DISCLAIMER - Highlander and its characters is the copyright of Rysher and Panzer/Davis Productions and no infringement is intended. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan, 2001-2

Author's note - At present this story consists of just a couple of fully realised scenes.


UNTITLED

by Karen Colohan


It was, Methos thought, somewhat ironic. Here he was, completely helpless at the hands of another Immortal, and the man didn't even want to take his head. Apparently the shortsighted idiot had no idea of the prize he'd snared. And, at first, Methos was pleased enough with his luck to be grateful for such small mercies as came his way. However, as the days passed, Methos came to learn that his continuing survival was no mercy at all.

Methos still didn't know why, but his captor had made a particularly twisted playground of his body. There were very few indignities that had not been visited upon it. That in itself had not especially troubled the old Immortal, the pain notwithstanding. All in all, the inevitable feeling of 'been there, done that' had kept the experience from really getting under his skin... at least in the metaphorical sense.

Whatever was done to him, Methos healed... and then a whole new symphony of hurts was inflicted upon his newly whole body. It wasn't pleasant, but it didn't touch Methos at the core of himself. As long as his head remained attached to his body there was a way out of this. And so he survived, waiting for the moment when he would be told what the other Immortal wanted with him. After all, knowledge was power. Once he knew what was expected of him the balance would shift and he could start looking for a way out.

Then the rules were changed... when Methos finally discovered that what was happening to him actually had very little to do with him at all. He was simply a means to an end.

It began the same as before. His body was beaten, slashed and bloodied just as it had been on all the previous occasions. When Methos was a raw mass of wounds his tormentor came to lean over him, smiling unpleasantly.

"It's time, my friend," he told the helpless Immortal. "Now you're going to give me what I want."

"I don't understand," Methos gritted out through swollen lips. "You could have taken my head days ago."

His captor laughed. "It's not your head I want, Pierson. I want MacLeod, and with your help I'm going to have him. I'm sure he's properly worried over your disappearance by now. Once he finds out that I have you he'll agree to anything I ask. I know how his mind works. I've seen how he protects his friends. It's such a noble trait... and now it's going to cost him his head."

"No!" Methos tried to deny it, but he knew the Highlander just as well. If Duncan thought he was in trouble he would come, regardless of any danger to himself.

"Ah, I think you underestimate him, but just in case, we're going to give him the proper incentive..." There was nothing reassuring in the smile that was directed at Methos.

A groan that had nothing to do with physical pain left Methos' dry throat. "You're wrong," he insisted. "He won't come for me; he knows I can take care of myself."

"Oh, but MacLeod won't be able to resist," taunted his captor. "He's always been a soft touch when it comes to his friends, especially when they're helpless and suffering. Now, let's see about getting you ready for the cameras, Adam."

Methos groaned again, part pain and part denial. His half-healed wounds suddenly flared up with an intense burning. Moving his head a fraction he saw what his tormentor intended.

"Yes, that's right," the man agreed with a disquieting cheerfulness. "We're going to prevent your body from healing itself properly. A sprinkling of crushed glass here, some metal splinters there... I'm sure we can think of a few other things too. Poor, suffering Adam, your Quickening won't know what's hit it. Maybe you'd better hope MacLeod thinks more of you than you believe..."

######

Methos wasn't sure how much time had passed since then. His mind had almost lost its ability to think rationally since the first of the contaminants had been ground into his open wounds, preventing them from healing. His Quickening did its best, trying to force out the intrusive splinters, but there were enough embedded deep in his torn flesh to stop the healing from being completed. And the effort had left him exhausted. The haze of tiredness couldn't block out the agony, though, it remained sharp, bright and ever-present. In all his long life Methos had known few things to compare with this.

In the end, though, all the physical hurts paled beside the pain that stabbed his conscience constantly. MacLeod would come for him, drawn by the sickening photos of his abused body taken by his captor. And when he did, the damned Highlander would insist on trading his life for Methos'. He was so bloody predictable, despite Methos' best efforts to teach him otherwise. And, if he died, Methos would have killed him, just as surely as if he had wielded the sword himself.

Methos had tried to convince himself that MacLeod had learned his lesson, that he would never walk into such an obvious trap again. But the little voice inside his head refused to listen. Methos had watched him do it for Amanda and Joe when O'Rourke took them; he hadn't thought twice. How would he be able to resist the perfect picture of helplessness Methos had been transformed into? Quite simply, he wouldn't try to.

The realisation that Mac would throw his life away for him broke something inside Methos that all the physical torture had been unable to touch. He huddled into the corner of his prison and let the pain take him down into darkness.



Methos was too pale, the wounds liberally painting his body too livid. Why weren't they healing? It was clear that many of the injuries weren't new, the edges of the torn flesh showed signs of healing, but they remained open and raw. Duncan frowned, a sudden anxiety crushing him, stealing his breath. Was Methos no longer immortal? No, that wasn't possible, Duncan told himself sternly. The sensation of Methos' presence was still clearly discernible, weak but definitely there. So what was wrong?

As Duncan leaned closer, examining the wounds more thoroughly, the answer to that question became apparent. Methos wasn't healing because each of the many injuries had been seeded with some kind of irritant to prevent them from closing. Some had powdered shards of what appeared to be glass rubbed into the raw flesh. Others were penetrated by needle fine slivers of metal. Unable to expel all these foreign bodies, Methos' Quickening was simply incapable of healing the old Immortal's hurts.

Duncan's throat tightened. Dear God, what kind of agony must Methos be going through? Whoever was responsible for this abomination was going to pay a thousandfold. But for the moment vengeance would have to wait. Methos was Duncan's first priority. He had to get the wounds cleaned thoroughly, finally allowing them to heal. Methos couldn't be left in such torment any longer.

Bitter, angry tears stung Duncan's eyes briefly as he carefully gathered up the far too frail form of the oldest Immortal. When he got his hands on the bastard who'd done this... Controlling his anger, Duncan wrapped Methos as gently as possible in his coat and carried him out of the hell he had endured for far too long.



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