Methos slipped into the house, shrugging out of his coat, hanging it on one of the hooks behind the kitchen door. It was so early, the sun was only now beginning to lighten the blackness of the sky. It had been one of those nights when he couldn't decide if he was up early, or had stayed up late. And those were always the nights that he sought the solitude of the dark, walking in silence, whether it be the streets of Paris, or the coastline of central California.
Pouring himself a cup of the coffee he'd set to brewing before he'd left the house, Methos pulled a chair up to the wood stove, sitting down, stretching out his legs and taking a long swallow of the hot, soothing liquid, savouring the peace and quiet. The house was full of people for Christmas, and it had been unique in Methos' experience that he didn't have to hide his immortality. It should have annoyed him that all of Charlotte's mortal circle knew their secret, but the novelty of it had been far too enjoyable for him to work up anything more than a long-suffering sigh.
"Mind if I join you?" a voice asked from across the room.
Methos waved a hand at the chair next to him, Nick Fury soon joining him with his own mug of coffee. He studied the man beside him; someone who had been a significant part of Charlotte's past, and who seemed to be planning on being a part of her future. If Fury was aware of the scrutiny, he gave no sign, just sipped at his coffee.
"Think we can get her to make pizza today?" Fury asked unexpectedly.
Laughing softly, he explained, "Stark says the best pizza he ever had came from that oven." He pointed at the cast-iron stove. "Been a long time since I've had a decent pie."
Methos chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm sure Stark could convince her." A few months ago, that would have been said with bitterness, but these days, he accepted that Charlotte's BFF was a part of the package.
Fury shook his head. "He's a pain in the ass."
"I suppose, when it comes down to it, we all are, so why should he be the exception?"
"You may have a point," Fury conceded with good humour. Now it was his turn to study Methos. "What has Charlotte told you about me, how we met?"
Shrugging, Methos replied, "Not much, but then, it really wasn't necessary." At Fury's questioning look, he explained, "She doesn't follow those whom she doesn't respect and trust."
Then came an abrupt change of subject. "It must be hard, being Matthew right now."
Methos shot Fury a look, pretty sure he wasn't going to like where this was going. "Your point?"
"You've been so much more, and yet, here and now, well...."
"It suits me," Methos said tightly.
"Fair enough. But you don't seem like the sort of man who stays at home while the woman he loves travels the world, making a difference."
"Now wait just a minute...." Methos began, only to be interrupted.
"You were a doctor, more than once, from what I understand; a damn good one. I can only imagine that the modern world presents difficulties for your kind -especially for anyone wanting to be a doctor again. False identities, good false identities, are harder and harder to come by."
Methos didn't reply, taking a swallow of coffee instead. The man was right; as technology progressed, the ability to slip from one life to the next was becoming increasingly complicated. The kind of background necessary to be a physician, well, that was something else entirely.
"My organization has unique needs, Doctor Adams, and I could use a unique physician. You would have access to medical technology that only a handful of people in the world do."
Laughing softly, Methos said, "Charlotte warned me about you."
He grinned broadly. "Does that mean you're considering my offer?"
Methos narrowed his eyes. "And if I were?" He had to admit, the idea of being a doctor again was more tempting than he would have thought.
"Your life sure as hell wouldn't be boring," he declared. "But you want something more concrete, that's understandable. A crash course in modern day medical advances, along with training in technology that you would have access to nowhere else. And most importantly, to you, a real identity. You would never have to worry again about crossing a border, or having your background run by law enforcement - of any country. We take care of our own."
Looking at him sharply, Methos asked, "And is Charlotte one of your own?"
"She always will be," Fury replied quietly. "She served and sacrificed. Both her and Standish. I made sure they both had iron clad identities when they moved on."
"I won't be a pawn," Methos warned.
Snorting, Fury shook his head. "Do I look like I have a death wish? I won't lie to you, I've tried to lure her back into the fold, but she's turned me down every time. My offer to you is in no way related to that."
Nodding, Methos considered Fury's words. What he'd said before was true; Charlotte trusted the man, and trust was not something that came easily to her, much less respect. And the tantalizing prospect of what was promised tempted him. Sighing, his lips twisting into a crooked smile, he said, "Matthew's a bit of a slacker. Taking on all this will be something of a challenge for him. But I don't suppose there's any help for it."
Fury held out his hand. "I think he'll do just fine."
Methos paused, considering. "I believe you may be right," he said, taking the proffered hand and shaking it firmly. "Now, about the benefits package...."