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 February 2000.

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, even for you this is amazing. If it were any other Immortal we were talking about I wouldn't believe it at all, but as it is you... Gods, why did Amanda have to come and dump this one in my lap? Didn't you tell her that 'we're through', Mac? That I've been banished from the Clan MacLeod - persona non grata... Why should I care what happens to you, anyway?

Nice try, old man, keep working on that line and one day you might even believe it...

Well, so much for me thinking that I'd finally sworn off giving myself sleepless nights over you, MacLeod. There's no fool like an old fool, or so they say. I suppose I'm in no position to argue with that at the moment, am I? Which brings us back to the problem at hand... Keane and his quest for vengeance.

Even given your penchant for honour and justice, MacLeod, can you seriously contemplate going up against a weasel like Keane and think, even for one moment, about letting him win? Is it because he has a little dirt on you? Big deal... welcome to the real world, Mac! Surely you don't actually imagine that you owe this guy anything.

Still, whatever is really going through that boy scout brain of yours, you've certainly managed to get Amanda tying herself in knots trying to help you - though she has her own incentive for keeping you in one piece... She obviously thinks you might do something really stupid - like lose your head - over this, though. But why would you think Keane deserves it? Just because you killed a friend of his a few hundred years ago? I'm sure he's not the only one. It just seems as if Keane knows how to push those guilt buttons of yours better than most.

And there, I think, we have the problem in a nutshell. Keane is really just a symptom, not the cause, of this particularly bad piece of Highlander logic. Way back when, Duncan MacLeod acted less than honourably - something for which you feel you still have to atone. Enter Steven Keane offering a means for you to do just that. The fact that said Duncan MacLeod just might end up without his head as a result of this piece of belated self-flagellation apparently doesn't come into the reckoning.

Dammit, Mac, there's not a single Immortal alive who's worthy of a halo, not even you! Though you come closer to it than most of us... So why not cut yourself a bit of slack? It was a long time ago. You're not the same man who went after the English in the wake of Culloden. Surely you can see that.

After all, you're the one who always manages to see the best in everyone. Take Amanda - well, yes, sometimes I wish someone would, but that's a whole other story - what do you see when you look at her? Is it the mischief- making, irrepressible, unrepentant thief who's survived by her own wits for nearly three times as long as you've been alive? No. Somehow you just manage to see a sexy but fragile woman you want to protect and love - not that Amanda doesn't encourage you in that direction...

Still, it was the same kind of story with Richie as far as I can make out. You catch him trying to rob you, so what do you do? You give him a job, a home, a surrogate father - your forgiveness, acceptance and protection. It's the way you are - mostly.

But there is one notable exception in this rose-tinted world of yours, isn't there, Mac. You can forgive all the rest of them for their misdemeanours, past and present, so why not me?

So much for concentrating on the matter at hand! But too often since Bordeaux I find myself asking that same question. Why can't you forgive me, Mac - or at least just accept that what happened was over and done with millennia ago? It has no bearing on the here and now... unless you let it. I'm still the same person I was before Cassandra and Kronos showed up. Just Methos, just a guy - with a history, it's true, but just a guy all the same.

That isn't what you see any more, though, is it? Not your friend, the man who's saved your life more than once - you look at me now and all you can see is Death on a Horse. It doesn't seem to matter that I put him out to pasture centuries ago - you just can't get past that age old mask any more. And I can't understand why you won't even try. I know you'd say it's all about trust, but I never lied to you - or if I did, only by omission. My past just wasn't relevant to us. Why not judge me by my actions towards you; aren't they what's important? Unless you simply don't want me around any more... But why now? And why not just tell me so to my face instead of using the whole mess with Kronos as an excuse.

Then again, why does this matter so much to me? Since when was the approval of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod so important?

Oh, you know the answer to that one perfectly well, old man; don't try to pretend that you don't. It matters for the same reason that you keep coming back to dog his heels, however much your survival instincts scream at you to stay away. You're in lust with this Highland boy scout! There, you've admitted it and it didn't hurt a bit - well, not much, anyway. Now, just bite your lip and don't even think that it could be anything more! The truth is, though, that you were lost the moment he walked into your life - and you've never been at your best when you're thinking with your dick... Take the whole fiasco with Kronos and Cassandra - the first time around, that is. So, that said, being banished from the Clan MacLeod just might be the best thing that could have happened. But if that's true, why does it feel like the exact opposite?

And you know that Amanda came to you fresh from MacLeod's bed. You could smell the scent of him on her skin when she came close to you. Not that you really want to dwell on the mental images of the two of them together that the unmistakable smell of sex conjured up so vividly...

Just shut up! I don't even want to think about it... Still, I suppose I could handle sharing you with her. She never seems to stick around for long and I'm quite sure she's not expecting monogamy from you while she's away. Well, she'd be disappointed if she were! Hell, who am I kidding? Even if all were still well between us MacLeod would never see me as more than a friend. I really am a fool if I think otherwise.

But all of that aside, the only question that matters now is do I really want to see Duncan MacLeod die? To which there can be only one answer - no, of course not. And to give her her due, Amanda doesn't generally scare easily... If she genuinely thinks you might not have the will to win this time I'm inclined to believe her. But is there anything I can do about it?

We've barely spoken since Bordeaux. If I say anything, will you listen? Probably not, but I suppose I'm going to try anyway. What was that I said earlier about pushing the right buttons? It seems as if Amanda knows what mine are, doesn't it. Then again, she's sharper than people tend to give her credit for.

So, say I try and talk some sense into MacLeod, make him see that he doesn't have to face Keane. Chances are he won't listen, though, so what then? Damn, I really hate it when I manage to talk myself into something utterly stupid like this! But yes, if Mac doesn't listen I'll slow him down long enough for me to face Keane myself. Maybe I can persuade him to leave Mac alone... or maybe not, given what Amanda had to say about him.

You do realise, old man, that MacLeod is going to be really pissed at you for interfering - especially if you take Keane's head.

So, what's new? At least this way Mac will still be alive to be pissed about it! And given time he'll get over it - and so will I... well, maybe. After all, in the grand scheme of things, what's one more trespass to forgive?

The End

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