A Pint With Daniel by AD absolutely
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Author's Notes:
Written for the Daniel Clifford is Methos challenge. Beta'd by Methos_fan. Gen. Some strong language.

A Pint With Daniel
by adabsolutely

Hefting pints across a battered oak table in a dim corner of The Tinker Taylor’s, a secret meeting of an immortal and a watcher took place three streets north of Holby City, in the year of our Lord….

“It’s all about balance,” the voice low and proper British. The immortal tapped his cigar’s ash onto a pub ashtray and puffed a smoke ring in his companion’s general direction.

The mortal shook his head, dubiously judging his grinning companion. The American blues man’s voice was nearly a growl, “Balance? How do you figure that?”

“Every few turns of the wheel I’ve got to be a doctor. Makes sense doesn’t it? He who was Death, does time as a healer, balancing the scale.”

Joe considered the fiendish grin. “You’re full of shit.”

The immortal laughed with glee, then clasped a hand over his mouth for a moment to stop choking. He sat the cigar in the tray. “Sorry, Joe, I think you’ve watched the Boy Scout for too many years. This is what most of us do — the sane ones at least — we change who we are. It’s necessary.”

“I know.” Joe heaved a sigh and then took another sip of beer. “I miss Adam.”

A smirk spread over Clifford’s face. “Poor Adam’s gone to a better place, Joe. Poor little bookworm.”

“How long?”

“How long will I be Clifford?” He struck a contemplative pose, lower lip pouting, then shrugged. “Until he gets into trouble — probably not long.”

Joe studied the face again, amazed at the transformation.

“Mac wants to find you.”

“Well it’s a damn good thing he doesn’t know where I am! Believe me, Joe, MacLeod and Clifford are not meant to meet. Water and oil.”

Joe laughed before asking, “Which are you?” then held his hands palms out, warding off another outburst. “I haven’t told him word one! I have to say, though, that working as a surgeon in a London hospital does not exactly qualify as a low profile career change.”

“Exactly. He’ll never find me searching libraries for Adam.”

Joe took in the expensive suit and wristwatch this fellow Daniel Clifford wore, baffled by the new persona. “This guy is so — he ain’t Adam.”

“This is me, Joe. Cutter’s are flashy. They slice people open, muck around inside them and sew them up expecting them to be better. Can you imagine Adam Pierson doing that?”

“No. But I don’t understand how you changed so quickly, so totally.”

“I could tell you it’s a challenge, Joe — that it keeps the neurons firing — but actually, it’s easy. I just imagine it, and it’s so.”

“And it amuses you.”

Methos’ eyes grew wider for a moment. Joe could almost see him grabbing hold of this Clifford character and pulling him back on like the fancy suit.

“You understand me so well, Joseph.”

Joe nearly spit out a mouth full of beer. “Hell I do — not. You’re the slipperiest — ”

“Shhh, Joe. Harangue quietly.”

“Damn slippery son-of-a-bitch.”

“Like I said, you know me so well.”

A period of contemplative silence fell over the table. It ended with Joe’s second message from a friend. “Amanda’s worried about Nick. She wants you to talk to him again.”

Clifford sighed. “And why would he listen this time?”

“I don’t know, maybe because you’re old and wise?”

Clifford nodded. “You’d think that would work wouldn’t you? Trust me, Joe, he wouldn’t be any more interested in what Daniel has to tell him than he was in what Adam had to say.”

“So let him see Methos.”

“No.”

“Just ‘no’?”

“Hell no? I don’t believe the Cub Scout would listen to a world class surgeon, let alone a Horseman.”

“Methos!”

“Shh! It’s Daniel! Call me Daniel, Joe.”

“What if I don’t like Daniel?”

“Joe — ” the immortal fell silent for a long moment, then started again. “Joe, all of them are me. Benjamin, Adam, Daniel — they’re all me. Methos.”

“Sorry, I — ”

“Except for these hands.” He held them up for Joe to see. “Oh, I’m still Methos inside, but these hands belong to the doctor for now. And all the young immortals will have to be soothed by our lady Amanda, while Daniel tends to mortals.”

“I still say you’re full of it.”

Daniel smiled a one sided grin — nothing like Adam’s. “Very true, Joe. But I am very good with a knife.”

“I guess you are. Still, I miss Adam.”

“And Adam misses you, Joe. Give Daniel a chance. He may grow on you.”

“Yeah, right.”

….and the beer continued to flow.


(end)