Notes: Shadith asked for a Richie/Methos piece so I wrote this one for her.

Hiding Is Sometimes Preferable and Necessary
by Voracity.

Richie stormed into the bookstore, frowning at the man standing behind the counter.  "I want to move," he said firmly, scowling now.

"Why?" Methos asked, putting down his book to look at his friend.  He had started running this bookstore a year ago, and it was quite a joy in his life.  Until MacLeod and his students had moved in down the street.  Every few days Mac did something that made Richie storm in here and go hide in the back after a half-hour of bitching and complaining.

"Because Mac, in his *infinite* wisdom has decided that I should learn how to act."  He crossed his arms.  "He's trying to convince me that all of us go through a phase where we end up on the stage to fulfill some innate need for attention."

Methos shrugged.  "Many of us do, some of us don't."   He glanced outside.  "He's standing out there watching you."

Richie turned and flipped Mac off, glaring at him.  "I don't want to act," he growled.  "I'm more than happy to live out of the limelight. Speed, yes, fans, no."  He stormed off to the back room, going to hide back there.

Methos smiled and waved at Mac, making him scowl and stomp off.  He picked up his book and went back to the fifteenth century romance as recopied by the Germans.


Richie looked around the small apartment he had in Mac's new building, sighing when he saw all the flyers for open mic nights.  He gathered them all up and tossed them into the unusable fireplace.  He thought about lighting them on fire, but the chimney was plugged with concrete. It would serve Mac right, but he didn't want to have to rebuy everything he owned.  Richie sighed and walked into the kitchen, grabbing some beers and heading up to the roof.  Maybe if he jumped.... but Mac would probably be the one to meet him when he woke up.  He sat on the bench up there, staring across the city as the sun slowly set.  It was nice, he could relax.

He heard the door open and turned, pitching the bottle at the man standing there.  "Go away!"  He popped open his next one and sipped it, smiling once the door closed.  It was nearly an hour later before the door opened again.  Richie looked back, then shrugged and handed over his last beer.  "Did I hurt him?"

"A little bump.  He'll live."  Methos sat beside him, staring across the city. "He's going to continue on his crusade until you give in."

"He can bite me and enjoy it," Richie muttered.  He finished his beer.  "What track is he on now?"

"Comedy.  He thinks you could do standup."

"I hate crowds and I have bad stage-fright.  I don't like standing in front of people, much less talking or doing anything more than talking. So, no, he can bite me.  I'll leave again if I have to."

"I'm sure you can.  Is that what you want?"

Richie looked at his drinking buddy.  "You're serious?"  Methos nodded.  "Yeah, I'd love to get out of the great shadow of the MacLeods."

"They do cast a large, white one," Methos agreed drolly.

Richie laughed.  "Exactly.  And I'm not the good guy he wanted as a student.  I'm not going to become some great knight in his crusade against the dark.  I'm also not going to become the hunter that he thinks I am."

Methos grunted.  "Yes, he's presently trying to make me see that I too could be the world's oldest good guy."  He laughed.  "Want to run far away?"

"Sure.  Can we go really fast?  I like speed."

"I noticed."  Methos finished his beer.  "Any more downstairs?"

"No, but I know a decent bar down the street if you can put up with techno music."  Methos shuddered.  "Imported German and British in bottles."

"I can put up with it for an hour maybe," Methos told him, following the younger immortal down the stairs.  They felt the quickening that said Mac was brooding in his office, and went faster before he could stop them.  They turned the corner as Mac walked out of the building.

Richie paid their way into the club.  He smiled at the waitress in her daisy duke shorts and halter top.  "This is why I come here," he said between songs.  He led the way to the bar, which was farther away from the speakers - probably so none of the bottles would break - and ordered them a round of his favorite German brand.  He put a large bill on the bar and nodded at an empty table, mouthing the word 'tab' because the music was so loud.  He walked over to his favorite table in the corner, which gave them an excellent view of the scantily clad women heaving on the dance floor.

Methos watched the people writhe, one eyebrow going up.  "That is definitely a show I haven't seen in a while.  Not since my last bacchanal."  He sipped his beer, smiling at the excellent flavor.  "This is good."

"The bar owner is a former brewmeister but he lost a hand when something exploded."  Richie tipped his drink at the bartender, who grinned and winked.  "He thinks I'm cute, and I tolerate it because he always gives me beer at the right temperature."

"He knows you don't like men?"

"Actually, I never said that.  He knows I'm sitting on the fence," Richie corrected at the shocked look.  "But I have no intention of falling right this moment."  He finished his beer and tipped his head to watch the dance floor.  "Oh, hey, sex," he said happily.

Methos watched the two women get it on while dancing, smiling and laughing when the bouncers struggled to separate them.  A few people clapped when the semi-naked women were lifted apart and carried out.

Richie laughed.  "See, not *so* bad."

"No, not too bad," Methos agreed.  "Music's a bit loud for my tastes, and very modern."

"Yeah, but in it's own way, techno is as much a composition as anything classical."  Methos snorted.  "These guys still have to string together notes and strands of music.  They just use more modern equipment than a piano or a violin."

Methos shrugged.  "I still prefer my own brand of creation."

"To each their own," the bartender said as he took their empties and left a new set of beers.  "Going to fall tonight?" he asked with a wink for Richie.

"No, man, sorry.  Right now, I'm having a fight with my teacher, who wants me to act."  The bartender shook his head, but he was still smiling.  "Really, if you see the big, buff, brooder, please hide us."

The bartender leaned down. "If you suck me, you can both hide at my place," he whispered.   Methos choked on his first sip so he smiled at him.  "You're cute too, but I like 'em younger."  He winked at him and went back to his spot.

Richie smiled at Methos.  "It's like this every night."  He took his first sip and grimaced, licking his lips.  He glanced at the bar, and the bartender winked again.  "That's just wrong," he said, taking another sip to finish washing off the taste.

Methos smiled, then started to chuckle.  "At least you have a diligent and dedicated fan, one that doesn't mail you panties."

"No, he doesn't wear any, ever," Richie told him.

"Maybe you should try it out," Methos suggested.  Richie glared at him.  "At least then you'd know.  That is one thing that *all* immortals do try at least once, unlike Mac and his desire to act.  Which I hear he was very bad at."

Richie snickered.  "You think?"  He glanced at the bartender again.  Methos nodded.  "Do you think I'd be any good at it?"

"Are you good with your women?"  Richie nodded quickly.  "Then be as considerate and it should go about as well."

Richie smiled slowly.  "Yeah, I guess."  He got up and walked up to the bar, leaning over to say something.  The bartender beamed and told the other bartender to take his spot for a moment.  He took Richie into the back and closed the door.

Methos chuckled and stole Richie's beer to finish.  It was definitely something different in his average life.  He waited there, sipping his beer while he waited for Richie to come back and tell him how it went.  He nearly jumped up when he saw the bartender come out with a dreamy expression and Richie smiling like a cat.  He got them another round on the way back to the table, then strolled over.  Richie sat down, taking the beer he had chosen for his own and sipping it.  "Well?" Methos asked.

"I'm thinking I like both sides of the fence," Richie told him.  He crossed his feet under the table. "I never knew being done that way was that good."

Methos choked. "You didn't have enough time back there to do very much."

Richie shrugged.  "But what I got was so much better than the girls I used to fool around with."

"Ah, but that's experience."  Methos smirked at him.  "When you're very experienced, you can usually do many things that will blow the new toy's mind."

"And you're so experienced?" Richie asked.  Methos nodded.  "Is that a challenge, old man?"

Methos shook his head.  "Not a challenge, a statement of fact."  He finished his beer and stood up.  "Thank you for the beer.  Do you need my couch tonight?"

"Nah, I think I've got somewhere to hide from Mac tonight," Richie told him with a grin. He watched the smug one walk out, starting to anticipate that night.


Methos grumbled as he got up to answer his door, glaring at the young man on the other side.  He noticed the blood as he let him in, frowning at him.  "What happened?"

"Asshole ex," Richie said as he flopped down onto the couch.  "Robert told me to leave him at the hospital before I killed the ex."  He looked up.  "So my plans got royally screwed.  No pun intended of course."

"Ah."  Methos closed the door, looking at the younger man.  "And you're here at...."  He checked the clock on the VCR.  "Two a.m. why?"

"Because I tried to go home and Mac changed all the locks on the building."

"Oh."  Methos nodded.  "Of course.  Feel free to borrow the couch.  I'm going back to bed."  He trudged that way, stopping when someone knocked on the door.  "The ex?" he suggested.

"I didn't think I was followed."  Richie got up and looked out the peep hole.  "It's Amanda."

"Oh, bloody hell," Methos muttered.  "Let her in but watch my things.  I'm going back to sleep."  He finished his walk into his bedroom and slammed the door, locking it.

Richie opened the door, giving her a frown.  "He's in bed," he told her as she slipped in.

"Mac changed the locks on his new building."

"I noticed, that's why I'm here."  Richie sat down again, waving at the free chair. "Sit, be quiet, or we'll get grumped at."

She sat down, looking around the modest apartment.  "I see he's living well."  She smiled at him, pointing at the blood.  "Challenged?"

"New friend's ex."

"Ah."  She nodded.  "I've met a few of those."  She looked around again.  "What did Mac do this time?"

"He decided I needed to take up acting."

"Oh, crap," she sighed.  "He's back on that kick again.  Just because he can't act doesn't mean that the rest of us want the attention he does."  She slumped down a little.  "Think I can cage a bed?  I've been kicked out of my hotel room."

"As long as you shut up!" Methos yelled.

"Thank you," she called back.  She smiled at Richie.  "Want to share the couch?"

"No, but I'll let you have the cot in the closet," he told her.  She gave him a speculative look.  "This is where I hide too."

"Understandable.  I'd hide too."  She got up, going searching for the offered cot.  She pulled it out with a grimace, but it was a bed and she wasn't going to be too picky if she wasn't getting sex as well.  She made it up with the sheets tucked into the fold of the bed, then stripped down to her bra and panties. She noticed Richie wasn't looking at her as he got down to a t-shirt and jeans, and that was strange. Usually he was perpetually horny - it came from dying at nineteen.  She wondered if he had started to switch sides, like most immies eventually did for a while, but shrugged mentally.  It wasn't her business, yet.  That would come in the morning.  She settled in on the lumpy mattress, sure it wasn't going to be a good night.

Richie settled on the familiar couch, knowing he was going to get grilled in the morning.  Maybe he should have leered?


Methos walked out in the morning, tripped over Amanda, and swore.  "You had to put that there?" he growled.

Richie calmly got up and went to make coffee.  As soon as the dark liquid of sanity started to flow, he poured a cup of it and handed it to his host.  "Eggs?" he said through a yawn.  It was Sunday, the bookstore wasn't open so they had time to do things the normal human way.

"I'll cook," Amanda called, raising a hand.  "That had better be coffee."  She sat up, pushing her messy hair back.

Richie looked at the pot, then at her, nodding.  It would mean he'd get his first cup from the next pot, but that would be all right.  He handed over the kitchen and went to take a short shower.  Methos hated it when all he got was cold water. He emerged in his old clothes, smiling at Methos.  "I left you some hot," he told him, going to check on the coffee status.  He poured himself some, glaring at Amanda when she tried to take it.  "Mine."

"Fine," she said, backing away.  She smiled at Methos.  "Do you want the next shower or can I have it?"

Someone pounded on the door.  Methos grumbled as he walked over and opened it. "What?" he snapped at Mac.  It was his fault he had company and was awake before noon.

"I've come to get Richie," Mac told him, frowning at his student.  He saw Amanda, who was still only in her bra and panties.  "When did you get in?"  He walked in and kissed her on the cheek.  "You should have called."

"I tried to come up but you changed the locks," she told him.  She walked over to her pile of clothes and got dressed.  "Why did you change the locks?"

"Because I found someone wandering the halls last night," Mac told her, looking at Richie.  "If you had tried your apartment key, it would have worked."

"I did try," Richie told him.  He patted his back pocket.  "Hey, old guy, let's go get breakfast while these two play catchup?"  Methos grunted and headed for the bedroom to get dressed.  Richie smiled at him.  "Leave me a key in the mailbox."

"Your key should have worked," Mac argued.

"I tried all the ones I have, including the master, and none of them worked," Richie told him as he walked past him to grab his shirt and jacket.  "Amanda, been nice seeing you, I'm sure I'll be seeing you later tonight."  He waved at Mac.  "Later, have fun."  He walked out to wait outside.

Methos walked out, put his cup in the sink, and grabbed his wallet and keys. "Please don't mess up anything," he said as he left the apartment.   He found Richie sitting on the stoop.  "Where are we going?"

"Anywhere away from them," Richie told him quietly.  He followed the other immortal to his car and got in.  Methos started it and they were off.  "Did you have anywhere in mind?"

"I'm in the mood for waffles for some reason," Methos noted, knowing it was Richie's favorite.  For whatever reason, the boy looked positively depressed this morning.  His couch wasn't comfortable, but really.  "Did you want to talk?"

"No," Richie sighed.  "I know it's just something wrong in my head."

"Then tell me," Methos suggested as he parked at the nearest, and best, waffle house.  He turned to look at his friend.  "What happened?"

"We were in the middle of doing stuff when he got a phone call.  It didn't sound threatening and Robert didn't sound upset, but suddenly this asshole was pounding on the door and Robert called him by the same name as the guy on the phone."

"So you're thinking what?  That you're so bad he called for a distraction?" Methos asked.  He saw the wince.  "He couldn't have been very good if he did that."  He patted the younger man on the arm.  "Trust me, most people don't do that with even the worst lovers."  He got out, leaning against the side until Richie joined him.  "Even if he were just out for the thrill of the virginity, he wouldn't have done that."

"Yeah, maybe," Richie agreed.  He walked into the restaurant, holding the door for the elderly couple coming slowly toward the door.  He smiled at the hostess, holding up two fingers.  She nodded and pulled out some extra menus.  As soon as Methos walked in, she seated them toward the outer wall, back near the kitchen.  "It just sucks, you know," he said once they were alone.  "It was either a very large coincidence or he planned it."

"I'd say it was a coincidence," Methos told him, smiling at him.  "Did you want the large stack, like always?"  Richie shrugged.  "You're really that worried?" he asked, putting his menu aside.

"Yeah."  He looked down at the top of the table, tracing some of the fake marble lines.  "It's a first time and it happens that way?"

"Point," Methos conceded.  "It does sound strange, but it probably isn't what you think it is."  He glanced around.  "Go back to the bar tonight and see how he acts.  If he's fairly cold to you, then he was after a prize.  If he's the same as normal, then it was a coincidence."  Richie nodded, starting to relax. "Now, why are we here instead of eating at home?"

"Because I don't think Mac's ready to deal with me right now."  Richie picked up his menu when he saw the waitress walking toward them.  "I think I'll have the large stack with the strawberries and cream.  You?"

"I like my waffles the traditional way," Methos reminded him.  He looked over at the young woman.  "I'll have the small stack in the traditional way, syrup on the side, and some coffee."  He handed over his menu.

Richie smiled at her, flirting a little bit.  "I'll have a large stack with strawberries and cream, syrup on the side too."  He handed over his menu.  "And milk?"

She nodded, writing it down as she walked away. "Milk?" Methos asked.

"I'm craving milk," Richie said with a shrug.  "It was that or ice cream."  He stiffened.  "Company," he muttered.

Methos looked around as the quickening washed across him, frowning when he saw the old convertible.  "To go?" he suggested.

"No, I don't think they'll see us."  He looked at Methos.  "You can't mention it.  Mac's fairly uptight about anything to do with talking about sex.  He may do it, but he nearly stutters when he talks about it."  He saw the eye roll and grinned.  "Yeah, I know, big contradiction, but I figured it was the times he grew up in."

"Probably," Methos agreed.  "I believe he's the exception to the rule about trying the other side of the fence."  He looked over as shadows fell onto the table.  "Oh, they did find us."  He shifted over because Amanda poked him on the side.  "Are we buying you two breakfast also?"

"No, Mac is," she told him, smiling at Richie.  "We just had the most interesting visitor.  Your boxers are in the bathroom."

Richie blushed.  "Thanks," he told her.  He shifted over so Mac could have the outside of the booth.  "We've already ordered."

"We'll make our minds up fast," Mac assured him.  He smiled at the waitress.  "This will be a separate check," he said as he opened the menu.  "I'll have the....three egg omelet, western style without onions.  And bring a pot of coffee."  He handed back his menu.

"What sides, sir?"

"Hash browns and bacon."  She nodded as she wrote it down and turned to look at Amanda.

Amanda looked up.  "I'll have the traditional stack with a side of ham."  She handed it back.

"They drench them," Methos told her.

"Then please put the syrup on the side," Amanda amended.  The waitress nodded and walked away.  She looked at Richie.  "So, a guy?"

"Just the messenger probably," Methos told her, not sounding at all like he was trying to move attention away from the poor young man.  "What happened to breakfast in bed?"

"The keys don't work," Mac said darkly.  "I called a locksmith but it'll be an hour or more."  He looked at Richie.  "I didn't mean to lock you out last night."

Richie shrugged.  "It wasn't the first night I woke Methos up to steal his couch."  He smiled as his milk was put in front of him.  "Thank you."  Methos smirked at him.  "I told you, I'm craving it."  He sipped the cold milk, shuddering when it hit his teeth.  "I think I have a cavity."

"That could be," Methos agreed.  "We do get those."  He accepted his cup and let her pour him some coffee, watching her for bobbles.  She was normally very professional, but today apparently she was too busy staring at Mac's crotch to not slop the coffee onto the table.  He smiled at her anyway, he knew many women had that reaction to Mac's crotch.  He poured some cream into his coffee, avoiding the sugar for now.  He smacked Amanda's arm as it reached past him.  "Ask," he told her.

She frowned at him.  "May I please have some equal?"  He handed her three packets, her usual dose of fake sugar.  "Thank you."

Methos tossed a packet of sugar at Mac before he could ask.  "Before you can reach over too."

Mac smiled.  "Thank you."  He fixed his coffee and sipped it slowly.  "How often do you come here?"

"Probably once a week," Methos told him.  "It's open after the bookstore closes so I often take out."  He looked at Richie.  "Don't you eat here often?"

Richie nodded. "Probably about every weekend.  I hate to make waffles and pancakes, I always get doughy or dry ones."

"I can teach you how to do that better," Mac offered.

Methos snorted.  "I tried, he's hopeless."  Richie kicked him gently.  "Or at least needs more intense training in the kitchen before he attempts another batch of anything."  He laughed at the dirty look he was shot.  "Not everyone is meant to be able to do everything," he reminded the young man.  "Just as I cannot fix an engine, you can't cook."

Richie shrugged.  "Point, but at least I try.  You won't even change your own oil."

"Why should I when I can pay a small fee and let someone who enjoys it do it for me."

"Robbing people of their pleasure?" Amanda asked.  "I didn't know any of the places that change oil in cars had people who took *pleasure* from it."  She smiled at him. "Where do you go?"

"To him," Methos said, pointing at Richie.  "He only charges me twenty dollars plus the cost of the oil."

Richie nodded.  "And I can do it in under fifteen minutes, without a wait beforehand."  He finished his milk right before the waitress walked over with their tray.  "Can I have some more?" he asked.  She nodded, placing plates before everyone, then took his glass to refill it.   She hurried back, then smiled at Mac and walked away again.

"I think you've got another fan," Amanda teased.

Mac grunted as he cut into his stack of omelet.  "I seem to gather them wherever I go."  He took a bite and winced.  "No pepper."

"No, they tend to let you season your own food," Methos agreed.  "Most places like this do."  He pulled his first waffle off to the side and dressed it up, then cut into it and took a bite.  "The female chef must be in today," he said once he had swallowed.  "The batter's richer today."

Richie smiled before taking a bite.  He nodded in agreement.  He liked this cook, she was always good.  "I'm getting something to take home," he said between bites.

Amanda rolled her eyes.  "Being nineteen is going to ruin you," she warned him.

"My stomach will always be this way," he pointed out.  "Get over it."   He cut into his stack, taking another bite.  He didn't see her offended look, but he didn't really care right then either. Mac always seemed to be butting in when he wanted some time alone.  Maybe it was time he took off for a while.  He glanced at Methos, who gave him a small smile in return.


After the meal, Mac stopped Methos from walking out with the other two.  "Are you sleeping with him?" he asked quietly.

Methos snickered.  "No, MacLeod, we're friends, nothing more.  Whenever you bother him too much, he comes to me.  That's all there is between us."  He got free of the restraining hand and headed for his car, getting in to drive. "Your teacher is officially strange," he said as he started the engine.  "He wanted to know if you were sleeping with me."

Richie burst out laughing.  "Really?"  Methos nodded as he backed out.  "Well, I gotta say, you're cute and smart and funny, but I don't think you'd like me that way.  I'm a little more hyper than you're used to."

"Definitely," Methos agreed.  "You also don't appreciate my bookstore or my quiet places."  He turned onto the main street.  "Back to my place or to yours?"

"Yours.  They'll be boffing like bunnies for hours and Amanda's loud."

"Oh, I remember quite well," Methos said dryly. He noticed Richie looking at him. "Yes, like noticing the other side of the fence, many of us have tasted Amanda's ...wares," he finished diplomatically.  "She uses it as a bartering tool when she needs something and doesn't have the money."  He pulled into a park and stopped the car, turning to look at his friend.  "Are you needing a place to hide until the bar opens tonight?"  Richie nodded, starting to blush again.  "That's fine, but I'm going to clean today.  In payment, you'll be doing the bathtub," he finished with a smile.

Richie shrugged, but he was smiling. "I can do that, if you can put up with me worrying."

"I've seen it before," Methos assured him, patting him on the arm.  "Did you need anything before we end up at my apartment?"

"Um, no, that's okay.  Anything I need I can pick up later."  He grinned, but he was bright red.

Methos chuckled.  "If you need it, I have a small stash in my dresser."   He started the car and pulled out again.


Richie pounded on Methos' door, storming in when he opened it.  "He called him," he said as he pulled off his jacket.

"Then he's a despicable human being and not worth the stress you've put into him today," Methos said, grabbing the jacket to hang it up.  "Did he say it?"

"He made jokes about how bad I was with the other bartender," Richie sulked, sitting down and slumping in on himself.  "At least he admitted I was a virgin to it.  He called me hopeless and clueless."

Methos patted him on the shoulder as he went into the kitchen to get them some beer.  "Some people have no taste," he pointed out.

"Oh, that's not the best thing," Richie told him, taking his beer and swallowing a third of it in a gulp.  "Mac and Amanda were there.  They heard.  Mac's giving me these disgusted looks."

"Ah."  Methos sat next to him and gave him a hug.  "Send me a postcard from wherever."

Richie laughed, relaxing a little bit.  "Yeah, I think I am going to take off for a few months. Not only am I going to escape the dirty looks, but I'll be able to go experiment without having to look at Mac and wondering if he's thinking dirty thoughts about me, or is disgusted with me."

"I'd think it would be more disgust. I doubt that Mac has *ever* looked at another man."

Richie laughed again, relaxing a little more.  "Yeah, I don't think so either."  He chugged the rest of his beer.  "Can I get another?"

"As long as you're not driving," Methos reminded him.  "I don't want to hear about you crashing into some unsuspecting family."  Richie nodded so he waved at the refrigerator.  "Help yourself, I stocked up earlier."  He watched as the younger immortal chugged that beer and pulled out a third one.  "Do slow down, or you'll have to go out for more."

"Yes, sir," Richie told him, coming back to drink his third one slower. "Wanna help me pick somewhere to run to?"

"You haven't seen most of the world," Methos pointed out.  "You could probably pick any spot and find something new in it.  Except possibly Paris."  He got up and wandered over to his bookshelves, pulling down an atlas.  "Maybe you'll find something in here," he suggested, opening it up on the dining room table, waiting until Richie had joined him to wave a hand at the index.  "What part of the world were you thinking about?"  Richie shrugged.  "One of the Americas, Europe, Asia?"

"Somewhere I don't have to learn the language and that's warm.  Maybe with bikinis?" Richie suggested.  Methos groaned quietly and shook his head.  "Sorry, but I did die at nineteen."

"Brazil it is," Methos told him, opening the atlas to that country.  "You have a few choices of cities, but Rio is the most English speaking."   Richie shuddered.  "Surely you aren't against learning something new."

"No, I'm good with the concept, but languages and I don't get along.  I still can't speak French very well and I lived in Paris for four years."

"Point," Methos agreed grudgingly.  He flipped back to the index.  "English speaking is going to be the biggest problem then, unless you want to stay in the United States, Canada, or a British protectorate."  Richie shrugged.  "Then you could reasonably go to the Carribean, Hong Kong - though it's not as English as it used to be - or England."

"Carribean sounds good," Richie told him.  "How much money am I going to need?"

"It depends on what you do once you get down there," Methos told him, shrugging.  "If you can find a job, then not as much as if you can't.  How much do you have saved?"  Richie grimaced.  "That little?"  The younger man nodded.  "You'll have a problem moving then, won't you?"

"Not if I only pack a bag and go," Richie reminded him.  Methos smiled at him, he had done that a few times himself.  It was usually painful afterward if he didn't arrange for his things to be stored, but it had happened over his life.  "So, where can I go for little money with only a bag and my bike?"

"Some smaller communities," Methos suggesting, flipping to the United States map.  "Almost every state has small communities that aren't very expensive to live in.  The longer you stay, the better you seem to the residents usually; most of the time drifters aren't that welcome in such places."  He ran his finger over a colored-in highway.  "Try along here."

"It gets cold there," Richie pointed out.  Methos shot a glare at him.  "Sorry, but I'd like to be warm.  How about Mexico?  Wouldn't the exchange rate work in my favor?  And there's beaches there too."

"Good point," Methos said, flipping to that map.  "As long as you stayed away from the tourist cities you could probably stay down there for quite a while.  Though I do remember that there's a small conclave of immortals and their teacher down by Cabo San Lucas.  You should probably stay away from there if you want to keep your head.  Very nice men, but it's an assassin's group."  He shrugged and pointed at the lower end.  "Down this way, there's still rumors of fighting."

"Don't want to go there," Richie agreed.  He pointed at the East coast.  "How about over here?"

"Try around this area," Methos said, circling it with his finger.  "I've been down there.  It's quiet and they're used to tourists, but not the crush that you get in the cities.  You'll still have to learn Spanish, but it shouldn't be too hard.  It's a lot like French in structure and base."

Richie shrugged.  "As long as I can take along a dictionary so I can order a beer and ask how the surf is," he said with a grin.  He finished off his last beer and went to put the can into the recycling bin.  "How long would you think it'd take me to get there?"

"Maybe a week, maybe a bit more."  Methos handed over the map.  "Try this town.  I have quite a few good memories about it."  He smiled.  "I think you'll like it, and there is a university relatively close by if you get bored."  Richie nodded, it was always nice to have access to a library.  "If you go down with more than a thousand dollars, you shouldn't have too many problems.  That would give you about eleven thousand pesos, depending on the exchange rate that day, and you could live on that for a bit."

Richie smiled at him.  "Even better.  That's about all I've got in the bank right now."  He stretched.  "Can I grab your couch for the night?  Just so I don't have to listen to a lecture?"

"Packing while Mac is busy would be easier," Methos agreed dryly.  "Have it.  You know I wouldn't begrudge you my couch, not when the alternative is you whining about the fight you had."  Richie grinned at him.  "And do be sure to write.  Take pictures of the women for me if you can."

Richie chuckled.  "That I can promise to do, old guy."  He stripped down to his jeans and socks and laid down, pulling the throw down over his body.  "Thanks, Methos.  Good night."

"Good night," he said quietly, closing his atlas and heading into his bedroom to turn in for the night.  At least he wouldn't have to referee anymore.


Richie opened his door, frowning at the man on the other side.  "Come in," he said, getting out of Methos' way.  "Did Mac drive you out of town too?"  Methos nodded, grimacing.  "Well, I've got a couch," he said happily.

Methos shook his head and pulled out a pad of paper to write a quick note on.  He handed it over.

"How did you lose your tongue?" Richie asked, giving him a disgusted look, which he had learned from his teacher.  "Do I even *want* to know?"  Methos shook his head.  "Okay then, I've also got jello and pudding if you want it. And no, that's not a roach on the floor.  It died yesterday but stuck."  He grinned when he saw Methos look down at the very dead bug.  He even laughed at the shudder.  "Sorry, but summer is here now."

Methos sighed and sat down on the squishy couch.  He wrote out another note, holding it up.

"Nope, not a problem.  I've got a small job.  No girlfriend, or boyfriend, and we have hot water.  Plus the ocean.  You can stay if you want.  Mac has no idea where I am unless he followed you."  He winked.  "In which case, I have a plan."

Methos snorted, but he looked relieved.  He laid down and put an arm over his eyes.

"How many more hours do you have?"  Methos held up two fingers.  "That's cool.  Want steak for dinner?"  He saw the shudder and changed his mind.  "Quesadillas?  I make pretty good ones and I've got the stuff to make cheese ones."  Methos shrugged.  "We'll figure it out when you can go through the kitchen then."  He checked his watch.  "I'm going to head to the store, or else you won't have any beer."  He saw the shudder and walked closer.  "No beer?"  Methos shook his head.  "*You* don't want a beer?"  The arm moved and Methos gave him a look.  "Okay then, no beer.  Tequila?"   Methos shook his head.  "Any alcoholic beverage?"  Methos shook his head.  "This story I want to hear."  The notepad was written on again, just two words.  'Mac' and 'upset'.  "Oh, tell me he didn't," Richie said coldly.  Methos nodded.  "Then he's mine when he shows up."  Methos put a hand on his arm and shook his head.  "I can't get him?"  Methos smiled but shook his head again.  "Okay, take all my fun."  He got up and sat in the equally squishy chair.  "I've got a tv if you want to watch."

They both stiffened when they felt the quickening, and Richie reached for his sword.  He nodded Methos toward the bedroom, he was still hurt and it wasn't fair to make him fight if this was Mac.  He waited until the bedroom door closed, then opened the apartment door.  "Steve," he said, not really happy.  Why had he tracked him down?  It had been a one night stand in Miami six months earlier.  "What do you want?"

"Can I come in?" the other young-looking immortal asked, giving him a coy look.

Richie shook his head.  "Sorry, but I've got a friend in who needs his privacy."  He stepped into the hall and closed the door behind him.  "What's up?"

"You left so fast," Steve said, running a finger across Richie's chin.  "I hope I didn't disappoint."

"No.  I was just on my way here.  I was escaping my teacher and his disapproving glares."

"Oh."  Steve laughed.  "And who might that be?"

"Duncan MacLeod."  Steve's mouth opened.  "Did he tell you to find me?"

"No, but everyone's heard of him," Steve reminded him.  "Why was he unhappy with you?"

Richie grinned.  "For the same thing we did in that hotel."

"Oh."  Steve giggled.  "That reason.  I guess that's cool."  He leaned in and gave him a kiss.  "Are you sure I can't come in?"

"Sorry."  Richie blinked, his head was starting to spin. "You bastard," he said, just before slumping against the door.

Steve smiled and shrugged.  "It's the nature of the game," he said happily.  He tried the door but it was now locked.  "Well, shoot."  He pulled back and started to kick at it, but the door opened before his foot connected, sending him shooting to the floor.  "Who're you?" he asked Methos.

Methos held up a sign with his name on it, giving him a dry look.  "Go away," he croaked, barely audible.

"Oh, shit!" Steven said, getting back up slowly.  "I didn't mean to intrude.  It's the nature of the game, you know?"  Methos nodded, and pointed at the hallway.  "Sure, I'll leave you and your...him alone now."  He ran out of the room and down the hallway, going back to his car as fast as he could.  He wasn't good enough to take on that man and he knew it.  Duncan MacLeod was a legend.  Though, he had thought the guy had long black hair, not short brown hair.  Or green eyes.  He pushed off the mental worries.  They made things to give you those, it could be faked.  And he still wasn't going to fight the bastard.

Methos dragged Richie back into the apartment and checked the hall before closing and locking the door.  He was standing over the young man when he woke up.

"Hi," Richie said with a grin.  "Thanks."  He sat up, narrowly missing his friend's thighs.  "How did you make him go away?"  Methos held up the sign again, this time with a grin.  Richie burst out laughing.  "Okay, that was a good one."  He stood up and headed into the kitchen, pulling down a jar.  "Want to help me pack up stuff?"  Methos shrugged and went in to help him.  "I know this *great* little town where we can hide.  I mean, if you want to come with me."  Methos nodded.  "Cool!"  The older man gave him a look.  "Sorry, been hanging with the surfer migration lately."  He grinned and went back to his packing.  It would all fit in the back of a car.


Richie let Methos look out at the view of the ocean, and went in to fix an early breakfast.  They were four hours farther down the coast and it was just as pretty, if more isolated, here. He had actually come here first, then backtracked to a more civilized locale.  It was nice here, but he needed to be around people to be happy.  Besides, the nearest bar or grocery store was nearly an hour away.  He carried their plates out to the porch and set them down on top of a few boxes, nudging Methos to come eat.

"This is beautiful," Methos told him.  "Why didn't you come here directly?"

"Nearest grocery store is an hour away."

"Oh." Methos nodded.  "I had forgotten that you were one of those that needed people around to be happy."

"Not many," Richie told him, "but a few does make things more interesting.  I could be happy here, but I'd be leaving every weekend to go shopping and stuff."  He took a bite of his cheese omelette.  "Not too bad."

Methos took a bite and nodded.  "Much better than you were doing last year."  He smiled at the young man.  "Will you be all right here for a bit?"

"Sure.  As long as you deign to talk to me once in a while.  There's a small plantation near here that I can get a job on.  The guy there knows me and offered me one before."  He smiled.  "And no, it's not something illegal, as far as I know."  He stuffed his mouth with the next bite.

Methos nodded.  "You do what you have to for survival," he said philosophically.  "Did you tell anyone about this place?"

"Nope.  Not a single word to anyone.  Well, except for a small kid who was helping me work on my bike a few weeks ago.  I told him I was vacationing in a tropical paradise next month and that it was a few hours away."

"But not enough to find us?"

Richie shook his head.  "Not at all.  I didn't even have a map to this place.  You're really lucky I could find it again," he admitted with a smile.

Methos groaned.  "As long as this is the spot and not someone's house."  He cut off another piece of omelette and took a bite.  "What are you going to do tomorrow?"

"Just go talk to my friend.  After that, I'm free."  He grinned.  "I might even go surfing."

"Surfing?  You?"

"Yeah, the annual surfer migration came through and I was admiring.  It's a lot like balancing on a bike.  I'm pretty good, but not good enough to compete."

"I'd like to see that," Methos told him.   It was a hobby he had never aspired to.   "You didn't bring a board."

"It's in the closet.  I checked while I was cooking."  Richie scraped his plate.  "Want another one?"

"No, I think I'll turn in after this."

"Um, okay, but there's no handy couch.  Yet."  He gave him a 'sorry' look.  "I had it on the porch and it got rained on.  It's still sitting out in the bushes."

Methos grimaced.  "I can always make myself a bed on the floor."  Richie shook his head.  "No extra sheets?"

"I only had two sets and one's in the wash.  I'll share the bed, I won't even cuddle," he offered with a smile.  Methos rolled his eyes.  "I promise, I won't move all night.  You can have your side of the bed."

"Fine," Methos told him.  "But tomorrow, we will have to either do laundry or buy a couch."   He smiled as a bird landed on the porch near his feet.  "It is rather pretty here."

"Yeah, it is," Richie sighed.  "If I could stay here all the time, I'd be even happier."  He looked at his friend.  "And no one trying to get me to get onto a stage and make an ass of myself."

Methos chuckled.  "Very true.  He's not here and hopefully he won't."

"So, why did he torture you?"

"Because I was hiding you from him apparently."  Richie raised an eyebrow.  "He's not gone dark again, but he's not very happy with you at the moment.  It seems you stole from him?"

Richie shook his head.  "Not a cent. Unless he put money into my bank account, and I did notice there was about fifty more dollars than there should have been, I only took my money.  My small emergency stash in my sock drawer and my single bank account.  Anything else was his imagination."

"Apparently his realty business is missing two rent checks.  I tried to remind him that you had nothing to do with that end of his business, but he wasn't particularly reasonable at the time."

Richie grimaced.  "I'll call Joe, tell him tomorrow.  Maybe he can talk sense into Mac."  Methos shook his head.  "No?"

"No.  They're not talking again.  Joe pointed out the same thing."  He smiled.  "Amazingly, they disappeared around the same time Amanda left.  When I pointed that fact out, he got very pissed and decided to force my beer down my throat.  And since we were in Joe's at the time, he took the draft hose and continued."  Richie patted him on the hand.  "I'm not mad, presently, but his anger is getting out of hand again."

"Are we sure he's not going dark?  Could there be a threshold that he's standing on?  Or maybe drugs?"

Methos shrugged.  "I don't know.  I'm sure we'll figure out eventually, or he'll die."  Richie opened his mouth.  "It does happen, even to us."

"Point," Richie sighed.  "A depressing one, but a point."  He stood up and grabbed the plates.  "Want anything since I'm up?" he asked as he walked inside.

"Maybe some water."

"Sure."  Richie got him some water out of the filtration pitcher and carried it out to the older man.  "Here you go.  I'm going to make the bed.  Come in whenever you're ready."  He headed back inside.

Methos slowly sipped his water as he watched the waves flow in.  It was very calming here.  He would have to make sure it stayed between them.  He might even make sure that financial arrangements were secure to keep this place in Richie's hands.  He finished his water and stood up, going in to hopefully sleep without someone curling up against his back.  He stripped down to his boxers and climbed into the fresh sheets.  He closed his eyes and waited for his reluctant bed partner to join him.


Someone was pounding on the door.  It was irritating and was keeping Methos from going back to his dream of Kronos coming back from the dead to play with Mac.  He groaned as the pounding stopped, pulling the sheets over his head.  Richie was still in bed, he could get it.  He kicked backwards, trying to wake the other man up.  Richie rolled up behind him and cuddled.  "Door," he moaned.

"Fuck the door," Richie grumbled.  He rubbed his cheek against Methos' shoulder.  "They'll come back."

"Hello," a male voice called from the living room.  Both men stiffened.  Mac?  Here?  How?  Before they could react, he walked into the room. "Richie?" he asked hesitantly.

"Go away," Richie said firmly.  "This is a private house and you're not allowed to intrude."

Mac's mouth opened.  "I'm sorry.  I just wanted to make sure you were all right," he said, sounding hurt.

Richie lifted his head out from under the sheets flung over Methos and glared at him.  "How did you find me?"

"Your car was spotted by Steven's watcher and he followed you," Mac said with a smile.  "Why are you here?"

"It's called a hiding spot," Methos muttered, trying to not sound like himself.

Mac blushed.  "Sorry, I didn't think about you having someone here."  He backed out of the room.  "Can we talk?"

"In a few," Richie sighed.  He slid out of the bed, ceding the sheets to Methos.  "I'll start coffee," he muttered before walking out.  He glared at Mac as he walked past him into the kitchen.  "Why did you come?" he asked as he measured the good coffee.

"I thought we needed to talk."  Mac pulled a chair over to watch him.

"About how you tortured Methos over something I didn't do?"   He looked over his shoulder, seeing the bitter look.  "Or about how you don't like the fact that I'm not living up to your expectations?"  He pulled out the water filter pitcher and filled the coffee pot.  "Ten minutes," he called. He refilled the pitcher and put it back into the refrigerator.  "Why did you show up?"

"Did you take that money?"

Richie snorted.  "Oh, yeah, I took something that I don't know where you keep, didn't have access to, and wouldn't know how to cash anyway.  Get real."   He pulled down some cups and the carefully sealed container of sugar.  "Want the first cup?" he called.

"No," Methos said as he walked out.  "I'll watch you first, make sure it's not poisoned."  He watched as Richie poured himself some coffee and drank it.  "Not poisoned?"

"Not presently."  Richie poured some for the stunned MacLeod, handing it over with Methos' cup.  "Close your mouth."  He sipped some more of his coffee.

Methos moaned.  "This is excellent.  Where did you find the beans?"

Richie waved a hand around.  "We're in the land where they grow it. The good stuff down here isn't all that expensive.  It's actually about as much as the crap stuff I got at home."

Mac sipped his coffee, Methos was right, this was excellent.  "Are you staying together?" he asked, trying to sound casual.

Methos nodded, walking over to wrap an arm around Richie's shoulders.  "Yes, we are."

Mac put down his cup as he stood up.  "Then I'll leave you be."  He nodded at Richie.  "I'm sorry, for all of it."  He left the house.

Richie looked up at Methos.  "You pissed him off."

"He's not going to dictate to me who I spend time with."

"Me either, but was it wise to piss him off?"

Methos smiled at him.  "Contrary to popular opinion, wisdom does not always follow age, Richard.  Sometimes it's inspiration that comes from living so long."  He finished his coffee and walked over to steal the rest of Mac's cup.  "He'll get over it."

"One of these centuries."  Richie grinned.  "That was so evil."

Methos nodded.  "I know."  He walked out to watch the ocean.  "When were you going to visit your friend and is he anywhere near a town?"

"After lunch and no.  I can take you to the store later though."

"Please.  I'd like to visit a store and gather some essentials."

Richie smiled.  "Essentials are different around here."

Methos turned to look at him.  "I remember, but I still need to wire my accountant and have him send me money so I can pay for things." Richie shrugged.  "I insist.  If we're staying together, it'd only be fair."  Richie shrugged again and poured himself some more coffee.  "Is there an open market somewhere around here?"

"Closer than the nearest grocery store, but it's a very small one.  It's also tomorrow."

"I can wait," Methos agreed, turning back to watch the water.  He felt all the tension flow out of his body as the surf flowed back out.  It was so peaceful here, he could finally relax his diligence.  He pulled a chair over and put his feet up on a box, content for the first time in months, if not years.  This would be perfect if it were holy ground.

Richie came out and poured the last of the coffee into Methos' cup.  "I'm going to shower, the hot water heater's not working yet so it's all cold."  Methos nodded so he walked away.   He knew how the older man felt.  He had felt the same way when he had found this place.  Sitting in that same spot had led to him working out all the issues floating around his head.  He turned on the tepid water, warmed up by the heat of the day, and stepped under it.  It wasn't the greatest, but he was willing to work on the house to make it perfect for them.  The thought of 'them' didn't even bother him.  He could learn a lot from Methos, both about the world and about life.   He could definitely stand living with him, faults and all.

On the porch, Methos was thinking about the same thing, at least until he was healed mentally.


Richie walked up to his friend, smiling happily.  "Hey, Rocco," he said.  His friend turned and beamed at him.  "What's up?"

"You're back?"

"For a while," Richie agreed.  "My old place got overrun by people I'd rather not see."


Richie snickered.  "No, not the cops.  An ex."

"Ah," Rocco said wisely.  He had a few of those too.  His grin got brighter.  He was the only one who knew Richie liked men too.  "So, should we be watching out for psychotic-type people?"

"Nah."  Richie leaned against the wall next to him.  "I'm back at that house with an old friend looking for refuge.  He needs the peace and I like the company."  He shrugged.  "So, think I could catch a job working for you again?"

"Sure.  Want to start now?  I've got this ancient motor that needs babied."

"I could, or I could pull a full day starting tomorrow, your choice."  He looked around.  "But maybe I should look at this motor first."

Rocco led him to the back of the garage, where an antique car was hidden under a tarp.  "This belongs to the local pig on a stick.  He's presently pogoing around the land owners, but this is his baby."  He watched as Richie looked inside the engine compartment.  "Can you get it running?"

"Probably."  Richie pulled out something and licked the end of it, putting it back.  "Try it now."  He waited while Rocco walked around and pushed the start button.  The engine coughed and sputtered to life.  "He's got a short in the spark plugs.  It shouldn't be too hard to fix."  He backed away as the engine died.  "I'm surprised it's in this good of shape in this heat."

"He bought it a few months ago.  I tried to tell him," Rocco said with a shrug.  He walked back around.  "So, tomorrow?"

"Sure.  Oh, and you can't mention my friend."

"Friend or *friend*?" he asked.

"Friend.  I might not mind, but he's not into people like me.  I'm too energetic," he confided with a grin.  "But I'm going to end up fixing up that house so I'm going to need the money.  Nine?"

"Make it ten so I don't have to get up so early," Rocco encouraged.  "I'll tell the pig what's up and get him to order the stuff to fix it.  Maybe he'll ignore my personal garden for a few more months."  He winked and walked away.

Richie jogged back to the car, getting in and heading back to the house so they could go to the store.  He found Methos in the same spot.  "Want to go shopping?" he asked quietly.  Methos looked up at him and nodded, putting his glass aside so he could stand up.  He was still in his boxer too.  "No offense, but you need to be more dressed.  Shorts are great, but not those."

Methos laughed as he walked into the bedroom to get dressed.  "How was the interview?"

"Fine.  I figured out what was wrong with the local cop's car."  He flopped down onto the chair in the living room.  "Take your time, it's siesta."  He checked his watch.  "We'll get there about the same time as they reopen." Methos walked out, tucking a t-shirt into shorts.  "I've never seen you in those before."

"I bought them to come down here."  He smiled. "I don't have much time to wear them anyplace else.  It's usually too cold."  He pulled his watch out of his pocket and put it on.  "Shall we?"

"Sure."  Richie hopped up and led the way out to the car.  "I let my friend know that you were here, but that you were in seclusion."  Methos raised an eyebrow.  "He *knows* about people like Steven."  Methos nodded.  "By telling him you're here for the solitude, it wiped out the rumors that we're gay before they got started."  He grinned.  "The locals are agreeable, but they're still very Catholic and very intolerant of anything unusual."

"Drugs are more welcome than sex?" Methos snorted.  Richie nodded.  "I understand.  You did tell them that we're not..."  Richie nodded again as he opened the door.  "Good.  Thank you."

Richie's grin got naughty.  "Not that I'm not great and all, but I doubt you could handle me."  He slid behind the wheel.

Methos got into the car with a groan.  "You have no idea what I've done before, young man.  I've had more lovers with various skills than you'll ever have."

"Probably true," Richie agreed as he started the car.  "I wouldn't mind living as long as you, but I'm not counting on it."  He backed down the small driveway and onto what was the main road, turning left to go to town.  "I start tomorrow at ten and I'll probably be back by dark.  I can take the bike if you want."

"You still have it?"

"Yeah, I left it here the last time.  I like to ride on the beach."  He turned on the blinker and turned right onto another road.  "We're going to go past the local plantation, look over it.  If you *ever* run into the guy, he thinks he's God.  Let him believe it.  He's killed people before, and their dogs."  Methos grimaced.  "He's not a drug lord, but he does grow a lot of stuff and it supports the town."  He shot his friend a grin.  "I'm passing on the advice I was given when I first showed up.  He came up to me while I was shopping and started to interrogate me in the middle of the fruit aisle.  And no one said anything.  He was not pleased when I didn't ask him for a job, but I explained that I was into engines and here for relaxation and contemplation.  He seemed to get that."

"I doubt he'd have much use for me," Methos said.

"Bet me," Richie snorted.  "The guy's got ruins on his lands, both here and elsewhere, and he *likes* to have people study them.  If he hears you know anything about the period he calls 'classic times' he'll try and force you to work for him on something."  Methos nodded.  "So be an artist or something."

"Technically, I'm pretending to be a writer right now," Methos said with a small smile.  "I changed identities before I came down here."

"Ahhh, the plot thickens," Richie said.  "Why?"

"Someone burned down my bookstore because I wouldn't take their challenge."

"Ouch.  I'm sorry."  He reached over and patted Methos on the arm. "I know you liked that place."

Methos nodded.  "Thank you."

"Do I know them?"

"No.  They're arseholes from around the same time as MacLeod.  He wasn't that bad to take on but I really didn't want to fight."

"Well, around here you probably won't.  I've felt one of us and I only felt him once.  No one came looking for me."  He changed roads again, pointing out his window.  "These are his lands.  The town's on the other side of them."  Methos whistled.  "And he's got three more plantations like this around Central America.  From what I understand he's ruthless, but somewhat fair."  He waved at a worker in the fields.  "She's nice. Her husband's the local physician."  Methos nodded.  "We met right after the interrogation.  He's the one who gave me the advice."

"I'll take that advice then.  A learned man would be extra careful."

Richie nodded.  "Definitely.  Very careful."


Richie looked up from grilling some chicken and squash, frowning at the man standing in the doorway.  "What's up, Horatio?" he asked.  He pointed at a chair.  "Sit?  We're about to eat."

"I heard you had a friend this time," the local plantation owner said as he took a seat.  "Where is he?"

"Out on the beach."  Richie pointed with the fork he was using to turn the meat and vegetables.  "He's trying to get over a friend betraying him."

"Oh."  Horatio nodded, giving Richie a smile.  "So, you're working for Rocco?"  Richie nodded.  "Did you hear about him getting arrested today?"

"No.  When?"  Richie put the cover back on the grill and took the other seat.  "Adam!" he yelled.  "Visitors."  Methos waved a hand in acknowledgment.   He turned back to their guest.  "Why was he busted?"

"His garden.  Someone went into it and cut some for their personal use.  The magistrate is forgiving, but not that forgiving."  He shrugged.  "Tell me about your friend."

"He's a writer," Richie told him. "Very smart, but needing the solitude."  Horatio nodded.  "You'll have to talk to him yourself.  I can't really explain anyone else that well.  I get stuck."

Horatio laughed.  "That would be fine."  He looked outside.  "Is he coming in soon?"

"I don't know.  We're friends, not anything else."  Horatio smiled at him for that comment. "You can go out and talk to him if you'd like."

Horatio got up and walked down to the beach, going to bother Methos.  "So, you're a writer?" he asked as he sat beside him.

Methos looked him over, then nodded.  "Trying very hard at the moment."  He went back to watching the water.

"You want to be Hemingway?"

Methos snorted.  "He was overblown.  His imagery never caught my attention.  I'd rather be Kafka or write like Juvenile."

Horatio nodded, he could understand that, not everyone shared his feelings about Hemingway.  "Have you published yet?"

"A few short things," Methos admitted with a faint smile.  "A science fiction book.  A few short stories.  Nothing important."  He stood up.  "I can smell the chicken.  Join us for dinner?"

"No, I have to be home. My wife complains."  He stood up.  "Do you know about history?"

"Only what I studied in school."  He smiled, putting on his nice act.  "History was never my favorite subject.  I'm much more interested in the future and my place in it."

Horatio shook his hand.  "I hope you find the peace you need here with us.  If you need my help, call on me.  I like Richie."  He smiled.  "Also, he'll be here tomorrow.  His boss got arrested earlier this evening.  I'm sure he could help inspire you."

"I'm hoping more for a nature inspiration," Methos said as he walked him back to the house.  "Some of my best things come from watching nature, human or otherwise."  He watched as the other man walked around to the driveway, then walked inside.  "I think we'll have to find something to do tomorrow," he said with a fond air.

Richie smiled at him.  "Rocco should be out in a few days.  Someone went and cut stuff from his garden.  He's been there before."  He pulled a breast off the grill.  "Check that for me."  He turned the squash again, making the pretty grill marks on the flesh.

Methos sliced into the soft flesh.  "Looks done," he announced.  He held the plate while Richie dished everything up.  "I had no idea you were this accomplished in the kitchen," he said proudly.

"You taught me how to grill," Richie reminded him.  "Memory going with age?" he teased.

"No," Methos retorted with mock-affront.  "You never did this well on your roof is all."

"Having to feed myself far away from all sources of ready-made food made sure I got very good.  Otherwise I wouldn't have eaten what I cooked."

Methos chuckled.  "I understand. That's much the same as how I learned how to cook.  Once I left the Horsemen, I was limited to what I could roast over a fire, convince others to cook for me, or the slop at the irregular inns I ran into."  He cut into his serving, then nodded.  "Very judicious use of spices.  I'm very proud of you."

Richie laughed.  "Thanks, dad."

Methos tossed a piece of squash at his head.  "Behave or I won't teach you anything else ever again."

Richie continued to smile at him.  "Does that mean you're taking me on as a student?"

"I might slip in a few lessons every now and again, but I do not take students."  Methos ate another bite of dinner.

"That'd be cool with me," Richie agreed.  "I know there's a lot I still have to learn.  Mac didn't exactly give me the keys to the knowledge of the universe."

"I doubt he'd recognize them if he saw them," Methos said dryly.  "By the way, they're books."

Richie nodded. "I figured that much, but I learn better from a person than from reading about it.  Even lectures don't give me as much of an idea as a hands-on education."   Methos nodded.  "So anything you can pass on I'll probably be grateful for."


"Hey, I fully admit I still have days when I'm an annoying shit.  They're just more rare these days," he finished with his shit-eating grin.

"Hopefully they'll be very rare," Methos said, but he was smiling back.  It would work between them.  They could do this.  Maybe.

The End.