It was a regular evening at Joe's. After twenty years the bar had become a feature in Seacouver's night scene that most people couldn't imagine not being there. The owner, bartender, and blues musician extraordinaire Joe Dawson might be close to retirement age but he wouldn't think for one moment about actually doing so. He loved the club, he loved his music, and he loved his regulars – even those that tended to disappear for a couple of years at a time without any hint or explanation only to appear again out of the blue acting as if nothing had happened. Especially those regulars if he was honest with himself.
The July heat was pressing down hard on the city and Joe was grateful for the relatively cool air that blew in from the ocean. At the bar a terribly familiar lean frame huddled over a bottle of beer and Joe smiled as he went over to pass “Garrett Myles” another bottle. He had long since given up on running a tab on any of Methos' aliases. That was the one thing that never seemed to change about the old man, he was a terribly cheap bastard. Besides, “Garrett” was a young student of theatre and certainly couldn't afford the European brew as anything but a gift from his generous “uncle”.
Methos had suddenly reappeared after 3 years, introduced his new persona and had never uttered a word about what he'd done in the meantime. That had been two months ago. Ever since that day Methos and McLeod (who had only returned from a longer stay in Scotland the week before), met at least once a week here in his bar, drinking, talking, slowly reintroducing themselves to each other.
At first Joe had been worried. Methos seemed sullen, almost depressed, his drinking suddenly taken on an air of desperation that it had seldom held before. But slowly the old man worked his way out of whatever hole he had been lost in and became more and more his old self. And MacLeod obviously had his part in that. As much as Methos complained that he never even knew the meaning of stress-induced headaches before he met the Highlander, the younger Immortal and his familiarity helped to calm the old man. Joe was sure his own presence helped too, but Duncan, well it was different with them both being immortal.
Methos took the new bottle with a “thanks” and a smile.
“Mac's late tonight, huh?”
The old man leaned back on his barstool. “I'm no overzealous mother hen, Joe. He probably just had a run in with a bunch of tourists hopelessly lost and he HAD to play the knight in shining armour. Or Amanda dropped in for a quick romp. She hasn't done so this decade, so she's overdue for a visit.”
“You're probably right, it's just I get worried. It might have been a while but he's still the same basic trouble magnet.” Joe poured himself a generous whiskey. He wasn't scheduled to play tonight and he wasn't the kind of man who let a friend drink alone. “So how's that play coming along?”
“Ah you know, modern approach, very artful and all that. Don't ask me why, but apparently I'm the perfect Ophelia and I need to be naked in the drowning scene.”
“I wasn't even aware there WAS a drowning scene on stage.” Joe wasn't easy to bewilder.
Methos snorted. “See you immediately saw the problem with... that.” Methos' voice trailed off as his eyes darted to the entrance. He was expecting the Highlander so there was no real surprise. And yet each and every time he felt the buzz, a part of him was ready to bolt in a heartbeat.
But indeed it was only MacLeod who entered, a bit disgruntled looking maybe but without any unwelcome surprises such as another Immortal or obvious traces of a fight.
Joe had Mac's whiskey already ready and waiting when the immortal Scot reached the bar.
“I swear – kids these days.” MacLeod took the glass and took a careful sip, savouring the taste.
“What happened?” Joe immediately went into watcher mode. Although he was officially retired from field work, he was still MacLeod's chronicler after all.
“Some kid, I guess it hasn't even been a decade since his first death, approached me over at High Street walked up straight up to me and asked me if I was Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. When I told him, that was I indeed, he told me, he would execute me for murdering Thomas Kaczmareck. I'm not to keen on killing some kid who tries to avenge his teacher, so I tried to talk some sense into him, but he attacked.”
“So you took his head? You look mighty good for taking a quickening.”
“Na, the kid fled. My heart wasn't in it, so I let him go. It's hardly his fault his teacher was a murderous bastard.”
Methos shook his head. “One of these days that's going to come back and bite you in the ass you know?”
“I'll deal with it when it comes to that, besides, since when are you so keen on taking heads?”
“I'm also not keen on stupidity by the ways of sentimentality, but you won't listen to my wise words anyway, so why do I even bother? As you said 'kids these days'.”