Joe tried to hurry her, but Amy seemed reluctant to rush - almost lagging. From behind and above them came the sound of the two immortals' voices, then the chilling clangs of sword on sword.
"Joe ..." Amy hesitated.
Joe looked at her, concerned. He'd spent the last few hours in terror that Walker was harming her. The face of his daughter (his daughter!) was drawn and pale. She seemed unhurt, but ...
"... I've never seen a challenge. Couldn't we somehow ..."
"No." Joe continued down, hoping his refusal would be enough to cause her to follow. He knew well the morbid allure of seeing a swordfight to the death.
Amy followed, but cast glances behind her, toward the sound of the fighting.
They reached the ground floor and Joe led her to the car. He felt safe to speak only once they were well clear of the power station. He turned and gripped her arms.
"Amy, are you all right? I've been so worried!"
Amy brought her gaze from the building to look at Joe. "He didn't hurt me. Much, anyway. I'm all right, Joe." She turned her shaken face back toward the power station. "Who is he? Not MacLeod."
"No. A friend. Come on. You'll have to drive." He handed her the keys.
Amy opened the driver's door uncertainly. "Can he take Walker?"
The question filled Joe with dread. He didn't know how to answer. Instead, he levered himself into their stolen vehicle and, once Amy was behind the wheel, directed her to drive to a position where they were hidden from view of the power station entrance, and could quickly exit onto the road.
When they looked back, the quickening had begun. Blue flashes strobed on the second story, where they had left the combatants. The windows exploded outward - a shower of glass shards raining down on the parking lot. The charged atmosphere prickled the skin of the two Watchers.
Joe watched Amy's rapt expression as she witnessed the explosive side effects of the transfer of power between immortals. Many Watchers went their whole careers without witnessing a quickening. Joe had seen many, but he was still awed by the so-tangible evidence of supernatural power belonging to otherwise ordinary seeming people. Not for the first time he wondered what it must be like to carry around in your body the potential for that kind of energy.
He was reassured by the force of the quickening that the source was Walker, not Methos. From everything he had heard and observed, the quickening of the 5000 year old immortal would have been on a scale well beyond even that of Kalas, which had interrupted power to half of Paris. This had to be Walker.
Amy had no such reassurance. Joe wondered what she was thinking.
Apparently her thoughts had turned to practicalities. "We should have disabled Walker's car, so he can't follow us. I mean, if he won," she said.
"There wasn't time. And, don't worry, Walker didn't win. You can pull up to the door. Let's keep our eyes open for ... my friend." Joe caught himself before naming Methos, even as Adam Pierson. Amy had apparently never met Pierson, but his name might still be familiar as an ex-Watcher.
Amy obediently drove the "borrowed" Land Rover to the main entrance of the power station. She watched the door while Joe kept an uneasy lookout for other associates of Walker's. He calculated the time Methos would need to recover from the effects of the quickening, and to deal with the body and come down the stairs. That time passed.
"It's been too long," he fretted.
"He might have come out some other exit."
"How can you be sure he won?" Amy sounded nervous.
Joe struggled to come up with an answer. He didn't want to lie to her. "Trust me, okay?"
Amy gave him a wan smile and looked away. She stiffened. "Who is that? Is that him?"
A trenchcoated figure strode across a field, heading away from the station and the highway. Hands in pockets, head bent forward, shoulders hunched, Joe couldn't mistake him. He was surprised by the force of his relief at the sight. Methos, the world's most irritating immortal. The man who had just saved his daughter's life. (his daughter!)
"That's him! Pull out onto the highway and honk!"
The figure paused at the sound and looked back. Joe waved out his window, still unsure what name to call out. Methos waved back and leaned forward into a jog. He arrived, grinning, at the car.
"Where did you think you were going?" Joe asked.
"I didn't know you had stayed around."
"Did you really think we'd leave you?"
"I can think of a few good reasons to." Methos ducked to peer past Joe. "Hello. Amy isn't it? Would you pop the hatch for me? I want to put the swords in."
Amy nodded, tight-lipped.
Methos rummaged in the back.
"Cover them up, willya?" Joe called, " We don't need to be driving around with a murder weapon visible."
"Okay," Methos climbed in the back seat, "Now what?"
"Have you got any blood on your clothes?" Joe asked.
Joe saw Amy blanche at the question. He sighed inwardly. Not only were the two Watchers not supposed to be working with an immortal, they were certainly not supposed to be sharing a car with one. To most Watchers, immortals had a celebrity sort of status - fascinating but unapproachable. And dangerous. After all, they were all killers, weren't they?
"No Mom, I kept my school clothes clean," Methos said. "I doubt my sword will pass a forensic examination, however."
"Then we'd better get away from here. We need to lose this car, too. Amy, let's get going. West."
"Joe!" Methos protested, "I want to get back to my car!"
"I know, I know," Joe assured him, "Just not right away. Tell me, how much experience do you have avoiding the police?"
It was a real question, not sarcasm, and Methos honored it as such. "Not much, this century," he admitted.
"Then let me do this. No one uses any credit cards, any ATMs, or any cell phones from now on. And, as soon as we get back to Paris, you call the police and report your car stolen. Now, how much cash have we all got?"
"I've got more than I did." Methos sounded pleased. He held out a wallet stuffed with francs.
"Don't tell me you took Walker's wallet!"
"Sure I did. He doesn't need it." Methos reached into the cash, and for a moment Joe feared he would offer to share the spoils. Then he seemed to think better of it and put the wallet away.
"You didn't think that maybe you don't want to be found with a murdered man's wallet?"
"There's nothing in it but cash. If he used credit cards he didn't keep them in here."
"He generally pays with cash," Amy piped up, her voice sounding small. The two men ceased bickering to consider their driver.
"All right," Joe allowed, after an uncomfortable pause, "keep the money but throw the wallet out. It’s hard to explain having two wallets."
"I'd like to introduce you to Amy," Joe added, "but I don't know what name to call you."
"You had plenty of names for me earlier," Methos groused, "but I see the difficulty. Umm, Walker knew me as Benjamin Adams. Nice to meet you, Amy."
"Nice to meet you," she replied automatically. She kept her gaze on the road.
Methos shifted in the back seat to where he could see her better. "Are you all right, Amy?" he asked, his tone gentle. "Would you like me to drive?"
"No," was her curt answer. Joe watched her, worried, as she took a deep breath and choked out, "Are you all right?"
Well. Joe considered it a good sign that she was able to extend the immortal in her car some courtesy. Methos was the one who had just fought a duel to the death, after all. Perhaps she might come to see immortals, not as game pieces, but as people, as Joe always had. He hoped she might manage to thank Methos eventually. He ought to do that himself, he reflected. Ouch.
"Sure," Methos answered her. He shifted on the seat again, trying to catch Joe's eye.
Joe looked away, uneasy with his own thoughts. He had asked the man to risk his life after he had thrown him off his database. And as for agreeing to set Methos up for Walker! Joe winced away from that guilt, vowing to deal with it later. Maybe much later.
"'Benjamin', huh," he said, taking refuge in irrelevancy.
"Benjamin," Methos said.
"Do I look like a Ben?"
"I don't know what you look like!" Exasperating man. "And I never called you any names."
"Yes, you did. You called me a head hunter and you called me untrustworthy."
"Well, you were breaking into my Chronicles! Besides, you called me a hypocrite and an oath-breaker!"
"I was only trying to spare you any moral dilemmas you might face if I had asked you for information on Walker."
"Oh, you were trying to spare me, not use me!"
"It was your Chronicles I was trying to use, Joe, not you. My life was at stake, if you hadn't noticed. I'd do it again. You really should get a tougher password."
"It's your job to stay out of things you aren't supposed to be in, not my job to keep you out with uncrackable passwords!"
Too late, Joe realized they had just betrayed to Amy that "Benjamin" knew about Watcher Chronicles. Joe glanced at her white- knuckled grip on the steering wheel and sighed.
Methos was still in the fray. "But see what I got when I did ask you for help with Walker?"
"Because I had just found you breaking in! You didn't try asking me first!"
"Not only did you refuse, you accused me of hunting him! What have I done to deserve that?"
"You mean recently?"
Joe regretted it the moment he said it. Regretted it passionately.
Methos threw himself back against the seat and looked out the window, arms folded across his chest.
Joe regarded the road through blurred vision. Hell of a way to get the last word.
They drove in silence. West. Amy looked at her biological father curiously, but when she finally spoke, it wasn't to him. "Uh, Benjamin?"
"Hmm?" Methos continued looking out the window.
"Can I ask you some things?"
Methos sighed and shifted in the seat again. "You can give Walker an 'Unknown Termination'. Or else put 'Benjamin Adams' in your close-out report. I'm not in the Chronicles, and I don't care if you want to start an entry for Benjamin Adams."
Amy seemed nonplused at "Benjamin's" knowledge of Watcher procedures. "Because you're not really going by Benjamin Adams."
"Not any more."
"I don't suppose you'd tell me what you are going by."
"Nope. Maybe your dad will if he decides to make things unpleasant for me."
Joe winced. Amy flushed and gave Joe a furious look.
Silence ruled the car again.
Joe insisted they check into a hotel. They were in a part of the country where a car on the road late at night was unusual enough to cause comment. Maybe even to attract the attention of police who were looking for things that were out of the ordinary.
They all shared a room, too. Joe would have insisted on that, had it been necessary. He didn't want Amy to be alone, and he didn't want to leave Methos alone either. The man had been acting strangely. He seemed very jumpy, and he kept vanishing for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. But in the end they all shared a room because that was how much cash they could spare considering they needed dinner, toiletries, and train fare in the morning.
Although Joe was reluctant to separate from either of his companions, he and Amy left Methos singing karaoke in the bar. Joe’s warning that it was not exactly a low-profile activity went unheeded. Methos was in high spirits. Joe was glad to go to the room, and not just because of the terror-induced exhaustion that dragged at him. "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills", indeed.
But he couldn't sleep. He kept playing the day's events in his mind. Amy slept fitfully in the other king-sized bed. Joe wished he could see her - to watch her sleep. If Walker had ... if Methos hadn't ... if Amy hadn't ... if he had ... where the hell was Methos?
There he was. Sitting by the window, reading a paperback by the light from the street. Joe must have dozed. He blinked, to make sure the man wasn't an apparition. Then he studied him. Still as a statue, ancient face unlined by age or care, looking ghostlike in the bluish light that filtered through the drapes. Then he turned a page.
"Benjamin!" Joe whispered, a hint of irony in his use of the name. Methos looked up. Joe wasn't sure what he wanted to say; he just knew he wanted the immortal near him.
Oh yeah, he did know what he wanted to say.
He couldn't join Methos at the window - his prostheses were off. He pushed himself to a sitting position and gestured. Methos put down the book and moved a footstool over by Joe. It put his head about even with Joe's shoulder. Joe arranged his pillows behind his back.
"Why aren't you sleeping?" Joe asked, feeling oddly paternal from his height advantage.
"Why aren't you?" Methos replied. His face was in shadow now, but Joe could hear his smile.
"I can't. I'm too upset. What's the matter with you, anyway? You've been hyper all evening."
As he said the words, Joe realized that he knew the answer.
"Sorry," Methos avoided the direct reply. "I had trouble even sitting still in the car. Had to keep going for little jogs. I'll sleep on the train."
Joe nodded. More to himself than to the other man, who probably couldn't see him very well anyway. There were some things you could only learn about immortals by knowing them, he reflected. Sacred or salacious, Joe hadn't determined, but quickenings were a slightly taboo subject with his immortal acquaintances. A fact unrecorded in any Chronicle.
"How is Amy, do you think?" Methos asked.
"I don't know, really," Joe sighed. "You know her about as well as I do."
"What's she mad at you for?"
The man was too perceptive. "I don't know."
He didn't. She couldn't really be angry that Joe had never shown up on her doorstep with 'By the way, I'm your real father', could she? Maybe she was just mad at Joe because he was handy.
"Look, uh, Benjamin, thanks for ... for. . . aw hell, you know."
Methos was silent, so Joe went on. Geez, this was hard.
"What I said before. . I'm sorry. You went for the Chronicles because your life was at stake. I should have understood."
Methos still said nothing. Joe tried to see his face. Methos turned slightly on the footstool and leaned his temple against the pillows Joe had propped behind his back. It seemed a strange gesture to Joe - almost affectionate. Or maybe just tired. The two men listened to Amy's regular breathing in the next bed. Joe really wished Methos would say something.
"Adam?" Joe dropped his whisper to the barest breath of the audible. Even so, and with Amy surely sleeping soundly, Joe was still unwilling to use the immortal's real name. But "Benjamin" felt so contrived.
"Um hmm?" Methos responded. Joe didn't know what else to say. But then, with a piercing pain, he remembered.
"Also, ... I can't believe I ... hell, I even thought about ... giving you up to that son-of-a-bitch.” Joe's whisper betrayed how upset he was. "And you knew the whole time."
At this, Methos shifted on the footstool and sat up. "Joe," he whispered back, "if I thought, for even one moment, that you might actually set me up, I wouldn't have gone. Trust me. Would I take that risk? I never worried. Not for one minute, Joe."
"Why not? I did it to Galati."
Methos's reassurance was a comforting balm to Joe's conscience, but a well of self-loathing had been tapped and Jakob Galati bubbled forth. Joe was as surprised by it as, he assumed, Methos was.
Methos didn't respond for a moment. Joe could feel the other man trying to study him.
They had never discussed Galati. Joe and MacLeod had slowly healed from the effects of those dark days, but Methos had just vanished. His last angry words to Joe had accused Joe of deluding himself that he was unaware of Shapiro's murderous plan for Galati.
A just accusation, Joe hated to admit, but also one lacking in compassion. Now, if the immortal gave him a wisecrack for an answer, Joe would know to let the subject drop.
Methos returned to his position leaning against Joe's pillows - almost against Joe's shoulder. It had the advantage that the two of them were not trying to see each other. They both regarded the shadows on the opposite wall.
"Galati wasn't your friend and I haven't been murdering Watchers," Methos answered, "At least not recently."
Well. Compassion and a wisecrack. What did that mean?
Then Joe winced. "And I'm sorry about that, too. I mean it."
Methos sat up again and turned away. "It’s all right, Joe."
The weariness in his voice hurt, and Joe found he was weary too.
Methos stood and returned to the window. He could probably see the street through the slight gap in the drapes.
"So, did I cover everything?" Joe asked, a little too loudly.
Both men turned to study the indeterminate lump which was Amy. Her breathing didn't change. Joe looked back at Methos - Methos looked back out the window. He made a dismissive gesture with hand and shoulder.
Joe leaned back. He hated this. He also hated the distance between the two of them.
"Are you going to be able to sleep?" he inquired, more softly now.
Methos shrugged, the gesture clear against the blue-lit drapes. He also rubbed his eyes.
"C'mere," Joe said.
Methos came, but kept the height advantage for himself, this time.
"Is there anything I can do?" Joe asked.
Methos snorted and sank back down on the footstool. He leaned forward until his forehead rested on the edge of the bed. He shook with some emotion.
Confused, Joe rested a hand on his shoulder.
Methos looked up. "No, but thanks," he said, smiling.
When Joe suggested that "Benjamin" might want to join Amy and him for breakfast, he received a brief linguistic lesson in what he assumed was obscenity. A lesson delivered from beneath a blanket and pillow. They left before the language became English.
The newspaper carried the story of the two dead men in the warehouse, but there was no mention of Walker.
Amy sipped her coffee while Joe read. "Joe?"
"Tell me about him."
Joe put the newspaper down and took a forkful of eggs benedict. "What exactly do you want to know?"
Amy sighed. "Don't you think I'm entitled to know something about the man who saved my life?"
They both cast uneasy glances around the breakfast cafe at the other patrons. Satisfied that no one was in hearing distance, Amy went on. "Whose side are you on, anyway?"
"It's not about sides, Amy. It's about friends."
"Friends, but not family?"
"Oh Amy, don't do that."
"He's an immortal, Joe. You aren't supposed to be friends with him."
Joe refused to be put on the defensive. "Well, I am. Don't tell me you haven't heard about me and my assignment, Duncan MacLeod."
"I know it's gotten you into a lot of trouble."
"Trouble?" So much for not getting defensive. "Trouble? Trouble doesn't begin to touch it. Tell me, what are they teaching at the Academy these days about all-out war between Watchers and immortals? About sending every Watcher in existence out to kill Duncan MacLeod on sight? Not for anything he'd done; for what Galati did?"
Amy held her melon spoon motionless, watching him. Joe wasn’t done. He knew he ought to be, but he wasn’t. "What do they tell students about your uncle James? Do they spare the time to mention how he used the Watchers to murder immortals? Do they shed a tear over how he personally murdered Darius, one of the best men who ever lived? Your cousin Lynn doesn't know or understand what her dad was. Do you?"
Amy pressed her lips together.
"Don't decide how I should have made my choices, Amy, until you've been through the war."
Joe applied himself to his eggs benedict. Brilliant. What a way to build bridges. Why did he keep saying things he regretted?
The waiter came and refilled their coffee and juice.
"So," Amy asked, "what can you tell me about him? Is he married?"
Joe gave her a startled look. Good Lord. What is this about, anyway?
When they returned to the room, Methos was dressed and shaved and sitting on the bed instead of lying in it. He clicked off the TV as they entered. "Nothing on the news," he reported cheerily.
Joe dropped the newspaper on the bed. "The paper has some of it. Not Walker, though."
Methos regarded the paper with interest, but he regarded with more interest the croissant and fruit cup Joe placed on top of it.
"Thought you might be hungry."
"Joe! You're a saint!"
"Yeah, yeah. Amy insisted. You ready to go?"
Methos assented mutely, his mouth full of croissant.
Amy seated herself gingerly on the bed next to the immortal. "Benjamin," she said, "thank you for saving my life."
Methos paused in mid-fruit cup and gave her his full attention. Amy blushed. Watching her, Methos finished the fruit and gathered the remains for the wastebasket. Then he licked his fingers and answered her. "I didn't save you, Amy. Joe did. I'm just the tool he used."
Amy looked dismayed. "You risked your life ..."
"Yes, I did. And I don't like doing that. Which is why I don't do it for strangers. I did it for Joe, not for you."
Amy struggled not to look crushed. It wrung Joe's heart. Damn the man! What a time for honesty!
"Well, thank you anyway," she choked out and stood up. She headed for the door.
"You're welcome anyway," Methos replied.
Joe was thankful that Amy's back was turned so she didn't see the pitying look Methos gave her. Joe scooped up the newspaper and swatted the world's oldest pain in the ass with it. He followed through with his best furious look.
Methos returned him a hurt, innocent look. An utterly false one.
"Get your butt off the bed," Joe growled.
His tone was sufficiently angry that it caught Amy's attention. She looked back from the open door.
Both men abandoned their non-verbal communication. Methos bounced once on the bed, like a child, and let the trampoline effect toss him to his feet. Joe gathered his cane.
They made their way to the train station on back streets. Amy's company made Joe and Methos less of a match for any description which the police might have, but Joe's cane and gait made him potentially conspicuous nevertheless. Joe was concerned that the man who had given them a ride to the gas station might have approached the police about the gun battle which ensued. Particularly once the bodies were found. Self-defense, certainly, but how to explain it in court?
Also, Amy wasn't exactly walking with them. She strode ahead, occasionally pausing when she pulled too far from the slower pair, but staying at least ten feet from them. Well, Joe sighed to himself, she was the one who had been to this town's train station before. She might as well lead. He shared a resigned glance with Methos. Methos looked altogether too amused.
Joe shrugged off his irritation, realizing with some gratitude that "Adam" had always been one of the people who could walk comfortably with him. MacLeod was another, though when MacLeod curbed his pace to match Joe's, the sense of leashed power in the man was sometimes overwhelming. Joe's comfort was that MacLeod gave that impression with almost everyone he walked with. Methos, however, seemed to saunter effortlessly, as if it were his natural gait. Which, actually, it was.
Lost in his thoughts, Joe missed in Methos what he could have spotted while half asleep, in MacLeod.
"Joe," Methos's voice had a quiet, urgent tone to it, "I'll try to meet you at the train station. But don't wait for me." Then he leaped the rail penning a sunken stairwell, and vanished into a basement shop.
"Wha..? Ada .. Ben... Amy!" Amy looked back at Joe, who had stopped in shock at the railing. He looked in her direction and received a second shock as he saw a familiar face. Jutta Klensch, a Watcher acquaintance. What was she doing here? She was a field agent, watching ... oh. Watching the purposeful looking man who was now crossing the street at a trot, heading straight for Joe.
Joe knew a moment of sheer panic. Had he seen Methos? Had he seen Joe with Methos? Then years of practice came to his aid, and Joe continued with his own personal drama as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Well, nothing new, anyway. He had just called to Amy, so...
"Amy, wait up a second!" He headed toward her, trying to seem oblivious to the immortal now reaching the sidewalk just behind him.
Jutta had now seen Joe. She was crossing the street too, but angling slightly toward Amy and Joe, as her immortal assignment prowled the sidewalk briefly, then vanished down the stairway Methos had taken.
Amy was still searching for the suddenly missing Benjamin. She looked puzzled, then slightly startled as the older woman joined her at the same time Joe did.
"Is it MacLeod?" Jutta asked, in German-accented French.
"No," Joe replied. Same language, different accent. He had been fishing in his pocket and was ready with a card. "But call me with the outcome. On the cellular."
Jutta gave him a suspicious look, but took the card. There was no procedural reason for her to report to Joe, but they were in the intelligence gathering business, and no reasonable request was usually denied. She moved away, quickly, her eyes sparkling with the prospect of witnessing a challenge. Of watching Joe's friend die. Joe felt sick. We are all ghouls!
Jutta was experienced. She didn't follow the two immortals into the shop; she circled the outside of the building. They wouldn't fight inside; they'd have to look for an alley or a rooftop. Joe lost sight of her quickly. Very quickly, because he closed his eyes.
He opened them again when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Joe?" Amy looked concerned. He frowned and started walking.
"Come on," he commanded. She followed, a pace or so behind.
"Aren't you scared?" she asked.
"Now why would I be scared?" he snapped, "That would be getting involved." Who cared what she thought. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. 'Don't wait for me' might well be the last words he would ever hear from the world's oldest man.
"If you didn't get involved, you wouldn't have to feel this way," she said.
Joe gritted his teeth, deeply sorry she was too old to spank.
Not that she wasn't right, he reflected as he waited on a bench in the train station. He held his cellular phone in a death grip as Amy tried to reason with him.
"Joe, you said no cell phone calls."
What would he do if Methos were killed? How would he tell MacLeod?
"Joe, you know the phone records can show the location of the receiving cell phone, too. At least the repeater site, and we are nowhere near Paris."
He wasn't the first Watcher to become emotional about his assignment. Frequently Watchers were given time off after losing their assignment. Like the grieving time before you got a new dog.
"You have to turn the phone off."
No, he didn't. He had to know.
"If she calls you, it won't change anything about the outcome."
"I'd know how many train tickets to buy," he finally responded.
Amy put her cool hands over his. "Joe, you already bought three tickets."
So he had. He looked into her sympathetic sapphire eyes as she gently tugged at the cell phone. Where did she get those eyes? If her mother's had been that beautiful he would surely have remembered it. He tugged back.
Amy released his hands and leaned back, studying him.
Joe went on, allowing his bitterness to tinge his words. "If I get questioned by the police, I'll try to leave you out of it."
Amy's gaze moved from Joe's face to something behind him. With a perfect poker face she certainly didn't inherit from her father's side she said, "I really think you can turn it off now."
What was she talking about?
"Hey Joe! Amy."
"Adam!" Joe cried. He would have jumped to his feet and hugged the man, if he could have. Maybe the impulse showed on his face. He did seem to be awfully transparent lately. Because Methos leaned down and squeezed Joe's shoulders.
"Miss me?" he asked, grinning. "And what happened to 'Benjamin'?"
"Oh, damn. I'm sorry. Amy..." At least he hadn't blurted the immortal's real name. But . . . he looked at Amy, who was now on her feet.
"It's okay, Joe," Methos said, "I'm sure I can count on Amy's discretion."
"What makes you think that?" Amy's tone would have chilled polar bears.
"Because I saved your life."
"No you didn't. Joe did. You were just the tool he used."
Methos raised his eyebrows and smiled slightly. It was a smile of recognition. Joe had seen him use it on MacLeod. It meant he saw an enjoyable fight and a worthy opponent. Joe tensed.
Methos may have sensed Joe's distress. He let Amy go and looked at Joe. "Joe, have we got a train, soon? I'd really like to get out of here."
"Yeah. Fifteen minutes." Joe handed Methos a train ticket, immensely glad for the change of subject. Amy, however, was not ready to appreciate the mercy she'd been shown.
"Why?" she demanded. "It’s not like anyone’s after you now."
Methos donned his best shy-graduate-student mask. "Well, yeah, he still is. And I'm worried that he might show up here. I don't remember the guy's name, but I do remember that he owns a computer shop in Munich. He'll need to open up tomorrow, I should imagine. I sure hope he didn't come by train." Methos cast a nervous glance over his shoulder.
Joe bit his tongue. He might as well sit back and try to enjoy the show.
Methos indicated Joe's cell phone. "Have you heard anything from his Watcher?"
Joe shoved the phone in his pocket, hitting the power button. "No. You know I said no cell phone calls."
"You mean you didn't..." Amy caught herself and lowered her voice, "You didn't kill him?"
Methos managed to look scandalized. "Why on earth would I do that?"
"Why?! Because it's what you do!"
Joe closed his eyes and thought longingly of his own bed.
"Well, yes," Amy sputtered, then recovered, "What are you, some kind of a coward?"
"Coward or killer, which bothers you more?" Methos sounded curious.
"Well, uh, ..." Amy sputtered again, "What do you do, just go around avoiding immortals?" Now she sounded scandalized.
"It's a living," Joe could hear that Methos was pleased with his own joke. Then the silence between them lasted long enough that Joe opened his eyes. Amy's set features bore a pensive look which hadn't been there earlier.
"If Walker had killed me," she asked, "would you have fought him?"
"Not for all the tea in China."
"It wouldn't bring you back. And I might have had to join you."
"But, ... he might have done it again."
"Probably. He's done it before."
"And you knew that? But you know ordinary justice systems can't affect someone like him. Someone like you."
"So? It's not my job."
"It should be."
"I don't think so. Besides, ..." Methos gave Joe a look which he later understood to be an apology, "as a reformed mass murderer myself, I really shouldn't be throwing stones."
Amy gaped. "You are kidding," she said.
"Well, no," said the graduate student, smiling, "I’m not kidding."
Amy no longer sputtered. She stared. Some internal struggle showed on her face.
"Joe, I really don't see why I couldn't take a later train. After all, I'm not wanted for anything. I'll see you later." She spun smartly on her heel and left them.
Joe merely watched his daughter leave. (his daughter!)
He looked up at the immortal. "You know," he commented, "You're not such a good liar yourself."
"There's this thing you do with your face."
Methos turned away, quickly. "Oh shut up," he said without rancor.
Methos sat beside Joe and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees. "Joe, I'm sorry," he said.
"Don't be. Should make the trip more pleasant."
Or maybe not. It was hard for Joe to imagine how the trip could have been more unpleasant. Barring bombs or beheadings, that is.
After making one pass through the length of the train to determine that no other immortals were aboard, Methos fell asleep. Hard. And his choice of pillow was one Joe Dawson.
Joe tried everything he could to nudge Methos away from him, but the sleeping immortal always returned to Joe's shoulder. Joe lost track of the number of times he blushed as he imagined the other passengers carefully not looking at them. Over and over, he considered simply shaking the other man awake and telling him to keep to himself. And over and over he couldn't quite do it.
"You are so weird," he complained to the man with more excuse for it than anyone he knew.
Methos muttered something and snored.
Finally, Joe isolated himself by turning to the window and refusing to look at anything inside the train.
"You're a fool, you know," he whispered to his reflection. But his reflection grinned back at him, unabashed. Ah, what the hell.