The Elvis Minutes #04: Finale I (Methos)

WHO ARE YOU, WHO AM I?

by

Dayspring



In five thousand years I have perfected only one thing--the ability to fuck up my life in short, easy steps. Take now, for instance. My old friend Joe is standing here, holding the proverbial smoking gun. My new friend MacLeod is lying dead at my feet, after having stepped between Joe's bullet and Christine. And, Christine, a woman who I thought was a friend, is taking information to the press that will out Immortals to the mortal world. Information that I, the almighty and all-knowing Methos, conveniently collected onto a handy dandy CD. Don--Christine's husband and the man who died protecting my identity--and I thought we were doing something good in creating the CD. That should have been my first clue. Doing good has always gotten me into trouble. Each time I get the aberrant, yet thankfully rare, need to help someone, I end up stoned to death, hanged, crucified, ritually sacrificed, or banished. Helping others sucks. I know this. Why do I continue to torture myself so?

Because of mortals like Joe, and Immortals like MacLeod. Because I crave acceptance. Once, a long time ago, I'd done evil for the same reason. But evil can get...well, boring after a while. And the friends I had while evil didn't care about any of the things I cared about. I like books and learning. I like to discuss world affairs and philosophy. I like chess by a fireplace with a cognac in my hand. Take it from one who knows: civilization is a hell of a lot more fun than pre-civilization. And having civilized friends is well, like, reaching nirvana.

Of course, it helps if they are alive and/or not in shock. I make sure Joe puts away the gun, then go over to check Duncan. Yep. Dead as a doornail. In public. I sigh, drag him a little more off the beaten path, and fold my legs beside him. Then I wrestle his head to my lap, and pull out my most recent paperback purchase. Just as I find my place, a shadow falls over the page.

"Yes, Joseph?"

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Making sure no one reports a dead body to the local gendarmes."

"Huh?"

I sigh and look up. "Look at us, Joe, and tell me what you see."

"A dead man, and an old fool."

My lips twitch. "Maybe that's what you see. But the people passing along the street see two lovers enjoying the afternoon under a Parisian sun."

Joe gives a hearty chuckle that slightly offends me. What was so funny about the thought of me and MacLeod being lovers? We could be. There's chemistry between us. Even now with himlying dead in my lap, there's something there, some low-level strum of "rightness" humming in the back of my head.

When I first saw him, I suspected he would be dangerous--not to my head, but my heart.

I hate it when I'm right.

Who are you, who am I?
Are we more than strangers passing by?
Is this your dream are you in mine?
Are we really here or lost in time?

"Everything's out of control."

"I know, Joe."

"How can you be so blase about this, man?" he demands. "You know the witch hunts aren't going to be far behind."

"Not the first time I've been hunted."

"But it may well be your last. Not only will the public know you exist, but they'll also know how to kill you."

I shrug. I told Joe that I was just a guy. But I'm a guy with a lot of history. Everything that mankind can think up, I've lived through. The actual witch hunts were very tame compared to some of the times I've experienced.

"Or is it because you know you're not on the CD?" Joe asks suspiciously. "You're just gonna hang your fellow Immortals out to dry while you sit back and wait until you're the One!"

Well, that hurt. I've never given Joe any reason to think that I have my sights set on being the One, or that I would let mortals pick off my rivals one by one for me. Had I used the Watchers to Hunt? No. Never. He knows that. "If that were the case, why did I announce my identity to Christine? You think she doesn't have a picture of me? You think I'm not going to be used as an example of Immortal deviousness? I infiltrated the Watchers. Her husband died writing my name in his blood. I'm technologically advanced enough to create the database. Just what other evil could I do, or have done, with the power of the computer? Maybe I've created a database of mortals in high places, people I can pick off in a bid to take over the world," I say bitterly. Why do I care what he thinks of me? Why have I allowed his opinion or Christine's or even MacLeod's to bother me? I should have just stayed gone when I left Paris.

Damn MacLeod.

I readily admit that I ran after seeing Kalas safely incarcerated. I know me. I know how incredibly stupid I can get if I let myself fall in love. See? Even now, I'm being stupid. Christine is at this very moment presenting the CD to the editor of the Tribune, and instead of running as fast as I can, I'm sitting at ground zero gazing at MacLeod's strong features. I met him. That should have been enough to satisfy my curiosity. But I wanted more.

Be very careful of what you wish for.

Will you be friend or lover?
Show me the heart you conceal.
Now is the time to discover
If this feeling we're feeling is real.
So close to love and yet so far
Just one kiss will tell us who we are.

A kiss. We'd kissed on the barge, and as my fellow grad students would say, it rocked my world. I'm old. I've been kissed so many times that I'm not sure if the number has been invented yet. But I've never had a kiss like that, a kiss that I physically felt for the next several hours, a kiss that followed me into my dreams and left me both spent and anxious. Bewitched. That was it. I'd been bewitched by MacLeod's kiss. And only years of dedicated pragmatism gave me the strength to walk away from him, from the desire in his eyes and the fire in his groin. And I wasn't being practical because I feared Kalas, or because I didn't want Amanda hurt. What I didn't want was MacLeod seeing what I would do to them if they dared to interrupt us. When I start with my Highlander, nothing will stop us, and I don't care how many have to die to keep that vow. That's why I have to be careful about this, careful and discreet. That's why I can't indulge right now and see if his lips have the same effect on me. I can't allow MacLeod to see the darkness in me. If he does, we are, indeed, over.

The return of his Presence alerts me to his revival and my arms are there to keep him from bolting upward. His eyes fly open wide, panicked, but as soon as he sees me, he relaxes. A smile comes to his face and I know he's remembering the kiss. Then he remembers something else--that he died, and how. The smile fades.

"Let me go, Adam," he says.

I do as he asks. I help him stand, then prop him against a tree. Joe doesn't offer to help, and I can feel the animosity between the two of them.

"Well, life as we know it is over," I say, tired of the silence.

Joe takes this to mean that MacLeod has recovered well enough to take a tongue-lashing. "Do you know what you just allowed to happen?"

"Yes." Duncan isn't defensive, just resigned.

"Then why, MacLeod? Why did you save her?"

Duncan looks at him and walks away.

I sigh. Joe just didn't get it. "He didn't save her. He saved you."

Joe is stunned, and I shake my head in disgust. If someone who knows us personally can think so little of us, I have no hope for what the rest of the mortals will think. I turn to follow MacLeod.

"Adam, I'm sorry."

I nod. "I'll tell MacLeod you said so."

"The apology is to you, too. I--I shouldn't have said what I did to you either. I know you aren't just going to sit back and let those around you be destroyed."

I turn to face him. "You don't know that, Joe. You have no idea what I'm capable of."

"I've known you for ten years, Adam."

And I've been alive 500 times that long. "Go home, Joe. You've had a long day. You came here to kill a friend, and you succeeded. Just be grateful it was MacLeod and not Christine. At least he won't be haunting your dreams tonight."

Joe looks pained, then nods. "I'll see you tomorrow, Adam?"

"Of course, Joe."

I walk in the direction of Presence. MacLeod is leaning against his car, waiting for me.

"Are you okay with what I did?" he asks anxiously.

"Would my disapproval have stopped you?"

"No. There has to be a better way, Adam."

"Then you'll find it."

"Me? This is our problem."

I join him at the car, leaning forward against the dark metal. "Gods, MacLeod. Haven't I done enough?"

A hand wraps around my shoulder. "Despite the situation, this isn't your fault."

Yes, it is. But it's a nice lie, and I appreciate it. I smile at him and he returns it. What I wouldn't give to lean forward and taste the sweetness of his lips again. Maybe if he wasn't Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, or if I was the person I used to be....

"Kalas has Amanda," he says, regret in his eyes.

"And the world as we know it is about to crash down around our ears," I add with a wry smile. The necessary wait is of little importance. After all, we're both Immortal. And if I thought for an instant that Kalas could take him, or that Christine's actions would permanently restrict our freedom, I might risk MacLeod seeing the real me--and remove all threats. But MacLeod is better than Kalas, and Christine will soon find out that Immortals have much more going for them than long life. Still... "Our timing sucks, Highlander." I push up off the car.

"That sounds like something my friend Richie would say. You'll have to come to America and meet him sometime."

Ah, yes. The student now dead in France. Wait a minute. Was that an invitation he just issued? I've always liked America. Such a brash, young country. "Go play hero, MacLeod. Afterwards, when your girlfriend is safe, and Kalas is just a bad memory--maybe we'll just say to hell with the world and...play a game or two of chess."

MacLeod smiles. "I noticed you checking out my board the other day. First Amanda, then Kalas, and then...chess."

There's nothing to say after that, so I put my hands in my pockets and saunter down the street to where I've left my car. I've got a red target spray-painted on my back, and all I can think of is a good game of chess.

Told you I'm stupid when I'm in love.

Who are you, who am I?
Are we more than strangers passing by?
So close to love and yet so far .
Just one kiss will tell us who we are.

Who Are You, Who Am I? ~ Words & music by S. Wayne - B. Weisman

Continues in Elvis Minutes #05: Slowly But Surely (Methos)