and Shadows (Part 2)
By Lyria Wollich - 2000
Richie hadn't said anything to Mac, but he knew
something was up. He watched as the watcher boarded the Barge and smiled
to himself. He had promised Mac he would get some supplies for Tessa at
the local art store, but he figured he had plenty of time. He wished he
could hear what they were talking about. He rose from his crouch behind
the bridge as the man with the limp and the cane and Mac dropped out of
site into the heart of the Barge. As he was about to turn around, that
sudden rush hit him. An hand fell onto his shoulder before he could raise
his sword to fight.
"It's not a good day to die."
Richie's stunned face relaxed instantly as he
recognized Methos's voice. "Christ, Methos, you scared the crap out
"I'd suggest you be more careful next time,
hey?" Methos scolded him with a raised eyebrow and a tone lace in
"Yeah, sure. So are you here to see
"That was the plan, yes. Why don't you come
with me? I'm sure he'd be glad to see you."
"Who me, oh, no, no, that's ok. I have to
get some things from the store for Tessa, yeah. Gotta go, I'll catch ya
"Do you mind if I come with you?"
Methos offered unexpectedly. Richie didn't know what to do. He figured
that Methos suspected something after finding him here spying on the
barge. It would probably be best to just go along.
"Sure, yeah lets go."
Methos smiled to himself.
Tessa Noel beamed as she admired the boxes of
two dozen long stem red roses that were delivered to her. "For me?
Who are they from?" The delivery agent handed her the white card that
was attached. Tessa opened it carefully with one long fingernail and
pulled out the card. It read "To the most beautiful woman in the
world, I Love You, Duncan."
"Of course they would be from Duncan,
who else." She said to no one in particular. Taking one of her
sculpture pieces she carefully filled it with water and placed the flowers
inside. As she was arranging them, a man's voice spoke from behind her.
"They are quite beautiful are they
"Yes, yes they are." Tessa replied
turning around to face the man. She didn't recognize the face, but there
was something about his eyes she didn't like. They were crystal blue and
piercing. She felt as though he was looking right through her. He held a
single white rose in his hand.
"Perhaps you would add this to the
collection," he said smoothly, his eyes unblinking.
Tessa didn't know what to do, she stood there
like a captive bird, unmoving.
The stranger handed her the flower, and Tessa
watched herself as if in a dream, reaching out to accept the flower…
"…I think she's in here." A voice
said in the stillness. The tent flap moved aside and Methos stepped
Tessa snapped out of her dreamlike state. The man that
had tried to give her the white rose was gone. On the floor was the single
"Methos, Richie, am I glad to see you."
"Hey Tess, what's up?"
Methos scanned around the tent with a penetrating look. Out of the corner
of his eye he caught movement, and then it was gone.
"There was a man, he was standing right here
and he tried to give me this flower, but now he's gone." Tessa bent
down to pick up the rose.
"Don't touch it!" Methos shouted. Tessa
froze in mid motion and glanced up at him. Methos motioned to
Richie. "Toss me those gloves."
Richie reached out beside him and handed Methos
what appeared to be leather gloves. "What is it?"
"I can't be sure yet, but I'm not taking any
chances." Methos motioned Tessa to step back away from the rose. As
she did, he reached down and picked up the delicate flower by the bud,
carefully looking at the stem. He saw nothing out of the ordinary.
"What did he want you to do with this?"
he asked Tessa.
"Mac sent me these beautiful flowers this
morning and that man wanted me to put that in with them."
"I'm sure he did." Methos said dryly.
"Who was that man and what does he want with
me?" Tessa asked her two companions.
Richie shrugged, but Methos' face became
dark. "I'm not sure, but I have a strange feeling that our friend
Horton is back, and if he is, Ahriman in not far behind."
Joe Dawson couldn't sit. He was too wound up to
even try. As Duncan paged through the Watcher Chronicles, an ache that Joe
had been feeling for a while now was growing.
"I don't like it MacLeod. It's as if the
whole world's been turned inside out, it's just not natural. We don't know
whose still around or who died, it's all crazy."
"I don't like it any better than you do,
Joe, but Methos says we have to play this out. I don't see that we have
any other choice."
"Mac, I've got thousands of watchers out
there, everyone of um is probably feeling pretty insane right now."
"We can't know that Joe, Certain people
aren't being affected. Richie is immortal and he doesn't remember anything
about the old past."
"Yeah I suppose you're right, but we can't
just sit here until…."
"Until what Joe?"
"Well, you know, until…"
"Until Ahriman comes here to kill me, or
Tess, or Richie? Don't you think I haven't thought about that?"
"I'm sorry Mac, it's just that…"
"Listen, I can't fool myself into thinking
that he's not out there to hurt me. Using the people that I love. I just
thought that I got over the pain Joe, that I was learning to live without
her, starting my life with Amanda…"
"And now I have her back, and I don't know
if I'm willing to let her go again."
"So what, you just let him take over and to
hell with it? Christ, Mac, we've been through this once before with
him. Remember? God, he offered me my legs, my legs Mac. Do you
know what that means? What it would have meant for me? But I gave them up,
for you, for what you stand for. Dammit, I won't let you throw that
Duncan thought about the sacrifices that his
friends had made for him. Joe was right. It would invalidate everything
they had suffered through to give in now. He would fight Ahriman again,
and he would have to take his chances.
Methos, Richie and Tessa returned to the Barge
a little after sunset. The air was cool and the smell of the river was
strong, carried about on the breezes that swept through the canals. Mac
head rang as Methos stepped on board, feeling a double blow as Richie
"Mac?" Joe said looking up.
"It's ok, it's Methos and Richie.
"Well it's about time he got here, he's four
"I'm sure he had a good reason…"
Tessa opened the barge door and ran into Duncan's
arms. "Mac, oh, Mac."
"It's all right Tess, " he said taking
her close to him. Looking squarely at Methos he asked. "What
"I think our old friend Horton
happened." Methos said giving Mac a 'what are you going to do now'
"Horton!" Joe yelled. "It can't
be. He's dead!" Then suddenly it hit him.
"Seems like that's been happening a lot
lately." Duncan muttered to himself.
"Duncan, what is going on?" Tessa
"Just a little problem. But we're going to
take care of it, right now."
"A…just a second Mac, but what are you
doing with this watcher guy anyway. You know they're out to kill us all.
Including your "friend" Horton."
Duncan flipped a quick look at Methos and Joe and
then responded. "Joe's different, Richie. You'll just have to trust
me on this one."
"Ok, what ever you say, but I still don't
"We have to find Horton, and fast."
Methos and Duncan stood across from a row of
flats, one of which the watcher Horton called home. "It kinda gives
you the creeps, doesn't it?" Methos said impassively.
"You could say that." Duncan replied, a
tinge of sarcasm in his voice.
"So what now?'
"Listen to yourself, MacLeod, you're not
making sense. Let's just go in and shoot this bastard and get it over
Duncan gave him a surprised look.
"Well what do you think MacLeod, that I'd
have trouble killing? Don't forget that it was my whole life once."
Duncan's eyes clouded over. "Yeah, I remember." Moments later a
light flickered on in one of the rooms of the flat.
As Methos and Duncan made their way to Horton's
flat, the familiar rush swept over both of them. Looking around for their
new companion, Duncan readied his sword as did Methos. A tall lithe figure
stood several feet from them both, and instantly Mac knew they were in
"Amanda!" Duncan called out in a loud
whisper. "What are you doing here?'
"Nice way to greet a lady, " Amanda
shot back, joining them. "It's nice to see you too Duncan. Miss
me?" She batted her eyelashes at him.
"NO!" He replied firmly.
If he had hurt Amanda's feelings, she wasn't
showing it. She snuggled up to Methos and began to purr in his
ear. "You missed me though, didn't you
sweetie?" It was the first time that Duncan had ever seen Methos
blush. The effect was quite comical. Duncan wasn't sure if he should laugh
or be jealous.
"Amanda." Duncan said firmly.
"We're busy, would you please just…go away."
Amanda placed her arms akimbo and stared at him.
"I'm going with you."
"That wouldn't be such a good idea."
Methos interceded. "I could use you to go back to the barge and watch
over Joe and Tessa. Richie could use all the help he can get.
"Tessa? Isn't she the one…"
"Not now Amanda." Duncan said firmly,
his voice low and dangerous.
"Right. Ok, anything for you Poopsie."
She said to Methos, tweaking his behind, who jumped up and flushed again.
The two men watched her go. "You never told
me she could be so much … fun." Methos remarked admiringly.
"Yeah, something like a train wreck."
Duncan shot back. "Careful she doesn't ram you between the
Duncan wanted to kick himself for sending
Amanda away so soon when the reached the rear door. It was triple locked
and nothing simple.
He turned to Methos, "Any ideas?
"Not a one. Well, I suppose we can try
"With what?" Duncan asked curiously, a
tone of sarcasm sneaking in.
"I don't know, Genius, you were the one who
sent our best chance of getting in away. Get her back."
Duncan was irritated, but he knew his 5000 year
old companion was right. "Well we can't just stand here all
night." Suddenly, Duncan and Methos felt yet another immortal
"You are the luckiest bastard in the world, do you
know that MacLeod?" Methos said cynically after poking his head
around the corner to see Amanda, all dressed in black, sneaking to the
"Let me guess, Amanda. Well it's good to know she
doesn't listen to you any better she did to me."
"That's highly comforting. I'll go get her."
Moments later Methos and Amanda appeared at the
backdoor. "I thought I'd find you boys here." She said with a
grin. "Need a little help?" She flashed her best puppy dog look
"Amanda, what are you doing here, I thought
you were going back to the Barge, like you promised?"
"Well, just to let you know, I did, and
well, there was no one home, so I just decided to come back here."
Mac and Methos looked at each other, Duncan's panic rising. "What do
you mean there was no one home?"
"Just like I said MacLeod, no one home.
Methos asked Mac "Didn't you tell them to stay put?"
"Yeah, and even though Richie might go
wandering, Joe would keep them there." Duncan's mind whirled with the
possibilities. His guts twisted into tight knots and his anxiety level was
"Hang on now, let's finish the job first,
then we'll go find them." Methos advised.
Amanda pulled out a set of lock picks out of a
specially designed case. She inserted them into the locks one by one, each
one gratifying her with a single "click".
"You're a love." Methos said quickly as
he headed into the darkened doorway. The smell of burning incense
surrounded him immediately, being drawn out the open door. "Smells
like burning dog." He commented briefly.
"Burning dog?" Mac asked.
"Yeah, burning dog. Like you tossed Fido
onto small bonfire."
"Oh that's gross." Amanda said
wrinkling her nose at the stench that was getting worse. "Who would
want to do that anyway?"
"Horton." Her two companions said.
The trio made their way around to the staircase
an began going up. The smell that was strong at the bottom of the stairs
was becoming chokingly strong towards the top. "I can barely
breathe." Amanda complained in a loud whispering moan.
"Try to hold your breath." Methos
As they approached the flat door, Duncan
began having a strange, disorienting sensation. He felt a presence, around
him, everywhere, on every side. He tried to hold down his rising panic as
the floor began to move under his feet. Amanda picked the final lock and
Methos stepped into the lit flat, gun drawn. He wasn't taking any chances.
"How nice to see you again, Adam."
Horton's nauseating voice greeted him. "Or should I say,
Methos said nothing, he just stared at the small, bright eyed man with
Duncan was loosing his balance. Amanda noticed
something was wrong as he staggered against her. "Mac?"
In his mind, whirling images of the past were
like a roaring wind, deafening and strong. He could barely recognize
Amanda's worried face next to his own. All four hundred years of memories
came flooding in all at once. It was more than he could take.
"What do you think, Methos, that you can come in here and kill me,
just like that?" Horton asked.
"Actually, that's exactly what I
think." Methos raised the gun and shot three times. The look on
Horton's face was priceless to him, the mixture of shock and surprise. It
was the first time in a long time that he had enjoyed killed someone. He
was shaken out of his reveree by Amanda's panicked voice.
Methos raced back to the doorway where Duncan
MacLeod lay, his eyes staring deeply into nothingness. He was still, very
still, and though his mind raced with a trillion thoughts, his body
"What happened to him?" Methos asked
kneeling down beside his friend.
"I don't know, one minute I was watching you
shoot the bastard, and the next Mac was falling on me."
"Christ! What next? Just stay with him, I've
got to clean up this mess."
Amanda nodded briefly, tears welling in her eyes as she cradled Macs head
in her lap.
Methos walked back into the room where Horton
lay sprawled on the floor in a spreading pool of blood. He hoisted the
body over his shoulder and carried him to the small bedroom where he
proceeded to wrap the body in sheets from the bed. As he tied off the
ends, he bumped the dresser and a heavy book fell to the floor next to
him. Methos looked over and saw an ancient watcher text and picking it up,
stuck it into his long coat before picking up the body again and taking it
out the door.
Methos looked at Amanda on the way out the
door. "Try to wake him up, will you. I don't really feel like
carrying him all the way to the barge. I'll be back as soon as I know this
son of bitch is never coming back."
Amanda saw the raw determination on Methos' face
and just nodded again. She knew that Methos had more of his fair share to
hate Horton and his watchers. As Adam Pierson, he had a first hand look at
their path of destruction.
Duncan MacLeod was lost. For the second time in
his life, a power more fierce than any he had known had invaded him.
Inside his broken mind, vivid images of horror and death came and went in
an endless array of evil. Some small corner of himself still existed,
though it was not strong enough to fight the pure malevolence of Ahriman's
"How does it feel to lose her all over again…hey
MacLeod…I am the man you cannot kill.."
The last time he had to fight himself to save himself. This time he wasn't
sure he was going to get the chance.
"So how does it feel, Highlander, to be a
prisoner of your own mind." Ahriman's voice asked mockingly.
Duncan wanted to lash out, to fight the invisible foe, but there was
nothing to fight. He sat cross legged in the center of the maze of
memories that was forming around him and he waited.
Methos and Amanda reached the barge shortly
after midnight. To their surprise Tessa, Richie and Joe were all there
waiting for them. Tessa saw the immobile form of MacLeod over Methos'
shoulder and immediately ran over.
"Oh my God Mac, Mac!"
Methos pushed her gently aside. "He's still
alive, though I don't know why he's like this."
"Did you finish the job?" Joe asked
Methos nodded. "I buried him at the bottom
of the Seine. He is not coming back."
Richie helped Methos get Mac down and laid him
out on the sofa. Tessa rushed to his side and laid her head on his chest.
"Why is he looking straight up at nothing
like that?" Richie asked, the blank stare giving him the creeps.
"We don't know, he just fell over at
Horton's place. Amanda said he fell on her and was like this ever
"Any ideas?" Joe asked looking around.
"Well, I found this at Horton's."
Methos said. He reached into his long coat and pulled out the old
Joe took the dusty book in hand and
whistled appreciatively. "I haven't seen this in years. It's
supposedly as old as you are." He said motioning towards Methos.
Amanda sat next to Tessa and gave the blond
woman a hug. "I'm sorry Tessa."
Tessa nodded, her tears flowing freely down her
cheeks. This was the moment she had dreaded all her life. She knew that
each time Mac left there was a chance that he wouldn't come back. Now, he
might be lost to them forever.
"Dammit Duncan," Tessa yelled, beating
her fist against his chest. "You can't leave me here like this."
Amanda tried to soothe her. "He's strong, he'll get through
"She's right Tess, you know Mac, he's the
hero. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and all that." Richie said,
trying to help.
Joe Dawson turned to Amanda, Tessa and Richie.
"Methos and I have some work to do. Will you all be alright
"Amanda and I will stay with Tess and Mac."
Richie promised. "Hey Joe, ya gotta get him back."
"I know Richie, I'll do the best I can. Just
keep out of sight for a while and stay out of trouble until we get
Looking at Richie and Amanda, Methos silently
wondered it that was possible, considering the source. Nodding his silent
goodbye he followed Joe out the door into the darkness