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In Memoriam, Part One

A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music matched with him.


Georgia, 1864

It was the waiting that he hated most. He had grown used to the eternal humidity, inured to the suffering of those he helped, but the tedium gnawed at him every time he came back to the South. It was necessary if they were to keep the underground railroad to the North open for the slaves fleeing from their former masters and from the war raging around them, but to a man of action, the waiting hours wore long. His companion shifted uneasily and looked across at him.

"Where the hell are they, MacLeod?" he asked, keeping his voice low. Duncan pushed aside his own impatience, a distraction he didn't need and one they couldn't afford, not with the Confederate patrols arresting more and more of the runaways. It was only a matter of time before they were caught, he thought bitterly. And time was what was weighing on his mind. They had been waiting in the clearing for over an hour for the contact who was bringing three runaways, three escaping slaves that they would take on the next stage of their road to freedom. They were late and Duncan was beginning to worry.

He was about to answer his companion when he felt the other. It swept upon him as it always did, the knowledge of another Immortal nearby. He motioned his companion to silence and flattened himself even closer to the ground.

"MacLeod!" a voice called. Their contact, Durban. Duncan stood up, warily looking around for the other. He saw her straight away. A young woman, barely more than a child. One of the slaves, she was looking at him with horror.

"I'm not going with him," she said. "He'll kill me." Duncan took a step forward and saw that the fear in her eyes was genuine.

"I'm not going to harm you," he said. Durban and Duncan's companion were watching with interest, as were the other two slaves, a man and a woman. The girl backed away from him, shaking her head.

"You're just like my massas," she said. "I can feel you in my head." Durban laughed at this, a sharp bark that broke the tension with the others, but not between the Immortals.

"Don't be stupid, girl, we haven't time for this. MacLeod's taken dozens of slaves North and never lost one yet, let alone killed one," he said.

Duncan stared at her closely. "Who was your master?" he asked.

"They all the same," the girl replied. "I sold by Massa Anselm to Massa Walker, and he kept me for years."

Duncan couldn't place the name of Anselm, but he knew Morgan Walker, if only by reputation. Immortals with their immortal slave. And they hadn't bothered to tell her what she was. At least they hadn't taken her head.

"We have to go," he said. "You can come with us or take your chances with the Reb patrols on your own. Make up your mind." He gestured at his companion, who shepherded the other escapees towards the road. Durban tipped his hat and vanished back the way he'd come. The girl looked around, realising suddenly that she was alone with him.

"You not gonna kill me?" she asked uncertainly. Duncan shook his head.

"No. Besides," he smiled, "you're harder to kill than I think you realise. What's your name?"

"Juliette," the girl said. "Who are you?"

"I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," he said, letting his Highland burr slip through in his words. "And you and I have a lot to talk about. But not here. And not now. Right now," he added, holding out his hand, his voice tense with urgency, "we need to go." The girl looked at him for a moment, fear struggling against the growing belief that this man would help her and losing. She took his hand and they started to run after the others.


Paris, 1999

"He lives on that?" the man asked the woman, pointing at the barge moored on the other side of the river. They were on the bridge, waiting for an old friend of hers. He wasn't too convinced he wanted to meet any more Immortals, but Amanda said that this one was on the level and that he should get to know him. She'd wanted to drag him down to the barge to meet this MacLeod guy, but he'd drawn the line at that. Neutral territory would suit him just fine. He'd half been tempted to suggest that the guy come to The Sanctuary. After all, it was Holy Ground, but he could guess the reaction that would have got, so he'd bitten his tongue and they'd settled for lunch at a café Amanda knew on the Left Bank.

"Yes," she replied, lounging back so that the sun played on her face. She arched back further, so that she could see his face, even though he was staring out over the water. "The barge used to be moored at the Quai de la Tournelle. If he hadn't moved it last year, he'd have been a neighbour." Great, he thought, that would have been just fine. One Immortal living downstairs and another one on the doorstep.

She stood upright and looked around, her eyes scanning for someone. He knew the look by now, but relaxed when he saw her face break into a smile. Once you know what it means, he thought, it's a dead giveaway. No wonder those Watchers had them all tabbed. Amanda casually sauntered away from him to meet the man walking towards them, who she kissed with the warmth of an old friend. Or an old lover.

"Hello, Amanda," the man said. "Why didn't you just drop by the barge?" His tone was light and friendly, but there was a note of caution nonetheless. Amanda pretended to be hurt.

"Maybe I didn't want Nick to see the spartan way you've taken to living," she said. "I don't want him getting any bad ideas. Or have you actually got some furniture again?"

"I like the way I live," said the man, but his tone was matter-of-fact, refusing to be provoked by her teasing.

"Is she like this with everyone?" Nick asked. "I thought it was just me." As the man turned towards him, Nick held out his hand. Immortal or not, Nick's instincts told him that he could trust this guy. "Nick Wolfe," he added.

"Duncan MacLeod," said the man, taking his hand and shaking it, cautiously. There was question in that handshake, thought Nick. And it wasn't directed at me.

"He knows," said Amanda.

"How much?" asked MacLeod.

"Pretty much everything that's important," she replied. "He saw me die. He saw me get up again. He's met Joe." MacLeod made a slight movement with his head. Acceptance or irritation? Nick couldn't tell. He decided it was the former when the man smiled.

"It could be worse," said MacLeod. "He could be a cop as well."

"I was," said Nick. MacLeod stared at him for a moment, unsure how to react. When he realised that Nick wasn't joking, he burst out laughing.

"What?" said Amanda, irritated, "and I couldn't be friends with a cop?"

"You were really a police officer?" asked MacLeod. Nick nodded, trying hard to keep his face straight.

"Yeah." MacLeod looked at her and his face broke into the broadest grin. He looked at Nick and then back at Nick. Nick's attempt to keep his face straight faltered and he started grinning as well.

"So what happened?" MacLeod couldn't resist. "You arrest her or something?" Nick almost got to answer, but Amanda intervened and cut him off.

"If you two Cheshire Cats are going to get into long stories, I'm going to need a drink and some shade." She stepped between them and entwined her arms around one each of theirs. "Shall we go? Our table awaits."


Duncan stepped lightly down the steps onto the Quai from the bridge. It had been great to see Amanda again and she had told him that Michelle would be coming to town for the next week or so. Lunch had been fun and it looked like she was going to be back in Paris for a while now she had The Sanctuary. This Wolfe guy seemed to be all right as well. He didn't take any of Amanda's deliberate wind-ups to heart, although he seemed a bit intense.

He had just emerged from the shade of the trees into the late afternoon sun when he felt the other. The sense wasn't overly strong, but it took him no time to realise where it was coming from.

The barge.

He moved forward cautiously. Michelle wasn't arriving for another few days. Methos was due to meet him here this afternoon, but not yet. As a general rule, Methos tended to err on the side of late. This early, it couldn't be him. He walked up the gangway and decided to enter through the wheelhouse door. As he went down the steps, he reached for his sword and, holding it before him, opened the door. As soon as he saw her, he relaxed.

"Juliette? What are you doing here?" he asked. The girl smiled and walked up onto the bed platform. She looked down at his sword.

"I hope that's not how you greet all your old students," she said. Duncan stared at the sword for a moment, as if seeing it for the first time, then put it aside.

"Only when they arrive unexpectedly," he said. She carried on walking towards him and he succumbed to the inevitable. Their embrace was strong, old friends who had seen bad times together and survived. She looked up at him and, as they broke the embrace, kissed him softly on the cheek.

"It's good to see you again," she said. "I'd heard that you had a boat on the river, but it took some finding. Whatever I was expecting, it wasn't this." Duncan took her arm and they stepped down into the living area.

"So what made you so keen to find me after all these years?" he asked. "Drink?" She nodded and followed him to the small bar as he poured them two glasses of wine.

"Would you be upset if I said that I was just taking advantage of the situation?" she asked. "I was in Paris anyway and thought I'd look you up. I just never thought it would take as long." He handed her the drink.

"So what brings you to Paris if not me?" he asked. Her face clouded.

"Anselm." He sat down and motioned for her to the same. She hesitated, then sat. She looked at him. "I was trying to track Walker, but someone took his head last year. Then I heard that Anselm was in Europe." Her voice hardened and her gaze became distant, as old memories played themselves out to her words. "I honestly thought that he was dead. I hadn't heard anything of him in over fifty years, then I started hearing about him being in Switzerland. Have you ever heard of Irina Petrov?" Duncan shook his head. "She's one of us. She saw him in Geneva a couple of years ago."

"It's a small world," said Duncan. "What makes you think he's in Paris?" She stared at him, lips thinning.

"Something Irina said the last time I spoke to her. He's after something. I don't know what it is, but it's here in Paris. Irina said that it was taken from him by an Englishman. Have you ever heard of someone called James Horton?" The name was so unexpected that Duncan almost dropped his glass. "I see you have," she said. "Anselm came to Paris a few years ago looking for this Horton, but he only found a grave. But now he's back. Whatever Horton took, Anselm knows where it's hidden. What could it be?" Duncan sat back, the memories distracting him for the moment.

"Do you remember I told you about Darius?" he began. She nodded and he told her it all. Who Horton was and how he'd killed Darius on Holy Ground. The hunters, Hugh Fitzcairn, the Watchers, Joe Dawson, Xavier St Cloud, the Galatis, everything she needed to understand about the men and women who shadowed the Immortals. "But it doesn't fit," he finished. "Horton wanted to wipe us out, he didn't steal anything from us except our lives." She shook her head.

"So what would Anselm be...." She looked at him. Another Immortal was coming. She reached for her sword, but Duncan knew that feeling.

"It's all right," he said. "I'm expecting a friend." The door opened and the slight figure of Methos appeared.

"Mac?" he asked, his eyes adjusting to the interior of the barge. "Oh, you've got company," he added, closing the door and coming towards them. Duncan decided that some introductions were in order. He wasn't to know that they wouldn't be needed.

"Benjamin?" asked Juliette, incredulously. Startled, Methos stared past MacLeod at the girl as recognition dawned.

"Juliette?" he said, uncertainly.

"...'Benjamin'...?" said Duncan, as much to himself as to anyone else.


Louisiana, 1807

The heat in the barn was stifling and opening the doors had done nothing to alleviate it. The sun had beaten down on the plantation all day, raising the temperature steadily and inexorably to the point where those who weren't already sick were collapsing from the heat. He had abandoned his coat before noon, his tie soon after and now his shirt clung to his skin, sodden with his own sweat. But if the heat was the cause of his sweat, it was something more malignant that provoked that running in rivers from the slaves on the cots.

He had been travelling for weeks now, seemingly unable to overtake the fever that was sweeping through the region. As fast as he broke the hold it had on one plantation, word would come of an outbreak on another nearby and he would travel on, offering his services to the owner. He had arrived here three days ago to find the owner away in New Orleans on business and the charge hand manager desperate for any help he could get, let alone a travelling physician.

Footsteps shuffled behind him. He recognised the rhythm of the walk. For some perverse reason, as all of the younger slaves succumbed one by one to the fever, old Matthew seemed able to walk through the plague house that the barn had become without fear of ailment.

"What is it, Matthew?" he asked, without turning round.

"Massa's returned, Doctor Benjamin," said the old slave. "He be mighty obliged if you could spare him the time to come to the big house."

"You tell him that I will come when I can spare the time," said Methos. "But I'm a little busy right now." There was a pause, punctuated only by the coughs and low moaning of the sick.

"He expecting you now," said Matthew, almost apologetically. "I got to bring you up to the house." So, the polite invitation was a summons from the lord of the manor to account for himself. Methos pointedly finished with the slave on the cot before standing up and wiping his hands.

"All right," he said, "let's go." They made their way across from the barn to the house. A short distance to walk, but they crossed an unbridgeable chasm between those who lived in the house and those they left behind. As they rounded the side of the house and reached the steps, Methos felt the other. No, not one of them. Yet. The girl was arranging some flowers in a vase on a table already set with rude crockery and a pitcher.

"Juliette," said Matthew, " where's Massa Anselm?" The girl started. She couldn't have been surprised by their approach, thought Methos. Then he saw her eyes, too wide for the dappled light of the shaded veranda. She was scared. But of who? Then he felt the other, but this time it was stronger, intense in the way only the older ones were. He heard the footsteps before he saw the man emerge from the shadows of the house, sword in hand. The man looked at him without any expression crossing his face. Methos began to wonder if he should have brought his own sword from the barn.

"Matthew tells me you been attendin' to mah slaves, sir." It wasn't really a question, more a simple statement.

"That's right," said Methos. The man propped the sword against the railings of the veranda and gestured towards the table.

"Well, I'm mighty obliged to you at that. I was called away and heard that the fever had reached the district whilst I was in New Orleans. I feared the worst, I can tell you. To find you on hand when I came back was a fearsome relief." They sat down and the man poured two glasses of liquid from the pitcher on the table. "Lemonade, sir? A rare concoction. My kitchen mamma makes a fine drink, even if I say so myself." The man smiled. "Forgive me, anyway, for not introducin' myself. My name is Anselm."

"Benjamin Adams," lied Methos, taking to proffered hand. The lie was easier these days. He'd been Benjamin Adams for longer than he cared to remember. And was beginning to consider safe.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Doctor Adams. Can I offer you some more substantial refreshment?" Methos nodded. "Juliette," the man called, "fetch some food for our guest. And some for me as well." The girl made a bob that passed for a curtsey before disappearing into the house.

"Does she know what she is?" asked Methos.

"No," said the man. "And I have no intention of telling her. Found her on a plantation not twenty miles from here when she was but two years old. Bought her there and then and I've raised her here. Such raisin' as a child like that needs."

"What do you mean?"

"I see no need to trouble a slave with readin' and writin' and other nonsense like that. She's only got one thing that interests me." Methos stared at him, trying to work out if he'd understood the other correctly.

"You look surprised, sir. It's all that any of them can expect. To live and die at our giving. She might be one of us, but she's still nigra. Or do you have a different opinion?"

"She's one of us. And she's a human being," said Methos, keeping his voice even.

"How long do you think she'd last in the Game? She's a Quickening waiting to be had," said Anselm. "Ain't no point keeping her otherwise. After all, she's barren." Methos stared at the man, startled by his callousness. "Oh, come now, sir," added Anselm, seeing his expression, "we live in cruel times. Ain't no point fightin' it."

"There's always a point," said Methos. "And we don't have to be cruel." Anselm shook his head.

"We blend by being like everyone else. It's how we survive. Mortals are cruel to each other - it's in their nature. I've lived close on two thousand years and I learnt the hard way that you do as others do if you want a peaceful life."

"Maybe," said Methos.

"I tell you what," said Anselm, as the girl came back to the table, carrying a tray of food. "Why don't you stay tonight and Juliette here will sleep in your bed. See how your fine ideals stand up when there's a firm young girl there for the takin'." Anselm sat back and watched them. Methos realised that the girl was looking at him with a mixture of apprehension and wonder. This wasn't the first time that Anselm had prostituted her, he felt certain. His host spoke to the girl. "Now you be a good girl tonight. You make the doctor here real welcome in my house." His eyes narrowed and the pitch of his voice dropped. "Or I'll hear you scream again." The girl nodded mutely and fled into the house. Methos was sure he had seen her eyes start to glisten as she left. Anselm, unconcerned at the effect his words had had on the girl, picked up a plate and held it out.

"Will you not have some food, sir? And please, tell me how you've attended this fever."

Relieved to find the tension easing away, Methos told Anselm about his work over the last few months, since the fever had arrived from Africa on board one of the ships discharging their cargo of human livestock on the wharves of New Orleans. As the conversation unfolded, Methos found his initial distaste for his host fading away. The man was clearly cultured and well read, his speech peppered with allusions to the literature of a dozen countries and his command of languages equally diverse. Underneath it all, Methos thought he detected the faint legacy of a Celtic voice, but he couldn't be certain. But the civilised veneer cracked and peeled away when it came to the slaves who worked on the plantation. The man seemed to regard them as less than the animals some of them tended, let alone as human. They had just finished their meal when two men on horseback rode up to the house. The horses were being ridden at a sedate pace, but it was enough to keep the man behind them running. He was tethered to the pommel of the leading horse's saddle by a rope that was tied in a noose around his neck, his hands bound together in front of him. If he had fallen, he would have been strangled. The men didn't stop until they were almost at the steps up to the veranda.

"Mr. Anselm," said the leading man. "Good day to you, sir."

"Gosforth," replied the plantation owner. "I see you found him."

"Yep," said Gosforth. "'Bout fifteen miles from here, heading due north." Anselm walked down the steps towards the slave, who watched him approach with apprehension, not least because Anselm had picked up his sword as he passed it. Gosforth unwound the rope from around his saddle and let it fall in front of the slave. Methos was aware that the slaves in the house had sidled out onto the veranda behind him to watch. He glanced at them. Juliette was staring at the runaway with terror in her eyes. Not for herself, he thought. For the runaway. She had seen this scene played out before.

"Joseph, Joseph," said Anselm, walking around the slave slowly and shaking his head softly. "What am I to do with you?"

"Please, massa," said the slave. His voice was catching in his throat and he was sweating profusely, but not from the heat or his exertions. Clearly, it was a rhetorical question. He had a strong idea of what his master would do with him and it seemed that the thought threatened to unman him. Anselm stopped circling in front of the terrified man, the blade of his sword between them. He lifted the sword and tilted the blade, letting the sunlight play along the metal. Joseph stared at the razor sharp steel, petrified. The two men on horseback were relaxed, sitting back in the saddle. They obviously knew what was coming as much as the slaves, only they were enjoying the show.

"Why did you run, Joseph?" asked Anselm, starting to circle the man again. Joseph tried to reply, but his voice failed him. "Oh, Joseph," said Anselm, his voice full of mocking regret. The sword caught the sun as it moved, then the man fell to his knees, screaming. Methos winced. The stroke of the sword had been perfectly measured, slicing through both of Joseph's Achilles tendons without severing the limbs. He could only imagine the pain as the severed tendons contracted, slamming into the back of the knee, leaving the man permanently crippled.

"No!!" Juliette was running forward to try to help the man, but Anselm was quicker. She stopped short, the point of the sword pressing between her breasts.

"How dare you?" hissed Anselm, his eyes blazing in anger, his lips pressed thinly together. She stared at him with open defiance for a moment, then the fear of her master took over and she stepped back. But even cowed, she could not take her eyes off the man lying on the ground, shrieking in agony. One of the women on the veranda summoned the courage to run out to Juliette and drag her away. Anselm turned to Matthew, who was watching from the corner of the house.

"Take him to the barn," he said. "I'm sure the good doctor will want to take a look at him." He walked up the steps onto the veranda, the slaves fleeing before him and vanishing back inside the house.

"Was that really necessary?" asked Methos, once the slaves were out of earshot.

"Yes," replied Anselm. "He was a runaway slave. Now he's hobbled, he won't run away again, will he? And he'll be an example to the others of what happens when you run. Now, I believe there are those in need of your ministrations waitin' in my barn." With that, he turned and walked to talk with Gosforth and his man, leaving Methos alone on the veranda. Methos stared after him for a long moment, then made his way back to the barn, where Joseph was lying on one of the cots, whimpering. There was not a lot that could be done for him, Methos thought. Some damage cannot be undone. Nonetheless, he set to work to do what he could to dress the wounds. He had barely finished working on Joseph when the afternoon quiet was shattered by a scream. A woman's scream. Methos turned to leave the barn, but Matthew was in his way.

"Ain't no point you goin' out there, Doctor Benjamin," said Matthew. "She defied him and she gonna pay for it," he added, as there was a second scream.

"Juliette?" asked Methos. Matthew nodded. A third scream.

"That girl, she fall in love with Joseph. And he love her. They got them some plans for a big family. But that don't matter to Massa Anselm, he put Joseph with another girl. And Joseph, he couldn't bear that she was in the big house and he weren't goin' to see her none. So he ran 'way. But they caught him and he paid. Now she's payin'." There was another scream. The only break in the silence that followed was the sound of a woman crying, carried on what little breeze there was to disturb the burning air. Methos wrestled with indecision for a moment, then turned back to his patients, but the afternoon wore long. When he eventually gathered up his coat and made for the house, it was with steps as weary from seeing his patients succumb to the fever as from tiredness. He had expected to meet his host, but Anselm had left hours ago to take up an invitation to dinner at another plantation, leaving him alone with the house servants. He sat by himself in the dining room of the house, picking disinterestedly at the food brought to him by Juliette. He was too tired to notice how stiffly she walked as she set down the plate in front of him or filled his cup.

When he realised that he had been sitting at the table long enough for the sun to have set without him noticing, he decided that his day had been long enough. He told Juliette that he was going to bed and walked out into the hall. He was halfway up the stairs before he realised that she was following him, taking each step of the stairs in a slow measured tread, pacing herself to his tired tempo.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Following you, massa," she replied.

"Don't call me that. My name is Benjamin. And you don't have to. Follow me, that is," he said, softly.

"I do." Her tone spoke volumes. There would be no arguing with her. Anselm had dictated their arrangements for tonight. Whether Methos wanted her or not, he would have her company. He was too tired to argue, so he continued on his way to the room set out for him, walking in and collapsing on the bed. She followed him in, closing the door behind her.

He rolled onto his back and raised himself up onto his elbows, watching her. The natural grace in her movements, the lithe roll of her hips, was gone. She moved deliberately, as if to avoid any unnecessary twisting. As she knelt down to remove his boots, he could see that she was biting her lip to prevent herself making any sound.

"You don't have to do that either," he said, gently. "I can take off my own boots." She stayed kneeling, resting herself back on her heels, uncertainty in her eyes as he pulled off the sweating leather, letting his boots fall beside the bed. He stood up and she reached for the buckle of his belt, but he ran his hands along her arms, raising her to her feet. He saw how she flinched at the movement. Her clothes were little more than homespun, the cloth would be rough against her skin. He stepped behind her, undoing the simple fastening on her skirt, letting it fall to the floor.

"Lift your arms," he said. She almost turned her head to look at him, but habit overcame the instinct to refuse and she did as she was told. He lifted away the simple top and stared at her back. Four snakes writhed across her back, angry red welts raised across skin that bore the marks of previous whippings. Here and there, the skin had split, old scars reopened by the lash, and the blood had matted beneath the cloth. In taking it off, he had tugged at them, causing a couple of them to reopen, blood seeping slowly out and creeping down her back like scarlet tears. She was standing like a statue, waiting to be told what she was to do as she had waited many times before. This time, she would be surprised. He took her arm and gently pulled her forward.

"Lie down on the bed," he said. "On your stomach." As she did, he pulled away the rest of her clothes. The marks of previous abuse did not end at her waist, but extended down over her buttocks and to the tops of her legs. He glanced round and saw the large pitcher of water. Wetting a cloth, he set to work cleaning her back of the congealed blood. Another patient in need of the doctor, a doctor in need of his bed. The water was cool on her flesh and she looked round at the unexpected act of kindness. She couldn't help herself, but raised herself on her elbows, turning to look at him.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because I'm a doctor," he replied. "Because you're in pain. Because no one should own someone else." She stared at him, uncertain what to make of his kindness. "Because it's the human thing to do," he finished. She turned away at this, no longer able to keep looking at him. "What?" he asked. A strange shudder shook her. He reached out and touched her shoulder and she turned towards him, sitting up. He realised that she was crying, silent tears marking her cheeks with glistening. She wasn't making a sound, but her body convulsed with the sobbing and he held her to him until she had cried herself out. When she finally stopped shaking in his arms, he laid her gently back onto the bed, laying her on her side to keep the pressure off her back. He finished undressing himself and lay down beside her.

The Louisiana night was too hot for sleep, even for someone as exhausted as he was. He lay still, letting the night air slowly cool, waiting for his tiredness to claim a few hours of precious sleep for him. Juliette stirred briefly, moving herself against him, resting an arm across his body.

"Joseph." The word was muttered softly, under her breath, a single clue to the thoughts inside. He smiled wryly at this, stroking her head.

"Enjoy your dreams," he said.

When he awoke, she was gone. The shadows cast by the morning sun were beginning to shorten as the sun climbed into the uninterrupted blue of the sky. He dressed and made his way downstairs. Anselm was waiting on the veranda, the remains of breakfast on the table in front of him, the aroma of strong coffee wafting from the cup in his hand. Methos noticed that the flowers in the vase were fresh, still showing the morning dew from when they had been picked.

"Good mornin', sir. Did you sleep well?" his host asked. Methos nodded, sitting himself down.

"Yes, even if it was so damn hot." Anselm smiled at this, but said nothing. Juliette walked out of the house, carrying a plate with bread on it, still warm with the aroma of baking. She placed it on the table in front of Methos, then picked up a tray and started to clear away the used plates.

"Please, have something to eat," said Anselm. He looked at Juliette and smiled. "Did she please you last night?" Juliette shot Methos a quick glance. If he said the wrong thing, she knew that she would be the one to suffer for it. She didn't have to worry.

"I have no complaints," said Methos. Anselm laughed.

"I told you," he said. "They're there to serve us. Why fight what Nature ordains?" Methos took a bite of the bread and chewed it carefully before he spoke.

"Will you sell her to me?" Unseen behind Anselm, Juliette started at this, nearly dropping the tray in her hands. Anselm sat back in his chair, looking at Methos through narrowed eyes.

"She's not for sale," he said, his voice measured.

"I'd give you a fair price," countered Methos.

"She's not for sale," repeated Anselm, standing up. His face hardened. "I'm surprised at you. All that fine talk about them being human and after one night, you want to buy her from me?" Methos realised that he was in trouble. He stood up and began to back away.

"I didn't mean to offend you," he said. "I just wondered if she was for sale." Anselm smiled darkly, but his eyes had no humour in them.

"You want her?" he said. "Well, a slave can't have two masters, can she? There can be only one." Methos had half expected this from the moment Anselm had stood. He retreated from the veranda down the steps in front of the house, drawing his sword. Anselm charged, clearing the steps in a single bound and driving forward with his own sword at the same time. Methos caught the stroke on his sword and parried it away, but Anselm was fast and his onslaught was sustained. Methos found himself being manoeuvred backwards, the speed of Anselm's advance forcing him off balance. It occurred to Methos that he had only seen one other person fight like this and when the plantation owner reversed his grip on his sword, he knew what was coming. It was one of Kronos' favourite tricks. Anselm deflected Methos' blade away, stepped inside his guard and hooked the hilt of his sword over the hilt of his opponent, stepping back and ripping the sword from Methos' hand. Methos threw himself backwards as Anselm raked his sword forward in a jagged arc that would have otherwise disembowelled him.

Anselm righted his grip and walked forward, the point of his sword inches from Methos' face. Methos glanced back at the house.

"How will you explain the Quickening to them?" he asked, pointing backwards. Anselm stepped back out of range of any trick Methos might have in mind before looking back over his shoulder. As they had the day before, the servants had gathered on the verandah, attracted by the sudden commotion outside. He turned his attention back to the man sprawled in the dust before him.

"They won't talk," he said.

"Are you sure?" said Methos, thinking quickly. "Can you be sure that they won't tell the story of the lightning in the market? Or to the other slaves when they drive your carriage to another plantation? How long before the story reaches another one of us? Why do you hide here in the middle of nowhere?" Anselm considered this for a moment, then the tension eased out of his body.

"It seems that they have saved you then, my dear doctor," he said, putting his sword out of sight, all trace of his Southern accent gone. Part of Methos registered that the man's natural accent was undeniably English. "I suggest you gather up your potions and be on your way. But I'm afraid you'll be leaving alone. Oh, and a word of advice, sir. You should never pick a fight you can't win." At that, he turned his back on Methos and walked into the house. Methos watched his retreating back until his eyes found Juliette staring at him.

He picked up his sword and walked back to the barn. A few minutes later, he rode away without looking back.


Paris, 1999

Duncan looked at Methos, then back at Juliette. Methos was clearly unsure what reception to expect. Juliette put down her glass, then walked towards him, looking at him closely.

"I hated you that day," she said, her voice level. "More than anyone else in the world. You were the only white man who had ever been kind to me. And you left me with him."

"I didn't really have a choice," said Methos. She smiled softly.

"I know that." She reached out and took his face in her hands, looking deep into his eyes. "It's good to see you again." She let her hands slip round his shoulders as she pulled him close and he, unsure at first, but then with growing certainty, let his arms relax around her. Duncan watched for a moment, then when neither showed any sign of breaking the embrace, looked away, slightly uncomfortable. His fourth cough would have been audible even in the loudest night-club, but barely seemed to register with them.

"I'm glad you're still alive," said Methos.

"You don't say," said MacLeod, dryly. "Shall I leave you two to relive old times?" Juliette winced slightly at this, but both managed a smile.

"Old times aren't exactly fond memories," said Methos. He looked at Duncan. "How come you two know each other?"

"I helped Juliette escape from the South during the Civil War," said Duncan.

"You finally got away from Anselm?" asked Methos. Juliette shook her head.

"After you left, I tried to. But he sent Gosforth after me and I wasn't strong enough to survive Gosforth's games. I couldn't escape them and they caught me. Gosforth and his friend...." She paused, searching for the words that were stiff and angry in her throat, "They took turns. And when they'd finished with me, they tied a rope around my neck and dragged me back to the plantation. I was dead long before we got there. Only I wasn't dead, of course. Not forever." She paused. Duncan moved so that he could see her face. Methos glanced at him, a shared expression of concern, but the two men waited out the silence, until the words came. "When I came back, Anselm was there. He kept me tied up in the barn for a week. No one else was allowed in there. He was beside himself that I had run away. I didn't know what pain was before then. But then, I wasn't Immortal before. He would beat me to death and wait for me to come back. Every morning, I would feel him coming towards the barn and then he would pick up the whip..." Her voice trailed off. "Then he sold me to Walker."

"Morgan Walker?" asked Methos, surprised. She looked at him, startled.

"Yes. How did you know?"

"I knew him," said Methos, carefully. "We.... didn't exactly get on." She half smiled.

"Well, you won't be seeing him again," she said. "Someone took his head last year." Methos nodded. She looked at him closely. "You?" she asked.

"He wanted a fight," said Methos tersely, aware of MacLeod's sudden interest. "Look....." He let go of the girl and half turned to Duncan. "I'm sorry, Mac, but....."

"Go on," said Duncan. "We can play chess another day. I guess you two have some past to catch up on. Benjamin." Juliette caught this and looked quizzically at Methos.

"Is there something you two want to tell me?" she asked.

"Adam Pierson," said Methos, with a shrug.

"Adam?" she said, testing the name out loud. "Adam. Adam." She smiled and nodded. "Adam it is."

"I know this little place at the side of Notre Dame...." suggested Methos. Juliette nodded and picked up her coat. "Are you coming?" Methos said to Duncan.

"No, I think I'll let you two get reacquainted on your own," said Duncan. "I promised to drop by the chapel and return these to Liam," he added, picking up two books. "I'll see you later."


As Duncan spoke, Liam Riley was walking down the street towards St Joseph's chapel. Robert Beaufort had gone on retreat for a month and had asked him to keep an eye on things in his absence. He had wanted Liam to stay there, but the Immortal found something vaguely disquieting about the place. He couldn't quite put his finger on it and was unwilling to accept that it was the desecration of Holy Ground that had occurred here that upset him. He knew MacLeod had found the men who had killed Darius, although many of the details were vague. He had chided himself that he was being stupid - it wasn't as if Darius' ghost haunted the place, his death had been avenged.

As he reached the gate, he stopped. There was an Immortal inside. For a moment, it felt like Darius, but that was impossible. But still, the sensation had been so strong. So like Darius, yet it was different. Very different. He walked in and saw the man immediately, even in the half-light of the chapel's interior.. He was sitting on the front row of chairs, his shoulders hunched and head in his hands, staring at the flowers on the altar. There was no one else there. As Liam walked down the aisle, the man turned and looked at him. In the gloom, Liam couldn't make out his face distinctly at first, but the man's chin was covered in several days' growth of stubble and his clothes were worn and unkempt.

"Can I help you?" he asked. The man stood. A little unsteadily, thought Liam.

"Can you help me?" The man seemed to be considering the question seriously. "What can you do to help me, priest?"

"What do you want?" asked Liam. The man laughed softly. It was a sad sound, thought Liam. Hollow and lacking in any delight. He looked at the man and it occurred to him that the same thing could be said of the man himself. Whoever he was, he seemed bereft of joy.

"What do I want?" the man repeated. "I know what I want. Do you? Do you know what you want, priest? Why do you hide behind a surplice and cassock, instead of making your way in the world. What can you offer me? I know what I want and it's nothing that you can give me."

"Then why are you here?"

"Salvation? Redemption? Why else would I be in a church?" The man laughed again, that same sad soft sound. "Perhaps not. I'm looking for something I've lost," he continued, his voice fading, as if losing itself in the thoughts behind the words. "Something I should have come looking for a long time ago." He sighed. "If I'd only realised sooner that I'd lost it," he finished, bitterly.

"And what is that?" asked Liam. The man stared around him, as if trying to see the world outside through the stone around them. He opened his mouth as if to reply, then closed it again as he looked directly at Liam for the first time. Liam Riley realised two things.

He had never seen eyes that spoke of a soul so empty.

And there was an Immortal coming.