for it.
She ripped his arm out from behind him. There was blood everywhere and his jacket sleeve had been torn to shreds below his elbow. The other woman inspected it, "That's not what I would call 'fine', Dr. Adams."
He rose an amused brow, "It's just a flesh wound."
If he couldn't get out of this mess, he could at least be a smart ass about it. She smiled lightly, but Jack didn't look nearly as amused. Oh well, couldn't win them all.
She pulled some latex gloves from her jacket and pulled them on, "Now, lets have a look at the damage shall we?"
The woman, or Dr. Whats-her-name, as Methos had started thinking of her, slowly pulled the fabric of his jacket away from his arm. Once that was finished she started to inspect it.
"Let's just clean this blood off and get a better look, shall we?" She smiled at him amicably. Gwen handed her a first aid kit and Methos prepared for the inevitable.
"This alcohol may sting a little." She said as she brought a cloth and antiseptic toward his arm. He said nothing and had to try very hard not to roll his eyes. She did remember he was a doctor, right? She was treating him like a child.
She began cleaning his arm off and after a while started to make confused little sounds as she cleaned more and more blood away.
"I don't understand... t-there's no wound! But there's so much blood..." She looked at Jack with shock and then they both looked at me suspiciously.
He gave them a stupid look, "Look, I said I was fine, didn't I?" Methos pulled my arm back, "And that cinches it. So, can I go now?"
It was worth a shot at least.
"I think you're going to have to come with us, Mr. Adams." Jack said plainly, crossing his arms.
"Doctor." Methos corrected. He'd worked hard for all his medical degrees, thank you.
Well, moderately hard.
Jack's expression faltered, only to change back into a self-assured smugness, "Fine. Doctor Adams. You need to come with us."
What to do, what to do...
"By what authority? I was just minding my own business! I'm not going anywhere with you!"
Methos went with indignant refusal. He could play the part of the stubborn citizen unwilling to succumb to 'the man'. Might work. Might blow up in his face. But his other options had looked even less promising.
"You have to see it from our side here. You just got bitten by a Weevil and now have no wound to speak of! How do you explain that?" The dark-skinned woman reasoned calmly. Clearly the good cop in this scenario.
This wasn't going to end well, but he knew he couldn't outrun them. So, what choice did he have?
"I'm a fast healer." He shrugged.
Captain Harkness gripped his shoulder and started pushing him toward a car across the street as he cuffed him, "Alright, Adams. You're coming with me."
Harkness must have thought he sounded rather intimidating, but Methos wasn't in the least bit impressed. These people were the good guys as far as he could tell. Good guys were hardly ever intimidating. They always followed the rules and didn't fight unless provoked.
Although, they suspected now that he was something other than human, so he wasn't entirely sure how they would treat him. It was much easier for people to dismiss all sense of decency if they could distance their target from themselves. Make them less than human.
Jack opened up the passenger door and motioned for him to take a seat. Methos complied with a scowl and Jack quickly ran over to the other side of the SUV and hopped in. He glared at Methos, "Just do as I say, and there won't be any problems for you."
"Right," Methos just stared back, "because secret organizations are always so reasonable."
"You speaking from experience?" Jack asked as he started the vehicle.
He shrugged, "No, I just watch a lot of television."
Like he was going to admit to anything he didn't have to. Thankfully he'd gotten his Watcher tattoo removed, so there'd be no need to explain that.
Methos sat on the medical table as Martha Jones walked around him. She reached for a stethoscope and turned to him, "So, where'd you go to med school, Benjamin?"
Gwen was standing by with her stun gun, ready to shoot him if he tried anything. Methos was already cuffed to the table, so he couldn't do much even if he wanted to.
Martha certainly had a good bedside manner, Methos would give her that. Too bad this wasn't a normal physical and he would likely spend the rest of his life (which would be a while) locked away. That was if they didn't decide to kill him. She placed the stethoscope on his chest and asked him to breathe.
Martha looked impressed, "Oh? Did you like it?"
Methos shrugged, "They had nice bars near campus."
She chuckled, and then reached for a needle from a tray. "I'm going to have to draw some blood, if that's okay?"
He smiled wryly at her, "You say it like I actually have a choice."
Martha nodded, "I'm really very sorry about all this, Ben. But you might be an alien and we can't let you out of our sight," Her brow furrowed, "It was only reasonable that we'd be curious about your healing."
She strapped a cord around his arm and swabbed alcohol over a small area of skin. Martha looked at him in the eyes with a small smile. Dr. Martha Jones was actually quite attractive, thus far Methos hadn't taken the time to notice. He was a little preoccupied. Far too worried that they might try and dissect him like a lab rat.
"Well, curiosity isn't always an admirable trait." Methos frowned as Martha removed the needle. She'd started to cover the vein with a bandage, but instead watched in fascination as the small hole flittered with a small charge of electricity and then disappeared.
Yes, he was definitely going to be stuck here for a very long time.
Martha set the blood sample off to the side and smiled lightly, "I have a very good friend who would disagree with you."
Whoever this friend was, Martha was very fond of them.
"Oh?" Methos smirked, "Well, curiosity is all well and good when it's not directed at you."
"Alright, Dr. Adams." Jack Harkness waltzed into the room with an air of superiority that grated at Methos, "If that's who you really are."
Methos kept himself stoic, "It is."
"Did you really think we wouldn't notice?" Jack smirked and pulled out a set of files he had in a folder.
He'd hoped, of course. But this world was hardly ever convenient.
Methos shrugged, "I honestly have no idea what you're talking about."
Jack smirked, "You're a very good liar, Ben, but your records tell a different story."
Methos made sure all his records were authentic, so he wasn't sure what Jack would be able to glean from them. He obtained valid birth certificates from all over the world during the course of his life, they weren't completely flawless identities, surely, but they were solid enough to convince a government agency of his existence.
He put on an affronted face, "I am me! I don't know what you are talking about!"
Martha seemed convinced by his front, "Jack, are you sure? I think he's telling the truth. Maybe this healing phenomena was done to him without his knowledge?"
Healing phenomena? Interesting way to put it.
The Captain shook his head, "I'm sure. Here's the thing, Adams. Your records do check out. The problem?" He plopped the papers into Methos' lap. "You have several."
He looked down at them, the top file was Adam Pierson's, pictures were included from his days at Uni with a few drinking buddies. The second was his current identity as Dr. Adams. The third an identity he'd assumed in the 1960s as a college professor. Another from the early 1900's when he'd been an archeologist in Egypt. He'd actually helped exhume his own house in Amarna with Ludwig Borchardt. It hadn't aged quite as well as himself.
Methos set the papers down and shook his head emphatically like he was completely dumbfounded by the existence of the files, "I-I don't understand." he stuttered, "T-These must be f-faked! I'm not any of these people."
He looked down at the old black & white of him standing next to the archeologist Borchardt holding the bust of Nefertiti in his arms.
Jack's face faltered for a second, but then fell back in place. Maybe Methos could convince him that he really had no idea what was going on. They probably wouldn't let him go, but maybe he could get them to put their guard down long enough for him to slip away. Then he could spend maybe a hundred or so years as a nomad in a place they wouldn't be able to track him. Bhutan was nice and out of the way.
"What are you?" Jack crossed his arms and awaited his answer.
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Methos gave him a panicked look and then looked to Martha for support, "I'm human! I-I just want to go home. I have to work tomorrow..."
Martha gave him a sympathetic look and placed a hand on his shoulder, "I'm sorry, Ben. But we can't let you go."
Dammit. Well, at least she didn't feel threatened by him. That was something.
"You knew you that would heal after the Weevil bit you. Why else would you have been so reluctant to have Martha see it? You are hiding something and I plan to find out what." Jack was watching him carefully, "Martha, set up the lie detector."
Methos tried not to look disappointed , so instead he opted to look at Jack in agreement, "Yes! A lie detector, then you'll see I'm telling the truth!"
He could cheat a lie detector, that was how he'd gotten into the Watchers after all. Martha brought him to a room and left, but not before giving him a reassuring smile. Methos took a seat in front of an odd device. It wasn't like any lie detector he'd ever seen. He looked around the interrogation room. There was a two-way mirror on the far wall. Minutes later Jack came in. He set his jacket over a spare chair and took a seat across from him and fiddled with the device for a second before looking in his direction.
Methos gestured to the device, "That's not like any lie detector I've ever seen."
"That's because it's not like any lie detector you've ever seen. It doesn't read heart rate. It reads your mind." Jack said and leaned forward to watch him carefully.
Methos kept his face passive, but underneath he was swearing like a sailor. But he wasn't about to concede defeat until it was absolutely necessary.
"Alright. Let's get started." Jack sat back and cracked his knuckles. Methos noted that Jack's anachronistic stylings didn't stop with the greatcoat. His entire outfit was period appropriate for the WWII era, straight down to the suspenders. Very odd.
"What's your name?"
Methos didn't even remember his original given name. 'Methos' was just one of his more famous monikers, but it wasn't his real name anymore than the others were. He was as much Ben Adams as he was anyone else. Also, in his mind, when he moved into a new life he assumed an entirely different persona. He truly was that person.
"My name is Benjamin Adams."
After a tense second, the light on the top of the machine blinked green. Methos breathed a sigh of relief and Jack looked at it in mild disappointment.
"Were you born on December 12, 1979?" He looked down at his file.
That was a birth date of Ben Adams.
It was a 'yes' or 'no' question, which might make it easier. He wondered...if he were to think 'no', but say 'yes'? This would surely be a test of his mental prowess. He could resist Cassandra's Voice, maybe he could resist this contraption too.
Methos replied absently without thinking about the meaning behind it, "Yes." No.
Jack glared at the machine and then at him. Methos did his best not to look smug. Harkness still didn't look convinced of Methos' innocence.
He leaned forward down at the files, "Are you a threat to the human race?"
Methos didn't even need to try and cheat on that question, "No. Don't be ridiculous."
Luckily, Jack hadn't asked him if he'd ever previously been a threat to the human race. He wasn't now, but a few thousand years ago, it was a different story...
"Who's your mother?" Jack asked.
"Don't know." Methos answered smoothly. Luckily, Ben Adams was an orphan, so no need to lie there.
"Favorite color?" Jack fired back quickly. Methos knew that he was trying to rattle his sense of concentration & calm.
"What's the capital of Azerbaijan?"
Methos was thrown by the off the wall question. What was this, a game show?
"Baku, I think."
"When did you graduate from Cambridge?"
"Why were you walking in the street tonight?"
"I was heading home from work."
"What's your favorite food?"
"At the moment I'm a fan of spaghetti."
Christ, what was Jack going to ask him next? The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
"What do you know about Adam Pierson?"
"Why are you in Cardiff?"
"Because its where I got hired after graduating." Methos smiled back smugly.
"The hospital as an resident physician."
"What color are my eyes?"
Methos leaned forward to look.
"Blue." He really hoped Jack didn't get any ideas, considering he'd also said blue was his favorite color.
"How many people have you killed?" Jack asked.
Shit! Methos tried to think of a different question. What's one minus one?
The light flickered green. But just as Methos started to relax, thinking he'd beat the system yet again, the light flipped to red.
Jack pointed at him with a grin, "Gotcha!"
Methos panicked, "It's not like that! I'm not a threat to you, or anyone! I just want to be left alone."
It flashed bright green, but Jack was already looking at him in grim satisfaction.
"How many people have you killed, Benji?" Jack asked coldly.
Gods, he had no idea. Thousands, hundreds of thousands? And he really despised that nickname.
Methos shrugged, "I don't know."
It blinked green. But Jack wasn't satisfied with the answer.
"What do you mean, you don't know?" Jack asked.
"I mean, I don't know." Methos answered again with a bit more anger behind it. He was tiring of this game.
"Give me a rough estimate." Jack said.
Methos frowned, "No."
"No? That's not an option, Benji."
"It is now." Methos scowled. He wasn't answering anymore questions.
Suddenly, Jack had him by his coat lapels and ripped him right out of his seat. He then shoved him against the wall with a thud, "Tell me!"
Methos scowled back, not intimidated in the least by Jack's posturing. Maybe Jack needed a taste of his own medicine, "And just how many people have you killed, Captain?"
He figured it had to be a lot if he was military. Unless the title was simply Jack's own self-aggrandizing, which Methos wouldn't put past him. But he had a feeling about Jack. He worked at Torchwood, after all.
Jack was clearly taken aback by the question being thrown back at him, and Methos knew he'd hit his mark. Jack regained his footing and growled at him, "We're talking about you here, not me!"
"So, you don't deny that you have?" Jack looked guilty, but still held tightly onto him, "And how is it different for you, than it is for me? Take a look at the machine, Jack, if you want your answer." Methos growled back, "I was fighting a war, fighting to protect my own life, that's why I've killed! To protect myself! To protect others!"
It flashed green, like he knew it would. It was the Gods honest truth, even when he was a Horsemen.
At first, it had been a war between his brothers and the rest of the world, then it had been out of self-preservation that he'd stayed at Kronos' side, for fear of the other man's temper.
Jack released him and then stared directly into his eyes, searching. The Captain sighed and took a seat back at the table, "Who are you really? Because I know you can't be: 'recent med school graduate, Dr. Benjamin Adams.' No matter what the machine says. I don't know how you cheated, but you did."
"But I am, Ben Adams." Methos sat back down and the light flashed green.
This man reminded him a little of Duncan Macleod. That was, if the Highlander were a tad more effeminate and flirted with everything that moved. But, safe to say, he knew his type. He was a good man, this Jack. He wasn't a complete boyscout like Duncan. Likely doing things that were less than savory, but for reasons he thought were right.
But Methos could tell by the way his team looked at him and the way he held himself that he was a man of principle, or at least tried to be. Because if Methos knew one thing really well, it was people. Student of human nature that Methos was, he knew that even if he told Jack the truth, Jack wouldn't kill him (if he knew how, anyway), so long as Methos didn't give him a reason to. As long as he wasn't currently a threat to his team or to the world, Jack wouldn't hurt him. He may even protect him. Or at least Methos hoped he might.
And he needed some ins in this day and age. The anonymity of the Immortals was becoming ever harder to maintain. It was harder and harder to hide, and more and more people were aware that there were things out there stronger and mightier than the human race. More things in heaven and Earth, so to speak.
If he had friends in high places, like at Torchwood, maybe he had a chance of surviving the coming storm. He was good at adapting to the times and he certainly wasn't above hiding behind powerful friends.
"But here's the thing, Jack..." I sighed, "I'm also Adam Pierson." Jack's eyes widened, "And Professor Harker. And Egyptologist Jonathan Turner."
The light flicked green.
"How are you beating the lie detector?" Jack asked again.
"It's not a lie if I believe it." He shrugged, "I am all those people. And I'm none of them. The truth is relative to your perception."
Jack shook his head, "You're a real piece of work, Adams."
"I've been called worse."
"So are you an alien?" Jack appraised him.
Methos shrugged, "I have no idea. It's possible, I suppose. Maybe Martha's tests can tell you. I'd always thought of myself as human... just a bit different."
"Different, how?" Jack asked.
"Well I don't age, as you might have already guessed. Look the same as I did in 1920." Methos said. He wasn't about to admit to being any older than they had him pegged. He wasn't that trusting.
Jack looked surprised, "So as far as you know, you don't age at all? And you're what, 120?"
The machine was still on and Jack had asked him two questions.
Jack was making this much too easy on him. Give him an out, he was going to make full use of it.
"Can you be killed?" Jack asked.
Methos rose a single eyebrow, "Looking for ways to accomplish that, Harkness? Afraid I'm not going to help you with my own execution, if its all the same to you."
"So, I take it that as a yes? Do you know that for a fact, that you can die?" Jack asked, clearly intrigued.
"I couldn't say that I can be killed conclusively, could I? Seeing as I'm still alive." Which was true, he couldn't know for a fact that being decapitated would kill him until his head was severed from his body. So, that wasn't a lie. Technically. "And I'm not about to go testing to see what can."
Jack looked at the two-way mirror then back at Methos. He looked almost... hopeful.
"I can't die, either."
Methos' eyes widened. That explained the get-up. But he couldn't have been an Immortal, like himself. An immortal of some other kind, perhaps.
"But you do age?" Methos smiled, he'd remembered Jack's question from before.
Jack smiled at him, almost leering, "You don't miss a thing do you?"
"That's me, Mr. Observant." He responded sarcastically.
The Captain's grin widened, "I do age. Only very slowly. The stray gray hair, laugh lines. But... after a stint trapped and buried alive for a nearly 18 centuries. I'm actually pushing two thousand something," He looked at himself up and down, "and I still look fantastic!"
"You were trapped & buried alive for centuries?" Methos grimaced. And here he'd thought drowning at sea in arctic waters for nearly a year in 53 B.C had been bad. He hated the sea. "And you didn't go insane?"
"Am I sane?" Jack shook his head and smirked back at Methos playfully, "It think that's all a matter of perception."
"Touche." Methos smirked.
Harkness laughed out loud, "I think I'm starting to like you, Benji."
Methos cringed at the nickname.
"Well, the feeling isn't mutual, Jack. Honestly, I'm feel a sort of ambivalence toward you, leaning toward violent dislike. I tend to do that with people who hold me against my will. Funny, that." Methos rolled his eyes.
The Captain stared at him with an odd expression, "You sound just like him."
"Like who?" He asked in curiosity.
"This man I know. He's a doctor, too."
"You tricked me."
Methos looked up from his spot in the conference room. They weren't letting him leave just yet. He looked up to see Martha looking at him indignantly.
"Did I?" Methos frowned halfheartedly then looked back down at his book, "I'd say I was sorry. But then I'd just be tricking you a second time."
Martha snorted, "Well, at least now you're being honest." She took a seat next to him and looked at him with a knowing glint in her eye, "So how old are you, really?"
He looked up from the book Jack had given him to keep him occupied, while they decided what to do with him. The Iliad. Methos remembered it being much better when it had been told orally. He'd read the written version before, but it never compared.
"I don't know what you mean. Like I told Jack. I haven't aged a day since 1920."
Methos didn't even look up from the book, Hector had just broken through the Greek camp walls. The actual events hadn't been nearly exciting. Exaggerations and embellishments, the lot of it. And Helen of Troy had been an ugly cow.
"What happened to that honesty, Ben?" Martha chastised, "I saw it in your face when Jack asked you, you're a very good actor...but after you tricked me, I was suspicious of everything that came out of your mouth. I don't like being lied to. So I looked over the tapes of your interrogation again."
Methos cursed himself that he hadn't thought of the fact that they might have been filming him.
"He asked you two questions; if you didn't age and if you were a 120. You were only answering the first question."
Methos set the book down and leveled her with his old gaze, "You're pretty smart," he winked at her, "for a kid."
Martha laughed and shook her head at him, "So are you going to answer the question, or not?"
"What question was that, again?" Methos smirked evasively as he propped his legs up on the table and reached back for the book.
"You're impossible." She said exasperated, but with an undercurrent of amusement in her voice.
"I want to offer you a job." Jack entered the office just a Methos was finishing his book. Methos had been in there for a long time, most of the night and morning.
He looked up from the last page toward Jack, "I already have a job. And you already have a doctor."
Methos shut the book finished with it and set it aside.
"Martha's only here in Cardiff, temporarily. She's on loan from UNIT. And she needs to get back to London in the next week."
That was a shame, Methos had been starting to like her. She had been single after a falling out with a fiancee, and Methos had been laying the groundwork for trying to start a relationship. Too bad. And UNIT and Torchwood were on speaking terms? That was new.
Methos drew a hand through his short hair and sighed, "I know Torchwood's reputation. And I don't like to take unnecessary risks."
"But you're immortal." Jack reasoned with clear surprise.
"But could I survive the meltdown of a nuclear reactor?" Methos pondered and crossed his arms, "I honestly don't know. And I don't intend to find out."
"How did you know about that?" The Captain's eyes looked pained. Torchwood's previous doctor, Owen, had died in the meltdown of the nuclear station in Cardiff.
"I knew about the meltdown from the news. And then I overheard Ianto and Gwen about an hour ago. They didn't think I was listening." Methos picked up the book and handed it back to Jack, "And while I won't deny that the whole concept of aliens and rifts in time and space is... intriguing, I'd prefer to stick to a safer profession."
Jack Harkness looked at him in disappointment and with perhaps little judgmentalness mixed in, "Not an adventure seeker?"
"I'm not suicidal. There's a difference." Methos shrugged, "Plus, I try to avoid violence. And you lot seem to attract it."
Harkness looked horribly disappointed about his refusal. He was probably very lonely and saw Methos as a kindred spirit, of a sort. Unfortunately for Jack, Methos wasn't about to reveal the other Immortals to him just to help with his depression. Methos wouldn't put his 'people's' fates up to the good graces of Torchwood. Not everyone that had been in the organization was as gracious as the good Captain. He'd feel guilty about not saying anything for a while. But, then, he felt guilty about a lot of things, as much as he'd deny it to anyone who asked.
Luckily the DNA results had come back inconclusive, there was some unexplained regenerative capabilities, but nothing that conclusively proved he wasn't human. Methos wondered if they just didn't know what to look for. Being an alien had become his more recent theory on the origin of the Immortals, but if they were identical to humans in every way... that lent itself to more mystical origins. Which was something that Methos wasn't prone to accept.
"Alright. I'm going to trust you, Adams. Torchwood's better than it used to be. We're good people. But that said, we'll be keeping an eye on you." Jack said with a tinge of regret that he wouldn't be staying.
Great. So instead of a Watcher he'd have Captain Jack Harkness and company following him around. At least they were letting him go, which was more than he'd expected.
"I'd expect no less, Jack. Just try not to spend too much of that time keeping an eye on my ass, will you?"
Jack smirked, "I can't make any promises."