Disclaimer: Not my creation, not my ideas. Amy Allan is NOT drawn from Amy Thomas, and is mine. This is all for fun, not even an attempt at profit, kindly don't sue. I promise no characters were harmed in the imagining of this little fic and they will be returned to the shelf in their near-mint condition.
Note: Some of you may find parts of this a bit familiar. I am completely re-structuring and re-writing "Stumbling Into" from the ground up. With the world's best Grammar Nazi (Revyrie) ripping into my paragraphs, and Fan Lass arguing about characters (and feeding me funny bits!) until all hours of the night, I hope you will find this improved.
Reviews: I'm not thin-skinned! I can take it! I can't read your mind, and I forget you can't read mine through the screen. I won't know if what I hope to be conveyed is if you don't let me know! I love every one of you for reviews - even the tough ones that don't just automatically love me! (Those are the ones that make us grow, you know!) Flames are ignored. Just be constructive!
For those of you who like to match fanfics with canon timeline - this story begins shortly after "Methos" and a decent amount of time before "Finale." Don't hate me for needing to monkey with the timeline a hair. I promise not to blow it up.
Now, on with the show….
Not A Good Way to Start
by David O Whalen
Interrupters of life
At their very best
Devices of change
Creators of strife
Random encounters are…
The spice of life
His morning spent in research 'fixing' his chronicles, Methos was making a quick stop by his flat for lunch before heading to the university for his afternoon class. Steps from his door, he became aware of the tingle working its way up his neck.
Bloody hell. Years without coming across another Immortal, and now they're everywhere!
A scan up and down the street didn't show anyone coming or lurking in the surrounding windows, so he unlocked his door and practically jumped inside before the other Immortal would see where he had gone. Coming face-to-face with Duncan MacLeod and a young stranger inside his door, however, had Methos seriously reconsidering his willingness to let the Highlander live to a very old age.
"MacLeod!" The Highlander jumped up with his arms out in apology, eyes wide in innocence. The stranger also stood, but didn't leave the steps as MacLeod had. "I'll… deal with you in a moment." Methos shoved past them, going up the stairs to his bedroom.
He very quickly reappeared at the bottom of the steps to question the two men who stood waiting. "Not that I'm unappreciative, but why is there a naked girl in my bed?"
When the stranger heard this he dashed up the stairs, accidentally pushing Methos into the wall in his haste to get to his sister. With a glare at the young man's back and then at MacLeod's face, Methos went to the kitchen and pulled a beer bottle from his fridge.
"Who are they, MacLeod?"
"That was Paul, upstairs is his sister Amy, and -"
Before Mac could continue, Paul rejoined them, standing slightly behind MacLeod and well out of Methos' reach. "Peter apparently took her clothes and armor off to help with the fever, and she kicked the sheets off," he explained to Mac's raised eyebrows. "Mr. Pierson, I'm very sorry about this..."
"Meth - Adam, I'm sorry, Amy was having some kind of seizure and we were right around the corner, they needed some place to go." Duncan was acutely aware he was asking a lot from a new acquaintance, but in balancing desperate need with possible reactions, letting Paul break in had seemed the better choice. Suddenly, however, he wasn't so sure Methos wouldn't challenge him right then and there.
"How did you get in here?" Methos growled at them. Neither Paul nor Duncan failed to notice his trench coat was still on and his fingers were twitching.
"That was me." Paul was slightly taller than Mac and much more slender, and managed to seem to peek around him, looking decidedly nervous. "I, uh, I'm good with locks. Really, if we hadn't needed to get off the street immediately, we never would have - "
Yet another interruption burst through the door as Peter slammed through and thundered up the stairs, running for his sister's side. "Paul! NOW!"
Methos slammed the beer down on the counter, sloshing the contents over his hand.
"Mac-Leod! What is going here?" He shoved past MacLeod to follow the brothers. Losing control of his own home was intolerable.
"I don't know, but it'll be fine, I'm… sure…" Mac's voice faded away as he and Methos reached the top of the stairs in time to watch.
Paul was sitting on Amy's legs, Peter leaned onto her shoulders. "Seal us!" He reminded his younger brother, who instantly waved his arm in an arc over their heads. Just in time, as sparks and lights danced off her body and burst around them like a Quickening.
Both immortals were blinded by the flashing lights and could feel pressure from winds beating inside the ward Paul had placed around the bed. Still, the brothers held their sister down, though it took all their strength to keep her hovering just above the mattress.
A low sound finally wormed into the Immortals' consciousness just before it raised sharply in pitch and volume. The scream of the dying, heard so often by both men, came from the girl suspended over the bed. As suddenly as if a switch had been thrown, the scream ceased. The siblings dropped, the light show vanished, and the wind was gone, as was the barrier.
Duncan and Methos looked at each other, glanced at the young men taking care of their sister, and decided to move themselves completely out of the way, back to the kitchen.
Methos glared at MacLeod, "When I said 'mi casa es su casa,' this is not what I meant!"
Mac tried to reply, only succeeding in opening and closing his mouth a few times. After all, he had no right and he knew it.
Peter and Paul soon joined MacLeod and Methos downstairs. Both young men had a distinctly gray cast to their skin and their shirts clung to them in damp patches.
"Mr. Pierson, we're very sorry for the intrusion into your life, we really are." Peter held his hand out to Methos, who glared at it until Peter dropped his arm with a tip of his head to acknowledge they were aware of the line they had crossed. "Well, where would you like me to start?"
"You choose. The beginning is usually considered appropriate." Gold lights sparked in his narrowed eyes as he waved them to go ahead of him into the flat and sit down.
"Let me see if I can make this short enough that we won't take up your whole night." Peter considered carefully for a moment, and began. "Think of my sister as a capacitor. Typically, she can draw in and expel energy at will." He knew his explanation sounded unbelievable; even after seven years, he still found it hard to believe some days. "It seems that right now she is unable to control how much she is absorbing and that's causing her to overload but she can't control the release, either. So, we can't stop it, we can't control it, it takes a massive physical toll, and that seems to exacerbate the cycle."
Methos listened with his arms crossed while leaning against the wall, radiating displeasure. "And MacLeod brought you here because...?"
"Overloads like that broadcasted her location to others before Paul and I could get here. Others whom we'd rather not be found by, as they have a nasty habit of experimenting on people like us. We got out of her place, but -"
"Have you never heard the word hotel? Room for rent? Someplace that's not mine!"
"That's where we were going, but we got surprised by an overload -"
"Me - Adam, we were only a block away -" Duncan finally interjected.
Paul spoke up, hoping he could mollify their host. "If you're worried about us being followed to you, we weren't, and we've been able to create seals so they wouldn't have any signal to find or follow. We will leave as soon as we can."
Methos glared at Duncan who apologetically shrugged back. "She's a good friend, I can't let -"
"Please don't blame Duncan. He wasn't bringing us here specifically. We happened to be nearby when an overload started, so we broke in when he realized you weren't home."
Methos pushed off the wall, disgusted with himself for giving in. "Fine, you stay until she can move, then you get out." He turned away, pinching his nose, and addressed MacLeod in a low voice. "I just moved in, and if I have to move again because of this, I'm coming for your head, MacLeod. I hate moving!"
Peter's weary voice stopped further argument between he and MacLeod. "Mac, could you do me a favor? I left a number of things at the register over at the Chemists' shop. Would you please get them for me? There's money in my coat pocket."
"Do you want me to go back and get her clothes and things too?"
Paul shrugged slightly and pointed at the three bags he had dropped next to the couch earlier. "We got what's important."
"I'll be right back then, but M - Adam, I've got business with the museum this afternoon and tomorrow."
"MacLeod!" Warning snapped in Methos' eyes.
Mac just gave him an innocent smile. "Gotta go."
"Just great." Methos mumbled to himself and turned around. "So would you like a drink?" Both brothers were already snoring on the couch.
One naked girl in my bed, two big guys on my couch! They start drinking my beer, and somebody's going to get hurt.
Methos eventually found himself sitting on the floor next to his own bed, trying to read, and watching the girl sleep. If Adam Pierson didn't need to stay in Paris for a few more years, he would have vanished without a second thought. MacLeod seemed to think she was harmless, even though it was painfully obvious he didn't know enough about this girl he called a friend. But he couldn't risk his neck based on the Highlander's opinion, could he?
The stranger in his bed inhaled deeply, moaned, and stretched. Her eyes flickered open for a second before she she rolled onto her side and went to sleep with an arm dangling off the edge of the bed. Instead of waking her exhausted brothers, he gently bent her elbow and tucked her hand under the pillow. Back to his reading.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. "I loathe that overused piece of..." He muttered to himself and set his journal aside, unable to concentrate on it at the moment. He changed his focus and reached under the nightstand, pulling out out what must be the armor her brother had referred to. His curiosity had been piqued earlier when Paul mentioned it, and now was probably his best chance to investigate without having to trust the strangers.
The suit - to thin and light to be Kevlar® - was built in several sections of varying shape, each section composed of small segments that fit together in a way reminiscent of scales on a lizard. Turning it over and around, Methos discovered that while the small segments were not independent of each other, the larger sections latched together to form a flexible suit.
Loops and pockets were attached around the front and back, even across the shoulders. Knowing their purpose would have to wait since they were empty, but they closely resembled certain extras he had sewn inside his trench coat, so a guess was easy to make. He figured if a girl was walking around in modern armor, it was entirely possible she would also be armed to the teeth, but where would the weapons have gone, and what exactly were they? It occurred to Methos yet again it probably wasn't safe to fall asleep in his own home as long as these three were here.
He was digging through her pile of clothes, wishing her bags weren't downstairs when a sound distracted him again. Was she muttering? He knew his hearing was perfect. That was Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, to be precise. But what were those next words? A language he hadn't shared with anyone for so many centuries he had to concentrate to understand and translate.
What are you?
Methos looked up to see Amy's eyes on him.
"You're Immortal." She said it quietly. His head slowly inclined as his mind raced. Her eyes squinted a little. "Methos?"
"Adam Pierson at the moment." He forced his expression to remain calm, giving nothing away. Internally he cursed MacLeod for spreading his secret around. He rather liked the Highlander, but if he was going to be telling everyone he met about knowing Methos…
"Thank you." With great effort Amy pushed herself up on one elbow to extend her hand.
Instead of shaking it, Methos took it in both of his and kissed it. "Your servant."
Amy chuckled slightly, collapsed back to the pillows and went to sleep as suddenly as she had awoken. Methos picked up his journal and returned to his original search, wondering if there was a chance he could wake up from this crazy dream.
He had a vague memory, one he was hoping to confirm by scanning through his oldest journals. Something kept brushing, literally, at the back of his mind and the language she used made that feeling stronger. Hadn't he once been told about a man that could control the power of the Quickening? The memory was so faint, he could be just making the whole thing up, but there was something. If only his recall would cooperate.
An hour or so later, and Methos once again felt green eyes boring into him from the bed. He closed his journal and pulled his headphones off.
"Your brother is downstairs mixing something quite odiferous for you to drink." He chuckled at the face she pulled. "He seems to think it will help."
Her small nod seem to concede that her brother did actually know what he was talking about. She reached up to stretch until a chill hit, and her arms slammed down to hold the covers in place as a blush spread from forehead to shoulders. Methos chuckled at her discomfiture and indicated the space under the nightstand where her clothes had been folded.
"All your clothes are under here. Including this ... armor? Doesn't feel like Kevlar."
"It's not. I field test experimental technology." Her voice was soft and husky from lack of use.
"Well I promise, I'm not that one that helped you out of it." Methos grinned as her face got a couple shades darker. He began to wonder if she could be as much fun to bait as the Highlander promised to be.
The next question was interrupted by Paul coming upstairs with a steaming mug that did not smell at all appetizing. He tried to give it to Amy, who refused to sit up.
"I want my clothes."
"Sis, the fever, the overheating... It's not a good idea."
Her eyes narrowed and Paul changed his mind very quickly. The mug was placed on the nightstand, her armor was picked up and Methos suddenly realized he needed another beer.
Opening his front door, Methos heard movement upstairs. His 'house guest' was apparently feeling better today. Quietly he ascended the stairs until he could see Amy, her back to him, slowly going through Tai Chi forms. Noting that her eyes were closed in concentration as she turned, he went up a few more steps and leaned against the wall, shoving the sleeves of his henley up before crossing his arms on his chest.
This being his first chance to see her out of bed, he was glad for the opportunity to size her up. She stood barely over five feet, blond braid falling past her waist. Instead of the armor he expected, she wore shorts and a tank top, showing off well defined muscles on a small frame. If he hadn't witnessed the crazy electric storm yesterday afternoon, not to mention six more that followed through the night, he never would have put her in the 'threat' category.
The slight wobbles as she reached and stretched betrayed lingering weakness, and he wondered how long until the next energy storm. She rotated towards Methos again, eyes still closed when a mid-step loss of balance caused her to grab the low wall separating his bedroom from the floor below. Her eyes opened, looking directly into his gold-flecked hazel.
"Two minutes!" She announced, checking her watch with a grin.
"Pardon?" His arms stayed crossed.
"Two minutes longer than I was able to go this morning. And nearly ten longer than last night."
He abruptly straightened and turned to go downstairs. "You need something to drink?"
"Please, but I'll come down."
"You don't have to," he called, his head already inside the fridge.
"Yes, yes I do." Her voice floated down as she descended more slowly than he. "If I let the guys have their way, I'd never get out of the bed."
Methos offered a juice bottle from the supply Peter had put in the fridge. "Where are your brothers?"
"Paul is out signing for a new place, and Peter went over to the Chemist to restock." She practically collapsed into the corner of the couch, worn out. "He was muttering something about feeding you properly, so don't order a pizza or anything."
Methos looked at her with mock horror as he sprawled in the opposite corner. "What does he consider 'properly'?"
She laughed with her eyes closed. "He means no fast food, but he's an amazing cook, so don't worry."
Silence fell while Methos waited until he thought Amy was sufficiently relaxed, perhaps even mostly asleep, and more willing to answer questions coming from a stranger. He desperately wanted to know where to classify her and her brothers so he would know how to deal with them.
"No armor today?"
Amy rolled her head to the side and opened her eyes for the first time since sitting down. The twist of her lip and arch of her eyebrow told Methos she was well aware of what he was trying.
She answered anyway, lightly mocking. "Are you a threat to me, that I need it?"
"Don't you think everyone should be considered a threat?"
"Sure, but -" A grimace of pain swept her face before any further reply could be made.
"You may want to relocate, I can feel another overload coming." She stood, and took a few unsteady steps before crashing to her hands and knees.
The energy began to roll off her, trying to spread through the room. Teeth gritted, Amy refused to scream, but groans escaped as she fought to maintain control. Slowly, the energy stopped its spread, before the path changed and it rushed through the floor, into the earth below.
At the same time the energy release started, Methos found himself slammed by a headache. Me? I don't have aspirin! Rubbing his temples, backing away to avoid being hit by the visible energy, he kept his eyes on Amy and the ribbons of light pouring off her.
Shorter than previous overloads and nearly as powerful, it left Amy panting on the floor, too weak to stand.
"Dammit!" Her palm smacked the hardwood floor with considerable force. "Damn, damn, dammit!" Every syllable was punctuated with another assault on the floor.
"Amy? I'm pretty sure the floor isn't a threat to you." He attempted to bring her mood back up with a gentle tease. She was too wrapped up in anger to hear him or feel the long fingers on her shoulder, until he started to pull her up. "Come on, I'll help you lay down."
She attempted several steps on her own, simply leaning on Methos' arm for support, but her legs trembled uncontrollably as soon as weight was applied. The third time in as many feet that she nearly fell, he simply scooped her up.
"Do you have any idea how humiliating this is?" She leaned against his shoulder, because it was easier than holding up her head, and missed his small smile.
As Methos reached the top few steps, they both heard one of the brothers knock and open the front door. Methos took a breath to call down, but Amy spoke first. "He already knows."
He helped her ease onto the mattress without falling. "You're telepathic. Of course you are." Rubbing his right temple in an attempt to relieve the pressure, he began to wonder if there was a point at which all of this would simply become too much. I could have been unreachable in the South Pacific by now, but nooo.
"With the siblings." She rolled to her side and burrowed into the pillow. "Is your headache gone?"
"No, it's - how do you know?"
Her eyes closed as she concentrated for a moment and when she opened them the dark circles underneath may have been darker, but that could have been a trick of lighting. However, the headache had vanished as suddenly as it had come on.
"Sorry about that," she whispered, and promptly fell asleep.
When she awoke half an hour later, Methos was in his new usual spot on the floor next to his own bed, still searching his old journals and hoping she would talk in her sleep again.
"Peter brought up more of that stuff he calls tea and he swears dinner will be ready any minute." He held the cup out to her. Amy wouldn't look at it.
"What's the point? It's foul, and it's not working."
"Mothering?" Amy shot back, instantly sorry for taking her frustration out on the Immortal who chose to ignore it. "I'm sorry, we're doing nothing but imposing on you. I shouldn't snap."
He dipped his head in acceptance of her apology and kept the cup outstretched as she sat up. "You seem to have gained some control. Your brothers weren't...shielding?...for you and my flat's in one piece."
Amy tried to determine if he was being sarcastic, but found she was unable to read his perfectly blank face. She finally took the cup and drank it as quickly as she could before the bitter taste hit.
"Why so grumpy?"
Amy made a sour face as she slid back down. "Obviously the intensity has decreased. I thought the interval was increasing, too, because that one was almost thirty minutes overdue. I guess we'll see in a little while."
"And your brother hasn't declared that you can leave either. You hate being stuck in one place as much as you hate losing control, don't you?" Methos guessed and was rewarded with a short nod.
"I wish you'd let me have the couch, and take your bed back."
"No, you three have a little more privacy up here." Actually, as long as he was downstairs he had three escape routes available. Upstairs there was only one.
The third morning after breaking in, Peter finally declared they were leaving immediately after the next overload, which was due in about twenty minutes. Even with rush hour traffic, they should still have enough time to get to the next apartment and somewhat settled before they needed to be on guard again.
At the expected time Peter and Paul stood close by - just in case - while Amy successfully weathered the attack on her own.
Once it was over, Peter fussed over Amy as she dressed herself - armor and all ("You'd think he was a nurse, not a neurosurgeon, huh?" Amy rolled her eyes at Methos when she was finally allowed downstairs). At last, Peter left her to rest on the couch while he stepped out to flag down a taxi and Paul made sure nothing was going to be left behind.
Methos leaned against the wall and considered her. "Are you sure this is wise? Have you even walked across the apartment on your own?"
"Are you sure it's not wise? You want us out of here." Amy's tone was self-mocking, but the look she gave him was difficult to interpret. "Imposing on you for three days is already too much. I don't know how I can ever repay you for putting up with us." She pulled a card out of her back pocket. "I, uh, seriously doubt you'd want to see any of us again, but here's the address, just in case you need something." Her smile was a mix of teasing and shyness. 'Mi casa es su casa'…"
His eyes snapped from the card to her face in time to see the corners of her mouth twitching before she bit a knuckle and a snort escaped. Methos took the card, because it was the polite thing to do, but he let a smile play across his lips, too.
Peter came inside, easily picked up his sister, looked directly at Methos trying convey the depth of his gratitude as he simply said, "Thank you."
Methos grabbed his backpack and followed them out the door; it was time to get to his duties at Watcher headquarters.
He leaned against the cab and looked down at Amy, still unsure what this new wrinkle meant for Adam Pierson. "Take care of yourselves."
"Keep your head. It looks good where it is." She winked and grinned as the cab pulled away.
NEXT: A Beer and A Coke