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[personal profile] teachwriteslash posting in [community profile] teachfic

Chapter 15

The following morning, after a decent night’s sleep, Duncan visibly relaxed as he pointed the Land Rover towards London. Joe was napping in the passenger seat, and Methos was sprawled in the back. The further he got the Old Man away from the tempest that was Torchwood and Jack Harkness and the temptation that was Ianto Jones, the better. He had a feeling his partner would not say no to a night of pleasure with the young man if he thought Duncan would agree. What worried Duncan is he just might to keep the glow in Methos’ eyes and relax the lines of worry in his face.

They’d cross that bridge later, he decided. He knew they would return to Cardiff at some point, once Jack cooled down about the confrontation with Gwen. Methos had told him everything when he explained why Duncan should go alone to say goodbye to Jack and the team that morning.

Mac still couldn’t believe his partner had pulled a blade on the mortal woman, but he didn’t disagree with a word he’d said. Gwen’s carelessness was going to get someone killed, and Jack’s allowances for her were going to get her killed. They’d almost lost Joe, Ianto, and Rhys in that warehouse. Had Dawson or the young Welshman actually died, Duncan had no doubt he would have had to deal with Death standing over the body of a former PC.

That morning, Jack had again promised to keep them updated on anything concerning them and to call on them if he needed them. Duncan had been sorely tempted to try to talk Jack into giving it all another go. Despite his initial reluctance, he’d come to see the importance of what Torchwood did. He knew he could make a difference with Torchwood and so could Methos. In the end, though, it really wasn’t what they wanted or needed. They had lives in London. Mary had a holiday coming up and expected to spend it with them. Joe was moving into the carriage house, and John MacLeod had mentioned visiting soon. They’d help when they were needed, but the day-to-day machinations were not for them.

Besides, their presence might also attract unwanted attention, something he had discussed at length with Methos during their time in Cardiff. He glanced in the rear view mirror. “Should we have told them or at least Jack?”

Methos shook his head. “You know we can’t. Knowing would change their behaviour and make them careless. None of them has to die until it’s their time. The good news for them is they have Jack. He’ll know it for what it is and call. Then, we find them teachers.”

“We could …” Duncan began.

“No,” Methos said sternly. “I’m too ornery to take on a student and you’re not ready after Richie. I’m not letting you do that to yourself.” He had been adamant that Mac was not taking another student for a long time. This was their time, and they’d earned it.

Joe spoke for the first time, causing both Immortals to jump. They hadn’t realized he was awake. “So I take it I should let HQ know to put Watchers on some of Harkness’ folks?”

“Three, but not yet.” Methos shook his head. “We’ll let you know when it’s time. Let them have their lives.”

“Three in one place,” Joe muttered, not sounding fully awake. “That’s odd.”

“Maybe …” Methos trailed off lost in thought.

“What are you thinking, Old Man?” Joe asked, rousing himself enough to twist around to look at his friend.

“Remember what Jack told us about the Rift and the Time Vortex that made him immortal? When we felt the Rift energy when it nearly blew at the old hospital, did it seem familiar?” the ancient asked MacLeod.

Duncan looked confused. “We both agreed it felt like a Quickening.”

Methos nodded. “And when we saw the footage of Jack facing Abbadon, it was exactly like a Quickening. It’s just a theory, but I think Quickening energy and the Vortex are related. Since the Vortex is time, and the Rift is a fracture in time and space, it makes sense that they are also a similar type of energy. The stronger our Quickenings, the more of the Vortex or Rift energy we have in us. I think we’re Immortal because time flows through us. Unlike Jack, we were born with it. It was forced into him, so the flavour is different so to speak. I feel him, but it’s low-level, not even pre-Immortal.”

“So do I,” Duncan acknowledged. “Do you think that’s why you sensed the paradox and why you remember it? At your age, you must have a great deal of the Vortex in you. Your Quickening is massive. We know that.”

“Can we stop referencing my age?” Methos pouted. “I'll be looking for Botox.”

“This I gotta see,” Joe grumbled.

“Seriously, Mac,” Methos continued. “You’re onto something. If the amount of Vortex in us increases with the strength of our Quickening, I would be very attuned to it. It would explain a lot.”

“So would Cassandra,” Mac sighed. “Add her age to her natural abilities and it would explain why she felt what she did.”

“Yes.” Methos yawned. “Damn, but I already miss Ianto’s coffee.”

“Look under the seat,” Mac smiled. “He sent a thermos.”

“Oh, God,” Methos made an indecent sound as he pulled out the thermos and poured a cup, savouring the taste. “Are you sure we can’t take him with us?” he begged playfully. “He’s housebroken.”

“I think Jack might object.” Duncan shook his head. “Back to the question. You think pre-Immortals are drawn to Jack because of the Vortex in him or that they’re drawn to the Rift?”

“I think its Jack,” Methos sighed as he took another sip of coffee. “Pre-Immortals sometimes imprint on an Immortal before first death. Richie did. You imprinted on Cassandra. Claudia Jardine imprinted on Walter. I think their senses are fooled by the Vortex in him. Lucky for them, he’ll know to call us.”

“He’s gonna have a nutty that you didn’t tell him,” Joe warned. “Harkness is a soldier. They’re his team. He’s their Captain. He’s gonna think he should have been told.”

“He doesn’t get to decide that.” Duncan shook his head.

“It doesn’t work like that, Mac,” Joe reminded him. “You know what it means to be responsible for the people under your command.”

“Jack also gets the need for secrets,” Methos observed. “When the time comes, they’ll die and they’ll come back to a whole new life. Let them have the life they do for as long as they can.”

In the front seat, Duncan nodded. “Besides, he can’t change anything. Why give him something else to worry about. It will be what it will be.” They fell into silence as they made their way home, certain of their decision and course of action.

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