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Mightier than the Sword

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Methos felt the buzz and checked his watch. Almost four, which meant it was probably Duncan. He kept his sword at his side as the Immortal knocked, then knocked again. A challenger wouldn't stop to knock, but Methos hadn't reached five thousand years without developing a healthy touch of paranoia.

There was the unmistakeable sound of keys in the lock, then the Immortal stepped through.

"Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," said Methos, smiling. Then, because he couldn't resist, he pulled a can from the ice box next to him. "Have a beer."

Connor MacLeod looked him up and down with sharp eyes. "I was expecting Duncan," he said.

"He was supposed to be back half an hour ago," said Methos.

On cue, the phone started ringing. Methos gave it a second, then reached for the receiver. He kept his eyes on Connor. "Adam."

"It's Duncan. Look, I know I said I'd be back by three-thirty but I'm stuck in traffic. I don't know how much longer it'll be, but the radio says it could be up to an hour."

"That's too bad," said Methos. "Your cousin's here."

"Connor?" said Duncan, his accent coming out stronger on the 'r'. "Will ye put him on?"

Methos handed over the receiver.

Connor asked a few questions in Gaelic, reassuring himself that Duncan was alive and well and that "Adam" was expected to be in the barge.

Connor hung up the call and tossed the receiver back to Methos, who caught it in his left hand before he could think about it.

"Are you my cousin's student?" asked Connor. He had an uncanny ability to make every question sound like it was two steps away from being a threat.

Methos weighed the entertainment value in seeing how long he could string Connor MacLeod along against the potential danger to his well-being once Connor MacLeod found out the truth. Given the charade would only last a maximum of an hour until Duncan got home and made a mess of things, it didn't seem worth it. "No," he said. "I'm just a friend."

"Hm," said Connor. "How did you meet?"

"Kalas was coming for my head," said Methos. "Your cousin helped me out. I am – was – a Watcher, assigned to the Methos Chronicle."

Connor's eyes narrowed. "What do you want with Methos?"

Methos affected a look of surprise, then put his hands up. "I don't want his head! I'm an academic, not a fighter." He gave Connor a moment to process that, then continued, "Did Ramirez ever mention him? I have some records from ancient Egypt that could be about Ramirez, but it's never been confirmed."

Gaze turned inward for a moment, Connor said, "Ramirez only said you couldn't get to that age by being a fighter – you had to be smart, too. I was never sure he wasn't making it up just to prove a point."

That sounded like Ramirez. Methos smiled. "It could have been both. My teacher told me the same thing." He spread his hands wide. "Can you imagine meeting him? All that knowledge."

Connor's brows raised, then lowered. "Does Duncan think you're a new Immortal?" he asked. "I can tell you're not. Most Immortals want me to think they are older than they are. You want me to believe you are younger."

"No," said Methos. He smiled wryly. "No, Duncan knows all my secrets."

Connor gave him a shark's smile. "Somehow I doubt that."

"Well, all the big ones," said Methos.