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Hunters and Hunted

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Disclaimer: I'm not associated with the BBC or Davis and Panzer. I'm just having fun. No harm or profit is intended.
Spoilers: None, really.
Feedback: Yes, please. Comments are more than welcome.
Note: Written for Dune, for her birthday. Congratulations! Thanks also go to Sophie for a quick beta.

Hunters and HuntedMethos turned to face another of the snarling creatures. He'd put down one of them after it had tried to attack him, but that had called four more of them to his position, and they had him surrounded. Movement behind him made him raise his sword over his head and make an overhand sweep behind him. From the mewling, he'd at least wounded that one. It only served to make the others even angrier. And the things were smart. He hadn't expected that.
He hadn't expected to find any predators at all in a Cardiff sewer of course, but even if he had, semi-sentient humanoids wouldn't have been on the list. Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

He kept twisting around, trying to keep as many of the things in view as possible, and his sword between himself and all of them. From the splashing sounds in the distance, the situation was about to get worse. If any more creatures came, he'd be food for sure. The fact that they most likely couldn't actually separate his head and his body and so probably wouldn't kill him permanently was no consolation at the moment.

The creature behind Methos pounced. Just as Methos had twisted around to put the sword point-first into its midsection, so did the one he'd wounded. It went right for his jugular. Methos threw his head back, hoping to head butt the attacker, but that just served to thrust its teeth further in his neck. He tore at his sword, throwing off the badly hurt but still moving body of the other creature, and then battered the one hanging on to his neck. He didn't have long before he'd black out from bloodloss. He had to get free and out of here.

Someone chose that moment to come to the rescue. Several someones, in fact. Three men emerged from the tunnel Methos had previously heard the splashing from, and engaged the creatures with something that might possibly have been pepper spray. It stung like it, at least. It had an even worse effect on the creature biting into his neck. With a roar, the thing let go and attacked the man handling the spray.

Methos didn't need any more invitation than that. He took off running. These guys seemed better equipped to handle the things than he was, and he didn't need any questions about miraculously healing wounds either.

He ran past two women both aiming guns, and he vaguely heard one of them shouting at him to stop as he ran past, but he didn't even slow down. They didn't follow.
As he climbed up into the street, Methos felt the presence of another Immortal. Probably the one who'd driven him into the sewers in the first place. He wasn't going to fall for that again. In fact, the only reason he'd fallen for it this time was because he didn't know modern day Cardiff well enough to avoid dead end alleys.

He shrugged out of his torn and bloodied coat and went to find a more populated spot.

A shower and a fresh set of clothes later, Methos installed himself at the bar in his hotel, cursing once again the misfortune that brought and kept him here. And there was no getting around it at this time of night either. The only way to get alternative transport out of here now was to steal it, and that would be counterproductive. He'd have to wait until at least the morning before he could rent or buy a car to replace the one broken down two miles outside of town.

"So, do you come here often? " a man asked. From the fact that a fresh glass of beer was put down in front of him, Methos guessed the question was addressed to him. He looked up into blue eyes and a wide grin under dark brown hair.

The man took the scrutiny without embarrassment. "Yeah, it's corny," he shrugged. "It works as an opener." He set down his own glass, which appeared to contain water, and perched on the barstool next to Methos'. "Although I'm guessing the answer is 'no'."

Methos briefly toyed with the idea of pretending to be Welsh (which wouldn't be entirely inaccurate, just very outdated), but then he realized why the other man looked vaguely familiar. He was one of the timely rescuers from earlier this evening. Coincidence? Or had he been tracked down?

He kept his face neutral as he responded. "And why is that?"

The grin on the other man's face faded, mostly. He twitched his head in the direction of the door. "I don't think you could pull a stunt like the one back there all that often."

"You might be surprised."

The grin came back. "Oh, there's very little that surprises me." He took a sip of his drink, then gave Methos a level look. "Though I must admit to being curious about why a historian would be waving a sword around in a Cardiff sewer."

Methos tried to cover his own surprise at the implication that the man had looked into his identity. "Says the man apparently waiting around those same sewers until someone decides to tangle with … whatever those things were?"

"Weevils. And we weren't hanging around. We noticed when you killed the first one. That's when we came running."

"I'm touched you care." Methos couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice. Nor did he particularly try. Gratitude only stretched so far, and he was already beyond it.

His interrogator (because it increasingly felt like it, however friendly it was being done) acted as if he hadn't noticed the sarcasm. "It's our job. Someone upsets the Weevils down in the sewers, they come up here to make even more trouble. Besides, they've got as much right to be left alone as anyone." He grinned again. "And I notice we've strayed from the subject of you carrying a sword, too."

Methos shrugged. "It was worth a try," he said matter-of-factly. "I also notice we haven't strayed in the direction of names, either."

"Good point." The man nodded, then extended his hand. "Captain Jack Harkness, pleased to meet you, Mr. Pierson." When Methos didn't take the hand, Harkness continued, "So why?"

"Why what?"

Harkness snorted. "Don't start."

Methos smiled encouragingly. "Exactly." He downed what was left of his beer, then pointedly ignored the one Harkness had put in front of him and ordered another. "I'm not going to start talking about it."

Harkness' eyebrows made their way to his hairline. He raised his hands, seemingly conceding the point. "Okay," he said, "You want to carry a sword around, that's none of my business. Take it up with the police." Then the lighthearted tone that had appeared in his voice vanished again, his hands dropped to his knees, and he directed a glare at Methos. "But when you start to use that sword to kill Weevils, you make it my business."

Methos raised an eyebrow. "I was attacked. " He sat up a little straighter from his habitual slouch. "If someone attacks me, I defend myself."

Harkness nodded. It didn't look like he believed a word of what he heard. "Because you take a walk in the sewers for your health," he suggested.

"I was trying to avoid trouble. Little did I know." Methos finished his second beer and put some money on the counter. "And I don't feel like continuing this conversation. Goodbye."

Harkness caught him before he was out of the room, blocking his exit. "Okay, let's try this again. I won't make accusations, you don't assume I'm trying to pin something on you. I just want to know why."

Methos pretended he hadn't heard that question and pushed past Harkness. He'd had enough to deal with already, and now it looked like he'd have to change hotels, too, if he'd been tracked here by whatever group Harkness represented. It couldn't be anything official from the way Harkness had referred to the police, but then it had to be an organization with some resources, because although his name could have been gleaned from the hotel register somehow, his occupation couldn't. They had access to at least his 'official' records.

He stopped short when he heard the follow-up to Harkness' question. "You don't start slaughtering Weevils for weeks on end unless you have some sort of a grudge."

Maybe they weren't as good at tracking as they seemed to be, then. Incompetence reigned again, it appeared. He turned around, prepared to offer at least that much in his defense; the one answer gratitude did earn the man. "I only arrived in town this evening. If you're connected enough that you can get my information, you should be able to track that, too."

He walked into the lobby and out through the revolving door. As soon as he was out, Methos started running, randomly turning corners until he'd reassured himself that Harkness wasn't following him. He could phone the hotel later when he'd found another and have his luggage (not much, he travelled light anyway) transferred.

He was about two streets away from the next hotel on his list of choices when he sensed the presence of another Immortal. Fantastic. Just what he needed. He looked around. Nobody was visible in the street . There wasn't even light behind most windows. Of course, sensible people would be asleep this time of night.

Oh well, he was tired of running for the evening, anyway. " I know you're there. Show yourself," he called out.

The other Immortal stepped out of the darkness of a side-alley. He was a little shorter than Methos and carried himself like a fighter. His footsteps didn't leave a sound.

"Congratulations," he said when he had gotten closer. "I hadn't expected you to survive those little predators." He stepped into the light of the streetlamp Methos had positioned himself under, revealing a huge grin. "Of course that means I'll have to deal with you myself, but that's no hardship. I lose an alibi, get a Quickening. Pretty good trade."

"Famous last words."

"You got lucky." He pointed at Methos. "Don't think I didn't notice Captain Persistent and his team step in there. If they'd have been there two minutes later they'd have found your body and I could've moved on cleanly." He swept his hand in the general direction of the docks, not so far away here. "Shall we? There's an empty warehouse I think we can use."

"I'll pass, if you don't mind."

"Oh, come on, don't be a spoilsport," his challenger said, and produced a gun from inside his long coat. "I'm trying to follow the rules here, but I'm not averse to doing things the easy way, if that's what you want." He took a silencer from one of his coat pockets and screwed it on. "And yes, you may take that as a threat." He kept the pistol close to his body, but aimed straight at Methos.

That was the end of Methos' choices. He weighed his chances. His challenger was overconfident, that much was obvious, and that would yield weaknesses to exploit. Then again, he had also just proven himself willing to ignore the rules of engagement, and that made him dangerous. Best just to come quietly.

They were a few streets further along when Methos said, "I'm Adam Pierson, by the way. Do I get to know who I'll be fighting?"

He was shushed and pushed into yet another convenient shadow. "Captain Persistent is at it again," his captor whispered in his ear, pointing at a rooftop silhouetted by the streetlights of the road behind it. The ledge wasn't quite as regular as might be expected from a modern building. "Credit where credit's due, he's a decent tracker." The man sounded almost amused. "But he'd never have found me if you hadn't called me out. He was probably following you."

The man aimed his gun and pulled the trigger twice. The muted reports were hardly louder than the crack and the 'oof' that resulted from the body of the man following them hitting the ground. He was still moving. Methos' captor took them both to the body. It was Harkness, and he was still alive. A third bullet put an end to that too.

"My name's Michael Craddock, for all the use you'll get out of it." Craddock said. Then he gestured with the pistol at Harkness. "Pick him up. We'll dump him in the Bay when we get to the docks."

Methos pulled one of Harkness' arms over his shoulders and carried him, fireman-style, to the waterside. Halfway there he thought he felt the man start breathing, but surely that was just an illusion. He hadn't even sensed a twinge from the man. He was dead, permanently.

Now that Harkness was dead anyway, Methos didn't feel any particular qualms about dumping him into Cardiff Bay. From his brief acquaintance with the man, he hadn't particularly liked him. Granted, that was mostly because Harkness had been trying to push the blame for what were probably Craddock's actions onto him, but also because in that conversation, he really did live up to Craddock's nickname for him, too. Methos just hoped his team didn't share too many of those skills, or this could get nasty. That was the main nuisance about the whole situation.

The warehouse Craddock had referred to was right by the waterside. It looked to have been abandoned for quite a while already. Long enough for Craddock to take it over for his own use, at least. Once inside, the place stank of death. Dead Weevils?
Craddock threw a light switch and waited by the door until Methos had walked into the middle of the largest room. Then he discarded his gun and drew his sword. It was a broadsword like Methos', though of a later design. It looked like he was indeed serious about doing this technically by the rules. Methos could play that game. Although it pained him that he hadn't been able to choose his own ground, there were worse locations. He drew his own sword and prepared for the inevitable.

Craddock was blindingly fast, but his style tended to broad strokes, with most of his defense focused on directing strikes away from his own body. And his attacks mostly consisted of body blows, very effective when fighting Weevils, no doubt, but not quite as suitable when facing someone also holding a sword. Methos kept his blade close and focused on getting not getting hit for the time being. Craddock was bound to slow down and leave an opening at some point.

As the fight wore on, it seemed that Methos was wrong about Craddock slowing down. If anything, he sped up as his frustration grew. But he did get sloppier, and Methos began to press his attacks. Then he hooked Craddock's guard under his own, and with a sharp tug disarmed him.

It was over.

The Quickening was short, but intense enough to knock Methos out for some unknown amount of time. When he came to, he was looking straight into the barrel of an old-fashioned revolver.

Which was being aimed at him by Jack Harkness.

"I guess we have a lot to talk about, don't we?"

Chapter Text

Conversations Usually Involve Talking

“You realise you’re just making things more difficult, here,” Captain Harkness stated.

Methos stubbornly kept silent, glaring at his interrogator through the one transparent wall of the cell he was currently in. Clearly the Captain didn’t take well to being denied his answers. Tough luck. Methos didn’t take well to being asked personal questions at the end of a gun. Or, for that matter, while locked up and disarmed. His own curiosity about the other man be damned. He was going to keep his mouth shut until they had to let him go.

Harkness let the silence stretch. He was leaning against the back wall of the corridor leading to the cell, next to a metal door that greatly resembled the one in the back of Methos’s own little concrete-and-glass apartment. He had washed his hands and changed his clothes, but there was still a bloodstain on the strange wristband he wore. He really shouldn’t be standing there. But he was, and his eyes weren’t leaving Methos, either.

After what seemed like a small eternity, Harkness continued. “If you don’t answer my questions, I won’t know what to do with you.” He paused again to glance around the corridor. “Used to be in this place, if they didn’t know what to do with it, they killed it. Better safe than sorry.”

Methos kept up his stony glare. If Harkness thought death threats were going to get him to talk, he could think again. He’d been interrogated by far worse than this. People who honestly wanted and actually knew how to kill him, too. He’d managed to get away then, too.

Well, that was proving a little more difficult at the moment, at least. After all, all Methos’s first escape attempt had accomplished was to kill him long enough for Harkness’s team to put him in here. Well, and presumably piss off Harkness for killing him again, too. Though that had been accidental. Who knew that his subordinates would shoot through their boss with barely a flinch?

Harkness smiled. “Now I don’t really want to do that. And I think I’d have a hard time doing it, too. But I think I could make something stick in the end.”

“So here’s the thing.” Harkness had let another pause fall after his threat, but now continued in a lighter tone. “You’ve got secrets and you want to protect them. I get that.” He pushed himself up from the wall and approached the glass. “But when those secrets start to involve me, I get curious.” Another pause. Harkness was now close to the glass, looking down at Methos. “And then I might have to resort to other methods instead of asking nicely.”

Methos stretched out his legs on the concrete slab that served for a bunk and folded his arms behind his head, giving every indication of comfort. Hell, he’d been in far worse cells. Granted, those had also been easier to break out of.

Harkness waited for several long minutes, in silence. Then he nodded. “Suit yourself.”

He left.

Methos sat back up and rubbed his face, stifling the sigh. It had been tempting to shoot back some smartarse remark. But that would be talking. And right now, Methos didn’t want to be talking unless he was the one asking questions and getting answers. He’d already betrayed himself with an exclamation of surprise when he’d seen Harkness standing next to the morgue table he’d woken up on. He wasn’t going to say anything else. Anything he said would give Harkness an in. Anything he said might lead to Harkness – and by extension whatever organisation it was he worked for – finding out about his Immortality. And from what little he had seen so far, from the equipment lying around to the things in the other cells here, that would not be good.

He got up and made a round of his little cell, taking in all the characteristics he could. It looked quite secure. He’d have to plan ahead and take his chances if he was ever going to get out of here. Ah well, he had time. Time would also give him the chance to study Harkness, who seemed to be immortal without being Immortal. That story was probably worth hearing. But not at the price of his own secrets.

Methos settled himself on the bunk again. He was going to be here for a while.

Chapter Text

Escapes

Despite himself, Methos had to admire the construction of his Torchwood cell. Whoever had designed these cells had combined medieval simplicity with modern sophistication in just the right way.

The whole cell was stripped down to bare concrete. The one bulletproof glass wall was a lot more comfortable to lean against than old-fashioned steel bars would have been, but it was also even more impossible to get through. Water came from a small hole in the ceiling if he stood on an otherwise unmarked spot on the floor, draining off through a grating in the floor no larger than the palm of his hand. It fulfilled the duties of a shower, toilet flush and drinking water faucet all at once.

At first, Harkness or one of the other Torchwood operatives had brought him dinner on a tray every night. After he'd refused to talk for over two weeks, however, those visits had petered out. Now, food came through a barely larger hole into a bowl by the door, in the form of a semi-liquid porridge. When he still got an actual dinner, Methos had made a game of seeing whether his guards would notice if he kept the cutlery back. Even though he'd seen the man who delivered his food most often check the tray with a little smile, he had never said anything about it. Methos was almost grateful they'd allowed him to keep the plastic cutlery. At least he had a spoon to eat the porridge with and a paper cup to drink water from.

The door had no detectable lock or hinges on the inside. If the view through the glass wall was any indication, the door was sealed and bolted to the wall over a slight ridge along the frame. All in all, as a prison, it was elegantly inescapable, yet efficient at keeping its inmates alive. A perfect little oubliette.

So really, the opportunity to escape came as a bit of a surprise.
None of the Torchwood staff had bothered to visit Methos for nearly three weeks. He hadn't bothered to keep an exact count.. There had been a bit of a commotion in the next block of cells over, by the sound of it, but Methos hadn't seen anything or anyone. The next moment, however, the door to his cell opened of its own accord.

Methos spent about two seconds staring at it in confusion, but that was all the time he allowed himself to waste. Then he was out of there. Of course that left him with the second obstacle; the whole corridor was flooded with those bipedal predators Torchwood had first rescued Methos from. Weevils, Harkness had called them. It looked like his cell hadn't been the only one that had been opened.

Methos proceeded with caution. He absolutely didn't need to be caught surrounded by these things when he didn't even have a knife on him, let alone something that would actually be useful in a fight against these creatures. So far, however, all of the Weevils were ignoring him, and everything else. They were headed toward the exits with single-minded determination.
Not such a bad example to follow, actually.

Methos got out through the sewers, following a small group of Weevils that still paid him no attention whatsoever. Then he stole a car and got the hell out of Cardiff. There were safer places to be. Like a sheet glass factory in the middle of an F5 hurricane. But of course he couldn't leave well enough alone. Harkness still had things he needed to get his hands on.

His sword, for one. It was easy enough to replace, but Methos liked this one. It had excellent balance and it had some good memories attached. That, and it was high-quality steel. He should be able to get another two centuries of use out of it at least.

More importantly, however, Harkness had information on him, of whatever experiments they had run while he was unconscious, and whatever data they had traced from his name while he was in that cell. At the very least, there was a record of his Immortality in their database. None of which was anything Methos liked thinking about.

And as soon as he was out of Cardiff, the place didn't seem so unsafe anymore. It almost seemed like no news of whatever happened the day Methos escaped had made it out of Cardiff. Or if it had, every single person had resolved to immediately forget about it, and the media had decided to be cooperative. So within days he was back in Cardiff, and well prepared.

He'd retraced the movements of his escape on a map, and barely believed the outcome. But here he was, in as loud a shirt as he'd been able to find on short notice, his face shielded by a New York Yankees baseball cap and an overlarge digital camera. The rest of the things he'd need were in the similarly oversized backpack decorated with a huge maple leaf flag. If there was anyone watching, they'd see an American tourist wandering over the Roald Dahl Plass and nothing else.

The square certainly didn't look like it housed a secret base. But the tiles near the fountain rang with a deeper sound when he stamped on them. Hollow. The fountain was still not running, probably the one concession to what had happened here mere days ago. When Methos knocked on it, it too sounded hollow. Maybe it was an airpipe? In any case there was definitely something under the Plass. Too bad it was so in the open, or the inside of the fountain would have provided a good access point. If no other opportunity presented itself, it still might.

In the end, though, he found a better entrance through a small tourist office just off the Plass. Honestly, it felt a little like walking in through the front door, but not only was the storefront boarded up, all security there seemed to be disabled. Methos could walk right in. With hindsight, that should have made him worry a little more.

The corridor from the office opened up into what had to be the heart of the base, with banks of monitors and computer consoles surrounding a central column that looked a great deal like the base of the Plass fountain.

Too many computers, dammit. If he was lucky, they stored all their information on a central server and he could just remove his file from there. But thoroughness dictated that he would still have to search the computers to see if there was a backup file on any of them. And of course he'd have to search the offices for any possible paper copy. Well, at least he had time to do it in. It was late at night and the whole building seemed deserted.

Something clinked, and Methos swung his torch around to see what had caused the sound. Nothing. Then he noticed the drips of water from the fountain. One must have struck metal. Methos shrugged and continued his search.

The nearest computer hadn't been turned off, showing a login screen. Methos hooked up his laptop and set some automated scripts looking for common back doors. Another script started a dictionary attack at the password prompt. Hey, you never knew.

The backdoor scripts came up empty really quickly, reporting that the system configuration didn't match anything they were written for. Okay, this place had slightly better security than average, then. He left the dictionary script running and started digging through the desks, hoping to find other password clues that might cut things short a little.

Halfway through a file drawer containing more random junk than actual files, the lights switched on. "I really had you figured as smarter than this," Harkness' voice sounded from somewhere on the upper level.

Methos looked up. Harkness was coming down the stairs, his gun aimed unerringly at Methos' chest. He'd taken the time to arm himself, and not just with his gun. Methos' sword hung across Harkness' back. "You got away. Why come back here, if you meant no harm in the first place?"

Methos said nothing. Instead he made good use of the better light so check his surroundings for any help in beating Harkness should it be necessary. There was at least plenty of random junk around. He straightened up.

"Don’t. Move," Harkness stopped him. He'd gotten closer, but he remained well beyond arm's reach. From where he now stood, Methos could see that Harkness was barefoot. That was a point of advantage, if he could use it. For now, he chose to obey Harkness' command.

"I asked you a question," the man said.

Methos straightened, slowly, letting his hands fall to his side. He didn't say anything.

Harkness sighed. "Not this again." Then he shot him.

--

After that, Methos really had expected to wake up in a cell again. Instead, he revived in the conference room. He'd been dumped unceremoniously onto a chair as far from the door as possible. Harkness lounged in another chair on the opposite side of the room.

"It really is in your best interest to talk to me, you know," he said as soon as Methos had revived. "If you don't, I have two options. Well, three." He started ticking them off on his fingers, keeping his eyes on Methos the whole time. "One, I just throw you back in the cells, and you stay there indefinitely. Sounds like fun to you?" He didn't even wait for Methos to shake his head.

"But in any case, that's just a temporary solution. So we get to option two: I stick you into long-term storage. Which is a cryogenic tank." Harkness himself shuddered at the thought. "If you think being stuck in a cell is bad, you're really going to love this one. Especially if you can't actually die."

He again didn't give Methos time to speak, even if Methos had been so inclined. He just continued. "Then there's the simple way, I guess. We've covered this before." Harkness looked Methos in the eye. His next words came coldly. "I kill you." Now Harkness put a finger under the hilt of Methos' sword. It had been lying on the table in front of him. He lifted it fractionally. "Assuming that the man you killed back then is like you, I'm guessing you'll stay dead if I cut your head off. Not a pretty way to die. " Harkness shook his head. "Or we avoid all of this. Convince me you're not a threat. To me, to Cardiff, to anyone. Tell me what you are, where you came from. And we can all pretend this never happened."

That took Methos by surprise. Just a little. Just enough to make him look up, raise an eyebrow. Just enough for Harkness to notice. Damn.

The man smiled, for the first time tonight. But the smile wasn't genuine. Not like it had been during their previous interrogations. Harkness was trying for the charm, but it wasn't coming. Why not? Something must have happened.
Okay, he'd bite that far. "Why?" Methos asked. "Nothing's changed. Why offer me freedom now?"

Harkness leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes for just an instant. "Believe it or not, it was always on offer. Just not as explicitly." He smiled again, and this time it was a little more genuine. "It's sort of how I got here." He opened his eyes again. "Of course, with you not even talking to demand a lawyer, how was I supposed to negotiate that? Someone who clams up that badly only indicates he has more to hide."

Harkness shook his head. "And I'm making the offer outright now, because I've got more than enough to deal with. I don't want to have to lock you in if there's no need to. I know how little fun that is. And there's been enough killing here lately. If you hadn't come back, you'd have been free already. But because you came back, I have to consider you a threat again. So. Convince me of the opposite."

Methos took a deep breath, considering his options. He couldn't tell Harkness everything, obviously. But maybe there was value in telling just enough. Adam Pierson had his days as an alias, and even if the Watchers managed to infiltrate Torchwood and get the information from that, that would still not tell them anything. He was, after all, already known as a relatively young Immortal under that name. And if Harkness was so desperately curious he was willing to break the rules of his organisation for that kind of information, well, maybe…

Very well, then. "I'm alive because I'm very good at keeping secrets," Methos began. "And leaving information about myself lying around anywhere isn't good secret keeping." He smiled at Harkness, as unthreateningly as he could. "Telling you isn't good secret keeping either." He let the smile drop. "But if it'll get me out of here with my head on my shoulders…"

He recounted the history of 'Adam Pierson', young immortal, born in the late 18th century as Benjamin Adams, all the bells and whistles. Or at least as many as necessary to come across as believable. He briefly touched on the existence of other Immortals, because he needed that to explain why he was fighting Craddock. He didn't go into the particulars of the Game, though. No need for Harkness to know about that. Enough to know that Craddock was an unpleasant bastard who got off on killing. Wasn't wrong anyway.

Harkness listened and took notes, his face carefully neutral. The only thing Methos could read off him was a brief smirk when he described his history. When Methos had finished, he let the silence stretch for a while.

"There are others," he said in the end. "Where?"

Methos shrugged. "I have no idea."

Now Harkness looked Methos straight in the eye. "Am I…?"

Ah, so that was what his curiosity was about. Too bad. Methos shook his head. "No. There are ways we can tell. You don't have any of the signs."

"What ways?"

Methos answered that one with nothing but a smile.

Harkness nodded, and let silence fall again while he studied both Methos and his notes once more. Finally, he sighed and got up. "Gut call. Okay, Ben." He took Methos sword and offered it to him, hilt first."Get out of here."

Methos accepted the sword. "Thank you." But of course he wasn't finished. He shot a glance down at the computers in the central area. "I wasn't kidding about keeping secrets, though."

Harkness actually laughed that time. "I'm sorry, Ben, but I can't let you do that." He opened his arms wide. "What if one of your fellows comes along with less peaceful intentions? We'll need that information."

He walked back to where he'd sat all through the conversation, and picked up a file folder. "I think I can give you this at least. A copy of all the information we got on you personally. " He handed the folder to Methos. "I'll keep the rest under my personal codes until it's necessary. I can promise you that much."

In the time it had taken to say that, Harkness had walked over to the door of the conference room, and was gesturing for Methos to go through it. And although his gestures were friendly, there was also no mistaking the command in them. "Come on, I'll let you out through the scenic route."

The 'scenic route' turned out to be an elevator platform right along the central column, which deposited them in front of the fountain on the Plass. Methos nodded in appreciation, hiding his confusion at how this was at all possible. "Nice view."

"It is." Harkness waved his goodbyes. "See you around, Ben. Though hopefully not too soon." And he was gone again. Huh.

Oh well, Methos was out again, and although he hadn't managed to erase their files, he had his sword back. And he had a list of what they knew about him. Methos opened the file folder. The first thing he found was a description of Ben Oudemans, an identity he'd held while studying in Leiden. Centuries before Benjamin Adams was supposed to have been born. Damn.

Harkness had known he'd been lying through his teeth. And yet he'd still let Methos go. There was more to the guy than met the eye, definitely. But, interesting as this was, getting involved was way too dangerous.

Methos walked away.