As soon as Duncan saw Methos lounging on his bed, he knew something profound was going on. It always was when Methos' shameless intrusions upon his privacy stopped irking him.
The man on the bed didn’t turn to him but kept bouncing a small red rubber ball off the wall while he stated, "Anne's a nice kid."
Duncan was not in the mood to cater to the communication needs of a peeved Methos. He skimmed through his letters before he responded, "So?"
"Not much love left between the two of you, if that's all you have to say." It wasn't like Methos to deliver his little jabs so half-heartedly. What the heck was up?
"I assumed you were making a point." The Scottish burr crept back into MacLeod's voice as it usually did when he was angry or agitated. "Care to tell me what the point was, or do you want to keep me guessing?"
"My, my are we touchy today!" Yes, something was definitely up. The teasing was still half-hearted, and Methos was nervous, it seemed. "I wouldn't have brought her up if I had thought you still felt that way about her."
Duncan sighed. The joke was getting awfully old. "I don't love her. I'm fond of her. There’s a difference."
Methos stopped bouncing the rubber ball off the wall. "Really?" Nothing half-hearted about that.
Duncan tilted his head to the side as he met Methos' curious gaze. "What exactly am I missing here? Are you... ?"
The ancient Immortal sulked, "Don't get all protective, would you?" He sat up and started dribbling the ball on the floor.
Methos and Anne? It couldn't work. No way in hell. Duncan took a deep breath. "Look, have you even talked to her about this? Do you even know why she chose to live her life without me?"
The dribbling ceased. "I can imagine a bunch of reasons, but enlighten me." His features displayed a mix of derisive wit, genuine interest, and a hint of insecurity.
"She left me because she found herself siding with me in the Game. She feels she can"t side in a fight to the death. She expects to side with life, full-stop. The Game has no place in that concept."
Methos rose and laid a soft hand on MacLeod’s shoulder. "You were an idiot to let her get away with that meagre argument, Duncan."
"Maybe." He smiled at the older Immortal. "No point in crying over spilt milk, is there?"
"I don't intend to spill it." If you thought about it, it sounded like a warning, but Duncan knew well enough that in reality, the ancient one was asking his permission. In his own, peculiar way.
Duncan touched his fist against the other man's shoulder. "Good luck." He smirked. Definitely no way in hell.
Suddenly a thought struck MacLeod like a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky. "How come you know her?"
Strange how cold the smile on the thin lips was. "You told me she asked you for a blood sample, remember?"
Stunned, he just nodded.
The face was serene, the eyes met his coolly enough. Yet somehow Duncan could feel Methos' tension. "I gave her one."
"And?" He felt strangely breathless.
"It got us both nowhere." There was none of the familiar edge to Methos' voice. None of the sudden passion that came and ebbed away every so often in his speech. In fact, Duncan doubted that he had ever heard him speak this softly. "The first blood tests revealed nothing out of the way. And then... it seems it fell to dust." Duncan thought he sounded sad, though he couldn't be sure.
It seemed lame, but one had to say something. "I understand."
The ancient Immortal shrugged, "What was that you said about spilt milk?"
The rubber ball landed neatly in the waste-paper basket.