Disclaimer: Don't even try to sue me. The only think you could possibly get is my debts.

Ch. 5:

The other Methos stood in his garden, trimming a bush, when he stiffened, sensing someone else. Culbraith appeared behind him, sword drawn.

"You're not hard to find." Culbraith told him.

"I don't try to be." The other Methos replied, going back to his trimming.

"I thought about what you said." He told the other Methos. "About…how I was. And how I came to be what I am."

"You had no choice, William." The other Methos told him. "You were made into what you are."

"And you think I could change?" Culbraith asked.

"I know you can." The other Methos told him.

"If I wanted to." Culbraith agreed.

He raised his sword and pointed it at the other man.

"And I don't." he said.

"I don't believe that." The other Methos said turning around. "This is a mistake, William."

"You're mistake." Culbraith agreed. "I'll have the head of Methos."

"I looked into your heart." The other Methos said. "I know I reached you."

"And found your death." Culbraith replied.

"If this is what is in your heart, to kill an unarmed man, who kneels before you." The other Methos said, getting to his knees. "Then I was wrong. But I don't believe I was wrong."

Culbraith raised his sword.

"Believe." He told him.

He swung.

Methos, Sekhmet, Duncan, and Joe sat in the dojo office, drinking.

"So Richie's his newest disciple." Methos said, sitting down on the arm of Sekhmet's chair. "Isn't that cute."

"Methos." Sekhmet sighed.

"Oh, and I supposed you would know just what to do." Joe said sarcastically.

"Oh, yeah." Methos agreed. "Standard response to unforeseen dilemmas, perfected over many centuries."

"What?" Duncan asked.

"Nothing." Methos replied.

"You know, I think I liked the other Methos better." Joe said.

"No, he's right." Sekhmet said.

"Really?" Duncan asked.

"If we try to interfere, we're saying we don't trust Richie." She explained. "He's an adult. Not only that, he's an Immortal. He has to be allowed to make his own choices, even if we think he's wrong. So we do nothing."

"Is that what you meant, Methos?" Joe asked, smirking at him.

Methos opened his mouth and Sekhmet's hand flew up to cover his.

"Of course it is." She answered for him. "Isn't that right, sweetheart?"

She moved her hand up and down so that he nodded. Methos glared at her, making the other two chuckle. In response, Methos glared at them and took Sekhmet's hand off his mouth.

"I think maybe I'll just go…look at the graffiti in the men's room." He said, stalking off.

"Is it just me or is this guy really being a JERK?" Joe called after him.

Methos glared at him again, but moved on, shrugging on his coat as he went. Sekhmet sighed and stood up, draining her drink and grabbing her jacket.

"How do you put up with him?" Joe asked her.

"Not seeing him for 5,000 years helps." Sekhmet said, pulling on her jacket. "You have no idea what it's like to mourn someone you love for that long and then find them alive. I think I would probably put up with anything at the moment."

"You don't agree with him." Joe said.

"No, I think he's right." Sekhmet disagreed. "We should do nothing."

She smiled slightly and followed her lover out of the room, but she's stopped at the door.

"I think that this imposter is dangerous." She told the men. "I think he's going to get Richie killed. But if you swoop in every time you think he's making a mistake, how is he supposed to ever have integrity?"

She nodded to them before walking out the door.

"There's nothing to do." Duncan agreed. "It's Richie's decision, and we have to respect it."

"What?" Joe demanded. "Even if it kills him?"

"I taught him how to survive." Duncan replied. "What he does with that is up to him."

Richie came down into the garden, but instead of the other Methos, he found Culbraith.

"Hey." Richie said, walking up to him.

"I didn't mean to surprise you." Culbraith told him. "I never thanked you for saving my life."

"It's not a problem." Richie replied. "I mean, it's what he teaches."

"Yeah." Culbraith agreed, chuckling slightly. "Yeah, I've never met anyone quite like the old man. It's hard to imagine how he's lived this long without a sword. How are you managing?"

"Well, I guess, faith can take you a long way." Richie replied. "You?"

"Faith?" Culbraith said, reaching over the side of his chair. "I don't have any faith. No faith at all."

He pulled out his sword and stood up, pointing it right at Richie.

"Some guy comes along, says everything is just rosy." Joe said, pacing in front of Duncan. "No more death, no more fear. Well, hell, Richie's going to buy into that. But it's a mistake that's gonna cost him."

"Well, it's his to make." Duncan replied, studying his glass. "Sekhmet's right. It's about integrity."

"Hey, buddy, don't do it." Richie said, backing up. "You know this is wrong."

"Is it?" Culbraith asked, stalking after him. "Well, I guess old habits die hard."

He swung his sword and Richie ducked out of the way.

"But he saved your life." Richie protested. "I mean, didn't you listen to him?"

"Right up till the end." Culbraith confirmed. "Now, are you going to make it as easy as he did, or are you going to put up a fight?"

He swung again, and Richie ducked again.

"Okay." Methos said, walking back.

Sekhmet was right behind him and she leaned against the door jam, smiling as she watched him.

"There's this Spanish guy, Alejandro Diego Spinoza." Methos explained, throwing his jacket down on the chair. "One day, he gets called in by the Inquisition for questioning."

"I did not like the Inquisition." Sekhmet said, shuddering. "They burned me at the stake not once, not twice, but a grand total of ten times."

"Can I finish?" Methos asked her.

"Of course." She said, waving a hand. "Continue."

"Thank you so much." He told her sarcastically before taking a breath and continuing. "So he was tortured. Red hot pincers, tongs, you know the drill. Now, all he has to do is say no. Okay? Very simple word. They take his home, his money, his lands, but he will not give in."

"So, what happened?" Joe asked.

"You were there." Methos said, looking at Sekhmet. "You wanna tell them?"

"He died." She replied seriously. "In unimaginable agony. But you know what? He kept his integrity."

Duncan made a face before standing up.

"Don't save my seat." He said, heading for the door. "Let yourselves out."

The other three watched him go and Joe looked at Methos.

"You are one calculatin' son-of-a-bitch." He told the male Immortal.

"Me?" Methos exclaimed. "What about her?"

Sekhmet smiled and sat down, pouring herself a drink.

"I'm just a bitch." She replied, leaning back and taking a sip.

Methos smiled and shook his head as Joe sighed.

Culbraith kicked Richie in the face and sent him tumbling down the hill. As Richie climbed to his feet, he followed him down.

"I guess, when you get down to it, we're all the same." Culbraith said.

"Not all of us." Richie shot back. "He was different."

Culbraith slashed and caught Richie in the stomach, leaving a bloody wound.

"We were meant for war." Culbraith told him.

They both froze when they felt another and looked up the ridge. Standing above them was Duncan.

"You can't interfere, MacLeod." Culbraith told him. "The battle's been joined."

"I wouldn't think of it." Duncan replied.

He pulled out Richie's sword and threw it into the air. Richie immediately rolled and came up, sword in hand, stabbing Culbraith in the abdomen in the process. He knocked Culbraith's sword away and slowly stood up, never removing the sword.

"Is this the part where I beg for mercy?" Culbraith sneered. "Or you say we don't have to do this?"

"Neither." Richie replied.

He pulled his sword out and Culbraith fell to his knees.

Duncan turned and walked away as Richie swung his sword.

As the Quickening began, Richie saw the faces of the soldiers Culbraith had killed, finally at peace.

Richie, Methos, and Duncan sat in the loft. Sekhmet brought a beer to where Methos was sprawled on the couch and handed it to him before sitting down between his legs and curling up into his chest.

"Did you really think peace between us was possible?" she asked Richie.

"I'd like to think so." Richie replied.

"It would be nice." Duncan said, playing with an abacus.

"You know, I don't even know what his real name was." Richie said. "I mean, I know he wasn't the real Methos. Maybe it wasn't right either, but he was a good man."

Methos sighed and made Sekhmet sit up.

"Listen, I'm sorry I disappointed you, kid." He said, getting up.

Sekhmet sighed and let him pull her to her feet.

"That's okay." Richie said as they walked by.

"Later." Methos told him, taking Sekhmet's hand.

"Old timer." Richie called, standing up. "You got any words of wisdom for me?"

Methos stopped and looked at him.

"Nope." He replied, turning back.

Duncan and Sekhmet laughed.

"What about you?" Richie asked Sekhmet.

She smiled and let go of Methos' hand to walk over to him.

"Yeah." She replied. "Respect your elders."

Richie laughed and she leaned up to kiss his cheek.

"Stay in touch." She told him softly. "I'm gonna need to know where to send the wedding invitation."

He nodded and she pulled away.

"It was nice meeting you, Richie Ryan." She said, sauntering back to Methos.

Richie shook his head as she wrapped her arm around Methos' waist and he grinned at her.

"I need to locate a friend." She said as they headed for the door. "I'm gonna need a maid of honor. You ever met a woman named Amanda?"

Richie and Duncan watched as Methos froze, but Sekhmet kept walking. Duncan laughed as Methos glanced back and he saw genuine fear in the man's eyes.

"Uh, Sekhmet?" Methos called after. "Maybe we should talk about this!"

The door closed and Duncan and Richie chuckled. They were silent for a moment, but then Richie started to talk.

"Well, uh, thanks for saving my life." He told his mentor. "Again."

"Yeah, all I did was level the playing field." Duncan replied.

"You know, Mac, I think I'm gonna head out of town for awhile." Richie said, walking over to where his helmet was hanging. "Just get on my bike and try to figure some stuff out."

"One of those big questions?" Duncan asked.

"Oh yeah." The younger Immortal replied.

"If you don't find the answers, keep looking." Duncan told him.

"I will." Richie agreed, heading for the elevator.

"Richie." Duncan stopped him. "Be safe."

Richie nodded.

"You too, Mac." He said.

Duncan nodded and Richie got in the elevator.

Sekhmet and Methos watched as Richie climbed on his bike.

"You know, I've watched a lot of Immortals over the years." She said. "I think Richie could be one of the ones who makes it."

"Maybe." Methos agreed. "But he has a long way to go."

"Yeah." Sekhmet said. "But there was another Immortal I thought the same about long ago."

"Who?" he asked.

"The Highlander." She replied. "He was brash, and impulsive. He was everything that I thought was a bad idea in an Immortal, but he made it work. I think, given time, Richie could too."

Methos was quiet for a moment. Finally, he wrapped his arm around her.

"Then we'll just have to try to make sure that he makes it." He told her.

She smiled and leaned her head against him, letting him lead her away.

A/N: Let me know what you think. Story continued in the story The Methos and Sekhmet Chronicles: The Proposal, coming soon to a computer near you.