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Whispered On The Winds

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Golden sand, aqua water, green and tan palm trees, silver shimmers along the tops of the waves rolling steadily onto the beaches -- Bora-Bora was peace and quiet, downright blissful compared to some of the trouble still roiling the planet even ten years after the end of World War II.

Methos sat in the shade of one of the palm trees reading Barbara Cartland's latest romance and making notes on how he could do it better. Even a medical student needed extra income (or at least, extra income he could explain); churning out a few romances, historical and otherwise, would do very nicely for that. Bora Bora's beaches were giving him plenty of inspiration, too.

He watched yet another muse pass by and debated getting up to go get another drink. He still hadn't decided when the brunette he'd been watching crossed paths with a redhead. He lounged more comfortably against the tree trunk to study that assured saunter and the thoroughly scandalous bikini -- by 1956 standards. It was still too much fabric for Methos, but then he missed the Roman baths.

He made a note to work that into the story, too, and kept watching her. She glanced over her shoulder at him, slowing down to do so, and Methos smiled back, his best shy college student expression. As he did, his mind kicked into overdrive.

She had turned back to look at him. She'd felt his eyes on her back, the way he'd been studying her, and turned to see why. Not a normal instinct, even if the slow, sensuous smile did a very good job of covering up her focus.

The redhead turned around again, hips swaying just a little more as she walked, transferring the motion up her spine in a slow flex and shift which was well worth watching -- and very distracting.

Methos watched her leave, holding his expression steady, and wondered again why he was worried. She wasn't immortal, and the war in the Pacific was mostly over. One Japanese straggler had been killed in the Philippines two years back, but that had been it since '50.

She still felt like a secret in a very pretty wrapping.

It was definitely time to watch his back. He'd leave early if he had to, but Methos didn't think he was her target. Assuming she had one, that was, but he suspected she did. He stuck his nose back in the book and went back to scribbling notes to himself for his latest fundraising venture.

He wasn't entirely surprised when there was a call for a doctor that night. He was even less surprised that the death looked entirely normal.

He set fingers on the man's throat purely as a formality. Even in the comfortable warmth of Bora-Bora, the skin was cooling. Dead, all right, and beautifully set up to look like a drunk who'd tripped and snapped his neck coming down wrong against a railing.

Anyone else would have believed it.

That redhead was nowhere around, not in the small crowd that had gathered or on the lantern-lit paths up the beach from the bungalow. Either her figure or her hat would have stood out among the gawkers and thrill-seekers. Methos shook his head and stood to give the expected bad news to the resort manager, completely unsurprised that she was nowhere to be seen.

Now the question was whether she suspected him of being more than he looked.

# # #

Four hours later, while his cabin was still dark, the air's movement through the room changed. Someone was looking at him. His knife was under the sheet, so Methos didn't need to move as he asked, "Do we have a problem?"

"Is he dead?" a woman asked, her voice soft and steady.

Methos turned to look at her, one eyebrow lifting in amusement. "Of course Lapointe is dead. He slipped, broke his neck, and suffocated."

She flinched at his deliberate brusqueness and harsh words. It was the right reaction for someone too young to have been a nurse in WWII and probably not old enough to have served during the Korean War either. She stood silhouetted by the light from the door and only his practiced eye let him see the way her pulse wasn't leaping in her throat.

Better he found out now how much trouble this was going to be. "Was there anything else, Miss...?"

"Leila. Should there be?" She started to lift a hand in nervousness that didn't actually exist; her breathing was too steady.

Methos held himself centered and not yet coiled as he pointed out, "We're not enemies. Shall we keep it that way?"

She paused at that, her mask thinning a little as she gave him a slow, considering look that swept from his eyes to his torso, noted the hand hidden from her, and came back up to his face. The redhead -- he had doubts her name was really Leila -- finally said, "Yes. I think we should remain... as we are. "

Methos raised an eyebrow. "Good. Then why don't you go away and I'll go to sleep. It's none of my business what happened to Dr. Lapointe." Despite himself, his skepticism over the good doctor's name came through. Whatever else the man had been, he hadn't been Swiss as he claimed: his German accent was close enough to the Swiss border, but his French had sounded like the Alsace-Lorraine region of Germany.

A smile curled along one corner of her mouth and was gone again like the breeze, like Dr. Lapointe's heartbeat and his mind. The latter might even have been as brilliant as he thought; it might explain his death.

Leila said thoughtfully, "You're very insistent that it's not your problem, you know."

"This isn't Hamlet." And no matter that Methos felt like he was watching a play within a play just now. "I just want to be sure we understand each other, Leila."

"So you're just here to read and bask in the shade." She smiled again, faintly amused. "Perhaps I'll come borrow a book tomorrow."

"When it's light, say, and we're on the beach," Methos said calmly. "Don't come back to my cabin again."

"Of course not," she agreed. "It wouldn't do my reputation any good, now would it? Thank you for reassuring me, Doctor."

"I'm not a doctor yet," Methos lied.

She only smiled and faded back out the door. He spent the rest of the night regretting that he'd come to an island with night breezes and the constant soft splash of surf. They were going to make getting any decent sleep difficult.

# # #

Methos wasn't really surprised when 'Leila' left the island two days early, just after Lapointe's death was ruled a regrettable accident. He'd actually expected her to vanish much sooner.

He was also relieved to be able to sleep more soundly.

What surprised him was waking up in the morgue a day after he'd thought she was gone. Damn it.

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