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 January 2000.

I still can't believe that I woke up this morning to find you gone. This time - for once - you'd seemed almost settled here. At any rate, I at least thought you were willing to stay with me and try to make something of this relationship of ours. How wrong could I be? And what happened to make you change your mind?

There's no doubting you really have left. All your things are gone. Their places amongst my own possessions had become satisfyingly familiar. Now only the spaces remain.

I can't help but wonder if this latest retreat is just because of your habitual wanderlust - or if, perhaps, it was something I did or said wrong. If it was my fault I only wish I knew what it was that I did. Then, if you should come back again, I can try and avoid making the same mistake a second time.

I really didn't think you were unhappy here with me. Last night - well, it didn't feel any different than any of our other nights together. It wasn't as if you were simply going through the motions... at least, I didn't think so. There was passion and there was pleasure - and not just on my part. Nor was there any sense that you were saying goodbye in anything you did or said. So had you planned your disappearance this time? Or was it just a spur of the moment impulse that took you from me?

Damn you, old man, will I ever understand the way your mind works? I try, but... You are what you are - an enigma. And I suppose that's a part of the attraction - always hoping I'll find a way underneath the masks you wear. All the while wishing that you would trust me enough to shed them yourself and let me see through to the real Methos.

In that respect you're not like me at all. With Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod what you see is what you get - at least I'd like to think so. I prefer that kind of honesty - in my relationships, anyway. So, wasn't that enough for you any more? Have you gone off in search of someone who has a few more mysteries to unravel? The only secret I have left - the one I guarded from you so jealously - is that I love you. I was afraid to tell you that in case it scared you away. But now I wish that I had told you, because I don't know if I'll get another chance to do so, or if you're gone for good this time.

The worst thing is that, in some small way, it still feels like you're here. Your scent is still on the pillows and sheets and there are bottles of your beer in the fridge. But that's all. The things that were important to you have gone - like your laptop and the few volumes of your journals that you kept here - and so have the small, mundane things, like your toothbrush. It's strange how I'd got used to seeing your toothbrush in the rack next to mine. There was something almost intimate about it; as intimate as your naked, sated body wound around mine when we went to sleep last night.

You must have been so quiet as you got ready to leave. Did you creep around the barge as you erased all the outward traces of your presence? Did you stop to think, even for a moment, how I would feel when I woke to find you gone? I know how much you hate goodbyes - the kind of emotional baggage you prefer to do without when you cut and run - but I really wish you'd waited, at least just told me why. Then I wouldn't be left here uncertain, wondering... But you didn't even leave me a note this time. Just this empty space.

Should I try to find you? Or will that only push you even further away from me? You've told me often enough that you 'don't do commitment' - at least, not with other Immortals - and yet, each time you came back and stayed for a while, I found myself wondering... hoping that maybe I could be the one to make you change your mind. How stupid could I have been! What do I really have to offer Methos, the oldest Immortal?

Good sex? Well, it was certainly good between us, but I'd be kidding myself if I didn't accept that there are plenty of people out there who'd be only too happy to provide you with that. In moments of passion you sometimes called me beautiful, but you're the one who looks like the model for some classical Greek sculpture. So, sex alone would never be enough to keep you here.

Someone to bait and to be the butt of your sarcastic wit? Well, yes, I've been that all right - sometimes deservedly - but it's hardly the basis for a lasting relationship. Besides, I hardly need reminding just how much of a child I am when compared to you. Just one look into those chameleon eyes of yours can tell me that. They are the one thing about you that betrays every one of your 5,000 years.

So, is that the sum total of what Duncan MacLeod can bring to this relationship of ours? If that's really all I have to offer you then I know I'm in trouble... Then again, I know what I would willingly give you, if I thought you would take it. My heart could be yours in a second - if you would only ask me for it. If I'm honest, I think you already own more than a little piece of it - and in leaving you've taken that with you. That's why I feel this emptiness inside me now.

The sad thing is, I'm sure you don't even realise what you have in your possession. If you did, surely you wouldn't have left... Would even Death have been that cruel - he at least loved Cassandra, after a fashion. Well, perhaps that's not the best analogy, but not my Methos - not the man who loved and lost Alexa. I can't believe that you would knowingly rip my heart in pieces, uncaring. No, you left because I kept my secret too well...

So, what can I do now? As you are so fond of prompting me I'll live, grow stronger and fight another day. I'm no more ready to meet my death than you are, Methos. But while I'm doing just that I'll keep on hoping... And maybe sometime in the not too distant future I'll walk in here to find you sprawled on my couch, drinking my beer. If I'm really lucky, your things will be back in the places they once occupied. Until that day, though, the spaces will remain... on my shelves and in my heart.

The End

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