Masters of Death by enchanted nightingale

Disclaimer: The characters do not belong to me. I only use them in my plot for fun.

Pair: Harry Potter/ Methos

Highlander Timeline - Episode: Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Chapter 16

Harry was immersed in his Gringotts statements from an ungodly hour in the morning, when his immortal partner finally got out of bed. Methos shot one look at the long thick parchment that was spread all over the dinning table, then at Fawkes, who was asleep on the back of Harry's chair.

"I'll put more coffee on, " he announced earning a distracted mutter from Harry, who did not look up until he noticed the new cup of coffee placed directly in front of him.

"Drink, " Methos insisted. "You look like you need a break. Are those really bank statements? I think I read in the guides about Gringotts being both the bank and the equivalent of the magical tax office. How does that work? "

Harry took the coffee and the opportunity for a break. "Well, the goblins deal with money, all the gold in the wizarding world, " Harry replied. "The more you have some more polite they are. And by polite, I mean the threaten you less. Have you reached the part about the Goblin Rebellions yet? My old history teacher was obsessed with that topic. " The wizard shuddered a bit at the remembrance of Binns, and the boring lessons he attended with the Ghost. "When you do, let me know what you think about the idiocy of humankind."

"So, typical bankers, only with spears then? I always hated banks. At least you have only known small coins and paper bills. Imagine having to drag about with you cattle, or horses. Don't let me get started on camels. Or on stone coins. Those were probably the worst. It was a hustle trying to buy beer, or mead, that way? One of the things I never miss, animal excrement."

Harry chortled, then he focused on the coffee, practically inhaling half of it.

"Why are you up so early? I did not hear you leave the bed," the former Watcher remarked.

"I could not sleep well after Amanda's visit. "

"Me neither. "

"About Macleod?"

"Are you worried about him? " Harry asked. "Because I did not think the situation is as drastic as Amanda made it sound. It looked to me like she was more stressed that the Highlander about all of it," the wizard admitted. "I know it is something you have struggled with, but even with the whole encounter with Kronos and the others, I never doubted your will to live on. The longer I know, I have realized why you have survived as long as you did. You never really give up, not really. You pretend quite well. You may run, hide, but you keep plotting and you strategize and then you strike back at the perfect opportunity. And no one sees you coming. You're a survivor and a fighter."

Methos chuckled at that assessment. "I have often felt that with each century passing I've grown more cynical. And yes, you are right. I might have let Cassandra have a bit of a go at me, but I never would have ceded the fight to her. Not even close. I have many regrets in life, but I have never regretted that I kept on living. Those days Kronos could have just as easily gone after my head. We were allies not only due to 'common interests' but also because I wanted my continued survival." He paused and studied his lover. "You don't seem all that surprised. "

"It's one of the things I like about you," Harry replied, at the same time recalling one other man who had done what was needed for his continued survival.

From time to time, his lover's craftiness really reminded him of his old Potions Professor. Severus Snape had managed to last quite a bit, situated between two very demanding masters. The model Slytherin. He would have respected Methos' strategic moves, perhaps they would have been amicable grouches together.

Methos leaned close and kissed the wizard. "My self-preservation turns you on?" he asked, amused. "And all your friends said you had none."

"Hopefully some of yours has rubbed over on me," came the cheeky reply.

"One can hope. I have heard of your track record. I did meet Poppy, your old nurse?"

Harry wisely chose to change the topic. "So… Are you really worried about Duncan?" the wizard asked.

"I don't believe things are as drastic as Amanda fears, or as dramatic," the Immortal leaned back on his chair and slowly sip some of his coffee. "I think, and it's a bit of guesswork, that it's the first time MacLeod has been confronted by his ugly side. The Dark Quickening does not count in anyone's book. But this… The revenge spree, his anger and hate for those who planned that massacre, that all came from him. And it scared him. He's not used being the bad guy in someone else's story. "

"Not enough grey?"

"Not nearly enough," Methos agreed. "They might joke and call me Old man, but age does matter. We are all of us products of our times. The time each of us grew up in, the ages that surrounded us. We might change, transform to fit the ages and the people and the countries we stay in, but the base of what we were growing up, what the world around us was, that stays with us."

He shot a look at his empty coffee mug, and then a pleading look at Harry, who with a roll of his eyes and a flick of his wand, refilled the cup.

"Thank you. Now, you've heard of Richie, MacLeod's little protégé. He's softer around the edges then say, any mortal from any of the countries torn by World War One, or the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. Someone who grew up a slave or a King, a Knight or a holly man. All those people have different outlooks on life, guilt and the way one must conduct themselves. I was born long before the age of chivalry. Way long before many codes of conduct."

Harry settled in his seat. It was not often he and his, much older, partner got to have these talks. Lately they had been having this type of conversations a lot more. Methos was not always up to explaining what had shaped him over the millennia he had lived. There were big events that were turning points in his life. Too many to recount all. But he was slowly sharing. And when that happed, Harry would pause and listen as the other man open up.

"What about you?" the wizard asked.

"I don't remember. Most Immortals I have met are foundlings, or so we have realized over the years. I don't recall how I grew up, or with who, or what area exactly. I don't really recall my first death. Or the first few after that. I have lived a long time before even taking my first head. Most things I remember are from after that time, or things I have written down. All the big events that left some mark on me, at least from that far back," Methos admitted. "I can tell you this; I have been a King and a slave, a killer and a doctor. In the literal sense. I was once worshipped as a god and I have been hunted like a demon. Too many lives lived and so many deaths witnessed."

"Shades of all colors, " Harry quoted.

"Enough shades of enough colors to fear the 'what if'. What if I have overestimated the Highlander's mental mettle."

"One of these days we need to sit down, and you will explain to me the extent of your machinations," Harry stated with a knowing look at the other man.

The Immortal laughed. "One of these days, " he agreed. "Just know one thing, Harry."

"What is it?"

"Whatever plans I have made so far and for many of my future ones, I have never tried to manipulate you or your emotions. I know you would never forgive me for it. And I would regret hurting you that way, " Methos confessed.

Harry swallowed the lump that formed in his throat. That was more than what he had expected to hear the moment they started their conversation.

"Thank you," he replied, accepting it for the revelation that was. It always shocked him that this, them, they were talking and planning for the long haul. Like Nicholas and Perenelle. It was nerve-wracking and exciting all at once. And scary.

"I'll let you get back to work. I've got to get ready," the Immortal sighed.

"You will talk to MacLeod then?"

"The things I am willing to do for my friends."

"Let me know how it goes," Harry told him.

"I will," he replied as he reluctantly stood. "Do you remember where my gun is?"

Harry blinked. "Why would you need it?"

He got a smirk at that question. "Because I know MacLeod and his… let us say 'type'. "

The wizard sighed. "Just don't lose your head over this."

"Funny, " the Immortal snarked.

"Armor cupboard, next to the coat closet. It has charmed space. I have keyed you in," Harry replied.

By the time Methos got back to their shared apartment, Harry had finished with most of his Gringotts statements and had been taking a break by going through his owl correspondence (or rather Phoenix correspondence since Fawkes had been the one to drop it off from England and even a couple of letters from the Flamels). The wizard had set aside that were directly addressed to Methos (the Immortal and Nicholas had really hit it off and they had kept in contact ever since).

He was contemplating if he was in the mood to cook or order in when the wards notified him that his partner was back. And when he saw his face, he winced. "That's not a good face. What happened? Did Duncan…?"

"He's such a pain in the ass," Methos muttered as he slowly took off his sword, his dagger and a back-up knife, before also leaving the gun aside, and then his trench coat.

The green-eyed man noticed that the dagger had blood on it.

"It's not my blood. And no, that idiot was alive when I left," the irritated Immortal commented.

"That settles it. I'm ordering pizza and you will get your pick between wine and beer. "

"Beer," Methos readily replied. "I need one after dealing with two idiots cut from the same, bull headed cloth. It's been quite some time since I've had to use both my gun and my dagger."

Harry nodded as he reached for the phone to place his order.

They had each drank their first glass of beer (tall and chilled just right because magic was great that way), when the pizza arrived via muggle means and they settled at the couch.

Harry merely listened first as his now visibly calmer lover narrated what took place at park MacLeod and Keane had selected for their showdown. He had finished narrating (word for word) what he had said to MacLeod before walking away and leaving him with his unconscious rival.

"They really are too similar. If the circumstances were different, they would have been great friends. Or at least boring together. I think I have filled my quota of idiots for this year," Methos commented.

The wizard gave his a considering look. "I'll focus more on that mess later but for now, answer me this. Have you fought anyone seriously lately? And by lately, I mean the last few hundred years. Excluding the fight with Silas. And with Kallas you just evaded."

Methos arched an eyebrow. "Care to elaborate, Harry?"

The wizard snorted. "You know what I mean. I have fought against you when we train. I have seen you practice on your own, both the sword and the use of other weapons. You are in excellent shape. You might not be bulky like the typical Immortals who usually actively fight, like Duncan or Robert or whoever else. You could have easily taken Keane's head long before Duncan could recover from you shooting him. Why all the … fanfare?"

The Immortal grinned and sipped his beer before answering.

"Most Immortals, and most Watchers nowadays, they have this notion that bringing a gun or a dagger to a fight is 'cheating'. But to me, it is not, not really. While I have not shot anyone dead and then taken their head, I have used it as a tactic to escape. But I was not going to fight in the first place. The dagger though, that is a whole other subject. I have been trained by Samurai in the past. I can wield dual blades. Only reason I don't usually do that is because one sword is enough of a target nowadays. Also, I have not reached the age I am by going after people. No longer at least. And I was never really into Headhunting. I always calculate the battles I enter. If I can avoid a fight, all the better. I only fight those I cannot avoid, or those Immortals that must be taken out because they are menaces to the rest of us."

Harry shot him a considering look. "Could you have taken Kallas' head?"

Methos laughed. "That is what you focus on?" he asked. "Yes," he finally admitted. "I could have. But I did not want it. Partially because I fear those like him. I am not an Immortal you want to see under the influence of a Dark Quickening."

Harry nodded, seeing the reasoning there. He had half expected that was the case, but he was still pleasantly surprised that his lover was now willing to admit that he was a scheming bastard when he wanted (or needed) to be. Then he braved another question.

"Was it a test, for Duncan? Kallas?"

"A bit, yes. I did not quite intend for it to be a test. It somehow ended up that way. He surprised me, his bullheadedness, and how clean cut he was. It was right around the time I got to know you better and… I was in a social mood then. He passes the test, too. That certainly surprised me."

The wizard chuckled. "I'm not as shocked as I should be. Does he know that you were testing him? Has he figured anything out?"

"Duncan? No, he has not. Amanda and Joe though, they both suspect that something was up. They are much more suspicious characters. Joe does not put people in molds. He's a Watcher. He's used to seeing and reading all kinds of this for my kind. Amanda, the little thief, has clocked me perfectly."

"You like her," Harry remarked. "Genuinely like her as a person."

"Aa bit, yes. She reminds me of a younger me, sometimes," Methos replied. "She'll either become a good friend or a terrible headache. I'm interested to see what happened with her."

The landline rang then, interrupting them.

"It is probably for you," Harry said, "My lot use the fireplace."

Methos chuckled and stood up to get the phone. He was gone for a while and when he returned, he was chuckling.

"What's so funny? " Harry asked.

"Speaking of the devil, as the saying goes. That was Amanda. She got the Highlander arrested for heist she pulled off. I do like how that woman thinks, " Methos commented. "As long as she involves others in her plots, at least. She can be quite the pain if she puts her mind to it. I bet MacLeod must be furious by now. " He chuckled again his amusement obvious.

"But, are you certain she got him arrested?"

"She saw the police going after him. I also called Joe and confirmed that there was a warrant out for his arrest by the Parisian Police. I'll try and check out the barge, just in case he was not locked up at the precinct. If they found him carrying a sword, he will have much bigger things to worry about than merely theft charges. "

"Do you want me to come with you?" the green-eyed wizard asked.

"It's nothing I can't handle, " Methos replied, "Just stay here. Maybe draw us a bath? I will bring back a wine, we'll make a whole afternoon of it."

"After all the headache that is all this," Harry shot a glare at the paperwork from the Goblins, "It sounds perfect. Just don't be too long, or I will start without you," he warned his partner.

"I won't be long. I would like for this whole matter to be over and done with sooner rather than later. Preferably with MacLeod alive."

"Liar, you love al the drama he brings," the green-eyed man accused.

"Maybe in smaller doses, " the Immortal agreed. "But don't let him find out. He'll accuse me of being like a busybody old man that has no hobbies." He pecked Harry's cheek and headed for the door.

"Meddling is your hobby!" Harry called after him. "He practically made it into an art," he muttered to himself.

Behind him, Fawkes moved, then slowly spread his wings and head as he stretched.

"Did I wake you up?" the wizard asked the phoenix.

All he got was a soothing trill, before Fawkes disappeared in a ball of flames, returning seconds later, right above Harry, dropping a letter off, before flying to his perch and busying himself with his treats.

"One day I'd like to know how you do this, " Harry commented as he picked up the letter, this one from Hogwarts. "At this rate, I'll never be finished. Now, what did Teddy do this time?"

End of Chapter