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Paving the Road To Hell

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"You know him?" Methos picked up the framed photo from its place on the book shelves across from her desk. It wasn't the only photo there; her office was peppered with photographs, most of them taken by Ezra, of the vineyard, her staff, friends, and clients at various winery and charitable events. No, it wasn't the only photo there, but of course, it was the one Methos picked out from all the others. "I didn't realize your wine was that popular," he said with a grin. "Having a man like Tony Stark as a customer must be a feather in your cap."

Charlotte looked at the photo, it was of her and Tony at the charity auction just before Tony had gone to Afghanistan. She swallowed back the emotion that event still had the power to overwhelm her with. "Yes, he's one of my most important clients," she heard herself saying. Why had she said that? Why had she avoided ever mentioning her friendship with Tony to Methos in the weeks he'd been back in her life? You know why! The truth was, she dreaded Tony and Methos ever meeting. They'd despise one another, each for his own reasons, and when it came down to it, she was a coward. She just wanted a few weeks, maybe a few months, of normal, before she had to try and juggle her best friend and her lover and the two dominant personalities that would never ever mesh.

She took a deep breath. It was time, time to tell Methos the truth. But his next words stopped her good intentions dead in their tracks.

"The man's a fool," Methos said witheringly. "'I am Iron Man' – did it ever occur to the idiot that he was painting a target on the back of everyone close to him? Though I doubt there are many that would fall into that category." He shook his head, looking at the photo, not noticing the momentary distress on Charlotte's face before she carefully schooled her expression. "I'm just thankful he's only a customer of yours."

"He…," she began, only to be interrupted by an oblivious Methos.

"Can you imagine?" He chuckled.

"Imagine what?"

"You traveling in those circles," he explained. "Yachts, sipping champagne with the idle rich, parties in Monte Carlo with the Jet Set, drunken Beverly Hills orgies – if the tabloid reports are to be believed; you hate that sort of thing."

She felt her resolve slipping away. There would be time later, to tell Methos about Tony. After all, it wasn't as if Tony was going to unexpectedly appear on her doorstep anytime soon, now was he?

End (for now)