August 6, 2003
Disclaimers: Not mine. So *very* not mine.
Spoilers: X2. Crossover with Highlander.
Summary: Out of the water.
Ratings Note: R.
Author's Note: I've been working on this idea for a
while. Well, actually, it's the combination of two
ideas. Because, well, it takes more than water
Acknowledgments: Happy birthday, House Draven!
Hope you like! Thanks go to Deb for audiencing.
The first thing Methos is aware of is weight, but he
suspects this is his subconscious mind trying to protect
him from the knowledge that he's under several million
gallons of water, i.e., the recently drowned.
He holds his breath and pushes at the weight holding
him down, but too much time has passed between
reviving and motion, and he dies with his hands around
the neck of a... body?
The first thing Methos is aware of is weight, and what
feels to be a cramp of epic proportions. Why couldn't
he have died in a *good* position?
The next thing he's aware of is water, a lot of water,
and a tiny bright speck above him that must be sky.
He holds his breath and struggles, but too much time
has passed between reviving and motion and he bloody
well hates fucking deja vu.
The first thing Methos is aware of is weight, and he's not
entirely sure why that pisses him off, but he goes with it,
kicking out from under and... floating.
Water. Drowning. Fucking fuck and *fuck*.
He swims hard for the surface and thinks he has a real
chance, until he jerks up short. There's a body hanging off
his leg, only it's much, much heavier than any body should
be, and there's long, black hair in a tangled knot around his
leg and the body shifts and he looks into blank, silvery eyes
for an appropriately creepy moment.
And then the lips start moving.
"Help me," she says, bubbles rising to the surface, far
beyond where he can go.
He shrugs, apologetically.
The first thing Methos is aware of is a generalized sense
of "the *hell*?" But he's cold, and he's wet, and he's mostly
upright and can see the sky. A long, long way away. He
swims for it, kicking, and seizes up short and
Because she's staring up at him, beautiful and very clearly
inhuman and just as clearly alive by some random and
terrifying twist of fate. He looks up desperately, sighs,
and swims down to free the woman's arms from some
chunk of former machinery. He dies gasping, long hair
trailing over his cheek.
The first thing Methos is aware of is cold, bone-cracking
cold of the sort that kills brain cells and makes one wish
for anything, even death, even pain, so long as the cold
He opens his eyes, lashes crackling with ice, and looks up
into the same beautiful face from before. The crash and
creak of nearly-frozen water barely catches his attention.
He *knows* her.
The woman nods, and eyes him curiously. "I didn't know
whether you would wake up again. I figured it was worth
He smiles, the cold making his teeth hurt. "I appreciate the
thought. Er... I take it the... base is gone?" And there's
Another nod. "And so is Stryker. His body is too frozen to
have been picked at by the wolves. They tried anyway." She
cracks her knuckles and there's a flash of metal, claws
extending far beyond the length of her fingers. "I don't think
he died slow enough."
Stryker. Stryker. He knew that name, too. Old man, false
smiles, labs oh fuck labs and... pain. Just a pinch to his neck.
Over and over.
"You haven't remembered everything yet."
He blinks, staring at the woman. There's ice in her hair, and
her eyes are... strangely *shiny*. Like they'd been replaced
with ball bearings. "I... no."
"You were with him when he brought me in."
And that was... that was *years* ago. He'd been... he
remembers stepping off a plane, remembers a vague plan
about the Library of Congress and the pleasures of free
time, remembers... soldiers. Time passing. Names he'd
never chosen and his belly seizes up hard. Hand on his
shoulder, turning him over on to his side, the crunch of snow,
and he vomits water and bile.
When he can breathe again he looks up and the woman is
smiling humorlessly Even her teeth are metallic. "You
And there are a million questions in his mind, each stupider
than the last. Each saying more, too much more about
himself than he feels comfortable with right now. He tries
a small one. "Weren't you... less metal-intensive before?"
She narrows her eyes and looks down at herself. There's a
rip in her uniform just to the left of her navel, and her
claws scratch and scream together against the sound of the
wind. When she looks up again, her eyes are blank. "An
accident. Perhaps... perhaps a necessary accident, but not
one I'm likely to forgive, just the same." She cocks her
head. "And you? What sort of mutant are you?"
He remembers the plan in more detail now, how Adam
was going to write one last paper before disappearing off
the face of the earth, or at least the face of human
technology. Brave new world, with such people in it.
Right. He can be this. "Nothing spectacular. Just... hard to
A suspicious look. "You were dead when I dragged you
out of the water. I checked."
He thinks about telling her something about stress and
human error, but she seems like exactly the sort of person
who, if he pissed her off, would be ready, willing, and able
to keep *trying* to kill him until she beheaded him,
Stryker's little potion or no. He shrugs, instead. "Hard to
*keep* me dead."
She smiles at him, and it's more than a little bit of relief.
Stands up out of her crouch and shakes the worst of the
ice out of her hair. "There's a village a few miles west of
here. Can you walk?"
His rumpled military uniform and her far less... identifiable
uniform attract looks, as does the way they both drip all
over the floor of the small, disreputable diner, but
somehow both their wallets had managed to survive
watery Armageddon, and money is still money, no matter
She frowns at her mug. "This coffee is terrible."
"Mm. Point. Your accent is different."
"I..." Stryker, close enough that Methos could smell the
far better grade of coffee on his breath. Talk American or
I can't use you! He closes his eyes for a moment and
represses a shudder as best he can. "The other... was
Slow nod. "It never sounded right for you," is all she
says, and then their food arrives in great, greasy,
steaming hot quantities, and they say nothing for a long
The potatoes alone threaten to renew long dead faith in
a higher power, and Yuriko is eating precisely like a
woman who's been trapped at the bottom of a lake
for... for however long it's been.
He suspects he's making no better showing for manners.
The waitress, bless her, immediately brings them both
seconds, and by his fifth cup of coffee he feels something
like human again, if by no means ready to engage in
There's something in him that's screaming for *home*,
and while it's been a long time since he's been naive
enough to think that such voices could ever be wholly
stilled, he doesn't want to touch it. Doesn't want to
*hear* it until he's... safe.
He smiles to himself and gets a curious look from Yuriko.
Toasts her with his mug. He's probably safe as houses
unless he ticks the woman off. Or someone comes after
them with a needle.
He pushes his plate away and makes an abortive move
to check his watch. There's water standing beneath the
face. He strips it off and drops it in his plate.
Thinks about heading south, about stores hidden here and
there with new identities just itching to be used to get
Tahiti. New Zealand. Brazil. Someplace warm. "Well, it's
been about as pleasant as it can be --"
She taps the watch with one long, but still-human-looking
metal-grey nail. "I know who did this to us."
It freezes him where he sits. "Stryker's dead," he says, too
loud, and has to force himself not to look around. "You
"There are others. Other bases. Other *scientists*." The
last comes out in a hiss, and he can hear the creak of
metal beneath her skin. When she'd sat down, the booth
had creaked as if she were far, far larger than she is.
"I don't see --"
"They're going to keep doing it, you know. Keep *taking*
us. Using us against each other."
'Us,' indeed. He thinks of Duncan, blind and benign, or
perhaps charmingly warlike as he finds another evil
Immortal to relieve of his head. "*We* are free."
Her smile is sharp. Predatory. "For how long, Sergeant
*Lamb*? I can use a man who's hard to kill. Or who
won't *stay* killed."
"I daresay you're better equipped for this than I --"
"Does your neck hurt?"
His fork hits the table with a clatter, and he realizes he'd
been tapping it restlessly, twirling it like a toy. He
imagines it buried in Stryker's eye. He imagines... they'd
taken his *sword* --
"What's your real name, soldier-boy?"
He doesn't say the first thing that comes to his mind, but
he feels it, just the same. His palm itches for a hilt.
He had been... it had been *years*. "Adam," he says, at
She nods like she knows what he's not saying, eyes
slitted and the precise grey of quicksilver. "Come with me,
He licks the edges of his teeth. "I have no great desire to
be some... mutant crusader. I'm no politician."
A smile, and Methos wants to know who she'd been,
before all of this. She feels like everything he'd tried not
to be. She smells like vengeance. "No. But I think we'll
have fun anyway, won't we?"
"I need a sword," he says before he can think, but she
just grins a little wider and slices the watch-face open
with her fingernail.
"That can be arranged."
Cold lake-water mingles with the grease on his plate. He
licks at his teeth again, hard enough to taste blood. Yuriko
peels a few soaked bills out of her wallet and slips the
thing back into her hidden pocket, the rip at her belly
gapping open to show nothing but smooth, clean flesh.
The voice at the back of his head is screaming about
something entirely different, but it feels good to reach
across the table and clasp forearms with the woman.
It feels good to be free.