Title: The Greater Love
Archive: 7th Dimension, other--as you wish, just let me know
Character Listing: M
Content Warning: Description of a violent act
Disclaimer: I promise to return them washed and folded.
Summary: Methos remembers his last visit with Darius
I would like to thank all the fine folk who have read my stories and encouraged me to keep going.
Dedicated to my beloved spouse, Rick.
There were no premonitions. No psychic warnings. I know. I was there.
We played chess. As was our norm. Sharing bottles of his home-brewed ale on this particular day. He brewed good ale. And beer. And mead. I miss it. Even now.
He laughed a lot that day. Both of us did. I told him about the work for my thesis. And about a Methos-sighting. Some baby Watcher. Poor kid. I still laugh when I think about it. He was convinced that I was living as a woman. In Vancouver.
And we talked about the Highlander. Of course. Two centuries, and we were still fascinated by the altruistic, idealistic Scot.
"This young Ryan, what do you think of him?"
Darius had shrugged. "From what I've heard, he's rather wild. But then, weren't we? At one time or another? Me, you, even our Highland brat?"
I'd looked at him across the chess table, and sipped my ale. 'Our' brat?
"Darius, you believe he's the One? Truly?"
"I've always said so, Methos. And the witch..."
I shivered despite myself. "Let's not talk about her, please...?" He knew she was one--of the many--reasons I kept 'Methos-As-a-Myth.'
"You know one day..."
"Yes, one day. May it be another 3000 years coming!"
"...You will have to face her. It is inevitable." He looked at me sadly.
"Well, with luck the boy scout will be around to save my...head." Hm. Perhaps there had been a psychic moment that day.
"Duncan is a good man, Methos. You'll come to know that yourself."
"Probably. Eventually. As you say, one of the inevitables. Amanda says the same thing."
I looked at my watch. "I have a meeting with my study group in an hour. And Ian should be off for his break." I had come to know Darius' Watcher well. And his habits. "Time for me to go."
He rose. Tall and graceful despite his robes. And we embraced--as friends do in Europe. Then on impulse I took his hand and kissed it. And was startled to find tears in my eyes.
I said there were no premonitions?
He laughed, and blessed me. Old habits die...
Damn. Something is in my eyes...
And I had laughed too! He knew all about my stint as a god.
We were still laughing as he escorted me to the entrance of the tunnel that would take me out far from his church. Far from his Watcher. From any other immortal who might come calling.
"I'll see you soon, old friend," I promised...
"Soon," he'd agreed with a nod, smile, and little wave.
But by all the gods, I never thought it would be in such circumstances.
Half way to my flat I realized I'd forgotten the very book of his I'd gone to borrow. I trotted back, and exited the secret passageway. I was mere steps away from his cell when I heard the voices.
Darius. And another I recognized. But, I had to be wrong?
There was a commotion inside the church proper. This couldn't be... No, it could not be...! I ran up the stairs to the choir loft to peer over into the sacristy. I saw the man. Saw what he was about to do. I sank to my knees, unable to watch the horror...
No other sound is like... A sickening thud and crack as the blade comes down and the spine is severed. Then a chunky, wet sound as the head falls. A gush as of water that is arterial blood flow.
Oh, I knew it well.
And the men... mortal men... who had executed Darius, I knew them. They were Watchers. And their leader was someone I had thought could be trusted.
I pulled myself up. My instinct to flight overwhelmed me. Not to mention, I had no idea what would happen. This was holy ground.
A quick glance over the rail, and I could see the mortals were gone. I raised up to full height and stared down at the broken... oh, Darius... my friend.
And then... Then a marvelous thing happened.
I felt him. Darius. A warmth touched my cheek. My shoulder. Something that felt like a hand settled over my heart. We were at peace.
Was it a quickening? I don't know. I think it was. Is. Because I can feel him with me. Still.
I've never told MacLeod.
Never told him it was because of Darius that I offered him my head. That it is Darius' love that draws us together time after time. I've never wanted... needed... to protect anyone as I've done with 'our' brat.
For the love of Darius, and Darius' love, I've taken chances, taken heads, broken long-standing vows to myself. Disregarded my life, my sanity, 5000 years of instinctive survival behavior.
I can't stop the sigh that comes. Would the Highlander have suffered the Dark Quickening if Darius had been with him? And Ahriman. My old nemesis. How would he have fared against Darius' Light Quickening?
If they're right... if there really IS a Game, and a Prize to be won...I have a single consolation. No matter the eventual winner, we will all be together.
Darius, Duncan and me.
If there can be only one...
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." NT: John, 15:13
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