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HL Snippet: Death and Taxes

Fandom: Highlander
Challenge: amonitrate's "Death and Taxes" challenge
Characters: Methos, Joe
Summary: Methos claims he hasn't felt guilt since the 11th century. Then again, Methos lies a lot.
Rating: PG
Length: 250 words
Disclaimer: Davis/Panzer Productions owns the characters and concepts of Highlander. I know very little about the Mongol Empire. Unbetaed, so everything is my fault.

"In the time of Khubilai, it was said that a virgin carrying a bag of gold could ride a prize horse from one end of the Mongol Empire to the other in perfect safety," Methos announced to the deserted bar.

"It was said, huh," Joe replied, rubbing his tired eyes and then peering at the Immortal sitting across the table from him. "Sounds like BS to me."

"Oh no, it was mostly true." Methos toyed with his glass. He'd been in a strange, black mood all night, sitting alone in the corner and downing vodka shots instead of his normal beer. "You see, the code of law, the Yassa, was very harsh. Penalties were visited not only on the bandits themselves, but also on the population of the surrounding area. It gave everyone motivation to keep the roads safe."

Methos slumped further down in his chair. Joe waited. Whatever had been eating at Methos since he came in wasn't done being told yet. "And?" he asked, not pushing, just listening.

"If a man, an outsider, were to rob and murder a tax collector of that Empire…" Methos trailed off.

"Everybody living in the area would suffer the consequences," Joe finished the sentence.

"Everyone except the man who had stolen the gold," muttered Methos.

They sat there for a few minutes as the busted tap dripped behind the bar. "Another shot?" Joe offered, breaking the silence.

Methos stood up abruptly. "No, I think I'm done." He showed Joe a pleasant smile, put his coat on, and walked away.

"Night, Adam," Joe called out. Methos paused in the doorway to wave, and then moved out into the darkness.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. How haunting. Wonderful!
Apr. 14th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you, eldritchhobbit!
Apr. 14th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
awesome! wow. above and beyond, man.
Apr. 14th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Glad you enjoyed, amonitrate.
Apr. 14th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
I really, really love it!
Apr. 15th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback, ithidrial.
Apr. 15th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Ah, Methos. Ever and forever the outsider. Except for the rare, very rare moments of understanding...

On a totally separate note, Joe has to disconnect that damn tap or that keg will go flat.
Apr. 15th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Joe's there for Methos. It's easy to underestimate how much that would mean to him.

I was thinking water, a tap in the sink, but probably everybody who reads it is thinking keg. *sighs* Words.
Apr. 15th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
Water? Agua? Always the third or fourth thing I think of as liquid in a bar...*g*.

It is interesting that Methos seems to genuinely care about whether Joe can tolerate and even empathize with the darker shadows in his past. In turn, he tolerates Joe's own terminal shadow--his mortality.
Apr. 15th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
Very good.
Apr. 15th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )