The Beautiful Game
Methos watched as the ghost carefully walked around the table, rather than through it, leaning over to examine the chess pieces closely. As he straightened up he frowned, staring at the board. Methos sighed as he leaned further back in the chair.
"They aren't going to move no matter how hard you stare at them." He surveyed his own pieces, feeling quite smug.
"I'm quite aware of that, thank you. I am merely contemplating my next move."
"You've been *contemplating* for the last 10 minutes. Will you hurry up?"
"Tut tut, Methos. You never used to be so impatient."
"Maybe it's the company I keep." Methos suggested, with a wry smile.
"Maybe. I couldn't possibly comment. Queen's Rook to Knight 1."
"At bloody last." Methos wriggled into a more upright position so he could reach the board, and moved the black rook to the indicated square. He squinted at the emerging pattern thoughtfully, and moved the white queen.
"Definitely more impatient. Still, two can play that game. Hmmm. Pawn to Queen's Bishop 4." Methos raised an eyebrow in question, but moved the black pawn as instructed. He folded his arms, surveying the board with a frown of his own for a few moments before moving a pawn.
"Go on then." He said, knowing what move would be next.
"Knight takes Queen's Pawn." Methos moved the black knight, putting the captured white pawn to one side of the board to keep the other pieces that were out of the game company; they'd lost four each. He glanced at the board again, and a smile crept over his face before he made his move and took a black pawn.
"So, Harry Dresden. The 'Wizard'. Is he your custodian?" Methos asked, curious as always. He'd noticed the manacles on the ghost's wrists, and recognised curse runes even if he couldn't make them out fully.
"I prefer Guardian. We have a much more mutually beneficial relationship than the word custodian implies."
"But you're still cursed."
"And always will be, unfortunately; in saecula saeculorum. They did their job very well back then. Enough of that, we have a game to continue." He moved closer, examining the layout of the chess pieces once more. Any further comment Methos was going to make about the game was interrupted by the rattle of the front door. A voice yelled,
"Bob?!" and Methos could hear movement in the other room. He stared at his chess opponent suspiciously.
"Bob?" He queried.
"That's what Harry calls me. He didn't like Hrothbert when he was younger, and I have to admit I've become rather fond of Bob. It's a little more upbeat."
"Upbeat? Why would a dead ex-necromancer need upbeat?"
"Why not? You aren't known as Death any more, are you?"
"I wasn't in the tenth century either."
"No, you weren't, were you?" Bob said pointedly. Methos shrugged, conceding the point.
"Ok, Bob it is, then." He agreed and scrambled out of his chair. It was probably politic to meet the owner of the place standing rather than look as if he was making himself at home. There was a clatter of footsteps approaching down the hallway.
"Bob, just what have you been... oh..." Methos kept the grin off his face as a tall and rumpled figure finally emerged into the room, clearly nonplussed by the spectacle of his ghostly friend playing chess with a complete stranger. Methos moved toward the other man, noting that he was a good few inches taller and so tried to appear as unthreatening as possible. It wasn't a good idea to upset someone while you were a guest in their home, especially if they had a longer reach.
"I'm Adam Pierson. I..." He was interrupted.
"You're Butters' reviving corpse." It was a statement, not a question.
"What's with the chess?" He turned his eyes to Bob, who had moved away from the board. "I didn't know you played."
"You didn't ask." Bob replied.
"Fine." The tone of voice suggested it was anything but fine, and would be discussed later. "Well, Mr Pierson, would you mind explaining that little trick of yours? If you're not a vampire or a zombie, then just what the hell are you?" Methos took a step back, he could almost feel the air crackling with energy and it wasn't something that he really wanted to get too close to. It was true; Harry Dresden was a real, honest-to-goodness wizard and that was something that Methos could have quite happily done without. He looked up at the wizard, carefully not meeting his eyes, and decided under the circumstances that it was probably best to give an honest answer.
"I'm Immortal," he announced. Dresden's eyes narrowed as he looked at Methos.
"Immortal? As in rapid healing, don't-stay-dead, live forever type immortal?"
"No shit. Oh God, I need a drink." Without another word he turned on his heel and disappeared back along the corridor. Methos looked at Bob; Bob shrugged and began to follow.
"I suppose now isn't a good time to ask if I can use the phone, is it?" Methos asked. Bob glared at him. "No, I didn't think so." He sighed, looked back at the chess board and then toward Bob. "Want to finish the game?" The ghost paused, casting a slightly worried glance down the corridor. Then he turned, and resumed his position by the table.
"Oh why the hell not. My move, I believe."