For Celeste.


"Colonel Mustard in the Hall with the candlestick. Why are we doing this, MacLeod?" Methos asked waspishly. Leaning back in his favourite saggy baggy armchair, he took a long quaff of his beer.

"There is no way that you could have figured that out." Duncan snapped; they had just started the game – it was impossible. MacLeod snatched up the envelope with the solution. "Unless you cheated."

The cards spelt out the criminal, murderer and the murder weapon.


The older immortal was unrepentant. "You can’t play Clue with two people. I’m just saving time."

"So you have played?"

"I’ve done a lot of things, Highlander," Methos said archly.

So he has,’ Mac mused silently. And the Sword of Damocles hanging over their relationship was that once Methos had been Death of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

"So what do you want to play?"

Methos looked down his fine, long nose at him. "Dominoes."


"Yes, dominoes."


"Come on." Methos suddenly leaned forwards in his seat. "We can put all those little men on the table in nice long line and knock them all over with one flick of my finger."

"I don’t have any dominoes."

"Well, there you go then." He moved, standing, turning and crossing to the fridge before Mac could blink. He mooched through the contents, pulling out a round of brie and giving it a sniff before lobbing it back into the fridge. Abandoning the fridge, he began rooting through the cupboards. A collection of dark glass bottles of fermented hops caught his eye.


It was a brand with which he wasn’t familiar. Bishop’s Finger. Methos turned it over appreciatively. Brewed by ancient methods, ingredients of the finest origin, imported from Northumbria, Northern England; they had cost Mac a pretty penny.

Methos poured a glass of red wine for Mac and cracked the bottle of beer for himself. Half way back to Mac, he swigged it straight from the mouth, glugging down half the bottle.

"Nice of you to make free with my beer."

"Hmm, rather good. Nice and thick." Methos took another mouthful. "Honey. Heather." He leaned out and gave the goblet to Mac and returned to the kitchen.

"So you like it?" Mac asked unnecessarily.

"Proper beer." Methos toasted the air and then got another bottle. "Ah, beer."

"Do remember the first time you had beer?"

Methos shot him a leery glance; funnily enough they rarely talked about memories, or more accurately the old man was rarely drawn.

"We had a brew at home," Mac reminisced. "Bit of heather in it." He considered his ruby red cabernet.

The ancient immortal dumped an unopened bottle and the bottle opener in his lap. "Get back to your roots."

Laughing under his breath, Mac cracked the real ale. ‘Ah, the Highlands.’

"I was in Mesopotamia near a place called Uruk, about four thousand five hundred years ago." Methos interrupted his nostalgia.


"You wanted a story, didn’t you?" Methos said pointedly, his hazel gaze inscrutable.

"What?" Duncan asked, not having the tiniest inkling which twisty track Methos was leading him down.

But Methos read his unease and he was an old hand at the skewer and twist. "You wanted to know what it was like thousands of years ago; what forces made us the men we were."

"Yes," Duncan said slowly.

"We had tokens that were impressed with symbols. They represented land, grain or cattle. It was the height of communication. My favourite was when you encased a tiny cow token inside a ball of clay and swapped it with a ball containing tokens of wheat. That was a contract. Things were going swimmingly; the land was fertile and fecund, nice agrarian societies, nubile young women, wheat, hops, honey…." Methos smiled, showing his teeth.

"And?" Duncan asked, dreading the answer.

"It needed refinement."


"Yes. The symbols didn’t always get the point across. After much thought and time, pictographs were answer."

"This was your idea?"

Methos shrugged modestly, but his expression was anything but humble. "Pictographs were eventually replaced by ideographs – the picture represents an idea or concept, finally they represented sounds. And the magnum opus was the development of cuneiform – a written language."

Duncan turned the words over in his head. Methos had been running around the Fertile Crescent – probably raping and pillaging – and as a hobby he had created the Art of Writing. "You invented writing?"

Methos toasted Duncan with his beer.

"You invented writing?"

Methos simply took a slow, long draught of his Bishop’s Finger.

"You invented writing!"

He smirked. "How else did you expect me to keep track of the beer?"