Highlander Fan Fiction » Survival Tactics

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Joe Dawson, Methos or Kronos. Nor do I own any of
the bit players mentioned herein: Duncan MacLeod, Amanda, Cassandra or
Connor MacLeod. All of them belong to Panzer/Davies Productions, Gaumont
Television and/or Gregory Widen. Nor do I own Rabbi David Grossman, who is
also mentioned in passing. He belongs to Sandra McDonald. The back story
referred to in the second and third paragraphs is a rough summary of
Kimmielvr's story "Second Chances." This story takes place in between
Kimmielvr's "Second Chances" and "Santa Monica." Oh, and the lyrics for "The
Midst" aren't mine either. They belong to Seven Year Bitch. Thanks to Dana
Woods for the lyrics for the Mucho Big Lyric Wheel

This is rated PG for language. It also takes place in an alternate universe.



By Farquarson

Three months after Duncan MacLeod died, Joe Dawson, while walking off the
stage at Chicago's American Bar and Grill, spotted Methos sitting at a table
across the room. Without Kronos.

Joe gaped at the Immortal. He'd been trying to track Kronos and Methos down
ever since Kronos had beheaded Mac in revenge for the destruction of the
Four Horsemen at Bordeaux. The Highlander's death had been the culmination
of a brilliant, evil plan to drive a wedge between MacLeod and Methos, to
destroy the friendship that had led Methos to betray his brothers. To that
end, Kronos had woven a tale of lies and half-truths, pretending to have
experienced a Light Quickening shortly after he had escaped from Bordeaux.
His Watcher's reports had confirmed this. No one had guessed that Kronos'
Watcher had been suborned, or that he had sent his superiors false reports
on Kronos' newly acquired gentleness and compassion.

No one but Cassandra and Methos. They had recognized the old Kronos beneath
the mask. Not that it had done either one any good. Cassandra was dead,
slain by Duncan MacLeod in a ludicrous attempt to protect the supposedly
virtuous Kronos. And Methos...Methos hadn't been out of Kronos' sight for
one nanosecond since the Highlander's death.

Until now.

Joe furtively glanced around the dimly lit dining room . No Kronos. Not a
sign of him.

Maybe he's dead.

The thought was enough to propel Joe across the room to Methos' table. Once
there, though, he felt a bit awkward. What, he wondered, did you say to a
man who had just destroyed the last living link to his past?

"Um-is this seat taken?" he said with false heartiness.

Methos briefly glanced up from his T-Bone steak and house salad, then
focused his attention on his plate once more. "No. Kronos isn't going to be
here this evening."

Joe pulled out the chair, unlocked his knees, and fell into the seat. A slow
rapture began building through him, a fierce hot joy in the downfall of an
enemy. His Scots-Irish ancestors would have understood. And approved.

"You killed him," he said, unable to suppress the elation in his voice. "You
finally killed that unholy son-of-a-bitch."

Methos took a bite of steak, swallowed and shook his head. "No," he said in
an almost inaudible voice, "I didn't. He's busy tonight; had a...meeting...
to go to. And please keep your voice down. Four of the people in this room are
Kronos' informers--there may be more--and I'm almost certain that this
table is bugged."

"Informers?!" Joe started to twist around to see who was behind him. "Who?"

"Don't turn around!" Methos hissed. "Two of the waiters are on his payroll.
So is one of the bartenders. So, for that matter, is that lovely young lady
in the Liz Claiborne business suit behind you...the one sitting with the
reporter from the Tribune. I don't need any more trouble, Joseph. I'd
appreciate it if you didn't attract any further attention by shouting."

Joe looked--really looked--at Methos for the first time since arriving at his
table a few minutes before. Gone was the flippant, easy-going, irritating
man he knew so well. For the first time since Joe had known him, Methos
looked old. His skin was sallow, like worn, antique ivory. The loose-limbed
relaxation that Joe had silently envied on occasion had vanished, replaced
by wary alertness. The hazel eyes were coolly distant. His face was still
and expressionless, revealing nothing.

"Adam..." Joe ran his tongue over suddenly dry lips. "What in God's name
happened to you?"

A flicker of impatience crossed Methos' face at such a stupid question.

"I mean, why are you still here? You're not chained or imprisoned or"--

"Well, obviously not." Methos paused for a moment and sighed. "You're asking
me, I think, why I don't simply get up, pay my bill, walk out the door and
vanish forever."

A tic started pulsating in Joe's left cheek. "Yes, damn it, yes!"

Methos' voice held a hint of tempered steel. "I told you before--lower your
voice. As to why I don't run away...I'm afraid of 'accidents,' Joe.
'Accidents' happen in slow motion around Kronos."

Joe glared at the Immortal. "You're sticking with Kronos because you're
afraid of what he'll do to you? Well, isn't that special!"

"Of course I'm afraid," said Methos in a too calm, too rigidly controlled
tone. "I know what he's capable of; no man on earth knows better."

"Then why stay if you're scared to death?"

Methos stared Joe full in the face. "Because I want to live. I've told you
that before, too, Joe. I want to live."

"So you make a deal with the devil to stay alive, is that it?" A grimace of
disgust twisted Joe's face. "Somehow, I thought better of you. I know
MacLeod did."

"Joe." The old Immortal's voice was soft, and filled with pain. "MacLeod was
my friend, too. I didn't betray him to stay alive. Kronos shot me through
the heart to keep me from interfering, remember? I only revived...after it
was all over. Kronos ordered me to come with him. I was not given a choice."

"You could have told him to go to hell, and spit in his face!"

"Marvelous plan. Did you think of it all yourself?" Methos regarded the
Watcher bitterly for a moment. "Think about it, Joe. I had just revived. I
was very weak. Certainly in no shape to fight one of the finest warriors the
world ever produced. So fighting was not an option.

"Besides, Kronos isn't very good at handling frustration. You saw how he
reacted when he realized that the Highlander and I were friends. Total
annihilation for MacLeod. If I had refused to go with him, after all his
plans..." Methos shook his head, and then poked his steak, which was now
ice-cold. "He would have killed me and my friends. You. Amanda. Connor.
Rabbi David Grossman. That's how he deals with pain. He destroys the source
of that pain. I haven't got so many friends I want to lose them. And I
damned well do not want..."

...To watch anyone else die, thought Joe, completing the sentence. How
many people have you lost in the past couple of years, Methos? Darius,
Alexa, Cassandra, Silas, Caspian, MacLeod ...You must be sick of it, old

"What I don't understand," he said slowly, forcing his memory away from
thoughts of the dead, "is why you haven't killed him in his sleep."

Methos laughed bitterly. "How? With my fingernails? I'm guarded at night,
just as I'm being watched here. And even if I weren't guarded, I'd still
need a weapon."

Joe looked a question at Methos: Your sword? Gone?

Almost imperceptibly, Methos nodded.. "He said I couldn't be trusted with
it. Not yet." His voice was strained, and heavy with defeat.

Not yet? But 'not yet' implies that Kronos will give him back his
sword...when Kronos trusts him again. And that means...

Horrorstruck, Joe stared at the ancient Immortal. Kronos would probably
never trust Methos completely, but even the smallest fragment of trust would
have to earned by Methos' reversion to what he had once been. Joe wondered
whether Methos would choose to become a monster in order to survive. True,
he hadn't yet, but he'd only been with Kronos for three months this time.
And Kronos' influence seemed to be having an effect, even if not the desired
one. Methos was suffering a sea-change, and not, Joe feared, into anything
rich and strange.

Incredibly, Methos was struggling to smile, though he looked as if he had
forgotten how to do so. "Don't worry about me, Joe. I always come out on
top, you know that. I'll be fine."

Oh, will you? thought Joe, rubbing his beard very hard. Will you sabotage
his plans the way you did at Bordeaux? And who will you betray him to this
time? And how long will it be before Kronos figures out that you're the
traitor? What will he do to you then? Death? Or something worse?

"Promise me one thing," he whispered harshly. "Promise me that you won't let
him become the One. And promise me that you won't become like him."

"That's two things." Methos saw the pleading cocker spaniel look in Joe's
eyes and capitulated. "All right. I promise."

An abyss yawned between them. There seemed to be nothing more to say.

Joe hauled himself to his feet, locked his knees again, shifted his weight
and leaned on his cane. "Adam," he said softly. "Adam, you only have to say
the word and I'll help you-"

Methos shook his head wearily. "I'm staying here, Joe. For my sake. For
everyone's sake."


"Go." Methos spoke in an agonized, desolate whisper.

He closed his eyes as Joe, tired and deeply hurt, meandered out of the
dining room. He did not open them again until he heard the large brass doors
shut behind the Watcher. Then, slowly and deliberately, he began to pick at
his gelid meal, which was all but inedible. He also ordered a beer. He was
consuming his third stein of Pete's Wicked Ale when Kronos strode in and sat
down beside him.

"Quite a party you're having," observed the younger Immortal. "The hostess
tells me that you had a guest during dinner. Friend of yours?"

Methos shook his head. "Just a ghost from the past. I think I exorcised it."

"I hope so. I should hate for there to be any unnecessary complications."
Kronos motioned to the waiter. "I'll have what he's having."

There was a silence. Then:

"How was the meeting?"

"It went well." Kronos smirked. " I think I can safely say that my plans are
coming to fruition. I need some chemicals, though."

What are you up to this time, Kronos? Biological warfare? Chemical warfare?
Nuclear blackmail?
But Methos didn't dare say it out loud.

The waiter placed Kronos' lager on the table. As quickly as possible.

Kronos took a thirsty gulp, then raised the glass for a toast. "To old

Methos, his hazel eyes unreadable, lifted his own stein. "To old friends."
And, he added silently as memories crowded into his mind, to keeping
faith with them.


The Midst - by 7 Year Bitch

I'm on a bus with a street car's name
My desire is not the same
I can't get off, no, I can't return
This is the midst of my spin
Accidents happen in slow motion
Don't wanna stop, don't wanna feel the pain
He would have killed me and my friends
'cuz that's how he deals, that's how he deals with pain

Oh god
Oh god
Oh god
I need some chemicals
I'm too emotional
Oh god
I need some chemicals
I'm too emotional
I need some chemicals
I'm too emotional

I think he forgot that we should be friends
I think he forgot to call me again
He would have killed me and my friends
'cuz that's how he deals, that's how he deals with pain

Oh god
Oh god
Accidents happen in slow motion
Accidents happen in slow motion
I need some chemicals
I need some chemicals
I'm too emotional
I'm too emotional
I need some chemicals
I need some chemicals
I'm too emotional
I'm too emotional

He would have killed me and my friends
And accidents happen in slow motion
Accidents happen in slow motion

Lines from the song:

"Accidents happen in slow motion."
"He would have killed me and my friends."
"That's how he deals with pain."
"I need some chemicals."

all content © 2003 to Farquarson. || design be 1GREENEYE