Methos' Drunken Tales - First a Tale of Loss and Love
Chapter 1 - APRIL is the Cruelest Month.
This story includes -Methos, Daruis, Richie, Amanda, MacLeod, Marcus Constantine, Rebecca, Ceirdwyn, our favorite watcher Joe plus Lydia my original character.
The storyline takes place at the annual Memorial Toast for Rebecca, April 23, 2012, where Methos tells a tale of love and loss while drunk. The tale takes place in a flashback in 805 AD, in the part of the world that eventually became known as France. It's a story of hereos and heroines, of adventure and how true love can triumph even in the mist of meddling Immortals. Characters thoughts are in (italics). This story was written for enjoyment purpose only. It was not written for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended. Every chapter begins with a stanza from a poem, if that not your thing just skip over it. Special thanks to RJ Bingham and his help with this story. Please read his stories at - .net/u/2428181/R_J_Bingham
I would like to especially thank my Beta reader/editor - Feritkid. I encourage everyone to read her fan-fictions at - .net/u/2825702/FerretKid
T.S. Eliot - The Waste Land. 1922
"April is the cruelest month,
Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,
Mixing Memory and desire,
Stirring Dull roots with spring rain."
"April is the cruelest month" was an old saying. Methos didn't remember its origins, but T.S. Eliot loved those words and stole them from Dr. Benjamin Adams.
APRIL is the Cruelest Month.
April had never been Methos' favorite month because it was never fully winter nor fully spring. As far back as he could remember April was unpredictable, sometimes bringing weeks of rain, sometimes a blizzard.
The 25th was the worst day of the worst month. Methos never could get through the day without a bottle of wine or gin. Or Irish whiskey, or a good Highland Scotch. Or vodka. And beer, of course. Lots of beer. Most years, he drank all of the aforementioned.
Byron, Methos' last student, was beheaded by MacLeod on April 20.
Rebecca Horn an Immortal woman Methos first knew as Rivka of Jersh and he had been lovers with on and off for eons she laid down her life to save her mortal spouse on April 23rd. Both deaths were close enough, he rounded up and commemorated them on the 25th.
Avram Mordecai beheaded his teacher Marcus Constantine on April 12 and MacLeod took Avram's head two weeks later. To Avram, Methos had been Joseph Benjamin, just another Immortal Jew working to create a Jewish homeland. To Methos, Avram was a freedom fighter that had finally taken his teacher's head.
Marcus Constantine, however, had been Methos' friend for over 2,000 years. Marcus had told MacLeod that he had helped Methos, then Remus, after being crucified for rape. But that was a lie. They met over drinks in Emrys' hut in 290BC. From that time the two men spent many nights drinking, playing cards, bickering with each other, and sharing stories. Too many friends had been claimed by the game and Marcus Constantine was one Methos would especially miss.
It had been, as close as Methos could reconcile with the modern calendar, the month of April when the Four Horsemen destroyed Cassandra's village and he took her captive. That started a cascade of regrets that still haunted him to this very day.
April 25th was the day Nefertiri was beheaded by MacLeod. Duncan would never know they had met in Egypt 1237 BC. A few decades before he met Kronos, Methos was wandering the countryside and decided to live in Egypt for lifetime or two. He came across the new Immortal just after she had awoken, surprised to be alive after being sacrificed to her gods.
Methos chuckled any time he thought of her, never sure if he was the teacher or the student. He had managed to teach her to fight well enough to survive, while she taught him every imaginable way to pleasure a woman and some un-imaginable ways, too. He still believed it had been a fair trade.
Tak-Ne, better known among young immortals as Ramirez, was killed on April 25, 1542 by the Kurgan. He and Tak-Ne had been close friends and drinking partners forever. Reconnecting outside Paris in a drinking establishment during the summer of 1541, Tak-Ne tried to talk his old friend in to coming with him to the Highlands of Scotland. He had heard of a young Scottish Immortal the Kurgan was after, so Tak-Ne was going to offer to be the Scot's teacher. He tried to persuade Methos to come and join the fun but Methos declined the invitation, saying he had a new wife and as much as he loved the Egyptian peacock, he loved his wife more. That was the last time they drank together.
History lost the exact date Darius killed Emrys and changed from a man of war to a man of peace, but Methos hadn't forgotten. April 25th, 410 AD was burned into his memory until the end of time. He was no less than fifty miles away at the moment Darius' sword removed Emrys' head, and the power released in that mystical White Quickening had driven Methos to his knees. It took the old Immortal four days of hard riding to finally get to Lutetia (Paris). Methos was on a mission to discover who had taken the older Holy Man's head, intending to challenge whoever he found. But when he entered the church, Methos saw his friend Darius praying and swore he could hear Emrys' laughter ringing in his ears.
Sixteen hundred years later, Methos still held tightly to two of Emrys' teachings. First and foremost, "keeping one's head for thousands of years is about the sharpness of one's mind, not one's sword." Close behind that was, "with age, you must become elusive." He and Emrys had rarely seen eye-to-eye, but Methos still respected his ancient teacher.
And finally, April 25th was the day his wife and the most recent love of his life, Alexa Bond, died.
It was April 23, 2012 and Methos was starting his annual three-day drinking binge. None of his friends seemed to notice he had been spending April 25th in a drunken stupor long before he heard the name Alexa Bond. That is, no one but Joe Dawson.
Joe noticed everything the old Immortal did, and sometimes Methos was sure it had been a dangerous mistake to become close friends with Dawson. But Methos found Joe amusing and continued to keep company with the old Watcher, even though he knew it wasn't a good way to stay out of the records. Sure, Joe wasn't turning in his version of "The Methos Chronicles" but Methos wasn't 100% sure he could bury them when Joe went to meet his maker.
In 1984 Methos took on the identity of Adam Pierson, grad student and Watcher and then started breaking many of his own self-imposed rules, like not having close mortal friendships or putting down roots. Methos lied to himself when he said he did this out of boredom; it was something deeper. Methos was looking for a new hiding place and with the advent of the computer age he also knew it was only a matter of time before the Watchers made a their own database. Methos wanted to make sure he would have a backdoor into that database. So Methos made certain he was on the team that created it. He had been a Watcher before and it seemed old hat to him, but the biggest surprise of all was that he came to care about the mortals he befriended there.
Don Salzer and Joe Dawson were two men Methos respected and enjoyed spending time with. From the moment he met Don and Joe, Methos realized they were not men to be toyed with. Joe was smart, savvy, talented, had a wicked sense of humor, and he balanced out the workaholic, academic Don Salzer. It had been centuries since Methos had allowed himself to become close friends with Mortal men. Oh sure, he had been married to mortal women, but he stayed away from making close male friends - both mortal and Immortal - since his last student, Bryon. Methos had lost many friends he would have called brother and the losses weighed heavily on his soul. Nevertheless, Joe and Don were different. Don was a scholar like himself, but Methos could never put his finger on just what attracted him to the Blues man and why he was so special. He just knew Joe was different from almost everyone he had ever been acquainted with, and he hoped he would not regret calling Joe Dawson his friend.
PARIS - APRIL 25 1988
It was in 1988 on the 25th of April that Joe found himself back in Paris, watching MacLeod as usual. Duncan MacLeod and Tessa Noel were back in the City of Lights on a buying trip for their shop. Tessa had gone to London to see friends, leaving the Highlander alone in Paris. On this particular day his assignment went to visit the Immortal Darius and would stay on holy ground until his lady returned.
Knowing there was nothing to watch, Joe decided to stop in the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Truth was, Joe had spent the week wishing for an excuse to visit his friend Don Salzer and to have a debate with Don's protégé, the up-and-coming Methos researcher, Adam Pierson. Joe entered the bookstore and chatted with Don, but was surprised to learn Adam had called in sick for the day. As dedication to his work seemed to be Adam's middle name, it was a rare occurrence to not find him at his post. Adam never called in.
A bit alarmed at the news, Joe decided to drop in on the ailing graduate student after leaving Don. Not to come empty-handed, Joe picked up a small pizza on the way to Adam's flat. After ringing the bell a dozen times Joe was about to call it quits when Adam finally answered the door holding a glass of Scotch in one hand and a very old book in the other.
"Well, are you going to let me freeze to death on your doorstep or let me come in? God dammit, April in Paris still feels like winter in Seacouver." Joe said growled at the young man who had a perplexed look on his face.
"Joe I wasn't expecting anyone," Adam managed to give Joe a wan half smile. Then looking down at the box in Joe's hands Adam asked, "Did you bring me something?"
"It was a pizza, it's now an icicle. Hell, what's wrong with you man? Don said you called in sick? All I can see is that you're drunk off your ass." The older watcher said with in sarcasm his voice.
Pushing past the younger man, Joe gave Adam a nasty look and entered the apartment with a huff. Don had said Adam like to take his work home, but the sight before Joe was unbelievable. The kitchen table was almost impossible to find, buried under old Watcher chronicles, the same as every other flat surface. There were bookshelves full of old books, presumably more old chronicles, many in scripts and writings Joe could not begin to recognize. Adam followed the man with the cane into his flat with a blank look of surprise on his face. The last thing Adam expected was someone hunting him down because he had called in sick.
Joe looked at the young researcher, "Adam, you need to get a TV or something. I think you have to stop taking your work so seriously."
"You're quite right Joe, that's why I am having a mental health day," Adam replied. "Just give me a couple of minutes. I think we can resurrect this pizza if we put it in the oven. Let me tidy up here a bit," Adam said as he started to re-stack and shelve the chronicles, straightening up a bit.
"This looks more like you're having a mental break down day to me. Adam, I know you like your beer, but HQ won't think you're the Boy Wonder very longer if you work yourself into a binge. Let me light that oven it might explode with your breath." Joe pushed him aside and turned on the small oven while Adam found him a pan for the pizza.
"Joe I didn't know you cared," Adam smiled at his friend.
"I don't! Now, are you going to continue to be a selfish son of a bitch, or are you going to pour me a glass of that Scotch you're keeping all for yourself?" Joe smiled as he watched Adam rifle through the kitchen cabinets until he found a glass, then poured some of the 18 year old Scotch.
Now that some of the chronicles were put away, Joe was surprised how richly decorated the flat was. Joe decided Adam collected both sculptures and paintings. Joe wondered how a graduate student could afford such a collection, the artwork must have been cheep reproductions of old masters.
Adam was still fussing with the oven, when he stooped over and looked at Joe. " I think we rescued the pizza, let me put on some jazz and finish clearing off the table. Dave Brubeck OK with you, Joe?"
"Yeah, sure Dave Brubeck is fine," Joe smiled. Adam was a quirky young man but seemed to be an old soul, with wisdom far beyond his twenty some years. When they met, Joe was instantly fond of the eccentric grad student and hours flew by whenever they were in a heated discussion.
As the smell of a mostly ruined, re-warmed Pizza filled the flat, Adam's stomach growled. "I don't think I've eaten all day." He admitted as he cleaned notes and a few chronicles off his small glass dinning table.
"So instead you had a liquid breakfast and lunch? Great choice! At least you have good taste kid, 18-year-old Scotch works for me. Look, I understand, I've taken a few 'Mental Heath days' myself, but what's bothering you? You're the Council's Goddamn boy wonder, I don't know a soul at HQ that can find one bad thing to say about you, and I doubt I've ever seen Don so happy to have a research assistant in years. You're the first one he's kept around more than five minutes in all the time I've known him." Joe sat down and Adam poured him another glass of the liquor. Joe tossed it down like it was a shot and tapped the side of his glass for more. The thin younger man quickly refilled it.
"Yeah Joe, the bookstore is quite charming and Don and I work like a well oiled machine on most days, I'm enjoying my classes at the Sorbonne, and I love my work with the Watchers." Methos picked up chronicles from the couch, putting them back on the shelves then sprawled in the space he had created.
"So, what's up with the mental health day, Kid? I mean, some of us carry a lot of baggage like say - Vietnam," Joe said as he tapped his artificial legs. "What are you, still in your early twenties? You're not old enough to have the kind of scars an old bird like me does. Or is there something special about this day?" Joe took another swig of the Scotch before getting up to take likely ruined pizza out of the oven.
Joe sat down and Adam poured them more Scotch before sprawling back on his sofa. He took a bite of the inedible pizza before answering. "I doubt you know I am an orphan, and today is the day I lost my family." Which was as about as true of a statement as to explain his April 25th drinking habits Joe would ever hear out of Adam Pierson. Or Methos for that matter.
"Want to talk about it Adam? Sometimes it's easier to share something with someone older and wiser. Hey, I've got the gray hair to prove it. I've been through a lot in my life." Joe smiled at his younger friend.
Adam laughed into his glass of whiskey and said, "No thanks Joe, I'd rather just drink, but you're welcome to stay and talk. I just don't want to talk about anything very personal if that's OK with you?" Joe looked at his friend. Adam had the strangest hazel eyes that seemed to sparkle with a gold tint when the afternoon light came in the windows.
"Hey, I understand bro, you tell me when you're ready. Now what were we arguing about last time I was in Paris? Oh yeah, how history repeats itself." Joe smirked while rolling his eyes.
"Yes, and how mankind is doomed to repeat their mistakes because no one seems to learn anything from them," Adam shot back at the jazzman.
"Adam, lighten up! You are way too young to be so cynical and pessimistic," Joe said. "Have another drink and maybe we can discus something safer, like politics or religion!" Joe scowled, the pizza had been completely ruin, so he got up and tossed it in the garbage.
"Hey, I could have eaten that!" Adam protested as he gave Joe a fresh drink then put his feet up on the table and smiled slyly. "Sure Joe, we can discuss politics. But let's think of politics in the reference to how history repeats itself."
"Hell Adam, has anyone ever told you, you're an impossible pain in the ass?" Joe shot back at him. "And who feeds you if you think this pizza is edible?"
"I'm not a good cook. I mostly eat take out and Don and Christine take pity on me and give me dinner a couple of times a week."
Adam was quiet for a moment before it was like a dam burst and he found himself talking and he couldn't stop.
"Joe, there was a man I knew, he was like a father figure to me - not that he would admit to anyone that he gave a damn for me. I think his favorite thing to do was to tell everyone just how impossible I was to get along with. He said I was a real pain in the ass. Frankly, sometimes you remind me of him. He never said it, but I knew he cared because when I saw him he invited me in, cooked for me, talked to me, and asked trying to guide me onto the right path, teach me a few things. That he actually cared whether I lived or died..."
Adam stopped speaking. He had never intended to open up to Joe. Hadn't he just said he didn't want to talk about anything personal? When Methos realized a tear had just rolled down his cheek, he immediately clamped down on his emotions. It was impossible to share the pain he was feeling, so he knew he had to shut it down, compartmentalize it.
"Sorry Joe, I promise I'll try to lighten up."
Joe looked at his young friend with sympathetic blue eyes and sighed, "Hey buddy, stop being so hard on yourself, you're only human. Who the hell do you think you are? One of the Immortals we watch? Mercifully, thank God, no. One trip around this life is about all I can handle. Adam, how do you think they do it lifetime after lifetime after lifetime? Like that guy you are researching, what his name?"
"Methos," Adam answered in a whisper - afraid to say his own name.
"Yeah him, that poor devil, living 50 centuries. I just don't have a clue how a guy like that stays sane. Fighting in the game, it's kill or be killed, keeping his head when everyone around him would just love to take it. If I were Methos I would stay lost too instead of constantly defending myself from the others. Except from MacLeod, there is something different about him," Joe exclaimed with a certain pride.
"All Watchers say that about their Immortal," Adam shot back.
"There you go, being cynical again. But hey, don't trust me, read MacLeod's chronicle. He's the real deal. He could win the game, probably won't, but he should."
Joe put his drink down and waved his hands in the air. "OK we're off topic again." Joe smiled at Adam. "You said politics in reference to how history repeats itself. Dammit, you intellectual types are such a horses assess. Adam, we need more food if we're going to drink this hard and this pizza is not cutting it. Get on the phone and call for Chinese take out, maybe some General Chow's chicken with broccoli, pork fried rice, egg foo young with that gravy, teriyaki chicken, everyone loves meat on a stick, and a couple of spring rolls?"
Adam reached for his phone.
Everything was going to be all right. This year Methos was going to make it through April 25th. This year, Methos had the company of a friend who simply accepted him, enjoyed his companionship, and cared whether he lived or died.
PARIS - APRIL 23 2012
Joe never forgot that April 25th back in 1988 because it had been one of the most remarkable evenings the two friends had spent together. Joe and Adam had stayed up all night laughing and arguing. After Joe learned that Adam was really Methos, he often thought about that night, wondering about the mystery man Methos had considered a father figure. It had to be someone Methos cared deeply about, as evidenced by the tear he had shed when thinking about him. After knowing Adam as Methos for several years, Joe learned Methos shed few tears over anyone.
Joe had searched the Watcher database, but found no clues. Joe did consider using the direct approach; walking up to Methos and asking. But Joe knew that Methos would either lie or brush him off with one of his quirky stories, why would the old Immortal tell the truth anyway?
Now, Methos had everyone believing he was always drunk on April 25th because of Rebecca and Alexa's deaths.
Joe doubted he would ever learn the truth about who died on April 25th and why it affected the old man so much.
In the past few years there were few things the old Immortal did or said that Joe didn't notice. The Watcher never said anything about his observations, only recorded them in a private journal. In 2008 Joe was retired from watching MacLeod, but still taught at the Watcher Academy and ran Le Blues Bar. To Joe, personally and privately, his main assignment had been keeping his own private journals on Methos. Even if no one read it until years after his death, the journal would be there as a record in the true Watcher tradition.
Observe, record, and do not interfere, because Joe knew there was little he could do anyway to interfere with Methos. Methos was an Immortal who truly acted on his own accord, with no one really understanding his reasons. Nothing the ancient Immortal did was insignificant, and nothing was as simple as it looked. Joe had long suspected Methos was much older than 5000 years, but he could never get the Immortal to admit it. Methos was not the type of man who had straightforward answers. Joe was sure there was a lot more to Methos' three-day drinking binge, and it had little to do with the deaths of Rebecca and Alexa.
End of chapter one
Next Chapter 2 - The Gathering
MacLeod Amanda Richie Joe Methos and Ceirdwyn meet at Amanda's club Sanctuary for an annual toast to Rebecca on the anniversary of her death. Ceirdwyn surprise's Methos when she shows up and goats him in to telling the group a story.