"Hours of forever, coming all together
At the crossroads of a minute.
And you and me were in it
And I never saw it coming,
Never saw it fade away
Today, today, today.... days and days"
It should have been raining. He’d done this a thousand times. More. It hardly ever rained. It was a modern conception fed by pop culture movies that rain fell at such times. Elektra and her umbrella, blocking Matt Murdock’s view. Tears of heaven falling for one beloved.
It should have been raining. It hadn’t rained for Alexa. No rain for Darius. No rain for Sean. No rain for Richie.
It should have been raining. His eyes scanned the mourners gathered like ravens at the Tower. The widow sat with her hands tight around her daughter’s. Her blue eyes were clear in their grief. A woman who had outlived two husbands now. The younger woman who sat next to her was sobbing quietly. So many years lost before she knew. He was grateful they’d had the time they had. Grateful the SUV ran out of gas.
A slide of presence along his nerves. His breath caught in anticipation and his gaze sharpened, darting through the crowd with more intensity. On the other side, the white blonde head lifted, brown eyes met his, but not the right ones. He nodded softly, green eyes dark with disappointment edging his grief. She smiled and nodded as well, looking away as tears spilled.
The minister spoke his words, but he barely heard them. Every sense was tuned, alert and waiting. Expecting. He had to come, didn’t he? How could he not? He’d expected him at the memorial service at the funeral home. Amy had looked at him expectantly, glancing over his shoulder. The light picked up the gray in her light brown hair, the lines around her eyes.
She didn’t know. He’d never found the words to tell Joe the truth. Danced around it. Joked about eternity being a very long time and they couldn’t all be the Valicourts.
Joe had bought it. He lied too well.
At the end of the service, he’d followed the procession quietly in his car, expecting to feel him any minute as they crawled along.
Amy stood and tossed earth on the coffin. Her mother followed suit, her tears finally starting. He watched the two women embrace and envied them their tears. His had dried up ten years ago.
The mourners filed past. Amy stopped to kiss his cheek and ask him to come by later in the week. Joe had left things for him.
They’d sat on the front porch last month, with a couple of beers.
“You know how to play, old man?”
He’d arched an eyebrow. “A little.”
“But you never did play for me, did you?”
“The hack never plays for the genius, Joe. It isn’t done.”
“Play for me, Methos. Please?”
He’d picked up the old guitar, running his fingers over it until something approaching a tune started to flow. He’d heard the slaves singing it in the fields of Louisiana, the forerunner of Blues, and he sang, voice soft and mournful.
Joe had tears in his eyes, when he handed it back.
“All these years….”
Methos shrugged and smiled. “I’ve lived with myself forever. I’d rather hear you.”
The guitar was his now as well as the journals. Joe wanted him to have the journals he’d written in the early years.
“Council doesn’t need them. They’ve got the electronic copies, but I figured you might appreciate them.”
He promised Amy he’d be by to check on them. He’d promised Joe to see they were cared for. Promises and promises binding him here. And another.
“I don’t know where he went, Methos. Can’t be good that I lost him.” Joe’s voice was barely a whisper, his hand shaking as it held Methos’. “But you promise me you’ll find him wherever he’s roamed off to.”
“I will, Joe. He’s just on a jaunt.”
“He writes sometimes. Always from somewhere new.”
He’d been glad to hear it. “I know. Silly postcards,” he lied.
Methos had kissed his forehead before slipping out of the room in the hospice.
The wind picked up as the procession left. Amanda went with them, after making Methos promise to meet her for dinner. More promises. Since when was he the one keeping them all? Wasn’t that MacLeod’s department? But no. The Highlander had broken his. Slipped away from them all. From him.
“I have to go. I can’t…I can’t do this anymore, Methos.”
“Your past…just when I think we’re done, we’ve covered it, it comes back.”
It always came back. And there was so very much of it. Things he’d lost that kept popping up.
“You told me it was just Kronos. That you’d changed.”
To be fair, he’d never said it was just Kronos. And he had changed. Just. Not right away.
“And then…more victims. More horrors. More innocent people sacrificed to your indifference.”
He really needed to look into checking his victims for Immortality and taking their heads then, if he ever went back to that way of life.
But he’d said that before. And he’d come back.
So Methos waited. Ten years he waited in their house a few miles from Joe’s. He’d played uncle to Joe’s grandchildren. Then godfather to his great-grandson. He’d brought presents back whenever he roamed.
And Duncan never came.
He knelt by Joe’s grave.
“He’s not coming back, Joe.” The silence whispered through him as he made his confession. “We stood together at the crossroads of a minute. A glimpse of time. And then the past found me again. I never saw it coming. Each time it did, I clung to the love he’d given me. I never saw it fade away. When it was gone, I just waited. Days and days and hours of forever, coming all together. I couldn’t tell you then, but I guess you know now anyway. He’s not coming back..” He smiled sadly to himself and stood, his last hope gone. “God speed, my friend.”
He pulled his coat around him and headed to the car as the rain started to fall.