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Master of Opportunity 

by Denise Proctor and Bertha Trusdell (c) 1999


Master of Opp PT2 Master of Opp PT4 Master of Opp PT5 Master of Opp Concl

The shrill ringing that seemed to be a part of his dream continued unceasingly. His mind, rousing from a deep sleep, recognized it as his telephone. Barely waking, he threatened the intrusive instrument, and whomever was on the other end, with death as he blindly groped toward the infuriating noise. Finally getting the phone to his ear, he managed to encompass all of his feelings into one word.

"What?" He'd meant to shout but his voice came out more like an incoherent mumble.

"Adam Pierson?" the unknown voice asked.

Methos was immediately awake, his instinct for self-preservation kicking into full gear. He hadn't used the Pierson identity for years, leaving it and the graduate student image behind him. This had to be someone from his past. Those few people that he chose to call friends didn't know where he was at the moment so this had to be an enemy.

Every sensory organ in his body was alert, searching his surroundings for an impending attack. Sights, smells, sounds, all this information was processed instantaneously as he now concentrated on the phone, attempting to identify the impending disaster that it held.


"Mr. Pierson, I am Dr. Andrew Madison from City Hospital in Chicago. I'm sorry to be calling you at this late hour but Mr. Joe Dawson gave me your number."


Joe? How did Joe know where he was? 'How do you think, fool?' he thought. Methos smiled at the thought of the Watcher. It had been at least five years since he'd seen the mortal that he sometimes called his best friend. They had kept in contact by phone and written correspondence but the last letter they'd shared was...at least a year ago so why was he calling now? Or, to be more precise, why was he having someone else call for him?


"What's wrong?" Methos asked cautiously as he slowly sat up in his bed. "Why isn't Joe calling me himself?"

"Joe is my patient, Mr. Pierson. I'm sorry to have to tell you this but Mr. Dawson is very ill." There was a pause on the line before the doctor continued. "To be perfectly honest, he is dying."

Dying! The weight of his over five thousand years seemed to crush in on him as he allowed this information to sink in. He had known Joe would have to die eventually. He was mortal, after all. But Methos always thought that it would be at some later time, sometime in the future. Well, apparently the future was now.

"What can I do?" Methos asked, as he got out of bed, already beginning the process of uprooting his life to be at Joe's side. "What does he need?"

"He asked that I contact you and a Mr. Duncan MacLeod. He wanted to see both of you before he died."

"How much longer does he have?" Methos asked, cutting to the heart of the matter. He hoped that there would be enough time for him to get to his friend's side.

"A few days, maybe a week." Dr. Madison responded. "Mr. Pierson, if you are truly his friend, I wouldn't waste any time getting here."


As he mentally calculated the travel time required, Methos grabbed for a paper and pen.

"I can be there in six hours. Give me your number and location."

Writing down the information, Methos assured the doctor that he'd be there. He hung up the phone and stood for a moment, letting the grief wash over him. He was losing another friend. He didn't have that many to be able to lose one so easily and it had been a very long time since he'd had one as good as Joe.

After a moment's indulgence, he tried to pull himself together. Rubbing his hands over his face, then back through his short, dark hair he forced himself into action. "C'mon, old man. Get moving!" he said. He would never forgive himself if he didn't get there before Joe died. As he made his way into the bathroom for his shower, a fleeting question crossed his mind.

'I wonder if MacLeod will get there in time?'




Methos made his way down the hospital corridor with his duffel bag thrown over his shoulder, heading toward the private rooms. He'd been able to get a flight to Chicago immediately upon reaching the airport and, as much as he disliked long air travel, this flight wasn't too bad. He spent the entire trip remembering all his encounters with Joe, from their very first meeting in the Watcher Archives to their very last meeting in Paris. The flight had seemed unbelievably quick.

Taking a taxi directly to the hospital, Methos met Dr. Madison. He found the young doctor to be confident and knowledgeable, with a very good bedside manner. Methos liked him immediately. After giving Methos all the details of Joe's condition, Dr. Madison sadly confirmed that there was nothing left to be done.


"We're giving him medication for his pain, Mr. Pierson, but other than that, we just sit and wait."

"Does Joe knows that there isn't any hope?" Methos asked

"Mr. Dawson knows everything, Mr. Pierson." Dr Madison chuckled. "He's not an easy man to hide things from."

Methos nodded, assuring the doctor that he was well aware of that trait. After being told that Duncan had been contacted, Methos headed off to find Joe.


Following the room numbers, Methos realized that his destination was the open door at the end of the hall. Moving quietly to the doorway, he surveyed the room.

It was a friendly room, painted in pastel yellows and greens. The furnishings were less institutional than he'd expected. A large window, opposite the door, allowed the first rays of the morning sun to shower the room with brightness. The only thing that detracted for the pleasant feeling of the room was the withered man sleeping on the bed.

Methos had always thought of Joe as a man of great strength, taking whatever life threw his way and not only dealing with it but being triumphant over it. A man of common sense, he possessed great wisdom and insight that usually cut through all the trivialities to get to the heart of any matter. 'If anyone should be Immortal, my friend, it should be you,' he thought sadly.

The face that was always so full and expressive now seemed pale and drawn. The thick thatch of hair that usually crowned his head had been thinned out by his illness.

Methos stood silently in the doorway, fighting back the tears, his inner voice berating him for already mourning his still-alive friend. Suddenly a voice broke through his introspection.


"You going to stand there all day or are you coming in?"

Straightening his back and putting a smile on his face, Methos dropped his bag and walked over to the bed, offering his hand to his friend.

"Hey, Joe. How you doing?"

"I'm dying. How are you?" Joe's smiling face turned sober as he saw the shocked and painful look that his joking comment had brought to Methos' eyes. Taking the Immortal's hand in both of his, he apologized. "Hey, man, it's OK. It happens to us all...eventually."

"Sooner than it should for some." Methos replied, finally looking into Joe's eyes. He was happy to see the spark of life that he'd been afraid had also been lost. The Watcher's body may be failing but his mind seemed as sharp as ever. Methos smiled. His old friend Joe was still here.

"Amen to that, my friend." Joe laughed as he pulled Methos into a friendly embrace. Surprised by the strength that Joe still possessed, Methos began to laugh, too.

"Excuse me, gentlemen, but it's time for Mr. Dawson's medication."


Methos backed away from the bed as the nurse entered the room and, by her very presence, took charge. A large woman with graying blond hair, the only word that Methos could think of to describe her was Brunhilda. Wondering where she kept the horned helmet and spear, Methos smiled as he watched her stand over Joe, smiling indulgently at him. Satisfied that he'd taken his pills, she turned to leave the room but not before she shot Methos an icy glare that warned him about upsetting her patient.

Chuckling as she left, Methos sat on the edge of the bed, studying his friend's face. "So, Joe, how long has this been going on?"

"About a year, now."

"A year?" Methos was shocked. "Why didn't you call me sooner?"

"I had places to go, things to do, people to see." Joe responded lightly, before getting serious. "Besides, you didn't need to be watching this. I'm sure that, in your lifetime, you've seen more than enough death."

"But maybe I could have helped or at least made things easier." Methos wasn't able to keep the hurt from his voice. "I thought that we were friends, Joe."

"That's why you're here now, Methos. It won't be much longer, I know, and I want my closest friend with me at the end."

Methos nodded as he tried to smile around the tears in his eyes. "When will Mac be here?"

"Sometime tomorrow afternoon," Joe answered. "With connecting flights and travel time, he can't get here any sooner. " Slowly, he smiled. "That will give us more than enough time."

"Enough time for what?" Methos sat up straighter, suddenly on guard. 'What is this old fox up to now?'

"Enough time for you to keep your promise. Remember?" Joe fixed Methos with a steely glare. "You promised that, on my deathbed, you'd finally tell me the truth."

Methos sat, dumbfounded, as he remembered his off-hand comment.



**1996 - Joe's Bar**



Methos was sitting at a table, trying to make his point to MacLeod. Duncan, agitated by the situation and his friend's argument, was pacing between the table and the bar, trying to find an answer to his dilemma. Joe sat at the table with Methos, quietly watching the exchange.

"C'mon, Mac." Methos said, "You are not buying into that tawdry, guilt-induced little melodrama!"

Duncan turned to lean his back against the bar, folding his arms across his chest.

"Oh, I forgot," the sarcasm heavy in his voice, "We're talking to the only guilt-free man in the western world."

"No," Methos replied, patiently, "we are talking about Ingrid. It is the ultimate in arrogance to think that one person can alter the course of history."

Duncan stalked over to lean on the table, getting into Methos' face.

"You can't deny that by killing Hitler in '44, thousands of lives would have been saved!" He glanced at Joe. "Maybe millions!"

"Yeah," Methos countered. "And if they'd killed him in '43, like Rommel wanted, maybe Germany would have won the war."

Duncan stalked over to the bar, keeping his back to Methos as the older Immortal continued.

"History makes men, MacLeod. Men don't make history. I'm talking about the timing, ok? The 'Zeitgeist', to quote the Germans. If it hadn't been the little painter from Austria, it would have been someone else. It would have been, uh, I don't know, a shopkeeper, a garbage man? My point is, it doesn't matter! The times were ripe for a Fuehrer."

"My point is, it was Hitler!" Duncan responded. Methos shook his head, a resigned smile on his face. He was never going to change the stubborn Scot's mind. Duncan looked at Joe. "You're a historian. What do you think?"

"Uh, uh" Joe shook his head. "I'm not getting in the middle of this."

"Coward." Duncan accused

"Ditto." Methos agreed

Joe glanced at the two men, deciding to give them an opinion.

"Alright, you want an answer?" Both Immortals waited. "Who gives a damn?"

"Hey." Methos said in agreement. Joe turned to face Methos.

"What matters is that it's Mac's friend."

Methos looked up at Duncan, who glared at the Immortal then walked away. Methos whispered, "Pretty smart..." glancing at Joe, "...for a kid."

Joe looked back to Duncan. "What are you gonna do?"

"In her heart, she thinks she's right." Duncan glared at Methos, who glanced away, "...and part of me agrees. I don't know how to stop her," he added softly.

"Don't you?" came the almost whispered question as Methos slowly raised his eyes, locking in on Duncan's face. Joe looked over, surprise by what he'd heard. Duncan glared back at the oldest Immortal.

"No!" he stated emphatically, "I don't." Glancing once more at Joe before a final glare at Methos, Duncan turned and walked out of the bar.

Joe shook his head in disbelief, then looked at Methos.

"You know, you really can be an arrogant pain in the ass sometimes."

Reaching for his coffee cup, Methos sat up in his chair, his answer betraying his weariness.

"Guilty as charged."

Joe studied the Immortal silently for a few minutes before he spoke. "What's your plan, Methos? What are you really up to?"

"What makes you think I'm up to anything?" Methos asked innocently. The look on Joe's face told the Immortal that he wasn't buying this act. A weary smile crossed the ancient's face as he replied, "It's a really long story, Joe, and even I don't know how it will end."

"But are you ever gonna let me in on what's really going on?"

Methos chuckled as he drained his coffee cup and, rising, walked to the bar for a refill. "One of these days."

"Yeah?" Joe asked, skeptically. "When? On my death bed?"

"Yeah, Joe, I promise. On your deathbed."

Joe laughed as his pointed his finger at the enigma he called his friend. "I'm gonna hold you to that, old man."



"That wasn't a promise!" Methos declared, as he virtually jumped off the bed. He began pacing about the room, trying to determine the proper manipulation to get him out of this one.

"Sounded like a promise to me."

"But I never meant to keep it!" Methos was surprised by his sudden bout of honesty. "I mean..."

"I know exactly what you mean," Joe laughed at his friend's discomfort. He could see Methos planning; he could read it in his eyes. If he didn't hit him again quickly, the ancient Immortal would come up with some way to get out of this and Joe was determined that that wasn't going to happen.

"Methos, you've been following Mac around, protecting his back, every since the two of you met. Come to think of it, you were interested in him even before that." Joe watched Methos closely, happy to see that he'd obviously hit the mark. "From the moment I met you, you've been pumping me for information on him." Seeing the Immortal's surprised expression, Joe continued. "Oh, you did it very casually, I'll admit. 'What's it like to be a field guy, Joe?' you'd ask innocently. 'Tell me what it's like to keep track of a guy like MacLeod,' you'd say, pretending it was research. I never realized it then but you were tracking him, weren't you? And you've been doing it for a long time. Right?"

Joe waited, watching a myriad of emotions playing across the normally controlled face as Methos continued to pace the room. Just as Joe was about to try another appeal, Methos stopped and raised his face to the sky, in what appeared to Joe to be a plea to the Gods. Finally, his shoulders slumped in defeat, his hands stuffed into his jeans pockets, Methos turned to face the Watcher.

"You're right, Joe. I was." The ancient admitted with a sigh. "I've been tracking him and protecting him all his life."

"All his life? Why?" Joe asked, surprised that he was getting answers and not wanting the old man to stop.

Methos laughed. "The 'why' goes back a long, long time."

"Tell me, Methos. We've got the time." Joe implored him. "Mac won't be here until tomorrow. Besides," he added with a smile, his trademark twinkle in his eyes, "you promised."

Fixing the mortal with his best squinting glare, Methos knew that this battle was lost. Joe was his friend, probably the only one who would understand. Mac surely wouldn't. And it would feel good to be able to share the truth with someone. He hadn't had a confidant since Darius. 'Besides,' he told himself as he walked over to close the room's door, 'a promise is a promise.'

He grabbed the chair from against the wall and moved it beside the bed. Taking his time, he sat down, stretching his long, lean body into a comfortable position. Placing his elbow on the chair's arms, he made a steeple of his fingers and, bringing them to his lips, fixed Joe with an icy gaze.

"Are you ready for this, Joe? Are you prepared for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Joe nodded. "OK." Methos took a deep breath then began. "You know enough about the Horsemen to understand my early days. Suffice it to say that I was not a very nice person." Seeing Joe about to protest, Methos held up his hands. "Yeah, yeah, I know. The times were different, I was different, the whole bloody world was different. Still," he smiled, "I'm sure we can agree that I wasn't one of the good guys."


"Good, so we don't have to replay that. You know the old saying 'What goes around, comes around.'?" Joe nodded again. "Well, let's just say that, finally, my time came around..."


**Approx 800 BC**


He rode for days, stopping only when his horse threatened to give out under him. When he encountered a tribe of nomads, he traded the exhausted animal for necessary food and water then continued on foot, moving south, always south, heading towards civilization and the opportunity to disappear in the mass of humanity that resided there. Humanity! Could he survive being surrounded by that which he did not possess? Would the Gods allow him to exist after the things that he'd done?

The plundering and pillaging, the very power of what he could do had been intoxicating, driving him onward and bonding him to his 'brothers' for centuries. But slowly he came to the realization that it no longer held the appeal that it once had. He became tired, then bored, and then sickened by his actions and the actions of the others. He had to get away, but how? Slowly, he began making preparations, setting into motion the means for his survival. Then he waited for his opportunity.

Finally, it presented itself. Returning to the Horsemen's camp after scouting out their next slaughter, he and Kronos were riding alone in the wilderness. At an unsuspecting moment, he'd launched a surprise attack against his sadistic 'brother' and managed to imprison the man who had, for so long, held Methos in a prison with no bars. After burying him alive, Methos made his escape. Releasing his white horse, a symbol of his past, he took Kronos' horse and began to ride, with no specific destination in mind, his only goal being to get as far away from Kronos, Caspian and Silas as he could.

Now, as he moved slowly through the streets of this city that was almost as ancient as he, Methos searched for sanctuary, a place where he would be safe. Ahead, a temple rose above the surrounding buildings, like a landmark to guide him. He moved towards it, staying in the shadows, avoiding the people that walked by. He feared these people, feared that his abominations were readable on his face or in his eyes. Each face that met his seemed to accuse him, curse him for the atrocities that he'd committed, damn him for being alive. Unable to bear their accusing glares, he ran, finally reaching the temple and the sanctum inside.

As the coolness of the holy place surrounded him, he made his way, stumbling, toward the altar and the statue that symbolized the resident God. Would this God be able to help him? Would this deity be able to cleanse the soul of one as abhorrent as he?

Falling to his knees before the idol, Methos raised his head, wanting to plead for his soul but unable to find the words. Overcome by the desolation that had become his existence and believing that his soul was beyond redemption, Methos collapsed.

"Rise, my son." A gentle voice echoed against the stone walls, seeming to be around him and inside him at the same time. Methos slowly raised his head, searching for the source of this comfort.

"Rise and come to me." The voice urged him. Methos watched as the statue slowly reached out its hand, helping the stunned Immortal to his feet. He moved to sit at the foot of the statue, wondering if this was a hallucination, fearing that he'd finally gone mad. The soothing voice continued to caress his mind.

"Calm yourself, sit beside me and tell me what you desire."

"Who are you?" Methos managed to asked, fear present in his whispered voice

"I have been known, in the past, by many names. I will be known in the future by many more. For now, just know that I am your salvation," was the answer he received.

"Am I worthy? Can my soul be saved?"

"We are all worthy, my son, if salvation is what we seek. Do you wish to save your soul?"

"Yes," Methos sobbed, falling again to his knees, pleading.

"And do you think yourself worthy?"

Methos paused, unsure how to respond. After all that he had done, all the evil that he had committed, how could he be worthy?

"I do not know," he mumbled, shaking his head. The anguish was heavy in his voice.

"Then confess your sins to me and I will deem your worthiness."

Methos took a deep breath and, gathering himself, told his tale, holding nothing back, recounting the centuries of devastation that he had created. Finally, after an endless length of time, Methos ended with his flight through the city and his arrival at the temple. Silence followed, causing him to fear that the God had abandoned him for the abomination that he was.

"I will not abandon you, my son," the God reassured him, as if reading the Immortal's mind.

"How can you not?" Methos asked. "What I've done cannot be forgiven!"

"Anything can be forgiven, if one is willing to make redemption."

"But how do I redeem myself?" Methos begged. "After the horrors that I have committed, after all that I have done, what could I possibly do to show that I am deserving of forgiveness?"

"You will go and live among the people. You will learn the way."

Methos shook his head, unable to accept this sentence. "No...I can not do that. They will find me, they will know me for who and what I am." Methos argued. "I will not survive."

"I will give you a symbol of my pleasure, that you may walk among the people without fear. You will search for knowledge, seek the wisdom of others so that, when the time comes, you will be prepared."

"Prepared for what?" Methos asked, confused. The temple was painfully silent.

Suddenly, the sky darkened, plummeting the interior of the temple into blackness. Flashes of lightening, reminiscent of a Quickening, shattered the darkness, throwing Methos crashing to the floor, knocking him unconscious.

Methos woke, sometime later, to silence. Raising himself up, he looked around, trying to determine if his experience was real. Was it a dream? He stole a glance at the stone statue, standing frozen and cold above him. He moved to stand, crestfallen that his chance at redemption was simply a trick of his mind when something warm touched his chest. Reaching inside his tunic, Methos withdrew a leather cord that hung around his neck, revealing a medallion of gold.

"Where did this come from?" he spoke in wonderment. Examining it closely, he saw it as a circle within a circle, bordered by thirteen diamond-like jewels, surrounding a symbol that Methos didn't recognize.

'I will give you a symbol of my pleasure, that you may walk among the people without fear.' The voice of the God reverberated in his mind.

Methos looked closer at the statue, hoping to find an explanation. As he replayed the words of the God in his mind, Methos noticed the symbol on the chest of the idol. It was the symbol on his medallion.

Elation washed over him. It had happened! It was real! There was a chance for redemption.

"But where should I go? What am I supposed to do?" Methos shouted to the silence.

Receiving no answer, Methos turned and slowly walked from the temple. He would live among the people, like the voice had told him to. He would search for knowledge, seek the wisdom, until he was prepared.

But prepared for what, he did not know.



(To be continued - next week Part 2)

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