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Chapter 5


Nearly forty-eight hours after returning to London, MacLeod stared at the paperwork and files Methos had laid out in front of him. They’d talked for almost a day – stopping only to eat and at Mac’s insistence to sleep – and then Methos had handed Mac his research and almost dared the Highlander to find a flaw in it.


There were seven stacks – Harold Saxon, the Toclafane, Abbadon, the Doctor, Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, and Ianto Jones. Each of them represented a name or image from Methos’ memories and the nightmares that had been waking him every night for weeks. The part that had the ancient sleeping so little and eating less was that they all appeared to be real. Worse, they all came back to one common element – Torchwood.


Joe, who had arrived that morning after taking an earlier flight from the States at Mac’s request, was sitting across the table from the Highlander, taking up the files as Mac discarded them. Leaning forward on his cane, the retired Watcher peered at Methos. “So, just to make sure I have this straight – according to you, Harold Saxon was an alien. He took over the world and tried to destroy it using these ‘Toclafane’, but this ‘Doctor,’ Martha Jones, and Jack Harkness stopped him. Do I have it right so far?”


“Pretty much,” Methos admitted, taking another long sip of his beer. He really didn’t want to go over this again, especially since his research was rapidly convincing him that everything he remembered had actually happened, despite his attempts to convince himself at first that it was some sort of hallucination.


“Okay,” Mac said quietly, looking up from the files. He still wasn’t convinced this was anything more than Methos’ vivid imagination compounded by a lack of sleep, but he was going to give his partner the benefit of the doubt until he couldn’t any longer. “When did all of this supposedly happen? I’ve only been gone a few weeks.”


“No, we were apart more than a year,” Methos insisted, shaking his head. “The morning after what I thought was the first dream, I expected it to be 2009 when I woke up, not 2008. I’ve lost years before, but never like this. I can account for the days. I remember them, but it’s like they never happened to anyone else.”


“That’s not possible, Methos,” Mac replied softly. “Time just doesn’t re-wind. I still say all of this is an insomnia-induced hallucination. As much as you read and as long as you’ve been around, you had to have come across all of this information at some time or another. That labyrinth you call a brain just rearranged it and is making it seem real. Maybe you just need sleep,” he suggested. “I could call Anne and have her prescribe something. You could even talk to her – you know as a doctor,” he concluded, thinking that it was at times like this that he really missed Sean Burns.


“I don’t need sleeping pills, MacLeod,” Methos growled angrily. “I need you to believe me. Don’t you think I want this to be some kind of nightmare or hallucination? I’ve had them before. I know the difference. This was real. I watched you die. I saw them kill Anne, Amanda, and Nick, and I watched Joe and Mary die because I couldn’t treat simple illnesses. I want that – all of it – to be some deep, psychological fear come to life, because I can deal with finally losing my mind a lot better than I can deal with the reality of losing all of you, damn it.” There was a great deal of this he wanted to be a fantasy. Because if it hadn’t been, then he’d done worse than lose MacLeod. He’d broken the vows he’d made to him, and that terrified him.


“You’re not going to lose us,” Mac assured his partner gently, but he still looked sceptical. He picked through some of the files again. After several minutes, he stopped short and re-read a passage. “So, where does Abbadon fit into this?” he demanded, his head jerking up sharply. “It says here he’s a destroyer demon – a minion of Ahriman.” He blanched at the mere thought of the millennial demon whose machinations had led to Richie’s death.


“Don’t you think I know that?” Methos snapped, snatching the file out of Mac’s hands. “He’s the piece that doesn’t fit. I’ve heard of him – and not from these files. I remember someone telling me a story about Harkness facing Abbadon. It plays in my mind like a film, but I don’t think I was there. Maybe I saw footage or something,” he suggested, taking a breath. “Trust me, the Jack Harkness I know is not Champion material. He’s a good man – a hero even – but to face a destroyer demon?” The ancient just shook his head. He’d known Jack for almost a century. They’d been lovers and shared lovers. Harkness protected the Earth, but he wasn’t MacLeod – that once in a millennium hero apparently needed to overthrow a great evil. If they were dealing with a follower of Ahriman, why had Jack had to face him and not MacLeod?


He didn’t meet Mac’s eyes out of fear that the Highlander would recognize that Methos was holding something back. He couldn’t bring himself to share the memory of lying in Ianto Jones’ arms while the younger man told the story of the End of Days and Jack Harkness’ disappearance.


Ever since meeting Mac all those years ago in Paris, the only other person he’d even thought about in a sexual sense was Alexa. Those memories had haunted him after her death, but had become much easier to live with once his relationship with Mac had become a reality. He couldn’t bear to imagine what it meant for them that he was fantasizing about – no, he corrected himself, remembering – an intense physical and emotional relationship with the young Welshman that his research told him was a survivor of Canary Wharf and Jack Harkness’ lover.


“Well, we’re not gonna get answers here,” Joe decided, shaking his head. “Bloody Torchwood. I hate dealing with these people. Above the government, my ass. All that managed to do was get a lot of people killed at Canary Wharf.”


“How the hell do you know about that?” Mac demanded, looking utterly confused. He turned to Methos. “I thought you said Torchwood used ‘drugs in the water supply’ or something to make mortals forget about that mess.”


“Christ, MacLeod,” Methos sighed, shaking his head in exhaustion. “Drugs like that won’t work on someone like Joe. He watches Immortals. He sees six unbelievable things before breakfast.”


“Stick with the plot, MacLeod,” Dawson ordered sharply. “Torchwood and the Watchers have known about each other for decades. We both feign ignorance because it suits us. Judging by this mess,” he continued, poking at the files on the table. “The only people with answers are this Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones. That means Torchwood. Saddle up, boys. We’re going to Cardiff.”


“And you say I never take you anywhere,” Methos quipped to Mac, who just shook his head.


“Fine,” the Highlander sighed in resignation. He couldn’t fight both Methos and Dawson. “We’ll leave in the morning, after we all get some sleep,” he added, holding up his hand as both his partner and his friend started to protest. “Non-negotiable,” he stated firmly. “As jet-lagged as you are, Joe, and as tired as Methos is, I’d have to call Amanda for back up.”


“No way in hell!” Methos sighed, knowing he’d lost the battle. “If I ever have to deal with Amanda and Harkness in the same place again, I’m taking my own bloody head.”


“Not funny,” Mac growled, steering Methos towards the bedroom. “Wait,” he said, stopping short as his partner continued down the hallway. “How does Amanda know Harkness? Methos?” he concluded with a whine.


Methos just shook his head and kept walking as Joe laughed at Mac’s perturbed expression.





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