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On Faith and Trust Alone


Part 1

Paris. May the 21st 1980.

Straightening the collar of his coat, MacLeod gave the heavens what had become his customary glare, not believing the late spring weather. It was raining, drizzling again, making the old stone pavements under his feet gray and slippery and giving Paris a dull, damp look. A grieving appearance.... He would be very glad when the uncharacteristic wet spell passed, because Paris in spring and summer was one of the few pleasures he still savored, somehow it seemed to reaffirm life injecting his spirit with hope.

The last decade had been hard. He had drifted from one casual relationship to another with waning enthusiasm, touching life rather than living it. He was tired of existing, of surviving, wishing for something that could fill him with the joy of life again. But nothing had infused him so brilliantly since Little Deer had been murdered on March 13th 1872. A date burned into his brain by its viciousness. Not only because of her death but because it had destroyed all he'd held precious, all he had protected and believed in. He had endured the pain but felt like he was only observing life now. Occasionally he had glimpsed happiness with friends, lovers, and events but.... he wanted something more. He wanted a consuming relationship that took up every ounce of his being. He wanted to be loved and be able to love completely.

Was that too much to wish for? Too much for an Immortal to desire peace and happiness?

Disillusioned, MacLeod shoved his hands further in to his coat pocket, cursing the dampness of the fabric as he stood in the drizzling rain. What was wrong with him? He had even kept away from the Game, encountering the occasional Immortal, visiting those few Immortal friends he cherished and fighting only when forced. He was not a hunter, never wanted to be a hunter but.... but otherwise he was simply trying to find a direction for his life. Existing instead of living. What he wanted, needed, he could never have. Permanency.

That illusive feeling of utter peace. To have one person whom he could rely on to be there, who knew what it was like to be immortal, who understood the dangers, the pain, the thrill, like Robert had Gina, he thought wistfully. To just belong. He craved to be able to come home and find his life filled with the soul deep knowledge of acceptance and love. He had hoped Amanda.... but he shook his head, water flying in all directions as he muttered a curse. Amanda he adored but they would kill each other. Amanda needed to be free, noh - theirs was a relationship based on friendship, on affection and companionship. A casual affair, though that was no longer enough for him either, so he had returned to Paris. Hoping, desiring to find his heart as well as a new direction. Paris the city of love and romance, only it was raining, washing his dreams away.

Shoving his hands harder into his damp pockets, MacLeod ambled down the old stone steps to the Seine River level. Recently he had purchased a barge and had great plans to do it up, to enjoy the best of both worlds by living so close to the heart of Paris and living on the water. The decision had felt right, had felt very good as he changed his lifestyle and used his money. Maybe he should continue with the antiques trade - make a serious attempt of turning it into a profitable business? After all, he had gone to all the trouble of getting that new license.... or he could go into the art business. So many possibilities. Already he was aware of friends, good friends, Immortal friends, who had given into despair and had lost a challenge to some eager headhunter, and he vowed never to be like that. He would keep his head and keep his perspective. If Connor could do it and Fitzcain could do it, then so could he.

Strengthening that silent resolve, MacLeod stopped under Tournelle's arched magnificence and looked towards his silent home. The barge, his barge, sat on the calm water, motionless and dark. Behind it loomed Notre Dame, filling the evening skyline with its impressive bulk and majesty. Involuntarily he shuddered.

Damn! He had to shake of this depression. Had to or....

Trailing that thought off, MacLeod tensed when the hairs on the back of his neck prickled up, washing him in a strong buzz of unwanted presence. Scanning the waterfront he turned slowly, rolling his shoulders back and picking out a dark shadow that detached itself from under the bridge behind him. This was just what he needed now. A challenge. Maybe Paris no longer possessed the luster and beauty he yearned for, and maybe there would be no relief from this blackness of spirit he sensed? Maybe he was doomed to loneliness.... Hardening his resolve and shoving his surge of useless anger aside, MacLeod drew his sword and held it before him in warning. "I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod! I have noh quarrel with you." He got a snicker in return, the figure moving closer being lit briefly by the reflection of light off the sword's polished edge.

"A MacLeod. How poetic."

Deciphering the Scottish accent, MacLeod squinted into the dimness and stepped back, forcing his opponent to follow so he could get a better look at his challenger. "I have no dispute with you." He declared, doubting he could halt the inevitable.

"But I do with you!"

"You know me?" MacLeod asked disconcerted. He had never seen the Immortal before, getting his first decent look at the man's face. A hard stern face, with long wavy hair, tied back, much like his own. Only the Immortal sported a full beard and held a Scottish Claymore.

"You are a MacLeod!" The Immortal shot back. "What else is there to know except it is my duty to give you a painful death."

Raising a brow at the overly dramatic statement, MacLeod carefully stepped back, eyeing his opponent, noting his stance and confidence. "Do I at least get a name?"

"McKellen." The Immortal spat. "And I curse you and all your kin!"

Circa 17th century. Highlands, Scotland

"Connor?" Exhaling harshly Duncan grimaced as he lifted the thick, blood-sodden blankets, half expecting to find his beheaded kinsman or worse a mortal - dreading to see another child so brutally hacked to death. "Who has done this?" He asked out loud, but only silence answered him. He had seen many battles, had fought on many bloody fields, but this.... this willful, unnecessary murder of the innocent turned his stomach.

Dropping the blanket back over the body of the elderly man he had found on the straw bed, Duncan carefully walked through the demolished cottage desperately searching for his cousin or any sign of life. But not much was left of the large family that had lived up here in the high country, and he absently wiped his hand over his chin, aching with the grief of so many deaths for so little reason.

"Connor?" Duncan called a second time, pushing back the partially destroyed door and going outside. It was snowing now, a light fall of soft flakes that magically started to obscure the blood and devastation of this small community, masking the ugliness with pure whiteness and Duncan lifted his face to the snow and breathed in deeply. The freshness was welcome after the stench of the last cottage he had walked through, his anger receding into a numbness of grief as he viewed the blatant slaughter. Why?

He glanced around, knowing this place, knowing these people. They were simple farmers, decent, honest folk who offered food and shelter to travelers. They had opened their homes to him a few years ago, and Connor had returned to visit. Distant relatives of the MacLeod's, or so Connor believed, and Duncan smiled sadly remembering how his clansman had become infatuated with one of the fiery-haired women of this small community. Grace.... But she was now dead. He had found her lifeless body in the first thatched roof cottage. Grace and her five younger siblings....

Tensing as the surge of Immortal presence swept over him, Duncan was reaching for his sword, drawing it as he turned and snarled, finding his anger was quick to rise as he stood in the middle of this atrocity. It fired his blood, making him want to fight, to release the useless rage. But his anger soon died as he saw his kinsman, bloodied but alive, an inner fury discoloring the normally light blue eyes. "Connor?"

"I-I.... I thought you were someone else."

Hearing the suppressed rage, Duncan swallowed, the implications very clear. "One of us did this?" He gestured around in disbelief. "Why?" But his kinsman didn't answer and Duncan was forced to follow his cousin to the end of the village as perfunctory, Connor started to bury the dead. Shelving his questions, Duncan took off his coat, re-sheathing his sword and offering silent help and support.

It took them most of the afternoon to bury the dead, each small body adding to the helpless feeling of desolation. It left a gaping wound in the earth, in them both and Duncan could see how Connor bled grief, bled vengeance - how his kinsman tried to hold it all in until after everything was done. Then and only then did he cry in sorrow, in despair for the pointlessness of this massacre.

"Why?" Duncan asked again as he tended a fire, both of them choosing to stay outside, away from the death and carnage in the dark empty cottages behind them. Gone was the laughter, music, and life.

"Because they are MacLeod's." Connor whispered tiredly.

"What?" Duncan blinked at his cousin. "But they are only distantly related. You said so yourself. So far removed they don't even carry the name."

"They carry enough." Connor said tiredly, lifting his eyes to find Duncan's. "Did Ian MacLeod never tell you of the dispute between the MacLeod's and the McKellen's?"

"Noh," Duncan started, frowning. He thought back, knowing the name sounded familiar but not remembering why.

"Four centuries ago there was a dispute," Connor stated, his tone reflecting his distaste. "..over a fertile piece of land."

"A clan dispute?"

Shaking his head, Connor held his hands out to the small fire, staring into it and remembering the trivial details. "No. It was between two families. One a MacLeod the other a McKellen. But rather than settle the dispute before the elders, the McKellen's decided one night to take matters into their own hands. They killed all the sheep in one pasture belonging to the MacLeods'."

"And I take it the MacLeod's retaliated."

Again Connor nodded. "Little by little more and more of the surrounding family members were dragged into the dispute. From what I was told it went on for years, until someone died."

Expecting this, Duncan still sighed, knowing how that would escalate to war.

"I think it was an accident, and the life that was lost was a McKellen's - but by then there was too much bad blood, nothing but distrust and anger on both sides for anyone to see reason."

"So the McKellen's avenged their dead by killing a MacLeod?"

Connor nodded. "Only they killed all within the farmstead."

"All?" Duncan asked in disbelief.

"Even the little ones." Connor confirmed as he looked up at the night sky. "Then the MacLeod's who lived in that province sought revenge and took the lives of those responsible. Only that didn't end the dispute, rather it turned the tragedy into a clan war and a war that neither side could win. In the end I think most of the McKellen males were killed, leaving only women and children to manage the farms." Connor sighed, collapsing back to lie on the damp ground and study his hands. "The few that survived were offered shelter in the MacLeod holdings. Those that refused, died the following winter."

"When was this?"

"1472." Connor said.

"That was over 270 years ago. Surely this cannot be related. Connor?"

"Ahhh," Connor gave a twisted, humorless smile. "From the way I remember the tale told, it seems a close cousin to the McKellen's returned near the end of the war, and he sought revenge. He was killed, but refused to die." Connor said his eyes meeting Duncan's and holding them for a long moment, before he glanced away and spat on the ground in disgust. "Everyone believed it was an ill omen and the land that was once fertile was declared cursed and the few McKellen's that survived and refused to leave the land were also cursed. They died."

"An Immortal," and Duncan closed his eyes, now getting a good idea of who and what they were facing.

"Bruce McKellen." Connor stated. "I have heard it whispered among the older ones that his tormented spirit still lives and that he arose from death to seek revenge for all the blood spilt by his kin." Connor shook his head in fury. "I have never completely believed those legends. Until now."

"So what do we do?" Duncan asked, feeling his blood heat up at the injustice surrounding him. "These people were innocent." He hissed. "He has to be stopped-"

"And I will stop him." Connor vowed, his eyes pinning Duncan. "If he is Immortal, then he can be hunted. You must go and warn the other clans."


"This is now my fight, Duncan. I do not want you involved."


Letting his mouth curve up into a wicked grin, MacLeod recognized the name instantly and found his enthusiasm peaking in anticipation. Even after two hundred and thirty one years he could still see the mutilated dead bodies, could still smell the stench of death at the back of his throat and his warrior instincts took over. Bruce McKellen of the Clan McKellen - a butcher, murderer and sworn enemy of the MacLeod clan since the 13th century. It was a dark piece of Scottish history, only MacLeod had never believed he would ever meet the infamous Immortal who had been the cause of so much hardship and tragedy for his people. "You are the one cursed, McKellen." MacLeod pronounced harshly. "You are the one who kills your own clan!"

Roaring in anger, McKellen didn't give a coherent reply, lunging at MacLeod with a savagery that was inspirational. Side-stepping, MacLeod didn't even get time to raise his blade, swiveling around to defend himself when the sudden flashing of police lights blinded him.

"Curse you Highland dog!" McKellen hissed, stepping in close and pinning MacLeod against the cold damp wall with his sword. "I would like to stay and sever yewr despicable head, but I have a previous appointment in London. Maybe another time, MacLeod!" He finished in Gaelic, laughing insanely before gut-punching the Highlander. "Give my regards to Connor." Laughing again when he saw pain sweep across MacLeod's face, McKellen raised the hilt of his blade and brought it down hard on the other Immortal's skull, then hastily moved back. He snarled at the approaching police officers, taunting them and judging his options before cursing in Gaelic a second time. Saluting MacLeod with his blade he determinedly stepped towards the river's edge.

Hiding his sword, MacLeod placed a hand over his forehead noting the stickiness of blood on his fingers before he watched in disbelief as McKellen dived into the Seine. There were other ways to avoid the Police and MacLeod blinked after him, stilling when he saw half a dozen police officers level their guns at him. Slowly he raised his hands and turned to give the officers' an innocent smile.


Meeting the Police offer's gaze, MacLeod sighed. He had the strange feeling this was going to be a very long night. But hadn't he just wished for some spice in his dull existence?

Four hours later, tired and mildly frustrated, MacLeod glanced towards the door, eyeing the Inspector who returned to the police interview room. Idly he wondered if they were going to charge him or let him go. But the Inspector only sent him a strained smile, closing the door softly and pacing towards the table in the center of the room.

"Monsieur MacLeod," the French offer started politely. "Are you sure you have told us all that you know?"

Rubbing his eyes in a mixture of annoyance and exhaustion MacLeod waited until the man was level with the desk and gave him a forced smile. "To tell you something I would have to know something." he countered blandly.

Not fooled in the least, the Inspector sat on the edge of the desk and briefly eyed the duty officer behind their suspect. "So you are staying with the story, stating that you did not know your attacker? That you had never seen the man before?"

"I have never seen the man before in my life." MacLeod stated with conviction. It was the truth after all. He might know of McKellen by reputation but had never met him. Besides, Connor had long since wangled a promise out of him not to hunt the mad, deranged Scottish bastard because his ex-teacher had a personal score to settle - for Grace and her clan. He respected Connor's request, understood Connor feelings, and knew his clansman periodically hunted McKellen, but that still didn't mean he couldn't challenge the bastard if their paths 'accidentally' crossed again, did it? Noh.... "He gave me no reason for the attack, but I assume he intended to rob me."

"And your sword?" The inspector pushed, knowing full well that MacLeod was not telling him the whole truth. Only problem was he had no proof.

"I told you." MacLeod said on an exasperated breath. "I am an antique dealer."

"It is an old sword, I will agree." The Inspector broke in. "But why carry it around monsieur MacLeod? Why was it not locked away with other valuable items?"

"I was moving it." MacLeod said with all sincerity. "I had been to the auctions earlier that afternoon and-"

"Yes." The policeman stopped him, giving MacLeod a suspicious glare. "Your alibi checks out."

"So?" MacLeod pushed, praying they would let him go. He really didn't want to drag legal representation into this dispute. It would take too long and he felt he didn't have the time to waste.

"If you remember anything else, I pray you will inform me, otherwise this man may attack another innocent citizen. And they may not be so lucky, monsieur." The Inspector went on, watching MacLeod's face intently. "For McKellen is a known murderer, wanted by Interpol."

"I really wish I could help." MacLeod put sympathy into his tone. How he wished he could tell the Inspector that no amount of police intervention would stop a mongrel like McKellen. Only an Immortal could do that.

"If I were you, I would find new accommodation for a few days."

"I will." MacLeod assured him. "Thank you."

"You are free to go for the present." The Inspector informed him unhappily. "But I warn you, do not leave Paris, Mister MacLeod."

Frowning MacLeod slowly stood up, being escorted from the room. His mind was already working over how to trace McKellen, then shoving the useless desire aside. He couldn't actively hunt, but.... Then he remembered something else. McKellen had said he was going to London and MacLeod knew Amanda was currently in London playing house with a wealthy Lord. Dammit! Amanda loved to be the social butterfly and he could just imagine her getting into trouble if McKellen found her. It was a slim possibility, but all the excuse he needed to chase the Scottish Immortal to London.

Stopping at the duty officer's desk, MacLeod signed for his sword and found the Inspector still watching him distrustfully. "How long before I can travel?" He asked casually.

"Why?" The Inspector countered.

"I have a.... ummm," MacLeod covered his hesitation by wrapping his sword in a cloth the duty police officer had given him. "There is a auction in London I was planning to attend next week." He said abruptly remembering seeing it advertised in one of his brochures.

"How convenient." The Inspector stated. "When?"

Trying to remember the illusive detail, MacLeod covered his hesitation with a smile to the pretty female officer close by. "The 24th, or 25th of May. At Oxford." He did remember that part. "I'll only be gone a week." MacLeod assured, deciding to ignore the suspicion. "Besides like you said, I should change accommodation until you find this dangerous murderer."

Studying MacLeod, the Inspector nodded once, laying a hand on his arm when MacLeod turned away. "Make sure you inform this office of your itinerary, in case we need to contact you urgently." He ended with a pleasant smile. In the back of his mind he had already decided to alert the relevant authorities in the UK, just as a precaution.

Nodding, MacLeod pulled away, glad to get out of the stuffy police station. Having the police follow his every move was not advisable, but he was sure once he hit London he could lose whoever was tailing him and finish his business with McKellen swiftly. For the French police, even Interpol did not hold power in England. After that, all he would have to do is find Connor and pacify him before telling his cousin that the bastard, McKellen, was dead.

Stepping out onto the damp streets of Paris, MacLeod no longer noticed the gloominess of the place, his mind filled with plans and strategies. First he would get back to the barge. Book a flight and then ring Amanda. Make sure she kept her head down and then arrange some hotel accommodation. Something expensive and classy. It was time he lived again, seized life with both hands and embraced his fate. It was the only way to survive the Game. To survive the lingering depression of losing all you loved and cherished.

And along the way he was positive he would find an anchor. Someone who would fill his mind, body and soul again with the thrill and excitement of life. With passion and danger. Love and happiness. He just had to be patient.

May 23rd 1980. London.

"And I suppose it was your bright idea, Bodie, to go charging in at the drop of a hat?" Cowley growled, noting the guilty look that the target of his outburst threw at his partner. Both operatives were standing before his desk looking for all the world like schoolboys dragged in front of the Head Master, which is effectively what was happening. "Do you know what sort of explanations I have had to give the Home Office about this whole sorry debacle?" Cowley carried on, taking off his glasses and studying his two most experienced agents. "I've a good mind to send you both for a refresher course. I'm sure Macklin could do something with you." He took great satisfaction in the winces of dread that were displayed by both men at the mere thought of spending time with the notorious Instructor. Cowley smiled benevolently. "However, this morning I was informed of a particular assignment that at this point in time seems right up your alley." A low mutter from Bodie caught his attention. "I'm sorry Bodie, did you have something to say?" Cowley demanded, pinning his errant agent with an icy stare.

"No Sir." Bodie snapped out, straightening into the classic 'Attention' stance.

"I'm glad to hear it. And you Doyle, did I say something funny?" Cowley questioned, noticing the other man grinning at his partner's discomfit.

"You Sir? Say something funny, Sir? Never Sir." Doyle replied in his slow relaxed style.

Cowley hid a smile, Doyle always was the one less intimidated by his temper, and it was one of the things he respected about the other man. "That's quite enough Doyle," he admonished making his tone stern. It would not do to let either man know how he really felt. In his opinion, Bodie could have been right, the actual disaster may not have been foreseeable. However, this little dressing down just might make them both think a few seconds more before rushing in next time. Picking up a folder from his desk, Cowley held it out to Doyle. The curly-haired agent took it and flipped it open while Bodie moved closer to peer over his shoulder.

"This is your assignment." Cowley stated, letting a sly grin form. "This is a covert surveillance operation I've agreed to handle for Interpol. We are doing them a favor." He tapped the photograph with a hard finger. "A one Duncan MacLeod, Antique Dealer. They think he is a target for a suspected serial killer named Bruce McKellen." Cowley tapped a second photograph of a mean looking man who was glaring at the camera. "Interpol want us to look after MacLeod." Cowley paused to allow the customary response to a babysitting job to occur, he was not disappointed as both men groaned with feeling. "Your job is to make sure MacLeod returns to Paris alive and in one piece. The operative word is 'alive' Bodie. Do I make myself clear?"

"Sir," Bodie said as Doyle muttered a similar response, his eyes still on the dossier.

"Good." Cowley ended. "Now stop cluttering up my office and get out to the airport. He arrives in two hours." He finished with a vague dismissing motion of his hand.

"Great! Just flamin', bloody marvelous!" Bodie complained once the door was closed. "That's all I need, another bloody Scot to baby-sit!"

"And a good looking one at that." Doyle pointed out.

It was an entirely unnecessary observation in Bodie's opinion and he glared at his partner.

Doyle caught the scowl on Bodie's face and his grin widened. "Not worried about competition are we?" He teased.

"Not bloody likely." Bodie answered hotly, before realizing that he was being setup. He decided to ignore Doyle and strode on ahead, his partner's laughter chasing him down the narrow corridor of CI5 Head Quarters.

Reaching the car, Bodie swore remembering Doyle had the keys. Putting on his best scowl he slumped against the car, arms crossed, to wait for his irritating partner to catch him up. Damn but he hated babysitting jobs, and to add insult to grievous injury it was a Goddamned Scotsman and a rich one to boot, and Bodie wanted nothing to do with him. He snorted at Doyle's jibe. Competition? Ha! His musings were interrupted by the arrival of his partner.

Doyle took one look at the scowl on Bodie's face and his grin widened of its own accord. This case might prove to be a far from boring, he mused. The instant dislike that his volatile partner had taken to their new assignment was going to be fun to watch if the case turned from covert to active and Bodie had to actually talk to this Duncan MacLeod. Not to mention the excellent fodder for Bodie baiting that the whole thing was bound to supply. Doyle would have been worried if he wasn't sure that Bodie could keep his feelings from interfering with his work, as it was he would just have to sit back and enjoy the few relaxing days.... Sliding into the driver's seat, Doyle started the engine and didn't wait for Bodie to finish getting in before accelerating out of the gates behind CI5's parking lot.

"Hey! The plane doesn't arrive for another two hours. What's your hurry?" Came Bodie's disgruntled rebuke.

"Didn't want the old man to stick his head out the window and see the car still sitting there." Doyle replied by way of an excuse, grinning at the glare tossed at him from the passenger seat.

The journey to the airport was very tedious, especially as Bodie complained and bitched all the way about the 'new' assignment. Doyle was about ready to strangle his exasperating partner when the turnoff for Heathrow appeared and he could gratefully maneuver the car through the traffic to the car park. "Bodie, would you just shut up!" He demanded. "Bitching about it is not going to make it go away." Doyle finished as he eased the Capri into a parking space. Switching off the engine he glanced at the man sitting beside him, but Bodie had fallen into a dark sulk, and Doyle sighed. "Just for being a pain in the arse, you can stay here and I'll go and pick up the mark." Doyle took the continued silence for assent, however unwilling, and got out of the car. Leaning back down, he eyed Bodie's tense frame and tapped the keys, leaving them in the ignition. Then he was gone, making for Terminal 4 to meet the British Airways flight that would be arriving from Paris in less than half an hour.

The flood of people from the arrival gate alerted him that MacLeod would be making an appearance soon and Doyle easily spotted the uniformed driver standing in the waiting crowd with a name board for the Mayfair Hotel. Blending in with the crowd he waited as the stream of arrivals thinned, they would be the British citizens, foreigners would be going through a more rigorous customs check and the people waiting thinned. All except the Mayfair chauffeur and Doyle logged the information away, impressed even though he had briefly scanned MacLeod's folder in Cowley's office. The man had money and obviously liked to spend it.

Leaning casually back on the railing, Doyle picked up a discarded newspaper, skimming the headlines as he kept an eye on the arrival gate and surrounding terminal. Now if he was really lucky, this McKellen would show up as well and he could capture the serial killer, save MacLeod, earn Cowley's favor and piss Bodie off. Grinning to himself at the image of him as conquering hero, Doyle absently noted the small dramas of welcome being played out repeatedly around him. He was however very much alert, and when the tall Scot came through the gate he spotted him immediately. Hard to miss actually.... MacLeod was carrying just one cabin bag, and an unusual long metal case, which Doyle suspected contained a sword - the man had been listed as specializing in antique weapons. In passing Doyle noticed that his quarry moved with the unmistakable grace and confidence of one who knew how to handle himself and he suspected that the sparse notes in his dossier did not do the man's martial talents justice. Bodie would not be pleased and he grinned even harder. He also could not help but notice the effect the handsome Scot was having on his surroundings. MacLeod was causing quite a stir as women stopped to admire, men turned to glare and to make matters even more interesting, MacLeod appeared to be totally oblivious to his effect, although Doyle was quite sure this could not be the case. No one was that naively blind.... oh yes, Bodie was really going to love this.

When he spotted MacLeod talking to the Limousine Driver from the Mayfair Hotel, Doyle tailed along discreetly behind them until his target was safely ensconced in the waiting vehicle. He loitered around the newsstand until the immaculate Limousine pulled away, then he hastily returned to the Capri.

Grinning, Doyle saw Bodie sitting in the driver's seat, and conceded the minor point as he slid into the passenger's seat. When Bodie was out of sorts he liked to drive, that way he could take his frustration's out on the road. "He's staying at the Mayfair." Doyle told his irritable partner, slamming the passenger door.

"Don't tell me," Bodie stated as he gunned the engine. "..he was picked up by the Hotel limo?"

"Got it in one, Sunshine." Doyle replied, trying to keep the amusement out of his voice.

"Figures," Bodie murmured sourly.

Doyle decided it would be wise to leave out his assessment of MacLeod's fighting abilities, general size and devastating effect on the female of the species, for provoking Bodie in this mood was not something he usually did for fun. Well not in the confines of a car anyway.

Thanks to Bodie's intimate knowledge of London's streets, not to mention his driving skills, they reached the Hotel in time to find the perfect spot across the street from which to observe the front entrance. It also gave them ample time to see the Limousine pull up and the tall Scot emerge from the opened door and pass the driver what must have been a generous tip as the chauffeur touched his cap and smiled with genuine warmth. While Bodie kept an eye on the entrance, Doyle checked in with Base, giving them a rundown on the movements of their assignment so far.

"So, I wonder if Kilt Boy is one of those stay at home types, or if he's going to have us chasing him all over the bloody city." Bodie mused to his partner.

Doyle chuckled. He had wondered how long it would take for Bodie to come up with a nickname and a not very flattering one at that. "Him?" Doyle let a speculative smile grace his lips. "I'd say you're in for some serious driving mate. He doesn't strike me as the stay at home type at all. Not at all."

"Bloody marvelous," Bodie began, but stopped moving back in his seat as a taxi pulled up in front of the hotel. A stunning woman got out with platinum blonde hair, wearing the shortest dress possible and the highest shoes imaginable. Whistling through his teeth, Bodie gestured to the female with his head as his eyes drank her in. Everyone at he Hotel entrance had stopped to stare at her and the female seemed to lap up the attention as she swayed her hips just a little more.

Doyle gave a wicked chuckle, seeing the doorman nearly fall in his rush to offer aid, despite the fact the female had no luggage. In fact the woman only laughed, the sound carrying even across the traffic and Doyle breathed out deeply in appreciation.

"Now that, is what I call a woman!" Bodie enthused, his eyes tracking his target like a heat-seeking missile. "I wonder how much that costs?" He mused.

"More than you can afford on a humble civil servants wages, sunshine." Doyle replied with a snort of amusement. "And keep your mind on the job. I don't want your brains slipping into your trousers for the rest of the assignment."

"My brains are in their usual place, thank you very much." Bodie replied, slightly offended.

"My point exactly." Doyle retorted in a low mutter.

"I heard that." Bodie growled, as his partner fended off a scowl with a raised arm.

"Speaking of being able to afford things, what if she's for MacLeod?" Doyle mused, momentarily forgetting his own rule about not provoking Bodie in an enclosed space. A very unamused grunt was the only reply he got before the other fell into one of his famous silences. Sighing, Doyle glanced at his watch, wondering how long they would have to sit here. At this rate it was going to be a very long and boring day.

Sitting up straighter in his seat two hours later, Doyle raised a brow, seeing the main doors of the Mayfair open and the stunning blonde from earlier emerged, to casually slip on her sunglasses. Then as if on cue MacLeod stepped out of the foyer of the Mayfair and glanced around before donning his own pair of sunglasses. The blonde turned to MacLeod and laughed at something he said before she reached up on tiptoes to plant a quick kiss on his lips. Still smiling she linked her arm through MacLeod's and smiled at the puce doorman. Grinning in delight, Doyle shook Bodie awake as the hotel limousine pulled up and the happy couple climbed in. "Wakey, wakey, Bodie. MacLeod's on the move."

Bodie grunted, jumping slightly. "I wasn't asleep," he protested reproachfully reaching for the keys and starting the Capri's powerful engine. Waiting to see which direction the limousine went, Bodie checked his mirrors then easily slipped into the early evening traffic.

"Yeah, yeah, you were just resting your eyes, I know." Doyle shot back with a grin. "Not going soft on me are you Bodie?"

"You'll keep. I'll show you soft next time I see you on the practice mat." Bodie returned.

Doyle snorted. "Well I'll give the guy one thing," he went on ignoring Bodie's teasing glare. "MacLeod's got stamina. That blonde bird's been in there two hours, and it doesn't look as if he's even broken a sweat."

"Really?" Came the acid reply. "Well Einstein, maybe he just hasn't got what it takes to satisfy a real bird." Bodie shot back.

Doyle decided that he had better not dignify that one with an answer- Bodie was driving after all.

Bodie stared morosely out the car window at the handsome couple having dinner across the street in the Italian restaurant. It had started raining, which meant keeping the windows shut and the heaters on. It made the car uncomfortable, muggy and stuffy. This was the worst part about covert assignments, the sitting and waiting. The inactivity and boredom, especially when you had a subject that was having just a little too much fun with a drop-dead gorgeous woman. Bodie noted how familiar the woman was with MacLeod, and vice versa until he had to begrudgingly conclude that she was probably a friend of MacLeod's rather than a Call Girl. Pity.... Then again he wasn't sure if that made him feel better or worse. "We're in the wrong business, Doyle. You realize that?" Bodie observed breaking the companionable silence that had settled in the car over the last few hours.

Doyle grunted agreement. "Especially if it gets you into a restaurant like that. With friends like that." He added as an after thought. You could learn a lot from somebody by watching them when they believed they were unobserved, and Doyle had watched the couple very closely.

Bodie noted that Doyle had come to the same conclusion about the woman, which probably meant he was right. He trusted Doyle's judgement on such things more than his own sometimes for his partner had always been a better judge of human nature than himself. Had to be Doyle's Copper background, he silently pondered. You didn't exactly need to be a great judge of character, in the army, to know that anyone on the other side was probably out to kill you.

They sat there for another hour, as MacLeod and his partner enjoyed a five-course meal followed by coffee.

"Well, now we know where he gets all his energy." Doyle quipped, not surprised when Bodie could manage no more than a snort of disgust. It seemed to sum up the evening perfectly.

MacLeod signaled the waiter for the bill and threw another glance out the window at the Capri parked a little way down the street. He had noticed it after the limousine had dropped them off - something had woken his sixth sense and he just knew they were watching him. Dammit, it was probably an Interpol tail. He hated being watched as it always put him on edge and made him feel exposed.


His name followed by a light caress on his hand brought MacLeod's attention back to the matter at hand and he found Amanda peering at him. There was an expression of concern on her pretty face as a waiter stood patiently at his side with the bill on a small silver platter. Without looking at the total, MacLeod handed over his credit card and acknowledged the man's 'thank you' with a nod.

"What's the matter Duncan?" Amanda questioned, taking his hand and bringing it to her lips to place a caressing kiss on the tips of his fingers. "Is it that car outside? It is, isn't it." She answered herself when he didn't reply.

"Aye. It's starting to annoy me." MacLeod returned, not surprised that Amanda had picked up on the tail.

"I noticed it when we pulled up. Do you think we should do something about it? It's not something I should worry about, is it?"

"No. I think I know who it is. I'll leave it, see what else they do." MacLeod broke off as the waiter returned with the credit card slip for him to sign. He did so and they left the restaurant when the Mayfair limousine arrived out front. Casting a discrete glare at the shadowed silver car, MacLeod hastily helped Amanda into the spacious car and climbed in also. As they pulled out onto the road, MacLeod kept a careful watch in the driver's rear view mirror, both riled and vindicated when the Capri pulled out to follow several cars behind.

From the look on his face, Amanda figured that the car was still following them, and she nibbled her lower lip in genuine worry. In fact she had begun to worry about Duncan a lot lately. It was nothing Duncan had done or said directly, but there were subtle things that troubled her. For she knew the signs well. Duncan was getting broody again, he did it every five or six decades when he would start to search for a mortal companion to settle down with and have a normal life. And no matter how many times it ended in disaster Duncan just kept on doing it. Amanda sighed, judging that it was probably time she rang Connor to warn him for she knew he was in London and he would want to know how best to snap Duncan out of such a mood. Why Duncan didn't take her advice and play the field like she did, Amanda had no idea. But she supposed that was what made Duncan MacLeod the man she adored and she sighed contentedly, snuggling into his solid warmth. It just pained her to see him so out of sorts.

When the limousine stopped outside the hotel MacLeod escorted Amanda out of the car and tipped the driver generously, glancing at the shadowed Capri parked across the road. Thanking the driver, he followed Amanda into the Mayfair's foyer.

"Who are they Duncan?" Amanda asked quietly as they entered the lift. Duncan's suite was on the 17th floor.

"Interpol I think." MacLeod answered. "I'll explain later." He continued, raising an eyebrow and inclining his head at the young man in uniform who was operating the lift. He saw the young valet blush at the smile Amanda directed the child's way.

Waiting until they were alone, Amanda pounced on Duncan, helping him shut the room door. "Come on Duncan, give! What is this whole Interpol thing?" She demanded. "You're not in any trouble are you?"

"No Amanda, I'm not in any trouble." MacLeod assured with a wry smile.

"It's not about me, is it? I mean, they're not here because I-I...."

"No Amanda, they're not here because of you." MacLeod replied in amusement, wondering what she had been up to recently to be this paranoid. It wouldn't be the first time that he'd had unwanted involvement with the police because of the beautiful thief.

"Then tell me what this is all about Duncan. I can't leave if you're in trouble, I won't leave!"

"Amanda, I told you, I'm not in trouble and this is nothing for you to worry your pretty head over." Mac insisted, cupping Amanda's face with his hands and leaning in to place a kiss on her parted lips. "Now lets forget about who ever it is that is unlucky enough to be stuck out there on a night like this, and get on to more interesting pursuits." He finished with a flourish, sweeping her up into his arms and whisking her into the bedroom.

Doyle sighed, if he had to put up with Bodie's grousing much longer he would not be responsible for his actions, and he was certain that no jury in the country would convict him. "Goddamit Bodie - will you shut up! We're stuck here until the night guys arrive - if Control can spare a relief team - and I can tell you, sunshine, I don't want to hear anymore about how much you can't stand this guy. Okay!?!" Doyle exploded, ignoring the slightly stunned look his partner was throwing at him. "Now, I'm going to find somewhere that sells edible food under ten quid, so that leaves you with Kilt Boy!" Not waiting for a reply he excited the car, slammed the door, and went in search of dinner.

Bodie watched his partner's back as the other strode away. He supposed he had been laying it on a bit thick, but he was still smarting from the almost botched job they'd been on before they got landed with this plum of an assignment. A fucking babysitting Job! He hated babysitting. He supposed he shouldn't be taking it out on Doyle though, for it was hardly Ray's fault. Bloody Cowley.

Ten minutes later Doyle returned with coffee and sandwiches from a late night dinner he'd found down the road. Settling into the passenger seat he handed Bodie one of the paper coffee cups and one of the film wrapped sandwiches.

Steadying the cup on the dash, Bodie sniffed at the sandwich, suspicious of the sly grin on his partner's face. "Jesus Doyle. You know I can't stand liverwurst!" He exclaimed, barely resisting the urge to throw the offending sandwich out the window.

"Oh, sorry mate. I forgot." Doyle returned, his best contrite look gracing his face.

"Yeah, right. And I'm a sodding monkey's uncle," Bodie muttered under his breath, knowing full well this was Doyle's way of paying him back. "Just for that, you can take the first walk around the Hotel." He finished, glaring up at the dark expanse of building before them. At night, the jungle of civilization differed little from the jungles of Angola. He couldn't wait until their relief arrived, if they got relieved, Doyle had been right about that point. The mood Cowley had been in earlier didn't suggest they would get much rest this night. Flipping marvelous....

May 24th 1980. London.

A light tap on the glass near his ear brought Bodie to full alert with a start and he cursed as the sudden movement caused him to bang his knee on the dash. Turning the full force of his glare out the driver's window he found his view obscured by a thin film of condensation. Growling to himself in displeasure and ignoring the chuckle from Doyle he wound down the window to find a young man standing beside the car, dressed in the royal purple and gold piped uniform of the Mayfair Hotel. The young man, obviously a waiter, smiled down charmingly before gesturing to the large tray he held.

"Good morning, Sirs." The waiter began. "I've been asked to bring you breakfast. Compliments of Mr. MacLeod in room 701."

Bodie simply stared at the man, wondering when some idiot with a microphone was going to step out from behind a telegraph pole and yell 'smile, you're on candid camera'. "Excuse me, what did you say?" He asked, because he couldn't have heard the waiter right.

"Breakfast Sir." The young waiter repeated. "Compliments of Mr. MacLeod. He rang room service this morning and said that there might be two very hungry and cold gentlemen outside in a silver Capri that might just like a hot breakfast. So, here you are Sirs." He finished by propping the tray on the bonnet of the car and holding out one of the covered dishes to Bodie.

"Well come on mate, don't just sit there with your jaw dragging on the ground, give me one of those. I'm starving." Doyle chimed in, prodding Bodie in the side. "Never look a gift horse in the mouth." He was having a hard time suppressing the laughter that threatened to spill out at the stunned look on Bodie's face. So, MacLeod had spotted them last night, very interesting, perhaps there would be more to this assignment than he'd first imagined. He wondered when exactly they had blown their cover, and Doyle smiled at MacLeod's obvious sense of humor. Then he groaned, realizing they'd have to tell the Cow that their covert status had been blown wide open. Christ but the old man was not going to like that. Maybe he could blame it on Bodie.... Dismissing that mischievous idea, Doyle blinked up as something hot and smelling of bacon was shoved into his hands.

"You get to tell the Cow about this." Bodie growled, glaring at the plate of bacon, eggs and sausages that was now sitting in his lap and trying very hard not to be grateful for it, as his saliva glands and stomach made it known that he had been neglecting them for far too long.

"Alright." Doyle agreed far too easily. "But I'm eating this first. Don't want to face the firing squad on an empty stomach." Doyle returned, tucking into his food.

"I'll just be off back to the restaurant now Sirs." The young waiter inturruped them a second time. "The breakfast crowd is big this morning. I'll leave word with John, the Concierge, that when you're done I'll pick up the dishes from reception."

"Thanks." Bodie muttered around a mouthful of bacon and eggs, watching the young Mayfair waiter return to the Hotel.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to speak with your mouth full?" Doyle teased, looking down his nose at his disgruntled partner.

Bodie chose to ignore the bait, concentrating on his breakfast.

Both men finished their meal in silence before Doyle broke the companionable atmosphere. "Well, I guess I'd better tell the Cow the good news." He mumbled picking up his R/T from the dash with a heavy sigh. "Mind you I haven't eaten like that in years.

"Think we can claim it on expenses?" Bodie asked absently, his eyes now trained on all the people entering and leaving the posh interior of the Mayfair. He hated to be upstaged, especially by a bloody Scot.

"In your dreams, mate." Doyle muttered and raised the R/T to his lips. "4.5 to base. Come in base."

"Go ahead, 4.5."

"Patch me through to Alpha One." Doyle asked, checking his watch and seeing it was close to 7am. This time in the morning, the Cow would be up and on his way to the Ministry.

"Patching you through now 4.5."

"Thanks." Doyle acknowledged, waiting for the connection to be made.

"I trust this is urgent Doyle as I have a meeting with the Minister."

Cowley's tone was gruff and Doyle pulled a face, hearing Bodies' snort of amusement before lifting his R/T back up to his mouth. "I believe it is, Sir." He started, choosing his words carefully. The shit was going to hit the fan regardless. Looks like a refresher course was coming up. "Contact has been made. Sir." He added the 'Sir' hastily on the end.

"Contact?!" Cowley grouched bad-temperedly over the line. "I never authorized you to make...."

Cowley's voice trailed off and Doyle could almost picture his bosses displeased scowl. He winced, glancing at Bodie.

"I see, 4.5." Cowley ended tartly. "How did that occur?"

"Don't know Sir." Doyle asked honestly, deciding not to beat around the bush, offering no excuses and knowing that none would be accepted. "But I suspect he was either tipped off, or he expected to be followed. Maybe Interpol warned him before he left Paris. Sir."

"Very well," Came the measured reply. "Make formal contact with MacLeod and explain the situation to him." Cowley returned. "Keep me informed. Alpha One out."

Doyle released a breath he had not been aware of holding and glanced over at his partner. "Well, I guess we go up to room 701 and get the introductions over with."

"Oh joy." Bodie replied with heavy sarcasm, handing his breakfast plate over to Doyle and exiting the car without a backward glance.

Doyle glared at his partner's broad back then down at the dishes in his hands, placing them both on the recently vacated seat before getting out of the car himself. Gathering up the plates, he placed them on the tray still sitting on the bonnet of the car, then locked the Capri. The posh neighborhoods were the worst for thieves.

Catching up with Bodie, Doyle heard his partner give the Concierge instructions regarding the dishes, receiving a polite nod in return. He entered the Mayfair foyer, feeling Bodie beside him, glancing back once at the Concierge and seeing the man's displeased glare. "Oie," he nudged Bodie in the ribs. "I think you forgot to tip the man."

"He'd be bloody lucky," Bodie muttered, his dark blue eyes scanning the immaculate interior expertly.

Dismissing Bodie's curt words, Doyle went to the lifts and pressed the up button, bouncing on his toes and getting his mind into proper order, knowing this first meeting with MacLeod was vital. He just prayed his unpredictable partner didn't immediately put the Scot into an uncooperative mood.

Reaching the 17th floor they found the door marked 701 in bold brass gothic lettering and Doyle made an 'after you gesture' to his partner. He figured that after the past twenty-four hours of hell Bodie had put him through, he would stand back and let his partner handle the pleasantries. It was going to be fun to watch Bodie try and mind his manners within MacLeod's presence.

Bodie just glared at Doyle, knowing what his perverse partner was doing and taking up the challenge. Stepping up to the door, he knocked loudly, a perfect imitation of the clichéd policeman's knock. He was about to try again when there was the sound of a chain being removed and a stunning semi-naked blonde woman confronted him.

Amanda had a fair idea who it was banging on the door, she'd heard that particular knock too many times to mistake it, besides Duncan had told her a little of what was going on - but only after she'd worn him out. Although much to her annoyance he wasn't telling her everything. Like the name of the Immortal who had challenged him. He'd also insisted that she leave town immediately, extracting a promise from her, and growling that she would do as she was damn well told for once. It would have been cute, if she wasn't so worried about him. Then Duncan had added insult to cuteness by having the gall to make her repeat her promise with her hands in plain sight. She would have been miffed if she hadn't actually had her fingers crossed. Well, if Duncan thought she was going to leave this alone, he had another thing coming. Oh, she planned to keep part of her promise, no fingers crossed, but she also planned to contact Connor and fill him in on the situation. All Duncan's talk of responsibility and honor was insignificant, making her teeth ache - she was more concerned with something happening to him in this brooding state. And now he had to involve the police. As a rule, she disliked the police, but maybe she could have some fun with these two plain clothed men. After all, it wasn't often she got the chance to play with the law with relative impunity.

It was with that thought firmly in mind that she opened the door at the brisk, businesslike knock. Peeking out with an innocent, girly smile full of charm, Amanda found herself facing a tall, well-built and very handsome man. The only distraction to his masculine beauty was the scowl presently decorating his face. "Oh my," she gushed in her best vacant voice. She hadn't realized that the plain clothed police were so dashingly handsome. Would almost be fun to get caught.... "You must be room service," she said impishly, turning back into the room before the stunning man could answer. Calling out to Duncan in an exaggerated sexy tone, Amanda sent her sometimes lover a mischievous wink. "Duncan honey, you shouldn't have. Really. This one is soooo cute."

"Amanda." MacLeod warned under his breath.

"He didn't." Bodie interrupted, his face and tone completely neutral as he pushed the suite door open and ran assessing eyes over the room.

Doyle hid a grin. Yes, this was definitely going to be an interesting assignment.

"Bodie. CI5." Bodie stated, thrusting his ID under the semi-naked female's nose. He'd seen women in less clothing, had busted birds with equally appealing breasts, long legs, pale, touchable softness.... Clearing his throat, Bodie lifted an eyebrow, banking down on his appreciation of her feminine form. "This is Doyle."

Doyle flashed the woman a quick smile, his eyes not missing a single curve, taking out his own ID and centering his attention on MacLeod. The Scot looked amused and he wondered how many times this attractive female had pulled this trick on the male of the species.

"We're here to see Mr. MacLeod." Bodie informed the pouting female, reaching over to pick up what looked like a hastily discarded bra that was hanging off the side lampshade. A 32D-cup if he wasn't mistaken. He handed it to the woman and gave her a charming grin.

"Oh, you mean you're not room service?" Amanda exclaimed with a disappointed little frown and a seductive batting of her lashes. Taking the offered bra she sighed sensually.

Growing impatient with the female's persistent teasing, Bodie tore his eyes away from her artful stance to glare at MacLeod. If this were his bird he wouldn't parade her in front of unannounced visitors.

"Amanda, give it a rest." MacLeod advised, stepping forward and taking the towel from over his shoulders and wrapping it around Amanda's skimpily clad figure. She would be the death of him at this rate and MacLeod sent the two police officers a tight smile. He was only dressed in a pair of sweat pants, his long hair damp and loose from their playful shower and he noted with interest how swiftly both men at his door assessed him with professional interest. So maybe they were not police and he peered at the ID badge the curly-haired man held up a second time. CI5? Now where had he heard about that law enforcement agency? From Fitzcairn? Probably. "Amanda, why don't you go and get dressed." He told her, giving her a pat on he behind for good measure.

"But Duncan sweetie," she started, bending gracefully forward, displaying a nice length of taunt thigh muscle and inviting cleavage. "I haven't had any breakfast yet."

"You'll survive." He informed her with a slight growl. Covering his smile, Duncan shook his head. She could be so naughty when bored. Or when she wanted something. Right now he couldn't decide which it was. Going up to her he physically shoved her in the direction of the bedroom, allowing his two guests into the room before closing the door. "Make yourself at home." He gestured to the comfortable lounge in the center of the suite. "Get dressed Amanda, or you'll be late for your flight." He stated pointedly, throwing a behave-yourself look over his shoulder at her.

Amanda stuck her tongue out at him in retaliation, then sauntered with an exaggerated sway of her hips in the direction of the suites massive bedroom. She stopped by the dinning table and gingerly picked up the silk stockings she'd discarded there the previous night, running them over her fingers in a blatant manner. Duncan could be such a stick-in-the-mud sometimes, she decided, sighing dramatically and imagining Duncan's wince at her over the top display. Serves him right for wanting to shove her out of the way into a safe place. When will he learn that sometimes you have to trust your friends? Sighing a second time, she purposely let her eyes caress the tall, dark-haired CI5 agent, liking his dangerous, smoldering appraisal. What she couldn't do with such a man, and she wrinkled her nose up in delight. Then just as quickly turned and provocatively walked into the bedroom, shutting the door with a definite snap.

Doyle caught the interesting by-play and the resigned look on MacLeod's face and stifled his grin. Bodie was easy bait - governed by his overactive hormones, and Doyle turned away to look around the room. Clothing decorated various pieces of furniture, some feminine and some of a more masculine nature and he had to summarize that MacLeod and this 'Amanda' had enjoyed a prolonged sexual romp the previous evening. That would do wonders for Bodie's fantasies and overall opinions about MacLeod, and Doyle shook his head. Didn't Bodie tire of the numerous birds he chased and bedded? Apparently not, and abruptly Doyle found his mood was souring. Pulling his mind back to the assignment he settled his eyes on MacLeod again and wondered what the Scot saw in the mischievous 'Amanda' - besides great sex. What about a meaningful relationship? He didn't figure MacLeod for the type to go for airheads, so there must be more to the bottle blonde than met the eye. But what had been seen was definitely top class. Poor Bodie....

"So how can I help you gentlemen?" MacLeod asked breaking the strained silence after Amanda's departure. She could really make a mood or shatter it. In this case he wasn't sure her feminine charms had been very well received. The curly-haired agent - Doyle - didn't seem bothered, but the smooth dark-haired agent looked like he wanted to kill something. MacLeod could sympathize, for he'd sometimes had a similar feeling after spending a prolonged amount of time in Amanda's exasperating company.

"We have reason to believe that you are aware that Interpol are investigating a man by the name of Bruce McKellen. And that you are a prime target for this man." Serial killer, but Doyle left that unsaid, seeing MacLeod's raise brow in interest.

"I'm aware of that." MacLeod stated evenly.

"We are here for your protection." Bodie continued the word 'protection' coming out a little weaker than the rest of the sentence. He saw MacLeod's eyes twinkle in amusement and gave the man a tight humorless smile.

"I don't need protection. But thank you." MacLeod stated, just as politely.

"It wasn't an offer." Doyle cut in before Bodie could stuff up the assignment more. "How long do you intend to stay in London, Mr. MacLeod?"

"A few days. A week at the most." MacLeod shrugged, not liking the sound of this. Where they planing to chaperone him? He hoped not.

"We'll need details of your proposed itinerary." Doyle stated, walking away from the lounge and idly studying the contents in the suite. Very little missed his expert eye and he walked behind MacLeod before going to stand next to his silent partner. He caught a glimpse at Bodie's pinched expression and hid his smile. At this rate MacLeod could be forgiven for thinking they were playing 'good cop, bad cop'.

"This is unnecessary." MacLeod started to protest.

Doyle shrugged, unconcerned. "You either tell us, or we shadow your every move." We'll do it anyway, he added silently, watching MacLeod's brows draw down in annoyance. So he wasn't so unflappable. Good. Bodie would like that reaction.

"I want to speak to your superior." MacLeod grated out. How was he supposed to find McKellen like this?

"We'll see what can be arranged." Bodie grated out in a deadpan tone.

Staring from one CI5 agent to the other, MacLeod debated his options. He really didn't want to draw attention to himself, so maybe he should play along. Besides he was only planning on going to a charity auction that evening in Oxford and it was unlikely McKellen would be there. If worst came to worst he could lose the agents. Coming to a decision he plastered on a cooperative smile and nodded. "Very well." He went over and picked up his diary, seeing that it was open at Connor's London address. Amanda! And he cursed under his breath. Not that his cousin was there at present for he had tried ringing Connor earlier. Still the sooner he got Amanda out of town the better. Walking back to the CI5 men and putting on a studious look. "I have a charity auction to attend this evening. Dinner tomorrow night and maybe another auction the following day."

"Fine." Doyle nodded, taking out his note pad. "We'll need details."

Modifying his glare, MacLeod begrudgingly complied. This was going to prove very annoying.

Easing up behind the Hotel's Limousine when they arrived at Oxford that evening, Bodie eyed the immaculate gardens, and high-class visitors to this 'minor' function and charity auction MacLeod had told them about. There was nothing 'minor' about this slice of high society, Bodie judged, his scowl increasing. Waiting impatiently for the Limousine to pull away, he purposely guided the Capri in front of the valet and awaited service. But the young man in the smart red uniform took one look at the car and promptly lost his ingratiating smile, ignoring Bodie's glare completely as he refused to open the door for Doyle. Both agents got out of the car, Doyle waving his ID under the nose of the valet to cut off the impending protest, whilst Bodie threw the keys at the startled man. "And don't scratch the paint." Bodie tossed over his shoulder grinning at his partner. Stopping abruptly, Bodie looked down when he heard a pitiful meow from somewhere in the vicinity of his left foot and found a small feline looking up at him pleadingly. Startled to find such a creature amidst such splendor, he scooped up the cat, getting it off the road. "Bloody nuisance," he muttered, dropping the cat just as quickly when it bit him.

Looking at his partner, Doyle grinned seeing the black cat disappear down behind the main hall. Bodie had a way with blonde birds, small children and dogs. But cats - were just not on his partner's list of likeable converts.

With the first obstacle successfully overcome, the pair entered the foyer of the Great Hall and stopped finding themselves surrounded by patrons wearing tuxedos and satin, pointedly reminding them of the class difference and their state of being severely underdressed. Large flower arrangements provided splashes of color amongst the dark clothing. The murmur of low cultured voices a counterpoint to the string quartet that was positioned at the back of the entryway. Young women in maid's uniforms navigated expertly through the crowd carrying trays of appetizers and both agents managed a good imitation of casual nonchalance. Both spotted MacLeod, their assignment's tall broad frame and long ponytail instantly recognizable in the crowd as MacLeod stood chatting easily to an older couple. White uniformed waiters stood to the side of the entrance with silver trays of Champagne Flutes and Bodie swept one up, eyeing the man and daring him to protest. Wisely the man chose to keep his opinions to himself.

"Bloody wonderful," Bodie muttered in an aside to his partner, his eyes expertly sweeping the room and missing nothing.

Doyle rolled his eyes heavenward and for the hundredth time that day prayed for strength. He hoped like hell that Bodie could refrain from making a scene, no matter how small, for he didn't feel like experiencing Cowley's boot all the way into Macklin's refresher course. Then on top of that, he also hoped that some petty official didn't come along and give Bodie an excuse for starting a scene, because then he would have to bail out his stupid, erasable partner again, it was a full time job. Bloody hell, why me?!? It was just the sort of thing that his sometimes- contrary partner would derive enjoyment from and Doyle could just imagine the debriefing in Cowley's office afterwards. In fact the image was starting to make him wince in advance, almost smelling the arrival of trouble. Determinedly he stepped over to his partner's side, noting how Bodie was already trying to charm one of the maid's with his killer smile and Doyle scowled at his perverse partner. Only 3.7 - problem was - the daft female had already probably given his irresistible partner her phone number, house key and bra size. Doyle sighed, oh well.... at least it kept Bodie happy and out of immediate trouble, and he placed a cautionary hand on Bodie's arm. "Come on sunshine, you wouldn't want the poor girl to lose her job for chatting to the guests. Now would you?" Doyle interrupted. It only earned him a dirty glare.

Bodie turned back to the pretty brunette and smiled his patented smile. "See you around then love. This elderly gentleman here needs my help."

The brunette smiled, blushed and murmured something along the lines of - 'see you later.' Before giving Bodie one last come-hither smile.

Doyle snorted. "I'll show you elderly next time we hit the mat!"

Bodie just grinned.

Then right on the dot of 8pm by some unseen signal the crowd started moving and Bodie and Doyle trailed along behind. They passed what looked like Greek or Roman statues set at intervals down the long hall until they reached a set of blue velvet draped partitions that effectively cut the rest of the hall off from view. One glance behind the curtains and they rightly assumed this was where the Auction would be held.

"Lives of the rich and shameless," Bodie quipped to Doyle as he smiled politely to one old lady who frowned at him. "I keep expecting to see Cowley pop up at any moment."

"Nah, "Doyle intoned. "Not enough blood and guts."

"I keep forgetting. He likes establishments where men are men and boys are-"

"Kept for better purposes." Doyle finished for his partner, having heard the joke numerous times.

At the front of the hall rested a podium and a long beautifully kept antique oak table. Running his eyes over it Doyle knew one Scotsman who would be showing appreciation for the magnificent items and table even as he heard Bodie sigh impatiently beside him. But then his partner of three years had long since compounded his ignorance when it came to the fineries of life. Especially if said items got in the way of the job. Doyle would never forget the time they had gone to pick up a particularly nice desk for the Cow.... and he grinned in memory now. Then he had winced at the destruction of such craftsmanship, but looking back, he now had to admit that Bodie was right. He should have cut that desk loose sooner.... Around him the items displayed were beautiful and Doyle assumed these were part of the auction. They ranged from ornate vases to jewelry and a couple of swords, which he assumed, were the reason why MacLeod was here. Plus there were books, art pieces, statues and some old manuscripts.

"Oie," Bodie interrupted Doyle's appraisal of the table by nudging his partner in the ribs. "The food, and-"

"Brunette," Doyle supplied in an aside voice.

"Kilt Boy," Bodie corrected with a patient look. "..are back here, mate." He scanned the filling area and nodded his head minutely towards the figure of MacLeod. Three absolutely gorgeous women surrounded the man and Bodie let his scowl deepen. "Unless you want to collect more antique junk, I say we move."

Hearing the slightly clipped tone, Doyle had a fair idea of its cause and smothered his grin. This assignment was definitely going to supply him with ample material to goad his partner with for years to come.

The Auctioneer had just called an intermission when Duncan MacLeod felt the wash of a powerful presence assault his senses. He scanned the crowd with difficulty, noting how everyone was now making their way back out past the partitions to where the light buffet had been arranged. The other Immortal, whoever it was, seemed not be in the immediate room, but he, or she, was close before the presence faded almost as quickly as it had arrived. Glancing back, MacLeod noted that his two watchdogs were momentarily obscured by the retreating crowd and now would be a perfect time to give them the slip. So was it McKellen? Walking calmly through the crowd, MacLeod made his way to the fire escape doors at the far end of the room, checking cautiously to make sure he was still unobserved. Then he slipped out the door, leaving it slightly ajar so he could use it to re-enter the hall if necessary. Drawing his sword, he slipped passed the next outer doors and side-stepped slowly along the wall of the building, keeping his back to it.

MacLeod glanced around, annoyingly seeing no sign of anyone and he extending his senses, moving hurriedly away from the side of the building. The sense of presence had vanished, and he doubted now that it was McKellen, for the Scottish bastard would have stuck around for another challenge, or at least for a few taunts at his expense. Despite that fact, MacLeod never felt comfortable unless he knew who the potential enemies were, so he scanned the area, curious what other Immortal would attend a charity auction and why walk away without identifying themselves. Odd....

Bodie checked the crowd again, but he could not spot MacLeod's distinctive form. Swearing he glanced over to the other side of the room catching Doyle's eye. But his partner shook his head negatively. No luck either. Turning, Bodie scanned the perimeter of the room again, but nothing looked out of place, except for the staff setting up for the second half of the Auction. Seeing Doyle had started another sweep of the room, Bodie conferred with his partner by silent finger signals and moved to the opposite end of the room to begin the search.

Finding a fire door slightly ajar, Bodie caught Doyle's attention with a whistle ignoring the looks from the disapproving staff and guests. He didn't care. When Doyle reached his side, they both drew their weapons and slipped out, immediately finding the outside door and being greeted with an empty walkway between the buildings. "Christ!" Bodie spat under his breath, following Doyle's nimble figure into the evening darkness. Squinting slightly in the gloom after the brightness of the auction hall, both agents turned when they heard the fire door whisper shut behind.

Swearing Doyle took out his R/T and radioed base before following his partner and keeping a cautious eye behind them. The alleyway took them into a small courtyard and more dark walkways between old stone structures.

Releasing a frustrated breath when the abrupt resurgence of Immortal presence returned, Methos - alias Adam Taylor - stood waiting in the shadows for his visitor to find him. He wasn't sure he should be doing this, but he was intensely curious about the man whom he'd briefly glimpsed in the auction hall. He had read so much about Duncan MacLeod the last time he had been in the Watchers, that he was interested to know how far the Scottish barbarian had come in the last two hundred years. Darius was very optimistic of MacLeod's potential to take the Prize, which was saying a lot. And out of curiosity - boredom possibly - he had kept tabs on the younger Immortal ever since Darius had told him how intelligent the Highlander was he had given his word reluctantly to the old priest that he would watch out for Duncan MacLeod. One of his weaker moments.... or simply the fact Darius had dragged a promise out of him while drunk. It didn't seem to matter now for all his questions were about to be answered.

Cautiously approaching the end of the second walkway, MacLeod stilled and let the timber of the buzz assaulting him sink in. Taking a deep calming breath he raised his sword to a defensive position and stepped out into the pool of light provided by the security light on the building's corner. "I'm Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod." He stated, and found himself facing someone he had never met before. Someone who looked impossibly young and who wasn't holding a sword. The youthful man before him stood in a seeming relaxed stance, but MacLeod noted that his right hand was inside the long dark trench coat. Frowning MacLeod tightened his grip on his katana, seeing that this Immortal was lean, his face all planes and shadows broken by the prominent nose, while he stood at the very edge of the light. A cautious ploy.

"Soooo," a soft baritone drew the word out mischievously. "You are Duncan MacLeod. I've.... heard of you."

The silky tones were low and colored with amusement, sending a jolt through MacLeod. The gentle words washed over him, lulling him by the other's English accent along with something that he had never felt before. Almost but not quite it was like a shock of recognition, of pieces of a puzzle falling into place answering questions deep within his soul. Only he had not known that there were any puzzles or questions to answer.... Ignoring the disturbing feeling MacLeod took a breath. "Is that so," he replied clearly and concisely. "And your name would be?" He continued, relaxing slightly when the other showed no immediate threat.

"I'm here for the auction." Methos stated, giving MacLeod's tuxedo a deliberate once over before a cynical grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. "Thought I might see if any of it was mine." He finished, purposely ignoring the question. "Did you manage to pick up anything of interest?"

Duncan MacLeod was having trouble keeping his jaw from hanging open. Here he was having a conversation with a complete stranger - an unknown Immortal - about what he managed to 'pick up' at the auction, with his sword drawn. He found the whole situation veering towards the twilight zone at an alarming rate and was just about to deliver an irritated reply when the buzz of a second presence washed over him. He fell again into a defensive stance, scanning the area around him, noticing that the other man did the same.

"What is this, Immortal Grand Central!"

It was an irritated mutter from the young man in front of him and MacLeod glanced across and glimpsed curiously that the English Immortal had still not drawn a sword. He obviously carried one, seeing the pale hand move further inside his coat.... so why hadn't he drawn it? Strangely all this Immortal had done so far was to take a long measured step backwards, placing his face in complete shadow. Very clever.... MacLeod mused. It was obvious this young Immortal had decided to show his face to him only.

Methos cursed silently to himself, fuck this was all he needed! Another bloody Immortal on the scene! He dare not draw his sword, not with the likelihood of a bloody Watcher lurking somewhere in the darkness. If he was spotted and his description recorded it would ruin all his future plans. So all he could do was step further back into the shadows and hope that any Watcher either had bad eyesight, or they were too busy watching MacLeod and the new idiot about to descend on them. Fuck!

"Well, well, well.... two pigeons for the price of one." A deep voice interrupted from its own shadows. The Scottish burr more pronounced than MacLeod's. "I should attend these type of auctions more often, for you never know what you can pick up on sale."

"Your quarrel is with me, McKellen!" MacLeod growled, not wanting to drag the unknown Immortal into the fight. This was clan business, and with a shock he realized that his protective instincts were in full force towards this unknown English Immortal. Ridiculous! And he didn't even know the young man's name, let alone history! But he sensed innately that there was no threat and never would be. Not like McKellen.

"My quarrel is with whoever I like, Highlander!" McKellen snapped back peeved. "Including the skinny kid over there!" McKellen growled back, waving his blade in the stranger's direction.

A muffled, strangling sound emanated from the direction of the young Immortal and MacLeod couldn't tell if it was laughter or outrage. But the last thing he needed was for this young fool to now draw attention to himself.

McKellen advanced further into the light, his Claymore drawn but held in a seemingly negligent grip. "I'll kill you first Highland dog, then I'll take your friend!"

"My, my.... aren't we all being so civilized." Methos cut in with heavy sarcasm. "Don't let me interrupt the reunion, just think of me as an interested bystander."

McKellen's head swiveled to glare in the direction of the stranger, his expression altering from annoyance to outrage in a second. "You!! I know that voice-" he gasped then spat in disgust. "It is a voice I have vowed never to forget!" He snarled, side-stepping to put distance between himself and MacLeod, before advancing on the other Immortal.

"Stop right there, McKellen!" MacLeod ordered, moving forward in an attempt to keep himself between the other two fighters. Damn the younger man's mouth! What was it with young Immortals and the need to be brash in the face of danger!?!

"Stay out of this, Highlander," McKellen snarled, slapping the katana aside as he turned back to his tormentor with a vicious grin lighting his lips. "Your sorry wolfshead is mine, Loxley! Or what ever you call yourself now! And it will be a pleasure taking it."

"Some other time perhaps, de Renault." Methos returned, emphasizing the name and twisting it into an insult expertly. Bowing slightly to Duncan MacLeod Methos backed away further, intending to make his escape. He trusted that MacLeod would delay the Scottish lunatic and that any Watcher's would stick around to watch the fight. It was a risky chance.

McKellen cursed, reaching into his pocket and taking out a gun to shoot the retreating man before the other made it to the corner of the building. The bullet slug slammed into the slender man's chest causing him to grunt in pain and fall backward to land in an inelegant sprawl on the cold cobbled ground.


MacLeod blinked, hearing the groaned profanity and not believing what had just happened. He turned to snarl his rage at McKellen's dishonorable actions, instinctively stepping between McKellen and the injured Immortal on the ground with the intention of forcing the Scottish blaggart to deal with him. "I challenge you! Or do you have no courage for a fair fight!?!"

It was at exactly that moment that two figures came skidding around the corner, guns drawn and shouting for everyone to freeze. Both MacLeod and McKellen froze, both hastily glancing in the direction of the CI5 agents. Exhaling in frustration MacLeod backed up a step, already trying to think of a way to explain the unexplainable as McKellen roared in anger at the intrusion.

"You're bringing mortals into your fights now MacLeod?!" McKellen demanded incredulously. "It's nice to learn that you are not so honorable as many believe." He ended with a sneer.

MacLeod winced at the use of the word 'mortal' and hoped that neither of his two hindrances understood the language. He also dismissed the insult on his character, knowing McKellen's past history and despising him for it. "Yewr mine," he hissed back in deadly promise, switching to Gaelic.

Lowering his sword, McKellen made a show of complying with the two CI5 agents request, before he spun around and lifted his gun a second time. He fired two shots in quick succession, seeing both mortals dive for cover as MacLeod stepped back instinctively. Then he swore again and took off at a run down one narrow walkway.

Bodie dropped flat as the bullets whisked past him, unable to return fire for MacLeod stood in his line of sight. He heard several shots from his left, seeing Doyle roll to one side as the new assailant disappeared down another dark alleyway. "Christ!" Bodie swore, hurriedly climbing to his feet. If they weren't careful they would lose this madman in the labyrinth of the University's grounds. And he had the sneaking suspicion this was McKellen - the serial killer who wasn't even supposed to be in London.... bloody Cowley!

MacLeod cursed savagely, throwing a brief glance at the unmoving form of the injured Immortal on the ground, torn between going to him and covering his injuries, or chasing McKellen. But then before he knew it he was heading toward the same buildings as his rival, wanting McKellen with a passion that bordered on insanity. This bastard had killed, murdered for pleasure. Had slaughtered innocent children, was systematically destroying his heritage. He wanted Bruce McKellen and centered his mind on finding the depraved bastard before more died.

Climbing to his feet, Doyle swore viciously checking his clip automatically. He was sure he had clipped the man in the shoulder. Yet.... "Well this is going straight to hell real fast!" He growled, glancing at Bodie. "That was McKellen-"

"No joke!" Bodie hissed, hurrying to the alleyway entrance and cursing when MacLeod blocked his line of fire again. He swore.

"You go after them," Doyle ordered, stopping at his partner's side and assessing the situation. "I'll call in and check this one over." He snapped, gesturing to the barely moving man on the ground. Cowley was not going to like that fact a bystander was injured.

"Right." Bodie replied tersely. Taking a steadying breath Bodie took one more look at his partner kneeling next to the fallen bystander and set out in pursuit of MacLeod. If he was lucky he could cut the man off behind the next building.... Letting his senses expand, he sought out the telltale signs of a chase from the myriad noises that made up the night, catching the faint sound of a curse in an unknown language off to his left. Smiling, Bodie follow the noise.

MacLeod came to a halt feeling McKellen's presence faded and he lost the echo of the big Scot's retreating footsteps. Cursing loudly and graphically in Gaelic he searched the area for signs of his quarry, knowing it was futile but unable to just stand and do nothing. Then behind him the sound of running footfalls on cobblestones had him swiveling, automatically taking a defensive stance with his sword raised when Bodie came into view. Breathing out loudly, MacLeod dropped his sword down, peeved and frustrated, knowing his watchdog was going to have questions and not caring to answer them. "Shit," he muttered not missing how Bodie refused to lower his gun as the other man drew level with him.

Sliding to a halt, Bodie stared incredulously at MacLeod, anger warring with respect at the expert way the Scot handled the weapon. It took skill to use such a weapon.... but this crap he didn't need and he started to wonder why MacLeod would bring a weapon like this to a charity auction. Antique dealer or not! Bodie dismissed the oddities, for he liked clear, easy fact. Doyle was the one who enjoyed a mystery. Yet still.... a goddamn sword? And a live edge by the looks. "Okay sunshine, put the sharp object down before you hurt yourself." Bodie ordered, ignoring the scowl directed at him by MacLeod. He was not going to get into an argument with this Scot for he was a firm believer in letting Cowley do the interrogations. Besides he figured any explanation MacLeod now offered would probably be a lie. "Pick that up at the auction did we?" Bodie asked with false pleasantness, already knowing the answer. "I don't remember seeing it on display, and I would have remembered something like that."

MacLeod eyed the tense operative, his scowl deepening with every second. This was not going to be as easy as it had been in Paris. Lowering the katana even more, MacLeod chose not to answer the agent, going instead for a belligerent silence. At this point he was probably a lot safer with silence than explanations. Bodie would never believe the truth anyway....

Noting the closed stance and tight-lipped scowl directed at him, Bodie figured that MacLeod was not feeling inclined towards being co-operative, and that just pissed him off more. He had an innocent bystander shot, possibly dead and this damned Scot had developed a case of lockjaw? This jackass had just placed him and Doyle in danger, an unnecessary danger and if there was one thing he was not going to allow it withholding vital information. Not when it could mean his partner's life. Lowering his gun but not returning it to its holster Bodie decided he was going to get some answers. "Listen up MacLeod, I don't care who you are and I don't care what sort of friends you have in high places! When you are under our protection you will damn well do as you're told! And that means you don't sneak out the back door and get innocent people killed!!" Bodie hissed, gesturing to the alleyway behind him. If the bystander died Cowley would eat them for breakfast.... the Home Office would suspend them and the media would crucify them.

MacLeod took exception to the other's tone almost immediately. It looked like this Bodie was going to be one of those men who just rubbed him the wrong way from the very start and he painstakingly dismissed his own anger. Bodie was an arrogant child who thought he knew it all and didn't have the brains to know when he was wrong. But the agent's words did give MacLeod a guilty start when he mentioned the other Immortal as an 'innocent bystander'. MacLeod was almost positive that the wound was a fatal one, and dreaded to think what would happen now if the other Immortal came back to life before his body hit the morgue. Dammit all to hell.... he swore to himself again. This was a complication he didn't want to face. For it would mean the other Immortal would have to leave England, change names and set up a new identity. All because this English Immortal had wanted to attend an auction. "It is my fault," MacLeod whispered to himself, not realizing he had spoken the words out loud. Lifting his eyes he saw Bodie frown at him and MacLeod sighed. He would have to make it up to the other Immortal. Find out his name and offer assistance. Offer him a life out of England.... perhaps even get Amanda's help. It was the least he could do.

Bodie took in the cold hard expression on MacLeod's face and decided that returning to the auction was probably the best course of action. They had after all lost the suspect and running around unfamiliar territory at night with a sword-wielding-gun-toting-nutcase on the loose was not a good idea. Besides he had a 'sword-wielding-nutcase' currently in his custody which was enough to think about at present, and Bodie promised himself that sometime soon MacLeod would explain. "Okay Sir Lancelot, let's pack it up and get back to the auction hall."

MacLeod hesitated, hearing the jibe at his character and ignoring it also. He was reluctant to give up the chase, even though he knew it was hopeless and one look at the determined expression on Bodie's face confirmed his worst nightmare. With a silent curse in the direction McKellen had taken, MacLeod re-sheathed his katana and then gestured for Bodie to lead the way back towards the auction building.

Turning his thoughts away from the chase with difficulty and banishing the concern he felt for his partner being alone with no one at his back, Doyle approached the young man on the ground and knelt down. His fingers automatically searched for the carotid checking for a pulse and he let his gaze assess the amount of bleeding with an expert eye. Under his fingers Doyle found the pulse beat, weak and fluttery, his eyes returning to peer down at the victim's blood stained hands that were clutching the long coat determinedly closed. It was an odd gesture, and Doyle gently tried to pry the fingers away only to be met with firm resistance. It baffled him and he glanced back up at the man's pale face, seeing very white teeth bite into a bloodied lip with grim determination. The young man looked to be a student, not one of the well-dressed patrons from the auction in progress and Doyle cursed again. He just hated it when innocent bystanders got dragged into the middle of such needless disputes. It was so unjust! Pulling out his R/T, Doyle let his gaze travel the length of the student's body, seeing the shivers and knowing the man was going into shock. Shit! "4.5 to Base." He said in a no nonsense voice. "I have a man down and require an Ambulance at-" checking around the area, Doyle wondered if this causeway had a name. "I'm at the back of the main faculty hall. Oxford campus. 3.7 is on foot in pursuit of suspect. Require backup. Repeat, requiring back up. Patch me through to the medics when they're rolling." He finished.

"Base to 4.5. Acknowledged. Complying." Came the efficient voice of the female dispatcher on the other end.

Placing the R/T on the ground next to him Doyle set about assessing the man's condition, already knowing he was not going to like what he found. Problem was this student was also a witness.... Reaching down Doyle went to open the bloodied long coat a second time and found surprisingly strong fingers still barring his way. He frowned letting his worried gaze lift to see vivid green eyes now trying to glare at him. Doyle had seen his fair share of glares in his day and this one was amazingly direct, yet a little haunted. Fear? Well he could well understand that and sympathize. "Come on mate," Doyle whispered in a reasonable tone, hoping to relax his patient. "The medics are on their way-"


It was grated out and Doyle raised a curious brow. He didn't have time for this bullshit, for his partner was alone with two maniacs. And unless he was reading the signs wrong this young fool was going to die very quickly if he didn't receive help. "Listen sunshine-"

"No." Methos repeated as he tried to warn the other off with his eyes. But this stubborn man ignored his protests and he groaned in a mixture of disbelief and pain. Fuck! But he hated dying. Hated it even more when it was witnessed. His chest felt like it was on fire, a heaviness settling insidiously over his entire body. The weight of death was pulling him down and he knew there was nothing he could do. So where the fuck was MacLeod! Surely the self-righteous do-gooder he'd read about would not leave him in the hands of this child, unless the big beautiful Scot was dead. Or fighting. But surely.... Cutting off his thoughts, Methos coughed, struggling to draw breath and catching one final look of the man leaning over him so protectively. It made him want to laugh. The man's eyes were filled with a useless anger, but also with a kindness and fear. The round face was surrounded by abundant curls, one cheekbone looking oddly disfigured. Broken? Yet there was definitely compassion in the darkening green eyes that drew him back for a brief moment before he succumbed to the inevitable. He no longer had any strength to fight the persistent hands and fingers that tugged at his coat, his fingers turning numb as death claimed all his limbs. Dropping his head back Methos breathed out a painful breath. Shit! "No...."

Hearing the sigh, Doyle acknowledged that this time the word was getting weaker, and he watched in growing concern, hearing the other cough wetly. Disregarding niceties, he pried the fingers loose and opened the ruined coat, encouraged when the student continued to fight him, if only weakly. It meant he had a chance.... and Doyle let his eyes scan the damage, feeling his small surge of hope fade. Damn! What a waste of a young life! Blood covered everything, and Doyle took in everything from the blood sodden sweater, hairless chest to the blood splattered white skin of this man's throat, seeing where the sweater had ridden up. It was a mess, and he doubted there was much he could do. The bullet had hit the student in the center of his chest, and Ray Doyle cursed the murdering bastard a second time shaking his head over the waste of such a young life. Gently, but hastily he probed the wound, seeing how the younger man winced in agony. "Sorry mate," he whispered, feeling his charge start to shake in delayed reaction. He no longer got any fight from his patient and Doyle watched the long lashes come down before a faint groan reached his ears. I'm going to lose him, he thought desperately, swiftly applying pressure to the wound, knowing it was useless. "Bloody hell, where is that medic!" Doyle snapped in frustration as he gingerly turned this slender man over and reached under his back to feel for the exit wound. It was there and huge. "Shit!"

Sitting back on his haunches, Doyle glanced around helplessly before he raised blood stained fingers to feel for a pulse again. It was hardly there and he was not surprised to hear the slight exhale of breath as the body under his hands went limp. "No-" he whispered, haunted by the image of having seen too many lives lost for no reason.

Standing up, Doyle angrily kicked out at the cobbled ground, before wiping his hands on his jeans leaving smears of blood. It was such a damn waste.... So pointless! Sucking in a deep breath to calm his anger, knowing Cowley would berate him for his reactions, but he was not Bodie. He was not capable of turning off his feelings so easily. Shoving his frustration aside, Doyle went back to the body and gently turned the young man again, searching for identification. Some poor bastard would have the task of telling the family and he didn't envy them. Not one bit. Behind him he heard a sound and prayed it was Bodie, only to see a number of student's rush over and stare down wide eyes. "Get back!" Doyle barked, not wanting to deal with ghoulish spectators and inane questions.

The babble of voices behind him grew and Doyle pulled out his badge and shoved it under a couple of noses. "Now I want you all to get back! By that wall over there. Move!" He ended the last word with a firmness that had the half dozen or so students obeying instantly. Shaking his head, he opened the dead student's wallet and checked the contents.

One Adam Taylor. Born 1956, which made him around 24 years old, Doyle calculated. Letting that information sink in, Doyle wondered if he was doing a Masters in English, or just a postgraduate course. Looking at other items in the younger man's wallet, Doyle noted that Taylor's current address was the University dormitory. The few other items comprised only of three student cards, some concession cards and about thirty pounds. No pictures, no other information to suggest who they would have to contact about his death. No phone numbers at all. Not even a driver's license.

Squatting down again, Doyle kept a careful eye on the growing number of onlooker's, as he silently prayed for back up to arrive. He had not heard any other gun shots echo around the grounds so had to assume his partner was all right. Imagining anything else was pointless and dangerous. Start down that road and.... Bodie just had to be all right, just had to be.

Glancing at the wallet again, Doyle jumped when the man next to him abruptly gasped. Frowning he stared at Taylor's pale face, then tensed seeing and hearing the body gasped a second time. Stunned, Doyle watched fascinated as not only did Taylor gasp again but the young man also lifted long lashes to reveal dazed eyes, his slender body arching up in pain. Then the body lay still for a long, tense moment.

"Bloody hell," Doyle muttered stunned, falling back slightly in shock when the dead body twitched a third time. Post death tremors? He speculated, not missing how the body took a deeper, shuddering breath. It wasn't possible.... in fact totally beyond the realms of possibility. Yet, and Doyle swallowed as not only did he hear another gasp of pain, but saw the long lashes flutter open and stay open this time showing over bright eyes that locked on him in anger and amusement. Amusement? What the....

Jumping as his R/T beeped, Doyle stared at it a moment before his eyes went back to the breathing corpse at his side. Was he imagining thing? Hallucinating? Snatching up the annoying R/T Doyle depressed the call button. "4.5."

"Patching you through to the medic as requested, 4.5." Came the crisp response before Doyle heard more static and then a deeper voice.

"We should be with you in ten minutes. Can you give us an update on the emergency?"

Biting his bottom lip Doyle heard the urgency in the medic's voice and he shook his head bemused before reaching forward and feeling for the corpse's carotid again. Yep, there was definitely a pulse where there had been none.... and he trailed his fingers down the blood soaked sweater to expose bloodied flesh that now lacked the bullet hole he had seen earlier. Meeting the green eyes watching him, Doyle shivered, his mind trying to find justifiable solutions, only seeing Taylor start to grin at him in mischief didn't help matters. It was insane.... Lifting his R/T again, Doyle cleared his throat nervously. "Ummm, can I get back to you on that?"

"But we were informed there was a shooting-"

"There appears to be some...." He took his finger off the send button of the R/T and just looked at Taylor with apprehension and growing distrust when the student sat up and stretched. "Shit." He muttered before depressing the R/T button again. "Take your time fellas, there's been a mistake."

"Now where have I heard that before-"

Not bothering to acknowledge the comment, Doyle's eyes were riveted on the man sitting up in front of him. It was a miracle.... It was impossible.

"Police, or...?" Methos opened the conversation not sure what to do. In a different time, different place it would be simple. He would just kill the witness. But times had changed and so had he. It had been over five hundred years since anyone had witnessed his demise like this and he pushed down his immediate panic.

"CI5." Doyle said automatically.

Coughing slightly, Methos peered down at his damp blood stained outfit and pulled a face. He hated wallowing in blood, hated its smell and stickiness. Hated the pain....

"What the hell is going on?!?" Doyle demanded, getting past his initial shock and realizing Taylor was not surprised to be sitting up uninjured. In fact he looked mildly put out that his clothing was ruined. "Who.... what are you?!"

"I take it that's not a rhetorical question?" Methos asked with a grin, absently fingering his wet sweater.

"You got that right!" Doyle snorted. "I saw you die. And then.... then.... well, in my book you should be going to the morgue. In a bag."

Regarding the CI5 agent, Methos saw the slight wildness around the other's eyes and stifled a curse. "Trust me, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me."

"I'm not having this conversation," Methos muttered glancing around to see that a small crowd had gathered. Fuck! But he hoped there were no Watchers among them or his cover would be ruined.

"Think again." Doyle growled.

Hearing the steel behind the tone, Methos turned back and considered the agent. There was intelligence and honesty reflected back at him. A depth of conviction that spoke of a strong moral and ethical mind, plus fierce determination. A rarity, and he let his smile grow. How long had it been since he'd felt this reckless? This intrigued? First MacLeod and now this man. But the feeling was hard to squash and he let a smile enter his eyes as he met this CI5 agent's frank stare. "I take it you are going to insist?"

"Too bloody right," Doyle confirmed.

"A name?"

Burying his own emerging smile as he saw how quickly the student's large eyes became petitioning and innocent, Doyle warned himself not to trust this man's mildness. It was obviously a front. "Doyle." He said taking out his ID and flashing it under Taylor's nose very briefly.

"Raymond Doyle." Methos mused just catching the full name on the badge.

"So, you were going to explain, or do I need to haul your arse down to Head Quarters and get my boss to extract the information?"


Narrowing his gaze, Doyle nodded.

"Yes, I've read the paper." Methos muttered. In fact he'd first heard of George Cowley forty odd years ago when a mutual friend had talked about this young hot-headed Scot who possessed all the tact of a rampaging German tank. It was an old memory now. "So what do you want to know, officer?" Methos asked with just a touch of mockery.

"How...." Doyle floundered slightly, gesturing to the vanished bullet wound. If it wasn't for all the blood and the fact he had seen the man die with his own eyes, he would say it had all been part of some weird drug induced fantasy.

"Ah," Methos grinned. "Let's just say I have strong recuperative abilities."

"And let's just say you give me the goddamn truth before I shoot you myself."

"I'm immortal, Raymond Doyle." Methos whispered in all honesty, knowing that the truth was rarely believed. It was his best defense until he could get away.

"Immortal?" Doyle questioned, his eyebrows rising in disbelief. Was this another weird University cult thing? Taylor looked normal, yet from experience he knew it took all sorts of people to form cults. Yet the man had died....

"Precisely." Methos quipped. "Now can I get up? Or-"

Placing a hand on a narrow shoulder to stop Taylor from rising, Doyle glared at him hearing his R/T sounded. Bloody hell, how was he supposed to explain this to Bodie? And where was his irritating partner? "4.5."

"6.2." Murphy's unmistakable voice replied. "We're at the front of the hall-"

"Stay there." Doyle cut Murphy off as he stood abruptly. Reaching down he dragged Taylor up also. "I'm coming to meet you." He added before shutting the R/T off. Then he took a firm hold on his charge and started them moving toward the front of the complex. He barely gave the few persistent onlookers a glance, shoving Taylor in front of him.

"Doyle," Methos started in annoyance.

"Just shut up and walk." Doyle informed him. "You can explain it when we get to an interrogation room."

"Oh brilliant!" Methos scoffed unimpressed.

Not trusting this man Doyle swiftly took out a set of handcuffs and locked one around a slender wrist before Taylor could protest.


"Insurance." Doyle told him with a grin.

"You're arresting me?" Methos asked stunned.

"No." Doyle told him reasonably. "You are now a material witness and I am insuring your safety."

"And do you treat all witnesses this way Mr. Doyle?"

"Just the uncooperative ones."

"I'm sure there is a law against this-"

Dragging his reluctant prisoner forward, Doyle navigated the old buildings expertly, meeting Murphy and Anderson at the front of the immaculate hall. Anderson was on the R/T and Doyle nodded in greeting to both men. "Bodie is-"

"Don't worry," Murphy assured him with a grin as his eyes traveled over the bloodied figure beside Doyle. "Been wrestling in a slaughter house again, 4.5?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Doyle quipped, pulling Taylor towards the car and handcuffing him securely to the door. "Stay." He said condescendingly, reaching over to pat Taylor's pale cheek. He would deal with Taylor later. When he could think and when he knew Bodie was safe.

"Ray?" Murphy asked as the older agent came back towards him.

"Material witness." Doyle explained. "Adam Taylor."

"Only he's not so helpful?" Murphy guessed.

"Got it in one." Doyle said as he glanced back once at the man behind him. Taylor was currently looking as peeved as he felt. "Bodie?"

"Over near the library I think." Murphy said, gesturing to a building behind him. "Anderson and I were just going to relieve him of his burden before he kills MacLeod."

Suppressing a smile, Doyle could just imagine that. At least his partner was okay. It was a relief. "Well, let's go."

"Ray," Murphy stopped him with a hand. "What happened," he left the rest unsaid as he absently gestured to the man handcuffed to the car.

"Taylor got caught in the cross fire," Doyle started. Hell, but what could he say? What could he write in his report?

"And all the blood?"

"He got winged-"

"Christ, Ray." Murphy admonished. "I'll call the medics-"

"No." Doyle stopped him. "He's fine. Trust me."

"Ray!" Murphy whispered furiously, seeing Anderson, his temporary partner, walk towards them. "If he's not a suspect and he's injured then we-"

"Material witness, Murph." Doyle sighed. "And I checked him over myself. It's all show. He's just got a bit of an attitude and I'd rather we didn't lose him until Cowley's questioned him."

Still not completely satisfied, Murphy refrained from commenting as Anderson lit up a cigar.

"Bodie's requesting our presence." Anderson drawled in his deep voice. "Is it okay to leave Egyptian boy cuffed to the motor?"

"Egyptian boy?" Murphy and Doyle both said in unison.

"Either that or Arabic. I could never get those languages straight regardless of Cowley's orders." Anderson shrugged. "But he's cursing like a trooper."

Glancing back at the muttering man locked to the car, Doyle felt awe eat through him as he remembered what he had just witnessed. It was going to take a lot to wrap his brain around it and come up with a coherent report. But first he wanted to get to his partner and make sure Bodie was okay. Make sure his idiot other half didn't shoot the assignment. Then he would talk to Taylor again.

"So," Murphy started leaving the rest unsaid, but implied.

"I doubt he's going anywhere." Doyle said as he saw a couple of uniforms turn up.

"Then after you my son," Murphy bowed, before following Doyle and Anderson to where Bodie waited impatiently.

Keeping up a running monologue, Methos scanned the area surreptitiously, making sure that no one was paying close attention to him before fishing out a lock pick from his coat pocket. The copper - Doyle - hadn't even bothered to check for anything like that, must be his innocent face he smirked to himself. Shielding the process with his body, he picked the lock on the cuffs before getting the attention of the nearest uniform. "Ummm, excuse me, but I thought I saw those men over there trying to get your attention." He said in his best 'I'm-just-a-poor-innocent- student-caught-in-the-cross-fire' voice, pointing to where the others had gathered around the Highlander.

"Oh, thanks." the man replied, tapping his partner on the shoulder they made their way over to the indicated group.

"My pleasure," Methos murmured to himself as he placed the cuffs neatly on the passenger seat, open. "I always like to help the boys in blue." He finished with a tight grin, before assuming his best 'I'm-so-innocent-butter-wouldn't- melt-in-my-mouth' face and wandering off into the crowd that had gathered to ogle the excitement.

Doyle approached the two men, his eyes automatically scanning his partner needing to reassure himself personally that Bodie had taken no injuries while out of his sight. Both Bodie and MacLeod looked angry, studiously ignoring each other and Doyle could well imagine that Anderson had only been half joking about Bodie's desire to kill MacLeod. "So, where's the suspect?" He asked casually.

"We lost him." MacLeod informed him.

"MacLeod lost him." Bodie emphasized pointedly before he cast the Scot a deadly glare.

Doyle sighed with long suffering exasperation. For supposedly grown men they acted a lot like children sometimes, he mused to himself while stifling a grin. Neither man would appreciate the comparison.

"How's the shot student?" Bodie inquired, throwing another glare at MacLeod. "Please don't tell me he died." He hated paper work.

Doyle swore to himself, how the hell was he going to explain this to his partner, he wasn't sure he believed it himself yet, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Bodie noticed the troubled look and the hesitation and drew the obvious conclusion. "Fuck! He's dead isn't he?" He snarled, turning to MacLeod. "Okay Mr. High-and - Mighty you had better think of some convincing arguments or that will be the last time you taste fresh air for a very long time!" Bodie snapped, jabbing an accusing finger into MacLeod's chest for emphasis.

Doyle winced, then saw the pained look that flashed across MacLeod's face before the expression was swiftly hidden. Then only anger colored MacLeod's eyes and Doyle groaned, knowing his partner's temper was going to land them in more trouble with Cowley. "Bodie! That's enough. Taylor is.... alive." He managed, pushing between his partner and MacLeod and dragging Bodie away from the Scot with a restraining hand. "Calm down, mate. Taylor was just winged," he added firmly, wondering if he was trying to convince himself of that fact of Bodie.

MacLeod shot a searching look at Doyle, instantly knowing that the CI5 agent was lying. He knew damn well that the shot had been fatal.... which meant that Doyle now knew about Immortals. Noh!

"Taylor?" Bodie asked, noting the strange look directed at his partner by MacLeod and trying to fathom the reason behind it. "That was the kid's name?"

"That's his name." Doyle confirmed, narrowing he gaze as he saw MacLeod's worried glance. MacLeod knew Taylor? Not possible. Yet.... "Taylor is currently handcuffed to the car and only a little worse for the wear." Doyle assured as another even scarier thought entered his head. MacLeod knew Taylor would revive? He knew about this immortal thing? Doyle suddenly had a sinking feeling that he and Bodie were getting into something way over their heads. But who the hell would believe him?

"Handcuffed?" Bodie asked again, getting annoyed at having to ask so many stupid questions and feeling like he was definitely missing the plot somehow. "Ray?" He shook Doyle's arm to recapture his attention. "You alright, mate?"

"Yeah," Doyle breathed, feeling far from all right.

"You went a horrible dusky color for a moment," Bodie covered, forcing himself to step away from Doyle before he did something stupid like hug him. He hated it when Ray was hurting.

"Taylor is a little reluctant to tell his story," Doyle covered. "You know how I dislike those uncooperative types." He saw Bodie give him a warm smile. "So I made sure he wasn't going anywhere. Not only is he involved somehow in this mess, but he's also the only other witness apart from MacLeod here. He could identify McKellen." Doyle finished, gesturing to the silent Scot.

Bodie snorted. "McKellen is another bloody Scot. Isn't he?" Bodie asked, settling a pointed look on their charge. "They're worse than the Irish, if you ask me."

Choosing not to dignify that comment with a reply, MacLeod searched the immediate area for Taylor. He could not feel his immortal signature, nor see him by the cars near the front entrance and wondered if Doyle hadn't already sent the young Immortal to CI5 headquarters. If so, then he hopped that was where they were taking him, for he would like to have a word with this Taylor. For some strange reason he found himself growing anxious to see the other man, to find out who he was and if Taylor was his real name. "If you 'gentlemen' will excuse me I'll be leaving now-"

"Not so fast." Bodie cut in. "We still have some questions. Remember the sword?"

Glaring at the infuriating agent, MacLeod sighed, before looking at Doyle. The curly-haired agent seemed to possess more brains and courtesy. "Do you mind if I return to the hotel? I will come to your headquarters later, if necessary." He asked politely.

Doyle grinned at Murphy and Anderson. "Not at all Mr. MacLeod. We were all just about to leave, so we will escort you back to the hotel." Doyle replied, ignoring Bodie's dark look with the ease born of long practice. It really made him laugh how similar in temperament both Bodie and MacLeod were. Yet also so different. But if he dared voice that observation Bodie would kill him, and Doyle smothered his grin. Two dominant alpha males....

MacLeod turned back to the man in front of him and muttered a curse in Gaelic about how a little power just went to some people's heads. At an obvious signal from Doyle, Bodie stepped aside, and MacLeod glanced between the two agents again, knowing now that he had worked out who controlled the partnership. Doyle.... and he let his eyes assess the man again. He obviously was the brains of the outfit and MacLeod gave up arguing as he walked toward the waiting cars. He felt both men flank him automatically. Bodyguard? If they ever had to face McKellen, MacLeod knew he didn't want to be responsible for their lives.

As they approached the cars, MacLeod searched again for any sense of Immortal presence, but there was none, his eyes traitorously looking for a certain tall, lean figure in a long coat. Then his mind flashed him an image of another enticing, tall, slender figure in a short coat and he stopped abruptly. Since when had he forgotten Amanda? And more troubling, why was he now associating Taylor with Amanda??


Hearing Doyle's questioning tone, MacLeod shrugged and continued walking. It was a shock, but he could not deny the urge to see Taylor again, and he stopped a second time when Doyle reached out and pointed to one of the unmarked cars before swearing. Going over to the driver's door, MacLeod saw an open set of handcuffs sitting on the padded seat and bit back his laugh. Oh aye, this Taylor was one intriguing character....

Doyle crowded up next to MacLeod, cursing fluently. "Where the bloody hell is Taylor?" He demanded out loud, glaring at the few plain clothed police officers controlling the crowd. Then he heard MacLeod's laugh and directed his glare at the Scot. Picking up the handcuffs he flung them onto the back seat, fuming. That arrogant little prick had left them like a taunt, and Doyle had a sudden overwhelming urge to find the skinny little bastard and kill him again. Maybe twice, just for good measure. "Shit!" Doyle exclaimed, what the hell was he going to tell Cowley?!? I'm sorry Sir, but he picked the lock - just wasn't going to cut it and Doyle glared at the still grinning MacLeod. "Not a word, MacLeod. Not a bloody word or I swear...." he was interrupted by the sound of his R/T beeping. "4.5!" Doyle answered trying to keep his temper down.

"I want MacLeod in my office. Now 4.5!" Came the distinctive voice of CI5 controller George Cowley.

Both Bodie and Doyle winced at the tone in the older Scotsman's voice. "On our way." Doyle acknowledged. "4.5 out."

"Running all the way," Bodie intoned and he opened the passenger door and pulled his seat forward before indicating for MacLeod to climb in. "It's not a limousine, but it will have to do." He informed the over-dressed Scot in a flat tone.

MacLeod ignored the snide comment, curiously wondering if George Cowley was anything like his agents.

"Well Mr. MacLeod, I have to commend you on spotting my agents. Bodie and Doyle happen to be two of my best men. I think perhaps a refresher course will be in order for them when this is over." Cowley kept his gaze fixed on the man before him, interested in his reaction.

MacLeod studied Cowley, knowing that he would have to tread carefully with this man. "Lucky break I guess," he answered, leaning back in the chair and adopting a casual air.

"Luck, Mr. MacLeod. No, I don't think so. I think you were expecting to be followed. I think that you are here for some purpose other than that you gave the French Police and Interpol. But that is beside the point. While you are on English soil, Mr. MacLeod, you are under my care, and that means you do as my agents say. And that does not mean you can slip away and take matters into your own hands. Regardless of what challenge McKellen may pose to you. In this instance I believe a student was injured because of your fool-hardly actions." Cowley finished, capturing the other man's gaze.

MacLeod winced at Cowley's astute words, they were a little too close to the truth for comfort, and for a worrying few seconds he wondered if Cowley knew about his kind. Dismissing the thought as a silly one, MacLeod simply chose not to answer the unspoken question.

Cowley smiled inwardly, he had not expected any reply from MacLeod, picking up a plain brown manila folder he flipped through the surprisingly sparse pages, glancing sideways at the man sitting opposite his desk. "You have an interesting history, Mr. MacLeod, but there are also some interesting gaps. Would you care to fill in some details?"

Again MacLeod chose to remain silent.

"It says here you are an antique dealer who specializes in weaponry. Ancient weaponry." Cowley corrected, looking over his bifocals at the silent man seated across from him. "It also says you are an expert in a number of different martial arts disciplines."

"It's good exercise." MacLeod remarked.

"So is walking a dog." Cowley countered his tone implying he didn't believe MacLeod's spotless record.

"Owning a dog and traveling don't go together." MacLeod returned just as blandly, letting a smile come into his tone when he saw Cowley relent and offer a genuine grin.

"Point taken." Cowley told him, understanding a lot more than what was being verbalized. "Thank you for coming in. I hope we get the opportunity to speak again."

"I look forward to it," MacLeod replied politely, standing in one fluid motion.

Pressing his intercom, Cowley gave an order to his secretary. "Betty, send in 4.5 and 3.7."

"Yes sir."

Lifting his eyes Cowley didn't bother to stand. "Oh and Mr. MacLeod, one last thing. Don't try and lose my agents a second time or I may be forced to use other means at my disposal to safeguard your welfare while in England."

Not misunderstanding the silent threat behind the plumy accent MacLeod said nothing, turning to the door when it opened and his two watchdogs stood there with unsmiling faces.

"You sent for us, sir?" Doyle asked.

"Return Mr. MacLeod to the Mayfair and make sure nothing untoward happens to him in future."

"Sir." Doyle inclined his head and lifted a hand gesturing for MacLeod to precede him out. Bodie was standing at his back and he could feel his partner's irritation all the way down his spine. Closing the door of Cowley's office they shepherded MacLeod back to the Capri. It had been a hell of a night so far and Doyle was not looking forward to the morning. The case no longer seemed like a walk in the park and he still could not decide what to do about Adam Taylor. He'd said nothing to Bodie and the hesitation was now making it harder and harder to broach the subject. But what could he say? 'Hey Bodie, Taylor died in my arms then was magically resurrected and nope I saw no long- legged blonde angel give him the kiss of life'. Yeah, right. As if Bodie wouldn't have him frog-marched to the closest loony bin for that kind of comment. Best he probably kept his mouth shut and did some investigating of his own on Taylor. After all he knew where the man lived.

May 25th 1980. London.

Entering the University grounds for the second time in two days, Doyle checked the time hoping he wasn't too early. Casting a long look around at the immaculate gardens and cobbled paving, Doyle liked what he saw. In another time, another life he would have liked to have been a permanent student. Study of any type always fascinated him. Ancient civilizations, the mysteries of the human body, English Literature.... Art.

Rubbing his nose in thought, he slowly did a full circle as he advanced further into the large campus, wondering if his hunch would pay off. Adam Taylor. Or as Anderson had dubbed the student, Egyptian Boy. How old was Taylor? What was Taylor? And could he be trusted?

Baffled by what he had witnessed, Doyle still had not told Bodie, and in all honesty was reluctant to tell anyone. For all he knew it could be a hoax.... yet the man had died. He was positive of that fact, had seen it with his own eyes. Immortal? What in the blazes did that mean? There was no such thing as immortality - outside the Catholic Church - he corrected silently. It was a concept his old gran had believed in whole-heartedly. Immortality of the soul. But Taylor was alive, not dead. And Adam Taylor looked far too alive and real for a walking, animated corpse.

Seeing a group of students, Doyle stopped them with a smile. He could be just as persuasive as his silver- tongued partner, especially when he wanted something. "I'm looking for a student named Adam Taylor. I was hoping you could tell me where I might go to find him?" He asked turning on the charm. He knew if he asked informally first, he just might be in luck and find the mysterious man. If he went through official channels he had the strange suspicion Taylor would vanish. Like he had vanished out of those handcuffs.

"Adam?" One of the girls piped up helpfully. She shifted her books and sighed. "He's usually in the library-"

"Oh that cute recluse?" Another of the females said flashing Doyle an interested grin.

"Why not try his room if he's not in the library. I think it's the second level of the Connolly Wing."

"You think?!" The first girl said in disbelief before laughing. "I thought you had all the seniors staked out, Michelle."

"Especially at night." A third female chimed in helpfully.

"Thanks." Doyle cut in. It seemed Taylor had a bit of a reputation. That always helped. "The Connolly Wing is...." Doyle left the rest unsaid as he raised an inquisitive brow, not wanting to invite a bickering match. All three girls pointed to the building off to the left. Thanking them again, Doyle took the pathway and eyed the old brick structure. How many delinquents did this place put out a year? Potential bombers, drug chemists and desperate gunmen?

Going up the steps two at a time he reached the second level and checked the names on the doors, only seeing numbers. Just his rotten bloody luck.... Stopping as he spotted a tall, graying man exit one room, Doyle smiled again. "Excuse me, but I'm looking for Adam Taylor's room?"

"82." The man said in a clipped tone before he carried on.

Blinking after him, Doyle shook his head. "Thanks," he called, wondering what security was like in a place like this. So far it seemed non existent. He could be anyone, thief, murderer, rapist, bomber.... and he chastised himself. He had to stop imagining the worst. Inspecting the door numbers again, he soon found room 82 and checked his gun before knocking. He didn't have to wait long as the old heavy door was opened and he found himself half glared at by the man in front of him. If anything Taylor's expression showed no surprise, and a little amusement.

"Officer Doyle," Methos sighed in mild sarcasm. "Don't tell me you've come to handcuff me to your car again?"

"Very funny," Doyle said, not waiting for an invite and pushing his way into the room. He swiftly scanned the neat enclosure.

"Oh do come in Officer. Make yourself at home." Methos muttered sarcastically to himself.

Ignoring the snide comment Doyle continued his inspection. Apart from the work desk covered with numerous open books, the only other notable object in the small room was the cat stretched out on the comfortable looking bed. A black cat. In fact it looked suspiciously like the one Bodie had tangled with yesterday evening. "Nice," Doyle said before he turned back to the room's owner. "You ready to talk, or do I march you down to my Head Quarters?"

Closing the door slowly, Methos leaned against it and folded his arms. "Are you always this obnoxious in the morning?"

"Only when I don't get a straight answer."

"I.... see." Ambling over to the bed, Methos collapsed down on it and regarded Doyle with open interest. "So where's your shadow?"

Recognizing the evasion, Doyle decided to play along and he prowled the room, fingering a couple of items. They looked old and expensive. Taylor had good taste, if no manners. But then maybe he was one of these rich kids rebelling against his parents? The possibilities were endless.... "Babysitting." Doyle replied after a prolonged moment, watching Taylor out of the corner of his eye.

"MacLeod?" Methos asked in feigned interest, glancing down when the cat decided to use him as a cushion. He stroked her head absently.

"Yeah, Kilt Boy." Doyle muttered.

Hearing that, Methos couldn't contain his amusement, blinking at Doyle before bursting into laughter. He doubted MacLeod would see the funny side of it, but it was hilarious, and damn fitting. "Kilt Boy?"

"Bodie has a way with words."

"No doubt." Methos acknowledged.

"What's going on Taylor? And I mean it. You better give me a damn good answer or I'll haul your skinny arse out of here."

"I seriously doubt you could haul my 'skinny arse' anywhere, Doyle." Methos cut back offended. "But for the sake of decorum, let me just say it is probably for the best if you and your partner didn't interfere."

"Too late. We are already involved."

"Then uninvolve yourself."

"What the hell is going on?" Doyle repeated as he saw how serious Taylor was. He walked over to him and pulled out a chair to sit down facing the man, assessing the artful way Taylor sprawled on the bed. It was a cover, and Doyle met the narrowed hazel eyes letting the other man know that he understood the evasion. "You know MacLeod." He stated flatly challenging the other to deny the charge. "You are part of this entire mess. You even know McKellen. Don't you?"

"No." Methos said clearly. "At least not in the way you assume."

"Then how?"

"Trust me, you don't want, or need to know." Methos answered just stopping the words turning sarcastic. He had a feeling they wouldn't work against this determined man.

"Who the hell are you?" Doyle asked exasperated. "What are you?!?"

"Have you got a few years?" Methos quipped.

"Just give me the condensed version."

"No such thing." Methos stated as he sat up and pulled a sword out from under his bed.

Doyle just blinked at him stunned never having expected to see a blade produced so swiftly and with such grace. It was frighteningly disconcerting and he automatically reached into his jacket to grip the butt of his Browning.

"Relax," Methos admonished as he caught the reflex action. "You want answers, I can only give you this." Then using the fine edge of the sword he sliced open his hand, wincing in pain as blood welled up and ran down his wrist.

"Christ!" Doyle was out of his seat and reaching over to take Taylor's hand, eyeing the man as if he was deranged. "Are you out of your mind??"

"Watch," Methos breathed, biting his lower lip and willing the pain away.

Doyle just stared at him wide eyed, assessing his mental state before dropping his gaze back down to the bleeding hand. Taylor had not only cut the skin, but he had opened the hand to the bone.... but to his amazement the skin was knitting neatly back together, tiny blue sparks dancing at the edges of the fast closing wound. Feeling his jaw sag, Doyle swallowed nervously, taking a step back as he watched Taylor wipe the blood away to reveal unblemished skin. It was unbelievable. Totally off the planet. Right out there with Kirk and Spock.... Taylor then flexed his fingers and Doyle fell back onto his chair as if he had been sucker-punched.

"Satisfied?" Methos asked mildly, shrewdly watching the way Doyle reacted. It was a dangerous ploy, but if he had read this man correctly, Doyle could also be a very useful ally. Risk - Chance - Fate or Death? Which of the Ancient Gods was he now tempting?

"I think I need a drink-"

"There's a pub down on the corner." Methos offered. "I'll buy the first round."

Still feeling numb, Doyle couldn't tear his eyes off Taylor as the man savored his beer with obvious delight. The sparkle in the changeable eyes, the smile on his lips and the ease of his movements, all spoke of experience and Doyle in that instant felt very young and extremely out of his depth as this 'creature' played with him like a cat toyed with a mouse. Or as Bodie played with terrorists.... Yet to look at Taylor you would be forgiven for assuming he was impossibly young and innocent. What a farce!

"Now this is a good drop." Methos said in appreciation. "Beats the canned stuff any day."

"How old are you?" Doyle asked, his mind slowly trying to accept the impossible.

"Old enough to appreciate the head on this beer," Methos said with a smirk.

"And you can never die?" Doyle carried on as if he hadn't heard the attempt at humor.

"Never is a strong term." Methos pulled a face and glanced around. But they were far enough away from the other patrons not to be over heard. "Let's just say, it is extremely difficult."

"But you look so.... so," Doyle shook his head. He felt like he had definitely entered an episode of Star trek. There's Klingon's on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow....

"I don't age." Methos told him.


"Not physically."

"Bloody hell," Doyle lifted his beer and took a large sip. He let his eyes flicker from the glass Taylor held to his assessing eyes. There was a sparkle of mischief in them, and Doyle narrowed his own gaze in distrust. Logically he should be hauling Taylor's arse down to Cowley, or Ross, but for some reason he felt it would be a bad move. "Immortal."

Nodding once, Methos took another drink of this beer.

Pulling all the facts together, Doyle just stared at him in growing realization. "MacLeod's the same as you, isn't he?"

Not saying anything, Methos just let his smug grin grow as he looked around in amused disinterest.

"But what's with all the swords?"

"Listen, Ray.... can I call you Ray?" Methos asked as he tried to distract the other man.

Doyle just gave a curt nod, his mind continuing to play back all he had seen and read in the last 48 hours about MacLeod and McKellen. It was all starting to make a sick kind of sense. And now Taylor.... Bloody hell! How many Immortals were there?

"For your own sake, it is best you don't get involved."

"How many of you are there?"

Groaning slightly, Methos slid down further in his chair and drained his beer.

"Answer the question!"

"I don't know." Methos hissed back, then covered his annoyance as he watched Doyle scowl. "It's not important. The important thing is that we only fight each other, and I advise that you don't interfere in a challenge. Ever."

"Or what?"

"Or you'll die."

Hearing the cold tone, Doyle took in the words and saw how serious Taylor was. Deadly so. "And MacLeod?"

"What about him?" Methos asked in exasperation, fiddling with the rim of his glass.

"Is he one of the good guys or the bad guys?"

"Oh," Methos gave a secretive smile. "He's definitely one of the good guys."

"And you?"

Covering his smile, Methos relaxed even more into his casual sprawl, his eyes dancing with suppressed mirth again as he watched Doyle. "I'm neither."

"What?" Doyle asked, and was interrupted as his R/T sounded. Swearing, he reached for it and depressed the call button. "4.5."

"Where the hell are you!"

Deciphering Bodie's peeved annoyance through the static, Doyle couldn't help but grin. "I'm busy," he said, eyeing Taylor. "..interrogating a suspect."

"Without me!?"

Hearing the outrage, Doyle bit his lip to cover his smile. "I have my Bodie handbook if I get lost-"

"Funny Doyle."

Licking his lips, Doyle caught Taylor's snort as the other shook his head. "Report 3.7." He said instead of baiting his partner more.

"Listen sunshine, you either get back here, or I'll-"

"You'll what 3.7?" Doyle prompted as he heard his partner curse. "Has the situation changed with MacLeod?" He asked abruptly, concern for his partner cutting across the banter. Lifting his gaze he saw Taylor observing him speculatively. It was unnerving.

"Kilt boy has just sent me out breakfast again, and if you don't get back here, I swear I'll go up and strangle the bastard!"

Not bothering to cover his amusement this time, Doyle looked at Taylor and laughed, taking his finger off the call button. "Tell me," he asked directing his question at the man across from him. "Out of curiosity, if Bodie shot MacLeod.... MacLeod will just get up again. Right?"

Considering Doyle's direct stare, Methos gave in and nodded.

"Just as I thought." Doyle muttered before he depressed the call button again and heard Bodie curse. "Sit tight 3.7 and if you're good I'll bring you back a beer."

"A beer?! Ray.... Doyle where the hell-"

"Later 3.7. 4.5 out." Doyle cut him off and ended the call before slipping the R/T back in his coat pocket. "Bodie would be royally pissed off if he knew that killing MacLeod wouldn't accomplish a thing."

"Are you going to tell him?"

"Tell him what?" Doyle asked, then screwed up his nose. "Nah. I'm not even sure I believe it. I can just see me trying to explain it to Cowley as they drag me off to the funny farm."

"It would be best if you kept out of it."

"As I told you, we can't." Doyle replied. "MacLeod is our assignment. Until McKellen is caught, I'm afraid you are stuck with me. And I strongly advise you don't try and leave the country." Letting his eyes sweep over Taylor's sprawled figure, Doyle thought of something else. "I suppose asking you to give up your passport would prove as ineffective as handcuffing you to a car was?"

"Indubitably." Methos confirmed.

"Just as I thought." Doyle sighed, getting up and taking out his wallet to pull a card free. "If you think of anything relevant, you can contact me on this number."

"So I take it, I'm no longer a prisoner?" Methos asked as he took the card and committed the number to memory.

"No. But you are a witness." Doyle said, leaning down to pin Taylor with his gaze. "And next time I'll use more than bloody handcuffs."

"Promises, promises," Methos muttered, grinning up as he caught Doyle's wary look.

"You better believe it sunshine." Doyle hissed back before striding away.

Laughing softly Methos just nodded as he watched Doyle navigate the steps of the pub. He could really learn to like Raymond Doyle, he decided. The man had class and courage, plus a sense of humor. Pity they had to meet under these circumstances. Stretching, he wondered if sticking around was wise.

Leaning back against his work desk, Methos shook his head over the day's events. From the sublime to the ridiculous.... Next to him, he heard a plaintive meow, and glanced down at his feline roommate. Nefertiri, as he had named her six months ago when her small-bedraggled wet body had sat shivering outside his door. He was a sucker for lost causes and she knew it. Bending down he picked up her tiny frame and stroked her ears back, being rewarded with a loud purr as she settled a paw on his chest and flexed her claws. The perfect hunter. So seductive and adaptive. "You want food again?" He asked in mock horror, getting a patient blink from the golden eyes as she opened her mouth and yawned.

Sighing Methos gave in to her charms, adoring her heat and the way she had taken over his life in such a short period of time. Finding her bowl he filled it up with fresh food. "You do know that I'm a poor grad student, don't you?" He asked conversationally while she butted against his legs. "Feeding you is keeping me broke." Yeah, right.... Standing up, he watched her for a moment, then turned back to his current problem.

At Oxford he was trying to get a distinction in his second year of English Literature without making it seem too simple and now he has to run across not only that jackass from Nottingham, but a nosey detective. Doyle. And the worst part was, he actually liked Doyle. Had acknowledged that fact at he pub earlier when the man shared his company. He could well imagine them having a good relationship if they had met under less questionable circumstances. Doyle was intelligent for a street cop. Ex-street cop, now CI5 agent. And the man had balls to do the job he did with no resurrection in sight.

No, that wasn't the real issue disturbing his thoughts, though Doyle knowing about him was a problem. Having a loose cannon out there knowing about Immortals was never a comfortable feeling. But killing the man not only felt wrong - it was impractical in this day and age. Bluff was a far better tool and if that failed he could always postpone his scheduled entry into the Watcher Organization as their new bright-eyed young grad student by a decade or so. What was time?

No, it was MacLeod that troubled him. And troubled him in a way that was frightening. Kilt Boy? Hearing Doyle's voice in his head brought a smile to his lips. So fitting. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.... Seeing McKellen had barely registered, but he could remember every detail of MacLeod's face as the powerful Immortal had stood in front of him, proud and commanding.

He shivered in recollection, wondering if his over-reaction was due to the fact he was cloistered in the University with children, or because it had been a while since he'd played with real meat? Then again maybe it was because meeting the man only enhanced what he had read about him. What Darius had told him.

So what he was feeling now was old-fashioned lust. Nothing new, just damn inconvenient. The spice of life - because he knew bedding MacLeod was one fantasy that would never be realized.

Yet, MacLeod had stared at him so hungrily. Was it simply curiosity? Or sexual desire? Or did the man want his Quickening? Debating that, he pushed away from the desk and ambled over to his cabinet and took out a warm can of beer. He much preferred it chilled but had yet to educate the dim minded within this facility of that. Beer was beer and right now he needed a large drop of the amber nectar. It was either that or sex.

Sex - a pastime he indulged in sporadically. He currently wasn't attached and speculated on what it would be like to wrestle MacLeod down and taste his warmth. A hot lust driven imagining that would never eventuate, and he groaned in dismay as he felt his body traitorously respond to the idea.

Yet was he feeling more than simple lust? Those large brown Scottish eyes had seemed to soften.... Gods, he felt suddenly confused and claustrophobic.

But in his extensive experience with sex, and male sex in particular, Methos had found each encounter usually fell into one of five categories. The first category was often the most difficult and the one he seemed to blunder into with monotonous regularity. It was sex with a good friend. Or comfort sex. Where from grief, shock or vulnerability sex was initiated between two friends in an effort to forget the past and initiate a sense of well-being. Solace. Usually, in most cases, the aftermath of this would forever destroy the friendship making the encounter a bitter memory. Didn't he know it!

The second category was pure, mindless pleasure. A sexual affair that was found non-restraining and extremely exciting. While it lasted. Usually it burned hot for a short period and then dissolved. Or he moved on. It was wild, liberated, unconditional and guiltless. Passion of danger. Sex with strangers. The spontaneous lust brought on by stress, physical tension, or a recent fight. It was usually associated with mutual consent and was totally physical, feeding the body and disengaging the mind. It usually left him replete and unaffected in a mindless sort of way. Like a good meal....

The third category was the least desired. Sex under duress. Or rape. The attacker not only fucked the body, but also fucked the mind, utterly stripping the victim of control and leaving emotional scars. It also destroyed the spirit and confidence and he found that afterwards no matter how tough he pretended to be, the memory lingered. The vulnerability existed no matter how many years he put between him and the experience. Even now just the thought of past experiences, of Feldon, or Kronos finding him made him break out in a cold sweat. He shuddered taking a large gulp of his beer as he reminded himself why he hid so well. Idiot Old Man! That's why playing with the Highland brat is dangerous....

The fourth category was pure, brutal dominance. A state he was not proud of, but a state he had lived in many centuries ago. This was where he was the controller, where he took what he wanted, where he fed off fear, pain and blood. A power rush of rage and destruction, that didn't ease the ache or fill the heart with satisfaction, but subdued frustrations and hunger. It was a state he never wanted to fall into again.

Which brought him to the final category involving sex. Category five - the one brought on by instant desire. A craving that touched and tantalized every sense. It was a total body experience. Not only satisfying the body and mind, but screwing the heart as well. Fortunately this type of emotional plundering was rare. Coveted, but devastating to both parties involved. It destroyed all rational thought and left the recipient exposed to outside influences and ultimately death. Immortal suicide.

A scary prospect, especially now as he could feel his heart constrict at the simple memory of MacLeod's searching eyes. Fuck! Danger, danger.... a small voice squeaked in the far reaches of his mind. Heartache approaching.... This new desire he would have to keep firmly to himself, and under control. Besides, he doubted he would see the big Scot again. Even Doyle had said that McKellen was hunting the Highlander.... stopping the thought, Methos frowned. McKellen was an unimaginative bastard, but he doubted the blundering Scottish idiot could best MacLeod in a fair fight. Fair fight. That was the point, and he snorted, remembering McKellen's blunderings in Sherwood. The narrow-minded idiot was incapable of doing anything but cheating and if he shot MacLeod like he had shot him earlier then the Highland boy scout would die.

It was a prospect that did not appeal to him at all. Bloody hell! But he'd seen the magnificent barbarian for all of.... what? Two minutes?!? And already he was smitten and hooked like a desperate groupie? Pleeeeease!! But even as he berated himself, he knew his heart had already made a decision, and he groaned silently. For his own peace of mind he would have to see what he could find out about McKellen. To protect MacLeod. For Darius' sake. Yeah, right....

Besides, wasn't living in Oxford just a tad boring? Hadn't he complained about that in his diary just last week? Shit, careful what you wish for Old Man - and he raised his eyes to the ceiling imagining what he'd like to do to that bitch, Fate.

Taking the card out of his pocket, he eyed Doyle's phone number, knowing just how he was going to milk the information out of the curly-haired operative. He could do charm. Could do it very well. Had seen the curiosity and interest in Doyle's cat-like eyes. Oh yes, but he was a wicked, perverted bastard. And if it meant seeing MacLeod again, then.... Swallowing he felt his gut constrict in irrational anticipation. He was sick.

Definitely ill, depraved, and he should have learned by now that when he felt this drawn to a person to run like hell. But somehow his feet never seemed to obey his brain. And that little voice of survival that was screeching in the back of his mind was also ignored as he started to plan his strategy for involving himself in the Highlander's life.

Parking his gold Capri, Doyle released a slow breath and re-gathered his thoughts. He knew Bodie was bound to moan about the fact that he had taken off alone to interview Taylor. Bodie would be infuriated if he even guessed he was now willfully with-holding information about Taylor. But what could he say? How could he explain it to Bodie - except to maybe drag his opinionated partner back to Oxford and force Taylor to demonstrate his incredible healing abilities a second time?! An ability he was sure Taylor would pretend didn't exist. That much he had picked up from the deceptively young man. He had been shown a glimpse under the cynical mask and behind the amused hazel eyes and Doyle knew enough to understand that what he'd been told was dangerous information. He'd also noticed how gleefully Taylor had watched him realize that very fact. Bastard! Then again, was Taylor even human?!? Doyle scoffed at the term. Adam Taylor was a master of manipulation, and Doyle could not think of a logical way to expose him without getting himself, Taylor or Bodie killed. And that was the problem.

For he did believe Taylor about the fact that this was a personal dispute between MacLeod and McKellen. He also believed that this dispute had nothing to do with an Interpol investigation or with CI5 or even Taylor himself. Yet how to tell Cowley that? Gut intuition?? "Bloody hell," Doyle sighed as he released his grip on the steering wheel. He really hated being dragged into personal disputes, especially when it put him and his partner in the firing line. Bodie. Shaking his head Doyle let the image of his partner fill his thoughts. From sheer bloody-mindedness to uncanny tenderness.... that was Bodie. His friend - a man closer to him than any other person on this planet. And if he couldn't tell Bodie what Taylor had just told him, then how could he tell Cowley? Immortals? And Doyle closed his eyes, dropping his head back against the headrest. What exactly did that term mean beside the obvious? Was it a curse? An illness.... his police trained mind dismissing such oddities as mythical. If only Taylor would explain more, but he had the impression that the other man would bolt if he forced more details. So it was a very fine line he now walked. How old could Taylor be if the man couldn't die? And for that matter, how old was MacLeod? Christ! Bodie would be pissed off if he learned that MacLeod had never been in any real danger during the shooting.

Somehow he had to work out a way to find McKellen first and get the bastard deported to France for his crimes so that neither he nor Bodie were caught up in something that was beyond their understanding. Or killed in the crossfire, as Taylor had so bluntly suggested. Because out of everything that was one warning he truly believed Taylor had not lied about - all else was open for interpretation.

"Damn him!" Doyle muttered, scanning the area and picking out his partner's car. Seeing it was empty gave him a momentary pang of worry until he forced himself to calm down. Christ, but Bodie was going to be the death of him with the ex-SAS' nonchalant disregard for personal safety and CI5 procedure. The way Bodie acted you would think he was Immortal....

Dismissing that disturbing thought, Doyle quickly got out of the car locked it and pocketed the keys. Since Cowley's little discussion with MacLeod yesterday, they were no longer undercover, so he assumed MacLeod had indeed invited his exasperating partner in for a late breakfast. That was guaranteed to get up his partner's nose faster than a speeding bullet. Thinking about an irritable Bodie and how it enriched the partnership, Doyle nodded to the doorman outside the Mayfair and ambling into the plush foyer. Not often did they get to breakfast in such an expensive joint, and be able to claim it on expenses, Doyle added silently. But the Mayfair made him feel definitely under-dressed, especially when he was given a number of disapproving glances by the staff.

Ignoring the pointed looks, Doyle strolled forward, catching sight of his partner with MacLeod towards the back of the terrace restaurant. He gestured to the two men and flashed his ID at the stuffy Maitre'd, before slowly making his way over to the table. Mentally he was preparing himself to act normally around MacLeod while fielding his partner's inevitable comments and looks. But MacLeod was Immortal.... yet why did that bother him more than the knowledge that Taylor was Immortal? Maybe it was because MacLeod 'felt' dangerous while Taylor 'felt' harmless? Speculating on that disconcerting realization, Doyle's eyes automatically picked out MacLeod's confidence, his obvious allure, power and strength, comparing them to what he had seen of Adam Taylor. Frowning, Doyle was immediately shocked to comprehend that the only definite image he had of Taylor was his seductive vulnerability and he felt his mouth drop open in shock. "That manipulating little bugger," Doyle muttered as he saw MacLeod stand and gesture him over. The Scot flaunted his strengths, where Taylor hid behind a mist of deception. But which one was deadlier? It was a question he didn't need answered as he saw MacLeod's genuine smile directed his way and Doyle started to re-evaluate all that Taylor had said and not said. Bastard!

"Ah, Mr. Doyle," MacLeod said with a smile, his dark eyes twinkling in genuine pleasure. "Care to join us? I can recommend the lobster."

"For breakfast?" Doyle questioned, sitting down and eyeing the two men. "No thanks."

"It's a bit too exotic for Doyle, Mr. MacLeod." Bodie said just covering his annoyance by keeping his face perfectly straight and his tone polite. "The only seafood he recognizes is cod covered in batter from the local chippy."

Choosing to ignore that, Doyle just sent his partner a look promising revenge as he indicated to the waiter hovering at his left shoulder to just bring him some tea.

Watching the two agents, MacLeod didn't miss the silent communication, or the easiness between them before Doyle targeted him with shrewd eyes. "Mr. Bodie tells me-"

"Please, can we drop the Misters?" Bodie asked on a tight breath. "They're giving me indigestion."

Hiding his smile, Doyle knew how his partner hated titles of any sort, and offered MacLeod an apologetic smile. "Since we are stuck with each other until Mr. Cowley says otherwise, I'm Raymond Doyle and this one only answers to Bodie."

"Duncan MacLeod." MacLeod said simply, singling Doyle out and noting that he was the more temperate of the two men. The teaming made for an interesting combination, and he admired Cowley's strategy. But then opposites not only attracted but also complimented each other perfectly, he acknowledged. "Bodie here tells me that you were visiting the student that was shot yesterday by McKellen." He gave an innocent smile with that comment as he watched the way Doyle's eyes darkened and narrowed. "I hope the young man is recovering?"

Considering his answer while the tea was delivered, Doyle waited until they were alone again, watching how Bodie eyed his lobster with disgust. His partner would definitely have indigestion. "I was just doing a follow up." Doyle replied, pouring milk into his tea before giving MacLeod a slight nod of acknowledgement.

"And the young man," MacLeod hesitated, not sure how to proceed as Doyle gave nothing away. "..I take it he's all right?"

"Fine." Doyle said, taking a sip of tea and pulling a face. He felt Bodie's eyes on him and schooled his features, knowing his partner would want information as well. Only a more detailed explanation could wait until later. "One Adam Taylor." Doyle turned back to MacLeod and gave him a thoughtful look as he studied the man. This man is Immortal. "He's currently residing in the Connolly Wing, room 82. A student of English Lit and History from what I can gather. He was only grazed and claims to know nothing. Just one of those cases of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"I.... see." MacLeod said slowly, his eyes telling Doyle that he didn't believe a word spoken. His answer was a small smile in return before Doyle sipped his tea again in unvoiced challenge. Not liking this, MacLeod glanced away. What the hell had the Immortal told this agent?!? It was disturbing, but looking back at Doyle he had the strong feeling that Doyle knew a little too much for comfort and was now baiting him. That was a dangerous attitude, especially with McKellen in the area.

"Oie," Bodie said as he glanced between his partner and the Scot. He had the distinct impression he was missing something vital here. "I think you've drunk enough tea sunshine otherwise your brain will get water logged." Bode quipped, standing and dragging his partner up with him. "If you will excuse us," he said politely to MacLeod.

"Mr. MacLeod," Doyle said as he easily slipped free of Bodie's grasp and turned back to the Scot. "What are your plans for the rest of the day?"

"I have a parcel being delivered later this afternoon, but apart from that I intend to stay in."

"Then we will accompany you upstairs for your own protection."

"Unnecessary." MacLeod said hastily covering his frown. "But as I promised George I would co-operate."

Bodie gave a forced smile, not liking the way MacLeod said 'George' before he gripped Doyle's shoulder hard and nodded to MacLeod. "We'll just be out here."

Watching them go, MacLeod speculated on what Doyle had said. It had been a deliberate statement of fact. Adam Taylor. The Connolly Wing, room 82. What was Doyle playing at? It was almost a set up, yet.... MacLeod frowned. He remembered McKellen shooting Taylor in the chest. It should have been fatal, and McKellen had called Taylor - Loxley, so.... Baffled, MacLeod picked up his wineglass and savored the flavor, wondering if it was possible to lose his watchdogs and seek out Taylor himself. For there were a few answers he craved.

Spinning Doyle around once they were back in the foyer, Bodie totally ignored the gesture the receptionist gave him to be quiet when he hissed at his partner. No one shushed him! "Doyle what the hell are you pulling now?!?"

"Will you keep it down-"

Opening his mouth Bodie closed it and glared at the doorman who was approaching them. The man stopped dead in his tracks under Bodie's glare, coloring slightly before hastily backing away. Turning his demanding scowl on his unfazed partner, Bodie tried to reign in his temper. "If you ever leave me alone with that moron again, I swear, Ray, I'll not be responsible for my actions!"

"And here I thought you had more self-control," Doyle quipped with amusement, seeing MacLeod call for the cheque.

"He's playing us for fools!"


"Maybe!" Bodie exploded and then released a loud sigh as he counted to ten slowly. "He knows what the hell is going on and he knows that we know that he knows!!"

Blinking at Bodie, Doyle didn't try to hide his amusement. "I think Anderson is right, you've lost it mate."


"Listen," Doyle admonished, understanding how volatile Bodie's temper could be. Only he knew it was from frustration at being stuck on a case that was going nowhere fast. "I'm sure MacLeod will make a mistake-"

"What about Egyptian Boy?"

Raising a brow, Doyle sighed. So Bodie had been talking to Murphy again. Figured. "He didn't know anything."

"Bloody typical!" Bodie growled as he leveled his gaze on his partner. "I don't like the feel of this, one bit. More is going on here than Cowley is telling us. And I want to know what Kilt Boy told the old man in the office earlier."

"And pigs will fly," Doyle answered. "Listen mate, this is not the first time Cowley has kept us in the dark-"

"Do you think he's struck a deal?"

"What?" Doyle questioned. "Diplomatic immunity for information?"

"Or bait?" Bodie hissed as he leaned closer to his partner, invading his personal space without pausing. "With the emphasis on us being the 'bait'."

Blinking at Bodie in startlement, Doyle didn't have time to comment as his partner squeezed his arm indicating MacLeod's approach.

"I'll just go upstairs," MacLeod offered on his way past, giving them both a tight smile.

"We'll accompany you." Bodie said, not giving MacLeod a chance to object as he went to the lift and stabbed the up button viciously before turning to giving the Scot a charming smile. "If that's all right with you." He added in false politeness.

"Fine," MacLeod grated out, but silently cursed first McKellen for involving the police in an Immortal matter and secondly Cowley for being so bloody stubborn minded.

Half an hour later MacLeod was still sitting staring at the papers on the desk. What he was seeing however was not the morning news but rather a young looking face, superimposed over the image of a long lean figure sprawled on the ground. Try as he might he could not budge the images from his head and with the images, came the soft baritone that had captured his attention so excitingly. It just added to the list of contradictions in the man's behavior towards both himself and McKellen and MacLeod had a very compelling reason to be intrigued, if not downright curious about this Adam Taylor. He simply had to find him again, he had so many questions that required answers. Who are you? Being the most persistent, the most compelling, followed swiftly by - Loxley? The comments had not escaped him and the implications of that name were something he just had to discover.

Then there was the little matter of how much the other Immortal had told agent Doyle. MacLeod knew damn well that Doyle was suspicious of his motives. Just the lack of practical evidence and British etiquette was keeping Doyle from asking the blunt questions he saw in the other man's frank stare. This was not a complication he liked. Mortals knowing about Immortals.... but what could he do?

Sighing, MacLeod stared at the newspaper before him, wordlessly admitting that he was getting tired of the Game and he was sick of being alone. This whole mess with McKellen was bringing it home to him sharply, and the little visit from Amanda hadn't helped either. Not that he hadn't enjoy the experience, he told himself with a grin. The memory of the wild sex they had enjoyed still very fresh in his mind, it was just that she most of all seemed to remind him of what he was missing in a stable relationship. One could only lie to oneself for so long before the truth became too obvious to hide from any longer. Making a face, MacLeod tried to shelve his gloomy mood, wondering why thoughts of Adam Taylor merged with his memories of Amanda. That's what comes from brooding, a snide voice spoke up from his subconscious which for reasons Duncan refused to even think about sounded suspiciously like the silky baritone of a certain English male Immortal....

Noh!! That did it! MacLeod decided angrily. Allowing his warped subconscious to continue to play games with him was getting him nowhere. He would find this damn Adam Taylor - if that was his real name - and satisfy his curiosity and be done with it! Although MacLeod disliked breaking his promise to Cowley he had to know. This was an Immortal problem and had little to do with CI5, or even McKellen for that matter. But he had to know if McKellen was at the University yesterday by accident, or if the bastard had followed him, or if McKellen was hunting Taylor. However, he was not going to learn anything relevant by sitting in this small study with his two guard- dogs prowling around in his hotel suite!

He'd lose them. No easy task when they were sitting practically outside his door. Nor when they were so well trained and suspicious of his movements. His own fault he supposed for disappearing on them at the auction.

Cursing softly to himself, MacLeod concentrated on coming up with a plan, his gaze wandering unseeing out the window, when his eyes finally focused on the fire escape. Yes, that was it. So simple. He'd go down the fire escape. But first to deal with Bodie and Doyle. It had been a while since they had checked up on his continued presence in his private suite so he would have to give them the impression that he intended to be there for the rest of the morning and afternoon. Happy now that he had a plan of action, he stood and left his large bedroom. Two heads swiveled in his direction from where the agents were seated on the couch absently watching the television.

"Afternoon gentlemen," MacLeod greeted them politely, receiving a nod from Doyle and a suspicious scowl from Bodie. He felt Bodie's hard, blue-eyed glare follow his every move and tried not to react as he went into the small kitchen area and raided the fridge. He poured himself a whisky, idly glancing over the complimentary fruit basket, selecting a couple of pieces before turning back to his two silent companions. Both were watching him with varying degrees of interest. "Help yourselves." MacLeod offered as he gestured to the food and drink before making his way back into his private retreat. "I have a ton of work to complete."

"Thanks," Doyle muttered, fiddling with the remote control.

Closing the door behind him, MacLeod tried not to grin, listening to the noises in the room outside before putting his few items down untouched. He knew he wouldn't have long before they came looking for him, and prayed his actions didn't get either man in too much strife with Cowley. He guessed Bodie didn't like him much and grinned, knowing that the curly-haired agent's professional attitude would keep Bodie silent. Still, it was a curious partnership. Fascinating how two men with such vastly differing backgrounds could work together so efficiently. He almost envied them their closeness.

Dismissing that thought, MacLeod pulled on his coat and felt the comforting weight of his hidden sword within the layers. Walking over to the window he winced at the squeak it made as he forced it slowly open. Pausing he listened carefully, but could hear no increased activity outside his bedroom door, and carefully stepped out onto the fire escape. Pushing the window closed, he hurriedly made his way to the narrow roadway below.

Reaching the bottom MacLeod hesitated, scanning the area for the other agents that he was sure were on watch outside the hotel, if not for his benefit then to spot the potential arrival of McKellen. It took him a few minutes to spot them, and he grinned to himself. Cowley's men were good, but not as experienced as he was, and he studied the two men in the parked Cortina at the end of the road. Crouching down low MacLeod slipped around the back of the hotel, finding the goods entrance, then cursed when he spotted another car parked near the outside gates. Another two men and he cast around for a new plan. Nothing for it but simple bluff.... Taking his hair out of its customary ponytail MacLeod messed the long lengths up, taking care to let it fall over his face. Hunching his shoulders he picked up a discarded box and pretended to carry it out of the loading bay. It obscured his face and he just hoped neither man pulled him up. To their credit he noted that they did not dismiss him out of hand, eyeballing him until he was almost out of sight before looking away. Still he was leaving, not entering.... and that was the main factor.

Walking around the corner and out of sight, he straightened up and retied his hair, discarded the box before looking for a taxi to take him to Oxford University.

The taxi pulled up to the gates of the main campus, where the auction had been held the previous day. Doyle had told him in his round about way what he had guessed. Adam Taylor was posing as a student, the Oxford sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers were hardly proper attire for a member of the Faculty, but Doyle's comments had cemented that fact. The Connolly Wing. Room 82. How helpful. Finding the old wing, MacLeod eyed the narrow corridors of the dormitories and pondered again why Taylor was at Oxford. Very few Immortals that he knew actually bothered to study so diligently at a University, relying on age and experience to get them through life. Or money. It was a curious trait and added another level of intrigue to this tantalizing Immortal.

Checking the door numbers, MacLeod slowly made his way down the corridors, noting possible exits and weaknesses in the old structure while he searched for a feel of presence. There it was, just on the edge of his perception and he let it wash over him, advancing slowly on his prey, growing in confidence as the surge of Immortal presence gained in strength. What would Taylor do? MacLeod wondered. Would he come out and challenge, or flee out a window?

Measuring his steps, MacLeod let his feelings guide him until he found room 82 and then he stopped in front of the old wooden door, shrugging his shoulders and absently feeling for his sword hilt. It was a comfort and he raised his hand to knock firmly. The sound echoed down the wide corridor and MacLeod absently took in the carved paneling and threadbare carpets. What he was expecting he didn't know, but the last thing he would have guessed was for the door to swing open under his hand and he braced himself for a trap, staring into the interior of the room. First thing he noted was that it looked homely. Well lived in and warm to the senses. Resting his fingers on the hilt of his sword, he determinedly took a step inside, letting his eyes sweep around the room until they rested on its single occupant. Adam Taylor.

Again it was like a physical blow to his mind and body. Taylor's lack of resistance, lack of concern and lack of surprise troubled him deeply and MacLeod met the wide hazel eyes not missing the sparkle of amusement in their enticing depths. Dammit! Taylor had been expecting him! Had Doyle set him up? Noh, and he shook his head minutely. At least not intentionally and MacLeod let his eyes narrow as he considered this new aspect. Perhaps Taylor had manipulated Doyle to set him up...? Interesting, and MacLeod stepped further into the room with a little more confidence. Shutting the door, his gaze drank in the slender male noting how Taylor got up off the floor in a fluid, graceful motion to stretch, revealing just a glimpse of pale flesh above his jeans before the other Immortal grinned at him teasingly. It was a blatant challenge but not of the normal variety and MacLeod felt his jaw drop.


"Taylor." MacLeod found himself saying while he hastily revised all his opinions. The man was a tease, and he found his breathing had accelerated while he unsuccessfully tried to glare at this seductive being. Mystified even more when Taylor then presented him with his back, MacLeod sucked in a breath finding his eyes darting down the full length of the presented body before he found those wicked eyes watching him, laughing at him knowingly. MacLeod blushed and tried to look annoyed.

"Me casa es sue casa." Methos muttered, offering the other man a beer, holding it out to him as he let a small grin play over his mouth. My, but MacLeod looked good, he thought hotly, feeling his heartbeat sped up. Fuck.... category five and heartache approaching, fast if he didn't slam the breaks on immediately.

Translating the words in his mind, MacLeod blinked, a little dazed as he accepted the beer. French? This was not what he had expected and he found that he was breathing erratically, reassessing this Immortal a third time. Currently he was faced with vulnerability, innocence with just a touch of imp. Yet he had a strong feeling these traits were a clever deception. A veil of mystery designed to lull him. Goddammit, but how he wanted to go with this first impression, and suddenly his time spent with Amanda and his other casual affairs vanished from his mind. Taylor seemed to answer the deep yearning inside his soul with a single look from those changeable eyes. Like the other man had set off a liquid fire raging in his blood that touched him in a way he needed, filling the void that had been beckoning him. He felt immensely strong both physically and mentally when bathed in that gold-green stare - and the scary part was that they hadn't even touched yet. But they would, MacLeod was positive of that certainty. Abruptly he could imagine himself being allowed to fulfill his heritage, being allowed to protect.... to be allowed to be himself and totally relax with another of his kind. To learn, to teach, to practice weaponry with an equal. No secrets, schemes, or hiding from the police as Amanda did continuously. Just honest desire....

"MacLeod?" Methos asked watching how the other just stared at him in a consuming intensity, and he frowned disconcerted.

"Doyle told me were to find you." MacLeod said the first thing that came into his mind. Strangely he felt no restrictions around Taylor. No pretense. Was that an illusion too? Or was it real? Please, let it be real.

"I thought he might."

"I could have been McKellen." MacLeod started, just now realizing how stupidly Taylor had left himself open to attack. Was he as young as he looked or was that an illusion also? "He could have come in and shot yew again then taken yewr head!" For some reason Taylor's openness angered him, for now all he could picture was the other's senseless death.

"Wow!" Methos held up a hand and speculated were that sudden anger had sprung from. It was like dealing with Jekell and Hyde.

"Yew should not have assumed-"

"MacLeod!" Methos broke in, swiveling around and bringing his sword up to the Scot's throat in one swift move.

Startled by the almost magical appearance of the broadsword, MacLeod contemplated vaguely where Taylor had pulled it from. His denims were too obscenely tight to hide....

"I am not unarmed. It was a calculated risk." Methos said, meeting the searching brown eyes and feeling their irresistible pull. His loins tightened and he let a hard edge enter his tone. "I have no quarrel with you."

"Aye." MacLeod breathed as he raised a hand and gently pushed the Ivanhoe away. A beautifully crafted weapon, 13th or 14th century by design, but he found his eyes were traitorously drawn back to the Immortal behind the blade. He felt like he had known Taylor for years, but in reality he knew nothing about him. "Adam Taylor," MacLeod let the name roll off his tongue, tasting it in an intimate way.

Methos shivered and took a step back lowering his sword. Was it just the sexy Scottish accent or the way MacLeod emphasized each syllable that rendered him so defenseless? And what would it sound like if MacLeod uttered his real name?

"Is that your real name?"

"It will do for now." Methos muttered startled, not believing that he had not given MacLeod a sarcastic retort. "Listen-"

"You are in danger."

Drawing in a breath, Methos forgot what he was going to say as his heart did another little leap in his chest at the idea that MacLeod had come all this way just to warn him. A genuine boy scout. Hell, he used to eat boy scouts for breakfast.

"McKellen knows you are here."

"Why was he chasing you?" Methos countered, hoping to divert the topic. He glanced around to see if his window was open. It was. So why did it feel so hot and stuffy in the room suddenly?

"Old family dispute." MacLeod said and shrugged. "Which reminds me, what did you tell that CI5 agent?"

Taking another step back, Methos put his sword down and collapsed on the bed again as he tried to frown at his visitor. But it was so hard to stay detached especially when MacLeod's aura swamped everything. The Scot was a powerhouse of vibrant energy and it bombarded his senses in such an erotic way.


"What?" Methos asked, sucking in a breath and watching the Highlander step closer. Such beauty and strength. Magnificent. In a different time - a different world - he would take such a man and....

"What did you tell Doyle?"

"Nothing that he hadn't already guessed."

"What!" MacLeod said aghast as he drank in the open, artful sprawl before him. Shoving his hands in his pockets, MacLeod concentrated on meeting the wide eyes seeing how they darkened to a dangerous brightness. "You told him about Immortals?"

"Fuck," Methos muttered under his breath as he felt Nefertiri jump up on the bed and settle possessively in his lap. It was a welcome distraction.


"What did you want me to do, since I died in his arms while you ran off playing hero!" Methos cut back. "If you were so worried, you could have stayed to make sure he never found out!" There, chew on that a while! Methos decided, watching fascinated how MacLeod's expression went from shock to guilt in a few swift seconds. It was enlightening.

"You are right." MacLeod whispered as he moved closer and sat on a chair. Slowly he let his eyes move down to take in the cat stretched across Taylor's lap. Her silky black fur doing nothing to hide the appeal of the body she lounged over. What was it about Taylor that made him feel so giddy and hot suddenly?

"Look, what is done is done, and I doubt Doyle will do anything for he has no proof." Methos offered, surprised that the Highlander had taken his accusations so hard. The man was a seductive mix of passionate conflicting emotions, and he wondered what the Scot would taste like. If only he could force this into category two, but he doubted the vibrant Scot inspired anything but category five in all his lovers. Dangerous.... too dangerous for him to get involved with. It would be best to pack up and leave. Vanish until this entire mess settled down.

"And McKellen?" MacLeod asked, more worried now that the evil Immortal would come after this seemingly defenseless man.

"What about him?" Methos asked mystified.

"What if he comes back for you?" MacLeod asked, remembering what else had been intriguing him. "He called you Loxley. What did he mean by that?"

"Long story-"

"Indulge me."

...Continued in Part 2...

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