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Joe Dawson entered the lobby of the huge office building. He looked
at the directory on the wall, then walked over to the bank of
elevators and pushed the up button.
Elevator doors opened and Joe entered the empty car, selecting a
floor then standing back against the railing as the door closed.
MacLeod and Methos came into the lobby and also checked the wall
directory. But instead of waiting for an elevator, they exited
through a door marked 'stairs'.
On an upper floor, a chime signaled the arrival of the elevator. The
doors opened and Dawson exited. He chose a direction and soon found
the right office. Entering the small room, Joe was greeted by a
young man. "May I help you sir?"
"I'd like to speak with Neil Cameron," Joe told him.
"Do you have an appointment with Mr. Cameron?"
"No," Joe answered. "But I think he'll see me. Here's my card."
"Just one moment, sir." He motioned for Joe to take a seat in the
small waiting area. The young man knocked on the inner office door,
then went inside, closing the door behind him.
After a few moments, the door opened again. "Please come in, Mr.
Dawson. Mr. Cameron will see you now."
Joe walked into the larger office and the receptionist shut the door
A large desk stood across the room from the door. A man was seated
behind it. Smartly dressed and impeccably groomed, the middle aged
man seemed the picture of a self assured, successful businessman.
"Neil Cameron?" Joe said, more a statement than a question.
Cameron stood and reached over his desk to offer his hand to Joe.
"Yes. So, you are Joe Dawson from the States. Good to finally meet
They shook hands across the desk. Joe's face stiff from the stress
at the gravity of this meeting. Cameron smiling, but with a smile
that didn't reach his eyes.
"Did you know my brother-in-law, James Horton?" Joe wanted to know.
"Have a seat, Dawson," Cameron said, as he sat back down in his own
"No, thanks," Joe said.
"James Horton? No. I don't believe I ever had the pleasure. He
passed away a few years back?"
"Yes," Joe responded. "Yes, he did." Joe looked as if he were
remembering, staring off into the space over Cameron's head. He
shook his head and addressed Cameron again. "How about Kevin Darby?
Tim McCarthy? Jack Shapiro?"
Cameron sat back in his chair, making a steeple of his fingers in
front of his face. "Of course, I worked with Jack for many years,
but I've never heard of the other two." He swiveled his chair to
face his visitor as Joe came around to the side of the desk. "Why do
"Two of them have had me tied up in a basement, waiting for you to
show up to give them their orders," Joe accused.
"That's insane," Cameron said indignantly.
At that moment MacLeod rushed into the room, Methos right behind him,
the receptionist on their heels.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Cameron. I couldn't..."
"That's okay, Michael." Cameron motioned for the receptionist to
leave the room.
MacLeod leaned across the desk and grabbed Cameron by his tie,
pulling his katana at the same time.
"Mac, we can't be sure," Joe cautioned the angry MacLeod.
"Oh, I'm sure, Joe," MacLeod insisted to Dawson. "And I can tell
you why he didn't show up while everyone was around."
Joe looked questioningly at MacLeod. Then at Methos who stood
leaning against the wall beside the door, his hands deep in his
pockets. Methos shook his head slowly.
"He's one of us," MacLeod explained. "He's an Immortal."
Joe was speechless. He opened his mouth to respond but he couldn't
utter a sound. He looked over at Methos. Methos nodded, confirming
what MacLeod had said.
Cameron wasn't arguing with the Highlander. Just trying to fend him
off. "I'm not armed."
Joe was trying to understand. "This can't be. Cameron, you've been
a Watcher for as long as I have, twenty five years. How long have
you been an Immortal?"
Cameron finally shook loose from MacLeod's grip and started to adjust
his mangled tie. "You're asking when did I die?"
"About ten years ago. I was by myself. Of course I knew what had
happened to me." Then looking pointedly at MacLeod, Cameron
continued, "And what would happen to me unless I changed the rules a
"You mean, unless you cheated," MacLeod said with a sarcastic smirk.
He had released Cameron but still hovered over him menacingly.
"Everything has a natural will to survive, MacLeod," Cameron said
matter-of-factly, sitting back in his chair, trying to regain his
confidence. "I just have an exceptionally strong will."
"So you have a little 'death squad' on the side to collect Immortals
for you to behead for the experience," MacLeod concluded. "And
Darby? Is he teaching you the sword? Unknowingly teaching his
"Very astute, MacLeod," Cameron said. "Darby believes he is doing
the world a great service by systematically ridding it of
Immortals," Cameron explained.
"I challenge you, Neil Cameron," MacLeod declared.
"No!" Cameron yelled, holding up his hands. "I'm not armed. I
"Whether you fight me or not, I will still have your head," MacLeod
explained to the terrified Immortal.
Cameron shook his head. "You wouldn't. That isn't honorable,
MacLeod, and you are nothing if not honorable."
MacLeod ignored Cameron's protests. "I'll meet you at Darby's dojo
at midnight tonight. Be there or I will come for you."
Cameron shrank away from MacLeod's words, his face pale, his eyes
wide with fear.
MacLeod put his katana back inside his coat and left the room. Joe
followed, still looking shell-shocked from the newly uncovered
Methos straightened up from where he had been leaning against the
wall, hands still in his pockets. He squinted at the other man,
pursed his lips, then spoke in his quiet, slow way. "I do not feel
the slightest bit of sympathy for you. You, better than most, were
in a position to know which of the Immortals you could have gone to,
trusted to help you learn the game. MacLeod, for one, would never
have turned you away." Methos shook his head then turned and
sauntered slowly through the door leaving Cameron sitting at his
"Do you think he'll show up?" Joe asked, as Methos joined them at
"It doesn't matter," MacLeod assured him.
They boarded the elevator as Methos informed MacLeod, "Joe and I will
go with you."
MacLeod gave Methos a warning look.
Methos shrugged. "Joe will Watch, and I will watch your back. This
man has no honor, MacLeod. We will make sure he does not cheat
The street was dark except for a street lamp almost a block away.
MacLeod climbed the stairs to the dojo. He was a few minutes early.
Entering the building, he found lights had been turned on to
illuminate the center portion of the room.
In the middle of this lighted area was a man. He was kneeling. And
across his thighs lay a sword. He was waiting for MacLeod. But it
wasn't Neil Cameron. It was Kevin Darby.
"This is not your fight," MacLeod advised the sensei.
"But it is," Darby argued. "I've trained for this. To meet you,
the Immortal, on your ground. To show you and your kind that we can
beat you." Darby stood and faced MacLeod. "You are a threat to my
way of life. If the only way to defeat you is to fight you as you
fight each other, then I will."
MacLeod tried to reason with him, "Cameron has been using you and
your group. He is an Immortal, just like I am."
But MacLeod's statement had very little effect on the sensei.
Instead, he seemed even more determined. This was not a game to
him. "That explains a lot." Kevin Darby proclaimed as he started to
circle MacLeod. "So now I will be their leader and we have found
still another of your coven to destroy."
MacLeod tried one last time to keep Darby from fighting him. "Kevin,
I haven't shown you my true skills with the sword. I did not fight
my best against you. Don't let that guide your decision."
Darby took a stance, then saluted MacLeod with his sword.
"You don't have to do this, Kevin," said MacLeod softly.
"En garde," suggested the sensei, holding his weapon ready.
Darby attacked first, aggressively. MacLeod parried, looking for an
opening that would allow him to disarm his opponent as he had the
day before. But Darby was looking for the move and defended against
it each time MacLeod tried to relieve him of his blade.
MacLeod felt the nearness of an Immortal just as he heard Joe's
warning. He looked back over his shoulder to see Neil Cameron
charging his way in with his sword held high. But the sight of this
new attacker cost MacLeod. The distraction gave Darby the opening
he needed to thrust his sword deep into MacLeod's side.
MacLeod had no choice. Cameron was almost on him from behind and
Darby was very aggressive from the front. He had to deal with Darby
by deadly force.
He struck quickly. A thrust through the heart and Darby's grand plan
to rid the world of Immortals was gone. The look on Darby's face
was one of disbelief, a childlike astonishment with the too late
realization of fact--it wasn't a game for MacLeod either.
But Cameron was still there and closing quickly. MacLeod turned,
clutching his side. Cameron stopped. He was unsure. Darby no
longer lived to run interference for him. His eyes darted from the
fallen Darby, to MacLeod.
Cameron started to back up, retrace his steps.
"Fight me," MacLeod demanded, adding tauntingly, "You might get
lucky." Then with deadly seriousness, he assured Cameron, "I will
not let you leave this room."
Cameron charged with his sword held straight out in front of him,
trying to run MacLeod through.
But MacLeod pivoted as a bull fighter does in the ring, swinging the
deadly katana in an arch as Cameron went charging by. Just the one
swing and it was over.
The Quickening followed, as it must. Recharging the Highlander with
the life essence of the downed Immortal. Leaving MacLeod on his
knees, weakened a bit for the moment, but only so he would become
stronger when the moment passed.
Methos came inside through the double doors dragging McCarthy with
him. He stopped, turned to the frightened McCarthy and put his
sword at the shaken Watcher's throat. "If we are so evil, why don't
I just kill you now? We'll make a clean sweep of this 'Hunter'
business." He bent down a bit to look directly into Tim's eyes.
Joe and MacLeod watched as Tim, afraid for his life, tried to back
away from Methos. But the old one wouldn't allow him to go. Methos
was teaching a lesson and class wasn't over yet.
"Leave us be," Methos implored. "We both have rules that we must
live by. In your case, it's not usually life and death as it is in
ours. Keep it that way and it won't come to this again." Methos
let go of Tim's coat collar in disgust and pointed to the bodies of
Cameron and Darby.
Tim turned from the man who had lectured him to see what he was
pointing at. He looked at the bodies of his fellow conspirators,
then stumbled in his haste to leave the building.
"Do you think he'll change?" MacLeod asked.
Joe shrugged. "I don't know, Mac."
Bright sunlight came in through the garden level windows as Joe and
MacLeod packed. Boxes, empty and full, were piled everywhere.
Methos sat on the couch, his feet propped on the coffee table and a
beer in his hand.
"You could help," MacLeod observed.
"I am. Every good job needs a supervisor. That's me," Methos
informed his friend. He tilted his beer bottle toward them in a
salute, then took a long swallow.
"You know, you're going to have to hide out for a while," Joe
observed. "Not just change your address. We don't know who might
have your info."
MacLeod finished taping a box, walked over and sat down in the
overstuffed chair across from Methos.
Methos threw him a beer. "I'll just find a new hobby. As I've said,
it's always good to keep busy." He examined the label on his bottle
of beer as he continued, "Maybe I'll buy a house in the country.
And it will crumble about my head as I struggle to find just the
right colors for the paint."
MacLeod threw his bottle cap at Methos' head as the old one ducked
Joe, sitting at the kitchen bar, smiled at the two Immortals teasing
each other. "It's good to see you two get along so well. It makes
my job a lot easier."
MacLeod looked over his shoulder. "Are you still going to Watch him?"
"Someone has to, Mac. We've been over this."
"Hey," MacLeod said, holding up one hand at Joe. "I'm not arguing.
I told you, I think it's a good idea."
Methos raised his bottle at the other two and declared, "I will watch
myself!" Then seriously, he continued, "I am not a child, MacLeod.
No one need baby-sit me."
MacLeod stood and walked over to a window. He nodded, sullen now
because he realized what his friend would have to do. "You'll go
back into hiding. Try to become a myth again. Find a new identity."
"Maybe," Methos agreed with a small smile, eyes twinkling as he
answered the now moody Scot. He settled more comfortably into the
big cushions of the couch. "On the other hand, Duncan MacLeod of the
Clan MacLeod, you don't expect me to leave just when things are
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