by Denise Proctor and Bertha Trusdell (c) 1999
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.
He'd meant to shout but his voice came out more like an incoherent mumble.
Pierson?" the unknown voice asked.
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.
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.
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
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?
wrong?" Methos asked cautiously as he slowly sat up in his bed.
"Why isn't Joe calling me himself?"
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."
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.
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
asked that I contact you and a Mr. Duncan MacLeod. He wanted to see both
of you before he died."
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
few days, maybe a week." Dr. Madison responded. "Mr. Pierson, if
you are truly his friend, I wouldn't waste any time getting here."
he mentally calculated the travel time required, Methos grabbed for a
paper and pen.
can be there in six hours. Give me your number and location."
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
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
wonder if MacLeod will get there in time?'
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.
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.
giving him medication for his pain, Mr. Pierson, but other than that, we
just sit and wait."
Joe knows that there isn't any hope?" Methos asked
Dawson knows everything, Mr. Pierson." Dr Madison chuckled.
"He's not an easy man to hide things from."
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
going to stand there all day or are you coming in?"
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.
Joe. How you doing?"
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."
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.
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.
me, gentlemen, but it's time for Mr. Dawson's medication."
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.
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?"
a year, now."
year?" Methos was shocked. "Why didn't you call me sooner?"
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
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
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."
nodded as he tried to smile around the tears in his eyes. "When will
Mac be here?"
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."
time for what?" Methos sat up straighter, suddenly on guard. 'What is
this old fox up to now?'
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."
sat, dumbfounded, as he remembered his off-hand comment.
- Joe's Bar**
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.
Mac." Methos said, "You are not buying into that tawdry,
guilt-induced little melodrama!"
turned to lean his back against the bar, folding his arms across his
I forgot," the sarcasm heavy in his voice, "We're talking to the
only guilt-free man in the western world."
Methos replied, patiently, "we are talking about Ingrid. It is the
ultimate in arrogance to think that one person can alter the course of
stalked over to lean on the table, getting into Methos' face.
can't deny that by killing Hitler in '44, thousands of lives would have
been saved!" He glanced at Joe. "Maybe millions!"
Methos countered. "And if they'd killed him in '43, like Rommel
wanted, maybe Germany would have won the war."
stalked over to the bar, keeping his back to Methos as the older Immortal
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."
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
uh" Joe shook his head. "I'm not getting in the middle of
glanced at the two men, deciding to give them an opinion.
you want an answer?" Both Immortals waited. "Who gives a
Methos said in agreement. Joe turned to face Methos.
matters is that it's Mac's friend."
looked up at Duncan, who glared at the Immortal then walked away. Methos
whispered, "Pretty smart..." glancing at Joe, "...for a
looked back to Duncan. "What are you gonna do?"
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.
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.
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.
shook his head in disbelief, then looked at Methos.
know, you really can be an arrogant pain in the ass sometimes."
for his coffee cup, Methos sat up in his chair, his answer betraying his
studied the Immortal silently for a few minutes before he spoke.
"What's your plan, Methos? What are you really up to?"
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."
are you ever gonna let me in on what's really going on?"
chuckled as he drained his coffee cup and, rising, walked to the bar for a
refill. "One of these days."
Joe asked, skeptically. "When? On my death bed?"
Joe, I promise. On your deathbed."
laughed as his pointed his finger at the enigma he called his friend.
"I'm gonna hold you to that, old man."
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.
like a promise to me."
I never meant to keep it!" Methos was surprised by his sudden bout of
honesty. "I mean..."
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.
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?"
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.
right, Joe. I was." The ancient admitted with a sigh. "I've been
tracking him and protecting him all his life."
his life? Why?" Joe asked, surprised that he was getting answers and
not wanting the old man to stop.
laughed. "The 'why' goes back a long, long time."
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."
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
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
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."
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**
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?
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.
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
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.
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?
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,
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.
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.
yourself, sit beside me and tell me what you desire."
are you?" Methos managed to asked, fear present in his whispered
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.
I worthy? Can my soul be saved?"
are all worthy, my son, if salvation is what we seek. Do you wish to save
Methos sobbed, falling again to his knees, pleading.
do you think yourself worthy?"
paused, unsure how to respond. After all that he had done, all the evil
that he had committed, how could he be worthy?
do not know," he mumbled, shaking his head. The anguish was heavy in
confess your sins to me and I will deem your worthiness."
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
will not abandon you, my son," the God reassured him, as if reading
the Immortal's mind.
can you not?" Methos asked. "What I've done cannot be
can be forgiven, if one is willing to make redemption."
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?"
will go and live among the people. You will learn the way."
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."
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."
for what?" Methos asked, confused. The temple was painfully silent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
washed over him. It had happened! It was real! There was a chance for
where should I go? What am I supposed to do?" Methos shouted to the
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.
prepared for what, he did not know.
(To be continued - next week Part 2)