It is the eve of the Apocalypse, though few people know this. On a bridge overlooking a river, and a glittering building of steel and glass, stands a man. He is tall and lean, with a pale face and a nose that lends the term classic to his visage.
He has stood there alone for maybe an hour, but that will soon change. From the west, walking up the slight incline, comes another man, not as tall, not as lean. As he walks up, to stand beside the first man, his face is revealed as a wholly ordinary one. So ordinary, in fact, that you would be a fool to trust it, even though you can.
"Hullo," he says, voice British and pleasant to the ear.
"Coming to watch the beginning of the end?" the first man, in more ways than one, asks. His accent might be called British as well, for all the good it would do you.
"I am the Watcher," the other replies, unapologetic, but not confrontational.
"So you are," the first acknowledges.
They stand silently for a long while, though what could be so interesting about this particular view is anyone's guess.
"I thought there would be horses," the Youngest says, breaking the silence.
"You are too late for that," the Eldest replies. "The Harbingers of the Apocalypse have come and gone, but one left a gift behind."
"Pestilence," something sad, yet accepting, in the tone.
The silence reigns once more after that, two pairs of eyes following the ripples of the stream, each pair seeing things in its depths that no mortal could fathom. Eons pass unnoticed.
"You do not need to be here, Old One," the first finally gifts the other. For it is a gift, albeit of a different kind.
"I thought you could use some company," the other replies, smiling slightly.
"Think your presence will change my mind?" A predator's grin.
"I am not that young," the one who lacks millennia of years, yet retains generations worth of wisdom, admonishes gently.
"And so you are not," the Ancient relents; for he is truly ancient, and what wisdom he has he has lived; each day of suffering and sorrow, each day of wonder and joy.
A few more moments pass in silence. Hours even, though hours are but moments for these two. A few more destinies are changed, sealed, and then changed again.
"Not to be presumptions, milord," the younger invites to another dance of words.
"Not your lord, Watcher," the older replies, a gentle admonishment in return. "Your lords have also come and gone, and my watchers are far from here. Call me Methos." Another gift.
"Methos," the other acknowledges, though slight reverence now coloring his tone. For the Ancient is ancient beyond belief, the truest Lord of the Earth. And the Watcher is merely a watcher now, and so it is said that he shall ever be.
"Methos, you do not need to be here either." Entreating, almost begging.
"Ah, but I must, child," the Ancient replies kindly, moving to place one hand on a shoulder that no one would ever guess to have once carried the fate of the world.
"But what good will it do?"
"I am a watcher too, my friend, in my own way."
"So you regret this?"
The ancient man squeezes gently before letting go of his companion. A warning or a comfort - to him it would be both.
"Civilizations rise and fall," he replies. "And this one is due for some change."
Light flickers in the darkness, not more than a fraction of a second, before an explosion shatters the glass of the building they both watch so intently. The sound is still loud, even as they stand a mile away, but perhaps not loud enough for the impact it will have on the world.
Old One and Ancient stand side by side, watching the flames and the smoke, hearing sirens that are already too late.
"I am become Death," the younger murmurs, too low for human ears.
"You already have a title Watcher, let me keep mine," Methos says, patting his companion on the shoulder before turning away toward the east.
"What will happen now?" the Youngest of the Old calls after him.
"Some will live. Some will grow stronger. This is another day," Methos says, as the red of morning burns over his head. "Now, humanity must fight." He turns back toward the coming dawn, his long coat flowing up like wings in the sudden breeze.
"Don't be a stranger, Methos," the one always left behind mutters.
"You'll always know where to find me, Will," an impossible voice warms his soul.