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WIP Amnesty: Sydney Opera House fic

Fandom: Highlander
Characters: Duncan MacLeod, Methos
Summary: MacLeod unexpectedly runs into an old friend.
Ratings: PG
Author's Notes: I'm posting this for the wip_amnesty weekend. It is likely to remain forever unfinished.
Disclaimer The concepts and characters herein are the property of Davis/Panzer Productions. No harm, no foul, no money changing hands.

June 2020

As the applause quieted to murmurs and the rustling sound of people leaving their seats, Duncan MacLeod yawned and stretched. He'd just gotten into Sydney this afternoon, and had decided to check out the rebuilt Sydney Opera House on impulse. The opera had been sold out, but he'd gotten a good seat in the Concert Hall for a performance of the works of Luciano Berio. The composer wasn't to his usual tastes, and a few of the shorter pieces had been irritating. But the way Berio had woven poetry and folk music into the orchestral score of Coro was truly moving.

MacLeod decided to grab some coffee during the intermission to fight off his jet lag. When he reached the foyer he sensed the presence of another Immortal. MacLeod searched methodically through the crowd. You never knew what you would find at the other end of a buzz. It could be a cautious stranger, an old friend, or a fight to the death. The wash of adrenaline woke him up nicely. Somewhere nearby there should be another man or woman, with their head up and body tense, on a reciprocal hunt.

Instead, he caught a glimpse of a lanky figure slouched in a familiar posture. Methos. Methos! He hadn't seen the man in over a decade.

Methos turned casually, disguising his search. He looked young, with hair jelled up into soft spikes and a boxy black suit like those worn by trendy college students. It didn't fit him very well. Perhaps it was borrowed? Mac felt his mouth stretch into a wide grin as he moved to greet his friend.

"It's good to see you!" he began, careful not to use Methos's name in such a crowded place.

Methos glanced around, and then replied with polite confusion, "Have we met?"

MacLeod's brain stumbled. What was Methos playing at now?

Methos craned to peer over MacLeod's shoulder. "Ah," he said cheerfully, "you'll have to excuse me. I've just spotted my friend over there."

As he brushed past, MacLeod reached out a hand to stop him, and then paused as the barest whisper reached his ears, "Bistro Mozart, after the performance."

MacLeod turned to watch Methos greet a tanned young woman in a slinky black dress. The two of them walked down the stairs into the Concert Hall. When MacLeod followed them through the entrance a minute later, he couldn't spot them in the crowd of people moving towards their seats.

MacLeod considered Methos's strange reaction. They hadn't parted on good terms. MacLeod had blamed Methos for Joe's death. He'd had his reasons, and they'd seemed good at the time. Methos hadn't argued, hadn't told him he was being a fool. He just took off. That was 14 years ago.

For the first few years MacLeod had expected Methos to turn up, reclaiming space on his couch and drinking his beer. Eventually, MacLeod had realized that he had lost both of his friends that terrible week.

And now this. Was Methos punishing him for being such an idiot after Joe's death? Or was there something else going on? A sudden certainty gripped him. Methos wasn't going to meet him after the concert. Methos was going to run.

MacLeod slipped from his seat and moved towards the exit as quickly as he could through the crowd. If he were wrong, he'd miss half of a concert and have a funny story to tell Methos when they met up at the Bistro. But if his instinct was right, and he didn't act, he might not see Methos again for another 14 years.

Stepping out the north exit into the cool winter evening, MacLeod considered whether Methos was heading for a car or public transport. Public transport – if Methos's persona could afford a car, he would wear a suit that fit him. MacLeod hurried up the walkway to the Circular Quay. Once Methos reached the Quay he could catch any of a dozen trains, ferries or busses.

There – Methos was moving down the walkway at a determined pace. MacLeod walked as fast as he could without running to catch up. Methos glanced back, but continued at the same speed.

When MacLeod reached him, Methos talked without turning to look or slowing down. "Is it still Duncan MacLeod?"

"Always," MacLeod replied, glad that he still ran often enough to have breath for the conversation.

"How did you find me?" Methos asked with polite curiosity.

"I wasn't looking for you," MacLeod confessed. "I'm in Sydney to meet with a client, and thought I'd see Utzon's refurbishments."

Methos's mouth tightened. "Well, wasn't that lucky." He didn't mention which kind of luck.

They walked on silently for a minute, through oases of light cast by lampposts and the darker areas between.

"Methos…" MacLeod began. Methos didn't respond, didn't change his pace. As they approached the next lamppost, MacLeod grabbed his arm to stop him and then swung him round so that they were face to face. He searched Methos's expression for some clue to what was going on. A cold and distant stranger looked back at him, eyes like opaque marble.

"Methos, is there something wrong? Can I help?"

If he hadn't been holding on to Methos's arm, he would have missed the tiny tremor that passed over his body at the word 'help'.

Then Methos stiffened, and responded with an icy fury. "The only thing wrong is that a certain barbarian seems to believe my arm is his personal property!" His voice cracked like a whip. "Let go!"

Angry Immortals were dangerous; it often came to swords. This was his friend Methos, who had proven himself in a dozen ways over the years. Even so… MacLeod released his arm and stepped back two paces.

Methos turned and began to walk past MacLeod. "Methos, wait."

Methos paused for a moment in MacLeod's shadow. MacLeod threw the words out quickly. "I'm staying at the Shangri-La Hotel until the end of the week. I hope you call." Methos was already walking away without a word.

MacLeod knew that if he chased Methos now, it would just make him run farther and faster. He stepped to the lamppost and gripped the cold metal as he forced himself to let Methos go. In one minute Methos was out of sight. After five he could be anywhere.

Duncan MacLeod walked back to his hotel, jet lag crashing in on him. Six hours later he woke up in his hotel room, the scent of damp concrete and Quickening ozone still hanging in his mind from a dream. He had seen the cold stranger Methos had shown him tonight once before, in a submarine base in Bordeaux.

The stranger had said, "I go with the winner." MacLeod had believed him, and felt betrayed. Kronos had believed him, and been betrayed. Because Methos was the winner, in a game where Immortals were the pawns and their lives the stakes.

What was going on, that Methos would call on that dangerous stranger again? In Bordeaux, Methos had asked for his help. He had trusted that MacLeod would help him, even after his past was revealed. Was that trust gone?

The first time MacLeod saw Amanda walk the high wire he had reached out a hand to help her. The unexpected pressure had thrown off her balance, and she had tumbled into the net far below. Duncan MacLeod tried to learn from his mistakes.

So he wouldn't search for Methos. He wouldn't jostle him, whatever tightrope he was walking now. But if Methos called, he would do anything he could to help.

This is the point where I asked the MacLeod Muse what happens next. He shrugged and said he was just waiting for Methos's phone call. So I asked Methos what happens next. Whatever's going on has him completely paranoid, and he's too secretive to tell me.

I had some ideas about what COULD maybe be happening, but I don't write by working plots out. I depend on my subconcious to do all the heavy lifting and TELL me. So, Uncooperative Muses=Perpetutally Uncompleted Fic.

It's rather frustrating.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Ahhh. Unfortunate. Joe Muse would know, but he gets damn stubborn when he gets kilt off.
Feb. 17th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
*sighs* When you're right, you're right. Joe would never shut me out this way.
Feb. 17th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
I love WIP amnesty.
Can I encourage you to work on this more? Perhaps if you tell us the back story (Joe died? Waaah. Mac was a jerk? Oy, you're making me nervous.) then maybe Methos will start talking to you again. 'Cause this is interesting!
Feb. 17th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
That's a good idea, jotribe, might shake something loose. Perhaps I'll try it later this week, after I've kicked the other 2 fics I'm working on out of the nest.
Feb. 17th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC)
Oh, this starts so well! A long time between meeting, something wrong (at first my heart went pitter-patter because I thought it was amnesia fic, which I adore beyond reason) and a cranky Methos (I love the new look).

It's hard to let a fic go. I hope maybe this one isn't gone forever, it'd be great to see how it turns out.
Feb. 17th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
*smiles* I have soft spot for amnesia fic, myself. Maybe Jotribe's idea to write the backstory will help, who knows?

it'd be great to see how it turns out
Amen! I wanna know what happens!
Feb. 18th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
That's it!!! Mac got amnesia and forgot that Joe wasn't kilt after all...!
Feb. 20th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
*puts her hands up*

Alright, I admit it, I should have attached a warning! I suppose that I was thinking, far enough in the future, of course Joe will be gone. But 2020 ain't that far off.
Feb. 20th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
*g* save the warnings--us Joefen just have to get tough about all these nasty rumors of premature expiration *g*
Feb. 17th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)
I really like this beginning. I hate it that your muses deserted you. I'd be happy to let my muses help (since they seem to be slumbering anyway)
Feb. 17th, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
*pokes Diane's Muses with a sharp stick to wake them up*
Feb. 18th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
*grin* T'would be nice if that worked.
Feb. 17th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Very nice beginning indeed. Please think about finishing this.
Feb. 17th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
No promises, but all this postive feedback on the start makes me want to havbe another go at it.
Feb. 17th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
I was almost afraid to read it. Your fic is always so good, that I knew I'd get to the end and be bummed it would never be finished. And I was right :) I really want to know what happened/what happens. You sucked me in and didn't let go. Darn you! [g]
Feb. 17th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
I really want to know what happened/what happens.
You and me both. Suffering shared is suffering lessened, I suppose.

Thanks Ithidrial.
Feb. 18th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
ooo, very intriguing start! I know what you mean about the plot. Stupid plot. We'd be better off without plots, right??
Feb. 20th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
Icon Love!

Well, without plots there would be nothing left but porn. Eventually, after a few years, that might get tiresome.
Feb. 18th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
Just as a comment--Maybe you could get Joe to explain to you how he managed to get himself killed in a way that could lead to Mac blaming Methos. Maybe as a flashback?

Of course that doesn't tell us why Methos is being such a weird ass right now, but we might get a clue.
Feb. 20th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
Hmmm - the past and present are unrelated, I think.

I'm pretty sure that Methos has managed to get himself recruited to some Australian think tank or military research op that is experimenting on Immortals.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )