Death and Taxes
Disclaimer: Do not own Highlander or any of the characters therein.
WARNING! Fanon-destroying fic. After reading this, you might never be able to read another Highlander fic without cringing. You've been warned.
A/N: I welcome flames and I'm sure I'll get some for this controversial stance. But before you flame, I suggest you re-watch the episodes referenced and see if I'm not right.
Chapter 1. Death and Taxes
Methos, Duncan, and Richie were all sitting around a table drinking beer while Joe got the bar ready to open for the day, taking upside-down chairs off tables and placing them right-side-up for customers to sit on.
"No. Horses weren't exactly new back then," Methos shook his head. "But mostly they pulled stuff; chariots and plows and the like. Riding on their backs was a new technique that Hector of Troy popularized and the Horsemen perfected. But no one thought we were demons simply for riding on horses. Plus it was almost never just the four of us. We had mortal soldiers too," he finished his impromptu history lesson.
Silence stretched for a bit until Richie jumped to fill it when no one else would. "So, I found a new job."
"That's great Richie!" Duncan congratulated. "Where at?"
"Jackson-something-or-other," Richie said. "Doing taxes for the upcoming tax season."
Methos took another swig of beer while MacLeod patted the boy on the back. Then he spoke. "Good idea. It's good to get a handle on tax law. It makes tax avoidance that much easier," he grinned as he dodged a good natured elbow from the highlander.
"Yeah, well, I figured; if you're Death, then I can be Taxes," Richie smiled at Methos.
Duncan looked confused. Methos looked carefully blank. Methos knew that Mac would tell Richie and Amanda the story of the horsemen. He'd given permission after all. It was easier than having to retell the story himself plus he knew the highlander would edit what he knew enough to put yours truly in a decent, if not innocent, light. But something had clearly been lost (or added) in the telling.
"You know? The Four Horsemen?" Richie prompted. "War, Death, Famine, and Pestilence."
"But what makes you think that I was Death?" Methos glanced at MacLeod who looked as confused as he was.
Joe decided to add his two cents as he limped over. "Don't worry, Rich. I thought the same thing after I found out he claimed to be 'death on a horse'. Until I remembered that Cassandra had named Kronos as Death."
MacLeod looked a little sheepish but Methos just laughed. Even Joe chuckled.
"Alright, someone fill me in cause I don't like being the butt of the joke," Richie demanded.
Methos made a calming gesture. "Sorry, Richie. It's not your fault. It seems that metaphors are lost on Scotsmen." That earned him a dirty look from Duncan. Methos just shrugged. "Or perhaps I should have thought of a metaphor that wasn't also the nickname of Kronos."
"So Kronos was Death?" Richie clarified, looking around at everyone, a little confused.
"Of course he was. He did at least half of the killing out of the four of us. Also, the four of us didn't just meet up and decide to take over the world. Kronos defeated each of us in single combat and gave us a choice of riding with him or a quick beheading. Four of us chose to ride with him; though one changed his mind and was beheaded before we became famous. After a hundred years we were like a very dysfunctional family. After five hundred, we really were a family." Methos trailed off as thinking of his brothers brought on melancholy.
"The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Joe mused about how that would have sounded and how it might have changed history.
"Five was a sacred number back then. Five fingers per hand, et cetera," Methos explained.
"So, which one were you?" Richie pushed.
"First of all, there was no one nicknamed Pestilence. It was the Bronze age and disease was rampant enough without our help." Methos took another sip of beer before continuing. "I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest," he quoted from Revelations.
Richie looked at Joe for a translation.
"He was Victory. The one that planned the raids," Joe explained.
"It's a fairly good description," Methos allowed after draining his beer. He rose to refill it himself then leaned against the bar. The distance between him and the others served as a symbol for the distance he tried to maintain between himself and the old days. "I did ride white horses almost exclusively, it made it easier to spot me so I could issue new orders as things changed during battle. I also stood back from a battle and used a bow from a distance until I was sure that the battle couldn't be lost," he explained dispassionately. Then he would ride in and cut down those who fled, he did not add. Those in the bar probably knew that he was editing out the worst parts anyway.
Everyone was silent for a few moments before Richie spoke up again. "What about the crown?"
Methos didn't answer right away. When he finally did open his mouth to answer, Joe broke in. "You don't have to answer." He cuffed Richie over the back of the head with his cane. Not hard, but enough to tell him to stop poking.
"No, it's alright," Methos assured him easily. "Kronos... was an incredible fighter. Almost unmatched." he raised his glass towards MacLeod in salute. "But he couldn't plan his way out of a tent. 'Ride over and kill everyone that got close enough' was as complicated as his plans got. So, though Kronos kept us all together, first through fear and then through his passion; for all intents and purposes, I was the leader of the four horsemen. I made sure to plan enough raids to keep Kronos' insatiable thirst for killing quenched or he might turn it on the rest of us. And I had to make sure that we stopped and rested between raids despite Kronos' bitching and whining.
"He got rather whiny when he wasn't killing something or on his way to kill something. Death was all he loved. Death was what he was called. But for as long as I rode with them, we never lost a battle. From what I heard, it was only their second battle after I left when they were finally defeated and scattered. Without Victory..."
An uncomfortable silence reigned until Joe cleared his throat. "I'm gonna throw some burgers on the grill. Richie, why don't you give me a hand?" Joe didn't phrase it as a request. The young Immortal beat him to the kitchen doors. Joe gave a quick glance back to make sure that the old man wasn't going to try and sneak out while his back was turned before heading into the kitchen to fire up the grill.
A/N: I know that Methos called himself Death (or at least 'death' with a lowercase 'd') when he was baiting MacLeod into fighting him, but Methos has been known to lie and distort the truth to suit his purposes. I've looked at the prophecy in Revelations and the actual scenes from the bronze age. If you would all like to take a moment to refresh your own memories now and go watch Netflix or YouTube. I'll wait. Done? Okay, good. Because Methos IS NOT the horseman Death. Go back and see what horse Methos rode. It was white. And I am certain that that was intentional on the part of the director. **I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. — Revelation 6:2** The name of this rider is Conquest or could also be called Victory. Doesn't this sound very much like our supreme tactician? The Survivor?
**I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. — Revelation 6:8** The rider of the pale horse was Kronos. Kronos was Death. Methos was Victory. Silas was Famine. Caspian was Conflict (War).
The replies to this were getting long so here is the best evidence I can show you. Here is the best site I can find to explain why there is a Pale horse and a White horse and that they are NOT the same:
The word that's used in the original Greek (if it will post) is χλωρός, "greenish-white, livid" Which is different from 6:2 where they actually say λευκός "white,".
If you want Highlander evidence, use Netflix or Google the episode Revelation 6:8 and pause it as soon as you see the Four Horsemen. It will be the first scene of the recap. You'll see from left to right a Red Horse, a White horse, a tan horse, and a Black horse. Their riders, also from left to right, are Caspian, Methos, Kronos, and Silas. (If you put in some effort, you can follow them in "Comes A Horseman" and see that that is true when they take off their masks) That happens to match up with my descriptions of each.
Caspian, Red horse - War
Methos, White horse - Victory
Kronos, Pale horse - Death
Silas, Black horse - Famine
I wouldn't automatically assume that pale meant tan either except that it's the only color left.
And one last note: When Cassandra and Duncan go to Joe looking for KRONOS, Cassandra tells them that Kronos was the Horseman 'Death'.