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Dominion

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Methos wanted to close his eyes. Richie's body was lying a few feet away. Joe was staring, transfixed and horrified.

And MacLeod, MacLeod was on his knees, head bowed, holding up his katana. Asking Methos for the unthinkable.

Methos stepped carefully around him, to the side closest to the katana's hilt. He squatted beside his friend. Gently, he took the sword from Mac's hands and concealed it in his coat. He rubbed the other man's arm slowly, speaking quietly, "Duncan, we have to go. I need you to stand. Can you do that for me?"

Duncan shook his head. "No."

"Duncan, you must." Methos slid a hand under his arm, and tugged him to his feet. Duncan stumbled into him, but Methos kept him on his feet, holding him up as he'd done so many times before.

Slowly, they shuffled toward the door.

Methos turned toward Joe as they walked past. "Joe?"

There were tears in the other man's eyes, but they remained unshed. "You go. I'll take care of Richie."

Methos nodded once, and turned his attention back to Duncan.

Duncan didn't object when Methos turned toward his own place instead of the barge. Duncan didn't say a word. He didn't speak in the car or the elevator or when Methos led him to the only comfortable chair in his apartment. He didn't cry or moan or call out. He was simply quiet and still, almost like he wasn't there at all.

It was shock. Methos knew that. Duncan just needed a little time. That was all. Just some time. He'd be okay.

"How about some tea?" Methos asked, more for something to do than because he really thought Duncan would drink it.

Duncan didn't answer, but Methos filled the kettle anyway. "Earl Gray, all right? Good. You know, I hope I'm around when someone finally invents one of those replicator things, because I really want to be able to say, 'Earl Gray, hot' and just have a cup there, instantly. I know, me, Captain Picard, not exactly the same kind of guy, but still." Methos hoped the sound of his babbling was reassuring MacLeod in some way because it wasn't doing a damn thing for him.

So he stopped, which left him with nothing to do but stare at Mac, who was staring at nothing.

After what seemed like an eternity, the kettle sounded. Methos poured the water slowly, grateful to have something to do. "Sugar or honey?" he asked.

Mac didn't answer.

Methos added a little sugar and milk to both cups and carried them into the small living area. Kneeling on the floor next to Mac's chair, he put one cup on the floor and held up the other.

Mac made no move to take it.

"You should try and drink something, Duncan," he said. Not that he could think of a valid reason Duncan should drink, other than his stillness was driving Methos mad.

He started to sip the tea himself, intending to say, 'see, it's not so bad, now you try.' But then the absurdity of what he'd been about to do hit him full in the gut. Mac wasn't a child. Methos put the tea on the floor.

Reaching up, he gently brushed Duncan's hair back, away from his face. "It'll be okay, Duncan," he whispered. "I'll be here. We'll make it okay. I promise."

Duncan didn't say a word, but he nodded ever so slightly.

Methos pulled Duncan to him, resting the other man against his shoulder. Duncan kept perfectly still, not returning the embrace. The situation was hopeless, and it would only grow more so. Methos knew it. Gently stroking Duncan's back he tried to offer what comfort he could.

MacLeod would fail. They always did. Ahriman would retain his dominion over the world.

Methos would make sure of it. He always did.