"Is MacLeod here?" questioned Methos to Richie Ryan as he entered the dojo.
"Yes," said Richie, "but I wouldn't go up there."
"Oh? And why not?"
Cassandra. That one name had so much meaning for Methos. He had loved her once, but he didn't save her from Kronos, and she hated him for that, among other things. Methos hadn't always been "one of the good guys." In fact, he had once brought terror to the hearts of men as an evil horseman. Those days were long behind him, but the memories still lingered. He would be paying penance for his crimes all of his immortal life.
"Cassandra," said Methos, breaking away from his thoughts. "Then just have Mac call me at Joe's, would you?"
"Sure," replied Richie. "No problem." But inside Richie thought "Now leave? You've caused enough trouble with your lies." Richie had yet to find out the whole story of what had happened after Methos' reunion with the horseman, but he did know that the ordeal had caused his good friend Duncan MacLeod a lot of heart ache. You see, Mac didn't trust people easily, but he had trusted Methos, only to be betrayed. Now Methos was acting like nothing had happened, but you could cut the tension between Mac and Methos with a knife, or sword, I should say. Who am I? How do I know so much? I'm a Watcher (secret society of men and women who observe and record the lives of immortals, but aren't supposed to interfere). Duncan MacLeod gave me a job at the dojo as a favor to Joe Dawson. Dawson is MacLeod's Watcher, but over the years, they have become friends.
Getting back on track, this Methos character had been posing as Adam Pierson, a young Watcher. Do the Watchers know he's immortal? Are you kidding me? They'd have him killed if the knew mild-mannered Adam was really the elusive 5,000 year old Methos. Joe and I are the only Watchers who know, and Joe is Methos' friend. Why don't I tell the rest of the Watchers? A favor to Joe. Favors sure run rampant around here.
Well, Methos left the dojo then, and I thought I'd have a quiet day of sweeping the floors. Boy, was I wrong. "Hey kid," Richie said, "Come here."
"Who me?" I replied. Why would Richie be talking to me.
"No, the other kid with the broom and book," he responded sarcastically.
"Umm, okay," I replied, and walked towards him.
"You're new here, aren't you?" He inquired .
"Yes," I answered, "Mr. MacLeod just hired me."
"I'm Richie Ryan," he said, though I already knew. "Nice to meet you." Then he extended his arm for a handshake. I was a little leary of hom still, but I figured a handshake couldn't do any harm, so I reached for his hand. Just as we made contact, he twisted my arm around, causeing me to fall to the ground in pain. He then pulled my sleeve up(I should have expected as much) and revealed the Watcher tattoo on my wrist.
"Does 'Mr. MacLeod' know you're a Watcher?" he questioned gruffly.
"Yes," I hissed, "could you keep it down? I don't want the world to know."
"Why don't we just go up and ask Mac if he knows you're a Watcher." It was more of a demand than a request, but I still answered "sure." We entered the elevator that led to MacLeod's loft. I'd been there before, when I had my job interview, but it still awed and impressed me. It was very nice, as far as lofts go, and it was nicely furnished as well; Leather couch, expensive antiques; the works. I suppose it's what you'd expect of a 405 year old immortal; an eclectic blend of old style and new.
"Rich," said MacLeod, when we arrived, "want to release your death grip on Gavin? He's a friend."
"He's a Watcher, Mac," replied Richie.
"And so's Joe," retorted MacLeod.
"I'm not you're Watcher," I added after Richie released me, "I'm on research, and I needed an extra job."
"Aren't you a little young to be a Watcher?" questioned Richie, "Just how old are you?"
Since I'd already been associating with immortals, and I could lose my job for that, I figured I might as well tell them the rest. "I'm nearly 17," I began. "About a year ago, I discovered some information about Watchers and Immortals. I was to dangerous for them to let go, and I guess they didn't want to kill me, so they told me everything, and I became a Watcher." Just then I noticed Cassandra, so I didn't hear Richie's next question. "What?" I asked, when I realized that he had said something.
"I said what's in your notebook," he repeated.
"Nothing," I answered sharply, clutching my notebook closer.
"Richie," said MacLeod, "it's his notebook; leave him alone."
"But Mac," began Richie.
"Richie," MacLeod warned sharply, giving him that 400 year old glare.
"Fine," said Richie, "I can see when I'm not wanted."
"I'm glad," said MacLeod jokingly, but Richie was mad.
"By the way," said Richie, when he had reached the alternate door of the loft, "Methos came; he wants you to call him at Joe's." With that, he left.
"Methos?!" questioned Cassandra sharply. "You still associate with him?!" She almost spat the words. Cassandra was steaming. I think she even forgot that I was in the room, because MacLeod said,
"Can we talk about this later," with a nod towards me. I took that as my cue to leave, though I would've liked to hear the rest of the conversation. As I neared the exit, MacLeod said "You can have the rest of the day off." I nodded in thanks, then left. I was wondering what to do with my new found day off when I decided to head over to Joe's bar. Even though I was underage, Joe had let me come in to watch the bands perform before. I hoped Joe was working, and that he'd let me in. I went around to the back of the bar, in case there were cops inside, and knocked on the door that led to Joe's office. The door opened and I found myself face to face with the oldest living immortal.
"Can I help you?" he questioned in an accent that sounded English.
"Gavin Scott," I said, rolling my sleave up to show the tattooed Watcher's symbol, "I'm here to see Joe."
"Come on in," he said, "I'm Adam Pierson."
"I know," I replied. "You work on the Methos Chronicles, right? I'm in research, but I'm training for field work."
"Yes," he answered, "The Methos Chronicles, if he even exists."
"Oh, I think he does," I said cryptically, giving "Adam" a look he couldn't quite decipher.
"Right," he said, "I'll go get Joe."
"Hiya Joe," I said when he arrived without Methos.
"Hi< Gavin. What's going on?"
"Not much. MacLeod gave me the day off, so I thought I'd stop by. Where's Adam?" I inquired.
"Adam thought you knew more than you were saying," Joe answered.
"Who, me?" I questioned, grinning slyly. "Say Joe, are there any good bands here today?"
"As a matter of fact," he said, "I'm playing some."
"Oh yeah?" I questioned. I knew that Joe played guitar, but I had never heard him. "Can you get me in? I'd like to hear you."
Joe nodded his head. "Probably," he said. "Depends on who comes."
I did get to hear Dawson play, and it was quite good. Great, really. After I left the bar, I headed back to DeSalvo's Gym, hoping to put in a workout. When I arrived, I found Richie in the process of a kata, performing it with a practice katana that usually hung on the wall. He stopped upon hearing me enter, though I don't think I made any noise. "Hi Gavin. Uh, I'm sorry about earlier," he said. He had obviously had a talk with MacLeod. "I was quick to judge. It's just that after the Horton incident, I'm wary of most Watchers."
"It's alright," I said, to my surprise really meaning it, "Horton was a disgrace to us. Because of him, we've lost a lot of Watchers. I don't mean just the Renegade oned; after Galati's revenge, many of those who were left resigned."
"You don't know my full name," I said, remembering my manners. "I'm Gavin Scott." I offered my hand for him to shake. As soon as I felt his grasp, I trapped his hand to my chest, and stepped back. This hyper extended his wrist, and he fell to the floor.
"I deserved that," he said, smiling.
"Now we're even," I said, returning the smile.
"Hey," he began, "do you want to learn this kata?" When I nodded my head in affirmation, he continued. "Get the, what's that Mac calls it? Oh yeah, the wakizashi off of the wall." I walked to the wall to retrieve the sword. It was an exact copy of the katana in Richie's hands, except it was shorter in legnth. Below it was a smaller blade; a tanto.
It was late when I left the gym. I sighed as I began the walk back to the apartment I shared with my guardian. He was probably out partying. "Some guardian," I thought. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't see the car until it was upon me. I turned my head to hear the roaring of a motor, and was blinded by the headlights as I felt a searing pain. Then I died.
The next thing I saw was a beautiful woman. "An angel," I thought, "I must be in heaven." Then I realized that I knew this woman; it was Cassandra! "I was ran over by a car?" I questioned, barely audible.
Cassandra nodded, confirming my suspicions. "Mac, Richard, he's come to," she said.
"I'm immortal?!" I croaked, while checking all my body parts to make sure they were in tact.
"Welcome to the game," said Richie.
"Don't lose your head," quipped MacLeod. Then I passed out.
I woke up the next morning to find Duncan in his kitchen frying eggs. "Do you want an egg?"he asked me when realizing I was awake.
"No thanks," I said,"just a glass of orange juice please."
"You can change in to some of my clothes, if you'd like. Yours were pretty messed up." I looked down to see I was wearing a robe, probably MacLeod's.
"It wasn't a dream then," I said, "I am immortal."
"Ues," he said. "Now get changed. If you need to go anywhere, Richie or I will accompany you. It wouldn't do for you to lose your head on the first day."
"Yeah, thanks," I said, smiling wryly. After getting a black muscle shirt and sweat pants from a buera, I went into the bathroom and took a brief shower to wash away the dried blood, "mine," I thought, and changed clothes. Looking in the mirror, I tied back my hair (I have blondish-brownish shoulder length hair that is naturally wavy). I then examined my reflection. I was a little shorter than I would have liked, and had hoped to grow a little before reaching full adulthood. I couldn't now. "At least I can get stronger," I thought, flexing a muscle.
After breakfast, MacLeod asked if there was anywhere I needed to go, and I told him I'd like to put in a workout first. "Alright," he said, "Richie should be here sonn, let him know if you need to go somewhere." I promised I would, and went downstairs to exercise. After I finished stretching, I felt something. Being a Watcher, I knew that this was the was the feeling immortals had to sense each others presence. I had felt it earlier with MacLeod, and the night before with Cassandra, though I didn't realize it at the time. I figured it was Richie, but to be sage I reached or the katana on the wall. Much to my relief, it was Richie. We worked out together for an hour, and then he said, "Are you wearing Mac's clothes?" I nodded sheepishly.
"I haven't gone to my apartment yet.
"Do you want me to drive you over?" he questioned. "Maybe Mac'll let us take the thunderbird.
"Alright!" I exclaimed, as I'd been wanting to look at MacLeod's '58 T-Bird. "How's the engine run?"
"Purrs like a kitten," said Richie, sharing my enthusiasm. Duncan did let us borrow the car, albeit with very strict warnings. When we reached the apartment, I found that my guardian, Jeff, wasn't home. That didn't surprise me, as he often spent the night at friends. He wasn't much of a guardian, and I pretty much lived on my own, but that suited me fine. I brushed my teeth, changed my clothes, and threw the borrowed clothes in the washer. I could tell Richie wasn't thrilled about chaperoning me all day, so I said, "Could you just drop me off at Joe's? I'll be fine, there're a lot of mortals there." When I saw he wasn't sure, I continued, "I'll be fine. Anyone who takes my head, wouldn't get much, and you can whack 'em for me if they do."
"Alright," he said, "Mac might kill me for this, but I know what it's like. Here," he paused, removing his rapier from his coat, "take this."
"I can't leave you defenseless," I protested.
"It's a short drive from Joe's to Macs, and once there I'll borrow a sword until you return. I'd feel better knowing you can at least defend yourself."
"Okay," I acquiesced, "let me get a coat." I didn't have a trench coat so I looked for one long enough to cover the length of the sword. I found my old black raincoat, and since a storm was forecasted, I supposed it would be okay to wear. When I came down to the thunderbird, where Richie said he'd wait, he smiled at my appearance. "I need to get a duster," I said. He agreed.
When Richie dropped me off at Joe's, I debated which entrance to use. If I used the back, I'd be alone in an alley, and if an immortal came…
If I used the front, and a cop was there, I could get arrested. Better to go to jail then lose a head, I thought, deciding on the main entrance. I knew the guard at the door, Harry. I need to see Joe," I told him.
"Hold on a minute," he said, going to get permission to let me enter.
While I was waiting I felt the presence of another immortal. My hand traveled to the inside of my coat, my fingers resting on the hilt of Richie's sword. Knowing it was there gave me comfort, even if I didn't know how to use it. It was probably Methos, but what if it wasn't? Was this how immortality was going to be? Each day wondering if this would be your last. "No," I told myself, "Once I learned, and mastered swordplay, I will feel confident, and not worry as much. But until then…
Luckily, I didn't have to face an immortal challenge today. When Methos stepped out of the backroom, eyes alert for the possible danger of another immortal. I breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hello Gavin," he said, motioning me to join him at the bar, "looks as if we're in the same predicament," he said, meaning being and immortal and a Watcher. Except I'm not 5,000 years old, I thought. "Mmm, I suppose so," was all I said, sitting down.
"You won't tell anyone?" he questioned urgently.
"Geez Methos," I whispered angrily, "I've known you little sectey for months, and I ahven't told anybody."
"What?"he asked, clearly perturbed. Then he lowered his voice. "Joe told you." It wasn't so much an accusation as a statement of fact.
"Joe had to tell me," I said, "I figured out you were immortal."
"It doesn't matter how. Don't be mad at Joe, he did you a favor."
"How's that?" he questioned, not mad now. At least he didn't show it…after 5,000 years, though, you probably learn to control your emotions.
"If he wouldn't have told me, I might have gone to headquarters with it. But he did, and I've kept your secret ever since."
"Should I say thank you?" he said sarcastically, "Or, " he said more seriously, "should I take your head to ensure that my secret is safe?"
"I wouldn't do that," I said, not sure if he was joking or serious.
"Why's that?" he questioned amusedly.
"Because MacLeod would cut off your head," I said with as much menace as I could muster.
"He would try anyways...I don't really want ours or his head anyway. MacLeod is one I wouldn't mind losing the prize to. So," Methos continued,
"What do I owe you?"
"I don't want anything from you,' I almost said, then thought better of it. "I want you to teach me how to survive the game," I said.<
"What? I haven't had a student in over," he paused, remembering centuries gone bye, "300 years."
"It would be the perfect arrangement," I argued. "I'm at MacLeod's all day, and the powers that be might be suspicious if I stayed much later. I could probably get transferred to the Methos Chronicles,
and that'd give me an excuse to visit you..."
"Hey," he said sardonically, "Might as well move in with me."
"You know," I said, "that might not be such a bad idea..."
"No. Definitely not," said Methos.
"Well I'd hate to resort to black mail or threats..."
"You are an immortal Watcher also, do not forget," commented Methos."
"Yes, but I just turned immortal. If you deciede to tell my secret, I would have time to tell them first.
You, on the otherhand, are METHOS."
"Keep your vocie down," he said, then, "Fine. We'll try it out for a wekk. If it doesn't work out, you leave, and never tell my little secret. And if you do, you will be missing a head."
I went home to get my stuff, and to tell Jeff I was leaving, but Jeff wasn't there.
I called his girlfriend, Tina's, place, trying to find him.
"Didn't you hear?" she said. "Jeffy was in a car accident and is in the hospital.
I hung up the phone and dialed the number for DeSalvo's dojo.
"DeSalvo's Gym, Richard H. Ryan speaking."
"Hey Richie. Gavin here. Can you five me a lift? I'll give your sword back."
"Sure Gav, where to?"
"The hospital. I'll explain on the way."
"Could you tell me what room Jeffery Wright is in?" I asked the desk nurse.
"He's in intesnive care. Are you family?"
"Yes, I'm Gavin Scott, he's my guardian."
When I got to his floor, and told the nurese there, she sighed in relief.
"He's been calling for you all day. He keeps saying 'Gavin, I killed Gavin'."
I looked at Richie "Well, I'm obviously alive, aren't I? Matbe if he sees me, he'll calm down."
"He's been sleeping on and off," said the nurese, "maybe he's awake now."
"I'll see," I said, stepping into the toom. "Jeff? You awake buddy?"
"Gavin, man? Am I seen' a ghost?"
"No, Jeff, I'm a living-breathing-walking Gavin," I smiled.
"But I hit you with my car," Jeff protested.
"No, I saw it Jeff," I lied, "I was on the sidewalk and you hit a trash can."
"A trash can? You sure?" he questioned dubiously.
"Well I'm standing here, aren't I? Of course it was a trash can," I insisted.
"Now you just lay there and rest. Don't worry about me; I'm staying with a friend, okay?" But Jeff was already asleep.
When Richie and I were back in the car, I told him, "Turns ou it was Jeff who'killed' me." Richie nodded, not sure if he was supposed to respond. "Can you drop me at Methos'?" I questioned, breaking the silence. "I'm going to be staying there for a bit."
It was dusk when I arrived at Methos' and rang the door bell.
II felt his presence before he opend the door, as I knew Methos felt mine. It was an immortal's early warning system, to keep the game fair.
"Oh, it's you," he said upon opening the door. "I thought you might've forgotten."
"Not a chance,"I smiled, "roomie..." Methos gave me a warning glance, and I shut up. A little teasing was not worth losing my head over.
"I'm too old for this," he mumbled.
"So, where do I sleep?" I questioned, changing the subject.
"Anywhere but my bed," Methos said.
"Well, do you have another bed?" I asked.
I spent that night on the floor, and many nights thereafter. Methos had just gotten the flat in the states, and had yet to purchase a coudch. Eventually he
got one, but that was two months later.
The next morning, I went to my job at DeSalvo's Gym. I swepy the floors, then wiped down the machines, and then Duncan came down.
"Grab a sword," he said,"We'll practice."
After a long work out and listenting to Mac's critiscism, I was exhausted.
I took a quick shower, borrowed a sword from MacLeod (just in case!), and headed to the Watcher head quarters to do my research job. Then I went "home" to more working- out.
Not just with a sword thoug. Methos taught me the rules, and the tactics needed to win.
This lesson was about nkowing who to kill.
"That's easy," I said, "evil immortals."
"Ah," he said, "but how do you tell who is evil?"
He had me stumped.
"You can't divide the world up between good and evil," he continued, "It's not that simple.
We are all both, good and evil, We have rage and compassion, we have love and hate- murder and forgiveness."
That was basically my daily routine-work at the dojo, with either Richie or macLeod giving me a lesson, work with the Watchers, and lessons with Methos.
But none of what they taught me could have prepared me for my first encounter with an unknown immortal.
I was walking to Adam's from Watcher headquarters when I felt the "buzz." I looked around and saw a big Aryan guy- blonde hair-blue eyes-huge- pulling out a sword.
"I am Fredreich Keiser," he said.
"Nice to meet you," I said. I pulled up the hood on my sweatshirt, and looked about for Keiser's watcher. It wouldn't do for him/her to recognize me.
"I challenge you to immortal combat," said Keiser.
"Uh, couldn't we just go get a couplea beers?" I pleaded.
He laughed an evil, menacing laugh, and I bolted. I ran and ran and ran, even agter Keiser stopped following me. I ran all the way to Methos' and banged on the oor.
"Do you want to knock a bit louder?" He asked, opening the door "I don't think they heard you in Florida."
"Another immortal," I gasped.
"Yes, there are bound to be," he said, then, seeing how panicked I was, "Name?"
"Keiser, Frederick." I resonded.
"I think it was a broad sword."
"You think? You really should know your swords if you want to be a field agen," Methos said.
"Sorry," I replied meekly.
"Alright. You've got two choices: Run, and he'll probably find you," he said.
"Or?" I questioned.
"Or," he continued, "find him first, and you'll have the upper hand."
"What about his Watcher," I demanded.
"I'll take care of that," he said mischieviously, "But first, you're going to need something."
"What?" I asked wondering what the old man had in mind.
"Guess," he said, holding out a long, skinny case.
"My own sword?" I guessed.
"Bright boy," he said, "It's a black braided tachi. I picked it up in Japan."
"Thanks," I said.
"I wasn't using it." Methos shrugged. "Now let's see if we can find your new friend." He got out his lap-top, and accessed
the Watcher data base. "Ah, here we are...Fredreich Keiser. Born in 1890 in Germany...soldire in both world wars...came to the U.S. in 1975
and started a cult of skin heads (I'm paraphrasing, of course)...current residence," he smiled, "Hilton Hotel, in this very city."
"Can I beat him?" I asked- the question of the day.
"I think so. As long as you don't get sloppy. You've been
training for over 3 months, under three teachers, one of them the somewhat famous Methos," he smiled.
I worked out extra hard with Mac and Richie that day, though I didn't tell them why. I think
MacLeod suspected something when I asked him to teach me trick moves. He didn't say anything if he did, though.
Cassandra dropped in at the dojo, and motioned for me.
"Good luck," she whispered.
"How do you know?!" I exclaimed.
She simplt shrugged. She kissed me on the cheek, then went upstairs to wait for Duncan.
"A little too old for you, Gavin," I reminded myself.
I went to my research job a bit preoccupied. Methos was there, but we couldn't talk about what was bothering me.
After work, I wnet to the Hilton. I sensed Keiser as he came out of the front entrance. I waited until he saw me, then walked to a secluded alley.
"Decided to take up my offer, boy?" he snidely questioned, revealing his sword.
"Unless you want those beers," I said drawing my own sword. "I am Gavin Scott."
I sure hoped Methos had taked care of Fredreich's Watcher then.
"En Guarde, you fool," I said, imitating Richie. During the fight I thought of everything Duncan, Richie, and Methos had
taught me, combining it to form a style uniquely my own. The battle lasted at least half an hour; we were pretty evenly matched.
Then, Keiser dropped his guard, and I ran him through."
"There can be only one," I said. I removed my sword, lifting it above my head, and brought it down in one swift, decapitating, stroke.
Methos had told me about the quickening, but you don't know what it is until you actually experience it. It was amazing; a mixture of pain and pleasure. While it gives you your opponents
knowledge and energy, it exhausts you completely. I lifted my arms in the ait,
bringing my sword above, it becoming a conduit for the electricity surging in the air.
I droppped to my knees, planting the sword in the ground to give me balance.
I had taken my first head.
When I got home, Methos wasn't there yet. I stayed awake until he came back. He smiled when he saw me alive.BACK
"Now," he said, "you are ready to go out on your own. And, I get my house back."
I decided to head to Europe- see the world, but that's another story. In case you're wondering how Methos deviated Keiser's watcher, I asked him.
"She owed me a favor," he said.