Red, Red Wine
MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod sat upright as his immortal sense was twigged.
Methos slunk through the barge hatch. His coat hung off him, all
the better to hide his sword with, and the rest of his arsenal.
The Ďfeelí of Methosí approach was unlike any other immortals he had met in his four hundred years. It was deeper, rounder, aged like a fine red wine. Any immortal sensing its tang would have screamed "Ancient Immortal! Ancient Immortal! That is one fucking ancient immortal." Yet most immortals thought that he was a newbie. But once in a blue moon, and in that first memorable meeting, the quickening had sounded like a cacophony of many souls laughing.
raised an eyebrow in question, as he shifted his coat off his shoulders and
threw it on the bed. There was a dull clunk which
saying a word, Methos padded over to
Long and lanky and enjoying himself far too much, Methos threw himself down on the sofa. He leaned his head back on the arm and listened, his hand beating out a rhythm that had nothing to do with the music.
eyes hooded, he watched
you do it?"
Methos cocked his head to the side. "Youíll have to be more specific."
"Your quickening, sometimesÖ"
"May be it does, maybe it doesnít. You have an entirely different perspective to me. I generally donít go around feeling myself."
"Yes, your quickening." Sometimes talking to Methos was like talking to a recalcitrant child.
"ĎCourse my quickening changes, it changes every time I end Ė appropriately enough Ė up to my neck in one of your quests. I thought youíd invited me over for an Italian meal?"
does it sound different?"
Methos sighed and then said pointedly, "You took Byronís quickening; that was different, wasnít it."
"And," Methos continued relentlessly, "George was Ďborní in 1788, and that makes him just a little younger than you."
what youíre saying,"
"He didnít take quickenings unless he couldnít help it." And with a purely calculated tone added, "He was disabled, club-foot, remember? It put him at a disadvantage when he fought."
what are you saying?"
"The first time you met me, I hadnít taken a head for over two hundred years."
Methos clapped his hands mockingly. "Give the boy a cigar."
"What does my quickening soundÖfeel like?"
narrowed and for the first time since he had forced this conversation,
pretty much like everyone elseís. A bit like sticking your
head in the loo and flushing." The ancient immortal smirked as
"Hardly, try months; it was several years when I was with the Sioux."
"Tell you what, you spend a few hundred years not running around proclaiming that youíre Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, en gardť you foul, dishonourable fiend, and weíll have this conversation again."
was blocked by
hardly news." In one smooth motion, Methos was on his feet and was
arrowing to the kitchen.
"And you change your quickening by taking heads."
"Weíve already had this conversation, Highlander."
"So you can recognise an old immortal, whoís out of practice, by a strange feeling quickening."
"Yukk yukk," Methos retorted, not rising to the bait.
you have a decent conversation with someone when to get any opinions,
speculation or examples from their own experiences, you had to drag them out
kicking and screaming?
Methos sank back onto his sofa and concentrated on getting to the bottom of his bottle of beer as soon as possible.
"You sound just like Amanda. What do you really want to know, Highlander? That I can change the Ďsoundí of my quickening at will? I can. I can choose not to take heads and over time assimilate the quickenings Iíve taken. Or I can allow them to take over me. I know which I prefer."
thatís the case,"
Methos lowered his lashes coquettishly.
bastard, you can change your quickening."
"No," Methos finally admitted, "but you can make it until you sound like a newbie who has only taken a quickening or two. Itís a good survival strategy."
"Is that what this is about? Survival?"
"Isnít it always?" Methos countered.
"Hardly, you try wandering around with a five thousand year old quickening. Itís a bloody beacon. Iíve got enough of a price on my head without advertising. If you donít figure out how to do it," Methos said sing-song, "you donít last very long."
"How do you do it?"
"Why do you want to know, Highlander? Itís not honourable. Any rate everyone knows who you are. Youíre the famous Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Youíre a coveted jewel among immortals. The watchers favourite candidate to win the Game."
"Oh please, like you didnít know."
Methos wriggled back into the couch cushions. "I know that. Did you know that?"
to. I wanted to keep Tessa safe."
"And?" Methos prompted.
"Who wants to live forever?"
"I do," Methos said easily. "Think of all the new things to learn and experience in the future. The Gameís an anachronism perpetuated between immortals with no imagination. Itís a religion."
"But you canít deny that quickenings areÖ"
"Are what?" Methos interrupted. "Seductive. Controlling. Malicious?"
"They bring power."
"Your Darius didnít think so. Kol Teík didnít think so. If you drink too much beer you get fat and sluggish."
on, Iím going to teach you something new." The ancient immortal stood and
held out his hand to
The Highlander viewed it suspiciously. "What?"
"Trust me." Methos wriggled his fingers.
He heard a
multitude laughing softly and slowly they gave way to one sole voice chortling
merrily. Then they stood in silence, not even hearing the lapping of the river
against the hull. And
"That was your quickening. Nice wasnít it?"
in a timeless instant simply marvelling, until
"I didnít," Methos laughed. "You just stood still long enough. Youíll get better at it with time."
"Really?" He liked that idea, to be at peace with your own self to that degree.
Methos whispered directly in his ear, "Promise."